You know when your child latches on to that ONE VERY SPECIAL blanket or toy? The kind they cannot sleep without? The ONE VERY SPECIAL thing that helps them when all else fails?
You are gonna need a back up. Trust me. (Sunshine, at age 10, still talks about the blanket that somehow got LOST at a rest stop in Arizona from when she was 4). (A cotton yellow Carter’s baby blanket, edged in white and yellow gingham, little bunny in the corner, circa 1999, ya know, in case you ever find one).
When you’re kid selects that ONE VERY SPECIAL item, IMMEDIATELY go buy another one. If you delay, the store will STOP selling them, and the manufacturer will stop making them. Most likely about 12 hours before you finally get to the store to get the spare.
And then you’ll be forced to comb eBay for HOURS, trying to find it. I remember with Sunshine and her special puppy, the store didn’t sell them anymore. I walked into some Christmas craft fair about a year later and a lady had the exact dog as a decoration on her display. I nearly ploughed through the whole thing to get the dog. I would have offered her anything for it. Thankfully, she did sell it to me and I began the great “luvey switch-out”.
Which is where our story begins today and why I am sitting on a stuffed animal to get it to look slightly flattened like it’s luvey twin for daughter #3. She had originally picked another stuffed animal for her luvey, but it was cruelly stolen by a piece of poop human being when it fell out of her stroller un-noticed (for the record, I was not the POD-parent on duty at the time. Ahem). We found them still being sold on Amazon, but we didn’t remember exactly what size it was and ordered a slightly smaller version. Well, Lady Bug could tell immediately and that toy was set aside. She chose a new luvey (that she named Sparky) and I bought a back up right away.
Here’s where things started to go wrong. When the box arrived with the backup Sparky, I hid Original Sparky (OS) and whipped out Backup Sparky (BS-um, yes). I forgot the first CRITICAL step in the great luvey switch-out—to make them actually look like twins.
1) You MUST secretly inspect the OS and the BS, altering their appearances to match. That meant snipping some mouth and foot threads, squishing, and generally roughing it up. Clearly, the longer your child has had the OS, the more work it will take to make the BS look like it. When I handed Lady Bug the BS she said, “Who is this?” “Look, it’s Sparky! All washed!” I said enthusiastically. To which she said, “That’s not Sparky.” And laughed and walked off. I should mention she was only 2.5yrs when this transpired. Kids are smart little boogers.
2) Try washing them together so they get a similar smell and texture. Also, rubbing BS on concrete seemed to help. Rough up edges, duplicate stains—bring your best con game. Feel it where your child usually carries it and see if you need to pay special attention to squishing or roughing up that part so it feels the same.
3) I have had more success switching luvey’s in the middle of the night. Switch them out every few weeks if you can, so they age about the same, performing the same visual inspection.
4) YOU.MUST.HIDE.THE.BACKUP very carefully!! I had one kid find the backup and while she stood there perplexed as to why her luvey wasn’t where she had left it, I sprinted to the original and stuffed it in my clothes. Yeah, that wasn’t pretty.
5) DO.NOT.EVER.ADMIT that the backup is NOT the original. Or your child will never trust you again. You can see why getting the toys or blankets to look the same is critical—you don’t want to lie to your child, so make sure the question never comes up.
Well, I’m off to stomp on a stuffed dog and smoosh it into the pavement for that well-loved look.