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.
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.)
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.
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.