Before our first son was born, I read of the benefits for babies and toddlers of having attachments to special toys or blankets which can provide comfort for them when parents aren’t available or sleep won’t come. It seemed like a fine idea and we tried everything we could think of to make it happen, but apparently Chandler didn’t feel the need to be attached to anything besides us.
When our second son came along we tried again, but it didn’t take with Connor, either. By the time our first daughter was born, we’d abandoned the idea altogether. After all, our kids just weren’t among those who formed attachments to inanimate objects, right?
It happened quite by accident. Our friends Margie and Lorene had given us a soft, purple blanket for Addison before she was born, and while it was just one of many that we used with her, it became her very special blankie…or, as she called it, her “night-night.” (A fitting name, that, since she couldn’t go night-night without it.)
The more attached she got, the more I wondered how I could ever have TRIED to do that to the boys. What a hassle to be constantly looking for that worn, ratty blanket! It was so hard to pry out of her chubby little fists that it didn’t get laundered nearly as often as I’d have liked, so it was always a little embarrassing taking it out in public. It was getting quite tattered around the edges and always looked a little grimy. But, it made Addy happy, and that made us happy. (Some of you have been there. You know just what I’m talking about.)
The night-night went everywhere Addison went. EVERYWHERE.
On two different occasions, the night-night accidentally went home with other families after our Wednesday night Bible class. Neither family lived in our town. Yet, both times, late-night phone calls and late night-meetings ensued. (My apologies to those friends, but I like my sleep and it wasn’t going to happen without that precious piece of frayed, smelly cloth in my daughter’s crib.)
Then, finally, the unthinkable happened. The night-night disappeared. It was really, truly lost, and to say it was a nightmare for our whole family would be a gross understatement. While I’m sure it was a matter of nights, it seemed like it took Addy months to get over that silly, icky blanket. One sweet friend even ordered her a brand new one exactly like it (only not so gross), but it met with instant rejection.
Fast forward several months. I was rearranging furniture and sending some old toys packing, and lo and behold, I found the night-night, lovingly stuffed in the microwave of Addy’s toy kitchen. Of course, by then she was over her obsession, so I should have tossed the blanket out, but—Can you keep a secret?—I still have the night-night! (And Addy is NINE years old!)
I know that might sound a little silly. Or a lot silly. (Ridiculous, even?) But though I’ve become pretty ruthless about tossing out what we no longer need, this is one scrap of sentimental clutter I just can’t bear to get rid of.
Because after all, that would be like giving my big girl permission to no longer be my baby.
And I’m just not ready for that.
(This blast from the past was inspired by this post.)