Baba is my youngest’s absolute, all-time, must-have favourite toy.
She loved her from the moment she arrived and in nearly every photo of her until she started school you see Baba in her hand.
She’s a little ‘bashful lamb’ from Jellycat. When my children were born we lived rurally and several of our neighbours had sheep in fields adjoining our ‘garden’ (3/4 acre of sometimes soggy, riverside rural land we had mowed when it needed it, and tried to grow a few things on). So littlest Miss knew the sound sheep made, and, as little ones do, called them by that name. So when she was given a little sheep of her own, naturally she looked at it and said ‘ba-ba’.
But Baba was small, and mummy was often distracted. One day we got home from shopping and Baba wasn’t there. Phone calls made to shops and what not. No luck. But PHEW, Jellycat were. So another Baba was ordered online from the UK (because we were living in New Zealand and I couldn’t find any available there). In fact, let’s stop and think a mo mummy. Let’s order two! Just in case.
Fast forward to age 2 or so, now living in the UK. For quite some time we’ve had two Baba’s in rotation. At one point my “you-can’t-pull-the-Baba-wool-over-my-eyes” little Miss would look at the Baba handed to her and declare “Little Baba” or “Big Baba” depending on which it was. They were exactly the same size, but of course there were small, discernable differences.
One went missing.
A replacement was bought.
Then is was “Fluffy Baba” and just “Other Baba”.
One went missing.
Then it was just Baba, and “Okay sweetie, let’s not take her out of the house”. She was allowed on visits to the homes of good friends and family, but other than that our counsel was ‘leave her in a safe place at home.’
Baba has never been far from my littlest one’s thoughts and is deeply in her heart. Back when she started school in the UK the new children had to draw a hobby. Her hobby? Playing with Baba. Favourite toy? Baba. Best friend? Baba (until a human best friend came along, but Baba would still feature and said human best friend would, of course, love Baba too).
There was a period when Older Sister took to hiding Baba around the house – and then completely forgetting where she’d hidden her. Once Baba was missing for quite some time until I found her behind a photo on a shelf. I don’t know who was more relieved – me or her owner.
We’ve rescued her from puddles down the road, driven back to ballet class to find her fallen in the gutter next to where we’d parked, we spent countless hours rooting around the house, through clothes, toys, bedding, finding her. She’s emotionally engrained in our family life.
Perhaps when we moved to France my youngest’s reliance on her favourite toy increased again. But I think she’d love her as deeply wherever in the world we were.
This week Baba is missing. Peculiarly and inexplicably missing. In our apartment. Yes – in our little studio, in our compact 29m2 my daughter’s all-time favourite, loved beyond love, friend, comforter and creative muse, is missing.
Last seen on my & the Mr’s bed. Which is also the sofa. No further recollection of her location.
I have looked EVERYWHERE.
I have pulled out drawers, furniture, washing, bedding, clothes toys. I’ve peered behind and under. I’ve wracked my brains then wracked them again. I’ve questioned and queried. I’m at an utter loss.
She went missing on Sunday. We stayed in all morning, had lunch and then the Mr and I ran while the girls rode their bikes to see how de-snowed the playground in town was.
Miss 8 didn’t take her out of the house. Why would she? She insists Baba was never in a pocket and I believe her. In any case I think she only put a hoodie with pockets on at the moment we were leaving the house. Until then, for some time, she’d been playing with the Playmobil with her sister.
Chalet Carton Treasure
For weeks Miss 8’s been asking me to help her make a cardboard cryptex. We finally have the cardboard tubes needed and I suggested we pop up to the local ‘Chalet Carton’ (aka Treasure Trove for junk lovers) to find some good corrugated cardboard. As soon as we got back from the still-a-bit-buried (and a bit broken) playground, off we went.
Today’s treasure “A BED FOR BABA!” What joy. And really, a perfect little bed for Baba. A little wicker bassinet – just the right size. (Not exactly cardboard recycling, which is what the Chalet Carton is meant for, but who’s complaining?)
“Yes, of course you can take that home,” say I.
“Really?” asks Miss 8, unbelieving. Because she wants to bring EVERYTHING home, down to broken bits of metal and headless porcelain chickens, and we have to be very firm. But this was cute.
“Of course – it’s Baba’s bed. We’ll have to give it a good scrub straight away though.”
Happy Miss 8.
Back home I scrub the little bassinet with disinfectant and Miss goes to find Baba.
The rest is current history.
Now, I do have two ‘spare’ Baba’s. Somewhere in our stuffed-to-the-doors storage unit back in Bristol. Not much good to me right now.
I’ve popped online to see if I could order one, and HORROR OF HORRORS Jellycat have changed the design. Bashful lamb now has a pink face. Still cute. But not Baba.
Thank goodness for ebay. People selling end-of-lines, old stock and what not. In fact, a pre-loved Baba would probably go down better, because it might look a bit more loved than ‘real Baba’ (well, Baba number 5, if my count is right!). There’s one in the right size. One? Eek.
Where oh where?
Years ago I wished someone had invented a little chip for favourite things that you could embed in them, then telephone it, or press a button on a pad by your door so the chip would scream. I’d put one on my car keys, house keys, and glasses too…
Of course, they are available, if you look. Too late for Baba…
I keep hoping I’ll open something or pick something up and out she’ll tumble.
Where, oh where, can she be?
A fantastic wee article about those hard-to-decide-whether-to-hyphenate-or-not phrases is RIGHT HERE (not by me – completely independent take on the whole thing).
Thanks for reading, do drop by again soon. If you’re a raiser of girls you might also like my recent post ‘Tough – Like a Girl’.
Or this one – ‘RUN!’