The Texture Of Things

When S. Comes to Visit

October 5th, 2006

Mostly we play. We three play together and S. and I talk about what’s happened over the last week with me and with the tot. I tell her about any breakthroughs the tot has had, how she’s eating, and how things are going at the babysitter’s. The tot tells her, “S! S! I play dough! I pat. I pat it. I can pat it now.” Pat, pat, pat.

Almost every weekly visit, we interact with a new texture or do something new with a familiar texture. The first week that we played, S. brought dried beans. Although they are now a hit, a staple in the toy department, they weren’t then. It took several minutes before the tot would face the big Sterlite bin and watch S. run her hands through the top inches of beans. Instead, she stood in the space my legs made while I sat cross-legged. She kept her hands on her face, her face tucked into my shoulder, and her shoulders hunkered down into my body.

I did what I always do in that moment. I put an arm around her to steady her body against mine and I slowly rocked side to side. Before I had a child, I always had a feeling that once a mom learns to bounce and rock a baby, she never forgets how, and it’s true about me. It’s been like riding a bike. I might not do it for a while, but in the moment I need to, the rhythm and pace are immediately back again, and I am rocking her to calm her. I think a baby doesn’t forget it either, because even though the tot is 28 months old, it still settles her.

Slowly she felt safe enough to watch S. take the rubbery starfish out and make them talk about how much they like swimming in the beans, how they like it when all their friends come to visit, and hey – is that a new friend standing over there? Cool! Come see our super bean-swimming-pool! So many beans: Black beans, little white beans, big white beans, red beans, brown freckled beans, black-eyed peas.

Some minutes later, she touched the beans, but gently. She patted them with flattened fingers, like she thought they’d break under too much pressure. More minutes passed and she was picking up a handful of beans with only one hand, but she wouldn’t hold them long. At no point would she bury a hand, though she did say it was okay if S. buried her own hand.

Along the way, the tot panicked when beans spilled on the kitchen floor and was agitated until we assured her it was okay for them to be on the floor. We could pick them up later. Each time more beans were spilled (purposely or not), her face was buried in my shirt again, if only momentarily.

This reaction echoed her reaction to playing in sand, something she did for the first time this summer. It took a lot, a lot of visits to the sandbox before she’d eagerly plop her butt in the sand and demand a yogurt cup to dig with, something she does now. I do not doubt that she will learn to tolerate everyday textures without panicking. It’s a long road, but we’re walking in the right direction.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad:

RSS feed for these comments. | TrackBack URI

Anthosia2 Sponsored by Web Hosting