Security comforters

Many young children have a favourite soft toy or item which they cart around with them and can’t be without. Linus with his security blanket in the Charlie Brown comics is a good example.

The strong emotional attachment to an object, most commonly something soft and cuddly, generally occurs during  those years before school age when children are making the transition from total dependence to independence.

One of my children had a mohair blanket which seemed to be constantly with her. She would twirl and tease the hair until she had a little ball of fluff which she rolled between her fingers and used to caress her nose as she sucked her thumb. I would find little balls of fluff all over the house and, over a couple of years of such treatment, ‘Blankie” became quite threadbare.

I knew children who had favourite dolls they dragged around everywhere. They would become quite distressed if their dolls could not be found.

I knew children who could not be without their “Blankie” so mothers bought two identical so that one could replace the other while it was being washed.

Whatever the focus, it never seemed to matter how old, tatty, and frayed the items became, they were loved no less.

Newer toys and blankets made of microfibres are very soft and comforting, and perhaps more durable.

I don’t remember having a special toy or blanket for security. Do you?

Chances are, if I had one, I would have destroyed it somehow in attempting to discover its properties, as I was known to do with other toys. In my mind it wasn’t destruction, it was discovery. (Is that the excuse of those who invent weapons of mass destruction?)

Or possibly my lack of memory is more related to the fact that we have very few memories of our earliest years. According to this article by Australian science communicator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, childhood amnesia may be related to neurogenesis. The rapid increase of new nerve cells in those formative years means that the old nerve cells are over-written and hence memories erased.

The need for these comforters in young children is generally outgrown by the time children are of school age. The toys and blankets are discarded and forgotten as the children mature and other activities fill their time and minds.

But for children experiencing higher levels of insecurity and anxiety, the need may continue. For Marnie, a character about whom I wrote many flash fiction stories, a unicorn toy was of comfort when she was feeling particularly vulnerable. Her need for it continued into her early school years and its appearance was an indicator to teachers that things were going badly for her again. When, as a confident adult, she returned to her childhood home, she found she had long outgrown the unicorn that had given her comfort as a child..

I’m thinking about security objects and flash fiction again this week in response to Charli’s prompt at the Carrot Ranch to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about something frayed. It could be fabric, like a flag or garment. It could also be nerves or temper. What is it to be frayed?

However, I haven’t written about Marnie and her unicorn this time, but something else that’s frayed. I hope you enjoy it.

Second-hand store

He’d perched on the stool for longer than anyone knew. Though his coat was threadbare and his bowtie frayed, nothing could erase his smile as he waited daily for a tinkle announcing a potential buyer. The days, though long, were not too long for one as imaginative as he, conjuring stories for items cluttering the shelves.

One day a woman in a large blue hat and floral coat examined everything in the store, so quietly, he’d forgotten she was there. She startled him saying, “I’ll take him.”

Lovingly restored, he took his place alongside others in the Toy Museum.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

33 thoughts on “Security comforters

  1. Liz Husebye Hartmann

    Sweetness! A toy, waiting patiently for his spot in just the right place.
    Funny thing about Linus–his security blanket is a great tool for mastering the world, yet one that leaves him a little vulnerable, too. Much like the habits one holds on to to manage one’s own uncertain world….

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Security comforters | Sylvia W. McGrath

    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Sylvia, Thank you for checking for my post. Sadly I wasn’t organised enough to join in. I think #WATWB is a great initiative and aspire to joining in, but time often gets away from me.

      Like

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Frayed at the Edges « Carrot Ranch Communications

  4. Sarah Brentyn

    Ah. The loved stuffies and blankies. Loved, worn, frayed, tattered… I know these well. My kids have them. (One of the stuffies is a member of the family at this point.) And I still have my beloved stuffie from childhood. 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Stuffies – love that – yes, they are members of the family, and we can’t go anywhere without them. You are so fortunate to still have your stuffie. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. robbiesinspiration

    I really enjoyed your 99-word response to the prompt. I love dolls and have a large collection of porcelain dolls, clowns and teddy bears. I also sucked my thumb as a child which was my version of a security blanket.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Robbie. Some of us don’t outgrow our toys do we? I sucked my thumb too. I guess for security. My parents probably would have cut it off if they’d considered it as a solution. They tried almost everything else to get me to stop – then bribed me (as I recall) with five shillings, which I then had to spend on a pair of socks. Great incentive! Not! If I known before that that’s how I would have to spend it, maybe I’d still be sucking my thumb! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. robbiesinspiration

