Friday, September 3, 2010

Stinky Pinky and my materialistic daughter

After the twins were born, or maybe it was for the baby shower, a friend of ours gave us some chenille blankets as a gift.  They joined the other bits of soft, silky, fuzzy, and fleecy material that cycled through the girls' crib as they figured out their sleep routines.

Cobra took to a silky blanket with tabs on it.  When she goes down for a nap, she holds it like a bandit mask, covering her nose and mouth.  If you peek underneath her makeshift disguise, you will see that her tongue is darting out and not quite licking, but rather rhythmically poking, the blanket. 

Sure--Cobra loves her silky and has trouble getting to sleep if it's not around for some reason; but her attachment is nothing like the overwhelming passion Butterbean has for her blankie.

Butterbean fell under the spell of one of the blankets I mentioned above, a luxuriously soft pink 14"x14" square of long-nap chenille with a silky border, sporting a cute tag that says "Little Giraffe."  This quickly became her one and only security device, and God help her parents if for some reason they can't provide it at sleep time.

When Butterbean gets tucked in, she instantly thrashes around until she finds her blanket, clutching it with her arms and legs, and latching her mouth onto it.  She chews and sucks on the blanket until she falls asleep and buries her face in it for the rest of the night.

The problem is that all the chewing and sucking leaves the blanket soggy and, after it dries, crusty and malodeorous: thus its name, "Stinky Pinky."  After a washing, Stinky Pinky is inoffensive for about two days.  After that, you can smell it as soon as you walk into the nursery.

I'm sure you are thinking that we are horrible parents to let our child sleep with a filthy, bacteria-laden rag, and you may be right.  But it is nigh-impossible to wash this thing regularly, because Butterbean--still on a two-nap schedule--can not be without it for more than two or three hours at a time.  This does not leave enough time to hand wash and dry it, and I can't in good conscience run a load of laundry just for Stinky Pinky while our region is in perpetual draught.  We have tried tricking her with a similar blanket, also made by Little Giraffe, while we wash and dry Stinky Pinky by hand, but it just won't do.

So the obvious solution was to buy a replacement.  An exact replica.

We started to shop online.

So, how much do you think a 14"x14" swatch of fabric would run?  Ten, fifteen bucks, tops?  Wrong.  TRY 40-60 DOLLARS!!

We kept waiting for the blankets to go on sale, but the lowest price we could find was about forty dollars.  So we sucked it up, used the Amazon gift card we got from dumping all our accrued change into the Coinstar machine, and bought a Stinky Pinky replica.

And here's the perfectly predictable part:  Butterbean tossed it aside with bitter disdain.  "Take it from my sight!" her incredulous sneer said.

We even tried, as awful as this sounds, to rub some of the stench from the original Stinky Pinky onto the replacement.  No dice.   

We've been trying to break her of the Stinky Pinky habit since yesterday.  So far, this had engendered twenty minute bouts of crying before sleep.  Not terrible, but a little hard to bear since she has been a great sleeper since she was four months old. 

And just moments ago, while Butterbean was supposed to be napping but was wailing with anguish instead, I went to the laundry basket where the original Stinky Pinky is waiting for the next load of wash to go in the machine, and pulled out the pestilent rag with my pincer-grip, keeping it as far from my face as possible.  I almost walked up the stairs and tossed it into the crib. 

But I resolved to stay strong, for the sake of the kid.  The inconsolably grieving kid.



  1. What if you wash them together, then let her pick one out of the hamper? LIE with the choice.

  2. OMG Danika has a stinky pinky too. She has been a little better about accepting alternates when it is time for a wash. Stay strong dad.

  3. we bought several of the dismembered-animal-head-attached-to-square-of-fabric type blankies for our daughter... we went to Ikea and bought about 5 of the same. They are now scattered between car and the bedrooms a spare in the cupboard. Also, we can always get more from Ikea!

    Perhaps ironically, she did not attach to a single item though, and will change what she wants to take to bed. The blankie is on high rotation though.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Is there any sewing talent in your house? How bouts dividing both blankets into quarters and then sewing new pieces together with old. Then you can have two blankets that are both old and familiar but also new. And more importantly, you can wash them more frequently.

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  7. My niece is 9 years old and still has her Stinky Pinky. And that is exactly what she call it "Stinky Pinky".. it's just a square of fabric now but hey, who's to say what one should love?

  8. @Frank--I like it! She may be so confused that she just gives up on the blankie altogether.

    @Monica--That's funny. Probably the same person gave us both those damned extravagant gifts!

    @Inertia--We should have done the same thing. I don't know exactly how her dependence started, but we should have thwarted it with variety.

    @Blondie--I had actually thought about that. But she might be freaked out by the Frankensteinian feel of a sewed-together hybrid.

    @Thesis Writing--???

    @Good Cook--That's hilarious! I don't really mind if kids love inanimate objects. It's really just the hygiene and embarrassing (to me) odor of the thing.

  9. That's how you are with the first ones. After 3, you realize it's okay to let them cry. Couple of naps without it, and she won't even miss it anymore.

  10. 62 bucks??!?!?!? Is it made of golden fleece? Or maybe actual tiny giraffe skin?


    Highway robbery aside... have you tried artfully slipping the blanket out of her grasp once she's fallen asleep at night, and washing it then? You may need the stealth of a ninja to pull it off, but it could work.

  11. @Ed--I hope you're right. I'm okay with letting her cry, but it does stress me out a bit when she wails like a mourning mother walrus.

    @DiPi--I think it's made out of the down from the little deely-bobs on top of baby giraffe heads. We have tried to wrest it from her grip while she sleeps, but she clutches it even more tightly and threatens to wake up. She slept all right without it last night though, so the cold turkey (or maybe it's more like methadone treatment?) seems to be working so far.

  12. I'm a bit confused how you have 2 1 year olds and 2 adults in your house and cant come up with a full load of laundry every couple of days.

  13. I want friends like yours. My birthday is coming up and I still don't have an iPhone.

  14. Friends of ours had a little girl who was a "cloth sucker". Went on till she was 8. Not just a favourite blanket - any cloth!

    Little elf has a bunny called Bibi who sleeps with her and an identical bunny called Lola who doesn't. If Bibi isn't there, she won't go to bed. And whilst we can't tell the difference, she can.

  15. Xander has a Pooh bear who smells like a hobo. Even after I've washed him.

    I have no advice, just condolences, if this is any indication of Butterbean's future champagne tastes.


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