I munch my meal.

Something subconsciously disturbs me, sneaking into the top of my vision as I stare at my bowl. I glance up quickly and throw my head back in alarm.

It is an Ood!!! Sat opposite me in the restaurant, staring with vacant yet deep Ood eyes across the table at me, its alien mind peering into my very soul, considering dispassionately whether to absorb my consciousness into the universal morass of Oodkind!!! My jaw drops open in frozen terror.

I blink. Oh. No. It is just the Toddler, eating noodles.

We finish our lunch with no more misunderstandings. Then later, when we have all returned from the Didoesque Hell of the post-Christmas sales, we discover that she has lost Boris the Dog.

Boris the Dog has been with the Toddler since day one – he has slept with her every single night for three years, he has been a playmate in good times, he has been something to clutch fiercely in moments of misery. His ear has been sucked to pieces, he has fallen in the bath, he has been cuddled, stroked, pulled, used in games of catch and made to listen to our banjo/kazoo duo. He has travelled to Canada, to Cornwall, to family and friends, to the supermarket, to the beach. And now he is irretrievably lost, somewhere in Norwich.

“Never mind,” she says cheerfully on being told the news. “I can play with lamb instead.” Meanwhile tears stream down mine and the LTLP’s faces, and we get horribly drunk that night on blackberry vodka.

She has not mentioned him since, apart from to comment that he got lost.

I learnt a lot of things over Christmas. I thought my main lesson was going to be that if you visit Banham Zoo, you are best advised to check out the animals on the brink of extinction before you join the queue for the cafe. But it has been hard to accept that my daughter is going to grow up and become a serial killer.

I miss him. Oh Boris! Boris! Orange peel! Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the… oh.

I worry that I am getting a bit sentimental.

20 thoughts on “Christmas #3.

  1. Don’t worry, Jonny and LTLP. Boris is having lots of adventures and now lives on a farm where he can spend his time chasing rabbits. Look, he’s even written a postcard:

    “Dear Jonny and LTLP,

    Don’t worry about me. I am having lots of adventures and now live on a farm where I can chase rabbits.

    Love, Boris (the Dog)”

    Oh, and you are not a true parent until you have Googled “light blue cuddly dog” and scoured through 23 pages of pictures until finding the exact match, ordering it express delivery, then finding the original in the bath. At least we now have a spare (though it would take some heavy wear and tear to be an exact match).

  2. Megan says:

    Salvadore is utterly and totally correct. Our alter-ego character was Mr Tiger who apparently went missing in a horrible super-store just before a long and tedious road trip – fortunately to the very city where Mr Tiger had originally been acquired. While one parent masterfully distracted (“ooh! Look! I bet this makes noise!”) the other stealthily purchased a replacement. When Mr Tiger Mach II was “discovered” in the trunk of the car the only dicey moment was the amount of harumphing when he was greeted with “Mr Tiger! And you’re so CLEAN!” Naturally when we returned home the original, dingy Mr Tiger turned up almost at once. Nice thing about that age group is they can believe in Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, and the sudden emergence of identical alter-egos. Mr Tiger Mach II became Sister Mr Tiger without the slightest hitch. Unfortunately she did indeed get lost at some point and remains unmourned. Mr Tiger however is still with us and house guests are well advised not to ask about his presence on a bed pillow. What the hell are they doing in my bedroom anyway?

  3. I have just had a horrible Proustian rush to losing Fuzby the squirrel in Sainsbury’s when I was a child. Luckily we found him, but I think he was a present from some friends in France so would have been quite tricky to replace.

    This is now one of my browser bookmarks, and my one tip for new parents is to make a note of the manufacturer and serial code of any such favourite soft toy before you end up in a shop going “Er, I think it was some kind of bear, wasn’t it?”

    That is unless you want to teach your child all about loss and the importance of looking after things. But I’d rather have Fuzby.

  4. Pat says:

    I’m just afraid that the little one may be trying to save both your feelings. I don’t mean to impute that you only have two feelings but the feelings of both you and LTLP. Children are so very mature these days and are born to a consumer/disposal society. I expect both of you have been cuddling the toy and blowing kisses and she has joined in to make you feel less silly. She may have been bored to the back teeth with it(if they have come through)and dropped it deliberately when you weren’t paying attention.

  5. Sewmouse says:

    I’m over half a century old. I am OLD old. But I still have “Floppy” – the little grey doggie I conned my grandma to buy for me when I was an infant.

