An honest take on life and parenthood

How I aged 5 years in 30 minutes

on June 17, 2012

The Buh Buh

The Pooh, sniffing her buh buh, her most precious possession

On Friday night, I told the Pooh that we were going to Wegman’s. Wegman’s is an amazing grocery store near us, which features live music on Friday nights in their Pub. The Pooh loves live music,  so it took no convincing.

As we were getting out of the car, she was holding her favorite blanket, also known as her “buh buh.” I said, “Honey, why don’t you leave your buh buh in the car? If you lose it in Wegman’s, you will never see it again.” She refused to leave it behind.  With some misgivings, I agreed to let her take it.

About an hour and a half later, we returned to the car. As I opened the door to put her in her carseat, I realized that she did not have the buh buh. I felt a flash of heat and my stomach dropped in dread. I searched the back seat. No buh buh. I asked her, “Honey, are you sure you took it into the store?” She said yes.

How could I have let this happen?

The Pooh, like many children, is incredibly attached to her blanket. In her case, it is a flannel receiving blanket, which was in a pack of six that I bought when she was a newborn. It was originally light green with white, yellow, and brown dots. Today, nearly two and a half years later, it is a threadbare piece of fabric of no discernable color, as you can see from the picture.

She holds it 24/7. She needs to have it near at all times, and cannot sleep without it. It is even a fight to make sure it is washed on a regular basis. If we leave the house without it, we have to turn around and retrieve it. She started to develop an attachment to it at about 16 months, but at that point, other blankets from the same pack were interchangeable substitutes. I bought several other packs of flannel receiving blankets as an insurance policy against losing the favorite.

By the time she was 20 months old, though, no other flannel blanket would do. She named this particular blanket her “buh buh,” and ever since she decided that there was only one, I have lived in mortal fear of ever losing it.

So you can understand my panic in the Wegman’s parking lot that day. I was not prepared for the sudden cold turkey weaning from the buh buh that I was about to face, and I scrambled to think of the best course of action to attempt find it in an absolutely humongous grocery store. I felt daunted.

But like a member of Special Forces, I sharpened my wits, squared my shoulders, and went into battle, not knowing if we would ever see it again. I told the Pooh that we would have to retrace our steps, but it was very likely that the buh buh was gone forever. She held my hand, shaking her curly head, and started talking about how sad it was that her buh buh was lost. She began to weep.

Great. Just great for my focus.

I stayed stoic. We went back in to the store, and I scanned the floor near the entrance. Nothing. I went to the customer service desk to inquire at Lost and Found. “Have you seen a baby blanket that looks like an old rag?” I asked the lady. She checked the bin and shook her head. Damn.

We retraced our steps through the produce section, then the cereal aisle, then the candy bins where we bought 20 Dum Dum lollipops in bulk. Still nothing. We went down the wide aisle near the checkout counters, lined with summer lights and dishes and specials for $4.99. Nada. I was feeling absolutely awful and incredibly stressed.

I saw the self-checkout area, and there was a different young man staffing the section, which made me lose a bit more hope, since if it had been found by the previous staffer, it would have been turned into Lost and Found. I approached the self-checkout station we used.

There, on a stainless steel shelf next to the scanner, was the buh buh!

I practically heard angels singing.

I snatched it up and took a deep whiff of its unique smell of my daughter and soft flannel, and was flooded with an immense sense of relief. I immediately gave it to the Pooh, who was thrilled to have it back, but not anywhere nearly as thrilled as I was.

The young kid staffing the self checkout area understood. “Yeah, I had a towel like that when I was a little boy,” he said, with an understanding nod. “I saw it there, but I thought it was a rag. I didn’t know why it was there, so I left it.” A few minutes later, the lady at the customer service desk looked at the buh buh and aknowledged its importance. “My daughter has one just like it. She’s in college, and it’s now in three pieces. She has a strip of it with her at Muelenberg.”

College? This goes on until college?

We walked back to the car. Instead of feeling triumphant, I experienced a sudden wave of exhaustion. I swear I aged five years in those thirty desperate minutes of the search. I put the Pooh in her carseat with the buh buh, and I vowed never to let her take it out of the house again.

Yeah, right. As if that is really going to happen.

Send me your prayers, folks.

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