Loveys: Or, Embracing the Security Blanket

 

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I SHALL HAUNT YOUR KIDS’ CHILDHOOD.
It began with a lavender bunny-blanket named, creatively, Bunny. My sister-in-law received him when she was six months old and he’s been a part of the family ever since.

Of course, since my sister-in-law is now a very tough sixteen-year-old, Bunny is entering his Velveteen Rabbit period, to put it mildly. His eyes have been chewed off by the dogs. You have to take it on faith that he was ever purple. He’s more a strand of bunny than the dapper ghosty shape pictured above.

Mostly to punish me for ever making fun of Bunny, I suspect, Maddy gave us two similar creatures when Pippin was born. They were just two among many lovely toys until, Pippin sleeping terribly and leaving us worried as only new parents can worry, we came across The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep. The Great Prophet Harvey Karp (MD!!!!) recommended the use of security blankets for soothing babies over the age of six months, and the little blanket-creatures Maddy gave us fit the bill. Whatever, we figured. Let the kid have a creepy, dingy comfort object when he’s ten, if he’ll just sleep now.

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“Green Rupert”
Lo and behold, we named one Rupert and one Rowdy, and even though one is a blue dog and one is a (vastly superior, apparently) green bear, we tried to gaslight our child into believing they were one entity named Rupert for laundry purposes. (He finally broke it to us that he knew about our sham when he was three.)

So for the last three years, Rupert has been a fixture of our lives. When we traveled without him once, J convinced a toy store owner to stay open an extra fifteen minutes so he could buy Pippin a replacement Rupert. (Unfortunately a bright pink Hello Kitty affair, but apparently acceptable.) First speaking, Pippin called his blanket-friend “Poopert,” and for a time, he went everywhere with us, waking or sleeping. 

Rupert did help Pippin to calm down by himself, but has definitely cost us when we’ve been caught without him at unexpected naps, or now, when Pip will wake us up so we can help him find Rupert, adrift someplace in the bed. Pippin even uses Rupert deliberately in anxious situations, toting him along to his first movie theater foray or in the car during thunderstorms. 

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Carrying on the grand tradition, Scout ceremoniously received Oswald the owl when she was about six months old, and they are now fast friends. (As I type, he’s wrapped in her clutches, streaked with cherry Tylenol and grimy from her passionate smooches.)

After all this lovey business, I am here to say what you should look for should you decide to start your kids on their own blanket-creature addiction:

  • Duplicates. Just buy two identical beasties. It’ll be easier on you, and you won’t end up with a filthy lovey you’re afraid to sneak away long enough to wash.
  • Dark colors. Pastels seem to be really big in this weird, tiny genre of stuffed animals, and the grunge is way more visible.
  • Tags! Very important, especially for Pippin. For ages clutching Rupert’s tags was the most soothing part, weirdly, not the satiny blanket part. A friend added more tags to her son’s favorite blanket.
  • No rattle in its head. Seriously, do you want this baby to sleep or what?
  • An absurd name. This is optional, since Bunny stuck with basics {long may he reign}, but there’s something about tiny lips lisping silly names, or calling the creature by name in conversing with your husband over some bedtime crisis, that really adds a little levity to the heart of darkness that is toddler bedtime. So dig deep for the most regal name you can find. Archibald is worth it.

 

(Why do I have so much to say on this subject? What is my life, even?)

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Author: Katherine Grimm Bowers

Babies. Books. Fledgling housewifery. Once and future librarian. Catholic. Always thinking about chocolate ice cream.

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