January 29, 2010


As new parents, we worked so diligently to get our difficult, fussy firstborn attached to a transition object: a plush elephant blankie, fondly named Ellie.


Once the bond was formed, it became unbreakable. Bedtime... naptime... any separation from Mommy required Ellie's soothing presence.


When she was two, the unthinkable happened and Ellie was lost. For two hours we endured our daughter's hysterics until, with flashlights and desperation, we located Ellie in a corner of the playground. The next day we spent $65 on eBay for a backup Ellie... it was worth every cent.


Now, nearly five years after she entered our lives, we are ready to say goodbye to the little elephant. Yet that bond we worked so hard at forging is proving just as difficult to break. Our daughter cannot dream of giving up her faithful friend and constant companion.


And perhaps it's too soon to push her into making that sacrifice. After all, she's bound to outgrow her blankie eventually. It's not like when she's thirty, with kids of her own, she'll still have a beloved and raggedy transition object lying on her bed...


So obviously, I am not the best role model, but the dilemma remains. Share with me... how did you get your kids to say goodbye to their favorite blankie?

Owen by Kevin Henkes

From the author of Julius, Baby of the World, this little mouse-tale follows Owen as his parents do their best to break him of his blanket-addiction. Owen's neighbor Mrs. Tweezers suggests "helpful" solutions such as dipping the blanket in vinegar or having the Blanket Fairy take "Fuzzy" away. Owen finds ingenious ways around these endeavors until it's time for him to start school. Unable to take Fuzzy to class, his mother comes up with the perfect solution: turning Fuzzy into a handkerchief.

Thankfully, E has never tried to bring Ellie to school, but I also don't think she would ever let me cut her up! I love Henkes' ability to capture the simple cares and joys of young children in his approachable characters. This is a good one to at least introduce the concept of letting go of that ubiquitous transition object.

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

Something From NothingWhen he was a baby, Joseph received a blue blanket from his grandfather. A few years later it is tattered and torn and his mother declares it must be thrown away. "Grandpa can fix it!" declares Joseph, and Grandpa turns the blanket into a coat. When the coat becomes too small, Grandpa turns it into a vest. This cycle repeats, following Joseph's growth as the blanket transforms into a tie, handkerchief and button. When Joseph loses the button, he turns it all into a wonderful story!

Gilman retells this Jewish Folktale with gentle narration and beautiful illustrations. It's a sweet tale of growth, transformation, and the love of family.


  1. Are you SERIOUSLY trying to get E to say goodbye to Ellie? I can't imagine. I've just figured Zeph will have to endure getting razzed by his roommates when he takes nigh-night with him to college. I'm not choosing to fight that battle! As long as he poops in a toilet, he can have his gross nigh-night :).

  2. I am not that great of a role model either... I still have my blanket for comfort... my hubby hates it but it helps me sleep... I still have bad night terrors.

    I say if she loves it and it is not causing a problem, why does she have to get rid of it?

  3. I am also not one to talk. While I don't sleep with the original favorite blankie, I quickly became attached to my comforter in college and still sleep with it some 20 years later. I think it was gradual. For a long time it never left my bed, then I could put it in a drawer. My college blanket is on it's last legs and I am coming to terms with the fact that it should be tossed. Sigh.

  4. Did I take your bear away from you at bedtime? Have a heart!!!---Mom

  5. We never made our little ones give up their blankies, we just had a rule that they needed to leave them in their rooms. Same with the pacifiers, every once and a while one of them would run in and take a hit off the pacifier or a snuggle from the blankie. It worked well and they didn't bring them everywhere.

  6. Luke's blankies started finding their way to the floor and every few nights or so he'd forget to have them so I knew he was ready to transition from them. We started by putting them on the shelf in his closet with the light on at night so he could see it. He hasn't asked for it in months now. But take your cues from E. She'll let you know when and if she's ready to give it up.
    O! And I love those old Owen books :-)

  7. My daughter will be 6 in May and has had the same little stuffed cat since she was 8 weeks old. I even bought replacements on ebay, but we never needed them.

    This kitty goes everywhere, I keep track of him like a second kid!

    I can't imagine Abby being ready to part from kitty anytime soon.

  8. I have a friend that wanted to have her daughter "weaned" from her blankie. So every Saturday, while her little girl was otherwise distracted, she cut an inch strip off the bottom of the blanket. The little one never noticed the missing strip. Each week her blanket got a little smaller. Pretty soon, it wasn't enough of a comfort object to be worried about! The mom then took those strips and made a little pillow for her bed. The little girl still had something that felt and smelled familiar, but not something she dragged around all day. Looks like you might be able to do the same and just be left with a litte stuffed elephant to sit on her shelf or on her bed? I don't know the answer! I think it's different for everyone. Good luck!!


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