Monday, June 22, 2015
The Importance, Death, and Rebirth of a Lovey
I've committed a cardinal sin of parenting. I've Altered a Lovey! Please, let me explain why. Last summer I made this lovely doll for Panda. I wanted to make him a car buddy for a big trip and later to use this doll to help him sleep in his own bed. We named her Apple.
Panda took to her right away. Every morning she was greeted with a kiss, she had to be present at all times even if she wasn't being played with at the time, and she did get played with a lot. After our trip we even had him happily sleeping in his own bed for a little over two months. As long as Apple was nearby everything was safe...
Some family members frown on Panda's "girly" toys and actions. I think of them as nurturing traits and will help him grow to be a wonderful father one day. This picture was taken the day before Panda turned 1. He tucked his truck into a baby doll highchair and pretended to feed it. Panda loves to cook in his kitchen, feed all his toys, and then rock them and put them to sleep in the doll cradle. Clearly it was time for my boy to have a doll of his own.
Here he is tucking in his "babies", One day a family member who disproves decided to get Panda's attention by grabbing Apple and slamming her into the couch repeatedly to make a thumping noise. Panda was hysterical. The family member thought this was funny and started to laugh. I intervened quickly but the damage was done. In Panda's mind, Apple was dead.
From then on Panda would happily play with his other babies, but would only glance at Apple and toss her aside. This video shows him doing just that. He also gave up sleeping in his own bed and came back to our bed. With a new baby on the way this makes things a little rough and we've just had to make the decision that if we can't get him back int his bed before the baby comes we will continue co sleeping for several more years with two children. Ironically the same family member that murdered Apple, also frowns upon co sleeping.
So I've given Apple a makeover. Panda has once again taken to this lovey. The bond is not as strong, but new Apple is greeted every morning with a kiss and is finding his way more and more into our daily play.
I have two exurbs from the wonderful book "Children at Play" by Heidi Britz-Crecelius that explain a lovey so much better than I could. If you have not read this book I strongly recommend it.
Pg. 83. "The favorite doll- it can also be a teddy bear or some other small animal- is endowed with a bit of the child's own soul. The child feels that the doll's life stems from its own."
Pg. 85" "Since, therefore, a doll can be of such importance to a child, adults should be just as conscious and careful in their treatment of the doll as they are in the treatment of the child".
When a doll is loved so much that it becomes a part of the child's soul we must be careful not to "harm" the doll, remove, or alter the doll until the child is ready. The child sees this as an act against themselves. I am so sad that my boy was exposed to this at such a tender age and lost a bit of his innocence and security. People need to learn to recognize the importance of a lovey. I truly hope Apple's rebirth will help him heal and come full circle.