My baby girl is approaching two. Her favourite stuffie is her “Dollo.” Dollo was a baby gift from a dear family friend. My daughter attached to Dollo quickly.
On Facebook the other day a friend of mine was lamenting the fact that her three-year-old son was still very attached to a special blanket. She was pleased that her son could sleep in his own bed and use the potty. I think she saw the removal of the blanket as the next box that needed checking off in her son’s life.
I slept with my special blanket until I was sixteen. I still know exactly where it is: in a bag, in a box in my parents’ basement. I can still smell it and feel its worn softness against my cheek. It was my constant companion and comforter against scary monsters and sleepless dark nights.
The fact that my daughter has her own special stuffie doesn’t surprise me. If you look closely at the right side of the picture you can see Dollo’s tag sticking out. My daughter strokes that tag over and over as she falls asleep. As I rock her I can tell she is nearing sleep when her tiny fingers slow, pause then finally stop, in their daily ritual.
Sunday. The night I love. Time for quiet. The night my freshly-turned-one-year-old decides to become a toddler.
What was once a soothing, relatively easy bedtime routine suddenly turns on its heel and becomes an all-out sporting event. Flipping and flopping like a slippery fish, Little A does not want to wear a diaper. I finagle her onto her back and somehow slap the sticky tabs on the diaper, lopsided. We cuddle for a few minutes, then I slip her a pink soother and put her favourite My First Dolly right onto her face, the way she likes. I turn on the lullabies and tiptoe out.
Two minutes later I’m back, summoned by calls of “Mah-mah! Mah-mah!” She has flung the soother out of the crib (on purpose) and is joyfully banging her head into the mattress and giggling. As I lift her out to rock her, I sing her favourite “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral” over and over. Her bright blue eyes finally start to waver, closing, closing, almost asleep…then fly open, focused on a tiny speck of light on the ceiling. Her tiny finger points and waves madly at the light. “Ah! Ah!” she yells, willing me to stop rocking and look up at the wonder she has discovered.
I am blessed.