Saturday, October 03, 2009

Missing: Big Julien

Oliver aged 4 months with Big Julien.

The unthinkable finally happened. We have lost Big Julien.

Anyone who knows us or has read this blog for a while will know that Big Julien is Oliver's favourite soft toy that he has had since he was 10 days old and which has been his comforter ever since we took away his dummy when still a baby. Even these days if he gets upset he will ask for Big Julien. Not to mention the fact that he still cuddles up with him to go to sleep every night. You only have to search my Flickr photos for "Julien" to see how Oliver and Julien have been inseparable from the daay he appeared.

Well, on Friday Big Julien was taken to a local playgroup and was last seen sitting on a chair there. It appears he never made it home. Consequently, last night Oliver went to bed without him for the first time in ages. And the preceding times were when he could be fooled by the "spare" that we had especially brought over from the States. But since he cottoned on to my deception this spare has really only been a minor player in Oliver's life, largely ignored.

There was the small comfort that we still have Baby Julien (a smaller version) that he has had for quite a while, but even so, last night was punctuated with questions about where Big Julien was and it was the first thing he asked this morning.

Hayley has been to the church where the playgroup is held and searched the store room, but to no avail. I fear Oliver may have dropped him as he got into the car and someone has picked him up, taking him away rather than handing him in to the church (where the car was parked).

Of course it is still within the realms of possibility that he will turn up, even here at home (though we have turned the place upside down so I'm probably kidding myself). Oliver did claim at one point yesterday to have brought him home, but I think this was more wishful thinking than fact, as he said he was at playgroup on other occasions.

Hayley and I are gutted. I feel sick sometimes when I think of how he has lost his number one comfort.

On the bright side, he did sleep reasonably well last night and today has gone to bed with Baby Julien and Big Julius (the name of the spare) without much concern. However, the time will come when he gets upset and wants Big Julien. I really hope we find him before then, but as time goes on I'm running out of hope.

Of course to my 4 year old son this is a terribly serious matter. But it has served to illustrate something else to me. Having watched a documentary about the 18-year long kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard on TV last night, I can barely start to imagine the horror of what her parents experienced. I keep looking in the car expecting to find my son's favourite toy and then feeling sick when it's not there. How much more mind-numbingly awful must it be to keep looking in hope for your child.

Having said that, of course here in the UK we have been witnesses to the unfolding tale of Madeleine McCann, whose abduction was so shocking and omnipresent on our TV screens in the days after it happened that I couldn't find words to say that weren't already all around us. In fact I've never commented on it in this blog for that reason: it has all been said. It is an intolerable nightmare that somehow the McCanns must live through for the sake of their other two children.

So it may not be the end of the world that Big Julien is missing, but it has had more impact than you might at first think in our household.

Oliver earlier this year with Big Julien and Big Julius.


James (SeattleDad) said...

So sorry to hear, but good way to keep it in perspective. Not aware of that case, but I can't even imagine what those parents are going through. So, sad to hear.

Steve said...

James, It's interesting to hear that that Madeleine McCann case is not so well known over there. There could not have been more money pumped into publicity by the family through donations and the use of professional PR (including a former BBC TV journalist). It's not such a small world I guess.

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