Losing a Loved Stuffed Toy on Vacation

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To take a break from all the crazy deals and such associated with Black Friday/Cyber Monday/etc, I wanted to share a couple stories that all of us who travel with young kids can probably related to.  Most young kids have a much beloved stuffed animal or blanket.  Lord knows my daughter certainly has one.  If you have seen any trip reports where I travel with her you have seen more than one or two pictures of “green bay-bay”.  Named by her before she could pronounce blanket.  There would be an epic catastrophe if he was ever lost, but yet he is so needed/loved that he can’t be left behind on trips.  He calms her down and helps her sleep.  This may sound crazy if you don’t have kids yet, but trust me it’s true.

Getting sleepy

Green baybay is like a sleeping pill for my kid

I’ve always had that fear that we will leave him (yes, he is so special he has been given a gender) behind in a hotel room, rental car, or airplane.  Thankfully that has never happened, but I know several families that have left their special item behind.  Some never see that item again, but some get lucky.  In fact, this story I saw last year about a boy’s blue monkey that was found on eBay after being lost for three years not only shows how much kids love these lost items, but how special it is when they can be reunited.

This year, another lost toy has made the news when he was not only reunited with his owner, but the hotel that found him went above and beyond.  According to this article, an eight-year-old left his favorite toy giraffe behind at the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton in Florida.  The giraffe was named Joshie and the boy was very upset and having trouble sleeping once he returned home and noticed he was missing.  His parents called the hotel and the toy was located in the hotel laundry (tip – call the second you notice the toy is missing).  To help their son stay calm while awaiting his return, they told him that Joshie was on a second vacation.

The Ritz Carlton not only returned the toy at no charge, but went out of their way to put a series of photos of Joshie on his “second vacation” in a binder to accompany him back to his family to corroborate his dad’s story about his second vacation.  Here are a couple of those photos taken from the linked article above that show the stuffed giraffe on vacation.


Missing Toy Massage

The hotel even made him his own loss prevention badge and included that in the package along with the photos!  I like to seek out hotels that are family friendly, and this gesture has to speak very highly of the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton.  It is the little things that can make traveling with small kids so much easier, and I know I would be eternally grateful if someone did something like this if (god forbid) we ever left C’s blanket behind.

Thanks to MSYgirl on Milepoint for sharing this awesome story!

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  1. Hi MommyPoints – I am a regular reader of your blog and really enjoy your content. So, my wife and I were having a discussion and I was wondering hoping you could weigh in based on your experiences.

    So our debate was over whether it is okay to bring a baby or toddler with you travelling in first or business class. Obviously it is legal, but basically whether it would be impolite because they may cry, etc while on board and potentially ruin the experience for other travelers. I felt that people in economy/economy plus would be more used to/understanding but my wife thinks it would be okay in all cabins.

    For the record, this is purely hypothetical as we don’t have kids yet! We just enjoy random debates 🙂

  2. God help us if KittyCat ever gets lost. Our 3 year old can’t sleep without her. KittyCat gets washed every few months when she turns from white to gray, but we are becoming fearful that in the not-too-distant future she will be too fragile to toss in the laundry.

  3. At the end of our Peru trip this June, my daughter’s backpack was stolen at the baggage carousel in Lima. Any of the other 9 bags we had between the five of us would have been fine, but hers contained her beloved teddy bear and her special quilt.

    It was horrible. To her, Teddy was more than a toy, he was her best friend. She said, between sobs “He was the only one who never got mad at me!”

    We send pleading messages in Spanish to her iTouch, but it was quickly wiped within a few hours. Taking off from Lima to come home knowing Teddy was gone was a low point for our family.

  4. I’m not a parent, but have several friends who are (and have lost favorite toys on the road). This is awesome that they went so far out with the pictures of the bunny! Its one thing just to get it back, but to get the extra level of service with the binder is just incredible.

  5. Simon, right!
    KG, well that is a hot button discussion topic in travel. You will get many different answers. My answer is that it depends, but more or less I didn’t travel with my own infant in any cabin until she and I were ready for it. She was a very difficult infant who cried way more than average for the first year of her life (in part personality, and in part some tummy issues). So, we didn’t travel in any cabin until she was 11 months old. Once we started traveling we were able to keep her happy more often than not, and so I think she would have done fine in any part of the plane. That said, her first premium cabin flight was at 23 months.

    So, I think it just depends on the kid, but if I thought there would be a high probability of a screaming disaster throughout the flight (knowing that can’t always be predicted) then I would hesitate to expose any cabin to that. Unless I had to travel I would wait until I thought we could manage 98% of the issues she may have on-board quickly and effectively. Not sure that helps any, but that’s my best stab at it. 😉

    Scott, I hear ya. Our daughter’s blanket can’t go more than a week without a wash because she literally sucks on it, but it is a bit rough on it. Maybe hand wash KittyCat if you can. Everyone needs like 10 copies of the loved item to switch in and out (tip to new parents – buy multiples if the loved item if that is possible before they stop making them!)

    Anita, oh that is horrible. Heartbreaking!

    Andy, totally agree.

  6. Love the Ritz! They really go above and beyond.

    I can totally relate to losing a favorite toy while on vacation. Years ago when my youngest was a toddler, he brought Spiderman on a cruise. Well, Spidey wanted to swim and the Little One helped him out by tossing him over the balcony. This was the second day of the cruise and as you can imagine, it was a miserable 5 more days.

    After that, we started bringing backups.

  7. One of my friends had an interesting idea (which, unfortunately, I was not able to implement with my daughters). They have 2 boys and when they were babies, his wife let them use a clean (unused) cloth diaper as a security blanket. That way, if they ever lost the “blankie” somewhere, it was easily replaceable. As a side note, we were able to get rid of the pacifier with our first daughter by purposefully “losing” it. She is a fan of Dora and we explained that Swiper probably took it. She understood and we never had to deal with the pacifier again!

  8. Debbie, back-ups are priceless if you can get them. Sorry to hear about Spidey!
    Erik, ha ha. My daughter never got into pacifiers, but there are some great “bye bye pacifier” ploys out there and that is one of them for sure. Swiper no swiping!

  9. My daughter lost one of her bears at a Spring Hill Suites once. We called as soon as we realized it, housekeeping found it and they fedexed it back to us. Of course, in our case we had a second bear because she was so special. My wife and I would trade out bears every month or so, that way they had even wear and tear. Our daughter is older now and that bear is no longer her lovie, but it makes me extra vigilant when we travel to make sure we have the new favorite with us at all times.

  10. So great what he Ritz Carlton did! We stayed at a lower end Hilton once & lost my son’s Piglet. I called several times with promises to check but never got a reply. I was able to find a replacement on eBay. Thankfully, my son is more attached to me, so I can’t ever be “lost,” but it does make my life harder because I can’t really go out – he’ll wait up until I come home.

  11. My nephew has a bear that he loves/loved (he’s 15 so he’s a bit too cool to admit he still loves his bear). Anyway, when he was younger the bear was almost lost on vacation. That was the last vacation he went on and the younger brothers stuffed dog didn’t go on many vacations either.

  12. A few days ago I ran across an Ebay store called “loveyemergency”. Would be a good place to check if you lose a stuffed love one.

    (note: it isn’t my store nor am I affiliated with it in any way. I just thought it was a cool resource.)

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