Normalize sleeping with baby blankets

Raquel Vaughn-

Imagine this: I’m sitting there, on my hardwood bedroom floor, and looking at the mess that was formed while packing for college. I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to have to bring pretty much everything with me to school.” And then my baby blanket, not great in size but in everything else, catches my eye. As I’m having a crisis about every other aspect of packing — Do I bring books and, if so, which ones? Will having a TV in my dorm room be worth it? How many pictures would I even be able to fit on my side of the room anyway? — I’m having a whole separate crisis about my baby blanket. Do college students bring their blankies and stuffed animals to school with them?

This was a real situation and also, three years ago… if anyone was wondering. I can proudly say that I did, in fact, bring my blankie to college with me. My blankie is small but mighty, only able to cover the length of my adult legs yet has offered me warmth in my time of need. It’s a cotton tie blanket, one side white and the other a printed picture of a teddy bear. As I’ve grown, it has grown with me. It was necessary back then and it’s still necessary now. It’s one of my biggest comforts.

It’s sad that as we grow older, we also grow more ashamed of an item that, arguably, is our first love. We flaunt that our spouses and partners are our comfort. This makes sense because they are people who can love us back. They can reciprocate and consider us their comfort as well. We mention many times that a movie, TV show, or book is our comfort. And, as an adult, that also makes sense because, granted, you know that other people watch or read that material as well. You feel more comfortable sharing the fact that Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is one of your comfort movies if you saw the DVD copy chilling in your friend’s living room one day. But very rarely do adults ever share the comfort objects that live beyond the bedroom doors—more specifically, on the bed.

Sleeping with a blankie or a stuffed animal as an adult is underrated. I think a lot of people know that because they most likely have something that lulls them into a better, healthier sleep. But the chances of someone wanting to share that with the rest of the world are slim because as adults, it’s no longer a necessity. Take one of my friends for instance, who was quick to share her thoughts on why she brought her baby blanket with her to college. It wasn’t until I said something about the matter that she said “It gives me a sense of safety” and yet she preferred to stay anonymous. Which, I’m not judging her for. I’m all for being a loud and proud “baby blanket sleeper” but at the end of the day, there’s always going to be someone giving a nasty side-eye.

Unlike that friend, I have two other friends who have no problem sharing that “Blankies are needed.” After asking them the same question, our very own copy editor Ellie Heyerdahl answered with “Because it’s a piece of home.” Sophomore Alex Buresh said something similar: “It’s a comfort thing. It smells like home, it feels like home…it’s just close to me.” Words like that are exactly why I shoved my stuffed animal—a pug named Scruffy—into my backpack to bring with me on my very first day of sixth grade in a brand new school in a brand new city. It helped to have a piece of home and a friend (whether inanimate or not) to tackle scary experiences.

I would argue that sleeping with my baby blanket after a long day of work, school, studying, and socializing is no different than what it was when I took that same blanket with me on the bus on the first day of preschool. It may not be a living, breathing person but it’s been with you literally since day one. Embracing your comfort items—especially the ones you’ve had since you were a baby or just a very small human—is the first step towards a better humanity. Everyone has something.

I have grown and changed, and so has my blanket — although, not too much. Some of you have baby blankets that, quite literally, could not be considered a blanket anymore. I hear about scraps and strings of baby blankets and I just wonder “What in the world are you guys doing to your blankies?” But even then, it’s a scrap or string of home that, with just its presence, can calm somebody down. Even though its soft touch might not be as soft as it used to be, or its length not as long as it was, or maybe its color isn’t as vibrant as before…it still holds meaning.


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