The Texture Of Things

Stumbling Blocks

February 18th, 2014

Just about the worst thing that can happen when you have a kid who doesn’t eat* is stomach flu.

In the past year, the Tot has added some good foods to her repertoire — apple slices with peanut butter, pancakes and waffles (with whipped cream), grilled cheese — but for the past week, she has struggled with a barfing virus. If our experience with the Barfs holds true again, it will take us a while to work our way back to even some old standards.

Makes me sad, ya know?

* First World Problem, yes I know.

P.S. Somehow Comments are turned off and I can’t figure out how to turn them on. I’ll figure it out soon! Pinkie swear!


February 16th, 2011

Every so often, I find myself looking at a completely plain experience. I mean, thoroughly plain, like a bubble bath. It is a moment that catches me by surprise, though it shouldn’t. It is a moment that catches me by surprise because in this life, it is not a plain experience. It is nearly exotic.

The experience of bubble suds on your skin can be described as “unexpected touch.”* Unexpected touch is basically any touch or tactile sensation that is a surprise. Splashing water, a spill, a tap on the shoulder from a person you didn’t know was there — these are also unexpected touch.

In a person who is hypersensitive to tactile sensation, unexpected touch can be quite unpleasant. So, bubbles, then, are something to dread rather than something to enjoy.

In order to get to the place we are today, with the tot in a bathtub filled with soapy, bubbly bath water, we had to move through many steps.

It started with the cold turkey approach, right about the age of 1.5 years old or so. I just put the bubbles into the water. The tot, who had been excited by the prospect of a bath, had a complete breakdown. Melting into a puddle, crying, foot-stomping, turning away from the sight of the bubbles breakdown. I was surprised because I thought all kids liked bubble baths. I was frustrated because – Come on! All kids should like bubble baths! But she didn’t.

So that didn’t work.

I bailed on the idea of bubbles in the bath for a long time after that. At some point, however, Food Friend S suggested we blow bubbles outside and work with the tot to get her popping the bubbles. It was summer by then, and the tot around 2 years old, so it seemed like a potentially fun thing to do outside.

The tot was cool with watching bubbles, but she did not want to do them herself. Over time, she began chasing them and stomping them, later popping them by finger touch, to clapping them to pop them. (I want to say that last development was the summer she turned 4. I don’t recall when she finally wanted to blow them herself. Possibly the summer she was 3, but if so, late summer. Maybe the beginning of the summer she turned 4.)

Although blowing bubbles doesn’t seem like it connects to bath bubbles, it is exactly what we needed to transition from the meltdown reaction to today’s bubble bath.

She liked the wand and the bottle, and she liked play stirring, and somehow or another, one time at bath she asked for her empty bubble bottle to play with in the tub. I gave it to her and (eventually) had the idea to blow bubbles *into* her bath water. Bubbles, if you have never blown bubbles outside after the rain, will land on the wet surface and linger.
At that point, it was just a matter of desensitization. Number of bubbles, size of the bubbles, proximity of the bubbles, etc. Then suds made from soapy washcloths and eventually bubble bath.

It sounds systematic, but it was a long process, to be sure.

Funny aside, I am drafting this on my phone while Tater is playing in the tub, and the tot just came in and asked to blow bubbles into his bath. Ha ha! We haven’t done that with him before, maybe even since he was born. I guess bubbles are on the brain around here!

And now, my dear friends, I must go put the tot in the tub, with bubbles, of course.

*The prickly popping and slide-y sensations of bubbles are also light touch, which I’ve written about before, and if I remember later, I’ll link to the post.

Notes on Therapy, Week #2

January 19th, 2011

In-home therapy is complicated in some ways. Like, you have to open yourself up, not just the emotions you are working on, but, um, your whole house. Yes, that includes all the dirty dishes you left on the table. And by “you”, I mean “me”, and by “dirty dishes on the table”, I mean “the mess throughout the entire house”.

