Little Ones, Lovies and Loss: One of Every Parent and Child's Worst NightmaresMeredith Carroll
I hope I don’t live to see the day that Badabada goes bye-bye. Badabada is my older daughter Petunia’s lovie that she’s had since she was just 4 weeks old. Petunia is now 5, and Badabada is like a third arm to her, although in much worse condition than her actual limbs (thank goodness).
Last year when Petunia was still in preschool, she and Molly, a friend and neighbor, traded lovies at rest time. They didn’t trade back afterwards, so when Petunia got home she walked Molly’s lovie next door. As it turns out, Molly left Badabada at school.
It was a Friday afternoon. Long story short, it ended up being a long weekend, and Petunia knows that Badabada is now a shut-in; she’s not allowed out of the house for a second, especially considering she still gets lost inside the house, and that’s it’s own kind of nightmare.
I’m thrilled for both my daughters to have lovies. After all, it’s improbable to think I can be there to comfort them exclusively. It’s nice that they have dolls or other objects to smell, chew on and cuddle with when they feel the need for a little extra familiarity. But the idea that a lovie could get lost forever (like Mike Julianelle wrote about over on The Huffington Post).? Perish the thought.
I slept with a blanket, Moggie, until I was 10. My parents used to joke Moggie would be my veil when I walked down the aisle at my wedding — and I have to say that had I thought about it when I eventually got married, I wouldn’t have been opposed to pinning a piece of Moggie to my dress as my something old.
The only reason I stopped sleeping with Moggie is because it was seriously getting embarrassing to stay overnight at friends’ houses with a Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket that was more raggedy than the characters depicted on it, plus one more run through the gentle cycle and Moggie would have disintegrated in the cold water. As it stands today, Moggie (or the rotting, grey, smelly remnant of what was once Moggie) is folded up in a box in storage. I haven’t seen it in years, but I still like knowing where it is.
Moggie was just a part of my childhood as fighting with my sister and reading Beverly Clearly books with a flashlight under the covers at night. We tried to force a few lovies on my younger daughter Peony was she was born, but she didn’t take to any of them until about six months ago. She ended up choosing one that was exactly the same as Badabada, only with different clothes. She calls it Baby (original, no?). She tries to eat its face often, and when I go in to check on her at night, it’s always tucked under her arm like a crutch.
I protect my daughters’ lovies fiercely. I never saw a point in buying duplicates in case they lost them because my kids aren’t dumb; they know their smells and the exact locations of their blemishes and stains. Badabada has an identical twin at one of Petunia’s friend’s houses, and she always remarks to me how that other Badabada just isn’t as good. I suppose there will come a day when either Badabada or Baby or both will be lost or put in the closet for good. No scenario works out well in my mind, even when I try to tell myself that lessons in resiliency are a good thing.
I’ve considered having art made of each of their lovies in case that day comes, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on spending up to $140 for a picture of a doll that once fell in a (full) toilet — especially since I have a feeling I might be the one who’s most attached to the portrait.
But in some ways, my daughters’ lovies are almost as much a part of their childhood as my daughters are. They are everything that’s sweet and innocent and warm and snuggly about these years. There will come a time when we bid adieu, although hopefully it’ll be a controlled good-bye instead of an accidental one. Either way, I know I’m dreading it as much as my daughters, even if they don’t give it nearly as much thought (or any) as me at the moment.
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