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Saturday was trouble in loveyland.
Not even a week after writing this post about my son’s slowly-withering companion – a pink bear named Burt – we almost lost him forever in the cramped, crowded aisles somewhere in Toys R Us.
The plan for the day was for Daddy Roo, Big Roo and I to drive to the nearest Toys R Us to finish our toy shopping. I live in not-the-middle-of-nowhere-suburbia but for some reason the closest store was 12 miles across town. Our main mission? Get Big Roo this awesome (and majorly on sale) V-Tech Digital Camera and pick up some miscellaneous things to finish off Santa’s duty for the Roo house.
After Big Roo’s nap, we packed up and headed out on a dreary, drizzly and cold afternoon to Toys R Us. When we arrived, Big Roo as usual wanted to take Burt inside (along with the red AND blue Lightning McQueen). So we stuffed the cars in his pockets and I tossed Burt in the shopping cart.
While we were in line to check out, Big Roo started peering into the cart a wee bit too much so Daddy Roo decided to walk him around the store while I paid. As I waited in line, I heard Daddy Roo say, “We’re going to go search for a bathroom. He has to pee pee.”
I think it was here that it all went downhill.
As I was annoyingly rattling off my last three phone numbers hoping desperately that one of them was THE number I used for my Toys R Us Rewards Card (man I hate being THAT person but there I was), Daddy Roo huffed past me and muttered, “We didn’t make it.” He took Big Roo over near the exit to wait. As Big Roo turned around I saw the tell-tell sign of a kid who “didn’t make it”– a big dark spot right in the crotch! I was so flustered trying to pay and feeling hurried to get the kid home for dry pants that the cashier had to remind me to take the bag of toys!
We rushed out into the cold drizzle, strapped Big Roo in the carseat and shuffled into the car to warm up and get home. It was starting to get dark, we were getting hungry and – oh yeah – Big Roo is sitting in wet pants. We hop on the highway and sit painfully through stops, starts and red brake lights a plenty. About 15 minutes later, Big Roo proclaims “I want Burt.”
My heart sank.
My stomach dropped.
Somehow I KNEW Burt wasn’t in the car, even before I turned around. I twisted my preggo body around to scan the back seat. Then I checked the abyss between the carseat and the door. I looked everywhere but Burt was gone. He was lost somewhere among all the shiny, new toys at Toys R Us. Ah, crap.
Daddy Roo zips into the next exit lane. Time to turn around and see if Burt was a goner or not. The whole drive there my senses were acutely aware of our surroundings and it threw my annoyance level into overdrive. The rain hitting the windshield, the traffic, the fact that we weren’t quite able to go the speed limit– it was all slowing us down. My mind was racing, simultaneously trying to remember when the last time that we actually saw Burt was as well as picturing how Big Roo would go to sleep tonight if Burt wasn’t in his bed. Or the next day when Burt wasn’t there for him to squeeze when he woke up. Big Roo didn’t quite understand the severity of what was happening in loveyland, but me, well, I was freaking out. Panicking.
You can’t just buy another pink bear, roll him in the dirt, wash him a zillion times and call it Burt. No, that would be an impostor. Burt was a one-and-only. And he was currently somewhere in or near a store full of hurried December shoppers.
I tried to call Toys R Us but kept getting a busy signal. And the worst… Big Roo, a rare complainer, starts whining that he’s gotta pee pee, totally in agony trying to stop himself from going again. Miserable.
An eternity later, we arrived at the store. We drove slowly past the cart return to make sure he wasn’t lying in the wet parking lot. Nope.
We pulled into a spot then walked up to the store planning our attack: Daddy Roo would retrace our steps through the Lego aisle, PlayDoh and more, while I would ask customer service about Lost and Found. As I was waiting for someone to help me, Big Roo locks his knees together and squeals “I gotta pee pee!”
I screwed waiting and picked Big Roo up to situate him around my preggo belly. I didn’t want anyone to see his pants soaked in the front. Plus, we can get there faster this way. I start walking somewhere, anywhere hoping to spot an employee who can point me to the bathroom that eluded Daddy Roo just 30 minutes earlier. I grabbed the first person I saw, asked for the bathroom and told her we lost a pink bear. She points me to the potty and said she’d go see if someone turned him into Lost and Found.
As I was hustling to the bathroom, I swear I felt it get warm around my waist. Not sure, but I think poor Big Roo peed again.
If he did, he still managed to go again once we were in an actual stall. As we walked out of the bathroom and turned the corner, I saw the most relieving sight in recent mommy memory.
The Toys R Us employee stood there, shoulders up straight with her hands behind her back.
I just knew by the stance.
She slowly pulled a tattered pink bear known as Burt out from behind her. “Were you looking for this?” She asked Big Roo.
He grinned and grabbed Burt for a big ole hug.
My eyes watered as I gave her the thank you of all thank yous. I was pretty sure she’s returned loveys to their rightful owners before, but in our world, she was our heroine.
We ventured off to find Daddy Roo who was still on the search, collectively sighed with relief and then headed home for some dry pants. We never found out exactly where Burt was discovered or what adventures he had been on. But it really didn’t matter. The separated were again inseparable.
Whew. That was close.