Friday, November 16, 2012

How to "Make" a Security Blanket

Lovies, Soothers, Minkies, Blankies... whatever they're called, they're wonderful.

I had a blankie growing up and when I was little, my mother was in a skiing accident that had her in and out of the hospital for about a year. I remember holding my blankie close and missing her terribly as I fell asleep.

Georgia's never taken to a pacifier or sucked her thumb, but she's been able to self-soothe for a long time because she has her "minky", a fleecey little security blanket with a monkey's head in the middle. That's a rather stark description but you can see in the picture above, it's very sweet.

Choose wisely. You want to pick something safe, small, and stylish.
  • Safe. Button eyes are precious and a bear wearing rainboots is adorable but choking is not cute. I inspect Georgia's lovey daily, especially where the little bow is sewn to the top of monkey's head.
  • Small. My neice somehow bonded with a huge, heavy lambskin rug and she would dutifully draaaaag that thing around with her. My own blankie was the size of a beach towel and it was often filthy from being dragged along the ground. Georgia's is small enough to be tucked into a purse of pocket.
  • Stylish. If your child really bonds with this item, it's going to show up in a lot of pictures. I've known a couple of kids who bonded with mom's pillow case and toted them around for years. No pillow case is going to live through that with its dignity intact and when you look back on pictures, you probably don't want to reminisce too much about a piece of filthy laundry that often smelled like pee (FACT: Your child's blankie will often smell like pee if it travels with them into toddlerhood.)
It's a major bonus if you select something that you can buy duplicates of. Georgia's minky was a gift, so when she took to it in a powerful way, I spent days tracking down duplicates on Amazon. We keep the spare in a special box and swap it out when it needs a bath.

Get Your Scent All Up On It. I asked my mom how she got her kids to bond with the item she'd pick and she reached over and stuffed that minky in my top. Point taken, mom. For about a week when I was home, I wore her minky in my top, next to my fun bags. When I fed her, I would put the minky next to her face as she nursed. It only took a few days of this to get Georgia hooked.

Use Its Power Wisely. I really only try let Georgia have her minky when it's nap time or bed time. It's been a good signal for her when she is in her car seat. I only put it in with her if it's nap time while she is in the car. Otherwise, I give her a toy that is more stimulating. I'll also give her her minky when we are in chuch during her normal night time. It's a subtle signal to her that it's time to pass out, even when she is nowhere near her crib.

As she gets older, I hope it will be a friend to her at bedtime and when special soothing is needed, but not a constant companion. I don't want to see it lost or damaged but I also don't want it to become too regular, either become essential to living or too ordinary to be special.

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