For as long as I can remember, Ezra's been super attached to three particular loveys: two small Taggies blankers and one Taggies ball.
As a baby, he found the first blanket and his thumb around the same time, and the colorful, jangly ball attracted his attention not long after that. Both of them immediately became necessary for him to sleep on his own. He found the second blanket as a toddler — a second blanket I brilliantly thought to purchase as a back-up to the first blanket, but not-so-brilliantly neglected to find a good hiding place for. He spotted it in a drawer, and from that day forward, he demanded BOTH blankets and the ball at bedtime.
Because he sucks his thumb whenever he holds any of them, however, we quickly instituted a rule that the blankies and ball live in his room, in his bed, and are not allowed to leave. He doesn't suck his thumb as much anymore, but he still sleeps with them, and every morning he makes his bed, folds his blankies and stacks them neatly, in their place of honor next to his ball and pillow.
(Fun fact! One of the blankies is now an imposter replacement blankie. We left one blankie behind at the hotel after our first trip to Williamsburg. Ezra seemed to take the loss in stride so I opted not to contact the hotel about it — I figured it was getting to be about that time to think about saying goodbye to the blankies anyway, blah blah, leave it be, better parenting through lazy inaction!
Several months later I found him quietly sobbing over his one blankie, and he asked me why the hotel hadn't sent his blankie back yet, why did the hotel STEAL MY BLANKIE, MOM? IT'S NOT THEIRS, IT'S MINE. And then I died of shame and rushed to the Internet in search of replacement.)
(Second fun fact! Taggies routinely discontinues certain colors and fabrics, including this one! But don't worry, you can totally track down a discontinued duplicate on eBay, provided you're willing to spend close to forty goddamn dollars on a goddamn blanket!)
I cannot say for certain, but I suspect the "blankies live in your room" rule was what initially gave Ezra's Baby a shot at Most Beloved Toy Status. "Baby" is actually a Fisher-Price Baby's First Bear — I believe my mom sent it to us shortly after the ultrasound revealed another boy, so it's always been around, but I never noticed Ezra paying any special attention to it until a year or so ago, when he started calling it My Baby and insisting that My Baby come places with us.
(Like...to his school's Halloween party. As Captain Underpants.)
I learned not long after writing that entry that I'd misidentified My Baby's gender. Despite being outfitted in blue perma-jammies, My Baby is a girl. And My Baby's full name is Bloon Ike Storch. Bloon. No, not Baloon or Bloom or BlueMoon or any of the things I originally thought Ezra was saying.
Bloon Ike Storch, Mom. She's a girl baby. Get it together.
When Bloon leaves the house, she is dressed in her underclothes (the romper from my circa 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids Preemie doll) and her dress (the apron from the circa 1970s Raggedy-Ann doll my mom made for me). If it's cold outside, she will also require a pair of Ike's socks.
Although I've been sorely tempted to go searching online for similar vintage doll clothing or patterns, I have resisted thus far. I sense madness lies that way.
Plus, knowing Ezra, it would simply add another 20 minutes on our getting-out-the-door time in order to select the perfect outfit.
Bloon is precious. Bloon is important. Bloon is a real baby with real needs and real feelings and is honestly pretty goddamn high maintenance for a frigging stuffed bear.
I've bandaged Bloon after a tumble from the tree in our front yard, given her medicine for a case of the throw-ups, and bought a custom-sized lingerie bag to bathe her in, which I usually shove inside a pillowcase just to be extra cautious, because God help us if she falls apart in the wash, because there is simply no replacing Bloon with an imposter — she's so loveworn and faded and missing the patch on her pajamas. Ezra would know in a second, and it just wouldn't be the same.
I've sewn Bloon's arms back together and reinforced her seams. I've recurled her two ribbon hairs and obediently staged her in various places during the day so she'll be doing whatever activity Ezra decreed she needed to do that day before leaving for school. She has her own high chair and baby bottle, her own special covers for her nap, and she will often sit at our front window so she can watch for Ezra at the end of the day.
I also bought Bloon a friend. A hastily-grabbed souvenir from the San Deigo airport: a Bloonish-sized Uglydoll dressed as Superman.
The Uglydoll was originally known as SuperBaby, but then one week he had a series of birthdays and became SuperKid. Then I pointed out that according to his tag, his name was Babo.
Ezra could never remember the name Babo, and ultimately decided to reject the tag in favor of Bubby.
(When I told him that "Bubbe" was also a name for a grandmother, he was like, "No, he's like a BUDDY, who is also a BABY. He's a BUBBY.")
(Way to understand how WORDS WORK, MOM.)
And so, much like Ezra's two blankies, he now has two babies. "My Babies!" he says, approximately seven hundred million times a day. "Where are My Babies?" He takes them everywhere except school — to restaurants, to the mall, to birthday parties. The two extra seats in the minivan now belong to Bloon and Bubby, and he carefully buckles each one of them in before buckling himself up. He tells me about their dreams and moods and how they cry if they get left alone. On the rare occasion that I convince him to leave them behind for their own safety/cleanliness, he'll pretend to call them on my phone. "I'll be home soon guys, love you!"
One day he came home from school and couldn't find them. I discovered him wandering around the house, desperately looking for them, a few silent tears streaking his sweet face — Bloon must be so scared, he worried. We found them in Ike's room, in the rocking chair. I think Ezra put them there so Ike could keep them company.
My children are, in many ways, a mystery to me. They're so different from me and from each other, and I've learned not to make any pronouncements or assumptions about their personalities or future lives, because they surprise me constantly. It's a strange experience getting to know the very people you gave birth to — you'd think you'd have some built-in sense of who they are and who they're going to be. Maybe some mothers do, but my boys are still very much wildcards to me. Baffling yet delightful little wildcards.
But when I watch Ezra with his Babies, I see exactly who he is, and the man he will become.
And it makes me so happy.