Let’s just say that one good thing about starting up with S again is that she is familiar, a good friend, so I’m less worried about my house than I would be if our therapist were a stranger. And, frankly, I’m more concerned with getting to the bottom of things that if it so happens that S sees a pattern in our home that reveals a clue, then all the faster we go toward our goal. (Though, I feel kind of cring-y and twitchy thinking about how painful some of the work we are going to have to do will be. Stuff like refocusing meal times or rules or that sort of thing. Oy.)

Anyway, S came right after the tot got of the bus. The tot CHOWED a snack. She must have been starving. But, you know, as I think about it, the issue of familiarity comes up again. If it weren’t S, I wonder if she’d have eaten like that. I think not, because when there are people here, she generally doesn’t eat well. I wonder if she’s comfortable eating with S in a way that she isn’t with other, non-family people. I will mention this to S when I email her later.

During snack and after play, S and I chatted. More background stuff, details, and strategizing about how to put together the necessary releases for her to go observe the tot’s classroom someday. Then they went into the tot’s room to play with the baby dolls. The most salient thing that came out of the play was the tot’s reaction to S making one of the babies be scared of something. The tot called off the game temporarily and said, “All of my dolls are BRAVE.” So, she’s not ready to let down her guard and be scared with S, but it’s early, and that will come with time.

On the topic of procuring OT, let’s just say that I’ve called the two best contenders, and the wait lists are loooooooong. The place we went to before told me that because it’s been so long since we were patients there (2 years), we would be treated like new patients, and that means going to the end of a very long waiting line for after-school time slots — after all the current patients who are waiting for those times. The receptionist was not very warm, welcoming, or open to the idea of, say, putting me on that list. In our conversation, she created no openings for me to say, “Put me on the list.” I was brokenhearted to discover that the wait could be so long, but I called the other place, just in case.

The receptionist at The Other Place was warm and inviting from the get-go. She did admit that there can be quite a wait for those time slots (and their Saturday times), but she practically jostled me into giving her the info necessary for an OT to call me back with answers to my questions about approach, training, etc. The OT called me yesterday, and after hearing our story and talking through things like background, current therapy with S, and the tot’s school situation (lots of stress there!), she had the receptionist call back to schedule an in-person eval for this coming Saturday.


Provided I can get all the necessary fuzzy little ducks in their fuzzy little row, naturally, and that includes a prescription from the pediatrician.

No problem! Except — problem…. The nurse at the ped’s office called back with a hundred questions and a solid undertone of cynicism. I guess the first time we got a script for OT two years ago, the ped didn’t put anything in the chart, and last summer at the tot’s physical (when we happened to see a different doc, purely due to schedule availability) nothing was put in her chart then either. Now, we didn’t talk at length at that last physical about it because things were generally fine, but I DID ask about caloric intake because I was worried about the tot getting enough to eat. The doc gave her a little speech about eating lots of vegetables so she’ll be “big and strong”. You know the one? The speech that all grown ups give all kids at some point to drive home the message of “healthy food might not be your thing, but you still have to suck it up and eat it”? That one. But there’s nothing in the chart, so the nurse has to talk to both docs before she can write the script for a doc to sign. She says she’ll get back to me on Friday about whether they will write the script.


Bonus: Because of the rules with our new health insurance, I have to renew this prescription every 30 days. Let me tell you, I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR THAT. Oy. Shoot me now.

Things to do/prepare for this week’s in-home therapy:
*work on OT paperwork
*get scary creature toys, like dinosaurs, sharks, etc.
*tidy the tot’s room

The Problem with OT

January 9th, 2011

The tot received play therapy through a local organization from just after she turned two until she aged out of the program at four. At that time, we transitioned to Occupational Therapy at a privately owned clinic.

I was sad to be leaving our in-home therapy (and S!), but I had hope that the change would trigger a leap forward, as we had been stalled a bit. When we had begun, the tot had so much anxiety that trying to work on food desensitization could only happen at home. Outside the home, she would simply shut down. But as the tot got older, she progressed and, I think, was actually held back by being at home. So, the clinic.

