Tonight, at 7:30pm after having just said goodbye to our 5 playgroup friends who spent the afternoon at our house, I laid down on the couch next to The Who and watched as Sister opened a teddy bear birthday present on an episode of Berenstain Bears.

Teddy bear, I thought. That’s cute. Like Bella.

Shit. Bella.

I sat up and heaved a sigh. “I gotta go get Bella,” I told my wife. And so, at 7:40pm, when I should have been bathing The Who and easing him into bed after a fun, wild afternoon, I was getting in the car to go back to the grocery store to retrieve The Who’s beloved little puppy, whom he had left in the passenger seat of the car cart.

This was just the kind of thing we tried to avoid.

When The Who was an infant, we used cloth diapers as his “lovey.” We tucked one into his crib with him (with the pediatrician’s blessing), carried at least two with us in the diaper bag, sent one to day care with him, and kept one in the car seat. We thought we were so smart. A replaceable lovey! We won’t be those parents paying $200 for some no-longer-produced rare, random stuffed animal. We have “di-di”! (The name came from my little cousin, who, 19 years ago, also used a cloth diaper as her lovey. She called it “di” and so when we introduced it to The Who, we called it “di” also. At some point, a teacher in school referred to it as “di-di” and that stuck.)

Early Di-love. 2.5 months old, chillin’ with cousin E.

Yeah, well. Please see paragraph 3 above.

Bella has actually been around for The Who’s whole life; she was a baby gift from my aunt (ironically, the mother of the original di-girl.) She has spent time in and out of the crib, has always been enjoyed, but never particularly loved over anything else. And then right around the time that The Who gave up his binky, he latched onto this little dog. Di-di is fine and good. And she’ll do in a pinch (all the loveys seem to be “she”) but Bella — Bella is the shit. She is the it-man. She is the top banana. Bella is the one who comes out of bed with The Who in the morning. Bella is the one who gets regaled with stories “from when she was a little girl” when The Who feels like chatting at night, and Bella is the one who, unfortunately, comes on out-of-the-house adventures.

Bella travels on trains.

And so now I am that parent. Googling this little dog, thinking of buying a second one, frantically calling the grocery store and hoping that some kind soul turned her in, and running out at bedtime to retrieve her from the lost-and-found drawer behind the customer service desk. Damn.

4 thoughts on “Bella.

  1. A faint recollection is coming back to me of sewing on the eye of a little stuffed dog or cat that you totally loved I think…by the time it was gone it had been patched in numerous places and was really a mess…do you remember it? My thinking is, while I understand it would make you feel safer to have a “spare” Bella, he probably won’t accept any other Bella…to him Bella isn’t a thing, it’s a friend and friends are not easily replaceable 🙂 I could be wrong, of course…. xox

    • I do remember that. I had two: “Cocoa” a little floppy brown dog and another one, whose name I don’t remember, but that was smaller and pink and white. I dipped her face in ketchup at the Stoughton Diner once, though, and she forever had a brown “beard.”

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