A few years ago, Jaedon had a fascination with spit. He collected it in his mouth, filling up his cheeks until he had a natural fish face. He swished it around in his mouth, making the most interesting noises. He often wanted to speak, and finding his mouth full, he then hummed the words. Sometimes he even tried to speak.... though that wasn’t much clearer than humming. Sometimes he would start to giggle and spit would come trickling, or gushing out.
I'm fanatical about smells. My mom works in a home for people with significant physical and developmental challenges. Many of her clients are in wheel chairs, with feeding tubes. None of them speak. I visited her at work one day. One of the first things I noted was the smell. It wasn't the 'nothing' smell of an ordinary home. It wasn't the warm fragrant smell of food and other pleasantries. It wasn't even a bad smell, like garbage or poop. It was an odd smell of stale disinfectant and other cleaners. Many body fluids of various sorts were emitted throughout the day and cleanup was a steady ritual. Whenever Mummy got home in the evenings, she disrobed and took all her clothes to the laundry room, showered and washed her hair. The smell of her job was now in the laundry room.
When Jay was about 4 and still not anywhere close to being potty trained, I remember deciding that no matter what, he wouldn't smell. I am a fastidious changer of pull-ups, an over-user of wipes and all kinds of cleaning agents and essential oils. I can become discombobulated if I return home after a day away, and there is anything but the smell of childhood coming from Jay's direction.
Now, the science of pee and poop smell management I have down pat. Spit now, was totally something else. After years of learning to see things in new and different ways, I was tired of it.
Forget that! Give me no spit! No fluid coming out of your mouth when you giggle. No worries about people thinking you are regressing. No internal battle with myself saying 'are you regressing?' No worrying about people seeing and/or smelling spit and being turned off.
I thought I had dissolved the fears of the future. I guess not. I’m going to decide to go back to step one and become curious about my own response to spit. What are you reacting to this week that your child is doing? Can you be curious about your reaction? What can you discover?