I have two sons. My youngest has been talking for a few months now, and learns a few new words every day. One day this past week, he learned the word “blankie.” It’s probably the most innocent word in the whole English language, but it’s the end of an era to me.
Let me explain.
Both of my sons earned the nickname “Linus.” Linus as in Charlie Brown, not as in the outspoken computer genius. My oldest son’s favorite blanket was a blue blanket an old friend knitted him. When he was about 10 months old, we met up with some friends to go to a train exhibit at the local history museum. When we finished at the museum, he took his first good nap in months–with that blue blanket. It was like that blanket made him comfortable and complete. He and the blanket became inseparable. He dragged that blanket around everywhere, and when he was tired, he always gave it away because he would sit there with the blanket, with his thumb in his mouth.
My younger son grew attached to a green blanket that my aunt made. She made it when my oldest son was born, and he used it, but you would never know that. Pretty much from the day we brought him home from the hospital, that green blanket with puppies and kittens was his. Just like his older brother, he dragged that blanket everywhere, looking for all the world like the real-life inspiration for Charles Schultz’s cartoon character.
Let us not speak of what happens in the Farquhar household when those blankets need to be washed. Let’s just say those are not good days, and leave it at that.
My youngest son even named his green blanket: “Mimi.”
He couldn’t say “blanket,” or even “blankie,” so he said “mimi” instead. Two syllables: me-me. Just like “Mama” and “Dada.” There was no more fitting name possible than Mimi, given that it seemed to be permanently attached to him. When I’d walk into his room after his nap, or in the morning when he woke up, he always greeted me.
“Hi Daddy,” he would say in a tiny, innocent voice, with his thumb in his mouth. Then, with his free hand, he would hold up the blanket for me to see. “I got the Mimi.”
And when I got home from work, it was pretty much the same routine. I would see three heads in the window as I approached the house from the driveway–two sons and a dog–and the three would greet me at the door. My sons always had their blankets in tow. My oldest would tell me something he had done that day; my youngest would remind me that he had the Mimi.
Every one in a great while, something would distract him and he would run off and leave the blanket behind. This always led to a catastrophe when he would realize he didn’t have it with him anymore. This invariably led to an all-hands call to scour the house in search of the missing blanket.
One day, someone–I don’t remember who–got the idea to call out for it. “Mimi! Where are you?”
He thought that was a good idea. “Mimi! Are you?” he would call out, until one of us found it. I grew used to hearing those three words every single day. If not several times a day, as he became more active.
But those days are waning now. I’m not sure he can say “blanket” yet, but it’s been several days since I’ve heard him say “Mimi.”
It’s “blankie” now. My little boy is growing up.