Back before I had my baby girl, I read that one way to help a baby sleep is to give her a piece of your clothing so she'll be reminded of you even when you are not there.
With that in mind, when we were transitioning Mazzy from our bedroom to her nursery, I took two old cotton tank tops and sewed them together to make a little blankie. (When I say I sewed them together, I mean that I took them to the dry cleaners to see if the tailor could sew them for me. He did it on the spot for free. Thank you, Million Dollar Cleaners!)
Every night, I would place the blankie in the crib next to Mazzy while she slept. Mostly, she ignored it. But I kept it up just in case.
After a month or two, I noticed that she had started sleeping with her head on it like a pillow. And if we wanted her to take a nap in the stroller, all we had to do was lie it over her eyes and she was out.
Gradually, her attachment grew until one day, suddenly Mazzy couldn't live without it. She pointed to it as soon as they were separated. She'd crawl somewhere, realize she had left it behind and then crawl back to retrieve it. If I took her out of the crib while the blankie was still lying inside, all hell broke loose.
Her undying devotion was made even more apparent when she began to refer to it by name. She called it "Boo", due to our use of the blankie when we played peek-a-boo.
"Boo?" (Where is my boo?)
"BOO!" (I SEE BOO! GET ME BOO NOW!!!)
"Booooooooo." (Aaaaaaah. I have my Boo.)
A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, Mazzy woke up sick and I took her back to our bed. I lay Boo over my chest as a signal to put her head down to rest. We both lay still for a moment and then abruptly, Mazzy sat up and threw up everywhere. Myself, my pajamas, the bed— everything was soaked. Literally, puddles of puke formed around me in the sheets like a log in a river. Mazzy was crying and I (not knowing how to get up without spreading the devastation) screamed for Mike to wake up and help.
Mike flicked on the light to survey the situation. Sick crying baby. Puke drenched wife. River of throw-up running through the bed. And you know what got my husband's immediate attention?
Poor puke soaked Boo was wisked away as if it was in the throws of cardiac arrest and the washing machine was the only thing that could save it. Only after Boo was safely spinning it's way back to life, did Mike come back to toss me a towel and retrieve the baby.
But I didn't blame him. Without Boo, there is no sleep. There is no ability to take Mazzy away for the weekend. There is no peace in the car. There is no leaving her with strangers. Boo is as important to us as it is to the baby.
That night, we spent the next hour all together waiting for Boo to complete both it's wash and dry cycle.
Mazzy, exhausted and miserable, repeating, "Boo? Boo? Boo? Boo? Boo? Boo?…"
The ending buzzer finally sounded, the dryer door was pulled back and Boo emerged, soft and clean as ever.
We lay Mazzy down in the crib and slipped that old cut-up tank top rag sewed by the Million Dollar Cleaners into her arms.
And only THEN, did everybody sleep.