Let’s talk about loveys. You know, those soft and silky and fluffy things we buy for babies because—let’s face it—they’re soft and silky and fluffy and loveable. Not to mention so dang cute.
I remember it well: balancing a beautiful box on my seven-months-pregnant belly at my baby shower, so excited to peek inside. Without even looking at the card, I knew who this gift was from—a family friend who’s known me since I was a baby.
Inside the box, nestled into a beautiful hand-crocheted blanket, rested the softest, silkiest, most adorable lovey—a tawny brown bear. I instantly knew that this would be the first friend to join Reagan in his crib.
Fast forward five years, and let me tell you—loveys are no joke. The term “lovey” invokes strong emotion and opinions, at least in this household. So, whether you’re a new parent who wants to be prepared; a seasoned parent who wants to empathize; or a child-free onlooker who wants to know what the deal is, read on.
Bonding with a lovey begins at an early age
Sleep is a highly valued currency in our home. We discovered early on that no-one—including the baby—got quality sleep with the three of us sharing a room. Thanks to the fabulous monitors available these days, we calm-ish-ly moved Reagan into his own room.
Somewhere between two- and four-months old, we began tucking “Silky Bear” into Reagan’s arms as we sang his bedtime songs and tucked him in. While my memory is sketchy, pictures reveal that by seven months the bond was strong.
Now, don’t be disheartened if you haven’t yet begun and your child is, say, a year or older. While there is only one Silky Bear, we now have many loveys. That said, my kids definitely play favorites.
A well-bonded lovey boosts confidence
You know how you feel more comfortable at a party if you’ve got some sort of beverage in your hand? Kids are the same way. But for them, a lovey is the main prop.
According to TheBabySpot.ca, “loveys act as an extension of the parents.” So whether it’s nursery at church, a play date with the cousins, or spending the night with Pa and Nan, loveys are essential.
My kids are pretty easy going. High energy, but easy going. So when I got home from work one afternoon to discover that the babysitter—Pa—hadn’t been able to get Cassidy down for her nap, I was stumped. . . until I asked him if she had her bear. Oopsy-daisy. Have bear, will sleep.
While I can’t say for certain that this is thanks to our strong “lovey” life, my kids are generally brave and friendly, often to a fault. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, this
shy once shy mom will take it.
Loveys bring with them stress and heartache
Now, before you go out and purchase yourself a lovey to solve all of life’s problems, let’s get down to the dirty truth. Loveys bring stress, too.
Imprinted upon my brain is the time we first lost Reagan’s Silky Bear. We’d been shopping in a superstore. Silky Bear was in the cart with him when we went into the store, but not when we came out. It took an entire trip back through the store to find him, all while envisioning a sleepless, mournful week.
I can’t even count the number of times Silky Bear has been forgotten at his grandparents’, necessitating a quick retrieval or delivery before bedtime. I’m pretty sure every single member of my family (and remember, I have seven siblings) has helped us out in this department a time or two.
Which leads me to my next point.
Loveys should be purchased in twos
After the aforementioned loss of Silky Bear, I began hunting for a backup. We tried the same feel but a monkey—nope. We tried a bear in a darker brown and a bit more fur—not even. I culled the internet in search of the same. exact. bear. And I found it. I’m that good. I just wasn’t willing to spend what they were asking. (Evidently peace of mind has grown more important to me in the years since. That’s three-hundred-and-ninety-five dollars?? Sold! How much for overnight shipping?)
With our second born, we planned ahead. A month or two before Cassidy’s arrival, Reagan and I scoped out the loveys at TJMaxx and settled on a bear that had a perfect match. We bought them both. Heck, if there had been three, I’d have gotten one more. Upon her arrival, Reagan gave Cassidy her first lovey and made sure it was always close at hand. Big Brother knows what’s up.
Through the past two years we’ve rotated Cass’s two loveys, so that one of them is usually decently clean. Because here’s another thing:
Loveys build up the immune system
By definition, loveys are disgusting. I mean, think about it—they go everywhere with the kid: to bed, the store, nursery, the grandparents’ house, outside. And my kids are related to cats, I guess, because they carry their loveys with their teeth. That thing is a breeding ground for grossness.
While I do my best to launder them regularly, rather than freak out about all the germs, I tell myself all that sludge is just making my kids stronger.
Don’t judge. It helps me sleep at night.
Loveys are not always lovely
Until I was a parent, the story of The Velveteen Rabbit made no sense and seemed like a big yawn. I like my things shiny and new. Smelling good. Recognizable.
Check this out. On the left is a picture of Reagan’s lovey when he was about seven months old. And on the right? That’s what’s left of Silky Bear today. But there is more love in this brown rag than will ever be found in the newest toy in Reagan’s collection.
So yeah, loveys are a big deal around here. And while they bring both joy and heartache, I wouldn’t want to imagine our home without them.