Sunday, January 9, 2011

Loving the Lovies

Linus van Pelt was famous for dragging a blue blanket behind him in the Peanuts cartoons, much to the dismay of his older sister, Lucy.  According to Wikipedia, his blue security blanket debuted in 1954.  And the term 'security blanket' also is derived from Linus and his blue blanket.  Linus is often portrayed holding his blue security blanket over his shoulder while sucking his thumb.  And Linus actually grows out of this security blanket bit by bit over the course of three decades (during which he does not really age), but many a strip is devoted to family members and Snoopy unsuccessful attempts to break Linus of his relationship with this security blanket before he is ready.

In early childhood terminology, these security objects (they are not always blankets) are frequently called lovies, though I don't think I've ever heard them called that in real life.  Many children have a comfort item that helps them go to sleep or that they cuddle during the day.

We have several stories in my family of various family members' lovies.

One cousin had a blanket named Bubby that she slept with.  She didn't like it to be washed.  She had it for years and as she got older her dad cut it in half, then a few months later in half again, until it was down to a scrap.  I think she may still have that scrap of a Bubby.

Her sister was attached to the Mama Bear of a sewn set of the Three Bears.  Just the Mama.  And when one mama wore out, her mom had to buy the whole set and make a new Mama.  I think we found a whole bunch of Papa and Baby Bear un-sewn patterns one time.

My sister had a 'guin' (rhymes with fin, starts with a hard g).  It was a full sized fuzzy blanket with the satin edging.  She would pinch bits of fuzz from guin as she sucked her thumb.  We were finding guin throughout the house for years after she had outgrown it.  That darn fuzz would hide in the strangest places...  She did not care about the color of the blanket.  When she had worn one down to threads, Mom would get her another.  I don't know how many guins we went through.

I was also a thumb sucker and I don't think I necessarily had a lovie (Mom or Megan might correct my memory) but I did like to run the satin edging from blankets on my top lip as I was going to sleep.  By the way, I still sleep with the edge of the blanket or sheet on my top lip (which my husband finds odd), though I no longer suck my thumb (which I'm sure he would have found even more odd).

My boys each have a lovie.  Braedon has a pillow that he pinches.  He is actually on his third.  This one used to be called Lumpy in a previous life (at my parents' house).  Now it's just Pillow.  It does not have a pillow case.  The interior is foam that it now made up of several small lumps, thus the name.  The outside of the pillow is a texture similar to the inside of the pockets of jeans.  Braedon pinches and rubs the outside of the pillow to soothe himself.  He used to do the same with his jeans pockets in public, and maybe he still does, if so he now manages to do it without pulling his pockets inside out.

Colby has a Pooh Bear, a small stuffed animal that started out like a glow worm.  Its face lit up and it played music when you squeezed its belly.  That interior electric box was removed long ago when Pooh Bear was washed and when it wasn't missed, it was discarded.  Pooh Bear used to have a tag on his tush that Colby liked to wrap around his finger while he held Pooh Bear upside down under his nose.  I'm pretty sure the tag is either gone now or else it is worn down to a shred.  But Colby still likes to "sniff Pooh Bears butt" (his phrase) as he falls to sleep.  He does not have to have Pooh Bear every night.  Sometimes he goes several nights without Pooh Bear, but then he finds that rascal hiding out in some odd place in the house and the butt sniffing begins again.  Pooh Bear has been washed several times, but Colby says he doesn't smell right straight out of the wash.  We worried for a long time that Pooh Bear would be lost for good and Colby would be distraught, and though we kept our eyes out we didn't find another Pooh Bear until last summer when Ron came across one at an auction.  Of course now I think he would make it without Pooh Bear, but it's kind of nice to have the additional Pooh Bear around the house.

Brody was without a specific lovie for nearly the first two years of his life.  Then two years ago I received a very nice blanket from a family of a student.  It is a woven blanket made of embroidery-sized threads and has a picture of bears on it and some saying about teachers.  At the time, I was still rocking Brody at night and started covering us up with that blanket while we rocked.  He quickly latched onto it and now calls it his 'hair blanket' because of the fringe around the edges.  He sleeps with it every night and falls asleep running his fingers through the blanket's 'hair'.

Lovies are great comforts.  I don't think they hurt children.  Most grow out of them or adapt them as they grow, like Linus did.  What lovie stories do you have to share?


  1. I love this. You make me think of me as a child, camping in small town BC. I had a stuffed rabbit (think sock monkey, but rabbit) that I dropped while we were walking through the forest one day. My mum still tells me stories of me being inconsolable, about my dad and granddad going back into the bush looking for this bunny that was never to be seen again.

    This also made me think about Teeku, the imaginary friend of my little sister. Teeku came everywhere with us for about two years, until one day we were on a road trip somewhere, probably camping, and my sister just up and declared, "Teeku, I'm done with you." She rolled down the car window and said goodbye. We never saw or heard about Teeku again.

  2. My husband and I never had lovies ourselves or for our children. But I have been shown the light as every one of my precious daycare kids has one here. When a child sick child wait for its mom or dad to pick them up, watching a movie at naptime or as a scarf. (Sometimes also as a superhero cape)These lovies or meme's as they are called here are a must. I loved hearing about your boys' lovies it tells of thier individual personalities.

  3. I loved my guin :) Uncle Ed was privledged to store some guin fuzz in his ears :) HEHEHE...why did I do that? Oh well...Kayleigh has silk trimmed blankets and those security Pooh's and Frogs that have the inner silk lining. She won't go to bed with out them. Actually she tells us it's time for bed by grabbing it, rubbing the silk on her eyelashes and heading for the door!

  4. My oldest started out with a stuffed monkey I found on graduation clearance. It went everywhere with him, even falling into a firepit and protecting him from getting burned. That monkey still has a wound that my little one takes care of 2 years later. Now he has a blankie that does bring him such comfort. I'm thinking of cutting it down to a more manageable size, but wonder if he will notice.

    Love your blog, btw!