All three of my kids have carried around some form of security blanket. Abby carried around a quilt that my Granny Glenn made for me when I was a baby until I took it away from her for fear it would literally disintegrate and take her with it. She replaced it with a throw and to this day still sleeps with her "snuggle blanket" but you didn't hear that from me and dude, if you tell her you read about her snuggle blanket on my blog I will SO deny it.
Sam carried around a "woobie" which was essentially cloth diapers that we used as burp rags. It wasn't intentional, his love for the burp rags, but he was a spitter and I always had one slung over my shoulder and he started rubbing it between his fingers and that was that. Eventually I started tying a knot in the corner so we could differentiate between his woobie and a rag full of spitup. He carried a woobie until I went to Chicago for a Pampered Chef conference and his Grammy decided it was high time for him to be a man or something and grow hair on his chest and scratch his genitals and she took his woobie away while I was out of town. I was more crushed than he was.
I bought those cloth diapers from my boss when I worked in the hospital pharmacy and they had used them for burp rags for both of his kids, so by the time they got to Kady some 10 years later they were lookin' pretty rough. I knew she was my last child and really hated to buy more new ones so I bought some Rit dye and dyed them all pink to spruce them up a little. And we wonder why she's such a mini-diva. Kady wasn't too royal to spit up on those pink rags, though, and eventually she started carrying around a pink woobie with a knot tied in the corner, too.
She's seven now and she still carries around Woobie. I know that I have perpetuated the carrying of Woobie mainly because she was so sick when she was little with her asthma and man, it's scary when you can't breathe and you're rushed to the ER at 2am with blue lips. Heck, there were times when she was little I thought maybe I could use a woobie or twelve on those kinds of nights. She needed the comfort and no matter what my mom said, I wasn't taking it away from her (and I didn't leave town on business either). My defense came from the likes of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton who said that children needed a "lovey" to give them a sense of security and that children who carried lovies were more secure children in the long run and Dr. Penelope Leach whose show "Your Baby and Child" just made my mornings. Plus, Kady was just darn cute carrying around a raggedy pink cloth diaper with a knot in the corner.
She had woobies at her Yaya's house, woobies stashed at Grammy's house and about 40 gazillion here at home. She'd sometimes hold The Great Woobie Roundup and gather them all into a pile and just lay in 'em. (Yes, she's a little strange, my Kady.) That is, until they started falling the heck apart. And how they they fell apart quick. It was like they had all lived a good life and were being called home to Woobie Heaven where they would be restored to all of their original woobie glory and they were going in one big herd toward the light. We got down to two pink woobies here at home and a white woobie and a half at Mom's. Then down to one pink woobie here at home. Mysteriously, pink woobie disappeared and Kady didn't seem to notice really. I said not a word because I am a former smoker and I know how hard it is to break an addiction, be it cigarettes or soft pink woobies.
Then she had as asthma flare-up. Ohhhhh good golly did she want Woobie. I offered her blankets, washcloths, towels, curtains, the sofa.....nothing doing, she wanted Woobie. I made her calm down before she could call her Grammy and ask if she had any at her house. She hiccupped and sobbed into the phone and eventually got her question out. Mom did indeed have an emergency Woobie and assured her she would bring her one the next day. That night she reluctantly slept with a washcloth and the next day she was presented with The Very Last Woobie. Or so she thought. Mom handed me the half-woobie and told me to hide it and use it only as a last resort.
Kady's very particular about Woobie. I have to wash it early in the day and cross my heart, hope to die, that it will be back in her posession by bedtime. I always bleach it because she drags it all over the place, sucks on it, chews on it - it gets pretty gross. She hates it when I wash it, too, because she says it doesn't smell like her anymore and apparently that's the allure. Or something. She really, really, really loves Woobie.
The only woobie rule I have is - it doesn't go to school. It has gone to sleep-overs, ER visits, car trips, to the park, McDonald's, doctor visits, flu shots and has ridden to preshool, but has never gone in to a school building. It's not that I feel Woobie is unteachable, I just think that if I'm going to allow a ridiculous obsession with a piece of cloth I should at least impose one rule.
The Very Last Woobie went missing one night awhile back and half-woobie had to be used because it was after 9pm and she had school the next day and I have to get up at 5:30, people, and it was definitely necessary. We eventually found Last Woobie but then lost half-woobie.
At this point in the post I have to ask: Do you think we're insanely irresponsible with our Woobies or just insane?
So here's where the panic comes in - the other night Kady could not find Woobie. Paul and I tore her room apart, we looked in our room where she'd been watching TV, we checked the bathroom (Woobie has been known to hide in the shower for some reason, making him occasionally soggy), we checked her siblings' rooms - it appeared she was Woobie-less. We were out of emergency stashes, spares and hidden treasures. She was inconsolable. I didn't know what to do and considering I slept with my teddy bear, Einstein, until the day I got married, I didn't feel I was one to say "Suck it up, grow up and get over it." Nuh uh. No way. I pulled her up onto my lap and held her close while she cried and cried and criiiiiiiied. I told her that she could use a really soft blanket for that night and we'd look for it again in the morning and it would probably turn up. I was smoothing her hair back from her face when she looked up at me, took a deep breath and said, "Well.......Momma......this might mean it's time for me to quit carrying around Woobie," and as she laid her head back down on my shoulder I quickly wiped away the tear she had invoked.
She had all but admitted she was ready to leave childhood behind.
When the tears began to subside and apparently she came to grips with her impending Growing Up I suggested we go find that soft blanket and get her in bed. On the way toward the hall I just happened to see Woobie out of the corner of my eye. It had been hiding in a dining room chair the whole time, sneaky Woobie. I said her name and she turned around to see me holding a ragged white piece of threadbare material out to her. She ran to me, grabbed it then threw her arms around my waist.
She held on tight for a long time, then with her arms still tight around me, looked up and said, "If I didn't have you.....life would be really hard."
I know it won't be long before Woobie disintegrate into nothing more than a memory. I just hope she doesn't grow up when that happens. I don't think I'm ready.