One night, while we were at my in-laws’ during Christmas, Lily didn’t want to go to sleep. It was past bedtime and we’d had a busy day, so I knew she was tired. I tried nursing her. Cuddling her. Cuddling her on the other side. Nothing helped; she flailed, pushed, complained. Finally I rolled away from her, leaving her in the middle of the queen bed with her soother and her fuzzy pink blanket wrapped around her. One corner of the blanket fell over her face and she reached up her hands to hold it there, closing her eyes, sucking her soother, and occasionally squeezing or patting the blanket. In a few minutes, I tiptoed away.
The power of a special blanket isn’t new to me
Sunshine also has The Blanket—a large, fuzzy yellow Winnie-the-Pooh blanket. When she was first born, it lined the cradle for her, softening what seemed to me a very hard mattress. When she moved into her crib, the blanket moved with her, now wrapped around her. If we traveled, the blanket went with us. Naptime and bedtime routines involved the soother, the blanket, and some cuddling.
When Lily was born, Sunshine’s blanket began appearing out of her crib more often. She tucked in Dolly and Pooh Bear as Mommy was tucking in Baby. Or she just needed to hold it and snuggle herself while I fed Lily. After we moved to Victoria, the blanket was again almost always with Sunshine. We tried to tell her that blanket and soother belonged in her bed, but she kept quietly bringing them downstairs. Now, most of the day, the blanket stays on her bed, and looking back, I realize that was a stage when, during a big change in her life, she needed something reassuring.
And really, don’t we all need things like that? I’ve commented before that having pictures on the wall—the same pictures that decorated my bedroom walls growing up—have made each of the places that we’ve lived feel more like home. Most of us sleep better in our own beds as opposed to in strange beds—like my girls, we want something familiar and comforting before we’ll completely let down our guards and fall asleep. We are all creatures of habit, who find routines and take comfort in ordinary things that are always there when we need them.