Lots of kids treasure certain possessions, like dolls or blankets – items that have to go everywhere the child goes. Sometimes it's a pacifier, sometimes a stuffed animal, or sometimes a cloth diaper.
In the case of my younger sister, Cindy, it was a doll that was so small, it measured no bigger than a thumb nail.
I can still see my mother tearing through bed sheets, pulling apart couches, dragging furniture across the floor, and emptying out the garbage can every time Cindy lost what she referred to as her "itsy bitsy baby."
"My itsy bitsy baby! My itsy bitsy baby! I can't find my itsy bitsy baby!"
As her slightly older sibling, I had to wonder, "What kind of mother loses her itsy bitsy baby?" I knew where MY dolls were (rolls eyes).
Imagine rushing to the car for a long awaited family excursion. You get the kids dressed, you make sure you have enough diapers, you've packed all necessary clothing for everybody, you packed the bottles and the ointments – check, check, double check! Oh, wait! You forgot the thumb nail.
My sister, Kathy, was much easier to care for. She held her hair in one hand, deftly twirled it with her other hand, and sucked her thumb at the same time. Her beloved hair stayed on her head. Nobody had to spend hours and hours looking for it!
Not so with Cindy. Every time Cindy lost her itsy bitsy baby, we lost precious hours as we ransacked the house in search of it. I'm sure my mother might have installed a tiny microchip in the itsy bitsy baby's microscopic chewed up hands and toes if we had had GPS technology back then.
Having no way of tracking Cindy's itsy bitsy baby, though, we often crawled across the floor in search of the missing doll, swearing at Cindy in our heads (never out loud) until we found the insect-sized doll.
Once Cindy lost it and we couldn't find it anywhere. Mom tried to find a replacement in a gum ball machine. It looked ALMOST exactly like Cindy's itsy bitsy baby. But Cindy knew it wasn't HER itsy bitsy baby and complained loudly to Mom that she didn't want just ANY baby – she wanted HER baby – you know, the one with the chewed up fingers and toes.
As you might expect, as we fast forward 50 years, Cindy now chews her husband's toes.
(Kidding – about the last sentence. I love you, Cindy. Thanks for the memory and for the blog material.)
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