This is Pepper.
He is a brown Jelly Cat rabbit belonging to my two-year-old son and over the past 12 hours he has caused us untold pain.
Yes, Pepper got lost. Alfie left him somewhere on a shopping trip with his grandparents. I only noticed too late… at bedtime… and then the crying began. Choking, desolate sobs and a pillow drenched in tears.
He was still crying more than an hour later when I returned from a futile mission in the car to search the streets for Pepper.
I climbed into his cot and held him close but nothing I could say would stop tears rolling down his hot pudgy cheeks. His older brother Hector’s rabbit, also called Pepper co-incidently, didn’t cut it and neither did his younger brother Horatio’s elephant.
We even have a spare Pepper, washed copious times to give it the same level of “distress” but Alfie’s reaction to the “fake” Pepper was visceral.
“Peeeeh Peeeeerrr,” he wailed into the darkness. “Want my Peeeh Peeeeerrrrr.”
As I said to my husband, when this kind of thing happens it really put all our Brexit worries into perspective…
We concluded, after interviewing both grandparents and Alfie himself (futile, obviously) that the last sighting of Pepper was in the hairdressers, when Alfie put him down to play with a toy digger.
A late night text message exchange with the hairdresser revealed, however, that she hadn’t seen anyone matching Pepper’s description as she tidied up. Ohgodohgodohgod.
Why haven’t we put some kind of chip in him? Why was he even allowed to leave the house?
I didn’t hold out much hope for Pepper having made it out of the hairdressers. Alfie is very forgetful and easily distracted.
Clearly, though, he isn’t quite the muppet we thought he was. This morning I called the charity shop Alfie went to after the hairdressers and a rabbit matching Pepper’s description was waiting patiently behind the till.
I cried, and then called my husband, who proceeded to cry too. This is how pathetic we’ve become since having children.
And so I went to collect him and brought him safely home to Alfie. This video clip says it all.
Pepper you bastard, I tell you this, you’re never leaving the house again.