Just call me Martha Stewart.
Actually, don’t. I saw her on Oprah the other day (or really the other night cause we’ve got a 2:30 am standing date) and damn, was that woman smug. No, no, no, not Oprah, Martha. Oprah doesn’t do smug. Oprah does grateful and poised and humble and damn, I SO want to be her when I grow up. But Martha? Martha was SMUG, people.
Did you see the show? She took us on a tour of her estate (you did lock your bottom jaw when you said that, didn’t you?) as she was getting ready for company. Don’t you just hate when television crews stomp through the house as you’re scrambling to get ready for a casual visit from friends? I know I do.
Anyway, I gotta tell you, if I had not one but TWO chefs slaving away in a kitchen large enough to house well, my house and if I had a professional florist squirreled away in my dedicated, custom retrofitted floral design room (with a vase closet) – or if I were for some bizarre reason to HAVE a dedicated, custom retrofitted floral design room (with a vase closet) in the first place – well, I’d throw a heck of a party too. So take your smug and stuff it, Martha.
But don’t go far. I’ve got a story for you. You’ll like it, it ends with a craft project. Whee!
Brooke has gorgeous skin. It’s the color of melted caramel. As the summer wears on it turns an enviable deep bronze – impervious to the 50 SPF sunscreen that we continue to use anyway. As the autumn creeps in and the rest of us return to pasty white, Brooke somehow holds onto brown.
And then she tears that beautiful skin – that glowing, perfect canvas – to shreds.
It’s been happening for years.
It has both broken my heart and paralyzed me. Because you see, as her Mom, I’m programmed to beat the living crap out of anyone who hurts my girl. But when she’s the one hurting herself, my Mama Bear signals go haywire. I need to Do something. But just what, pray tell do I do? I’ve tried spinning in the corner, but it turns out it’s not much more effective than shaking an angry fist at the sky.
Pick by pick Brooke creates then deepens craters in her flesh. She is relentless. Her bed sheets look like a crime scene in the morning. Her clothing is constantly stained with blood. She cannot leave her skin alone.
We’ve tried it all. We’ve had behavior plans written into her school day. We’ve offered rewards for short periods of abstinence. We’ve put her in long sleeves and leggings by day and long pajamas by night. We’ve covered her in band-aids and slathered her in lotion. We’ve kept her nails trimmed and even filed any offending edges (which was about as much fun to do as oh, say herding wet cats.) We’ve put velcro on every surface in the house. Once I even conquered my fear of my sewing machine and made her a velcro bracelet, which we got her to wear for about an hour. We’ve tried every fidget toy under the sun. The one you’re thinking of? Trust me, we’ve tried it.
She has scars everywhere. On her nose, her forehead, her cheeks. On her arms and legs – don’t get me started on those poor arms and legs.
At the beginning of the school year, included in my usual Welcome to Brooke, A User’s Guide letter to her support staff was the following paragraph under Areas of Challenge / Concern:
This was something we tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to combat throughout the last school year. We used fidgets, velcro and good old redirection with very limited success. If she has any kind of scrape, cut or break in her skin, she will pick at it.
Enter her new aide, Ms K and her (soon to be) famous Sticker Picker Ball – the love child of necessity and ingenuity. For a total of about four dollars and approximately fifteen minutes work, Ms K has for the first time ever, made a dent in the picking.
Take it away, Martha.
Buy a bag of these ..
Take one out ..
Add one of these (that’s a rubber band)
String it through the ball and knot it, like this …
Pick out some of these (stickers) …
The important part – MAKE SURE THEY’RE SQUARES OR RECTANGLES!
You can’t see it in this picture, but the stickers are all square-shaped.
Layer the stickers onto the ball, like this …
Lots of layers – they go faster than you think!
Give it to your favorite little picker …
The only rule is that you can only pick a sticker from the top layer.
(You have to be able to see all of its edges to pick it at.)
How bout THAT, Martha? Bet you and your two chefs and that poor guy stuck all alone in the custom designed floral room didn’t come up with the Sticker Picker Ball. But I guess I can’t blame you. It’s really not your fault.
You don’t have Ms K.