The hour-long sessions occurred on a weekly basis, and were broken down roughly as follows:
*about fifteen minutes doing gross motor play and motor planning
*about fifteen minutes doing pretend play
*a transition from the big gross motor play room to the small room, plus getting situated
*about 10 minutes doing oral motor play (whistles, bubbles, etc)
*whatever time was left rushing through the food items we had brought to focus on

This was problematic, and my criticism of it is tangled. On one hand, I understand that the tot has a motor planning delay. Yes, she needed to work on that, but that was a secondary concern for me. Additionally, I understand that the tot scores on the border of Sensory Processing Dysfunction (or whatever they’re calling it this month), so yes, she needed the gross motor play to help her regulate her sensory integration, but the amount of time we spent on it could have been shorter because, with coaching, I could have done it prior to the session.

My priority was food, from day one, but it was not K’s priority. So, each week, we spent too much time doing things that were useful, yet they used up the time I wanted to be spending on eating issues. This was complicated by the fact that K was impossible to communicate with. We routinely ran over time, so there was no time to talk about how to improve the session during the session, and only after a couple of months did she reluctantly give me her email so I could send some questions to her. Even then, I don’t think she checked her email every day because it would take many days before I’d get a reply, and when I did, it never fully addressed my concerns.

So, I bailed. I am not proud of this, but my aversion to confrontation got the better of me. I used the birth of Tater to try to reschedule as a way of getting to meet another therapist, but it didn’t work. My schedule didn’t line up, plus they were booked solid and acted like they preferred to simply put me with K on another day.

I completely felt like I was done. At home, HG was making progress with the tot eating, and it didn’t cost a 20% copay each week. On top of that, it was during this time that we discovered the tot’s tongue tie, and when I asked K to take a look and tell me what she thought of our choice to pursue surgery (eventually), she dismissed it. She said it was definitely tied, but the tot didn’t need surgery because she didn’t have a speech impediment. (Bonus: the ENT had *just* told us that some large percentage of kids with tongue ties do not actually have speech problems. I don’t recall the percentage, but I recall being STUNNED!)

Ugh. So, we went for a few more weeks, and then HG caught wind of some downsizing happening at his company, and I decided to temporarily cancel therapy and sock the money away as a way of battening down the financial hatches at home. I figured, at the time, that I could try to go back in a while and request another therapist, but following the tot’s surgery, we had so much success at home that it hardly seemed worth it.

We’ve had our ups and downs, but it wasn’t until this most recent big down that returning to therapy even crossed my mind. Now it seems pretty critical.

The Latest Additions

March 29th, 2009

in the last two weeks, the tot has been eating all sorts of previously untried or non-preferred things. before i forget, here are some notes.

brand new:
buttered toast
open-faced peanut butter cracker sandwiches on graham crackers
my little pony fruit snacks
drinking out of an open top cup

with brand new fervor:
peanut butter cracker sandwiches (homemade)
frozen gogurt

what’s up with the sudden change? those of you who know me in real life may already know the answer to this. for the rest of you, care to make a guess?

ETA: OMFG!!1! Applesauce!


January 20th, 2009

Dear Tater and Tot,

When you are old enough to wonder about these days, I want to be able to tell you about them.

Today, America changed. Today, America saw its first African American President Inaugurated. This is an important moment in our history because it is a first, a door opening for future Americans.

When you ask me where you were when it happened, I will tell you this. We were in our living room, watching it on tv. I had been walking Tater around to get him to settle into a nap while I listened to the coverage on the kitchen radio. Tot, you stayed home from preschool with a cold, so you were kneeling at the ottoman in your rainbow-striped jammies. When I asked you if you wanted to see it, you said yes.

“Barack Obama will become President today. Do you want to watch?”
“Yes.” So I turned off the kid shows and put on a news channel.

