Rupert is Missing…
These are words that strike fear in my heart. My hands become clammy and suddenly it feels like the room is spinning. My mind begins racing at a hundred miles an hour, where could he have gone? How did I fail to notice he was missing?
No, Rupert isn’t my son. He’s my son’s rabbit.
He is also my lifesaver.
Our Rupert addiction started slowly and innocently, as these things often do. A few weeks after Buddy’s birth we received a box filled with gifts from a family friend. I was instantly drawn to the beautifully soft grey Bunny with his long floppy ears and legs. In my innocence as a first time mum I felt it would be useful to have a soft toy that Buddy could be attached to, so I dutifully spent several days with poor old Rupert shoved down my top to make him smell like me.
The love started the moment the two met. Buddy grasped Rupert and has rarely let go of him since. Whilst this was lovely, we soon discovered that this close bond presented inherent problems. Lovely soft grey bunnies don’t stay lovely, soft or grey for long whilst in the clutches of an infant who is non discriminating in the direction of his vomit. After enduring the trauma of Buddy’s look of betrayal during Rupert’s first bath, we decided to buy another one, or two.
Fortunately, Buddy has never been upset by the changing Ruperts. The original is now thoroughly bedraggled and I have had to sew his ear back on following the teething months. He doesn’t care which Rupert he has, as long as Rupert is there.
I have started to depend on this. When we go on a road trip I know Buddy will be fine, because we have Rupert. When he has his immunisations he calms as soon as Rupert is in his hand. I never worry about leaving him with a family member, as long as Rupert is there. Rupert has become an extension of motherly comfort, yet he is more than that. He has become Buddy’s friend. Every morning when he wakes Buddy will sit in his cot talking to Rupert until he wants to get out of bed. During the day he takes Rupert exploring with him, holding him, snuggling him and laughing at him throughout.
So of course, now I am attached to the blooming thing. Seeing how much my son adores this rabbit has caused me to attach a personality and affection to him. IT! (It’s just a toy, it’s just a toy, it’s just a toy!)
Recently, we discovered that Rupert was being discontinued. In a panic I called my lovely Mum and told her of our dilemma. Bless her, she went into town the next day and bought the last three available. As a mum of four I think she understood my panic (What if we lose the three we have?!)
We now have six Ruperts and one contented little boy. Yet this doesn’t lessen my anxiety when one is missing.
The Rupert addiction is growing.
Now, not content with one Rupert at bedtime, Buddy insists on two – one in each hand. My immediate anxiety is
What if he starts needing three?
Am I approaching a crisis point where one or two lost Ruperts will result in a meltdown, a refusal to sleep or play without two, three or four of his best friends in his grasp?
The day Rupert went missing was Buddy’s first birthday. We had gone to the seaside and were enjoying an early morning stroll around the town. I don’t know what made me look in the pushchair. Buddy was quite content and babbling away, he smiled at me with a cheeky glint in his eye….
Rupert is Missing
This initiated an hour long frenzied trawl back to every shop we had been into. I was a woman possessed. I ran into every shop, asked every sales assistant, crawled on the floor commando style peering under shelves and into every nook and cranny. I was driven, not only by the certainty of a hellish day without our safety net, but a bizarre need to ensure Rupert was okay and hadn’t been adopted by a rabid dog as a new favourite chew toy.
I’m far too attached to this Rabbit for my own good….
Buddy had begun to feel the effects of his mischief. It was no longer funny to have thrown Rupert from the pushchair. He missed his friend.
Fortunately, a Good Samaritan found Rupert. Whoever that kind person was must have recognised the signs of an adored toy (chewed ears, mucky and bedraggled) and they tied him by the legs to a fence where we were walking earlier that day.
After a quick wipe down, Buddy and Rupert were reunited and peace was restored once more.
I don’t know if and when the Buddy and Rupert love affair will end. I don’t know if it is a good or a bad thing that he is so attached to an inanimate object. I don’t think anyone really knows how the seemingly small decisions we make in the early days become so significant, months or years down the line.
All I know is that when I’m feeling tired and Buddy comes over to me and rubs Rupert on my face, I kind of get why he loves that Rabbit.