At least 28 Things His Blankie Has Been:
1) A racetrack for cars
2) Grass for horses
3) Fence for horses
4) Pirate hat
Every child’s blankie (or whatever ratty thing they drag around) is special. But my kid’s blankie is more special than your kid’s blankie. We got his blankie at the hospital where we, um, got him. I hope that doesn’t sound crude. How about this: We got his blankie at the hospital where his birthmother gave birth to him. It was the last time he was with his birthmother. It was the only time that his birthmother and I were ever in the same place. I would like to take him back to that hospital one day and walk through the maternity ward together. He may never meet her, but it’s the one place that we know she occupied.
His blankie was handmade, even though it came from the hospital gift shop. I guess little old ladies make these things and donate them to the gift shop. When he was born, we were given several (or more!) handmade blankets from grandmas and aunts and friends, and each of these crocheted/ knitted/ embroidered treasures is priceless to me. However, none of them came from the place where his birthmother gave him to us.
I’ve been taught proper adoption language. I don’t say things like she “gave up her baby”. I say, she “placed her baby for adoption”. However, when you get down to the heart of it, she did give us a human being. That she made. At that hospital. Where that blankie was purchased.
My son didn’t seem to have the usual oral fixation of every other baby. He didn’t care about thumbs or binkies. To add to that, he was a terrible sleeper. I pushed the blankie on him. Around nine months, I started to hold the blankie against his cheek during every bottle and every cuddle. It didn’t take long before that thing was king. It never left his side at home. He even learned to walk with the blankie dangling from his mouth, because he needed both hands straight out for balance. Frankenstein’s monster, with a blankie stuffed in his mouth.
By the time he was walking, at the ripe old age of 15 months, that blankie was eroding enough for me to be concerned about its future. It was also causing a major anxiety attack in its user at every wash cycle. How do you replace a handmade blankie? The answer is to call the hospital gift shop and give them a sob story. When I told the manager, over the phone, about our adoption/blankie story, she said it was no problem to mail us a second one. She took my name and address and then told me to have a good day. I said, “Wait, don’t you need my credit card information?” No, she wanted to send it to us as gift. I was overcome with emotion.
That blankie arrived, for free. We promptly sent a thank-you note with a picture of him loving on it. It took a while before he accepted it as wholeheartedly as the first one. But, soon enough, it was part of our wash rotation. We had to make blankie rules, such as No Blankie in the Car, No Blankie at the Table, No Blankie in the Bath.
He learned to talk. He couldn’t say “blankie”, so it came out as “Dee Dee”. Now, I am not a fan of baby talk. I don’t necessarily correct his speech, but I do what I was taught to do in my classroom: to repeat the phrase correctly myself, after he says it incorrectly. “Dee Dee” was the one word I left alone. “Dee Dee” can be a person’s name, I rationalized. Plus, it was so dang cute.
He is now old enough, at 3 ½, to know that he has to refer to it as “Blankie” to other people, but can call it “Dee Dee” at home with us. Dee Dee is not allowed out of the house, and never was – except for when I was in the hospital and he was a frightened little thing. (You’ll see it in our hospital pictures!) However, it has become quite a fixture in this house during both playtime and nighttime.
To him, Dee Dee represents all of the dozens of things I listed above. To him, Dee Dee represents security. But to me, Dee Dee represents the last connection he has to his birthmother, the woman who gave us our firstborn son. She is the woman who chose us, from thousands of others, for some unknown reason. She is the woman who felt that this little soul belonged with us.
She deserves her own blog post. Let me get on that.