J just can’t shake that monkey off his back. For the second time this week, I found his blue blanket stuffed under the lump of covers in his bed. A while ago, J gave up his dependency on his security blanket. It was the last vestige of his toddler years along with sucking on his two middle fingers. The whining? Another blog for another day. However, we thought he’d kicked the habit. His two blue blankets, outlined in satin ribbon, resided in a mini-closet above his bed inside the wall, and I don’t think he ever suspected they were still there. Since they were such a sweet part of his childhood, it seemed evil to throw them out or give them away.
I remember my own blanket which I used and kept in my bed until about his age. I cannot say I was dependent on it. Without it, I slept fine, but there was no pressure to give it up. Eventually, I did store it in a drawer. It’s even possible it’s in a box somewhere, a raggedy piece of knit fabric with a once silky, light pink, nylon ribbon holding it together.
B wanted him to get rid of it. (And I wonder how long he carried his?) Not necessarily throw it away but to stop keeping it in his bed. What would other boys his age or older (maybe even younger!) think? Maybe it was considered babyish or loserish behavior; maybe it wouldn’t be considered at all. Despite hiding the blanket, somehow J discovered it.
I admit I did tell J where we kept it and even offered a sneak peek. One of these days he would get sick and feel like that scrap of fabric, of babyhood, would comfort him when he felt miserable. (Let alone let me feel like I had a little person again who relied on such things.) The easy access and discovery of the blanket’s supposed final resting place could be a mistake.
At first, I knew J was secretly cuddling with it at night. A knowing glance and reach for the tucked in blanket inside his pillowcase alerted me to his secret passion. I smiled, allowing him to continue his deception but then felt guilty. Wasn’t he too old? Wasn’t I enabling a bad habit? Maybe, so I revealed the news to B who swiftly secreted it to another location – my closet located in his room.
J reminds me of Linus, so I almost think it’s okay although Lucy would vehemently disagree. He’s very intelligent, has a bossy older sister and adores his blue blanket (although he has two because we didn’t want to misplace one of them or cut the blanket in thirds like we did with E’s whose blanket ended up in dirty, stringy tatters from overuse, leaving lint in its wake).
Yet comfort objects still play a part in our adult lives. I rely on that first cup of early morning coffee – the warmth, taste, caffeine, ritual. I love listening to the same songs that still rock my world. I tend to read work from a writer/author obsessively, finding comfort in their familiar words, plots, characters and style. I order the same foods out and find certain meals satisfying beyond taste. My husband provides comfort to me but still brings me the butterfly flutter, too. I’ll rewatch favorite movies and TV shows, knowing when the laughter, romance and excitement are coming. When it comes to books, I’ll read ahead since I like the journey just as much as the destination, maybe even more so.
So, really, is it so wrong if I permit my almost 9-year old son, after a long day of homework, sports practice and learning to independently navigate this scary, confusing world, to sleep with his blanket? He’s not so dependent that he’s dragging it around town, and it provides comfort, security and that element of serenity as he drifts off to sleep. Like Linus quoted in the famous Christmas Peanuts special: “Well, this is one Christmas shepherd who’s going to keep his trusty blanket with him.”
This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by M.B. Sanok.