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Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Around a year of age, your child will probably choose what's known in parenting circles as a lovey.  My children chose theirs carefully at 14 months.  At first, Dulce tried to make a hot pink plastic watering can her lovey, but it just wasn't cuddly enough.  She settled on a pink blanket.  Natalina took to a bear with which the twins had shared their infancy.

You may remember Blankie and Bear from one of my earliest posts where I told you how to wash them.  Reading back, I agree with my techniques for preservation, but I realized I glazed over the most traumatizing part of the whole affair: the after-wash lovey rejection.

Dulce has gone up to five days and nights rejecting her cleaned Blankie.  She simply refuses to sleep with it unless it smells like her.  She'd prefer it to smell dirty than clean because while dirty, it still smells like her underneath the dried milk and fermenting grape juice.  Once it's clean, it smells like nothing - a fate worse than death, and apparently deserving of total exile.  Of course, without Blankie, she can't sleep.  The days after a wash can be brutal.  I've devised some ways to save you my fate.

First, if you do nothing else I've advised, do this:  wash your child's lovey twice a week.  Do this whether or not the lovey is dirty.  Of course, the more you wash the lovey, the more quickly it will wear out.  Buy multiple loveys, all exactly the same.  Get your child used to the switch early, before toddler stubborness sets in.  Also, wash the loveys using the tips I wrote about in August to keep their lives as long as possible.  If your child gets used to the smell of a clean lovey, that's the smell your child will want.

If it is too late for you, and you suffer clean lovey rejection like I do, here are the less-than-ideal alternatives that I use:  wash the loveys with baking soda only, not soap.  No smell at all is better than clean smell.  If it needs to be a quick and dirty wash, take that literally.  Throw the lovey into the wash at the end of the cycle, so that it only gets half the amount of soap and wash as the other laundry.

Make sure, also, that the lovey is dried completely and cooled to room temperature before giving it back to baby.  The fewer things that are different about the lovey, the more likely the baby will accept it.  If at all possible, wash and dry the lovey without your baby realizing it's gone.  Once it's dried and cooled, put it back on his bed so that he can find it on his own, as if nothing ever happened.

Nothing is more sad in daily parenting life than a baby's rejection of his lovey.  It's as if an old friend abandoned him.  With any luck, if you try these tips, your child and his lovey can remain best buddies in any stage of clean.

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