Like Linus of Peanuts with his omnipresent security blanket, many kids have "lovies," or items that they use to comfort and soothe themselves at bedtime or any time they need some extra security. But what do you do with these bits of blanket or old stuffed toys when the kid grows out of them? What then?
For my daughter, the Chosen One was a stuffed mouse called Bibi. For six full years, Lucy literally (and I mean literally) could not sleep without Bibi. He was in her tiny grip at every nap and bedtime. (Indeed, many a night we would frantically search the house looking for this inanimate ragged rodent so that Lucy could fall asleep). As the years wore on Bibi became frayed and faded. And despite frequent washings, he developed a special kind of funky smell that grossed us out, but my daughter actually relished. We wondered if she would ever grow out of Bibi, but we never pressured her to.
Then one day she did. Cold turkey. She announced "I don't need Bibi anymore." And I actually second-guessed her pronouncement. "Are you sure, honey?" I gasped in disbelief, predicting sleepless nights ahead. But for Lucy there was no turning back. And I found myself strangely bereft. This little dude had been with my firstborn through a thousand bedtimes, a dozen road and plane trips. He was her special friend during times when she missed me or felt nervous or unsure. I spent 6 years keeping neurotic maternal tabs on this grey rag ("Do you have Bibi?" "Where is Bibi?" "Did we pack Bibi?"). And now he was just another discarded toy?
After a week I realized that Lucy's abrupt pronouncement was indeed final. I panicked that Bibi would be misplaced and ultimately forgotten or trashed. After all, how many adults can locate their childhood lovies?
Then it hit me. Why do we hang diplomas and class pictures but not coveted childhood toys? So, I placed Bibi in a frame "a basic "shadow box") above Lucy's bed (she agreed to this, thought perhaps more for my benefit than for hers). There Bibi hangs, like a ragdoll guardian; a memory of those thousands nights.
RIP little dude.
If you had a lovey as a child, do you know where it is today? Gone forever? Stashed in a box in an attic somewhere?
(Image: Catrin Morris)