Being Belle

It’s the little things

The likelihood that Belle has something in at least one of her hands at any given time is very high. The likelihood that she has multiple things in both of her hands is even higher. Small pieces of nature that she finds outside on our walks, or in the yard have been her favorite little things lately. Leaf stems, walnuts, pinecones, and cherry tomatoes that she steals from gardens (Shhh!). Our neighbor behind us has a parking spot that’s filled with those colorful fish tank pebbles. Ugh! Those d*** fish tank pebbles! Belle especially loves a handful of them things (we’re about ready to pay to have it paved for him).

Belle’s handfuls of little things go just about everywhere with her. She’ll bathe with things in her hands, eat with things in her hands, and even sleep through the night with things in her hands. Over time we’ve learned that this isn’t her wanting to keep her possessions close (at least, not entirely that). It’s a comfort for her. There’s no attachment to anything specific, she’s just attached to having something in her hands.

Sometimes it can be a struggle—for her as much as it is for us. Getting dressed, or undressed can take a bit longer than we’d like it to. In a smooth dressing she moves all of the items into one hand, puts the free hand through the first sleeve, then moves all of the items into the other hand, and puts that hand through. Reverse that for undressing. More often than not, though, she drops an item, or two, and has to pick it up before we can continue. Or she can’t fit all of the items into one hand, and then it’s a real mess!

For the sake of all of us, we’ve been working with Belle on having fewer things in her hands. At first we would try asking her for some of the items, but that wasn’t happening. Then we’d try pulling them from her hands, which ended up being like pulling the pin of a grenade. She’d explode, and everything in her hands would fly like shrapnel through the air. We knew we had to ease into it a little better. That’s when we introduced her to the convenience of a bag. Her interest in the beginning wasn’t there, but she came to the realization that a bag could hold lots of little things (not quite what we were going for, but we took it).

Belle with her ladybug backpack

Belle taking a walk down the alley, splashing through a puddle, wearing her favorite ladybug backpack.

Progress, not Perfection. Right?

Belle has made a ton of progress! She now enjoys filling her ladybug backpack, or her shopping cart with a majority of her little things. Whichever it is, it must be in the vicinity of where she is: outside, the bathroom, car rides (see “A Cruise and a Crank“). She still likes to keep something in her hand, but it’s usually just one hand, and a minimal number of little things. Belle has even progressed to leaving her bag, or cart behind in the car if we’re visiting somewhere.

We’re extremely proud of our little girl because we understand how hard something like this is for her. For most other people this sounds like such a small deal, but for us, it’s the little things!






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