Oscar and his “blankie”

by tamarjacobson

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When Oscar arrived in our home seven months ago, his first human mother brought a couple of his toys with him. She was sensitive and caring, and knew that Oscar would feel more comfortable in his new home with toys that they had played with together when he was a wee kitten. Indeed, Oscar has been true to both his toys, but especially to the ball at the end of a string with the gentle sound of a maraca when it is being shaken around. To be fair, his toy is a bit tattered these days. It arrived with Oscar in the summer attached to a pole so that humans could wave the ball in the air for him to jump up and catch. The soft fabric that enveloped the ball was hanging off by then – dangling to one side – a sign that the toy was already well used. One day, after watching Oscar fly around, jumping up in the air, and tumbling to the carpet with the speed of a circus acrobat, Mimi settled down quietly and chewed off the pole leaving just a long, thin piece of string attached. It did not spoil the fun for Oscar, because humans are capable of holding onto the string without the pole, and Oscar still, seven months later, adores to dance and shuffle, chuck and jive with his toy. 

One Sunday afternoon, my close friend and neighbor was visiting for our usual visit with a cup of tea and the special gluten free cookies that she loves to eat. As we sat on the sofa chatting about this and that, Oscar wandered into the living room, dragging the ball and string with the piece of fabric trailing along at the edge of it. He set it down at my feet. We both laughed – my friend and me. I explained about the history of the toy, and told her how he loves to play with it. "Ah!" she sighed. "It's his blankie," she said. No one understands small children better than this friend of mine. In fact, her work is with young toddlers – the most challenging and rewarding job of all! And, if there is one thing she understands, it's that a young toddler needs her blankie – for comfort, confidence, and an all round feeling of well-being. Just as Oscar's first human mother had understood. He would need his blankie to ease his transition when coming to his new home.

This morning, I slept in late – all the way to 5:30 a.m. As I lay there under the warm comforter, fast asleep, through my dreams came the sound of a maraca. I felt a soft tap on the tip of my shoulder, that was exposed outside of the covers. When I opened my eyes, Oscar was sitting up straight, looking directly at me. He was waiting. I looked down at his feet, and there lay the ball, soft fabric dangling to the side at the end of the string. I smiled at him. "You brought me your blankie," I whispered so as not to wake Life Partner. "Come on then," I continued, as I rose up, slipped on my shoes and cardigan to greet the cold morning.  I shoved the ball into my pocket, and wandered up to my study to start the coffee. As I walked up the stairs, the gentle sound of a maraca beckoned Oscar up with me. He, who usually runs and gambols about the house like an energetic young toddler, pitter-pattered up each stair next to me, quietly and seriously keeping a close watch on the pocket in my pants that contained his blankie.

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