Aisha has always loved her aya, and although we have largely limited its use to the bedroom, she sometimes sneaks the blanket out and plays with it around the house.

Aya was introduced to her as a young baby, and it has been a fantastic comforter, as it has helped Aisha to sleep in all kinds of unfamiliar circumstances, but it has also been accompanied by vigorous thumb-sucking, which needs to stop soon. (I’ve also had visions of Aisha the adult taking her Aya to bed with her…)

A week ago, when Aisha wet the bed, David took Aya away to be washed, and my busy schedule and wet weather kept it sitting in the dirty clothes basket for a number of days. During this time, Aisha didn’t ask for Aya once, and instead, she was happy with substitute blankets at rest and bedtime.

Because Aisha appeared not to notice Aya’s absence, I was even reluctant to wash it — I feared that its reincarnation on the clothesline would ignite a new longing for the comfort rug. So I sneakily washed it and hung it up to dry in the hot water cupboard.

It’s still there, and I may just tuck it away in the back of a cupboard for safekeeping. The separation was virtually painless, and I have already noticed that the thumb-sucking has diminished too. One day it will just be a vague memory.