Not-So-Easy Like Sunday Morning

Variety may very well be the spice of life, but my daughter ain't buying it.

Since the age of 13 months, Isabella has had a ritualized obsession with her belly button. She began by poking at it, then looking up at me and frowning. At 15 months, she decided she was okay with having a belly button, and would start searching for it, and mine as well, the second I lifted her from her crib in the morning. And recently, I've entered her room to find her with sleeper unzipped, which means she's not content to wait until I've entered her room to wish her belly button a good morning.

Now, belly buttons are apparently passe. She's moved on to another, slightly more intellectual obsession.

For the last two weeks, the morning routine goes a little something like this:

Me: "Good morning, baby girl. How did you sleep?"

I brush her wild Einstein hair from out of her eyes.

Isabella (standing up): "Book."

Me: "We'll get the book in a minute."

Isabella (pointing to her bookshelf): "Book."

Me: "Okay, sweetie. You just got up. Let's go sit in the glider together for a minute."

I pick her up and we move to the glider.

Isabella (writhing in my arms, twisting her body toward the bookshelf, and whining now): "Boooook! Booooook!"

I set her on the ground. She trots over to her bookshelf and removes not one, but two copies of Goodnight Moon (the 50th Anniversary Edition my mom gave me 10 years ago-it was a favorite book of mine as well-and the 30-year-old copy she either stole or bought from the library we used to visit when I was a kid).

We then execute a very specific series of steps, dictated by mini Mussolini. Charlie, her "lovey" needs to sit on the glider beside one of the books. She hands me the other book (always the stolen library copy) and we commence a search for the "baby" amongst the books' pages.

Did you know there was a baby in Goodnight Moon? I certainly didn't, but I sure and shit do now. (In case you're wondering, the rather freakish-looking naked pink baby doll is sitting on the bookshelf on many of the book's full-color pages.) We page through the book, looking for the baby, and when Isabella finds one, she points it out, says, "Baby!", and we move on to the next sighting.

Ending the search for the baby does not go well. After we've spent 10 minutes paging through our respective Goodnight Moons, I try to reason with her, tell her that it's time to get dressed, eat breakfast, and start our day. And each day, I'm heaving a writhing and very upset little body onto her changing table.

We repeat each step of this routine, without fail, every single morning.

I really can't imagine where these behavioral obsessions come from. It's not as if her father stops whatever he's doing to watch Drumline, literally every time he comes across it on tv, resulting in at least 30 viewings. Or that her mother runs for the nail clippers the second a bit of white peaks out from the top of her fingernails.

Nope, clearly her penchant for ritual execution has nothing at all to do with her lineage.

9 Responses to “Not-So-Easy Like Sunday Morning”

  1. # Blogger Lis Garrett

    Hee hee! Both Jacob and Bridget are freakishly obsessed with certain pages in books (Jacob even sleeps with an open book under his head each night). Bridget has her Goodnight Gorilla and a book called Pants, which is about nothing but different types of underwear.

    The belly button things still makes me laugh, though!!  

  2. # Blogger shokufeh

    MrMan is obsessed with having certain books read to him. Over and over again. These days, it's usually "Goodnight Gorilla" and a pop-up book about zoos. Last night, he wanted "The Cat in the Hat" but settled for two back-to-back readings of "Are You My Mother?" when I couldn't find his first choice.
    So don't blame your fingernails. (Or maybe I should blame mine?)  

  3. # Blogger Marie

    That is so funny! Just wait til she starts asking "why" the baby is there... and you make up an answer, which is not sufficient and results in further demands of "BUT WHY???" GAH. Funny little people!!  

  4. # Blogger Shannon

    snort... omg that is so funny... Lore is that way with looking for Jeremy in the morning lol... glad someone else's kid is strange too lol...  

  5. # Anonymous sher

    That was so funny! I like to think of how wonderful it will be for Isabella to read these things later. It's a marvelous thing you're doing.

    My husband is obssessed with the film Multiplicity. Can't fathom why.  

  6. # Anonymous Laura McIntyre

    I think some kids just need stuff to be there way, my eldest is like that and sometimes worries me with her little obsessions - silly stuff like when going out shoes must be put on before jacket otherwise she freaks  

  7. # Anonymous Shannon

    Apparently I drove my mother batshit crazy by forcing her to read "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" every morning and evening, and of course huffily complained when she left out or changed a word! She was so happy when I learned to read on my own at age 3!  

  8. # Blogger Damselfly

    Books are a fine thing to be obsessed about. Yay for Isabella.

    Isn't it cute how little ones find details we miss, like the pink baby?  

  9. # Blogger Tiffany

    Thanks for visiting my blog from Melissa's blog. Mikayla goes through her routines as well. Even though books are a good thing I do get tired of reading them all day and all night long.  

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