Someone new has taken up permanent–however temporary, really–residence in our home. He follows us from room to room. He sits silently in a chair at the dinner table while we eat. He is fawned over, caressed, talked about incessantly, tucked into bed at night. And quite honestly, I’m starting to get a little irritated with him. Reader, meet Blanket:
Nope, it’s not Michael Jackson’s son. I know, I’m disappointed, too, because that would make for such a better story. Our Blanket (capitalized as a proper noun to give him his due) is the softest, sweetest rectangle of synthetic pastel fabric I’ve ever touched. Our kind retired neighbors (they travel in a group, and we call them the “ladies.” Not of the night, no. That’s gross. Just “ladies.”) gave it to Saoirse when she was born, and after it spent the better part of two years in a drawer, I resurrected it when Quinn was born because it’s just the best. blanket. ever (or have I mentioned that already?). Saoirse never paid any mind to it, though: I tucked it around Quinn in her car seat when we would zip in and out of stores. I kept it in her stroller in case the wind picked up when we walked. She lay on it at home, and I wrapped it around her when she was carried in the Baby Bjorn.
Then all of a sudden, one day, Saoirse squinted hard at the thing (the blanket, not the baby), stealthily swiped it (again, just the blanket) from the empty car seat, and the next thing I know Blanket was being tucked in beside her in bed at night. It is now so entrenched in our family lives that I request a table for five when we go to restaurants. And it’s making me look hard at our world from my little girl’s perspective.
I think Blanket’s arrival in our lives is no small coincidence, particularly since Quinn has not entered what I call the “Oh, look at her!” stage. She’s 10 months now, which is when the wee-baby good times really start ramping up. She’s clapping (“Oh, look at her!”). She rocks out to music, wiggling her body and banging her head to the beat (“Oh, look at her!”). She’s eating solid food with the gusto of Bizarre Food’s Andrew Zimmern–she attacks beans and avocado the way he digs into a plate of pig’s brains and rat heads (have you ever seen the show? So, so gross. Dave watched my first c-section with something close to scientific fascination, uterus-on-a-platter and all, and even he can’t stomach that show). We watch this baby in her high chair throw triumphant fists up into the air, pasta and sauce spilling all over her head, and we coo like a bunch of drunken pigeons. This is all old hat for Saoirse, who, having dwelled on this planet for three years already, is feeling a bit tired and left out, I’m afraid.
So enter Blanket. Today, after the girls woke from their naps, I was in Quinn’s room, nursing her. Saoirse saw us, padded off to her room, and returned clutching her fuzzy yellow buddy. “I love Blanket,” she announces, eyeing Quinn in my lap. “He’s my friend.” A few minutes later, I finished changing Quinn’s diaper and hoisted her to my hip to carry her. Saoirse held Blanket to her chest. “Look, Mom. I’m holding him, just like Quinn.” The rest of the afternoon carried on like that, with Blanket getting his fair share of attention.
I dunno. It’s gotta be hard to be three, when there’s another sibling in the house and you miss your mom and need to clutch her leg while she’s washing dishes to feel close to her, or follow her into the bathroom while she takes a shower or sit at her feet while she breastfeeds your sister. I’d probably need Blanket, too, if I were suddenly scooted to the side a little and had to share not just my toys, and my snacks, but also my love. So I’ll try not to blame Blanket for hogging up so much of my girl’s attention. Next time, I’ll just try to give her more of mine.