WARNING: This post contains photos of rancid rags that some readers may find upsetting…
As you may, or may not know, my younger son - Charlie - is autistic. Bringing up a disabled child is challenging at the best of times, but especially when your child is upset and can't communicate to you what's wrong. Thanks to his amazing school, this has been getting easier and easier for Charlie as he gets older and acquires more language. But sometimes he just wants comfort and reassurance, and that's where Raggy comes in. Raggy is his comforter that he's had since he was born. My older son had one exactly the same and Charlie's Raggy was the 'spare' that his brother rejected. Raggy is like a wonder drug - he sleeps well at night with him beside him (a massive bonus for any parent, whether your child is autistic or not) and he just seems to calm him down and keep him happy, which for me, is the number one priority.
However, eight years of non-stop stroking against the face have taken their toll and Raggy has been in need of some serious repair work.
A few weeks ago, his face actually fell off (!) so he now sports a piece of cotton wrapped round his face with eyes drawn on. A bit like the disguise poor old John Merrick had to put on whenever he went out in public. As you can imagine, washes are few and far between, so it got to the point where Raggy was actually becoming a health hazard. Measures had to be taken.
When he's fallen apart before, I've always sewn a flannel (face cloth) over the existing square, but these were gradually disintegrating. I need to actually remove the head and fit Raggy out with a complete new coat. I bought some lovely soft cotton flannel from the Goldhawk Road and used the edges of a face cloth to make the all important twiddly bits on the corners. I then temporarily wrapped the whole thing in the old rags, hoping that some of the old aroma would be picked up. Charlie is very sensitive to smell so this was an important point. We'd prepared Charlie by telling him Raggy was getting a new coat that day so we just had to keep our fingers crossed as to his reaction.
Behold! Raggy's new coat
He came home from school, went straight to the stairs where Raggy 'sleeps' during the day, picked him up and sniffed him suspiciously. Whilst Jon and I were oohing and ahhing about how fabulous and smart the new coat was, Charlie took himself off to a corner of the room. A few minutes later we observed him laying Raggy out carefully and whispering to him, "Hello Raggy, hello Raggy." He'd accepted him, THANK GOD! I didn't get any photos that day as Jon and I were too busy cracking open the champagne and giving each other high fives. But here he is today, with the King looking down on him from above. Sometimes, I'm really grateful I can sew! x