I’ve noticed something recently. Or rather, I’ve noticed a lack of something recently: the ominpresence of the attachment lovey. For 4 and 3/4 years, we spent an unthinkable amount of time searching for Elijah’s lovey : a pacifier, a bunny, a raggie (first with blue satin trim, then with white satin trim, then back to blue satin again), and finally a purple blankie. He still uses the blankie and the raggies at night, in his big boy bed, where he has finally consented to sleeping under the covers. But there is no longer the persistent need for his lovey during the day, the dragging up and down the stairs of the blankie like our own personal Linas, the immediate commencement of thumb sucking as soon as he touches (or even lays eyes on) one of his loveys.
Of course, I still have many years of lovey-hunting left with Remy Roo, who unabashedly adores her pink blankie (as well as her menagerie of stuffed animals) and will likely depend on its nearness for years to come; she likes to sit with her blankie behind her at meals and surreptitiously sneak little pats. I spent 15 minutes searching for said blanket before bedtime until it was finally located underneath the bed in the guest bedroom. Elijah assured me that he was not responsible for its suspicious location, offering that perhaps Harvey pushed it under there with his snout.
Like many parenting decisions, attachment lovies can be somewhat of a mixed bag. I know of several instances in which an outing was aborted or a road trip delayed when a lovey was left behind at home. And when a lovey needs to go in the washing machine, the parting is as emotional as when an enlisted lover leaving during wartime. But there is something so sweet, so pure about this love that my kids have for their attachment objects. I like to think about them stirring from their REM cycles and finding their loveys and drifting contentedly back to sleep. Sometimes the ongoing dance-and-jibberish routine that is Remy’s life will become quiet for a moment, and I will look our into the living room and find her on the carpet with her blankie wrapped around her, in the classic kid curled up, butt in the air, sleeping position (not sleeping, but resting, recharging). Or as in the pic below, on the carpet with blanket wrapped around her while she has one shoe on and is grasping a witch’s broom.
During our adoption training, several of the modules discussed how certain children who were adopted might have trouble attaching to objects as well as people. This obviously stems from being in an environment where nothing is “mine”-clothes, toys, everything is shared so some kids don’t develop ownership of their belongings. For those of us who have experienced the territorial nature of toddlers (including that of one little girl we had a playdate with who screamed the equivalent of a Native American war cry and tried to bum rush Elijah every time he went near any of her toys), this might not be a bad thing. But it could also look like this: an adopted child who leaves her coat, mittens, hat, skateboard, etc and doesn’t care because she doesn’t have any sense of what is hers. Or a child who is easily persuaded into giving up some of her lunch or her favorite toys for the same reason.
We tried to tempt Remy with a giraffe lovey at first that I had bought in Ethiopia. She liked it, but I guess we don’t pick loveys in the end; they pick us. As soon as Remy was presented with her pink blankie, the giraffe ceased to exist-she only has eyes for pink blankie (I guess I should use caps: Pink Blankie).
I know the need for the lovey will resurface in intensity when Elijah is sick or tired, but for now I am enjoying this glimpse of how he continues to grow and mature all the time (and how I am less likely to trip over a purple blankie that has somehow found its place in the doorway to the kitchen).