What is an anchor?
I don’t really know if there’s a specific term for this but as someone with a scientific background, I can’t help but have noticed this trait within our community. A “little anchor”, in my definition of the term, is something that a little will place an unusually high value on being there for them, something where to others might be nonsensical to be valued as much as it is. For most littles, this will be something like a blanket, a set of pyjamas, or more commonly a teddy bear or other plush toy. When I say being there for them I mean that they have an unusually high drive to have that item with them as much of the time as they can reasonably keep it to hand.
What is the anchor of my little boy?
As much as it seems like it would be his teddy bear Chiron, I believe that I have worked out that his is just as likely that his red blanket which features in so many photos on the blog. He takes it everywhere with him and it helps him to sleep. It has all the hallmarks of an anchor. Both Chiron and the blanket seem to be anchors for my little as far as I can tell because they both go almost everywhere.
Is it always at bedtime?
Certainly in my experience bedtime is when it almost always manifests itself, but I’ve seen it at other times as well. Outside of bedtime a little anchor tends to only come to my attention when someone is in littlespace. With @little-alteran this usually holds true. I’ve often seen him feel very warm and want to be undressed (down to his nappy) but yet despite being too warm he will sometimes wraps up in his blanket and can often be seen cuddling up with Chiron.
I’ve done no real research other than observation on this topic and I can safely say I’ve done quite a bit of that. I am aware that there is a similar phenomenon in children but the reading on that subject seems to link its being caused by a different source to an anchor of a little who’s into their teenage years or an adult.
It seems that these items are often manifested as items that are bedtime related. Something that can be taken to bed or be there at the bedside when it’s bedtime to sooth a little into a state of comfort. Without much research in the field, I’ve found that even when not in a headspace that the ‘need’ to have the item tends to remain.
In my experience these items have to be considered something of note in a littlespace. A mobile phone or other items that you don’t associate with being ‘cute’ in a littlespace sense never seem to be anchors. I’ve come across, plush toys, blankets, pillows, and even things like hard plastic dinosaurs being anchors. Albeit the latter one being something that particular little left on his bedside table at night.
One of the more interesting things I’ve noticed over the years is that anchors tend to be something that the little often doesn’t feel is as important as their CG might have noticed the item to be. Sometimes there’s a level of active denial to that fact and even more significantly they suggest they don’t need it as much when the topic is brought up and make an effort to demonstrate that fact. However, eventually after a period of time they generally return to their old ways without thinking about it and the anchor gets back in use.
Does it have to be nearby?
It’s always been hard to say about this. Nearby as in accessible within seconds certainly seems to be a case of being a no, at least most of the time. But the other side of the coin is that situations like being away on a trip for a week seems that the item is an essential one that they feel must be packed above all other regards.
The middle-ground in my experience is less clear cut. I’ve felt that anchors do often seem to be left behind in some circumstances, for example visiting a friend who’s not littlespace aware for a day. Then again, visiting a friend who is littlespace aware changes that back most often to an essential item for packing to take.
So it seems that social conventions play a part in this interesting aspect of littlespace. For situations where it’s socially acceptable to have the item then it will feature, if it’s not socially acceptable or might risk some real or perceived ridicule then it will stay behind.
Can a little have more than one anchor?
In my experience there seems to generally be one main one, I won’t say that there can’t be more than one all the time. What I have experienced is that a little can possibly have several different ones that change based on moods or other factors such as a blanket one day and the next when feeling in a strong headspace mood it change to be their teddy bear.
My observations however are, that it always seems to be just the one item that grabs the attention of the little and that they latch to at any one time. Other items can seem to be like an anchor but often unlike the anchor are more fluid in their necessity to be available to a little.
“But I don’t have any anchor”
Maybe not, but then all of what I’ve posted comes about in discussion of my exposure to a very small minority of the AB/DL/CG/littlespace community, the ones who find headspace to not be a sexual arena in any real way. It could also be that you do have an anchor but haven’t experienced yourself feeling comfortable enough around others for it to show up. I’ve known several littles who don’t seem to show this trait to start with, but, over time the trend started to develop as they become comfortable in being who they really are.
People might say this is not scientific at all, and I never suggested it was, it’s just theory. In my favour, I’ve at least started the conversation on the topic and if you want to go out and research it, then you’re more than welcome to look in to it.