I have had two toys since my childhood: Patch, a stuffed 101 Dalmatians doll I got on my seventh birthday, and Squeaky, a blanket I’ve had since birth. The two relics of my childhood have accompanied me everywhere I’ve gone for as long as I can remember. They came to college. They came to my married life. They once even travelled to Europe! Now that I am a mother, the number one question my family has asked is “Will you give her Patch and Squeaky?”
I’m embarrassed to say that my immediate reaction is, almost always, no. Let me rephrase. Hell no. Not a chance. They are my Patch and Squeaky. My special friends. She’ll get her own. My aunt even gave her her own mini-Patch doll, and a blanket that’s soft like my Squeaky once was. She’ll be fine. She doesn’t need m
y protectors; she’ll have her own.
But a week or so ago it started to happen. It was early in the morning (somewhere in the five o’clock hour), and my defenses were low. I had Squeaky on the bed and Baby McK was lounging next to us, happy to be surrounded by Mom and Dad. Suddenly her little hand darted out, grabbed Squeaky and she immediately put her blanket-covered fist in her mouth. My husband looked at me. Would I fly off the handle? Would I yank it out of her hand? Even I didn’t know.
But she smiled at me, her big, toothless, five month old smile, and I let her have it. I let her hold my blanket.
This morning I pulled Patch from under my pillow and her eyes lit up in delight. She reached her arms out and squealed, and just like that he was hers. Once again, right in her mouth. My husband watched, bemused, through heavy lids. She had weakened my defenses, and now she has my heart and my prized possessions.