By the time she was 6 months old, this was the only toy she took with her everywhere she went.
Of course, because Pony was such a well-loved toy, he started to become worn from too many washings. It was torture waiting for Pony to go through, first the washing machine and then the dryer.
One afternoon, when my daughter was almost two years old, we had gone on our weekly shopping trip - Wal-Mart, Kroger, and the Dollar General Store. Our daughter always enjoyed riding in the "buggies," and Pony always had a place of honor, strapped into the shopping cart with her.
As most children do, our daughter wanted everything she could reach from her cart. In Wal-Mart, it was usually crackers or suckers that kept her occupied. In the Kroger store, it was usually grapes or juice boxes that kept her under control.
On this particular day, we were home and had all the shopping bags unpacked, before we learned we had a problem. It was our daughter's naptime, and Pony was no where to be found!
I remember fastening the safety strap around the two of them in Wal-Mart, but I had no recollection of doing the same thing in Kroger. I ran back out to the car and searched everywhere, but no Pony.
Because this was a Saturday, my husband got back in car and drove to town. He searched the parking lots of both stores and checked with the services desks. He left his name and phone number with each store, praying someone would find Pony and turn him in.
Back at home, I was trying without much success to calm my upset child. After what seemed like hours of crying, she finally cried herself to sleep. But a two hour nap didn't solve our problems.
The rest of that fateful Saturday was miserable for all of us. Our daughter would not be consoled and she asked for Pony almost every minute. In a moment of desperation, my husband went back to Wal-Mart with thoughts of buying a replacement for Pony. Unfortunately, no replacement could be found.
Bedtime that night was pure hell, and she finally cried herself to sleep again, refusing to be comforted by me or her daddy.
Then, lo and behold, when we woke up on Sunday morning, there was a message from Kroger's. Someone had found a stuffed animal in a shopping cart in the parking lot and had turned it into the service desk. Praying this was Pony, my husband made another trip into town. By this time, our daughter was awake and asking for her beloved Pony.
Her daddy got back home less than 20 minutes later, proudly holding Pony in his hands. Dirty and battered, but looking little worse for the wear, our daughter was so happy to see Pony. I didn't have the heart to take him away from her, even for a thorough washing.
Needless to say, we put everyone in the family on the lookout for a replacement Pony. Luckily, my mom was able to find an identical Pony at a local yard sale. From that moment on, I knew I had a back-up Pony, and I would interchange these two so that she never had to be without Pony again.
Our daughter was about five years old before she quite sleeping with Pony and taking him everywhere she went. He has been lovingly stored away, waiting the time when he will be loved again. I have plans to have Pony placed in a shadow box to give to my Daughter when her first child is born.
A word to the wise, especially to first time parents; if your child shows an inordinate interest in a certain toy or blanket, try to find a duplicate. This way you can avoid hysterics like we did with the lost pony.