Momlogic's Diana worries: How long will my kid be carting his blanket around?
Recently, Ryan Phillippe lamented the fact that his 8-year-old daughter, Ava, got upset after a paparrazzi shot of her with a blankie ended up in the tabloids and friends made fun of her.
This is not only another reason to loathe the paps, but as a mom it made me wonder: How old is too old to have a blankie?
My blankie-toting son is now 6, but sometimes, in a fit of neurosis, I flash-forward 15 years as he's about to graduate from college. As he stands in cap and gown waiting to graduate (with honors), he turns, hands me a tattered blue square of fabric, and asks: "Can you just hold Bluey for a sec while I get my diploma?"
He and his pastel pal Bluey have been together since he was a baby. In fact, at one time there were many Blueys. We bought them in bulk after an unfortunate evening in California wine country spent searching a pitch black vineyard for "Original Bluey" as my son howled with separation anxiety.
Bluey no longer goes everywhere with him, but I still worry. Recently, I tried to broach the topic of perhaps spending a bit less time together. I began with: "You really love Bluey, don't you?" He nodded, matter-of-factly. 'Of course I do, Mom. Bluey has a heart and a soul."
O-K, then. Maybe it was time to call a professional. Luckily, momlogic friend and parent educator Jill Spivack, LCSW had some reassuring advice.
First of all, she says, never forcibly remove a blanket or other comfort item such as a stuffed animal from a child.
"Taking away a blanket is saying 'You need to grow up!' when they're already growing up by leaps and bounds," Spivack says. "Don't battle about it and make it a control issue. Most kids just mature out of it on their own. At a certain point socially it does become embarrassing for kids to take out and be seen with their comfort objects."
"If you're concerned and want to set some rules, sit down and have a chat with your child. Tell him or her that you're worried that the blanket or lovey could get lost, and so you're making a new rule. Say: "When kids turn 4 (or 5, or whatever age you determine), the new rule is that blankets need to stay in bed. So that's what we're going to do. You can have your blanket at bedtime."
Spivack says that for some people, comfort objects never completely go away. And that's OK too. "I know some adults who still have their blankets or stuffed animals squirreled away," she says. "Who's that hurting? It's kind of sweet."
OK, I feel better now. I just hope my son doesn't have to get a powder blue tux at his wedding to match his blanket.
Have you experienced the blankie dilemma? How did you deal with it?