My four-year-old son Willem has been besotted with his lovey since he was about a month old. While he has flirted for brief periods with the giraffe and elephant that came in that fateful blankie three-pack, “Doggie Blankie,” pictured here, remains his great, enduring love. The moment he comes upon it after a short and sometimes frantic search, his instant calm—and palpable joy—are, well, pavlovian. Yes, I squirreled away a couple of understudies early on—”Fat-Nose Blankie,” as he refers to the impostors, are named for their unsatisfying plush (read: unloved) features. Those were the days when I thought I was such a clever mommy. As he approaches five, I have begun to wonder what the limits on the affair should be. He doesn’t take it to school, though he has been known to sneak it in his backpack on occasion. Our rules are at home and in the car, though sometimes in a moment of weakness, I have broken down and let him bring it to restaurants or to friends’ houses (“in case he gets tired,” I reason). My husband insists that I am spoiling our son, that he has to grow up and, on some level, objects to Willem’s attachment to his lovey, even at home. It should be known that Willem is also a thumbsucker, but when I watch the blankie-thumb nirvana that washes over him, I wonder how anyone can argue with that. Still I wrestle with that fuzzy line between allowing a kid to self-soothe by any means necessary, and standing in the way of him growing up. Thoughts?