Finger Sucking and Toe Kissing Baby Stuff

toesWe do the weirdest most wonderful stuff to babies and I’m trying to figure out when and why that stops.

When you hold a baby, who’s only wearing a diaper, it’s almost impossible not to kiss their tummy. Or better still, we raspberried their bellies, making that famous prolonged fart noise.  We called those “Zorberts”  The babies would squeal with laughter. Their grins eating their fat faces and the result was hysterical, contagious happiness. I think I kept on Zorberting the kids until they were five or six and even then those ten second fart noises on their tummies made them laugh until they almost cried.

Why did that stop? It was fun and funny. But I’m thinking if I Zorberted 25 year old Jack’s hairy belly it wouldn’t be a cool moment.

When babies have jelly on their fingers or  play with your lips, the first thing you do is start sucking on their fingers, right? Again the result are peels of exquisite laughter. It’s beautiful. Trust me,  I don’t want to suck my kids fingers anymore. And after baby-hood, finger-sucking only takes place during early dating, right?

Toes, baby feet, they make me absolutely crazy. Baby feet look like uncooked biscuit dough and have an almost unworldly softness. the softness of baby feet have made me tear up and I don’t know exactly who. Who hasn’t kissed those fat soft baby feet over and over? Cause it’s one of the best things in life.  Do I want to kiss my ten year old son’s feet now? HELL NO! I think the almost primal need to kiss baby feet stops the moment they start walking. The fat softness disappears and they start to smell. No kissing required.

And when we hold a baby we all, almost instinctively, smell his hair. We hum and rock. We loose ourselves in the unmatched innocence and beauty of the new born. Babies are like prayers in our hearts, released, we are able to talk to God in a language we don’t know.

There was one thing I did to my babies, I don’t know if anybody else did and I’ve always was afraid to ask. When my kids had stuff on their faces, chocolate or jelly, stuff  like that, I would sometimes lick their face clean, like a cat licking her kittens. Obviously, this isn’t something I would do in public, I didn’t’ lick my kids in Wal-Mart. but if Mary had Jelly on her cheek and there wasn’t a rag handy, yeah, I’d lick her face.

To this day, all my kids think licking people is the funniest thing.  If Lexie and I are posing for a picture and Jack is in the room. odds are he’ll sneak up and lick one of us just as the shutter clicks. The ultimate photo bomb. Apparently, my wolf like licking warped them in some weird way.

I miss all those baby moves that resulted in sheets of laughter. But I guess Zorberts are gone for now. Until the next generation joins us and then the finger sucking, toe kissing, face licking will start all over.



When Adults Say Ignorant Stupid Stuff to Kids

   Parents and relatives tell kids stuff that’s simply not true, all the time.  I don’t think they mean to lie. We simply have wrong thoughts in our heads or  understand the world in a way that’s goofy and semi ignorant.

When adults say ridiculous stuff to you don’t get all jacked up. Don’t get mad and cut them out of your life.  Most of the time parents and adults, especially moms and grandmoms say crazy mean stuff.
My grandmother, Bubba, was a saint, one of the most loved women in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She was kind, generous, giving, warm and intelligent. She was also born in 1895, in south Arkansas.
That might explain why, when I was seven or eight years old, Bubba became concerned about the size of my nose.  Just so you understand I have a strong nose. It’s a serious nose, straight, masculine, and probably a little heavy for my face…but as my husband just said, “it’s not bulbous”. (thanks honey)ally  moms and grand moms, think they are helping you. They do love you,  they are just…..kind of stupid sometimes.

The truth is I have the Stell family nose.  It looks great on men. All the men in my family with the Stell nose were considered very handsome but I’m the only woman in several generations to carry this family feature.

Back to the story. When I was a little girl, my grandmother Bubba, whom I adored, suggested when I was watching tv I should hold my nose, wrap my entire hand around it…so it wouldn’t grow anymore.  She explained how the women in the Orient wrapped their feet so they would remain petite. Maybe I could do the same thing with my nose.

Until that moment I’d never really thought about my nose.  Obviously she’d been thinking about it a great deal.

So, I would spend hours watching the Brady Bunch and Gun Smoke with my hand wrapped around my nose. I didn’t offense then because I was just a little girl, but a few years later I figured things out.  Bubba thought my nose wasn’t very attractive, too big and heavy. And she wanted to help me because she loved me.

Ouch. My husband always says ‘if love hurts you’re doing it wrong.”

Since the day I figured out what Bubba was really saying, I haven’t had any doubt. my nose is waaay too big. But I do not believe for a second Bubba was trying  to hurt me or do me harm.  She just wanted me to be pretty and have a wonderful life.

Bubba also told me, when I was thirteen, I should stop running around barefooted. She said my feet would be the size of skillets and no handsome man would marry me.

