She Says… Lovey Love

When Owen was tiny and we were establishing a strong bedtime routine, I introduced a “lovey”. When I say the word “lovey”, people of older generations (or those without children currently) look at me like I’ve gone loopy. You know, a blankie, a security blanket… except now we’ve learned that blankets can suffocate babies so most people use these little fleecey animals with bodies like a little blankie and knots for hands and feet. A lovey. Or, the term favored by behavioral psychologists, a transitional object.

Anyway, we were given about a million of them when Owen was born, but my mother gave me one very important piece of advice: ONLY CHOOSE ONE THAT YOU CAN BUY MORE OF. Don’t choose the super cute one that so-and-so brought back from Paris and you will never be able to put your hands on another one. Because all hell is going to break loose once your child falls in love with that lovey and then pukes on it in the middle of the night and you don’t have time to do laundry before he or she goes back to sleep. Trust me — it’s a key piece of advice. Thanks, Mom!

So I chose the one that I found the sweetest, and the one I knew I could find again in a heartbeat: The Pottery Barn Hippo. The first thing I did was sleep with the lovey for about a week so that it would smell like me. My mom group teacher suggested this for babies who were having a hard time transitioning out of sleeping in their parents’ room. Owen was not having any issues with that, but I figured anything that would give him comfort and help him sleep longer and more peacefully was worth a shot. Once I slept with it for a week or so, I started holding it between us while we nursed or he drank his bottle at night. This was during the time of all of our breastfeeding issues, and I know for a fact that that darling little lovey caught lots of tears in those first few weeks. From both Owen and I. As I laid Owen in his crib, I would nestle the lovey next to him so he could smell me and feel its softness while he slept. I don’t know if it was the lovey exactly, but you all know that Owen has a pretty awesome sleep record. I’ll give some of the credit to our dear little hippo friend.

Anyway, at that point, and even for the next few months, I continued to keep the lovey in the crib with Owen, but honestly I had no idea if he cared at all about the little blue thing next to him. Once Owen started being put down awake in his crib, I would hand him the lovey and let him cuddle it. Since he never took a pacifier, I think the lovey is his thing. Now, as soon as I hand it to him for bedtime or for a nap, he smooshes it all over his face, pops one of the “feet” in his mouth, and falls asleep with it laying across his face. Believe me, when he started doing this I would often come in and gently lift it off of his face, afraid he was going to suffocate. But he’s clearly strong enough and smart enough now to pull the thing off of his own face if it ever became an issue. And he likes it that way! Unfortunately I wonder if that contributes to his eczema issues… but I digress. Not gonna interfere with the lovey love.

Once Owen started daycare I sent his lovey in with him every day so that he would have something familiar to fall asleep with at naptime. After the first day that it was left at daycare, I realized we needed backups. Also, I realized how much I need to wash that slobbery, germy thing. Disgusting. So I ordered 3 more. Now we have one at daycare, one at home, one in the laundry and one clean at all times. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure if Owen really loved that lovey, or if I was just making a big deal out of it.

Then today, something adorable happened. I put Owen down for his morning nap as usual, handed him his lovey and let him wipe it all over his face. I went to take a shower. Once I got out of the shower I heard him sobbing big, heaving sobs. What? Haven’t heard him fuss at naptime in ages. I went in to comfort him and I found him laying on his stomach with his arm reaching through the crib slats for… his lovey. Who was on the floor. I’m not sure how he got there (I’m assuming he was pushed through the slats and not thrown over the top rail!), but Owen missed him. And loved him. And had to have him to sleep.

That’s lovey love.

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14 responses to “She Says… Lovey Love

  1. Totally, utterly precious!

  2. Oh, I love, love, love Lovies. I am a Big Fan.
    In fact, I wrote http://bit.ly/jNGW4o “For the Love of Lovies”.
    Just hoping “Drop the Lovie, have mom/dad come rescue it” doesn’t become the new nap/nighttime game. Nah… Owen wouldn’t do that.

  3. Chloe has a similar lovey and she is addicted to that thing. We have several (not all the same one) and she loves sleeping with it. She has an elephant and she sleeps with the trunk in her mouth and the blanket across her face. It scared me at first but she seems fine! She has NO interest in a binkie which was and sadly still is Lilly’s “lovey” so I’m fine with these soft little critters. Your mom gave you good advice about getting several. Now that Chloe is really into her lovey I think she might only take that one, so off to find a pink elephant!!!

  4. I think the trick is to keep several in circulation, because if you buy a spare and put it up on a high shelf just in case, you’ll end up with a loved-and-raggedy one, and a sparkling brand new lovey which Is Not The Same. So use several interchangeably so they each get the same amount of wear and tear and laundering… Babies that will accept any random cloth diaper may be at an advantage.

  5. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sweet! I love it! Precious, precious. Good idea too, getting more than one of a baby’s lovey. Maya loves her Wubbanub giraffe. She holds him all day long at babyschool, but only uses the pacifier part at night to fall asleep–and sometimes she just sucks on his legs. It’s the cutest thing and I love the idea of snipping off the pacifier part when she’s done with it so she can keep her soft little giraffe!

  6. That is sooo sweet! We have a lovey too and it has made a huge difference with his sleeping. We have a couple of them as well because we learned the hard way that he is very dependent on it for sleeping! :)

  7. Lol my niece had a little stuffed lamb (she named him lamb lol) and as it got to looking gross, my SIL bought a replacement lamb. This did not fly. Lamb and “other lamb” were not friends. She flat out refused totals the newer version of the exact toy. She is now 10 and still has that gross thing! She doesn’t play with it like before, but ewwww. It’s legs have fallen off multiple times and had to be sewn back on, it’s brown instead of white, and the fabric is now rough and matted looking. I think if she had rotated lambs, this probably wouldn’t have happened but the little guy was with her from day 1…and at 10 years old, that lamb did not age well at all! So good going having several backups!!

  8. My baby feels the same way about her little glow-worm looking thing (I think it’s supposed to be a seahorse?). She turns on that thing (it lights up and plays music) whenever she wakes up in the middle of the night, but it saves me a trip in there, so I love it too!

  9. How sweet :) The back-ups are always a good plan. Not sure I would have thought of that!

  10. What a great concept! As a mom-to-be, I am learning so much through this blog! How young can the baby be to have the lovey sleep in the same bed?

  11. my little girl has one too-it’s a blankie and she puts it on her face when she has her bottle before bed and then I put her in her crib and she buries her face in it. Isn’t it amazing how similar babies are at this age? you were so smart to have bought more than one lovey! I’ve left ours at home when it was needed at day care and at my parents house one sunday night and have had to go and get it. I always put the blanket on her face when it’s time for bed and she just loves that thing. I think since I discovered her needing her blankie, naps are MUCH better!!

  12. @Jenny, Nancy (who commented above and is one of the smartest mamas around) wrote an awesome piece about loveys as well, and she addresses when you can start using a lovey: http://bit.ly/jNGW4o. I think we started around 8 weeks by tucking it next to him while he was swaddled so he could smell it (though Nancy’s post recommends you NOT do that because some babies will be sad that they can’t reach out and touch it).

  13. Your mother is a smart lady. Will has a fantastic little lovely by the name of Peter. He was a gift. When I looked into getting a back-up Peter in case of emergency or laudry crisis, I realised that Peter is made in Sweden, and I’d have to have him shipped from the UK. That’s a whole lotta effort and money for a lovey!
    Will does love him though. He always fusses when he goes to bed but eventually turns his face in to Peter and snuggles him (he’s still swaddled).

  14. Also, I meant to say, this post is just so precious. It made me smile.

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