We patted ourselves on the back when we bought two identical lovies for our second child. No more frantic searches of the house and the car at bedtime while a crying child refuses to go to bed alone. Being overcautious, I probably would have bought a third lovey, but I had to fight an aggressive mom at the store when I bought the two blue dogs that would become a central part of my son’s life.
The aggressive woman was from France and this was back when our economy was headed downward, but Europe was still going strong. Pottery Barn Kids was this woman’s discount store, as she filled her basket indiscriminately while using her stroller to block any other competing shoppers. She ignored my polite “excuse me’s,” as she slowly lifted her elbows outward like an NBA guard blocking the lane. Undeterred, I lunged in for two of the blue dogs, but was stopped from picking up a third when the woman jammed her stroller into my shins. Two dogs were really all we needed anyway, I reasoned, especially because my plan was to never let my son know more than one existed.
That plan – as they tend to do when children are involved – went laughably astray.
My son took to Bluey quickly as a baby, especially when he transitioned into a crib. Yet we managed to exclusively use one Bluey, keeping the backup Bluey hidden away in our closet until a friend warned that both lovies need to have about the same wear and smell or else the child would never accept the decoy lovey. My friend had made the mistake of not rotating lovies with her daughter and when the main lovey was lost, her daughter was quickly able to spot the differences between the original and the replacement and continued to cry enough for the replacement that my friend’s husband scoured their town until he found their daughter’s lovey – trapped on the street under a car tire. After waiting an hour for the car’s owner to return, the lovey was saved.
Another friend’s daughter lost her only lovey at the county fair, prompting the girl’s grandmother to spend a day searching the fairgrounds for it, only to find the blanket lovey in the hands of a farmer, using it as a chamois to dry his pig.
Lovey pitfalls are more plentiful than I had imagined. Almost every family has a story about the beloved bear left behind in a hotel room or late nights searching eBay for an identical replacement.
We successfully managed to rotate the second, much cleaner Bluey into use. Between the rough treatment administered by my son and multiple washings, soon both Bluies now look equally battered. And despite many trips through the laundry, both continue to smell like a hobo.
Things worked perfectly for some time. If main Bluey was ever left behind in the car, we’d quietly pull out the replacement to save a late night trip out to our unattached garage. It was no problem when I once went out at bedtime with main Bluey in my car because backup Bluey was hidden away at home. And it shouldn’t have been a problem one day when I threw main Bluey into the washing machine while taking the alternate out of the house with us.
Except, I forgot that our cleaning lady – who didn’t know about the dual Bluies – would be stopping by while we were out. When we returned later that afternoon, my son went into his room and gasped. As I walked in, he gleefully exclaimed, “I have two Bluies!” He was holding one in his hand and the other one, fresh from the dryer, was sweetly resting on his pillow. “Hooray!” he said as he scooped both of them into his arms. My response was much less optimistic.
Now we take both Bluies everywhere, which adds complexity to even a short trip to the market. We now have a rule that the Bluies must stay in the car if we take them out with us, which has helped a little, but it’s mostly a logistical headache. Not only do I need to watch out for my two children, I have to keep a constant eye on the Bluies. One is almost always getting dropped or stepped on, but I need to keep them close because they are invaluable at bedtime when they make my son feel safe enough to drift off to sleep easily. Not much is worse than having a child in bed with the lights out, inches away from what I consider my finish line for the night – when the kids are asleep and I have sole control over my time – but the sacred lovey is nowhere to be found.
Because they mean so much to my kids, the two Bluies and my daughter’s bear Snowy have found their way into my heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if as my kids grow up and away, I’m the one who ends up clinging to their old lovies for comfort.