Washing Baby’s Wah-Wah
What possessed this mom to wash her baby’s ‘transitional comfort object’?
(Catherine Goldfain )

As the grey puppy lay face down in the murky water, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of guilt. His legs were floppy, his body seemingly lifeless. He'd only just begun to know the world - and yet here he was, drowning in a sink of soap suds.

But as I wrung him out and pegged his ears to the clothes line, I had a far more pressing thought weighing on my mind: was he going to dry out by Baby's next nap time?

You see, this adorable grey pup (going by the name of Wah-Wah) is my 9-month-old's most treasured possession. They play together, they eat together, and most importantly, they sleep together. So, with it being Wah-Wah's first wash day, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
'I wouldn't chance it', my Mom had said, '… because if he's washed, he won't be Wah-Wah anymore!'

Frankly, having never known a toy to hone so badly, it was a risk I was quite happy to take.

Silly woman that I am, I could have sworn the cuddly cow would make a good substitute. After all, it was only for a few hours, right? Well, it took considerably less than a few hours for this boy genius to suss out the scene. Having realised Wah-Wah had gone AWOL, it wasn't long before the panicked shrieks erupted. The poor old cow was unceremoniously chucked out of the cot and Baby began kicking his feet in rage, his face growing redder by the second.

By late afternoon, Baby had screamed his way through a shopping mall, moaned his way through meal times, yelled his head off every time I put him down for a nap - and even rejected a hearty spoonful of vanilla custard. And the damn dog was still not dry!!! By the time I unpegged Wah-Wah from the washing line (by the light of the moon), he had a decidedly mischievous look about him: 'serves you right', he winked.

On the upside, Wah-Wah no longer smells like a garbage disposal unit. But it'll take a while, as my Mom warned, for him to smell like himself again. The spring-fresh fragrance didn't go down too well at first but the boy and his dog were eventually back to their old ways. As baby began decorating his doggy with dinner, I could finally take a moment to soothe my frazzled nerves.

Dummy versus comfort toy

That'll teach me, I thought...a dummy would have made my life a whole lot easier. And while 'transitional comfort objects' like Wah-Wah work most of the time, they have a distinct disadvantage in needing to be washed. What's more, having seen what a short absence can do to my little one's mood, I shudder to think what would happen should Wah-Wah get left behind somewhere- or worse yet, fall apart.

‘Get a duplicate’ one friend suggested. But, with Wah-Wah being a foreign national, tracking down his 'twin' is proving somewhat challenging. So for now, it's up to me to ensure this doggie stays in tip-top condition. Personally, I think the key is to avoid regular baths. I mean, what's a little dirt among friends anyhow?

I have learnt my lesson though- and by the time baby number two comes along, I'll do things a little differently. Next time I get my kid addicted to something, why not make it something mass-produced, something easily replaceable and most of all, something that doesn't need to be washed. Like a dummy, for instance?

Has your child got a favourite toy or blanket? 

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