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A kid's security blanket
Childhood and the security blanket
Everywhere we go I always see my son clenching on to his Sponge Bob Square Pants and his little Olivia dolls. It seems he won't go anywhere without them and he actually brings them with him at all times. When we go to the movies he has his little companions with him by his side. I find it very cute and it is a reminder of our childhood innocence when we had no concerns for what others would think. I want my son to feel comfortable and happy and if this helps him in feeling at ease then I am all for it. I encourage my son to find things that make him happy and to never feel uncomfortable with himself. I want him to feel free to express himself and to never shy away from others like I had as a child.
When I think of a security blanket I always think of Linus from the Peanuts cartoon created by the legendary Charles Schulz who also brought us Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Pigpen, Schroeder and all the other members of the gang. Linus was a character I always enjoyed for his wisdom when he talked with his friend Charlie Brown and because he always carried his blanket with him at all times. When I see my son with his dolls I envision Linus with his blanket.
The most touching scene I saw that involved Linus's blanket was the little Christmas tree scene where Charlie Brown found his tree for the school play and he put an ornament on it but it wilted. When Linus saw it he wrapped his blanket around the tree to secure it saying all it needed was a little love and the gang decorated it and made it beautiful and when Charlie Brown saw it he smiled as the gang sang Hark the Herald Angels sing. That scene stays with me to this day even though I saw it as a kid of 7 and every year thereafter as it is family tradition watching a Charlie Brown Christmas.
For a kid a security blanket is very important as it helps in providing comfort to the child and it serves as a companion in a sense. I believe most children at some time in their childhood find an affinity to something that they keep close to them at all times until they outgrow it. I remember a show when I was a kid where a little girl had an affinity to her doll named Mrs Beasley and she would carry it with her for comfort. The girl's name was Buffy and the show was Family Affair. In psychology circles the use of a security blanket by a child is necessary as the child realizes that their bond or attachment to their mother although strong is not all the time as it seemed when they were a baby. For a baby, their mother is their life line for which they need reassurance at all times and constant attention for their very survival. This is why a baby cries so much in their first 2 years. As a so called replacement a child will find a need for attachment and will usually find that comfort with a favorite toy or doll or teddy bear that they will clench on to when they feel it is necessary.
There is something special about the bonds we develop as children and as toys mean so much to us most kids will bond with one of their toys. For Andy in the movie Toy Story his favorite doll was Woody, the cowboy and he would bring him everywhere with him. A touching scene involving Andy and Woody was in Toy Story 3 when Andy is preparing to go to college and he visits a little girl to entrust her with his prized possessions, his childhood toys. He goes through the box one by one giving her a toy and relating a fun childhood experience and as he gives her what he thought was the last toy the little girl points to Woody who is in the box and Andy is surprised as he reluctantly picks it up as the girl reaches for it. Andy pulls it back as he reflects and then he relates to her how special Woody is to him and how he will miss him as that was a symbol of his childhood and he now hands it to the cute little girl and asks her to take good care of it. It really is an emotionally touching scene and it illustrates how strong the bond is we establish with our toys.
I also realize my son has a need to express himself and as he is autistic and an only child the dolls he clenches onto are really not just dolls to him. They are his friends. He has a favorite cartoon he watches which is Sponge Bob Square Pants and by carrying his Sponge Bob doll with him this gives him a feeling that he is safe. I know when my son is having a difficult moment or is going through a tantrum or meltdown it is necessary to have his dolls in close proximity to him. I remember as a child having favorite toys and as a small boy I had a yellow tonkatruck that I played with and it was my absolute favorite. I would bring it with me when visiting family and it was my most favorite thing to play with. It was built tough and I had many hours of fun playing with it through the years. I wasn't much into dolls but I do remember having the GI Joe astronaut doll and play set which was another favorite of mine. Another childhood favorite was my spirograph, lite bright and etch a sketch sets. They kept me busy as a child and provided me hours of fun.
I believe the children today are more a product of the computer age and their influences are more internet driven. They spend so much time nowadays on the computer and are exposed to so much more than I remember as a child. With that said it is still fair to say that simple toys still play an important role in a child's life and can easily serve as a security blanket to them. To this day I still feel the need for a security blanket though I won't freely admit to it but I certainly can see having something close by that serves as a comfort and for me that is family pictures. I keep photos of my wife and I when we were first married and photos of my son when he was a baby and a child growing up through the years. These are very special to me and I carry them close by with me as this provides me comfort always.
I will always encourage my son to find something that gives him comfort and to never feel awkward about it. It is perfectly natural and it is a joy to find something that makes you happy and can help lift your spirits. A security blanket is a great thing to have and I am happy to see my son find an attachment to something that helps him and brings him comfort. We all need this from time to time.
Edward D. Iannielli III