We watched a poet and a prayer and a performance and a President, and that was that.

While it was a momentous occasion, I didn’t make a big deal over it, my little ones, because I don’t want it to ever be a big deal that America can elect someone who isn’t white or male or a member of a major political party. I am glad that for the whole of your lives, a President who also happens to be a minority will simply be within normal limits. I am hopeful that by the time you are both voting age, what a person is will not matter as much as what she or he stands for, as it has so often in our past.

It is a good dream to have, for all of us.


Just So You Know, This Does Not Have A Bad Ending

January 20th, 2009

Most of our lives, we go along thinking, “It could never happen to us,” and for the most part, it’s true. In fact, if you think about it, when we hear scary stories on the news, we may well think, “I don’t even know anyone that’s ever happened to.” Well, now you do.

Our house is filled with products that have been recalled due to the salmonella scare. Sure, many homes have Austin and Keebler peanut butter crackers in the cupboard as snacks, but in this house, pb crackers are on the tot’s plate every single lunch and dinner. They are in my purse for when we’re out and she needs to eat. They are in her lunch bag at the babysitter’s house. Peanut butter and peanut butter products are her main source of protein.

Has anyone in this house gotten sick from them? No. The tot and I have a cold, but that is the extent of any illness here. Still, it feels like every time I turn around I see a packet of crackers in the snack drawer here and a half-packet of crackers leftover on the table there and I snatch them up, feeling relieved that she didn’t see them and open them for herself in a fit of independence. (It does happen from time to time.) I have told her that we aren’t eating peanut butter crackers from packages right now, only homemade ones (which she resists), but she’s 4.5 and really it’s my job to be in charge of shielding her from potentially dangerous things.

I am left with a weird feeling as this story develops. Of all the food contamination scares we’ve had in the last few years, I never really worried about them. They were all detached and distant from my life because I didn’t eat those things. I mean, seriously? Spinach? C’mon. Who the hell eats spinach? But here, this feels a little too close.

The up side to this is that the tot is forced to eat more cheese crackers (which should help desensitize her to cheese flavors) and is being offered more chicken nuggets (though she hasn’t been eating them), but even consumption of those is down right now due to her cold. For now, it’s lots of fluids for us and a big dose of relief that at least jarred peanut butter is considered safe for the time being, if she decides she feels like eating.

In between

September 27th, 2008

Update below.

The last few days of my life with my daughter are evaporating before my eyes. There just isn’t enough time and she needs me so much right now. Of course, she needs me so much because of the impending change, but that’s logic and right now, logic plays a role in the chorus in this production while emotions take center stage.

Going to bed has been ever harder for the tot in the last half a year. Once she had gotten a good routine down for night-night, she’s almost always gone to bed easily. Some age-appropriate nonsense, but all do-able. The occasional struggle. The once-in-a-blue-moon stay awake for over an hour in there, cripes, will she just go to sleep already? Then she hit the age where imagination gets unwieldy and night shadows started to scare her. We developed a few coping strategies (an LED flashlight that can stay on all night and not get hot, a “game” of spraying monster repellent anywhere she deems necessary, and a reminder that monsters are in our imagination so the repellent really works), but those are not enough right now.

She has a new routine of getting very sad when it’s time to turn on the flashlight and turn out the story-reading lamp. She says she’s afraid. Afraid of what? I ask. She cannot tell me. We spray for monsters and I go to the door, where I’m hit with a long series of delays. “Wait, mama! Don’t go! Wait! I want to tell you something.”

“Tell me one thing,” I say.

She hems and haws and makes up a nonsensical tidbit. I keep my response short and to the point and turn to leave.

“Don’t go!” She closes her eyes and half-cries. “I’m having a bad dream!”

“You’re not asleep, so it cannot be a bad dream. Tell me what you are thinking about.”

“I’m scared!”

“Of what?”

But she can never name what she is scared of. She just wants to keep me there.

