My children don't have a toy lovey that is their main squeeze. They have different toys on different weeks---or days---that are the flavor of the moment, but no particular attachment to any one stuffed animal, doll, or blanket.
As new parents we were assured that a lovey, aka security object, was essential. We were told to introduce an object and the baby would attach. So we tried. And tried and tried.
One day in the store, Patience spied a Groovy Girl doll. She was just over 1 and she pointed excitedly, "Dat! Dat!" Surprised, and heartened that perhaps now we had finally found the lovey, I bought it for her. And for about nine months, it seemed as if we had succeeded. Patience carried that doll everywhere. Everyone seemed relieved.
Before a year was up, though, Patience was all finished with her Groovy Girl doll. She set it down, and never, ever has picked it up or shown any interest in it. The only fond recollection and sentiment for that doll is ours.
For a while, people asked about the doll, "Where is she? Has she been replaced?"
That's when I finally realized the security object is mainly for the comfort of the adults. When the child is sad, or lonely, scared, or unsure...hand over the lovey with a hug and reassuring words. We felt better leaving her at her Montessori school with her beloved doll. The teachers felt better having it there.
But, alas, no, there was no replacement. Just rotating toys of interest.
I worried a little about her inability to attach, to commit---was this indicative of a lifelong trend?
Permanence is important to me. I had little to none of it as I grew up. We moved every couple of years, had some big change regularly, and I never really learned how to hang in there for the long-haul. I had determined to provide security and permanence for my children.
When I reflected, I realized that Patience had no problem attaching. She merely knew what was important, and it wasn't an object such as a toy. She was very attached to people. And we had known about her real lovey all along: us.
Patience loves to sit by you and rub your elbow.
So we were wiser when Persistence came along. Like Patience, she is attached to people. Or more specifically, their ear lobes.
The true comfort is in knowing that we have taught our children to look to us as security objects, that they do have object permance and attachment to what really matters...so that it never really matters where we are, they are, or how permanent or impermanent life may be. They always have the best lovey: love.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert