attachment theory

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This afternoon on my way home from work I saw Snack. I’ve always assumed Snack is a chap, but he could be either. No one is really sure what he is. Or, people are sure but they don’t agree.

Snack is red and yellow with a black mane. Snack is a giraffe. Snack is a horse. Snack is a camel. Well, so far only a grandfather has referred to Snack as a camel.

What we do know is that Snack was a gift from Madeleine and Alan.

Snack wasn’t an early favourite, He was one of many toys we received when our baby was first born. He got too many gifts, which came despite us telling anyone who would listen that we’d rather they donated some money to Kaimosi Hospital or Birth Companions. In both cases a small donation could go a lot further to making a difference to other children and their families.

So Snack was in this category of just another toy. He didn’t even have a name.

He only became known to us at all because when we were planning our first holiday abroad we decided to only take toys that it wouldn’ t matter if we lost. The ones that we didn’t care about. We, the parents, have our favourites. Like the monkey I bought in Brazil two-and-a-half years before baby was born and the mouse, the dinosaur and the camel that were all bought during the pregnancy. Or the animals that baby’s mother knitted.

Snack only got a name when we were on holiday. We were staying in the village of Puivert in Aude and there’s a cafe there called Snack la Girafe. Every nap time baby was put to sleep in the buggy and there was Snack to comfort him. And in the nights when baby wouldn’t get down to sleep, there was Snack again, to accompany him in the buggy in long trips around the beautiful grounds of Green Horizons, the guest house we were staying at in Puivert.

Over the course of the week we got rather attached to Snack. At least us two parents did. Not sure what the baby makes of him, but Snack certainly was a sleep cue for a while.

It was something of a surprise to see Snack on my way home from work. He wasn’t far from home. He was standing on our driveway wall, at the far end of it. I greeted him but he didn’t say anything. He was just taking in the view.

I brought him into our home and discovered that baby’s mother didn’t know he was missing and we don’t know if baby knew. And we talked about how glad we were that some kind stranger had put Snack up on the wall so that we would see him and bring him inside. And we realised then that we would both be sad if Snack went missing, because we love him and he’s formed a close bond with us, if not with our baby.

The attachment is with us, not with our baby. We have no idea what of his toys our baby will take with him through the years, nor what names they will eventually adopt. But we know we’ll have our favourites. We’ll just have to try and look after them better but not mourn them too long if they fall by the wayside.

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