A week or two ago, I introduced an incentive program to reduce the incredible stalling and resistance that now accompanies the getting-ready-for-bed routine. If she could do it all and do it cooperatively, I’d lie down in bed with her. I knew this would be a great temptation since a sleeping companion is what she craves during the nights when she has nightmares. It worked a few times, but lately we are back to the resistance, so the first threat of loss of privilege is to lose the incentive. After that, I take away one story at a time, based on how much time she’s wasted. Last night, I saw that I might have the consequences weighted backwards.

She refused to get her jammies on repeatedly, until she lost the privilege of my lying down with her. When it came time for me to leave the room, we had the customary “I’m scared”/”Of what?” exchanges, and I told her to lie down and think happy, sleepy thoughts and I would be back in five minutes to check on her. (I always go back, sometimes in ten minutes, and she is always asleep, so it’s not like she’s having a simple case of the “can’t-turn-my-brain-off-for-sleep”.)

At about seven minutes post-promise, I went back there. I opened the door, and she didn’t stir. I waited to listen to her breathe, but it was so quiet that I couldn’t hear her. I saw her lovey positioned to fall off the bed, so I risked it and went all the way in to her bed.

When I moved her lovey to a more secure position, the tot grasped her more firmly and muttered in her sleep, “scared…. scared…”. Then she opened her eyes a bit, saw me, and sat up.

I couldn’t just leave, so I climbed in bed with her and told her to lie down, close her eyes, and keep breathing. How could I not?

I lay there while she drifted back into sleep and it dawned on me that the reason she cannot name what she is scared of is because she is scared of the unknown. But she’s four, so she doesn’t have the words for that yet. Crap, I’m thirty-five and I can’t always put my finger on it.

I lay there and thought about the presidential debate on tv in the other room. I thought about a baby who is coming, whom we don’t know, whom I can’t love until I meet him, and I thought about the world falling to pieces in a giant clusterfuck made worse by politics and who’s going to be left holding the remains? I thought about all the things that are going to happen and we just can’t know how hard it’s going to be until they get here, and I thought, I’m scared too, baby. I’m scared too.

I am holding on to the few days we have left as a family in this shape, waiting both eagerly and apprehensively for the change that is coming. It is a purgatory I never could have imagined until now.

I wrote this before anyone else in the house got up. When the tot got up, I asked her if she remembered waking up or me lying down in bed with her the night before, and – for better or for worse – she did not.

Therapy in Small Doses

September 24th, 2008

Recently, I took a peek at the search phrases that have led people to this blog, and one stood out to me. It regarded a small child’s aversion to the texture of sand. When I read it, I remembered a picture I have on my phone of the tot, playing happily in the sand pit at our local park for the first time. I recall the surge of happiness – sheer glee – I had that she was sitting in the sand and was happy. It was the month she turned two, and I had all but given up hope that she’d ever tolerate this activity that – it seemed – every other child in the world enjoyed and every other parent in the world took for granted. Ah, the relaxing moments sitting on a bench in the shade while the children scoop and dump and shape and smear and dig in the cool sand at the park. Would I ever get to be that parent? I wondered.

Seeing the search phrase popped me back to that time and I realized that I’m not sure I’ve fully appreciated the 30 minutes I can now sit while the tot plays in her sand cart this summer. How did we get here?

Whereas many parents can simply plunk their kid down in the sand pit and watch as the child seeks more information about this new tactile sensation, we did not enjoy such instantaneous success. Sand was just not appealing to her. Too gritty, perhaps? Too wobbly under her feet? Too unpredictable? I mean, this stuff gets everywhere! When I’d take her to the park’s sand pit, until that day in late June, she did not want to walk on it, touch it, play in it, explore it. No no no, no no no bad.

So, looking back, I have some observations about what worked to get her past that early aversion to sand.

