Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blankies Are Key to a Good Night's Sleep

At least in this household anyway, we love our blankies.  Jac and Mia have had their blankets since birth.  With Jac it was a learning curve on my part, I didn't realize that you were supposed to choose the blanket for them and then let them bond with it.  I thought that he would become attached to one of the many blankets that I would put in his crib.  See, I was constantly washing his blankets, not realizing that a blankie also needs some seasoning, a bit of a smell in order to work its magic. 

I believe some wise mommy told me this and I stopped washing it (as frequently) and gave him one.  He had probably 30 blankets, I kid you not, from the luxe to the cotton he had it all and I wanted to get as much use out of all of them before he grew up!  Of course one child does not need that many blankets and I should have taken them back to the store.  After Jac gave up thumb sucking, right around the time he had is third or fourth severe ear infection he picked up the blanket and hasn't set it down since.

When he was around 15 months we realized that he wanted a specific part of his blanket.  He would wake often in the middle of the night and search and search with eyes closed, wimpering for this specific part of his blanket.  We finally realized that he was looking for the tag and that until he found the tag he could not possibly go back to sleep.  I then figured out that if I found the tag for him and waved it in front of his face and hands he would grab on like a man grabbing onto the side of the cliff to save himself, he really needed that tag.

This is a great example of how he sleeps, blankie is normally right on top.

Fast forward three years and you have a boy with a really gross blanket and a tag that is literally falling off from use.  Exhibit A shows that the tag may or may not make much longer.  What do I do?  Do I sew it back on when it falls off?  Should I preclude having this massive man hunt for a missing tag and go ahead and sew it on more securely now?  What if the next time I wash it, horror of horrors and the tag gets eaten by the washing machine? 

So I decided to go straight to the source, I asked Jac.

"What are we going to do when that tag falls off."  I asked it nonchalantly trying to keep him from seeing the wild look in my eyes.  I mean this boy didn't sleep through the night until he was (I could insert late teens here but he is only four, it just feels like late teens) I can't even say it without being embarrassed.  I take full responsibility for the sleep habits of my son, but needless to say we need that blanket!

In a very practical tone sounding somewhat like, duh mom, "We'll get a new blanket."

Hmm, not what I was expecting.  "It won't look the same and it won't smell the same," I informed him.

He then proceeds to question me about the origins of the blanket, who bought it, where did it come from, etc.  I give him the lowdown that the blanket would definitely not be the same; as Aunt Daphne bought it at TJ Maxx and we would never be able to find the same one.

He contemplates this. 

"We can get a different one as long as it has a tag."

At first I start to fall for this logic.  It may be a couple of nights before it gets the appropriate smell, but surely it won't take long.  Then we can be back in tag heaven and not have anything to worry about.  Except then I think, well, in another four years when he is eight will we be buying another blanket?  Every four years, for who knows how long will we need to replace a blanket for Jac to get to sleep and soothe himself in the middle of the night?  How long will this go on, do I care, should I care? 

Now, Mia on the other hand announced to me today after I asked if I could wash her blanket, "Mommy, I don't need my blanket."

The shock that went past my face must have been extraordinary.  Literally, she just through an enormous fit one week ago because it had to be washed.  She has also had her blanket from birth.  Her Aunt Misty gaves us the fluffiest, silkiest blanket ever.  I knew that I needed to have it with her at all times when she was an infant for her to bond with it.  Well, bond with it she did.
--At 12 months she walked to the blanket, not me.

--At 15 months she had a sign for blanket, she couldn't say blanket yet but I gave her sign because she was constantly searching for and asking for it.  Here is a picture of her signing "blankie" and then I am sure there was a search and now you see her coming down the hall with it all smiles.  (Look at those legs!)

--At two we had to take it EVERYWHERE.  Grocery stores, malls, mommy and me classes, everywhere.

--At two and half it became not only her lovely, but her toy when her and Jac used them to play ghost, as evidenced by this post.

--At three, just this fall she threw up on the blankie.  It had to be washed, it was disgusting.  She stood up in the kitchen waiting for the blanket to be cleaned until 1:00 before she would lay down and go to sleep.  No tears, just patiently waiting.

--At three and half I show her playing doctor with Jac and the blanket is the stretcher in this post.

Here is a picture of Mia snuggling up with it after a long day at the lake, sounds cozy doesn't it?  Yuk!

Mia has loved her blanket even more than Jac if possible, Exhibit B shows a huge tear in the satin edge, this is the part that she rubs while sucking her thumb and going to sleep.  And this blanket is no longer a bright pretty  pink, it is a dull gray with unknown stains all over.

And now today, she announces, "sometimes I don't need it."  Like its no big thing.  The proof is in the pudding because not two minutes later I was decorating some Valentines at the table with Jac and she was standing beside me on our push toy school bus.  (I realize that this is highly dangerous and for whatever reason didn't notice that she had grown five inches, I was concentrating on Valentines.)  Well, of course the school bus moves, she flies into the air and comes down hard on her rear.  She cried, I held her. But blankie was in the washer, she didn't even ask for it.  Amazing.

Blankie is clean and dry now, and just as she is starting to get sleepy she comes looking for it.  I guess when she says that "sometimes she doesn't need it" she is being literal.  There are specific moments throughout the day when she doesn't need it.  But now is not one of them.

My advice for all new parents, let your child bond with a blanket.  It can do wonders at 2am when you really need some sleep.  But when you go to choose one, buy two.  That way you have a backup.


Daphne said...

Wow! Those blankets were very pretty in the beginning. Who knew the colors were so vivid. I just want to note that as an aunt, sometimes it is the best medicine when mommy and daddy are away and you are stuck with aunt daphne a blanket may just get you through. Yeah for the blankie!

Kelli said...

Amen to that! We lost Tia's Lovey Bear a couple of years ago at a hotel and our world almost came carshing down upon us. Countless hours on Ebay and 50 dollars later I finally found another one and she finally slept again. Then I spent another 2 weeks searching Ebay yet again for a back up. We're not going to do that again!

Dawn said...

I really need to do some reconnaisance now, before it is too late. I laugh about it, but things will get quite serious if mommy loses too many night's sleep.

Anonymous said...

I still have part of my blanket and I am 37. it's packed away somewhere.