The J-man never had a "lovey" or any specific toy or blanket or anything that he was totally attached to. We even tried to get him attached to different things to help him with transitions, but he would have nothing to do with it. So I've never directly experienced a child's attachment to a lovey before.
When the babies were born, one of Seth's coworkers gave us the cutest little baby blankies with these little stuffed animals on them. A blue elephant for Sam, and pink bunnies for the girls. They were an Avon product, which Seth knew because his coworker is an Avon Rep, and has been for years. They were adorable, but I didn't think much of them other than the fact that they were cute. After all, we received a lot of cute little things like that when the babies were born, and you never know which things your kids will become attached to later, do you? There's this adorable little dog that Sam was given that I've been trying to get him attached to, because it's so cute, but no dice.
As it happens, now, a year later, Sam will not put that elephant down. He carries it everywhere. He will not let go of it for anything. I loves that blankie. The girls like their bunnies just fine, but they aren't attached to them in nearly the same way, they just like them the same way they like any of the other lovey-type toys they have. But Sam - he loves that blankie. He won't go to sleep without it. He wakes up looking for it. He walks around with it. He holds it close. He wants it whereever he is.
Well, you know this has left me petrified that he will lose it. Or wear it out (it's rather disgusting right now and I can't wrestle it away from him to wash it). And I just am so worried that he will accept no substitute! (Truthfully, he'll take the bunnies as substitutes perfectly fine, but he DOES prefer the elephant)
So I started searching Avon's website, and while I do like Avon a lot, I have to say, their search engine on their site sucks and their categories of products aren't so helpful. But! Miraculously! I found the blankies! They are called Rock-A-Bye Baby Blankies:
You can not imagine my glee upon finally finding these blankies! Because, boy are we going to need a couple extra elephants! (We're good on bunnies, but elephants? I don't know, would it be overreacting to buy a dozen?)
I've already sent off an email to Seth's coworker asking if we can order a couple extra elephants from her, and letting her know exactly how in love with it Sam is. Otherwise, I'll happily order them directly from Avon's website. Because although a parent can never predict which of the myriad of gifts we receive will become THE toy that our children get so attached to, we certainly can stock up once the attachment happens!
And now for your Lovey 101:
Don't make the same mistake that many parents make and just keep a brand new back-up lovey in the closet for when the inevitable happens. As soon as I receive my back up loveys, I'm going to give one to Sam and wash the old one. Then when it comes time to wash the one he's got, I'll give him the other new one, and wash the one that he'd had. Then I'll start evenly rotating them in and out so that they are all equally good and worn - because otherwise, he will come to favor one over the others, and THAT completely defeats the purpose!
We have, at various points, called both J and Sam "Monkey Boy." J because he's constantly jumping around from one piece of furniture to another, much the same way that a monkey jumps from tree to tree. Sam, because he screeches in much the same way that monkeys screech to get attention and communicate. But Sam is starting to give us new reasons to call him Monkey Boy and I'm not entirely sure that I like it... he's becoming quite the climber AND he appears to have prehensile toes.
Please pardon the quality of this picture - I didn't have a real camera handy, so Seth snapped a picture with his cell phone, but this morning, Sam was so very, very clingy and desperate to be held. I put him down for just a second so that I could get something, and he couldn't handle the stress. So distressed was he by the abandonment, that he immediately began climbing the gate in an effort to escape his temporary prison. Can you see his little toes wrapped through the holes of the baby gate? We are in big, big trouble. Earlier, he had nearly pushed the entire gate over - that gate is actually one big baby corral around the entire living room and he is so strong and determined that he nearly toppled the entire structure over in an effort to get out and get into Mommy's arms. You can see that he is quite a determined little beast and will not take no or "just a minute, sweetie" for an answer.
I was once told that the trick to being a parent is to be able to see all of our children's attributes as positive qualities, even those that on the surface appear to be negative ones. Stubbornness isn't a negative trait, for example; rather, it will mean that the child will grow up to be a determined individual who will succeed through their ability to stick to their goals even in the face of great obstacles. This will be my Sam. He will be an innovator. He will not be pushed around. He will get the things he needs and wants in life, no matter what obstacles stand in his way.
In the meantime, Mommy needs to be an innovator and find a new way to contain him. But for today, I guess I'll just be holding him a lot.
(For the record, it turned out he was just very, very tired. Once I held him for a while, he let me put clothes on him and put him into his crib. He didn't make a peep and fifteen minutes later when I checked on him, he was snoring gently.)