My daughter first took a lovey when she was merely 10 weeks old. And we called him Lambie.
Touted as a “crib-safe” toy, Lambie was a Valentine’s Day gift to Lil’ Bit from my mom – her Nonnie – and was originally meant for the crib, and THE CRIB ONLY!
My mother was adamant about this. “She needs to associate him with sleep,” I was told.
Mom needn’t have worried.
Lil’ Bit has always been a good sleeper, a stroke of luck to which I doubt Lambie contributed in any way. (I do, however, firmly believe in the sleep gods and still pray to them every day for their continued benevolence.)
At first, Lil’ Bit barely even acknowledged Lambie’s presence. Until one day she did.
As she grew older, her attachment only grew stronger and soon my mother’s strict Lambie-in-the-crib protocol was abandoned. In fact, as Hubs and I have learned – often the hard way – it’s generally best to have Lambie on or near Lil’ Bit’s person at all times.
When Lil’ Bit was four months old, I went back to work and Mom produced Lambie 2.0, who, we were informed, would live at daycare.
So then there were two.
Then one night in March, Hubs and I were heading to bed when I heard a strange sound coming from the baby monitor. And before she even let loose with the subsequent scream, I knew what had happened.
“She threw up,” I said, and took off down the hall to her room.
She’d eaten hard-boiled eggs for dinner. Hard-boiled eggs look the same coming back up as they do going down. Chunky.
She had, quite literally, blown chunks. And everything was covered. Her face, her hair, her jammies, her sheet, her blanket… and, of course, Lambie.
With uncharacteristic calmness and clarity, we immediately threw everything into the wash and set about giving Lil’ Bit her own bath. After just a few minutes, it was very apparent that she wasn’t sick and the barfiness was most likely the result of self-induced gagging. (“Oh, she’s just exploring her world,” our pediatrician said when I asked him WHY in God’s name she does that.)
So, as my weird kid happily splashed in her bath, the washing machine churned away with its precious cargo inside.
Unfortunately, Lil’ Bit’s bath ended before Lambie’s did. And when we tried to put her back down without her precious, she would have none of it. She was, however, all too happy to wait up for him.
And as we watched our increasingly wakeful and rambunctious toddler race gleefully from room to room at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, Hubs and I came to a decision: We needed a back-up Lambie.
So then there were three.
Lambie is now an integral part of our lives. At home, Lil’ Bit totes him everywhere – usually by his leg while his head bounces unceremoniously along on the floor. When we go out, Lambie generally tags along for the ride – at doctor’s visits, our pediatrician now listens to Lambie’s heart along with Lil’ Bit’s.
And if she really likes you, Lil’ Bit will allow you to give Lambie a hug. This is an honor and a privilege that should only be accepted with the utmost gravity.
Lambie has become a playmate, a partner in crime and at times, a punching bag for toddler frustration.
He’s a confidante, a faithful companion, and a source of comfort.
He’s a best friend.
And he plays the role well, even if it does at times mean sustaining abuse. But Lil’ Bit loves him like no other. And I really believe that, in her little mind, he loves her right back.
I recently thought to ask Lil’ Bit’s daycare teacher if she still naps with Lambie during the day. She answered no and gave Lambie 2.0 back to me do to with as I pleased. Which is how Daycare Lambie came to be known as Car Lambie.
Car Lambie is excellent for those times when I go to put Lil’ Bit in her car seat only to have her go all noodle-legged on me and scream, “BabababaBABABAAAAAAA!” Which, as ever mother knows, can be roughly translated to, “No! This car seat burns, IT BUUUUUURNS!!!”
Now I simply tell her, “Lambie’s waiting!” and the thundering cries cease, the clouds in her eyes part, and that sunny smile lights up her face.
Every morning after Lil’ Bit gets dressed, we lay Lambie back in the crib and blow him a kiss goodbye. Then we make the short trip downstairs and out to the garage to get into the car. Where, miracle of miracles, Lambie awaits!
And every morning, Lil’ Bit’s face lights up when she sees him. Again. Literally one minute later.
Every. Single. Time.
As I watch her sigh and nuzzle him to her cheek with contented relief, I wonder to myself, Does she know?
Does she realize she’s clutching a different Lambie? Or does she just think he’s… everywhere?
An omnipresent companion.
The ubiquitous Lambie.
Does your child have a lovey? And does that lovey have a back-up?
(On a personal note, today marks my 100th post. I really have nothing else to add to that other than to point out the obvious: I really like to talk.)