It was charming and adorable at first. We’d share pictures of our tiny newborn with a comparatively huge stuffed animal next to her.
“Best friends” we’d joke, reveling in the adorableness of daughter and pink stuffed hippopotamus.
We had no idea that within just a few short years we’d all become slaves to that monstrous hippo lovey.
Soon, we’d all rue the day we walked down the aisle of Toys R’ Us and thought “oh this would be cute for the new baby”.
What fools we were.
Becoming a parent is funny. Everyone gives you advice, and it all seems either obvious or stupid. They tell you you’ll understand one day, but as you become a more experienced parent yourself, you can do nothing but shake your head at the things people warned you about and wonder why no one told you about the real stuff.
I’m already over the whole “enjoy every minute” thing.
“Sleep while the baby sleeps” was proven ineffective and not at all practical by…oh, night three of my firstborn’s life?
And don’t get me started on the people who looked at a my screaming, tantrum-ing 2 year old and tell you “you’re going to miss this”. Because no, no I don’t miss tantrums thank you very much.
Here’s what they should have told me:
Bottle up that newborn baby smell because it goes away too soon never to return. The way you just sit and smell his head? Yeah, pretty soon that head will smell like dirt and sweat and all things little boy and you’ll send him to the bath pretty quickly after most snuggle times.
They should have told me to chill out, that everybody is just winging it, and those moms who seem like they have it ALL together…spoiler alert: they don’t.
And oh how I wish some one would have mentioned the fact that no matter what you do, very few people will take a moment to say “hey, you’re a great mom”, so to cherish it when it happens, and when it doesn’t to tell yourself. Because you, my friend, are an awesome mom.
But the most important thing NO ONE PREPARED ME FOR was this.
Never, ever let your child have a lovey.
It seems adorable, seeing them get attached to a blankie or stuffed animal. So innocent and sweet.
At some point they start making it their own, they’ll always rub a certain spot, or for our daughter, sniff it’s little tail.
So much cuteness.
And yes, as they grow, it’s nice to have something that immediately stops the crying. Every boo-boo fixed with mama’s kiss and a snuggle with mom and lovey bear.
But it quickly takes a turn for the worst.
The stuffed animal starts showing up on family picture day.
But it still gets worse…
Last night, myself and 2 other adults (one of whom is our pastor) searched our entire church building for a lost lovey. We were bound together in a solidarity that only comes from parents who have collectively spent weeks hunting down loveys. And we spent an hour searching a building to try to find her lost hippo.
Hippo was nowhere to be found, so this is an ACTUAL EMAIL my husband wrote and sent to the entire church:
If you or your child inadvertently kidnapped a stuffed animal who answers to
“Jumpy”, please contact me or Paula. He is a small grey hippo (small by
hippo standards; about 8 inches long). Jumpy was last seen at church on the
night of Wednesday 5 October 2016 around 1900 hours and has not been heard
Any information that leads to the recovery of Jumpy may be eligible for
compensation, up to and including a sincere handshake and hearty “thank
you”. And the undying love and gratitude of a four year old.
The struggle is real, y’all.
We did find our beloved Jumpy in the end, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been known to spend over an hour searching the house for the lovey we know hasn’t left the building.
In truth, when I took my kids to Europe, my biggest concern was not losing a child, I was confident they’d be fine. Instead, I stressed that we’d leave the lovey somewhere between Vienna and Houston and I knew none of us could survive that.
Friends, if you’re expecting a baby, know this.
You can do a lot wrong. In fact, no matter what decisions you make, there will be some one telling you you shouldn’t.
Make your own baby food, or don’t.
Breastfeed or use formula.
Use this carseat or that one.
All great decisions, think about them, pick what’s best. I can’t tell you what’s right for your family, except in this one simple thing.
Never, under any circumstance, give your child a lovey. You will regret it.
You will regret it.