It was time to wash my son’s blanket. You know it’s time to undertake such things when inanimate objects begin to develop their own personalities.

J’s blanket had had a blast this summer. It got to go on camping trips, took numerous outings to grandma’s house; it got to ride in the car, see the sights, spend time in Italy at the beach. By golly, it was darn near the most well-travelled household item around.

So when I thought it talked to me yesterday from the crib, I knew it needed a good scrubbing. I disrobed it, tossed the duvet cover separately in the washer, and pulled it out in pristine condition forty-six minutes later.

But, the situation had not yet resolved itself. We don’t have a dryer; most German households do not. I prayed that the thing would dry by nightfall. What was I to do if J’s “blaney” didn’t dry in time? The radiators would just have to do the trick. I pumped up the heat to full blast, draped the blanket over it, and waited. After about an hour, steam began to rise from it. The living room began to feel like a hothouse, and the windows fogged. I was certain that the neighbors thought we owned a Chinese laundry house. Rubbing the panes vigorously, I attempted to clear up the windows with the sleeve of my sweater. To no avail!

The next dilemma was putting J down for his afternoon nap without his blanket. I knew just what to do! What brilliance! I would just use his beloved Papa’s blanket instead. We went through the rituals of reading and singing before nap time. As I laid him down in his crib, he whined “Where ‘blaney’?” He looked at the current blanket with great skepticism.

“Oh, honey! This is a super duper special blanket. It’s from Papa!” J pulled the covers nearer and gave the blanket a great sniff. Reassured that the covers were safe, he relaxed, lied down, and waited for sleep to take him, this time without Mr. Blaney.

When he awoke from his nap, J’s blanket had dried sufficiently for him to use it that night. I redressed it in a fresh duvet cover and tossed Papa’s blanket aside. Before I did, however, I could have sworn I heard it whisper my name. I grabbed Papa’s blanket and looked it square in the buttons. I opened the washer and threw it in.