Goodbye, precious lovey. Hello, 1st grade.

Two nights ago, Annie stopped sleeping with her Blankie.

She had been cuddling with Blankie – a ratty, disintegrating old burp cloth – every night since she was about two years old.

For years, sleep was impossible without Blankie. And new adventures could not be tackled without Blankie being toted along. It may have been hidden in a backpack, tucked deep down in a pocket, but Blankie was always there.

Blankie has been to preschool, Cape Cod, Disney World, New York, New Hampshire, and even kindergarten. With Blankie, any new situation could be overcome and sleep was simple. Without Blankie? Well, we didn’t really want to know.

As Annie started getting jittery about going off to first grade, I was wondering if Blankie would stow away in her backpack on the first day of school.

But for the last few weeks, Annie had been complaining that Blankie was getting yucky.

Blankie wasn’t soft anymore. She couldn’t sleep with Blankie next to her face. And lately, every time she talked about Blankie, her complaints were tinged with a bit of Big Girl distaste.

“Mom,” Annie said to me with a wrinkled nose, “Blankie is really falling apart.” She held it out at arms’  length for me to examine. We were reading a new chapter book and cuddling in bed.

“Hmmm. Well, what do you want to do about it?”

Annie flopped back in bed. “I don’t know. I’m not sure.” She pondered this, then tucked Blankie into her stuffed animals. Away from her.

Then, two nights ago, Annie appeared in the hallway at bedtime with Blankie. “Dad,” she announced to Hubs. “Blankie is falling apart. I can’t cuddle with it anymore. I tried to let my animals sleep with it, but every night it gets smaller.”

She held Blankie up to Hubs to show him. Hubs looked at Annie, then Blankie, then back to Annie.

“So,” Hubs said, “Do you want mom and me to hang onto it?”

Annie nodded slowly.

“We could put it in a bag so it doesn’t fall apart more,” Hubs suggested.

Annie nodded more surely. “Yes. A pretty bag.” So Hubs took Blankie out of her hand and Annie strode off to her room.

Now Blankie sits on my dresser in a haphazard ball, waiting to be reclaimed by its rightful owner.

“Let’s keep it there for a while,” said Hubs. “You know, in case Annie decides she wants it back.”

But Annie hasn’t wanted Blankie back.

Now it’s the eve of first grade. Tomorrow Annie is going to hop on the bus, carrying first-day butterflies in her belly and fresh school supplies on her back, and merrily wave goodbye.

And I’m going to go home and tearily research how to preserve a Blankie. In a pretty bag.


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59 Replies to “Goodbye, precious lovey. Hello, 1st grade.”

  1. “…every night it gets smaller.” Maybe it’s because she’s getting bigger. 😉 How cute. I love that sometimes we don’t have to worry about how to get the lovies away from our kids. My Joey logically talked himself out of his Binky when he was ready. I’m all for letting it happen naturally rather than forcing it. Happy first day of school, Mama!

  2. Oh my heart.

    Max has a blanket too, but the most important part of Blanket is what he calls “Deedee” – the labels. Recently, the first label finally fell off. The second one has a gaping hole. He has rubbed that tag so many times that he has completely worn it through. Max is only four and a half, so I’m not sure when Blanket will stop being such a big part of our lives, but I think it may happen within the next year. I’ve been making an effort to capture Blanket in pictures when I can, because I know I’m going to miss him too.

    Oh, and Blanket is totally a proper noun with capitalization. Blanket has a whole personality, he talks, and has been on many adventures. He’s the physical manifestation of an imaginary friend.

    And now I have a lump in my throat. Good luck to Annie.

    1. My mom showed me my Blankie from when I was little. It’s a Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket. So soft and worn. She has it in a drawer in my room. You can do the same with Max’s and show him one day! 🙂

  3. What are you trying to do to me? Another thing not to do when PMSing? Read this story! My little guy just gave up his Blankie, too. I have a hard time every time my kids do something that shows me just how not little they really are. I cry sometimes over it. I miss my little boys. Now I have bigger boys. Fun stuff at this age, but the innocence is disappearing. (Okay, Steph… time to stop crying now). Anyway, nice post, JD.

