Our expert says:
Well, our experienced online moms have made some useful suggestions here ! Personally, I'd be quite strongly against trying to remove his lappie, for several good reasons. The lappie right now is being helpful to make his sore gums feel better, but it also sounds very much like what we shrinks call a "Transitional Object". Without going into needless technical details, it is very frequently a normal part of normal development, for a child to pick an object ; often a blanket or other piece of cloth, or a teddy or other soft toy ; and they use this to mediate between the security of being with mom ( like mamma's daughter who uses a satyn nagrok which smells a little of mom ) and the frightening big world out there --- it's what the Americans sometimes call a Security Blanket. It's like a comforting symbol of Mom, Home and Safety, which he can carry with him, to bring him comfort out there. Its an important aid towards growing self-confident enough to venture liut there along. And it gets used when liteally going out ( like to nursery school or visiting others ) and when going to sleep, or when things get a bit upsetting.
There is no known benefit to taking it away from a child, and many benefits to leaving it alone. OK, one sometimes runs into a snag on the issue of cleaning it. I suspect that the way it feels is important, and also the way it smells, so there can be considerable resistance when you want to pop it in the washing machine ! And they don't often accept substitutes ! Sometimes you can, with care, arrange for him to accept a primary Object and a spare, to use when number one is being washed.
But sometimes it's like a dog. You wash him sparkling clean, and then he promptly runs off to roll on the grass and try to recapture what for him feels like his natural smell.
The Day Mother seems to be over-reacting ---I agree with Lucia here. Don't kids without a lappie or doekie fall over every day at her place ? Falling down is one of the things kids do, and they're quite skilled at it, and rarely come to harm by it.
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