“Where’s my doggie? I had left him here but I cant find him. This is such a mystery.” and many such exclamations were made by 4 year old Buttercup on her way to bed. The fact that we had somehow been successful in getting her to head to bed was now lost. Bed time was long forgotten and now the whole family was turning things upside down to find our princess her much beloved stuff toy – Doggie. At one point I even tried to persuade her to sleep with her dolly instead but she glared at me as if i had uttered some blasphemous words. And truly the doggie’s whereabouts were a mystery and after casing the house multiple times we finally found the doggie perched on a red stool in a white kitchen. How we missed this in the first place was then the new mystery?
Buttercup now supremely happy to be reunited with her doggie went into a kissing and hugging frenzy. She then slipped into her bed and exclaimed “Iam so happy i found you, now I can sleep.”
Somehow that statement from her, woke me up and suddenly it hit me about what the fuss was about her Doggie.
The thing is she has never ever had a favourite stuff toy. Like no favourite doll, super hero or any such thing.
But the last few weeks I had seen her walk around with her Doggie. She would get out of bed with her doggie cradled in her arms and then walk around the house hugging her doggie. One time I was asked to look after it while she finished her breakfast. Another time I was admonished because accidentally her doggie had fallen on the floor. At those times, I really didnt notice or understand the growing attachment to this huggable stuff toy.
But when she wouldnt sleep without it, all those instances came popping up in my head, suddenly making sense.
We had moved cities bag and baggage, a few weeks back. This was the first major move in our princess’s life. All of 4 years and a tad more months old, we thought all was hunky and dory. And for the most part it was. She was excited about the new adventures and luckily made a fast friend the moment we landed into our new place. Couldnt have asked for a better school and a friendlier neighbourhood.
But as parents who have become accustomed to being nomads, we let it slip that this shift meant that her whole existence as it were ( remember she’s only 4 and a half years old) had dramatically changed in a day. Sure she loved her new bunk bed experience, but the comfort of the walls in her old home with memories of mom admonishing her for her random wall scribbles and she naughtily smiling back, with the wall puzzle that we sat and made together was all just a memory now. Sure she made a friend real quick, but the dear friends she left behind, the ones with whom there was a great bond and truck loads of experiences were now a memory. The only school she knew had changed, even though the new school was such a fun place. Inspite of this school really helping with her transition, everyday till date Buttercup walks into her class to place her bag only once I have given her sufficient assurance that I will be waiting outside for her to bid her goodbye. She has asked so many times, “promise you will not leave while i leave my bag”. And she runs out right into my arms and then we sit in a tight embrace for a good long time. One time she had a ‘bad dream’ as she put it. On prodding, she revealed that I had left her and gone. Once again we sat on the floor tightly hugging each other and me assuring her that is never to happen.
Was this separation anxiety owing to our move?
Was this seeking comfort in the few things known and understood by her?
Maybe! All we knew was that outwardly she’s a little giggler and we wouldn’t have really understood the turmoil in her little heart but for the fact that the absence of her doggie made her restless and sleepless.
For all the hints that our little Buttercup had been giving us, we finally solved the case with her biggest clue – her doggie attachment. Thank God, for her missing doggie.