My beloved Bubba was wrong. I’ve had two husbands and lots and lots of handsome men in my life. Apparently, they really don’t care about the size of my feet.

Again, Bubba wasn’t trying to hurt or criticize me. She believed she was right. She loved me and wanted me to have a handsome husband. Because in her mind that was the key to happiness.

So, when someone in your family says you are going to be a failure if you…., when they say  your life will be a disaster if you break up with a certain boy or fail to follow a particular career path, if they tell you your eyebrows need to be plucked or your hair should be blond…they probably love you. They love you and genuinely think they are helping.  Let their comments roll off your beautiful shoulders and melt into the mud puddles.

That’s what I did, along with my big nose and handsome husband.

On the other hand, if several people in your life are telling you the same thing, like, “That guy is a super creep, stay away from him.” You probably need to take their advise seriously. They want you to be happy and they see something you don’t.

But DO NOT wrap you hand around your nose while watching tv, that doesn’t work.

Hey College Kid…This Is What Really Makes Us Mad

   You are in college, you are 18 or 19 years old now….you know everything now, you are so worldly and mature.  You stay out all night, drink with your teachers and don’t actually know the last name of the guy you are sleeping with.  As parents this makes us sad but we understand you are consided “an adult”, wise as Yoda and smarter than Stephen Hawkins.  

But I’m going to tell you about the one thing that really really pisses parents off. Then, because you are so freakin’ wise and mature, maybe you won’t do it again.

As parents we actually like supporting you financially sometimes. It makes us feel needed. Don’t feel too bad when your tire blows out and you need two hundred dollars…it happens.  We want to give you money for the brake job and the horribly expensive  biology book because these are all signs you are movnig in the right direction.

But the thing that makes me hyperventilate, that leaves me so angry I want to throw my keyboard throw the window or jerk the entire glass and cup rack out of the dish washer and hurl it across the kitchen, loaded down with all those breakablaes is this…

You come home from college with a plan or idea.

“Mom, I’m going to buy this beautiful registered rottweiler, she has all her papers and she’s pregnant!  I can buy her for 300 dollars but each one of her puppies will be worth 300 dollars too!  I’ll make at least a grand before I go back to college. The puppies and the mom will be really easy to sell.”

“How do you know who the daddy is?” I ask.

“The owner of the dog, James, he told me and pure blood too. James, has to move and needs the money, otherwise he would keep her and sell the puppies himself.”

“Honey, you don’t know this guy and do you have any proof about the father?”

“No mom, I told you, I’ve know this guy for a while, he’s great. And he knows all about the dad.  You just don’t understand.  This will give me extra money for next semester.  All I have to do is take care of the mom for a month then sell the puppies in 8 weeks.”

I try not to get angry but this plan is  obviously absolute cow poop. “Honey, you don’t have a place to keep a dog that size and what if the puppies aren’t really pure breed?  I think this guy is just trying to unload a pregnant dog on you and make 300 dollars.’

“Nooo” she sighs and rolls her eyes because I’m so stupid. “James told me, he’s register too ,so the puppies will be beautiful and I’ll be able to sell them really quick. God, I acn’t believe you don’t get his mom. It’s easy money.”

“Please don’t do this” I plead,” I think it’s a really bad idea.”

Anyone care  to take a guess at the ending of this puppy tale?

My daughter pays James $300 bucks and he disappears like smoke.The puppies are born, a hideous cross between Rottweiler, Beagle and a Catahoula Hog Dog. There are nine puppies and they are alarmingly ugly. The mother struggles after giving birth so we take her to the vet. She has to stay over two nights, $313 dollars. The puppies need shots $300 dollars.

My daughter can’t give the mutant  puppies away. Six of the nine need braces and one is missing three toes. But it’s  time for her to go back to college.

As she leaves to move back into her pristine dorm room, she promises me she’ll pay me back, she’ll make it up to me, she’ll find people who want ugly puppies.

I’m so screwed and angry I can barely speak. I hug her, shove her into her car before I say something so vile my face will burst into flames.

I’m stuck with the “Elephant Man” puppies and mom. They eat and poop and chew and bark all the time.

That’s it.    Brilliant and worldly college students, this is what we hate. When you refuse to take our advise or counsel, then we have to bail your stupid ass out and clean up the mess.

A few years ago we were 19. We were beautiful morons with flawless skin, just like you, and we made some insane mistakes.  We really do know more than you because we’ve lived through more.

I will happily give you $100 dollars to get a new windshield for your car. But please, stop ignoring my advise and counsel then expect me to clean up you mess and bail your dumb ass out of an unnecessary jam.

We love you, now brush your teeth, drink a glass of milk and go to class. You’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.

***Leave a comment or write to me at!