Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Ever since I can remember I have been an asthmatic and suffered with eczema, which is an irritating skin condition. I am often wearing white cotton gloves on my hands so I do not scratch them raw.
As was the case with Nicholas, I placed the little mittens on Matthew’s hands as a little baby so he would not scratch or hurt himself. This little step took on a whole new meaning over the years. I created a lifelong attachment to socks.
Looking back at photographs of Matthew I find that he was posing in an upright position at two months of age, being propped up by a pillow, with the mittens on his hands. Before he was one year old he was already wearing the socks on his hands, as noted in a photo where he had fallen asleep in his highchair.
Another photo has the socks on his hands while sitting in his car seat past his first birthday. We went to an event at the Los Angeles Convention Center when Matthew was almost 16 months old. Home Depot sponsored a KidCareID with emergency information about your child. The photo taken of Matthew had his right hand with the sock on it. We had spent the day at this event with the sock on his hand.
As he got older and bigger I had placed a sock over his hand so he would not scratch, since he had spots on his body with eczema as well. The baby mittens would not fit and this seemed an easy and cheap solution. As time progressed, it became just the right arm that had the sock on it. The manager of the apartment building we lived in had a son a few years younger than Nicholas, who happened to share the same birthday. We were invited to one of those play places that later ceased operation. In the party room Matthew wore his sock on his hand.
As a baby Matthew would turn his hand inward and suck on the sock to fall asleep. This seemed a blessing to me since I had to rock Nicholas for almost an hour every night to get him to sleep. I paced around the room to the sounds of lullabies, while Matthew would sleep perfectly with the vacuum going underneath his crib.
Sometime before Matthew turned three the socks were removed permanently from his hand. A variety of socks had made their way to Matthew’s hands, but he seemed to prefer the Baby Gap ones that were very soft and soft pastel colors. To this day I have one remaining and have contemplated buying a few sets and washing them to get used so he would still have one of these socks.
Leftover socks and mismatched socks have formed a pile that sits either on the bed or the couch. They go back and forth, depending on Matthew’s mood. He sleeps with the socks at his face and holds them when he drinks his bottle. Yes he is a nine-year old that has feeding issues and has been attending feeding therapy for several years.
The socks are a comfort figure for Matthew, very similar to the stuffed bear and cats that Nicholas has on his bed and sleeps with. When Nicholas was watching Alien Planet yesterday he asked me to get his toy seal and cat so they could sit with him and watch the movie. He puts blankets on them and has them standing in an upright position to view the television.
Once Matthew has fallen asleep I move the socks away from his face and tuck them under his pillow. He does not seem to be too particular on the socks, since he will take from my stash as well as Nicholas’s. Laundry day is a day that Matthew seems to enjoy. I usually wait for him to return home from school and then open the duffel bag that contains all our socks. I alternate between sorting them at this time or doing it at the laundry center. He loves to sit and touch the socks and place various ones to his face. He will help me sort them but takes some for his pile.
Whenever I hand a sock to Matthew he knows it gets added to his sock pile. When he is in the mood for lounging on the bed he runs to gather his socks and a blanket. He cannot yet put socks on his feet, but can remove them and place inside the hamper basket.
Sometimes Matthew will show an interest in a stuffed animal on Nicholas’s bed, but Nicholas can sense Matthew’s smell on his animals and they have to be washed. He also likes to swing them around and that disturbs Nicholas, so Matthew has his socks and Nicholas has his stuffed animals.
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