Jake went to nursery* clutching his Dolly today. That’s what she’s called. At least until he can start naming his own toys. It’s the first time he’s done that, shown that kind of attachment to any of his toys. He took her to bed with him the other night (another first), and has carried her around periodically, but never out of the house. Last night he went to bed holding the newsletter from the London Transport Museum. He handed it over just before falling asleep and then asked for cuggles. At one point I took my arm away to scratch my nose and he grabbed it and tucked it back round him.
Taking him to nursery today, I felt anxious. What if the bigger kids tease him for playing with a doll? What if someone tries to take his doll off him? Will the nursery staff realise or remember that it’s his doll? But when we got there, his key worker said, “Oh, you’ve brought your baby doll with you! We can get the doll clothes out and we can feed and dress her.” And he went off without so much as a goodbye. Though he was holding Dolly very tightly.
Walking home, the words transitional object came to mind. I remember reading about it when Jake was a baby. Some children become attached to objects like blankets or toys when they are very young. It’s taken Jake a little while longer. And although there’s a lump in my throat cos my baby’s growing up, taking his own steps of independence away from me, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be there for him for these nearly two years. I’ve never been more sure than I am now that staying home with him is the right thing to do.
(*Jake goes to nursery two mornings a week)
P.S. When I went to pick Jake up, they told me that he hadn't let go of Dolly all morning. Even when we went to the playground, Jake held on to her for a little while before handing her to me.