Did you have a lovey blanket when you were a kid? Maybe a stuffed animal, or special piece of fabric, or a fringed dish towel that you’d stuff up your nose?
…. no? that was just me?…. ok then.
Most kids have SOMETHING that comforts them. Something that brings them consistency no matter where they are, some kind of self-soothing technique, and lord help you if you forget Mr. FluffyBritches at home when you leave for a 10-day road trip… your best best is to turn that car right around and go get him. Trust me.
SUPER TIP: If you can find it, buy multiple copies of the thing they love. This way, if you leave one at Grandma’s house, you have a spare – it may not be as good as the ratty, full-of-love (aka holes) one, but it’s better than nothing! My mom replaced TowDoo whenever it gone worn out, and it always took a few days to break in the new one.
As important as the object itself is what the kids DO with it. For me, stroking the fringe of my “Tow-doo” against my nose and upper lip sent me right into Heaven. For my sister, it was (and still is) rubbing her eyebrows. Maybe it’s a stuffed dog’s ear against your face, or wearing your blanket around your shoulders. Whatever the behavior, if you look carefully, it carries over even into adulthood.
I was wearing a scarf the other day, and Tim looked at me and said, “What are you nervous about?”. I was confused – “How did you know I was worrying?” He replied, “Whenever you feel anxious, you stuff fabric into your nose like you’re trying to keep your brain from leaking out.” I quickly realized it was true – whenever I have the opportunity to rub soft fabric against my face, I do, especially that upper lip area. Even this very moment, as I think about how to write this post, I am holding my hair against my face.
Talk to my sister about her schoolwork (she’s finishing up her RN), and she’ll look up into a spot somewhere over your head, and use her thumb to push one of her eyebrows up while the other fingers rub it. Talk to her while she’s standing in a doorway, and you might be lucky enough to catch her rubbing her eyebrow against the doorjamb, like a cat.
Isn’t it interesting how much of what we learn in childhood carries through the rest of our lives? Take notice today of what you do when you feel anxious, or tired, and try to recall if it relates to something you did as a kid. I’d love to hear what you come up with!