        It is really hard for a child to break a habit like sucking their thumb. My parents and grandmother tried everything to get me to stop. When eventually I did stop (for my own reasons and motivations) I was given a koala bear from Australia. Isn’t that interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          That’s awesome, Robbie. You got an Australian toy. African cuddlies are very popular here, even if some of them are not so cuddly in the flesh. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  6. Charli Mills

    Ah. Evidently I had a blankie. I don’t recall it, but there’s a family story of my “embarrassing” attachment to it until it was placed in the trash barrel and burned. My children had stuffed animals — one had a bunny, another a kitty and my youngest a dog named Pup who attended kindergarten with him. His teacher was terrific and also assigned Pup homework, a name tag and a place to sit. Today, my grown children remember their cuddlies fondly and have sibling tattoos to commemorate them! Each outline of bunny, kitty or pup is attached to an old-fashioned tin-can phone to represent their connection to each other. In my eldest’s room, her worn bunny cuddles with her husband’s worn teddy bear on a dresser. Interesting post, Norah and I appreciate your support and understanding of these security items to young children. Your flash is tender, exploring the idea of lingering importance of these items from childhood as we live out our adult lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Oh Charli, how distressing for you for your blankie to be put in the trash can and burned. It reminds me of some of the situations with Linus. How wonderful your children’s “Lovies” didn’t suffer the same fate, and what a lovely story about your youngest’s teacher. Some of us are caring people with the child’s needs at heart! I can think of no better reason for tattoos than those of your children. I agree with Sarah – very sweet. Especially with the connection via a tin-can phone. They were great for childhood communication. I think we all need something to hold onto throughout our lives. Security or comfort items can come in many forms. Pauline mentioned the word “addiction”. I wonder how many of those come from unfulfilled needs for security; such as having a blankie burned in the trash barrel before it was finished with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

      Like

      Reply
  7. dgkaye

    I love your little prelude stories before the flash Norah. Great explanation about the security items children hang on to, notably the security blankets, cozy cuddly and a comforting reminder of home to them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. thecontentedcrafter

    Ah the cuddlies! 🙂 I think we all have some version of a cuddly going on – for many adults it morphs into food – the blankets and toys are a healthy ‘addiction’ for little ones finding their way in a big world 🙂 I think your story was lovely on so many levels this week Norah, I like the thought that we are never too old to be given a new life.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline. Yes, we’re never too old to be appreciated and given a new life.
      Addiction – that’s an interesting way of looking at it. I hadn’t thought of it before. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. TanGental

    we had a blankie too as well as cuddly toys. I still have teddy and pussy cat willhelm who were my cuddlies from my distant youth. The flash was lovely; I can see the scene completely

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Geoff. I’m pleased the flash was effective. How lovely to still have some of your childhood treasures. Mine are long gone – sacrificed to science. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          Yes, sad to say, my need to find out led to lots of destruction and parental disapproval. I understand why they would be displeased, but it did help me to find out why and how. 🙂

          Like

          Reply
  10. Annecdotist

    Your take on the prompt always surprises me but it’s always a perfect fit with your blog focus on early years education. So you’ve done it again with transitional objects which are so important to young children (and sometimes so confusing to their parents).
    Great flash too – perhaps we could all learn something from the toy’s patient waiting.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased to surprise rather than be predictable, but maybe it’s a combination of both since I tie the post to my focus. I thought about you and your focus on attachment theory when I was writing this, and wondered what you’d think. Your knowledge is more specialised, mine personal, in this area.
      Your point about the flash is interesting, and one I hadn’t thought of. Perhaps we are all waiting, as the bear was, to be discovered. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Annecdotist

        I think your posts provide what novelists strive for in a good ending: a combination of the unexpected and yet totally fitting with what’s gone before. So if you are predictable, it’s only in retrospect!
        As for the knowledge, although psychoanalytic approaches are grounded in some often complex theoretical writing, the experiential aspect is considered of equal value – to me, you always seem very wise in how you make use of your personal experience.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s