We are now on Monkey Two.
Monkey One was lost somewhere on Holt beach when he was just eighteen months old. I'd like to think he was found and taken to a loving home but rather suspect he is swirling around in the North Sea, lost in a gigantic, salty washing machine.
It took a few days for Isla to come to terms with the new monkey but 'Bobo' is now her firm favourite, and Monkey Three is already in situ as Bobo's brother, should Bobo meet the same fate as his predecessor. We have had a few near misses but he is definitely the monkey who has nine lives.
There was the time when Isla dropped him out of her pushchair while out shopping. We retraced our steps from the previous hour and found him perched on top of the railings outside the library patiently waiting for our return. On another shopping trip he again disappeared to be found an hour later perched up against a sandwich board. His most adventurous trip was when we left him on the train. I immediately phoned Southeastern and an extremely kind operator got in touch with Ashford International where the train was terminating. Two minutes later she was on the phone telling me that a man was bringing monkey back on the train to Tonbridge and could I meet him on the 8.01 pm. And sure enough, out of his breast pocket came Monkey - if only they always offered such good customer service. And his closest shave was just recently at Longleat Safari Park where he was left to the lions until a safari jeep came racing up behind us asking if we were missing a monkey.
Today we searched the whole house for him but he was nowhere to be found (later discovered buried in the washing basket) and Isla was quite happy to leave home without him, taking Bobo's brother as a compliant substitute who was swiftly forgotten about once we arrived at Livi's party. Could it be that now 3 years is approaching that Monkey is slowly being abandoned? I'm not sure who will feel the greater loss, me or Isla, so I have had his photo taken and emblazoned on a t-shirt for her (me) to keep forever. For surely the surrender of a comfort toy is yet another chapter passed. The bottles have gone, the rubber band hands, the nappies and soon the most beloved creature of her first two years as my little girl gets bigger.