Photo by: Darren Lebeuf of Housestories Canada
With every baby, I would carefully select a blanket and a stuffy in the hopes that they would become attached to it. There was a lot of “Here, hold this… you love this… it’s so cute and soft and snuggly!! Just let it soothe you… please…”
My first baby still loves an old raggedy duck named ‘Daddy Duck’ that he cannot sleep without.
My second baby sleeps with books in his bed. Give him all of the books, they bring him more joy than he could ever find in some sort of stuffed soft thing.
My third baby loves a raggedy old puppy named ‘Puppy’ that he still most of the time cannot sleep without.
And my fourth baby, he’s clung to this little blanket here.
I had my own “blanket” when I was a kid too. My blanket though, was actually a stuffed platypus that my dad picked out for me and wrapped up for my 6th birthday.
Cue birthday photo from 1989. You’re welcome.
When I stare at this picture I can still remember how I felt. A little bit of adoration that this sweet fluffy thing was meant just for me. And a whole lot of adoration for my Dad who had carefully chosen it.
That platypus fit ‘just right’ under my arm, and I held him to fall asleep each and every night until I turned 19. That was the summer I met my husband, and the summer I worked as a camp counselor, and the summer that I learned not too many students in university still slept with a stuffed animal.
Naturally I felt like I was re-living my past as I watched the love blossom between my littlest boy and his blanket.
It wasn’t even his blanket in the first place. Grandma had sewn it for his big brother – but one day this guy found it, liked it, and claimed it.
Try and grab it from him and see how loud he can protest.
Try to put him to bed without it and see if he’ll ever go to sleep.
Try to wash it when he’s not looking… and then watch him sit beside the front loading washing machine with the window, as he longingly watches it go round and round for the longest 37 minutes of his life…
He brings it to me to tie as a cape around his shoulders when he’s playing light saber war with his brothers.
He whips brothers with the end of it for fun, and he is often heard saying, “Nooooo, my ganket!” whenever somebody attempts to re-locate it.
He carries it around to breakfast and hangs it delicately on the back of his chair until he can finish his cereal. Then like a little look-alike Linus he’s off again, dragging that deteriorating piece of fabric behind him.
He’ll sit on the couch and lovingly grab the blanket’s corner in one strategic spot, and then he’ll stick it in his eyeball… just a little bit. Somehow that exact maneuver makes him completely narcoleptic.
“Has anybody seen Ethan’s blanket?” is one of the top ten most commonly repeated phrases in our home, not even close to competing with #1 which is, “Can I eat?” But it’s up there.
“Ganket!!!?” he cries out frantically when he realizes he’s no longer holding it and it’s no longer in his direct line of sight.
He’s like every adult across North America when we can’t find our iPhone that was supposed to be in our pocket.
“On your bed buddy, go check your bunk bed…” which can also mean, check the kitchen floor, check the drawer under your bed, check the bathroom where you dropped it because the toothpaste distracted you, and check the pot drawer where you stuffed it to ‘keep it safe and hidden for later.’
I wonder how many collective hours we’ve spent as a family searching for that blanket when it’s ‘missing.’
My littlest boy and his trademark little checkered blanket. I’m going to burn that image of his little chubby hand dragging it around behind him straight into my mom memory bank.
Part of me wonders if it’ll become difficult to recognize him one day without it.
I hope so.