Monday, July 25, 2011

MOMday: Comfort Objects

When I was a baby, I had my blankie.  That little, satin edged thing was the world to me.  I took it everywhere and had my favourite corner on it that was better for sniffing at night that any other corner.   As the years wore on, that blankie became a raggedy thing, but it was still my whole world.

Fast forward a few decades and enter: my twins.   I did a great deal of research on comfort objects and, on the day they turned 2 months old, I bought them each a lovey (think stuffed animal head, blanket body).  This was around the time we had separated them into their own cribs.  I wanted them to have something familiar to look at that was theirs alone.  I didn't know if it would become like my blankie was to me all those years ago, but gradually, I saw them take to their loveys more and more.

Doodle would pull hers over her eyes and suck her thumb as she went to sleep.  Buggie would have long, deep conversations with hers.   The loveys became woven into the fabric of our family.   They also became an irremovable fixture of bedtime.  Heaven forbid we should go somewhere and forget the loveys.   They WILL NOT sleep without them.  
Ahh - back in the day when loveys were sleeping toys...

We did have one hard and fast rule, though: the loveys stay in your cribs.   This was designed to a) keep them clean (ish) b) keep them contained so we could always find them and c) make them a special toy - not something to be dragged everywhere.  When they each took to a teeny stuffed animal, we allowed those to be their take anywhere toy...but the loveys lived in their cribs.

It was a rule that worked.   The girlies knew that that little buddy needed to stay in their beds.

And then I went back to work.   We tried to explain to the dayhome lady that the loveys were just for nap time.  Somehow, we are seeing a lot more lovey action happening at the dayhome and they have somehow come to be unseparated from them at anytime.  They now have loveys at our house and loveys at the dayhome.   I need to wrestle them from their hands at mealtimes to keep peanut butter, or ketchup, or mac & cheese off of them.  Instead of washing them once a month or so..I now have to wash them at least once a week.   I also have to wash the ones from the dayhome every weeks too (and you wouldn't believe the state those things are in by the time I get them at the end of the week)
Loveys gripped tightly by both...

I have had to test my weak sewing skills to reattach the head on Buggie's bunny. Those same sewing skills had to be tested to build secondary loveys to leave at the dayhome after forgetting the real loveys there the first day.  I am going to need to wrestle both of them away in the near future to do some preventative maintenance.   Every time they scream bloody murder for their loveys, my hubby cringes and says "It's time to take them away.  They are TOO attached to them."

But I disagree. While I think it would be nice to try to get them back to being a crib only toy, I also see that their lives changed a great deal when I went back to work and if a little mangy lovey will calm them and give them some peace, I have no problem with it.  I also think that a comfort object is important and I remember the attachment to mine quite clearly - even though it's been over 30 years since I said bye-bye to my blankie.

I remember my mother being frustrated at the state of my blankie and asking me if I was too big to carry it around all the time anymore.   I refused this notion and clung tighter.  Then, my mom gave me a very diplomatic suggestion.  Would I be ok if she just cut around my favourite corner and I could have that instead of the whole blanket (which really HAD seen better days).  I thought that sounded fair because I really only loved that corner.   She got out the scissors and cut the satiny corner off the blanket and handed it to me.   It still smelled the same and I happily went on my way.  Soon, I came to realize that the corner wasn't the same without the blanket, but I also saw that I was maybe outgrowing the need for my blanket.

So, when my hubby takes the loveys away with the proclamation that they aren't getting them back, and then caves in a few minutes later and hands it back to the screaming two year old - I remind him that I think they should have their loveys until the day that THEY decide they don't need them anymore - just like me and my blankie.  Sure, the occasional outburst may hurt our ears but, in the end, they will make the decision for themselves and we can move on. They are only this age for a very short time and it's really not worth the fight if it is something that makes them happy and isn't hurting the rest of us (except for our ears...they really can scream, these two...)

How have you dealt with comfort objects for your kids?  Did they take to something special?  When did you know it was time for them to give them up?  When did THEY decide?  Share your experiences in the comments.

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