Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blanket Woes

Well, I think anyway. Gareth is very attached to a certain orange blanket. We'd once previously partially detached him from said blanket, getting him to leave it in his crib all day and only use it to lay his head on while sleeping (he will scream for 2 hours, possibly longer, without falling asleep if he doesn't have the blanket - we've tried before). After tears upon leaving the blanket behind in the crib a few times, it seemed to work. He didn't care that he no longer had it to carry around. And the couple of times we tried to soothe him with it, it didn't work.

Then he mysteriously re-attached to it, apparently stronger than ever. And I just haven't had the will or energy to force him to leave it in the crib (read: I haven't felt like dealing with his crying), so I've let him become re-attached. At least we don't have to take it out of the house with us usually.

But over the past week or two he's become very difficult. For instance, he no longer willingly helps pick up toys in the evening, something he used to love doing. All he wants to do is sit holding his blanket and sucking his thumb. Tonight we had many, many tears trying to get toys picked up. At one point he even wanted to carry his new xylophone to his room, BUT, to do that required both hands. Which meant that even though he was still carrying the blanket over his shoulder, he wasn't sucking his thumb! Disaster! He couldn't even make it from our living room down the hall to his room without bursting out in tears (I could only assume because he wasn't sucking his thumb). He wants his blanket on his lap while he eats. I hate to think what will happen when I throw it in the wash, which needs to happen soon.

So, my question for all of you is, will I be causing my son severe emotional trauma and psychologically damaging him forever more if I force him to not have his "blankey" during the day? Or is it not the blanket at all and he's just exhausted from the pre- and post-holiday bustle? Or perhaps he just needs an earlier bedtime and is too tired by the time I start our usual bedtime rituals? What would you do, if you were me?


Amy Rose said...

This is the hardest part of being a parent, that I've experienced so far... am I doing this right? Good luck... let me know what you try, and what seems to work (for Gareth, anyway...)

Michaela said...

I wish I could help - but Scotty and I were intimidated today by being asked to fill in at the nursery - both couples were gone for both nurseries... luckily one couple showed up a few minutes late. And a father stuck around. I was completely useless in there. I had no idea what to do with those crying babies :(

Momof8 said...

First of all, congratulations on setting the rule about not letting the blanket leave the house. Setting boundaries is important. Second, "this too shall pass." Some kids give up blankets easily, others don't. Daniel loved his blanket. He couldn't understand why the rest of us didn't love it as much as he did. (However, he did not suck his thumb with the blanket.) Sometimes, it is really nice to have a sure way to pacify a crying child.

It sounds like Gareth is a little stressed by the holidays just as you are. His attachment will probably ebb and flow over the next few months or years. When you are ready to deal with his crying again (in a few days, weeks or months--no hurry), you can try confining the blanket to his room again. In the meantime, Gareth needs to think that you regard the blanket as "no big deal." When he cries because he can't find the blanket (it's in the wash or in another room), casually tell him where it is. You can then try to distract him with a toy or activity, let him get it himself (if it's in another room), or just "ignore" the crying--repeat some mantra while he cries, like "crying helps develop good lungs" or "oh, the joys of motherhood." ;) As long as Gareth knows you love him and he is being taught line upon line, a little at a time, how to be responsible for his own actions, you are doing a good job. Unfortunately, there is no ONE RIGHT WAY to raise a child.

When dealing with Daniel and his blanket, he knew there were boundaries for it (it does not leave the house and it gets washed when it is dirty). Otherwise, I basically ignored his attachment. When he was in grade school, the blue blanket was gray and nearly threadbare but he still carried it around with him. One day, Dad threatened to burn it in the fireplace if he saw it again. Daniel believed him and hid it away. He knows it's still there if he ever needs it.

Sabrina said...

I still have my yellow blanket (which I believe was Ryan's at one time...). It is packed away in my laundry basket along with my spare sheets, extra towels, and other randomness. Savannah never really had a blanket, right? Instead she had her chapstick. :)

Kate The Great said...

As much as I love Gareth and Erin, WHERE'S THE REST OF THE FAMILY POSTS? Sabrina? Ryan? Sarah? Brent? Mom/Dad?