The inevitable happened last Sunday night. We were warned. By family members on both sides. By friends. Hell, even by total strangers who at first glance knew of the all consuming love our youngest daughter holds for her beloved stuffed animal, a rabbit by the name of Byla.
We think his name comes from a combination of the word ‘bunny’ and the French word for rabbit, ‘lapin’. Wherever Mini Mini goes, Byla is never far behind. They play together, eat together, watch Paw Patrol together, go to the toilet together (gross I know!) and crucially sleep together. I have witnessed Mini Mini waking up in a daze before turning to her rabbit first thing in the morning and proclaiming how much she missed him before smothering him in tiny kisses. FYI neither myself nor the Frenchman have yet to receive such love and affection. And if the pair do become separated all hell breaks loose.
We normally manage to find him fairly smartly before the banshee wailing of our second daughter brings social services a knocking. Sunday night was different. Bedtime with not Byla. We searched high and low. No sign of the little furry fucker. I gathered up all the other “bylas”-we have many other stuffed rabbits in various shapes and sizes-none was accepted. Eventually she fell asleep, her pillow wet with bitter tears of separation from her one true love. The mammy guilt was off the chart that night let me tell you!
We spent most of the next day searching for Byla all the while cursing our inability to purchase a back up bunny. Sure, we’d probably have to work a bit to recreate the rather pungeant odour and misshapen form of the original but that would be nothing compared to the hours we were losing dismantling the house and everything in it trying to find the missing bunny!
Every so often Mini Mini would forlornly look up from whatever task was at hand-destroying the walls/ making shit of the living room/jumping on her parents’ bed to lament the passing of her adored Byla. I was dreading another night without him. How could I go through another bedtime struggle with her flailing around the bed and those big fat tears falling on my arms as I rocked her back and forth, trying in vain to offer the comfort she was desperately seeking but that I couldn’t provide.
But then salvation came in the form of the Frenchman suggesting the one place we hadn’t looked. In all the commotion, we had forgotten that Mini Mini loves to crawl in under the part of my wardrobe that I almost never visit anymore; where my good dresses are. She loves to climb in and gaze up and the sparkles and the sequins of the flowing ball gowns and strappy numbers; a real girly girl.
And there hidden in the shadows was Byla. The reunion was a beautiful thing to behold but it’s something I never want to see again! So if there’s one piece of advice I can give to other parents out there, this is it. If your child has a stuffed animal he or she loves more than life itself, for God sake do yourselves a favour and buy a replacement!!It may just save your sanity! And give you some more glorious hours of sleep-we all know how precious those babies are!