We had Blankiegate here last night and I’m blaming the kids. I mean, it’s not my blanket: I don’t carry it around the house and leave it in random places like behind the living room chairs or (once, memorably) stuffed inside the cardboard dollhouse I made with my babysitter.
I’m not the one who spreads out my blankie on the kitchen floor at 6:45 AM and then lies down on it, sucking my thumb, while I wait for my oatmeal to be ready. Is what I’m saying. By which I mean it’s not my fault if Isaac’s blanket goes missing, especially when I didn’t run gleefully and naked around the bedrooms yesterday evening with my brother (now there’s a picture), leaping from bed to bed and jostling pillows and comforters out of their normal spots before coming downstairs to eat my ritual bowl full of oatmeal for bedtime snack (I swear, if oatmeal wasn’t invented Isaac would starve to death). Only to go upstairs and insist on wearing stripy fleece pajamas in this freakish mid-March heat and to discover that my security blanket is gone (“discovered missing” – that always seemed like an oxymoron to me, but I digress).
And yet, that is not how being a parent works, of course. I mean, it’s not as though they asked to be born, I suppose, or that they ever consented to live in this house with these parents with these rules. Which I am sure seem as arbitrary to them as does to me the fact that Isaac in fact has three blankets, rectangles of fuzzy white cloth each half the size of a yoga mat and indistinguishable from each other except for the width of their satin borders. There is “the blankie I like,” with its half-inch of satin, and then there are the meh blankies that will do in a pinch, their vastly inferior inch-and-a-half satin borders rendering them much less, well, secure. Which is why neither of the “blankies-I-don’t-like” was available to pinch-hit last night, given that both currently reside with various caregivers in the event that Isaac naps while in their care.
So. Bedtime. I’d had a decent enough evening with the two of them, but at this point I was really just so happy that this time of the night had arrived and there would be cuddles and stories and quiet. And then Isaac fell into the bottomless void of anguish created by the blankie-I-like’s absence, and I pretty much fell into it right along with him. And then I grabbed Rowan’s arm and pulled him in as well. Just so everyone could share in the fun, except for Rachel, of course, who had the good sense to be out.
My first mistake was trying to rationalize with the irrational, even though I KNOW THAT NEVER ENDS WELL. I know it. And perhaps I was not entirely rational myself. Because no rational person would actually believe that a distraught four-and-a-half-year-old would stop sobbing and say, “You know, Mom, you’re right: I am responsible for my own stuff and should pay better attention to where I randomly fling the rags to which I am so passionately attached. I’ll just chill out and hunker down with this substitute afghan from the couch and everything will be just fine.”
To be honest, at first I — desperately and sneakily — offered him his brother’s yellow blanket, virtually indistinguishable — or so I tried to suggest — from his own, aside from colour and, well, the width of its satin borders. It was a cheap trick, and it was a stupid move on my part, too, because then of course Rowan had to get involved, which meant that I now had two kids with blankie issues on my hands, coupled with fast-disappearing patience. Which, combined with the tick-tick-tick-tick-tick of each passing second did not for a good combination make.
So I did what any self-respecting parent would do in the situation: I proposed cutting the yellow blankie in half so that they could each have part of it, with the idea that the child who deserved it more would protest and let the other one have it, at which point I would bestow it upon its true owner.
Okay, I didn’t do that. I yelled at them.
OOOOHHH a mommy blogger who admits online that she yelled. So edgy. Maybe now I will cop to every cliché ever derided on Salon.com and admit to occasionally being ambivalent about this entire project (parenting, not blogging, that is; oh wait…) and confess to doubts about my abilities to do this job adequately (ditto) and that I occasionally lose it and then feel bad about it. I yelled, and there were tears, and even as I yelled I knew I was yelling and shouldn’t be and so I stopped, but not before I let myself yell a little longer. OMG.
(I’m going to tell you something here that my sons are going to read in five or 10 or 20 years and be floored by, a closely guarded secret that we have kept from them: Isaac’s blankie — in fact, all three of Isaac’s blankies — actually originally belonged to Rowan. When Rowan was born, someone sent us one of the meh blankies as a baby gift, and he became attached enough to it that I panicked at the thought of ever losing it and ordered two near-replicas on eBay. And then Isaac was born, and someone sent him the yellow blankie. And then somewhere along the way, the switch occurred, and neither of them was the wiser. Until now. LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER.)
(Wait till I tell Isaac that, in fact, the store HASN’T IN ACTUALITY RUN OUT OF BROWN SUGAR.)
Okay, so, the rest of the evening kind of lurched and stumbled along after that, and I said sorry for yelling and everyone got some cuddles and their fingernails trimmed and eventually went to sleep, one child in particular looking very glum as he cuddled up with an extra-meh purple chenille blanket. And when he woke up, in tears, at midnight, I remained calm and I took him back into his bed and then I had a sudden flash of inspiration and reached down, down, down, into the dark space between the head of his bed and the wall and it was like I had pulled unicorns and rainbows out of my ass when I handed Isaac the blankie he likes. “Thanks, Mommy,” he said, and patted my hand before popping his thumb in his mouth and cuddling up.
As though I’d known it was there all along.