Tomorrow is Babyboy’s first official day of preschool. It’s the same classroom where he spent four mornings a week this summer, in the town’s extended year program for special-ed students, but it feels so much more official, as it’ll be a FULL school day, five days a week, for the whole year. He has to bring his LUNCH.

This threw us for a bit of a loop. We had (and have) no idea how to pack a lunch for this kid. One that doesn’t include peanut or any nut products whatsoever. That isn’t refrigerated or reheated. That he’ll actually maybe eat… Very few options. I ended up making him a BUTTER and jelly sandwich. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

So tomorrow is the big first full day, and of course, as luck would have it, his favorite lovey, “Kitty” has disappeared. It’s this gray and white plush cat stuffed animal, a gift from Auntie. He adores Kitty, though he’s not totally inseparable from her; he just really has to have Kitty at certain times: bedtime and wakeup time. He’s got to be cuddling her when his eyes close, and holding her close/ dragging her around when he’s in grouchy-drinking-milk-and-watching-cartoons mode. Or if he’s otherwise upset, our of sorts, sleepy or angry. Kitty’s a key player in our house.

And she’s totally missing.

It’s just the most bizarre thing. She was there this morning, and I remember Babyboy making Kitty give kisses, and he made her kiss Babgirl’s favorite Lovey kitty, and I even said, “Awww how cute, Kitties are kissing!”

Kitty didn’t leave the house with us. We’re pretty sure she didn’t end up in the trash. We’ve searched EVERYWHERE multiple times since we got home and Babyboy started asking, “Where’s Kitty? Where’s Kitty?”

Hubby and I have been all over the house, on a hunt. We’ve been under beds with a flashlight, rooting through all the closets, the cupboards, the fridge and freezer, toy chests, laundry piles, everywhere.

Kitty is M.I.A.

Hubby managed to calm Babyboy’s bedtime panic, and he was able to substitute in a secondary favorite plush creature, for hugging purposes. But as soon as the kids were asleep, and we had finished our tenth and eleventh searches of the house, we got online and started searching for Replacement Kitty.

We probably should have had one at the ready when it became obvious Kitty was a favorite. At any rate, several we’ve now got one Aurora Miyoni Grey Lifelike Tabby on 2-day delivery from Amazon.com.

We probably should have ordered the Ty Classic Pink Kitty as well, since that’s Babygirl’s favorite lovey..

Why the thing for kitty loveys? Well, we do have two large kid-friendly felines loping about and plopping themselves down in the midst of the play and playthings, enduring rough hugs and pull-pats and all sorts of warmhearted abuse at the hands of these kids. Kitty actually looks just like Leo, our grey and white tuxedo cat. Babyboy often props Kitty up next to Leo when he’s napping, to give him company. He makes Kitty talk to him, Meow, meow, Hi Leo, Meow. It’s so darned cute.

We’re hoping Babyboy’s morning goes OK, in spite of a missing Lovey, since it’s his first full day of school. It’s a different mix of kids, only eight in the class though, and some of the same staff from the summer. We’re hoping it goes well… And that he eats some of this lunch. (BUTTER and jelly? Who does that? Well, it’s kind of like breakfast toast…)

We’ve really noticed a difference in him, since he did the school’s special ed summer program. He’s become much more comfortable in groups. We took the kids to the zoo a few weeks ago, and there was a really great playground in the middle of the zoo, but it was soooo full of humanity… Exactly the kind of noise and action that typically sends Babyboy running to a quiet corner, down on the ground with a small toy, back to the action, ignoring it to make it go away. We hesitated.

But he did great, he spent quite a bit of time there, a little exploring monkey. Just watching him run, climb and tumble in the midst of all the kid craziness, staying with it, and seemingly enjoying himself, was amazing.

We hope for more progress like that over the year. Hoping the Kitty debacle isn’t a setback. Hopefully we’re more stressed about missing Kitty than he is!