Monday, August 10, 2009

Where Dirty Equals Cherished

When I was little I had a very special blankie that went everywhere with me. And really, I shouldn't say 'little' because I slept with the stupid thing until junior high when I abandoned it to attempt coolness. (A status that was never achieved, by the way.) And really, I shouldn't say 'abandoned' because I just stashed it in my closet in case I needed a quick blankie fix on a really bad 8th grade day. And really I shouldn't say 'a bad day' when all the years between 6th and 9th grades were miserable.

But, nevertheless, there was this blankie that made me feel safe and happy no matter what circumstances came my way.

So it's come as no surprise to me that both of my daughters have attached themselves to lovey blankies. I'd find it more surprising, I think, if they hadn't. I'd wonder how they could survive without something to cling to.

In Lauren's case, she has two somethings: purple blankie, and lambie. (I posted this picture on last week's Quick Takes also - it perfectly shows her possessive clutch of loveys.)




Purple blankie was her swaddle blanket from infancy, and lambie - a small stuffed lamb - she got as a gift on her 1st birthday. When she sees one of these items, she hauls it to her face for a deep sniff, and then sets off in search of the other one, yelling out the name of her desire along the way. "Maaaameee?" she calls out when lambie has gone missing, her voice just this side of panic. "Bain-pee, Bain-pee!," she whimpers when purple blankie is the one she seeks.

Wherever we go, it is certain that we will have both of Lauren's loveys with us - in case of injury, boredom, or sleepiness. It used to be the same way with Mia, but now she's happy to leave her blankie in the car if we go into a store. Just knowing it's there waiting for her makes her happy, and she's talked about not wanting to lose her blankie in the store for someone else to take home with them. I don't point out that Mia's blankie has a face only a mother could love; it's beginning to be quite the tattered and stained mess and I'm pretty sure nobody would willingly take it home with them. I am overjoyed that we are able to leave it in the car when we go places so it's humble facade won't be seen by the general public.

Lauren's loveys, on the other hand, are never spared from public view. The blankie, I don't mind so much because it stays relatively clean - we have a couple of years before it acquires the stains that are a trademark for toddler blankies. Plus, (hush, hush) we have a spare. We rotate between the two blankies so they'll hopefully last longer. But the lambie is white and cream. She seeks out saliva and snot and strawberry juice. She mops up spills, tears, and sweat. Oh the shame lambie must feel when she's carted around the grocery store in all her dirty glory. I've reminded myself to wash lambie so many times, but since Lauren can't bear to be parted with her, I never seem to get the job done.

Several days ago, we brought lambie and purple blankie with us to Target. All was going well until Lauren, in typical toddler fashion, began tossing lambie to the ground for fun. Over and over, I picked lambie up and returned her to her owner, only to see her fly past me again as soon as my back was turned. Being a very strict disciplinarian, I of course told her not to throw lambie again or I'd take her away for good. Being a very playful 16 month old, Lauren of course chucked lambie over the edge immediately. I picked up the grubby lambie and tucked her away under Lauren's seat in the cart, out of sight. Game over.

Thankfully, Lauren was distracted at that moment and didn't start screaming. I TOTALLY would have held my ground anyway, but BOY was I glad she didn't make it difficult.

Or, I TOTALLY would have caved, because BOY I hate having attention drawn to me and my red cheeks. (See earlier statement about not achieving coolness. The cool girls have faces that don't explode into flames at a sideways glance.) (Oh, and they're probably cheerleaders, too. Strike two.)

We went on about our shopping business and left the store. We stopped for lunch with my sister-in-law and niece on the way home, and called it a day.

I carried a sleepy Lauren into the house and started getting the girls ready for naptime: stories read, potty breaks and diaper changes, loveys in hand.

Except, one lovey was missing. It all crashed into my memory at once. Lambie...in the bottom of the shopping cart...at Target...across town...at naptime.

DEAR LORD.

It couldn't be helped, Lauren would have to sleep without lambie. To my delight, in her sleepy state she never noticed anything was amiss. I called Target as soon as I could to make sure they had a small stuffed lamb in lost and found - "It's, um, sort of whitish, uh, greyish brown in places." They'd found her, thank goodness. I promised we'd be back soon to retrieve lambie, cringing at what the customer service desk must think about the family who owned such a dirty toy. I could just imagine a well-groomed Target employee holding lambie by the ear, with a finger and a thumb, so as to preserve their skin from coming into unnecessary contact with her filthy fur.

When we walked up to the customer service desk later that afternoon, a young girl smiled as she handed lambie to a deliriously happy Lauren. I thanked her and turned to Lauren, saying "Let's get home and WASH that lambie." I wanted the girl to know that we are a clean family. And I'm sure my overly dramatic stage voice conveyed that rather than how pathetic I am when it comes to other people's opinions.

And actually, I did wash lambie. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she has pale pink feet and ears.

Who knew?

6 comments:

  1. I'm so glad Lauren and Lambie were reunited. Neither of my boys have quite the same attachment to a single particular item (it just sort of rotates from day to day, and is usually what the other has- go figure, right?) but I too have accidentally stranded said lovie and was verbally punished for it by a VERY angry child. Eek.

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  2. Middle school...ugh. And you are right, cool girls don't have faces that burst into flames -- I am afflicted with the same condition as you.

    I had my own "Lambie" (whose name was Lambchops, I was nothing if not creative when I was a girl) and I just found it in my box of stuff from my parent's house -- and it too, is white...with some greyish spots...or maybe grey with some whitish spots :) I'm so glad that Lambie wasn't lost for good!

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  3. Really enjoyed the post! I wonder what it is to make some kids attached to lovies and some kids don't. Faith has one, his name is Tigey Wigey. He's a white tiger, that I have had to reapply his stripes with a black permanent marker. He has been washed a few too many times :) and sewn back together from sharp toddler teeth. We are going to be in Joplin in three days, hopefully we will see you guys!

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  4. Oh my gosh, I can't stop laughing. I know exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) how you must have felt. The first word I learned in Italian was sporco (dirty) when someone's extremely helpful nonna informed me that my daughter's beloved Pink Puppy was no longer especially pink. I'm just glad you got lambie back home (and bathed) in time for bed!

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  5. Riley is showing signs of being attached to her blankie. Luckily, we have two as well. So glad to hear Lambie was rescued!

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  6. What a great post! And you are a totally cool mom for calling Target and going back later that day to get it. That is 100% coolness if you ask me.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?