Breaking a Habit

The boys love their “geekies” (blankets). They have for a long time. Early on they weren’t particular about which blanket they had, but shortly after turning 1 they became possessive of certain blankets/styles of blankets. Jackson laid claim to all of the white, fuzzy blankets. Tyler claimed all green blankets and Chase claimed the three blankets that had been made by Nick’s grandmother.

Tyler and Chase’s blanket obsession was, and still is, innocent enough. They want them at nap time and bed time, and often when cuddled up on the couch watching a movie or reading books. Tyler often holds his blanket up to his mouth, but it never goes in his mouth, while Chase has recently been seen wrapping his around his shoulders like a cape or shawl.

Jackson is another story though. Shortly after turning 1 (around the same time he “claimed” the white blankets), he began sucking and chewing on the blankets. And I don’t mean just a tiny, favorite corner or something. No, he would stuff a large chunk of blanket into his mouth.

At first it was a cute and kind of funny habit. We were always amazed at how much blanket that kid could stick in his mouth. Then the habit became kind of smelly. The blankets would start to majorly stink after a couple of days and it quickly got to the point where they would stink just a day or so after washing them. Think of the grossest smelling, wet towels and that’s what Jackson’s blankets smelled and felt like. It was revolting.

Last year, right around his birthday, we brought him to Target to see if he could be enticed into picking out a new blanket to add to the rotation. We had success!

About 6 months ago we grew quite concerned when we noticed this blanket habit was beginning to effect his teeth and jaw line (how handy that we have two identical mouths to compare to!). Rather than take the blankets away altogether then, we decided to limit him to nap time and bed time until we could figure out a plan of attack. We didn’t want to just take away blankets altogether because we were planning on letting Ty and Chase keep theirs and knew that would cause problems. We also knew that having a security/comfort item at this age is perfectly fine and Jackson wasn’t really latching on to anything else quite like his beloved geekie.

Finally we decided that on his 3rd birthday we would tell Jackson that 3 year olds don’t chew on blankets and that he could pick out new, non-white blankets to just hold instead. We planned to quit cold-turkey, until we spoke to his doctor Friday morning. She suggested taking it away just at nap time for now (seeing as it had already been 6 months of limiting to nap and bed time) and letting him have the white one at night only. She also mentioned trying to remove the white blanket after he’s fallen asleep at night.

We’ve been giving it a try and have seen some success! The first nap time was brutal; he basically cried and screamed for his blanket for an hour and a half before we finally gave up on a nap happening. The second nap time he just had a hard time settling down, but we’re not sure if that’s because of all the sugar he’d had (it was party day) or because he was having hard time sleeping without the blanket in his mouth. The last couple of days he has fallen asleep with his new blanket though and not in his mouth! (We told him if he chewed on his new blankets they would need a “time out”.)

Every night Nick has been able to successfully remove the white blanket after Jackson has fallen asleep and the last couple of nights the blanket hasn’t even been very damp, so we think he’s easing up on how much he’s chewing on it! It’s been several days since Jackson has bugged me during the day for his white blanket, which has been a relief.

Jackson, and his new blanket.

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  • Boy of boy. Everything is just stressful isn’t it? I’m scared to death of taking the girls paci’s away. Did you boys have them?ReplyCancel

    • The boys had paci’s in the NICU, but lost interest within a couple of months of coming home. I’m lucky none of them sucked their thumbs either!ReplyCancel