First, she had had some positive experiences with sand the summer before. (Before this, her only exposure to sand was at the park.) We were driving to a friend’s cabin in another state, and along the way we stopped at a state park beach. The tot walked in the sand with her daddy and eventually sat in the sand and pawed through it to examine the occasional tiny shell. What was different about that sand? Several things come to mind:

* the beach sand had a much smoother feel to it (i.e., it was less gritty), due probably to smaller overall size of the grains
* the beach sand had a fairly even consistency, in that it was sand and a few small shells, unlike the sand at the park, which has lots of rocks, twigs, leaves, etc., in it
* the temperature of the beach sand was warm, but not hot, unlike the sand at the park, which is cool (and the tot did not like cold)
* we all felt relief to be out of the car – it was a looonng drive – so we were craving different sensory input
* the beach population was less dense than the park is, so we could easily have our own space and ignore other patrons and focus solely on our own experience (and the tot did/does sometimes get overwhelmed by throngs of people)

What I take away from this is that to have success introducing a texture-averse kid to sand is to back up and see the whole scene. What else could be raising the child’s anxiety about the situation? If you can control or change that variable, will the child be more open to the texture?

Second, the day the tot sat in the sand pit and had fun, I had lowered my expectations. I didn’t expect her to play in the sand for more than a few seconds, so I let her keep her socks and shoes on, in spite of the general dread I had about getting the sand off of her when it came time to leave. How much sand could it really be if she was going to hit the sand and immediately bail? Not much, right?

Ha ha ha – WRONG. (Given the success, that’s all right.)

I’m sure it was more than just one thing that led to success, but I can’t discount the possibility that having her feet and some of her legs covered made a difference. Instead of having to manage the sensory input from hands, arms, legs and feet, she only needed to focus on tactile input from the skin on her hands and arms. (And as I think about it, judging from the picture, I’ll bet it was not breezy that day, so that was one less tactile input she needed to cope with.)

What I take away from this is a question I should ask myself more often: what coping mechanisms can we offer to help the child manage on her/his own? If the child becomes overwhelmed by too much of a tactile experience, how can we block some of it in order to prevent the child from shutting down completely? In this case, the solution was – in part – to cover more of the body. Fine. If the tot wants to keep her shoes on in the sand box, I can live with that if the outcome is she plays happily and has a healthy experience. And what I’ve discovered in the last two years is that if I grant her the choice to keep shoes on or take them off in the sand, she will take them off once she’s had a chance to relax and get into what she’s doing. The shoes help her cope at the beginning, and when she no longer needs the shield, she will set it aside. Nowadays, it doesn’t take very long to get to this point.

At occupational therapy, the OT uses a similar coping strategy to get the tot to eat frozen g0gurts. The tot does want to lick it and play with it, but she does not want to hold something that cold. The strategy: wrap a napkin around it. Same thing goes for foods like string cheese. When the OT first offered her string cheese, the tot wanted to join the OT in playing with it, but she didn’t want to hold it. Fine. The OT wrapped a napkin around it, and the tot was no longer troubled by the feel of the cheese. Since then, she will pick the cheese right up without the napkin. (Tasting it is an entirely other matter, however.)

One key thing to remember about exposing a child to a challenging thing in small doses might be that we cannot always control the physical size of the dose; rather, it might be making the dose seem more manageable, or smaller. Time is one such constraint we can (often) control in this way. As in, “Hey, here’s a sand pit. Check it out. Oooh, sand. Okay, you’re done? Fine, we’ll move on to the slides and visit the sand later.” I find if I allow the tot this much control, she will return to it in time, more open to the sensory experience. On the other hand, although the exposure doesn’t last long, the overall desensitization takes a while because the exposures must take place across time.

So, even though the beach was not a small place, by any stretch of the imagination, the dose (challenge) was smaller there for the tot than at the local sand pit because certain variables like texture consistency, temperature, and spatial pressure did not push the tot’s tolerance as far as the park experiences had.

In case a parent of a sand-averse child happens to find this, there are two other points not related to dose size that I want to mention here. The first is the importance of lowered expectations and the second is the importance of role models.

