That little orange square in Maya’s hand is her cuddly. It’s a comforter we got free with Hipp baby food that’s been her almost constant companion since she was six months old. After 4 years of use, cuddly was looking more than a little worse for wear – his once bright orange had faded to a muddy beige and he’d been sewn up so many times, he was only half the size he once was. It didn’t make Maya love him any less.
Every night she’s needed cuddly to go to sleep. We’ve had to bring him with us everywhere as if she asks for him and we didn’t have him, we’d be met with unstoppable tears. Cuddly was an instant way of calming her down if she was upset – I’d hand him to her and she’d instantly start sucking her thumb and be quiet. You’re probably guessing where this story is heading and in my defence, I did buy some replacement cuddlies when Maya was still a baby. In fact she insisted on having two at once for a while, until one was stolen by a monkey. As she got older she refused them and would throw them away angrily if we tried to offer her a replacement.
The photo at the top shows you how sad Maya got just when cuddly got wet at the beach so you can imagine how she must feel now that he’s vanished completely.
Yes cuddly is with us no longer and I wasn’t sure how she was going to cope when this day came. I still don’t know what happened – in a hurry to leave to stay overnight at her grandparents I shoved him in the bag. Once we arrived I don’t remember if I gave him to Maya or not but we couldn’t find him and had to go to sleep without him for the first time. Maya was inconsolable but I still had hopes he’d turn up – he’s been lost a million times before and usually Maya’s tucked him away in the fridge or under a stone in the temple and we eventually find him. Not this time. He wasn’t at home when we returned and he hasn’t been found since.
I read Maya the story of Dogger, in which a little boy loses his favourite toy but they find him again in the end. I suggested that maybe cuddly was off having an adventure and he’d turn up when he was ready. It’s been more than a little heartbreaking watching Maya deal with this – it’s almost as if someone has died. She even said to me the next day, “Mummy, I know where cuddly is – he’s in the sky”.
It’s been two weeks now and I’m proud of her for coping so well and sleeping without her best friend every night with the minimum amount of fuss and tears. It’s so very sad – she still asks me every day if I’ve found him. So I thought I’d compile a little selection of photos of cuddly throughout the years – as Maya’s grown up he’s been her constant companion. Goodbye cuddly, you were a good friend