We picked up this mouse on a trip to IKEA. It was in a 99 cent bin, and we gave it to Eloise to kept her quiet while we shopped. At the checkout, we thought, “It’s only 99 cents, why not let her keep the mouse!”.
Fast forward six months and this mouse is now one of two toys that Eloise simply can’t live without. The mouse is called “Mimi”, and Eloise calls for her before going to bed every night and every nap.
Once we realised Eloise was getting so attached to this mouse, we went back to IKEA to get a back up mouse. Totally out of luck. It was only two weeks later, and all the ballerina mice were gone.
We told ourselves that we’d just be super careful so it wouldn’t be an issue …
Sadly, the worst thing possible happened – Mimi fell out of the stroller and was lost somewhere in DUMBO while Eloise was on a playdate with her babysitter. I didn’t realise Mimi was missing until it was bedtime, and Eloise was calling for Mimi when I put her in the crib. I looked around for Mimi, thinking she’d be under the crib or in the living room. No. No Mimi. I felt panic rising as I searched the entire apartment – the recycling bins, our bedroom, the shoe cupboard, and the stroller. No Mimi. A flurry of texts ensued, to our sitter and my husband, who’d been watching Eloise in shifts that day. No one knew where the mouse was.
I digress. Back to bedtime, with no mouse. With a sick feeling and a huge knot in my stomach, I told Eloise that “Mimi’s on holiday! you’ll see her soon!”, and put her in the crib. I hoped I would be wrong, and that she’d just roll over and go to sleep. Oh no. Of course not. Eloise cried for Mimi for over an hour before finally falling asleep. During the night, she woke up multiple times, asking for Mimi. It broke my heart every time that I couldn’t give her the little mouse that brought her so much comfort.
In a desperate attempt to find the lost mouse, I emailed all of the Brooklyn parenting mailing lists, in hope that someone had found the mouse. “Help! Lost mouse!”, “Have you seen this mouse?”.
The next step was eBay, where I found the mouse alright – now $13.95 instead of 99c. What a mark-up! Clearly I was missing out on a big business opportunity that other cunning entrepreneurs had stumbled upon – re-selling IKEA toys at a 130% mark-up. GENIUS for them, irritating for me. I ordered the mouse, and emailed the seller to request rush shipping. “Please!” I begged, “Can the mouse get here any faster?”. The seller helpfully offered to upgrade the shipping to get us the our new Mimi faster, but that still left me to get through the next several days with no mouse.
The next morning I considered calling IKEA and asking them if they could rip off the ballerina mouse I’d seen nailed to the wall in the kids section. The only thing that stopped me was the logistics of how I’d get to and from IKEA (it’s an hours walk) in between Eloise’s naps, playdates and class schedule.
Four days later, thankfully the new mouse arrived. Every day in between, Eloise asked for Mimi before bed, after waking up, and every time she walked through the door, like Mimi had magically come home after her trip away. I’ve never felt so relieved as I felt when I saw that four-inch mouse in our mailbox.
Lesson learned – I ordered yet another mouse from IKEA, just in case. We have new rules in place – the mouse doesn’t leave the house, and no more toys that aren’t easily replaced!
Why not just not replace the toy, and let her get over it, you might ask. Am I enabling her dependance on toys? Quite frankly, I don’t care. I love seeing Eloise’s joy in her toys. She talks to them like friends, and feeds them pretend tea and Vegemite toast. I don’t want her to learn to “get over it” right now – there will be plenty of that in her life as get gets older, and I don’t want her to have to learn that lesson just yet.