Too Old for Comfort? (Recipe – Diner Meat Loaf Muffins)

I’m coming to you all, once again, for parenting advice. You’ve supported me through my experience with Postpartum Depression. You’ve offered advice when I was Parenting with a Heavy Heart. You have even stepped up when things got serious around here… remember the controversy surrounding hand-me-down undies? :) Now, I am looking to you all to help me with Blanket and Talktus.

Blanket and Talktus… my 8 year olds “comfort” items. The blanket I made for Jacob was the first quilt I had ever sewn (and those of you who know me know that the words Kristen and sewing do not typically go hand in hand) . Talktus is a sweet little stuffed dog Jacob grew attached to soon after his 1st birthday. My children never sucked their thumbs. They never used pacifiers. Instead, all 4 of them have attached themselves to a special blanket or stuffed animal. In Jacob’s case, he dearly loves one of each.

Jacob does not take his blanket anywhere with him, except when we go out of town to relatives houses for a weekend. Both blanket and Talktus are simply there to provide comfort to him when he sleeps. He’s never really dragged them around everywhere, but if they are missing when bedtime hits, he can’t, or will not, go to sleep.

Jacob is now 8. 8 years old and still sleeps with his stuffed animal and blanket. He’s had a couple of sleep overs, and much to my relief, the boys have brought their own stuffed animals as well. So, my parenting question of the moment… at what age should you try to wean your kid off of their nighttime comfort items? At what age are you too old for comfort? Jacob does not at all seem like he has any interest in giving them up. Right now, it doesn’t seem to be hurting anything, but I know a day will come when he will be made to feel embarrassed for still sleeping with a blanket and stuffed dog. I would love to hear your opinions on this one!

Speaking of comfort.. how about comfort food? As much as meat loaf happens to not be one of my favorite things, it always makes me think of home. I don’t even remember mom making meatloaf all that often, but for some reason eating it today still transports me back to the dinner table

This recipe for Diner Meat Loaf Muffins from Cooking Light is just about one of the best meat loaf variations I’ve tried. I substituted Panko Breadcrumbs for the crackers, but that was the only change I made. I hope you enjoy and I hope, no matter what your age, it makes you think back to home… a place where you were never too old for comfort.

Diner Meat Loaf Muffins (from Cooking Light)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.
CALORIES 276 (28% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 3g,mono 4g,poly 0.8g); IRON 3.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 131mg; CALCIUM 48mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21.7g; SODIUM 759mg; PROTEIN 28.7g; FIBER 1.8g

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  1. says

    I still generally consider myself a kid and have no children so I can’t offer any help with parenting questions. However, I did want to say that your photo is adorable and I love that you included nutrition facts with this recipe.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..masterpiece together =-.

  2. says

    I was 9 and my parents got me a dog, but I know that’s not a very cost-effective way of doing it. But it worked!

    As for the ultimate comfort food, I think of fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans. :)

  3. says

    Every child is different. Some kids will just naturally grow out of the stage (my husband says t was that way for him) other kids may need some prompting. My youngest in particular had a blanket, his bebe, and this may seem cruel to some but eventually we just took it away. It was obvious that he just wanted to have it and it wasn’t really a comfort thing as much as it was an attention thing. Does that make sense? Anyway, I don’t know that that helps with your particular situation but that was mine. :)
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Ask Away! =-.

  4. says

    I have no children, but I will say that my sister and I both (at 22 and 30 respectively) STILL to this day both sleep with our comfort items and we are happy, sane, successful adults. I don’t recall ever being teased for it. My bf thinks is cute when I cuddle up with him and my baby pillow.

    As for comfort food, tomato soup and grilled cheese…also baked mac & cheese. Mmmmmm……

  5. says

    When my eldest was 12, he was still sleeping with a favourite stuffed toy (Ernie from the Muppets). One day I took it to the Drycleaners. When it came back I put it in the cupboard. He never noticed it was gone. I guess it had just become a habit, rather than a comfort. My youngest had a favourite blanket which he lost while we were out shopping when he was about 4. He got over it once he knew it was gone forever.
    .-= barbara´s last blog ..Queen of Tomato Tarts =-.

  6. Nikki says

    I was just having this conversation with my sisters. My daughter is 8 and still sleeps with a baby (she named her Made in China when she was 2 years old) and her two blankets. She isn’t attached to them during the day and is a very independent girl. But, she has to have them at night. Honestly, she can take them with her to college and I wouldn’t care. I highly doubt she will :). I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, but that’s just me. I don’t understand the harm in having a comfort item. As adults, we have comfort items, they just take a different form.

