I just did one of the (many) things I said I would never do as a parent.
I just bought a replacement stuffed animal in secret, that I intend to pass off as the beloved stuffed monkey my son lost.
My husband and I have reason to believe that "Baby" disappeared at Navy Pier a couple weeks ago; Drake has been asking about him and getting progressively more upset (Baby goes with him everywhere), but has thus far been consoled by reassurances that he's probably just hiding somewhere in our messy house, we're sure he'll turn up, why don't you sleep with this buddy instead tonight, and so on.
Tonight as I was tucking him in, he asked me very seriously "Mommy, would you please look for Baby again? PLEASE? Please find him. I'm really (and here a little sob escaped, just the tiniest of little sobs) getting worried about him".
And my heart BROKE. And all of the lectures I planned before I became a parent, the lectures of 'you need to take better care of your toys', went straight out the window. And I marched straight downstairs to talk to OJ, who agreed that we needed to procure a replacement Baby.
Thankfully Baby is a Beanie Baby, and thus was easily findable on eBay. New, even, it seems. I just hope he looks and feels the same when he arrives. I reminded OJ, "you're going to have to cut a little hole in his armpit and then stitch it up with orange thread when he arrives," because our Baby had an accident, and a little 'hospital' trip, and Drake is very proud of showing off Baby's stitches.
And I know we've become THOSE parents, where we have anthropomorphized our children's stuffed animals. Yes, we have.
If we are wrong and the real Baby turns up somewhere, then I will tuck the replacement Baby away on a shelf in my closet and keep him as a backup in case Baby ever goes missing again.
I told myself I would never be This Parent. That disappointment is a part of life and that my kids would know it's 'just a stuffed animal' and if they don't take care of their toys, they're gone.
But I guess the truth is, I've become a little attached to Baby too. Or perhaps, attached to my son's attachment to Baby. He's too young to lose his friends...even if they are stuffed.