The power of a binky
Binky, blankie, toto, doodee. Never underestimate the emotional attachment of a kid and his special item.

It seems all children have one. Something special which remains clasped in a tiny hand for the first few months of life. Often the fascination will hover around until preschool, and then, as quickly as the love affair started, it ends.

You remember Linus? The Peanuts character who is instantly recognizable by his security blanket? How many of you had something you carried around with you which gave you comfort? And how is it that sometimes the items we choose are so random, and yet so full of meaning when we’re young?

I had a couple myself: I had a nylon speckled hen, which I like to chew on as I went to sleep, and, of course, my treasured teddy bear, which I have to this day. Edward still has the raspy squeak when you press his tummy that used to entertain me when I was too small to reach the bathroom door. He even accompanied me to school during the first tearful days.

My brother had his Rabbits, a soft blanket with, predictably, rabbits printed on it, and a ratty-looking bear named, mystifyingly, Sophie Jesus. My eldest son had a frog, although he preferred to stroke the little printed label on the side, and a knitted clown. My daughter still needs her doll, named Middle Baby, with her when she goes to sleep, a doll selected from dozens she has possessed.

When we’re born, we’re totally naked, but we start accumulating things immediately. When we become parents, there’s a period of generosity from family and friends, and the new baby is often hard to spot behind a mountain of soft toys. It’s a special time, and one small part of that is seeing your baby becoming attached to something.

This attachment can create problems: The selected item needs to be strategically cleaned so it’s still available at nap times, and constantly monitored the way you would your house keys. Don’t let it out of your sight.

Sophie Jesus met an unfortunate end in an over-curious flushing toilet incident, and the tears following the disappearance were copious. Ever had to run back to a shop or restaurant to ask if a toy has been picked up, only to be met with disbelieving stares? Who could possibly value that stained doll with the missing fingers and cock-eyed stare?

A toddler could.

I have a theory that these inanimate partners for our children are their first anchor to a new world- the first part of this dizzying new environment which is solely theirs. They can’t control mom or dad, but this one chosen item is a partner through all the confusing new lessons and chaotic emotions.

I bet if you think back through the years to that time, you’ll remember what used to help you through the dark hours of the night, protecting you from shadows on the curtains, and how you used to whisper baby prayers to it as you went to sleep, or made it drink orange juice tea during lounge-floor picnics.

And I bet it still makes you smile.

What special binkies have you or your children loved or lost?

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