Nathalie's Notes

Raising the Hardy Boys


From the moment I met him, I was crazy in love with my son – the kind of crazy that would make me do ridiculous, embarrassing things in pursuit of his sweet smile.

My most recent display of maternal madness invited endless mocking. And I don't even care. 

Let me start at the beginning.

When he was 4 months old, Sam picked the stuffed animal that would become The One. He just plucked it out of his crib one morning and never let go – except to bathe.

Since then, he's kept Giraffe faithfully by his side every waking minute – at least every waking dry minute. More importantly, Giraffe plays an integral part in Sam's very specific and somewhat obsessive bedtime routine.

Giraffe is so well-loved – read disgustingly dingy – that several people suggested we buy another one just in case. And I added that to the list of things I should probably do – right after I order a birth certificate and hospital pictures.

I kind of forgot about it until Giraffe mysteriously disappeared. And at bedtime, no less!

At first, I blamed Lucy, our Labrador puppy. I searched all of her hiding spots, finding two unmatched socks, a teething toy and the wrapper from a cube of butter, but no Giraffe. 

While Matt went through Sam's bedtime routine: bath, two books, three drops of lavender, baby massage with the Burt's Lotion I tore the house and car apart.

Finally, I took a drive, retracing the steps of our afternoon walk. I ended up searching the park. 

"Hi, Mrs. Hardy!" a chorus called from the pool.

I froze. For the first time, it occurred to me that it wasn't bedtime for anyone else in Carlton, and I was out in public in my pajama bottoms and nursing top, frantically searching for a stuffed animal.

Sam eventually managed to fall asleep without Giraffe, but I didn't. I tossed and turned all night wondering what had happened to it.

As I'd searched for Giraffe around town, I'd noticed missing animal fliers posted on public bulletin boards. And a light went on.

So what if it's not a real animal, I figured, as I posted missing fliers of my own for Sam's beloved Giraffe. In retrospect, it did look like an ad for a missing child, what with a picture of Sam and Giraffe accompanied in big, bold type the words, "Have you seen me?"

OK, a flier might have been a little dramatic, maybe even a little misleading.

When my husband asked me to e-mail him a copy at work, I was touched. That is, I was until I learned he had forwarded my e-mail around the office with this message: "My son lost his stuffed animal. My wife lost her mind."

Mock me if you must, but it worked. Yep, that's right.

Sam was reunited with Giraffe the next afternoon. It seems Giraffe had fallen out of Sam's stroller near city hall, and I got several phone calls alerting me to the fact.

Some people – and you know who you are – suggested the missing giraffe was more a problem for me than Sam. 

There might be a little bit of truth to that, but I have to tell you, when Sam was reunited with Giraffe, his face lit up like I'd never seen before. He stroked Giraffe's ear and gazed adoringly at him all the way home. He clung to Giraffe the rest of the afternoon.

As I watched the look of relief and joy spread across his face, I knew I was committed to being as crazy as it takes to keep that smile on his face.

Nathalie Hardy is a local freelance writer who can be found at random hours, taking notes as she walks Sam in his stroller. She invites your feedback – provided it doesn't include the phrase "unfit mother" – at


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