March 11, 2011
Apparently this is a completely typical occurrence for the pre-school crowd, or perhaps he inherited the need from his mother. I’ve been told I was almost physically attached to my “blankie” for years as a young girl, to the point where the thing literally disintegrated to a stretch of fabric no longer than a ruler. Legend has it its tattered remains were left behind in an airport cab on a trip to California when I was three, after which I decided to vent my wrath to the universe on the entire plane ride back to Jersey (really, wasn’t that what my parents deserved, after all?).
My mom of course saved the day upon our return, when she thankfully recalled that a discarded patch no more than three inches square lie dormant in my bedroom’s trash can. With one of those white half-truths we all tell our children, she managed to convince me somehow that this was, indeed, my “real” lovey. Apparently I bought that, happily nestled it into my chest, curled up into an exhausted ball, and promptly went to sleep.
Lying to children is a beautiful thing.
I’m not certain how long this phase will last between Zachary and “Baby Jessie” from Toy Story Three, although he appears to have forged a somewhat strong commitment to her. Jessie sleeps with him in his room, although since she “talks” when pressed she’s been relegated to a bucket on the floor, often smothered by a carefully positioned blanket (which is why babies should not be having babies). Jessie is generally Zachy’s mealtime guest at the table, has been the catalyst for convincing my son to at least try the fruit. There’s nothing like telling your kid his baby won’t grow up healthy and strong unless he himself eats those damn bananas.
We’ve even begun a scrapbook chronicling the exploits of Zachy-daddy and his daughter (the photos of his pregnancy are particularly poignant- I’m hoping he’s outgrown her by the time he figures out boys can’t get pregnant). The entire affair, despite my mild disdain for small children, has truly been adorable.
That is, until Baby Jessie went AWOL.
My husband and I knew she hadn’t escaped the four walls of our home, as we’d seen her in late afternoon, happily riding the rails with Thomas on the Island of Sodor. I didn’t even know she was missing until Zach asked for his dinner companion, and after a cursory search was conducted I had to inform him it would not be a “table for two” that evening, and yelled up to Jeff to come look for her. I used the excuse that she was hiding since Zach had thrown her across the room in a fit of pique earlier that day, figuring I could hold off the impending hysterics long enough for him to eat dinner by guilting him (our future therapy bills are multiplying by the minute).
That reminder did indeed stave off tears as Jeff searched diligently throughout the house, but to no avail. After an hour of turning our first floor upside down (but finding such interesting items in our couches) I knew I had to get creative. I prayed to the Walmart gods that Baby Jessie had survived the Christmas rush, and that her twin would be waiting patiently on a shelf for my harried husband to claim her in the morning. I then told my youngest child that Jessie had gone on vacation, but she’d be back soon, and he shouldn’t worry.
Miraculously, although it was the lamest lie in creation, he bought it.
Fortunately, before my husband actually had to brave Walmart on a weekend morning, our sitter located Jessie perched precariously on a window sill where my spouse swears he looked three times, and where Zach adamantly refuses to admit he put her. I’m just happy she’s back, and the look on his face when she was placed in his arms in the morning, safe and sound, was so ridiculously precious I would have gagged if he wasn’t my own child.
He apologized for hurling her across the room, took her to the potty successfully, fed her pretend carrots of all things, and made her a bottle. They engaged in conversation the entire time (Jessie has a really deep voice for a girl), he showered her with affection, and for the next hour wouldn’t let her out of his sight. His actions were those I’d expected to see of my child as he grew; that need for connection, the urge to be protective, our universal desire to care for others. I know this is typical behavior, “normal” if there is such a thing, but it all seems magical to this mom.
My little boy has a lovey.