I can’t say for certain that the day I let go of my desire for the tot to like playing in sand played any part in her moving through her issues, but it certainly made it easier for me. And a more relaxed mommy makes for a happier family. At least, in this house I think that’s true. But to let go of that desire I had to accept – truly, deep down, accept – that it’s okay for her to not like a sandbox. In fact, I often have to remind myself that not everyone likes everything. Some stuff she’s just not going to enjoy. Okay. That’s fine. I admit that many of my expectations for her are based solely on cultural expectations – like, all kids like pizza, or all kids fingerpaint. You know what? When it comes to kids, there is no “all.”

As for role models, I cannot ignore the positive influence our next-door neighbor children have had on the tot, particularly in the area of sand play. They have a sandbox in their yard, and the kids in that family are not at all bothered by messes, sand in every crevice, or things mixed in with the sand. They have acted as ambassadors, in a way, demonstrating how kids deal with and enjoy sand, even what to do when playing in the sand just isn’t fun anymore.

Would role models alone have made the difference for the tot? No, I don’t think so, just as I find certain advice for parents of picky eaters incomplete. Hey – you might be able to put a new food in front of your children ten or twelve times and find your children will try it and, if the heavens are smiling on you, decide they like it, but that is not my kid. And when I tell you I do it and it’s not enough for my kid – she just needs more exposures and sometimes that doesn’t even matter – don’t smile, nod, and tell me it’ll happen because a kid won’t starve herself, because that is statistically untrue. There are some kids – about 4% – who will starve themselves, however inadvertently. [scroll down past bullet list.]

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. Expose, expose, expose. When something is so hard that she shuts down, contain the challenge and help the tot manage and cope, then let her do it herself and on her own terms. And measure the successes we have with a smile.

Close Call

September 23rd, 2008

No, I have not had the baby yet. That is not the close call.

This morning, the tot stayed home from preschool with the ever-beloved pink-eye. While we were sorting laundry in my bedroom, I noticed a gift box I had forgotten about. In it was a blanket and woobie for the baby. The tot saw the woobie and wanted to claim it. I reminded her it was for the baby and besides, she already had two identical woobies from when she was a baby. I fetched* them from the closet and reclaimed the new ones.

On an aside, I happened to mention that I want to have the blanket and woobie embroidered with the baby’s name, and instantly the tot determined that her woobie needs her name on it.

Of course, child – you can have your name on your woobie, too.

(Look, it’s not like I’m paying for it – my mom does it – so all’s equitable in love and embroidery, in this house anyway.)

So, because my mom was stopping by for other stuff today and because my four-year-old has a one-track mind (she gets it from her father or she’s 4, I’m not sure which plays a stronger role in this) and because I’m just trying to get every loose end tied up before the baby comes, I met my mother at the door with the woobies and blanket for names. I was all, Please take them TODAY. NO WAITING ALLOWED.

Cue HG’s scream of despair.

Why despair? Because we have an agreement that we will not reveal the newbie’s name until said newbie is born.

Happily, however, I had a moment of clarity and did not give the baby’s blanket and woobie to my mother. As a matter of fact, I believe I said, “Oh. I can’t give you these yet because I’m not telling you the name.”

She was, to say the very very least, bummed that I didn’t slip up.** But, for now anyway, our secret remains safe.


*Is it just me, or does it seem like the past participle for “fetch” should be “fought”? Just me? I thought so.

**Why do we have this policy? Because the people in our life are relentlessly critical people who take every chance they can get to tell a pair of parents to be why the name they’ve chosen is terrible and why they must change it to – and then they provide a list of “acceptable” names. Keeping the name a secret until the child’s birth does not, as we learned with the tot, prevent all the mean and hurtful statements about the name in question, but it does make it harder to fall prey to their demands to change it to – oh god, anything but that. I highly recommend the method, but I do caution that it doesn’t prevent every possible complaint.

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