My mom made me a Raggedy Ann doll that I kept for as long as I can remember. Raggy even sat on my bed in my college dorm room.
My little brother had a kitty pillow. I wanted to hold the pillow cat, and he wanted it back. Neither of us would let go, and Kitty’s stuffing went everywhere.
I still feel the loss of that cat to this day.
Why? Because I know the power of transitional objects. They are a friend when there aren’t any other friends. They never judge. Always listen. They don’t require food or water or anything more than an occasional bath. They give love.
Some children choose a blanket. Others may select a doll, bear or other toy. Whatever it is, the child attaches love and safety to it. The transitional object becomes a substitute mom.
Several researchers have confirmed that security blankets are appropriately named. They do help children adapt to new situations, help them learn and adjust to life’s little (and sometimes big) challenges.
Yet, I don’t see transitional objects like I used to. Instead, I’ve seen 18-month-olds holding onto their mom’s iPhones. And was at Disney World. Where is the teddy, blanket or doll? If the internet vanished tomorrow, I know I would be okay. I grew up without it. Can we say the same for our children?
We all understand what a fabulous tool our mobile devices are, but they are not a friend. They are a tool. An amazing and fabulous tool, but only a tool. We need plush toys to “transition” our children into our wonderful world, little by little.
Above all, transitional objects help us grow up and remember we are loved.