So well-loved it’s often transformed beyond recognition: tangled shreds of a sickening brownish hue and still adored. Sometimes tragically lost and never found, irreplaceable. But sometimes the attachment is fickle; any soft square of material will do. It can have its own persona, have a cute name, and even take its own adventures.
What is this amorphous being of which I speak?
The blankie. Aaaahhh, the blankie.
The cherished, most comforting “lovey” (psychology parlance for any item a child finds comforting) outside of Mom and Dad, is that bit of softness-to-cheek that children become so attached to. All three of my kids fell for these sniffable, touchable items, a pediatric form of crack. We were gifted a total of four before our boys were born, two pairs. Which was perfect. One and a spare. As with heirs to the throne, it’s simply good sense. So we gave the same to our daughter, who latched on to her duo nearly as quickly as her brothers did.
But the similarity ends there. Kids share a special relationship with their blankies, each as unique as the child herself. Because these stories are part of who my children are…precious, early memories…I have my favorites:
By Any Other Name…
My younger son kept it real: his squares of white satin and blue fluff were, simply, “blankies.” As in, let’s make no mistake about these wonderful things, THAT’S how important they are. Now my older son, creative and sentimental, christened his cherished Taggies “One Boo” and “Two Boo.” Even though identical, he knew exactly which was the first and which was the second, even as a toddler. And why “Boo”? He and Grandpa used to hide behind one or the other while playing “Peek-a-Boo.” My daughter, her loving companion of pilled-up fleece is “BeeBee,” a variation on “Baby.” And don’t even think about calling her blankie the latter. Because, with “BeeBee” firmly in hand, she will strike you down quicker than Avada Kedavra. Now my beloved as a child was called “Diaper.” Because my concrete little mind, much like my younger son’s, didn’t want to confuse the issue. Yes, it really and truly was a diaper. A pure-white cloth Curity diaper (in one corner, printed in blue with a blue square around it, was the name “Curity”). One I most assuredly did a number in (or several) as an infant. And it’s ok, laugh if you want, but these diapers were the bomb in the softness department. If they were good enough to swaddle a baby’s delicate little behind, they certainly were perfect to snuggle with. Best. Blankie. Ever. (Of course, I may be slightly biased…)
My son loved his blankies. Tactile heaven in blue cotton-blend and smooth white satin. One or the other went everywhere with us. Even to the zoo where blankie flew in assault as my younger child chased the peacocks. Or maybe the pursuit was actually in surrender; those peacocks were bigger than my son. His blankies were a constant companion, so it was only a matter of time before one or the other went MIA. Which is, sadly, what happened. One disappeared into thin air at a hotel. The other, we believe, en route from airport to airport shuttle. We went in pursuit, but never found either. My son was Devastated (note the capital “D”). But, fortunately, an promised outing with Mommy to a fabric store proved a cure to his heartbreak. He found a zany print of wavy green and black on white for his next companions. I stitched up several pieces and that was that. He then stored his new “Blankies” in the refrigerator when not in use, keeping them safe and in one place.
Ah, if blankies could talk! Walls may have a lot to say, but the easy transport of a lovey allows a richness of experience no drywalled frame can boast. Like the Great Winter Adventure of my daughter’s BeeBee, a ride a rebellious teen would envy. We had traveled at Christmastime, and my daughter, about age four, scrambled out of our mini van to launch herself into the arms of her grandparents. In the excitement of a decorated house, complete with a nearly life-size nutcracker, it wasn’t until bedtime that my daughter discovered her beloved companion was missing. We searched high and low, through all our luggage and our van, and BeeBee was nowhere to be found. We were certain she (of course BeeBee was a she) was along for the ride to Iowa and were completely puzzled as to how she had vanished into thin air. My daughter, positively heartbroken, sobbed herself to sleep. It was awful.
The next morning my uncle called. After leaving my parents house after supper the evening before, he discovered a frozen sheath of material hanging from his driver’s side rearview mirror. Odd though it was, he realized it was more than a simple bit of random trash (the pink-and-ribbon design clued him in) and called us, wondering if we had been missing something.
Oh, yes. Yes, we had.
Now how did our daughter’s blankie find its way to Uncle P’s van? What follows is pure speculation but here’s what we think happened. It was snowing beautifully when our family arrived at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. In the hubbub of unloading gifts and luggage we think BeeBee, tossed among it all, fell out and landed on the snow-laden driveway. When the snow-removal crew came later in the day, they must have seen BeeBee laying there, and being sensitive souls, recognized her as something special not to be ground to bits in the auger of a snow thrower (Ok, realistically, they probably didn’t want her to get tangled up in their machinery and put a halt to their work.) They then hooked BeeBee out-of-the-way on the closest thing available, which was the rearview mirror on Uncle P’s van. And it being dark when Uncle P left that night, he didn’t see the blankie until he arrived home. Somehow BeeBee didn’t fall onto a random small-town street, clinging to dear life (now I’m personifying her…) as she took a wild ride in searing-cold midwest weather.
Aaaahhh, the blankie. Best friend. Constant companion. Many memories.