    PS. My married, 32 year old sister still sleeps with her quilt from jr high every night. She says its her most comfortable blanket to sleep with. Maybe its because she was traumatized when a babysitter burned her blanket when she was 7 years old. :)

  7. says

    Think about it … have you ever see a child go to college sucking their thumb … My suggestion would be we all need comfort at any age and our comfort “thingies” evolve over time; Jacob will decide in his own time.

  8. rachel says

    I am a 26 yo successful, married grad student and I still have a stuffed animal in my bed. Sometimes my husband even sleeps with him :) jacob will outgrow these items in time, or at least learn to hide them from his friends.

  9. says

    I’m pretty sure you’re never too old for comfort food. Comfort objects…maybe…but these muffins? Too awesome.

    My brother slept with a Snoopy blanket for a long time. He might have been 12. But realistically, he didn’t take it on sleepovers with it and when it got time for him to be embarassed of it, he gave it up on his own. Which I bet your son will as well. So I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
    .-= Joanne´s last blog ..Bites of Bittman – Oven-Roasted Plum Tomato Tart Pizza with Pesto =-.

  10. says

    When should you ween your kids off their bedtime comforts??? NEVER! Why would you deprive them of somewthing that comforts them and gets them to sleep? they’ll outgrow them someday, but it’s just them, in their bed so why would it ever be an issue? If he was walking around sucking his thumb with a blankie at 8 then I’d advise the reduction of blankies to bedtimes only, but never remove the thing completely. What purpose? My almost 11 year old still likes to have her menagerie of stuffed animals to sleep with. Are you sure this isn’t a worry over his masculinity? The day someone picks on him he’ll evaluate the issue and it’s part of the growing up process – he’ll deal with it and be fine. I promise you, by the time he’s ready to bring a girl home, there won’t be a blankie and stuffed animal in the bed. Let him sort it out when he’s ready and count yourself lucky he’s not a thumbsucker (I was until 13) or bedwetter (Brother was until 20)

    Now, I have meaty muffins to bake!! 😉
    .-= Lyvvie´s last blog ..Bento for 12.04.10 =-.

  11. Gloriason says

    My daughter had a favorite blanket that she kept and slept with until she left for college. At that time, she put it in a plastic bag and buried it. She loved that blanket and like your children, she never used a pacifier or sucked her thumb. The blanket though was just for our house and her bed, she never took it to sleepovers.

    You may want to try to cut down the size of the blanket, so it is not so obvious when he takes it with him.

  12. says

    Well, since I’m just beginning, I really don’t have any advice from experience. Though I do remember us telling my youngest sister (14 years my junior) that the dog ate her binkie. She was four at the time, wasn’t mad at the dog-more like amazed.

    I’m sure I will have the same question in seven years regarding my son’s stuffed dog, Leroy. It is his comfort item.

    Meatloaf looks good and cute! I use a Cooking Light turkey meatloaf recipe-its pretty good.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Buttermilk Poundcake =-.

  13. says

    I can give you two answers. As a person who works in the field of sleep. We always tell patients to bring something from how so they feel more comfortable when they go to sleep. So that being said comfort items such as blankets are a great took for ensuring a good sleep especially when away from home.

    Both my kids had comfort items and both of them game then up when they were ready which was somewhere around the double digit birthdays. I did not have to wean them they just decided they were done with it. There was not trauma ( I could not handle it as a working single mom) or really anything special they just put it away. My daughter has her bear put away for when she has a child of her own and I have my son’s blanket because it was hand knit from a close family friend who has since past.
    I hope that helps.

  14. says

    Interesting comments. We’re soooo not there yet, with a 1 year old, and he hasn’t even developed any comfort items… other than the pacifier (ugh, we have to start working on taking that one away, but only because of the physical dental harm).

    I do have two thoughts though… I am of the opinion that they outgrow it in their own time. Secondly, if you wanted to help him simply understand that he’s getting older, you could limit it to your house only by the age of 10. Also, in a recent potty training speech I went to, the woman was a big advocate of talking about things way ahead of time, mentally preparing the child for change. So, in this case, you would say things like, ‘Ok, we can take your blanket and animal with us to grandmas, but someday you’ll be bigger and probably want to leave them at home and that would be OK too’.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Lemon Cake =-.


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