I was blindsided.
Laurel has not been attached to a blanket for months. She has a fuzzy blanket that she has used in the past, but she hasn’t used it in several weeks, and has never appeared emotionally attached to the blanket.
When Laurel and Bethel asked for a blanket, I first suggested the fuzzy blanket to Laurel. She didn’t want it, so I suggested that Bethel use it. When Bethel reached for the blanket, Laurel started wailing.
You don’t get what you cry for. More wailing. I had a modicum of compassion and brought my fuzzy blanket to Laurel (it’s nearly identical). Laurel asked if it was hers, and unwilling to lie, I told her no. [I think it was the right choice, although I recognize that saying yes would have “solved” my problem immediately.] She wouldn’t touch the blanket and wailed some more.
I sat with her, helped her think happy thoughts about the day, got irritated with her and raised my voice. Nothing worked. I realized that she was tired and irrational, and I felt like a heel for giving Bethel Laurel’s fuzzy blanket, but she was crying to get something. That’s bad, as any expert parent will tell you. I finally let her sit next to me in the living room for about fifteen minutes so she could stop hyper-ventilating. As I took her to bed, she started crying again, but she allowed me to wrap her up in my fuzzy blanket and was nearly instantly asleep, about an hour after I gave her blanket to her sister.
Now as I sit in the blessed quietness, I’m wondering… Should I have just given Laurel the blanket? (Bethel actually offered it after thirty minutes of crying.) My reasoning for not doing so was that she was crying for something, and I try to be consistent in not letting her have what she cries for. But she was clearly irrational, and had I realized she did in fact have some emotional attachment to the blanket, I probably wouldn’t have given it away in the first place. Would giving her the blanket undermine what I am trying to teach?
I’m not sure. [And this is why it’s past my bedtime without a Wisdom Wednesday written. I might post that one Thursday.]