This Gentleman Prefers Wrinkles

posted by Momo Fali on November 6, 2007

My five year old son went through a lot as an infant. He has a very rare heart defect, which the local cardiologists had only seen in a textbook. As you can imagine, they developed quite a fascination with my kid. He was constantly poked and prodded, and may as well have had an echocardiogram wand permanently affixed to his chest. At the same time, he had severe reflux, a kidney problem, and several other conditions which had him in and out of the hospital quite frequently.

During his tumultuous infancy, we noticed he had an aversion to being held or touched. It was (correctly) assumed by us, that he didn’t like the feel of human hands because they mostly caused him pain and trauma. After most of his health issues were either stable or under medicinal-control, roundabout his first birthday, we realized it was time to do something about his sensory problems. At that time, he began 18 months of occupational therapy to get him where he needed to be. He had frequent appointments with a specialist to help him realize that touch can be soothing and comforting.

Only nothing is that simple with this boy of mine. He took to the therapy so well, that he went to the other end of the spectrum, and now he won’t keep his hands off people. Mostly, he likes women’s arms….and the older the skin, the better. It is not unusual to find him sticking his hand up the sleeve of any AARP-card-carrying, female he can find.

My Mother and my husband’s Mother have both referred to this portion of their body as their “flab”, which has caused me much grief. On more than one occasion, my son has rubbed someone’s arm and uttered, “This is your flab”, as I quickly looked for a rock to crawl under.

So, now we are trying to reach some kind of middle-ground. We are attempting to bring balance into the life of a kid who has dealt with a lot of extremes. We don’t want him to stop touching the flab, we just don’t want him to call it that.

    Comments

  • boogiemum (www.boogiemum.com)


    Yikes. That must be an interesting challenge. My 3 year old is what I call a close talker. I am always trying to find ways to teach him to back up and take his hands off when speaking with people but have no idea how to get through to him. In the meanwhile he is constantly making people uncomfortable. What suggestions do you have?

    Do people laugh when your son says it’s their flab? I would. 🙂

  • Misty


    oh no…

    Your first paragraph nearly broke my heart! My goodness… Bless his sweet little self…

    Perhaps you could just rename it? Something catchy, and then ask the grandmother’s to comply???

  • Joeprah


    It is muscle. Make sure he knows that. Our middle child had reflux too…I hated the tests they did…so awful and painful for her. Your son sounds like a miracle. You must be a strong lady to get through what most hope never to have to.

  • Corey~living and loving


    ummm that is proof right there that we really need to think about everything we say around children. It always comes back to bite us in the flab. tee hee

  • Pinky


    OK, listen. This is meant to give you some reassurance. It might just make you think I’m crazy. However, I can remember sitting on my granny’s lap and playing with her flab for hours! I loved it! Her elbows were especially wrinkly and her triceps (or lack thereof) were ginormous! It was so calming. And now, I’m a totally normal, fully-functional donkey on the edge!

  • Bec


    I totally understand. All of Erin’s doctors expected her to have an oral aversion because of the length of time she was ventilated. They’ve said it’s “odd” that she’ll let us touch her face and feet (constant heel pricks). They don’t seem to understand that it’s not some miracle, she lets us touch her because of the hours I spent sitting with her holding her feet, touching her face and stroking them when she was bigger and stable.

    She’s the opposite now too. She needs to be held a lot and, if she can’t held she needs to see me – she’s started to settle for DH now to which is good. Fortunately we haven’t gotten to the “flab” stage yet lol

    Oh and, by the by. While we were in hospital Erin had her eyes checked every week for ROP which was necessary. But what necessary was the number of doctors who would come and look. Sometimes she’d lay there screaming and they’d take their time so the opt. head could look and then any students. One night it came to words (I had a bit of a reputation in our NICU).

    I get that they need to train students, but they don’t seem to understand that these babies have been through so much–too much–they don’t need any more trauma in their lives.

  • ~JJ!


    I think that’s adorable. He’s into the flab!

    After the beginning of this post…that ending really made me happy!!!!

  • Jill


    Poor boy-You all went through so much! I’m glad to hear he’s healthy now!

    He reminds me of the boss from “Ally McBeal.”

    Remember he dated Dyan Cannon
    (and loved older women )because he loved to touch the ‘waddle” under her chin??

  • Serina Hope


    lol
    That is pretty funny. I think that is sweet that he loves old people skin.
    My son likes to pint out the discolorations on older people and tell them that they have those because they are old…um thanks Mamaw!

  • BOSSY


    Hmmm. Perhaps you can turn to the strangers and explain – say – that in Swahili, ‘flab’ means Velvet Skin.

  • MommySpeak


    My son loves freckles and moles. It’s like he tries to pick them off. I have a crap load of freckles and he always picks the bad times to try to pick them off like at church or the store. So I see what you mean! I”m sorry your son had to go through all that but I’m glad to hear he is doing much better!

  • Candace


    what a sweetcakes! he sounds too cute!

  • Josi


    Ahh, grandma’s skin, you can’t get much softer than that. I wish I had some great advice, but I’m just so thrilled that he was able to learn to love the affection and appreciate the softness. Maybe you’ll just have to drag your rock with you everywhere you go 🙂

  • childlife


    I’ve got some very similar issues with my medical Murphy’s Law kiddo – sounds like you’ve done an excellent job though! Mine’s five and still doesn’t know how to start a ‘normal’ conversation : P I’ll join you under the next rock…

  • melody is slurping life


    LOL at the flab. What a trooper you son is…and you!

    Aren’t these children of ours simply amazing? We went through the touch/holding issues with Wil as infant. He had been beaten and broken…literally…the first year of his life, as well as the CP, reflux, feeding tube and several surgeries.

    I love reading success stories such as yours with regard to children with special medical or other issues.

    I still think the flab is funny…but glad it’s you and not me there when it’s said. 🙂

  • suchsimplepleasures


    my son is so like that,too. he is constantly sticking his little hands up peoples sleeves and rubs their flabby arms…like mine! he also has a belly button fixation. he used to, somehow, talk people into pulling up their shirts so their bully buttons show and then he would rub it or worse, plant himself on top of the person. humiliating…i’d say so! we finally implanted into his brain that belly buttons are private.

  • Scot E


    Wait until he gets to the age where he fondles store mannequinns to elicit laughs, or embarrasment from you.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Making the Cut - Momo Fali's
    Sunday, 18 December, 2011

    […] little guy climbed onto his grandma’s lap, began to rub her neck and said, “Hey Vo-Vo, Guess what my four favorite things are.” My mom answered, […]

  • Trackback from The In-Laws - Momo Fali's
    Monday, 19 March, 2012

    […] incredible patience when teaching my daughter card games, kindly let my son run his hands all over her arms, and shown me that it’s possible to spend your life with a stubborn man. *waves* *puts […]

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