A story about baby blankets & discovering new modes of control in our adult lives...
By Georgia A. Lewis 邵洛源
I am the middle child of three sisters who all call our baby blankets “winnies” still, to this day.
My older sister was given a blanket-body-Winnie-the-Pooh-head-hybrid stuffy by my aunt when she was born. I don’t think my aunt could have guessed the impact that sphynx-esque Winnie the Pooh had on my sister, her little soldiers (me and my younger sister), and the comfort and creativity we fostered growing up with our individual “winnies.” Any source of comfort that was a physical object, we called a “winnie,” in honor of our fearless leader Pooh. All three of us still have our original “winnies” with us by our side at night. We are 17, 21, and 23 years old.
No shame in the game! And in honor of National Winnie the Pooh day and me being touched by my own “winnie” origin story nostalgia, let me tell you why I have eliminated the shame of still sleeping in the presence of my baby blanket.
Like us three, other children are often comforted by baby blankets and stuffed animals because they provide a sense of security and familiarity. The softness and warmth of a baby blanket, as well as the cuddly nature of a stuffed animal, can provide a child with a physical source of comfort that can help them feel safe and secure. This can be especially important for children who are feeling anxious or scared, as having a familiar object nearby can help them feel less alone and more in control of their emotions.
It is important to understand where this reliance on baby blankets and stuffed animals comes from because it can provide insight into how children cope with stress and uncertainty. For example, if a child frequently turns to a stuffed animal for comfort when they are going through a difficult time, it may be a sign that they are struggling to cope with their emotions and need additional support or guidance. Understanding this can help adults provide the appropriate support and resources to help children manage their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
In Donald Woods Winnicott's piece on “Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena,” he describes this concept of the “transitional object,” or any kind of object in which an infant/child uses to begin to negotiate the blurriness of the abstract space in-between fantasy and reality. This concept of the “transitional objects” runs parallel to and evolves with the concept of “illusion” of control and creativity formed initially by the infant’s interactions with their mother--a crucial aspect of child development and anxiety. These objects help mediate the relationship between the internal world (thoughts, feelings...) and the external world of the infant that attaches to said “transitional object.” The best known example used in Winnicott’s piece would be the case of the infamous “teddy bear.” Interactions with the teddy bear, or any favorite object, tends to alleviate any present anxieties the child may have (e.g., the infant’s harsh reality of ‘utter dependency’ on others for survival) and assist the child during transitions, which are notoriously hard for anybody, let alone a newly operating human.
While adults may not normalize stuffed animals for themselves, they will often find other mechanisms for seeking control and comfort. This can include things like exercise, meditation, journaling, therapy, and more. These activities can be helpful in providing adults with a sense of control over their emotions and can help them manage stress and uncertainty. However, it's important to note that what works for one person may not work for another and it's important to find what works for you.
Finding what works for YOU is exactly what we want for our lovely Pollinators here at Potli. Whether you are dropping a dollop of honey in your nighttime sleepy tea, finding coping mechanism for anxiety, or implementing infused cooking sessions with loved ones into your routine, maintaining a consistent and wellness centered routine will do wonders for your sleep hygiene and ability to find control during moments when you feel like it has been lost.