I replaced Bébé with another exactly the same doll and pretended it was the lost one, then felt guilty for being dishonest. In any case La Fille is not fooled even though I used the sheep and orphan lamb trick and dressed Bébé 2 in Bébé 1's tatty old clothes. I also replaced the two rabbits but she sussed them as imposters at once.
I was pleased about Bébé. This is the absolute favourite of the missing toys, or so I thought. The 'miraculous return' took place while La Fille was at the nursery. I was punch pleased all the way there, marched jauntily through the door and was about to sweep her up with a "Hey, guess who turned up?" when one of the staff asked: "Did anything happen while she was away?" Apparently she had cried. Now La Fille is not a crybaby. She didn't cry even on the first day I left her at the creche; nor when another child shoved her over and she cracked her head on a table, and not even when she fell flat on her face in the snow when skiing. She cries, but mostly when she cannot get her own way or her father goes "Arret" in an ever-so slightly raised voice. More guilt.
We arrive back home and La Fille insists she did not cry, then announces she doesn't want to take Bébé to bed because she only loves her "a bit" and not "a lot". I am crushed but the Frenchman morphs into a child psychologist. "She thought Bébé was lost and accepted it and grieved. Now Bébé has apparently come back and she's a bit confused," he says. I say: "I'm just doing my best."
Now I'm calling time, what Americans call 'closure', on the whole business. In future the dolls and toys are treated like Royal princes...they don't travel anywhere together.
The move to France was only supposed to be for a couple of years, not forever. Then I met The Frenchman. Then I had La Fille. Now there's no way back. But La Fille, to whom a horse is a cheval and a frog is just pond life is still half English. So before the Gallic nation claims her for its own, sprinkles her with garlic, sautés her and swallows her up whole we make regular escapes on the Eurostar. And we have discovered the grass is various shades of green either side of the Channel.