The very first thing that Mr. Chalk and I bought for Owen when I was pregnant was a little teddy bear. The bear is no more than six inches tall, all hand-knit and old-timey, and just generally so innocently sweet that I couldn’t even look at it during my pregnancy without tearing up. We took it to the hospital with us, and when the overpriced photographer came to our room, we dutifully posed our newborn with his arm wrapped around his wittle bittie bear.
Yeah. Those pictures are pretty much the last time he ever paid the slightest bit of attention to the bear. I spent the better part of his first year hoping to find something else to which he could form that adorable baby attachment. Little lovey blanket with the weird duck head sewn onto a corner? He couldn’t have cared less, although he did enjoy shoving the entire duck in his mouth on occasion. Little muslin blankets with the satiny edging that all the reviewers on Amazon raved about? Eh, whatever.
The only comfort items he ever cared about were his pacifier – this was a hit from day one – and my hair. For more than two years now, I have been walking around with knots in my hair due to his incessant grabbing and twisting. It’s…. sweet, in its way. The pacifier is a looming battle that we will eventually have to deal with, but for now, I am not getting involved. The pediatrician and his dentist are both fine with it in limited usage, and given the magical peace it provides, so am I.
And, I assumed, that was that as far as favorite objects went. Ha. Little did I realize, but Owen had just been holding out for something better. Bears schmears, this kid wanted Sesame Street. Although Mr. Chalk and I had done nothing to encourage it, we suddenly realized last summer that we were living with someone who used one of his twenty vocabulary words or so just to ask incessantly for “Melmo?”. So, Melmo it was. We bought the t-shirt and the coloring book and added Sesame Street to our instant Netflix queue. The little stuffed Elmo was an impulse purchase. I had grabbed it off the shelf at Target one day to keep Owen occupied while he was sitting in the cart. I had no intention of actually purchasing it, but then was too guilt-ridden at the thought of putting the now drool-covered toy back on the store shelf at the end of our trip. So, Elmo came home with us, where he disappeared into the abyss of toys in the living room, not to be seen for another month and a half. (The suspense, is it getting to you yet??)
On what I promise is a related topic, we switched daycares this fall after we moved. This did not go well. Lots of tears from Owen, an embarrassingly similar number of tears from me, many many desperate moments clinging to my legs as I tried to leave – it was not pretty, for more weeks than I like to recall. One morning, in an act of desperation, I asked Owen if he wanted to take Elmo to school with him. Why, yes, yes, he did as a matter of fact want to take Elmo to school with him. So, we dug Elmo out from under the sofa, dusted him off, and brought him to school, where Owen still cried, but at least cried while holding something soft and fuzzy. This made it somehow better?
And again the next day. And the next. And then I forgot about it, until he loudly reminded me in the morning that NO, he was not going to walk out that door without Elmo. So that was that. Elmo was now part of our routine. He went to school, he napped with Owen, he rode in the car with him, and there was no way on earth that Owen would even consider going to sleep at night without him.
Choo-choo has a similar, albeit accelerated, story. Owen got a Mr. Rogers train set (Mr. McFeely’s delivery truck! As a train? Or something. I don’t really get it, to be honest.) for his birthday, and we have barely been able to pry the trolley car out of his sticky little toddler hands since then.
So here we are today. Elmo binky choo-choo. He will dutifully take roll call before leaving the house or getting into bed. If one of these items is missing, then no, no, mama, we are not getting in the car just yet, thank you very much. (I can only assume that’s what the panicked search and tears translate as.) It’s cute. And I guess that is really the entire point of this suddenly much-too-long post. He’s a cute little guy. No, I may not have a series of photos of my chubby-cheeked little boy hugging his hand-knit Scottish teddy bear. But given how much he loves that grubby Elmo doll and the god-only-knows-probably-lead-paint-covered trolley car, I’m ok with it.
Do your little ones have a favorite object or lovey? How did they choose it – or did you choose it for them?