We made a potentially very bad parenting decision last night. And it nearly broke our hearts.
As I’ve mentioned before, Owen LOVES his lovey. Lovey stays in bed (my hard and fast rule to avoid dragging him around everywhere we go) and is only available at nap and bedtimes, but oh how he is loved. We have three identical Loveys that are rotated between laundry, home and school so that in the almost 3 years of his life, Owen has never had to sleep without one since they were introduced.
As I also may have mentioned, Owen has taken to sucking on Lovey’s foot (arm?) while putting himself to sleep. It’s kind of gross, as that particular foot (on all three Loveys) is brownish, despite a billion washings, and starts to stink a little after a few sleeps. Then it’s time for a bath. But hey, probably no worse than a pacifier or a thumb, and at least this one goes in the closet as soon as he wakes up. The sucking has been happening for a long time, but a more recent habit is hanging Lovey on his bottom teeth, dangling out of Owen’s mouth from his looped tag. I think this started when Owen’s little fingers got too big to fit inside the looped tag.
I HATE this habit. Even more than the sucking.
He tugs on Lovey while attached to his tooth just hard enough that I worry about his teeth growing in the wrong direction. Or one pulling all the way out. It’s probably unfounded, but for some reason this tag hanging thing just irks me. And frankly I just don’t like the way Lovey looks dangling out of Owen’s mouth. I’ve asked him not to do it, but of course there’s no way to regulate since he does it in the privacy of his own room when he’s sleeping. So Benjamin and I had the
brilliant horribly awful idea to snip the tag open so that he couldn’t hang it on his tooth anymore.
Last night we made the snip on the 1st Lovey. It took Owen about 1 second to find the atrocious offense before the tears began. I don’t WANT this Lovey. He’s broken! What happened to his tag? I can’t scratch it! I want to be able to scratch it. It doesn’t feel right. I want a different one. Granted, last night was a particularly tearful and easily-frustrated night for Owen, so maybe not the best timing. But is there really a right time to mutilate one’s best friend?
Benjamin and I tried to keep blank faces but we were both crying on the inside. What had we done? I very nearly jumped in to say that I would buy him new ones… but I restrained myself because I wanted to see how this played out.
We all read a book together and by the end Owen was sucking happily on his favorite Lovey foot, flicking the tag mindlessly just like he used to. Before I tucked him in I asked, “Are you ok?” “Yeah.” “Is Lovey ok?” “Yeah. I can just touch the tag like this. It’s good.”.
Phew. I think we’re all going to survive.
The moral of the story? I SO wish we had prepared him for the snip. Every time I try to “trick” Owen I end up feeling like it was the wrong decision. Maybe snipping it at all was the wrong decision, but it’s too late now. We’ve decided we’re going to snip the other 2 as they are introduced over the next few days (one is currently at school in his nap bag and I don’t want to “trick” him again and have him freak out at school), because I don’t think we can have one damaged and 2 intact. And I still don’t want him looping that tag around his tooth. And given that he got over the damaged goods pretty quickly, I think we’ll all move right past it.
Lovey seems to be my Achilles heel with Owen. I just can’t stand coming between them.
I’ll let him go to college with the darn thing if he wants. As long as he’s not pulling out his teeth with it.