I never had a security blanket or item. If I did, it was so long ago that I don’t remember. I do remember my younger sister having her Blankie, and let me tell you, the drama created by this Blankie was off the hook. Blankie was a ratty brown blanket– he may have been handmade, and I’m pretty sure he was a hand-me-down– and do you notice how I’m referring to him as a ‘he’? As a PERSON? With FEELINGS? That should tell you the effect that this particular glorified piece of cotton had on my entire family growing up.
My sister took Blankie EVERYWHERE. When she went to preschool, my mom was able to convince her to leave him behind by promising that he’d be in the car when she got out. And she would run right past my Mom’s waiting arms to make sure that Blankie was still in the backseat.
To wash Blankie, my mom would have to negotiate with her sober, stern three year old, and then my sister would pull up a chair and watch Blankie tumble around the dryer, waiting for him to come out.
Like most Blankie’s, Blankie had a special corner. There was one corner where the seams had ripped out, creating a little loop where my sister could put her hand through– giving her the ability to both carry Blankie AND suck on her fingers at the same time.
And no, I’m not shitting you. She still has Blankie.
When I was pregnant, that was something I put my foot down on– my child was not having a security blanket. It’s such a pain to ‘break’ them of it, what happens if we lose it, bla bla bla.
But then we actually had the baby, and Maren was all, “Sup guys? Yeah, so, like, thanks for spending the last week trying to push me out– oh, are you TIRED? Because I am READY TO PARTAY!”
After about a week of that, I was ready to go back on anything I’d ever said about anything, just to get her to sleep. Luckily, before I got to the whole ‘deny your father and renounce your name’ bit, Mitch gave Maren Mr. Giraffe, and life was good.
Mr. Giraffe was basically a small blanket with a giraffe head sewn on it, sold to us for $8 at Target. I am referring to Mr. Giraffe in the past tense because he has now passed on. I like to think that he joined the animal-head circus, and is now entertaining crowds by lying still, being floppy, and smelling like baby, which are his three best talents.
We think we left Mr. Giraffe at a restaurant– even though we are both sure that he was in the car when we went home. Who knows.
We’d been substituting Mr. Giraffe for Mr. Frog, who usually keeps Maren company at daycare. But she has figured out now that she’s seeing an awful lot of Mr. Frog lately. And we’ve been getting nervous about what happens on Monday– when we have to take Mr. Frog back to daycare. Will we ALWAYS remember to bring him home with us?
Plus, Maren was growing more and more suspicious. When I’d hand her Mr. Frog at night time, she would hand him right back to me, and then hold out her other hand. As if to say, “Hey man, what the hell? Trying to pull a fast one over on me?”
So today I finally broke the news to Maren. Mr. Giraffe is no longer with us.
I loaded her up (sans Mr. Frog) and took her to Target, where I was hoping she would see a glorious sight: A whole rack FULL of other Mr. Giraffes. Alas, as happens only too often, the retail gods let us down once again. Mr. Giraffe was CLEARLY last season. Maren now had her choice of a teddy bear or a monkey.
I chose the bear and handed it to her. She instantly threw it out of the cart and held her other hand out. I gave her the monkey, she threw him out and hissed at me. HISSED.
“You get me my Mr. Giraffe.” Her eyes said, “Or THINGS. COULD. GET. UGLY.”
Desperately, I started pushing the cart along the end caps, hoping that Mr. Giraffe would be on clearance. Nothing. By the time we made another loop, Maren turned on the Baby Siren, as if she was calling all the other Babies to help her squelch the injustic that she was currently suffering.
“Mr. Giraffe!” Her wail seemed to say. “Viva le Monsier Giraffe!”
On our second pass, I skidded to a halt. There was still no Mr. Giraffe– but there was a flower blankie that said “Little Love” on it– my nickname for Maren. It was fate.
I handed her the flower and she clutched it to her chest. She restarted sucking on her pacifier, so I knew that negotiations were over.
She sucked on Mr. Flower the whole way home, rubbed him on her head, and wiped her nose on him, making sure he’d have the right smell. We pulled into the parking lot at about ten minutes before naptime, and I was feeling pretty smug. With all due respect for the dead, I knew that Maren would soon forget about Mr. Giraffe and naptime could go back to being a mildly severe battle, rather than a massacre.
I unhooked the carseat and lifted her out, talking softly to start to wind her down for nap time, when she put her arms up over her head and tossed Mr. Flower with all her might, right into a puddle. And then WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAILED.
So then I had to drag my wailing baby while she struggled against me to grab the sopping wet, muddy Mr. Flower. By the time I got to the door, I may or may not have been basically holding her by the scruff of her neck while I tried to get the keys out.
We made it up the stairs and I unleashed the Hound. She ran instantly to Mr. Frog and started chewing on him, I’m sure planning to launch a mutiny against that wretched lady who tried to replace Mr. Giraffe with a FLOWER.
Being a mom is weird.