Mr. Bear is an important member of our household. He’s the Sweet Potato’s comfort object.
I’m not really sure when we realized the importance of Mr. Bear. It was pretty early in the SP’s life. Since that time, Mr. Bear has gone nearly everywhere the SP goes. He travels to daycare every day. He visits grandma with us. He gets carried around our house. He doesn’t get to go to the grocery store, or places like that, because we fear losing him.
He’s been left in the yard once. He got thrown in the trash at daycare by an overzealous toddler helping to clean up one time, and was (fortunately) saved by Miss Evelyn. He gets a bath once a week, and he can be truly grimy by the end of the week.
Once, I tried washing him more frequently. I thought, if I wash him at midnight while the boy is sleeping, he won’t notice. Unfortunately, the SP woke up just after I had put Mr. Bear into the wash, and then we were doomed. He wouldn’t go back to sleep until after Mr. Bear was dried and in his crib again.
Since the SP is a kid who has been largely sleep-problem-free, we’re happy about the presence of Mr. Bear.
The Bee never had a comfort object, per se. Instead, she had my thumb (or thumby, as she called it). We lived in an apartment when she was a baby, and to keep her from screaming all night (and keeping the upstairs neighbors awake), one of us had to sit with our hand in the crib, so that she could sleep with her hand gripping onto the thumb. It was the only thing that comforted her.
When she broke her leg (at age two) and we were in the ER, she held onto my thumb and stopped crying. The attending nurse said she had never seen anything like it. While very endearing, it became a real problem, especially once it came time for her to sleep on her own.
I’m happy about Mr. Bear, because he gave the SP something to hang onto at night that isn’t attached to me. There’s something about this bear that just really does it for him. Know what it is? The tag on its butt. The SP sticks the tag into his ear, and then all is well with the universe. I can’t explain it–I once stuck the tag into my own ear, to see if I could understand the attraction, but it eludes me.