We have a problem. Smelly is missing. I noticed that he was gone on Monday when we were leaving for the Community Center and Wes didn't have him. Wes takes Smelly everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I swore he had him at breakfast, so I figured the blanket was in the house somewhere and felt relieved that for once I wasn't going to have to keep track of our de facto third child while we were out. When we got home Wes started asking for Smelly. And I started looking. And I've been looking ever since.
Ryan and I (mostly me because I have lost all sense of perspective in this matter) have torn the house APART trying to find Smelly. I've looked under mattresses, in all the couch cushions, did all the laundry hoping he was stuck in some pile somewhere. Ryan even searched the trash before putting it out for the truck this morning. Wes better thank us for this in his valedictorian speech.
Thank GOODNESS that after a brief period of asking for Smelly and rejecting other, similar blankets, my late night trickery, in which I tucked Smelly II in with Wes once he was asleep, paid off. He jumped out of bed this morning, grabbed Smelly II, balled him up, held him close to the right side of his face, and stuck his thumb in his mouth, just like he has with Smelly I for the last twelve months or so. I was so relieved. Relieved doesn't even begin to describe it, actually, after a night of totally irrational anxiety dreams about a damn baby blanket. Yes, I've lost sleep over a freaking twenty-four by forty-eight piece of blue fleece, friends. I think we can thank Taco and the pesky hormone-emitting placenta for that one.
But, really, Smelly is so much more than a scrap of extremely dirty synthetically produced blue fabric. Smelly was the only thing that comforted Wes when he was an infant. It was the perfect size and stretchy-ness to do a really tight swaddle. He's taken Smelly on airplanes to far off destinations where it was the only familiar thing. For a kid who loves routine as much as I love refined carbohydrates, Smelly is a Very Important Lovey. Especially on trips. Smelly joined us at the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., our trip to New England this summer, his first HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY day of school and the first time he was apprehensive about school. Smelly has comforted him through many a thunderstorm, new tooth, and fever.
Today, I finally gave up on Smelly being in our house. There is really nowhere else to look. So I called the restaurant where we had brunch with Ryan's family on Sunday. Wes carried Smelly all over the playground, dragging him through the sandbox, up and down the slide, held him in his left hand while he ate his pancakes with his right hand.
"We had lunch there Sunday and my son may have left his blanket behind, you haven't seen it have you?" I asked. "Was it really dirty?" she responded. I knew it was Smelly. "I found that blanket and I knew someone would really be missing their lovey!" she said. My heart leaped. "Let me just go upstairs and check the lost and found. No one would have thrown it out." She happily chattered all the way up the stairs about the lost and found and all the strange things they find. And then her tone changed. Smelly was no longer in the lost and found. She took my name and number and promised to ask around.
So now instead of cleaning up my house and prepping dinner for my six dinner guests before I have to spend the afternoon teaching, I am listening to Christmas Carols on YouTube and trying not to be sad over this ridiculous situation. And yes, I do realize how ridiculous I am being. But did we really have to lose the last piece of Wes's babyhood just weeks before he's officially not a baby anymore?