One of my fellow bloggers after the Midlands Blog Meet up on Saturday wrote about her child losing a toy on the way home. It was picked up by local media and that website that tries to reunite lost toys with their owners. I don’t actually know if the campaign was successful in this case but I do know that the internet is proving brilliant for getting lost toys home safely. Isn’t it lovely, how sometimes, in among all the crap about trolling and fury online that there are enough people willing to take time to try and find lost toys? Bless them all.
This got me thinking about comforters. I don’t think E has anything that would upset her greatly if it was gone. She has toys that she likes, a couple that she’s taken to nursery for the day, but none that she clings to all the time. My nephew was comforted by a muslin square (he called them ‘moos’) to help him go to sleep and he’s just being weaned off relying on them so much now he’s a bit bigger.
E has no toy, no moo, and didn’t use a dummy either to comfort her when she was small. For about a week she sucked her thumb. So I’m curious. What leads a child to want a comfort like that and at what age does it manifest itself? (I am about to do some research though I think I can guess that the research is going to vary – for reasons and ages. Let’s see.)
A study from 2007 states that about 70% children have comfort objects (or attachment objects) as the study calls them. It says that they are more common in Western societies where children sleep apart from their parents. (Cue automatic guilt, though of course speaking as someone who had regular nightmares about my child dying due to co-sleeping, there is no reason at all for me to feel guilty that she can sleep happily in her own bed) I read on. An American site talks without break (I need paragraphs) about it being a transitional object that represents a parental bond. But they use such sweeping terms about all children that I find it hard to take them seriously, despite their best intentions.
I do like this one though. I like its strong messaging that not all children take to having a security blanket/ toy. This isn’t just to relieve my guilt, you understand. It’s entirely possible that E will develop a need for a comfort item any day. While part of me likes that she already seems independent and strong willed, another part of me would like her to have a toy she loves – I still have my childhood teddy and usually go and give him a cuddle after watching Toy Story 3. I whisper to him that I will never leave him. I also remember that it was a teddy that brought me a lot of comfort after my miscarriage – a teddy my mum had bought as a gift for the new baby because it had the year of her expected birth on its foot. In the weeks following our loss I walked around the house holding it on my hip, crying into its head when I needed and clutching it. We all need a comfort blanket once in a while.