    He sleeps on my nightstand.

    Go find Boris, you must!

  6. spazmo says:

    You’ve every right to be distraught. The prospect of Boris turning feral and haunting the aisles and back alleys of local shops, sniffing about for scraps of fleece and wads of cotton batting is rather heartbreaking.

    Is there no way to borrow a (flesh-and-blood) Bloodhound? You could have it sniff “lamb” and then walk it round the Didoesque Hell Shopping Centre. These dogs are quite good at their chosen professions, you know.

  7. Your daughter is so mature and accepting of this tragic loss. When my young friend lost her “piggie” recently, we had to go through every dumpster at the nursery school. Piggie could not be found. Duplicate piggies were thrown across the room with great force. No sleep and many tears later, her Piggie was found hiding in the house. I hope Boris the dog turns up soon.

  8. Mr Angry says:

    You should be delighted that she is able to mourn and move on so quickly.

    Look at it positively. In many years to come, when your own demise finally arrives, she will probably only need to take a half-day.

  9. Brennig says:

    I HaVe ThE DoG. SeNd TwO MiLLiOn pOuNDs In tHe SaFe CuSToDY Of tWO cHiCkeNS oR tHE dOG gEtS hURt.

  10. Diana says:

    In France there are many websites to help you find lost “soft members of the family”. Just google “dou dou perdu” to see. All in French but the pictures are self explanatory. Is there nothing of the sort in English?

  11. Rufus S Later says:

    Le site web demandé n’existe pas”


  12. “Christmas #3”? Seriously, is there much more of this tosh? It’s nearly February, for Christ’s sake.

    Screw your damned Boris anyway, you pampered parasites. When I was a kid in the East End, I never had a teddy bear. My Dad – a noted welterweight boxer in his youth – wanted me to follow in his footsteps. I never understood why he wanted me to thump complete strangers, but for five years I went to sleep every night cuddling a boxing glove.

    Good thing it didn’t make me bitter or anything. Tho’ now I come to think of it, I never got the jokes about Catholic kids sleeping with boxing gloves on until years later…

  13. Blossom says:

    I don’t know if is you or me, but your comments are in such incredibly tiny type that I can’t read them at all! The blog text is normal though!
    When my eldest was a toddler, he dropped a small knitted red & green clown of etialated proportions, which I had also held & sucked at as a toddler. Distraught, I went to the nearby library & persuaded the staff to lend me coloured pencils so I could add a lovely illustration of the lost clown to the sign for the community noticeboard. My faith in humankind was confirmed when I found the same clown pinned by his hat to the board! Oh the joy!

  14. Diana says:

    Rufus, try http://www.lacabaneadoudou.com – lost soft toys galore.

  15. Pat says:

    Ivan: you’re never Freddie Mill’s son are you? He was a bad lad too!
    I expect someone will explain the boxing glove.

  16. Blossom says:

    Oh – I’ve sorted out the text size now – doh!

    Now I remember also the trauma my little sister suffered with the loss of her squirrel in a department store years ago. Our mum had made the toy from real rabbit fur, and my sister habitually hugged it under one arm, whilst sucking her thumb (on the same-side hand)and also making the fur of one ear go up and down her nostril while breathing it in and out. It sounds weird, but was comfort heaven for her at the time.
    To add insult to injury, it was not my sister who lost it, but our visiting cousin who insisted on having a turn holding Squwuz, and who left it somewhere unretrievable.
    The holiday was not the same afterwards.

  17. Bills says:

    Maybe, like the wandering gnome, Boris will send postcards home from his travels around the globe.

    It’s sad, when our little ones, remind us that they’re developing and growing up. My 5 year old girl still has her very straggly toy lamb that goes everywhere, except to school, with her. My 3 year old, on the other hand, has several toys she tries to squeeze into bed with her, and those out of favour are kicked over the side for the night.

  18. admin says:

    I am hoping to finish the Christmas stuff by about Easter. But I will also have to finish laughing first, after Brennig’s comment.

  19. Lisa says:

    My father once rescued my teddy bear after I dropped it in a river. As it floated rapidly downstream heading towards a huge waterfall, he leaned over and scooped it up with his sunglasses. It appears you do not have the opportunity to be a hero to your daughter, nor in fact is that role at all necessary. That could either be a relief or cause of grief!

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