Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Book Crisis

Sometimes when Rachel goes potty I read her stories to keep her entertained until she's finished her business, otherwise her short attention span takes over and she does wild and crazy things like standing up midstream. Stories are an excellent diversion.

While Rachel was working on some hefty business early this evening I was sitting with her and absentmindedly began reciting Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?.*

I know that book so well I can read it without looking at it. I even know the "dibble" to "dopp" ratio that the sound of the rain makes. I'm that good.

"Oh, the wonderful sounds Mr. Brown can do," I began, "He can sound like a cow. He can go..."

"MOO! MOO!" Rachel chimed in.

"He can sound like a bee! Mr. Brown can..."

"NO!" Rachel said, "Moo Moo Boo! Boo, mama."

"Alright, I'll go get the book. You just sit here. Don't move. I'll be right back."

And off I went to find the "Moo Moo Boo."

Usually our books are in the book bin because that's where they go. But "Moo Moo Boo" wasn't there. I checked the couches next. Often when books aren't in the book bin it's because they were being read on one of our many couches and chairs. I checked all eleven of the couches and chairs in our living areas. I found a lot of other books, but no "Moo Moo Boo." I figured it was just somewhere else and I'd find it later.

"I can't find Mr. Brown Can Moo," I told Rachel, "We'll read it later."

"No." Rachel said, "Moo Moo Boo!"

"Yeah, well, that's too bad because I can't find it. So we'll read it later. Finish up going potty and we'll choose a different story."

"Moo Moo Boo," Rachel insisted, starting to get off the potty in an I'll-just-do-it-myself fashion.

"No, no! Sit down. I'll go look again. You stay here and finish. Don't move."

I went out to look again. The last logical place to check is the diaper bag. Sometimes things get packed for an excursion and never get unpacked.

I went to the diaper bag, unzipped it, and looked inside. It was virtually empty: baby wipes, a pair of underwear, a pair of pants, and a belly dancing scarf (because you never know when you'll need one of those).

I began to panic.

"Where's Mr. Brown Can Moo!?" I asked Andrew. He could tell I was on the verge of hysteria so instead of saying something like, "I don't know. We'll find it later," he jumped up and started helping me find it.

He checked all the logical places I had just looked and then started helping me think of the illogical places it could be. Dropped inside the AC unit in the playroom, in one of Rachel's drawers, in the toy box. We looked everywhere. It was no where.

I was almost crying now.

"We can buy a new copy," Andrew said when I tried to explain to him how important, how vital that book is to my existence as a mother.

"Oh, when?" I countered, "IN TWO YEARS!!? I can't go for two years without that book! I need that book!"

Yes, we are stuck in the Middle East where the postal system is severely sub par. And we lost our toddler's favorite book. Ordering a new copy and getting that new copy here would be like finding a million dollars. Not going to happen.

"Okay, think!" I demanded, "Where were we the last time we had the book...we were at's office! Oh, great! We're doomed, I tell you! Doomed, doomed, doomed!"

Perhaps I was overreacting. However, when I realized that the last place we had Mr. Brown Can Moo! was at the doctor's office I realized that we had also brought I Love Trains along. And I couldn't find that, either.

I Love Trains is Rachel's other favorite book (which, incidentally, I can also recite by heart). So if we can't find "Moo Moo Boo" we pull out "Choo Choo Boo" and everything is still okay because they're both favorites. And now we had neither.

It was 8:00 PM and I thought the chances of the doctor's office being open were pretty slim, but I phoned the doctor's office, anyway. Luckily we live in the Middle East and the clinic was still open at 8:00 PM because Arabs never sleep so I was able to talk to someone who informed me that she hadn't seen anything like that.

I was praying, almost begging, that the books would appear out of thin air right in front of my face. Just one small miracle...please! Oh, please, oh, please help me find that book!

And then, it hit me. They were in the old diaper bag. We had switched diaper bags when we came home from the doctor's office because it was there we realized that our old diaper bag was falling apart so badly it was embarassing.

I ran over to the "closet," threw open the doors, and yanked the diaper bag out. There inside, almost glowing with heavenly light, were "Moo Moo Boo" and "Choo Choo Boo." Thank you, thank you, thank you! Alhamdullah! I sighed a big sigh of relief and ran into the bathroom, where Andrew was trying to entertain Rachel, who was still on the potty but whose mind was entirely too much on why I wasn't bringing her the "Moo Moo Boo."

"LOOK!" I said and held up Mr. Brown Can Moo.

"MOO! MOO!" squealed Rachel, at once greedily and lovingly reaching her arms out to take it.

I held up I Love Trains.

"Choo! Choo!" she shrieked, twice as happy as before.

And that is why I can't live without those books. They are crucial to my existence as a mother. They stop tempers mid-tantrum. They block boredom from setting in. Sometimes they even take naps with Rachel. I need those books. I'm so glad I have them!

*Our book is shorter than this! We don't have "sizzle, sizzle" or the goldfish kiss. We may be investing in the longer version in the future.


  1. You are amazingly lucky to have Andrew for a husband. Not only does he NOTICE when you are in melt-down, but he leaves his own interests to help! Truly amazing! Alhamdullah about that, too.

  2. So cute that Rachel loves books so much! Sounds like a bookworm in the making...

    Mr. Brown Can Moo was always one of my favorites as a child too!

  3. Believe it or not, my (one-year-old) niece sat still almost all the way through "Hop on Pop" last time I was babysitting her. I'd never have guessed. I expected her to last about 3 pages. I managed to read it all the way through before she really got restless. :)

  4. I'm glad to hear that we're not the only ones with a library in our bathroom! Since Emmy has her own bathroom, we leave her favorite books and toys in there so it can be extra motivation to sit on the potty. So funny! (And potty training is going great, by the way!)

  5. Obviously, we need to find you more copies of the tantrum intervention books. Rosie's favorite was Brown Bear Brown Bear and Andrew's was Chicka-Boom.