The Spit Rag

Since she was little (nine months? a year old?) Sweetsie has carried around a spit rag. Actually, she had one before that, but it wasn’t something that she had any control over. Mr. Handsome and I, whichever one was holding her at the moment, had to carry it around, slung over our shoulder to protect us, the furniture, a passerby from her copious quantities of spit-up.

But then, somehow, she got attached to the foul cloth, which was really just one of her cloth diapers. It couldn’t be just any of the cloth diapers, however. By the time she came along we had at least four different kinds: the simple weave that we had bought back when Yo-Yo Boy was born, some pre-folded ones that some friends handed down (I did my best to ignore the decade-old brown stains on them and they worked just fine), some thick, flannel ones, and some bird’s eye weave ones. Sweetsie decided it had to be the ones from Yo-Yo Boy’s time. Those diapers had been hand-washed for their first ten months of use, so they were quite worn out and were falling in action on a regular basis. Thankfully, they were interchangeable.

But now we only have three left. If more than one is laying about the house, she will sniff each one to find out which is the oldest and dirtiest, and that’s the lucky winner. It’s gross. Several weeks ago, one of remaining rags developed some big rips, but instead of going the way of the trash can like all the others, it made it’s ways into G-mommy’s hands and she sewed it up with red and blue stitching.

The spit rags have an important function: they enable Sweetsie to suck her thumb. She curls the corners and then holds it in her left hand (she only sucks her left thumb) and using her index finger she rolls the curl back and forth over her upper lip. Only once in a while, or in a state of desperation (and often it’s Mr. Handsome and I that are the desperate ones, frantically encouraging her to just try), she will suck her thumb without her rag and then she looks naked.

(Those are The Baby Nickel’s jeans, really. I don’t force my children to wear their clothes until they are totally worn out. I’m not that kind of a mother.)

And if she’s wearing a diaper and doesn’t have a rag, she get’s pretty creative.

Sometimes she breaks free and lives life on the edge.

But only for a little.

So why does she suck her thumb so avidly? Someone once suggested that it was because she was a third child and she got no attention and so she had to find some way to self-soothe. That’s probably it. I have so many kids that I don’t know what to do with them. I totally ignore them. They definitely don’t get any attention. Come to think of it, I don’t either. So why am I not sucking my thumb? Hmm. Maybe I’ll give it a shot. It might help.

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