They are Mr. Rabbit (aka Pti) and Lemu, little gosling’s unseparable buddies. Today we lost them on the streets and, luckily, found them again. They are now taking their first bath – in a small sachet in the delicate cycle of the washing machine, before little gosling can hug them and chew on their hands and ears again.
Mr. Rabbit has been with us since St. Nicholas and has become little gosling’s naptime buddy at school, his “doudou” – the first one ever. He picked up Lemu from a pile of stuffed animals strategically located closed to the cashier desk in a supermarket some weeks ago. We had been cuing for quite a while and he was eyeing a number of animals before I told him we could only take one of the smallest. They go with us everywhere; if by any chance one of them gets left behind, we need to come back home and fetch them. He goes to sleep at night with them, too.
With the school now closed due to Coronavirus (first time we all three are together alone on a working day), I took little gosling out of the house for a stroll so that daddy could do some work. With the almost complete lockdown we’re in, I decided we should go buy nappies and I was fixated on buying the big pack of 80+. They only have that in a hypermarket 20 minutes walk from home. We started off walking, which little gosling does running, I pushing the pram along. He got tired quickly and accepted to climb into it. Mr Rabbit and Lemu were hanging from his hands. And we started the 20 minutes walk to the shop.
Half way along, I stumble onto Mr. Rabbit, who had fallen off. I give it back to baby, reminding him we need to take care of our friends or risk losing them. He was in that state of numbness before falling asleep. I quickly notice Lemu was not there; he points backwards and says “there”! We turn the pram around and walk back our steps a couple of hundred meters to where Lemu was lying flat on the sidewalk. I put Lemu in my backpack and we resume the journey to the shop.
By the time we reach the shop, baby is asleep, holding Mr Rabbit by one hand. I got what I needed and start my way back. The streets are empty so I walk on the street to avoid the cobblestone. There is one stretch I cannot go around, though. When we’re five minutes away from home, I decide to cut through a park, without realising it would be a harsher terrain. Little gosling starts fidgeting and eventually wakes up crying. He says he wants a hug, so I take him out, we play with the leaves in the bushes around the park, look nostalgically towards the playground nearby, closed due to the virus, and continue the journey on foot. In two minutes, it hits me. We don’t have Mr. Rabbit. Baby asks if we lost him and asks to go back and find him.
I called daddy for reinforcement. It would take us forever to redo the trip to the shop with baby on foot, whilst carrying a heavy backpack and pushing the pram. He’s with us in 10 minutes. Baby lets himself be convinced of climbing back into the pram and we take the journey back. We do the exact same route, no sign of Mr. Rabbit. In the shop, no trace of it. I ask the people placing the products on shelfes, the people at the cashiers, nothing… I came out tears in my eyes and tell baby we had lost Mr. Rabbit. No reaction – I was more emotional than he was.
We took the same route back home, talking about ways we could get an identical rabbit amidst the lockdown. Half way through, we cross the cobblestone patch I could not avoid earlier and daddy lifts his gaze off the ground and I hear him say “there it is!” Mr. Rabbit was lying on a stack of chairs folded outside a closed restaurant. We had only looked down the first time…
That’s how I reached my 10 000 steps a day. Mr. Rabbit and Lemu are drying on the heater in my bedroom, I see them over the tablet resting there. They’ll be warm and ready when little gosling wakes up for his “tsitsis” tonight and crawls into our bed.