    1. Thanks, Steph! My good friend just had her third baby and I am so getting my baby fix through her. I can’t believe Annie is in 1st grade and Gracie is going to be four! GAH! But Gracie is still a baby in so many ways. I hope she stays babyish for just a little longer…

  4. We have two Blankies in our house. I relate. And my big one starts first grade next week, too. No sign of giving up blankie, though and it’s in pretty good condition. But voluntarily giving it up? Ugh. As if it isn’t hard enough for us to watch them grow up too fast; she has to go and give up her Blankie on her own, too? Slow down, time, wouldya???

  5. oh how sweet. my rising-second grader still has “doofy” i can’t imagine the day i get to search on how to save doofy instead of how to keep her (or is it him?) off the dinner table.

  6. Oh em gee…my heart! I wonder if Bucket Head will ever get to that place with his Turtle. (Turtle is STANKY.)

    Hugs! PS – don’t store it in plastic, it will break down over time. Use a cloth bag. Maybe you guys could sew it together?

    1. Aw…his babies…so precious!!!! Annie wasn’t attached to one particular blankie until she was maybe four years old. She slept with any one of the burp cloths – it didn’t matter – for so long… sigh. How is she so OLD now??!!

    1. There are so many awesome things about Annie getting older. And I feel like I can appreciate them b/c I still have her little sister to baby. 😉 But man – as she moves out of a cute stage, it’s hard…

  7. My middle son starts Kindergarten tomorrow. “Baby Elephant,” who has been with us since the day he turned two, seems less and less important lately. It too has traveled lots, the length of the whole east coast in fact, and I dread the day he doesn’t get packed. Kindergarten is giving me bittersweet butterflies.

  8. So sweet. I made a quilt for each of my three babies. My oldest referred to his as his “nigh night”. I stitched, re-pieced, and re-backed that thing a number of times. A few years ago, when it was literally hanging in shreds, I cut down a small piece about 6″x10″; the rest was lovingly folded into a box for safe keeping. The other day I was in my son’s room and saw that small piece of his quilt peeking out from under his pillow. Colby is 6’2″ and will be 18 in October, and while he has gone on to camp, sleep overs, and what have you, without it, he still keeps that little piece of childhood near him at night when he is at home, in his own bed.

    1. OMG. That is so adorable. He’s always your baby. Sigh…

      Can you teach me how to sew? Seriously. I have bins of my girls baby clothes that I want to sew into quilts. And I can’t even thread the needle of my freakin’ sewing machine!

      1. I just re-read your post — and the comments — with something of a similar feeling. My youngest starts middle school on Wednesday; where did the time go? It was just yesterday … As I read all of the lovely comments from moms with young children and babies, they make me smile and take me back … my only advice would be that as much as you celebrate the “firsts”, notice the “lasts”, as you have done with your post about your daughter’s Blankie. Do not mourn them, but recognize them for the passage into a new time that they are. Kids are marvelous beings! As for the dreaded day when your child says s/he “hates you”, don’t worry about it because right about that time, the feeling will be mutual … but you will all get over it, I promise!

        As for the sewing, take a class! Often times fabric stores will offer them, and it can be a one day/few hour thing that will get you started. All you need to know is to thread the needle, and then sew a line. No fancy stuff required. You CAN do it! (I used to count the number of nap times as for how long it would take me to make a quilt … 5 nap times, 8 nap times … :>)

    1. Thanks Anna!

      The great thing about stuffed animals is that they can retire to a special shelf in your kiddo’s room, so you – I mean, your kid – doesn’t have to entirely part with the lovey. 🙂

  9. Lump. In. Throat.
    I am busy writing a Blankie story of my own as we speak, we must be on some sort of psychic wavelength thingamajig…can I link my post to this one?

    You write so beautifully. That butterfly line. Just wow.

    Wishing Annie only happy days as a big school girl x

  10. Definitely a tear-jerker. My 8 y.o. son still sleeps with his Bankie from when he was a baby, though we are sworn to secrecy about this vis-a-vis his friends. I figure when he’s ready, he’ll let me know, but I secretly hope he hangs onto this one last vestige of babyhood a little longer. Thanks for posting this!

    1. You never know – I slept with my giant bear (that I got when I was 8 or so) through high school. And it went to college with me. And it is now at the foot of Annie’s bed. 🙂

  11. What a big step…for her. For mommy, realization that none of us want. We want them to experience new things, make “big” girl decisions, and become their own person. It would just be better if we were ready. Clearly, you’ve done your job. She is prepared. So sit a snuggle blankie, but don’t let her catch you. Deep breaths mommy. I’m doing them with you.

