Feed on

Dirty Dog

I suppose the aphorism is true. On our flight from SF to Cleveland two weeks ago, Matt and I accidentally left Dirty Dog behind. We worried that its loss would complicate getting Simon to sleep that night, and indeed he looked a bit confused when we handed him a frog blanket and a taggie blanket that night. Thankfully, he fell asleep without too much fuss.

Our first day back in town, we went to the Whitworths’ house and collected Dirty Duck, Dirty Dog’s sibling, which they keep for Simon’s Thursday naps. Dirty Duck is made from the same fabric as Dirty Dog, so the feel in a sleeping baby’s hands is identical and the appearance is similar enough to make it effective as a lovey and part of our sleep-time ritual.

While Simon cozied up with Dirty Duck Saturday night, Matt went online and ordered two replacement Dirty Dogs. Frankly, we felt a bit silly about the thing, as we strongly suspected that we were more attached to Dirty Dog than Simon was.

“He’d be fine with just Dirty Duck” we told each other. “We’re the ones who are attached to Dirty Dog.”

How wrong we were! Several days later the twin Dirty Dogs arrived. I gleefully ripped open the box in anticipation of bedtime. Once 8:00 p.m. arrived and we went through our nightly ritual, we placed Simon in his crib and I handed him Dirty Dog. What I saw next surprised me, because Simon clearly recognized Dirty Dog and was happy to see him after a week’s absence.

He reached out for the blanket, but did not tuck it under his arm and snuggle up right away. Instead, he held Dirty Dog at arm’s reach, turned him around, and seemingly inspected his face. Satisfied that this was indeed his old friend, he made a part-sigh, part-laugh sound and snuggled up with him.

From that day on, Simon has been more attached to and in love with Dirty Dog than ever. He carries him around, he hugs and kisses him, we hear him talk about “dir doe” throughout the day, and he’s integrated Dirty Dog into his daily play. We have since taken to use Dirty Dog as a general comfort object and have him kiss Simon when he’s upset. It didn’t keep him from crying at the pediatrician’s office on Friday, but I’m sure it got him to calm down faster after the exam.

What a funny and endearing turn of events. All hail Dirty Dog!

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