The day started well enough. When Granny arrived, everyone was fed, watered and dressed, my middle child, Hamish, clutching his inseparable companion, Foxy. There was a brief moment when I couldn't find the two older children but they were soon located outside, blocking the drain with pebbles, a favourite pursuit, and Foxy was helping.
We loaded everyone into the car and set off to a smallholding where we were buying some new friends for my mum's lonely bantam "Pearlsie Mittens". As I parked at the gate Rebecca shouted "I can see the farmer" and Hamish burst into an enthusiastic rendition of "Eee iii eee iii oh" and continued singing parts of Old Macdonald for the next twenty minutes. While Granny chose three bantams my children played with the farm dog admired the chickens and bantams and stood their ground with some geese and a very large turkey. With three bantams in the boot we all returned to the car with Hamish singing "with a wack wack here and a wack wack there"!
The new bantams were settled into their run and we headed to the supermarket to buy treats for some friends, who were visiting that afternoon. Mission accomplished we left Granny bantam whispering and returned home for lunch and naps.
I had no sooner closed the front door than I received a text from my friends, cancelling as they were in the middle of a crisis. Chocolate biscuits featured highly on the lunchtime menu but there were no complaints. Tummies full it was time for Hamish's nap but we couldn't find Foxy. My life was suddenly unravelling and a sleepless future beckoned. I searched the house, the car and the garden, eventually phoning Granny who did a similar search. We worked out that the last official sighting of our little Foxy was entering the supermarket which I duly phoned. The woman at customer services remembered us as we'd had to collect Hamish's lost green tractor from her that morning and she confirmed she had a dirty-looking fox matching Foxy's description.
I should explain here that Foxy cosy £5 and came with a stash of chocolate for Hamish's first easter, Seeing his instant attachment to him, I decided to buy a spare in case we lost him, only to discover that he was a limited edition and already cost £15 with no chocolate, But 4 weeks of love had already changed Foxy and my attempts at introducing Fake Foxy were fruitless. Further attempts to reintroduce him were thwarted as Hamish would perform the "ear test" (rubbing and sniffing them) and the Fake would be returned to his drawer.
I put a now exhausted and sobbing Hamish to bed with Fake Foxy who he was now prepared to hold at arms length, and thankfully he eventually fell asleep, but even in his sleep I could see him rubbing Fake Foxy's ears and then pushing him away.
When Hamish woke I bundled three children into the car yet again (no mean feat at 3 months, 2 and 4) and collected Granny from North Berwick. I couldn't face unloading my brood from the car so sent my mum in with Hamish, happily, escaping the sight of Hamish's filthy Foxy, who had started the day at a farm, being returned.
There was a happy reunion at the customer service desk, where Foxy had set up home in a cupboard with some other toys. Unbelievably, as Granny left the store she noticed Hamish was now missing one shoe! She found it at the checkout and was spared a third visit to Lost Property.
Back at the car, the real magic began as Hamish, clutching Foxy, saw Fake Foxy sitting in the car seat where he'd left him. The next few minutes were like those scenes on nature documentaries, where the penguins return from weeks at sea, walk for miles across pack ice in blizzards and manage to find their mate, whereupon they perform an ecstatic dance.
The "two foxes", jumped, danced, embraced and rubbed noses. They haven't left Hamish's side since are are referred to as "Foxies". He's enchanted by the twoness of them and the Foxy love's scaled new heights.
As for me I now have two foxes to keep tabs one a cupboard full of biscuits (that I can't eat as our youngest has a dairy allergy) and a glut of eggs!