Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reindeer Games

This is NOT a Ridiculously Overdue Recap (ROR) post, this is actually current news -

For Christmas, SS got a small stuffed reindeer toy from his Aunt Shawna.

We opened it and SS saw it, smiled at it, grasped it between his two inexperienced hands and fumbled it towards his mouth while leaning forward, eager to make the two connect. Everything goes in the mouth. SS gummed the reindeer's face while we all joyfully watched and declared that he was giving the reindeer kisses.

SS seemed to especially like his stuffed reindeer - it's one of the first toys he has really connected with, and so we started taking it with us everywhere so SS always had his little friend to smile at. A couple of weeks after Christmas I took the boys on a walk around the neighborhood to the park - I put both boys in the double stroller and packed up snacks and a blanket and I stuck SS's reindeer in the seat with SS to play with in the grass. In an effort to turn the walk into some real exercise, I decided to power-walk every street in the neighborhood on the way to the park. BB played for a while and then I power-walked every street on the way home too. A full 30 minutes of exercise + playground time for BB + fresh air and sunshine = successful day!

I had to work the next day, and the day after was a Thursday - I remember thinking "SS's reindeer isn't in his crib, where is it?" but figuring it must be downstairs. On Friday when I put SS in his crib for his nap I realized I still hadn't seen his reindeer, so I started looking for it. I asked BB if he had seen SS's reindeer and he said "Yeah, upstairs!" I said "Where?" And he said "Upstairs!" again. I said "Show me!" and he jumped up with me excitedly following him - he brought me over to the staircase and pointed up the steps, like I was asking him where upstairs is. Cute. He wound up taking me to SS's crib, where of course I already knew it wasn't. After I really looked everywhere and couldn't find it, I decided it must in the car, but J had taken our "kid car" to work that day so I couldn't look yet. Once J got home, I sent him out to the garage to find the reindeer, sure that he would bring it inside, but J came back in empty-handed. Suddenly I was panicked. The last time I remembered having the reindeer for sure was when we took it to the park 3 days before, so I jumped in the car and drove down to the park, and then drove around the neighborhood searching for it in the dark, shining my headlights onto the sidewalks along each road, since I had, of course, power-walked every. single. street. Oh cruel irony. This was all to no avail - SS's reindeer was lost. Really lost. Possibly never to be found lost.

I was so sad, sadder than the practical side of me thought I really should be. I mournfully woed to J about how it was the first toy SS really connected to and I carelessly lost it and what kind of mommy am I? We only had it for two weeks!

I prayed and prayed that we would find our reindeer, and in hopes we could at least buy SS a replacement, J and I started combing through the baby section of Target, and then after 3 Targets we checked Ebay and the Carter's website, all while hoping the reindeer would turn up in some random location. But he didn't. We broke the news to J's family and joked about putting up "Missing" posters around the neighborhood.

A couple more days passed and I just couldn't let it go. I realized that if the reindeer had indeed fallen out of the stroller on our walk and someone had found it, they had nothing to work with, no way to return SS's beloved reindeer. And once again, the thought about Missing posters came to me, and I just couldn't shake the idea. So even though it seemed silly, I knew I had to do it, to feel like I had made every effort. I had to actually make and post little Missing posters around the neighborhood. At first I was going to print out pictures of SS with the reindeer to put on the posters, and then I realized that I needed to just get this done right then otherwise it was never going to happen, so even though it was BB's nap time and I was breastfeeding, I grabbed some markers and drew a picture of the reindeer for the posters. Then I threw the kids in the double stroller and we briskly walked around the neighborhood, taping up the fliers. I felt both silly and accomplished when we got home and I put the boys down for a nap. But I was finally at peace with my reindeer-recovery efforts.

A few hours later I was cleaning the house and my phone rang - it was a strange number and I was in the throes of frantically-cleaning-house-while-the-kids-nap so I didn't answer. But the mystery number left a voice mail, so I curiously checked it - I had completely forgotten about the posters. A huge smile stretched across my face as a woman said "Hi, I'm B, and I found your reindeer!" I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. THE POSTERS WORKED! Some snippets from B and I's conversation include "I have a 15-month-old, so I totally understand," and "My husband thought it was a school doing an experiment to see if someone would call" (apparently my artistic talents measure up to an elementary school level). I was totally spazzy on the phone, saying weirdish things half-explaining the story, because I was so elated. I know I sounded like an overly-caffeinated weirdo. (I jabber when I'm excited or nervous.) Later that evening, our reindeer was home, and we reunited SS with his special toy.

B and I ended up chatting about mommy stuff at our front door for a good 10-15 minutes (by then I had brought my excitement down a few notches to a level appropriate for a stranger (after squealing with various family members and making a big facebook proclamation)). And then B and I ended up running into each other at a different park the next day. So maybe I will even make a new friend out of our reindeer caper. When I ran into B, I remembered to ask her where she actually found the reindeer, since I had forgotten to ask that in my spastic, overly excited state. She said that she had seen the reindeer for a few days in a neighbor's yard, so when she saw the poster, she went and grabbed it out of their yard and called us. She is our Good Samaritan.

This is SS's thank you:


  1. This is one of my favorite stories! You are a good mom
    Friend! <3

  2. LOVE that little reindeer-lovin' face!!!