9 May 2005
"Oh -- guess what I have in my pocket, Grandma," Ned said as we were standing outside the hotel waiting for Walt to drive up with the car (since it was pouring rain outside). We had just finished our lovely Mother's Day brunch at the Sheraton Four Points hotel.
"What do you have?" she asked
Ned reached into his pocket and pulled it out.
I started laughing. I recognized it instantly.
"It" was Ned's security blanket, or what was left of it, which he carried around with him for years when he was a toddler. I had found it several years ago and showed it to him. He took it home with him and says that it's been in the pocket of his big coat ever since. Even thirty-somethings can use a little bit of security now and then.
Jeri was our first security blanket baby. She had a rayon baby quilt that she bonded with. She carried it everywhere, but really, as she got older, she only cared about one corner of it. She would twirl the corner until it was a thin bit of fabric which she whould then stuck up her nose while she sucked on her two middle fingers. Times when the blanket had to go into the wash (when I couldn't stand the "grey" any longer!) were always very traumatic.
I remember at least one time when she was sick and vomited all over the blanket. If there was ever a time when a girl needs all the security she can get, it's when you're feeling sick, but mean ol' Mom threw the vomit-covered blanket into the washing machine. If we had had a dryer with a window on it, I'm sure she would have sat there watching the blanket turn around and around until it was dry.
Ned's blanket was once a blue thermal blanket which got rattier and rattier the older it got. Finally one day the entire middle section of it fell out, leaving only the binding with strings from the center section hanging from it. But since it was the binding that he wanted, he didn't miss the middle section. The binding continued to get tangled up until it looked pretty much the way it does today.
Our one huge crisis occurred when we were living in Oakland and the "blanket" (for want of a better term) was gone. Just gone. Ned was somewhere between 2 and 3 at the time and was frantic. We searched the house from top to bottom. We searched outside. We searched everywhere and it just was nowhere.
Then we remembered that the kids had all been playing in front of the house earlier in the day and we went next door to the neighbors and asked if maybe they had found this old rag on their front lawn. The husband went to the garbage can, where he had been picking up lawn cuttings and...there it was. Ned's "blanket." Crisis averted.
I suppose it would have been easier to just wean him from the blanket at that time (obviously!), but he needed that security, so I was very glad that we had found it. I don't think we ever lost it again (except for the years it spent in a box here in this house. But now Ned has his security blanket again!)
By the time Paul came along, I knew the pitfalls of having a kid addicted to a blanket, so I set about making sure that he never got bonded to one particular blanket. I had three different blankets that I would rotate so that he never had the same blanket two nights in a row.
This worked well for awhile until he started to get older and we discovered that he had bonded to all three of the blankets! He wouldn't be able to go to sleep unless all three of his security blankets were in the crib with him, and he would toddle around with this huge mountain of "blanket" with him wherever he went. He called them "gakies," (rhymes with "hockey") which has come down as a word synonymous with "blanket" in our family.
To compound the problem, Paul was not the easiest kid to leave with a babysitter (stop laughing, Char!). One time when I left him with his godmother (Char), we decided to try an experiment and I left one of my dresses, which had my scent on it. Paul was able to go to sleep clutching the dress.
Well, after that, he was not only bonded to three blankets but to the dress too! I ended up cutting the dress into big pieces so that I could give him a piece of the dress without his carrying around the whole dress along with the three blankets.
Paul always was an individualist.
Thank God, neither Tom nor David became attached to blankets. Tom had his Winnie the Pooh, but it never reached the same addictive properties that the "gakies" had for the older three kids. There was a point when it was very cute, and then a point when it became a nuisance.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that any of the kids would still be carrying around a security blanket at the age of 36!
PHOTO OF THE DAY