Kids With Quirks!


During the last couple of weeks, I have purchased eight different “flavours” of women’s deodorant. It’s not that I have a perspiration problem. What I have is Harrison, a quirky eight year-old kid with extraordinarily sensitive senses. The child, who always snuggles in to my side while I read him a chapter of whatever novel we have on the go, has lately moved away to the furthest corner of his bed in order to avoid the scent of his mother’s apparently disgusting and nauseating roll-on deodorant.

If an open banana is set down seven feet away from Harrison, either he or the fruit will have to leave the room because the odour makes my son gag. Fish is a no-no as is herbal tea and broccoli – pretty much any healthy food that has a scent makes Harrison feel like throwing up. He hates the smell of watermelon. Who hates the smell of watermelon? It is the smell of summer, I tell him. He says roasted marshmallows are the smell of summer and that watermelon is the most disgusting stink known to mankind.

The food issues don’t stop there. If a hamburger is served with lettuce and tomato Harrison won’t touch it until the offending veggies are removed, preferably to another table. Pizza that has discernible bits of basil is inedible until it has received an herb purge.

Harrison also has strong sentiments about the feel of his clothing. Certain socks are too scratchy. Shirts with embroidery on them can be completely uncomfortable because of the stitching that rubs against his body. My youngest son is content to leave his toys spread out over the family room floor like an abandoned picnic, but if he enters the kitchen and sees a cupboard door one centimetre ajar he will shut it immediately, everything in its place for Harrison unless it belongs to him.

My fifteen year-old son, Charlie is not without his shtick as well. Charlie cannot stand the sound of cutlery against a metal bowl. When I mix a salad in his presence, you would think, by his shrieks, that my son is being tortured by a parental sadist. Charlie is six feet tall and lifts heavy weights just about every day. Yet, the sight of a water spider crawling up his bedroom wall sends him crawling up my leg begging me to kill the teeny arachnid before it has the chance to do him in.

I can serve Charlie a plate of food with five different items on it. He will eat them only one by one. No mixing of mashed potatoes and peas for this boy. And, then there is the sock. Charlie continuously walks around our house with only one sock on. The left foot is always bare. Nobody knows the reason for this affectation, least of all my son. Suffice to say many pairs of socks in my house have been separated forever. I find the loners under couches and behind TVs, mere shadows of their former selves since being split from their twins.

What is it with my kids and their quirks?

Could they be genetic? Might they have something to do with the fact that I won’t eat grapefruit? I once dreamt an anonymous, mystical warning that if I ever drank grapefruit juice or ate a grapefruit section, I would die. It wasn’t made clear whether my demise would result from a food allergy to this particular citrus fruit or if eating it would trigger a series of events culminating in my death. Regardless, ever since that nightmare, I have steered clear of the tart, juicy flesh. It would be irresponsible for me to do otherwise. Fortunately, I never liked grapefruit much. Had my dream been about blueberries, I probably would have sought therapy to overcome my irrational belief.

I also won’t erase a phone message from my husband while he is out of town. I am afraid that wiping out his voice on a machine could wipe him out in real life. Have I truly accrued this super-power that allows me to snuff out or save lives at my whim? I have no proof one way or the other which in my mind makes all things possible.

The other day, determined to slay Harrison’s olfactory organ with an irresistible bouquet, I dragged my son with me to the personal hygiene aisle at the drugstore. There, I proceeded to methodically open every single woman’s deodorant stick I could manage to unseal without damaging. We went through Berry Breeze, Outdoor Fresh, Jasmine Surprise, Winter Blast, Baby Powder Soft and countless others. I waited, as Harrison sniffed and shook his head, sniffed and shook his head, dismissing every scent I tried until finally, there was a sniff followed by a shrug.

“You like that one?” I asked, feeling hopeful.

“It’s not the best, but I think I could handle it” allowed my son.

I purchased two roll-ons of the selection he didn’t hate and smiled as I thought about how Harrison and I could cuddle close in the mornings again without his nose rebelling. I also couldn’t help but laugh that my quirky kid had chosen Watermelon Wonder as the single scent he liked.

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Please remember that the advice given on this blog is not meant to replace medical advice or the direct advice of a mental health care professional.
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