My daughter came home from school one afternoon, hopping up and down about a book called, Knuffle Bunny. She insisted we head to the library. Immediately.
We read the book together and I smiled as the main character, Trixie, reminded me so much of my daughter and her little lovey blanket.
"Does this remind you of anything? Like Baba?" I asked my daughter, referring to her own well-loved transitional object.
"Yes, mama! Trixie has a lovey, too!"
We've since acquired our own copy of Knuffle Bunny, written by the hilariously brilliant Mo Willems. This book has made its way into our regular reading rotation, as Trixie and her accidentally misplaced lovey became our old friends with each giggly reading. We even argue 'til we're guffawing about whether the "K" in the title is silent.
In fact, Willems' sequels involve a clever, loving evolution of Trixie's relationship with Knuffle Bunny. In the second book, Trixie and another child accidentally switch loveys, and, in the third, a more mature Trixie is able to part with Knuffle Bunny, as if ready to transfer its soothing powers to another child in need of some security and comfort. There's no doubt that Willems has captured the beautifully complicated relationship between my daughter and her lovey blanket, um, I mean Trixie and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. Willems got it right, down to the question of who dreads the misplacing of the lovey more: the parent or the child, and the occasional frantic family search for the one-and-only lovey.
My daughter has gained insight into how Trixie expresses herself when it comes to her beloved transitional object. "Even though Trixie doesn't have the words to say she loves her Knuffle Bunny, she does love it," my daughter explains. "And even though she doesn't have the words to say she's upset when she doesn't have it, Trixie finds a way to show her dad how she feels."
My family's take on loveys? Just knowing there's a lovey to come home to can sideline insecurities, helping kids do what they need to do: a night away from home, a doctor's appointment or finding the right words or actions in a tough situation. It’s a little emotional boost. Adding a Pouchie Pal takes the comfort to the next level and helps our child soothe when she needs it most. Since she associates her Pouchie Pal with her lovey, we’ve found that the Pal, itself, can step in as the main lovey when her blanket is temporarily lost, or comes out the (Gasp!) washing machine, or when it’s not allowed or at risk of being the subject of mistaken identity like in Knuffle Bunny Too. A transitional object for the true transitional object, so to speak.
"What is so special about your lovey?" I ask my little one.
"It makes me feel better when I'm sad, it soothes me when I'm tense or stressed and makes me feel like I can calm down."
In one simple sentence, my daughter revealed the true power behind Pouchie Pals - combining the proven psychological benefits of her lovey with tangible comfort.