Our youngest two children are both autistic. Like any other child, they have their special toy that many refer to as a lovey. All four our children have had a lovies (and all still have theirs). Though the love for these dolls is shared by all our children, the loss of a lovie is amplified by ten for our autistic children.
Tonight, Bean lost her lovie while we were out shopping. I had no clue that she had even taken her doll Cutie out of the van when we had gone into Target to shop. So you can imagine the terror that unfolded when we got to grandma’s and Cutie was nowhere to be found!
We tore my van apart looking for her. I had retraced the few steps we had taken while out. Nothing. Our front yard looked liked a toy eviction had happened and that was nothing compared to the sheer depression our daughter felt. Daddy and I looked all over town, in shopping carts, trash cans, parking lots, and any where we could think for two whole hours.
During this time, I did go inside Target and ask the nice gal at the returns desk had “anyone found a little stuff dog/doll/you know stuff animal dressed in pajamas?” She quickly looked through and saw no one had turned any dolls in. I said thank you and ran out the door to begin the two-hour search.
Over the next two hours, my mother in law also called up to check. No Cutie. Then, my husband went back to check and I asked him to please leave a name and phone number in case they somehow found it.
I went back to my mother in laws house to pick up all the kids and take them home to bed. It was 9:30 at night, and they have one more day of school tomorrow. I explained to my daughter I would go everywhere again in the morning, that some one will find her.
We got her home and into bed, but she was extremely distraught. She did eventually fall asleep. Then, a miracle happened!
Cutie was at Target!!
I will tell you first and foremost, we already love our Target. They are the most friendly, clean, awesome Target in all of North America. (I may be a little biased, but I can’t be too far off!). My husband left his phone downstairs, and when he went down at 10:45, he had a few missed calls from Target!
That’s right, not only did they find Cutie, she called several times trying to get my husband to answer!
I went racing up to Target. I am pretty sure I wasn’t doing the speed limit, but I would have told an officer to follow me up to get the dog, lol! Any ways, when I got there, I went straight to her looking probably just like my daughter would have and asked “you found the puppy?”
Both ladies at the returns desk had the hugest smiles on their faces and said yes! Not only did the gal I spoke to first have the doll, she went searching for Cutie!! She found her on top of a shipper (I assume someone saw Cutie and picked her off the ground).
Emotion may sometimes be difficult for me to properly show, but I immediately asked her if I could hug her! She did give me a huge hug (wouldn’t that have been awkward if she said no…lol). They were all so happy to have found her for us.
I explained right away that our daughter is autistic, so this wasn’t just any lovie (not downing anyone’s lovies though, your lovie is awesome!). Our Bean has around 60 or so outfits that I bought off of Ebay just so Cutie could have clothes. This meant the world to us.
Our Target is one of the very few places I can take both of our autistic children into without fear of sensory overload. They give free fruit to kids 12 and under, the lighting is bright, everything is organized, the staff is amazing (seriously), and I could go on. This was just the icing on the cake! Thank you guys at Target for seriously making our life easier!!
Cutie has a new Name Tag ( It’s a Tile!)
My husband works at an amazing car dealership near us. They have recently started incorporating tiles as a part of the package in new cars (neat, huh?). After this extremely stressful, but very rewarding day, we decided that Cutie should be the new owner of my tile. I would much rather lose my keys than ever lose Cutie again!
If you haven’t heard of Tile before now, I’ll give you the quick synopsis. Tile is basically your very own GPS search party! It is a little square device that you can attach to keys, phones, Cuties, and what ever else you may want to find if lost. It has an awesome app that helps locate it, and even ring the device so you can hear its location.
At the End of the Day
Our daughter has Cutie because we have Target! Our daughter will always have Cutie, because we found Tile! As the song goes, Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride. I just plan on trying to make it a tiny less bumpy when it comes to Bean and her favorite friend Cutie!
Alicia Trautwein is an autism parenting coach living in Missouri. She is the creator behind The Mom Kind, a website dedicated to parenting neurodiverse families. She is one of the head creators behind the #WeLoeveMoms campaign and is also featured in the “Amazing Moms” coffee table book by Hogan Hilling & Dr. Elise Ho. She shares her expertise along with her experience in parenting children, both with and without autism.