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A Child’s Attachment to Comfort Objects is Common and Healthy

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A child’s attachment to comfort objects such as soothers, stuffies and blankies is normal and healthy. I find it interesting how some children choose soothers, while others prefer other comfort objects and some have a combination of items that bring them a sense of security. In our family, Andrew hung on to a soother for quite a long time and eventually would roll it around in his mouth like a cigar and hum. Matt didn’t care so much for soothers but preferred a blanket. I remember at 5 ish having a cotton ball attached to a clothes peg which I called my fluffy. I would keep my fluffy in my pocket and when needed comfort I would tickle my face.

Several years ago, while living on Bear Mountain, a young couple from Denmark moved next door. We became friends and an adoptive auntie and uncle to Anne Sofie and Michael and their little girl Molly. For over a year, we had the fun of babysitting and watching Molly develop. Eventually, their adorable wee Mason came along. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter they moved back to Europe.

As a recently retired kindergarten teacher, I looked forward to days that I could engage with Molly in crafts, reading stories, having tea parties or going for walks. She demonstrated phenomenal fine and gross motor control. She ate like a little princess with a knife and fork. It was fascinating how she was capably coping with learning two languages, Danish and English. We were astounded by Molly’s constant good humour and her confident independent ability to advocate for her needs and wants. We’d chuckle thinking this little girl is beyond her years!

Does she sound like a mature wee princess? Pretty close. Her true age was demonstrated with her attachment to pacifiers. Molly loved her soothers. She had at least 30 of them. She would use them when she was tired, feeling a bit shy, hurt or as a comforting distraction while watching t.v. When visiting I would see rows of washed soothers on their kitchen counter ready to be used.

Just before her baby brother Mason was born, Anne Sofie and Michael thought it would be a good idea to wean Molly from the soothers. Hence, one day she suggested to Molly that she might give up her soothers to the soother fairy. Molly wasn’t too sure at first, but eventually, was willing to give it a try. Once her exchange of soothers for treats from the soother fairy started, she became more enthusiastic about the idea. 

This story, Mini Mighty Merry Molly was loosely written about Molly’s experience in giving up the pacifiers. It was a joy to write as it was an opportunity for me to celebrate Molly’s mature capabilities. Moreover, it was inspiring to see this little one’s confidence and independence further blossom as she gave up her comfort object.

Thank you Mike Atkinson for this lovely review!

Sharing this story at this time of the Ukraine-Russia War brings me such sadness and concern for all the mothers who are fleeing Ukraine with their children. I can’t imagine what they are going through in trying to explain the war and their flight from their homes. I gulp, tear up and shake my head wondering what these terrified and stressed parents are doing to keep track of the comfort items that their children use for a sense of security. These objects would be particularly wanted by their children during these horrifying times. There are no words to describe seeing the largest and fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II unfold.

So here we sit and watch at a distance as families bravely exit or fight for their country. What can we do? We can donate funds and pray. Pray for peace to eventually reign.

Bless those parents who are holding it all together for their young children.

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