  12. You’re making it very difficult to stalk blogs while working — I mean, how am I supposed to explain teary eyes? My little boy doesn’t have a favorite toy/blanket/etc yet but I often look down at his sweet 6 month old face while he’s sleeping in my arms and think, “in a few years he’s going to tell me he hates me and go off to school.” Breaks my freaking heart.

    1. Nonononononoooo! He won’t hate you at least until he’s a tween. 😉

      Thankfully I haven’t heard those words yet. My heart will stop when I do. And then I’ll come to my senses and ground the little smart-arse.

  13. “Now it’s the eve of first grade. Tomorrow Annie is going to hop on the bus, carrying first-day butterflies in her belly and fresh school supplies on her back, and merrily wave goodbye.”

    Absolutely beautiful.

  14. This is heartbreaking to me. Adolpha still sleeps with her blankie and her stuffed puppy every night. It sounds like she has the same love affair as Annie. I can’t imagine how sad I will be when she gives up those final pieces of her childhood. I also don’t know what I’ll threaten her with. Right now all that keeps her in line is the threat of losing one of those precious things.

  15. Guh. I was in a totally sassy/bitchy moody today, just dealing out the snark left and right. Until I read this. And now I’m just a big old mushball. A doesn’t have a blankie but he just started kindergarten and decided to start calling me by my first name instead of mommy. I thought it’d last for a few days but he’s been doing it for more than a week. That’s it. I’m locking him in the basement where he will live with me forever and ever, amen.

  16. Oh, I love it and I kind of hate it because I can relate. My girl is 7 and still sleeps with her beloved Fifi ( pink poodle) she's had it since she was a few months old. I remember the night before kindergarten, Fifi was lost and Bella was sort of Ok with it. I was freaking the hell out but not my girl. She does still sleep with Fifi and like blankey has been everywhere but I'm sure soon, fifi will be sitting in a drawer in my room…and I will be crying into that damn piece of pink puff wondering where my child went:)
    You did great. Love this story. Thank you for sharing and linking up.

    1. Thank you! I had to link up with this one. It is one of my favorite posts ever – if not my favorite. 🙂

      Last night, out of the blue, Annie asked where her blankie was. She is missing it all of a sudden. My heart melted a little…

  17. What a big girl! My son is in second grade and still loves his stuffed frog as much as he did when he was a baby and I will be devastated when he gives it up. Lovely post, really, touching and wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Love this post!
    My daughter had a stuffed-animal mouse that went everywhere… until we lost in in the mall… there was no finding it again, so we went to the toy store and bought 4 identical ones, they lasted until she was over it in grade 2 😉

  19. Oh how SWEET! I bet there was a point you would have happily thrown it away but she made it a souvenir before you knew it was going to be one. LOVE IT!

    Visiting you via the link up party at Sensible Moms. Nice to meet you!

  20. My sister STILL has her blankie, at 21 years old. It was one of those silky nightshirts that were super popular in the 90s. One night she was just screaming her head off and wouldn’t let go of my mom, so in a moment of desperation and exhaustion my mom just took the shirt off and laid her down with it. She’s kept it either on her person, or, as she got older, under her pillow ever since.

    Thanks for sharing on the Glitter Fart hop!

  21. *sniff* That is *sniff* adorable, what a *sniff* big girl! My girls have their lovies, too, but I'm not as brave as you, we make them leave them IN THE HO– — — USE or I know they will lose them, tear them, rip them or all three! Cute post!

  22. Oh, this will be hard. I had a rough moment a few months back when some mean 4th grader told my sweet 5yo that “BIG girls do NOT sleep with stuffed animals” (in reference to my daughter’s bunny-headed lovey blankie). My daughter decided to give her bunny to one of her little sisters, until I told her that she could take it back at any time, it didn’t have to be a “forever” give. She took it back later that afternoon with tears in her eyes.
    But she’s slowly replacing bunny with other toys at night – we’ll see what happens when she stars 1st grade in a couple weeks!
    (PS – I’ve seen pretty touile (?) bags they use for fancy lingerie – that might work for blankie! Or find a pretty pillow case, sew blankie in it so blankie is still *there* but can’t fall apart anymore, and can still be washed)

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