August 01, 2012

And all this time you thought we were normal

Once upon a time, I sniffed. A lot. Hoping to end the maddening tic, my mom even brought me to the doctor, and the doctor had no answers, only gave me some horrible nasal spray that stung like the dickens. Eventually the sniffing morphed into me learning how to just blow my nose. Which I did. A lot.

And then I started gently clearing my throat every two minutes...all day...every day...for the next 20 years (and counting).

So it didn't exactly shock me when we discovered that Jannika really, really loved her belly button.

"Loved" as in "obsessed over."

"Obsessed over" as in "would freak out and start panicking if the belly button tugging session didn't feel complete when I batted her hand away."

So we have years of photos like this:

And some drawings that look like this:

And books from friends like this:

I had no idea what to do. I tried positive reinforcement. I tried nagging reminders. I tried three strikes and you're timeouted. I tried ignoring it completely.

And then came the day that I entered the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks to see my then 3-year-old stretching out her belly button two inches and touching the kitchen appliances with it.

First the fridge. Then the oven. And then she started making a beeline to the garbage can.

As I snapped out of my shocked reverie in time to block her path, I knew I had to take some drastic measures.

(Duct tape may or may not have crossed my mind at this moment.)

So we sat down and had a heart-to-heart - she wanted to stop, but couldn't. I wanted her to make her stop, but couldn't. So we settled on band aids. Jannika was all for it, saying she'd touch the band aid and remember how much we both wanted this to end.

And then, two days later, I entered the kitchen and stopped dead in my tracks to see my 3-year-old furtively working at the band aid adhesive with one hand, a chopstick clutched in the other.

Curious as to what she was attempting, I didn't say a word, but watched with growing fascination as she worked a hole in the band aid's seam and inserted the chopstick. To touch her belly button.

While I was initially impressed with her creativity and industriousness, visions of nasal sprays and stray kleenexes and throat-clearing filled my head. This girl was doomed.

But you know what? Believe it or not, she actually stopped this past fall. I first thought it might have been preschool peer pressure. I mean, who wants to be teased for belly button fondling?

And then the public nose-picking started.


Shirita said...

     Totally off the subject here - does your brother-in-law Doug work at Home Depot?

cobandrob said...

     As fantastically off-subject as that was, I regret to inform you that no, he does not. He is, however, quite handy, and I'm sure he frequents Home Depot often, especially when we have coerced him into fixing our fence for us. I hope this does not disappoint you. Doug is still a fantastic brother-in-law, employment opportunities aside.