When my oldest was born, he was given a stuffed monkey who at one year old he named Titi (because he couldn’t say monkey). Titi became a part of our family and Jack’s best friend. He went everywhere with us. When Jack went to school, Titi stayed strapped in his car seat to be “safe.” When Jack rode his bike, Titi rode in the pocket in the front. When Jack gets hurt, he quickly grabs Titi to rub on his ouchie to make it feel better. Titi had a broken arm that Grandma lovingly stitched for him and looked like he had been run over and beaten a few too many times. But, that didn’t matter to Jack.
After he became attached to Titi, we thought it would be wise to purchase an additional one just like him. This second one came to be known as “Imposter Titi” AKA “Poster Titi.” Poster Titi was reluctantly accepted by Jack ONLY in the instance we couldn’t bring “Real Titi” along for things like going to daycare or when Daddy dropped off at school but Mama was picking up. After the new baby arrived a few months ago, I noticed a much stronger attachment to Titi and a need to have him close by at all times.
Well, on Sunday, it finally happened. Titi was nowhere to be found. We realized that Titi was left at the supermarket and we may as well have called the US Search and Rescue team to start the search. We looked everywhere…. every inch of the house, the walkway to our front door, the parking lot at the supermarket, the trash cans surrounding the market, the restaurant we picked up lunch from…everywhere. He was gone. I won’t say whose clock this was on but it starts with hus and ends with band! Little did I know, he seemed to always think it would be on his clock when the time came.
We both felt awful! Jack was devastated for a while and hid in his room for over an hour. We couldn’t get a word out of him, just tears. This was after the meltdown of all meltdown’s earlier that morning, so it was an especially terrible day to lose Titi! It was heartbreaking.
I started researching online what to say and do when a lovey is lost. I had my plan but Jack, once again, showed me how strong and special 3 year olds are and came up with his own plan. He recently studied caterpillars in school and is fascinated by the transformation into a butterfly. He told me that we were going to make a cocoon for Poster Titi and when he emerged, he was going to be Real Titi and that’s what we did. And it worked! There were no more tears and there hasn’t been a mention of the incident since.
When we give our children the freedom to process and feel sad and we validate those feelings instead of minimize them, they do remarkable things. It was yet another reminder to have faith that even in the most anxiety provoking situations, there is always a solution and it will always be OK.