What the belly button says, you must obey

by | Apr 30, 2009 | Parenting | 4 comments

Ok, so some (most) days, at a certain point, I completely run out of ideas. We’re all tired and hungry and cranky and I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do to make everyone happy, because all I want to do is lie down by myself on the living room rug for a while. Usually I just forge ahead and go through the 4:00 to 7:00 hours bit by bit, task by task.

But sometimes I get a jolt of inspiration, and I swear, those divine moments can carry you for days. Last week we were all melting down and I was experiencing my usual supreme annoyance at Eli’s obsession with my belly button. And so, in a fit of Sudden Fun Mom, I drew a face on my belly, using the belly button as the mouth, and made all disciplinary action spout forth from Belly Button Guy.

The kids completely lost it. They thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen, and, of course, they had to draw on their own bellies.

Eli’s got a bit more elaborate after this photo was taken. Mostly I am in total awe of the amazing ocean scene Henry was able to whip out, upside down, in about 30 seconds. You can see the water, and the octopus with motion lines behind it. There’s a tadpole above his belly button. Here are some quick-moving jellyfish:

It’s all got this James Stevenson feel and I just wish that I could draw with such freedom.

If I could just come up with some idea like this once a week, I think everything would be fine. They’re still cracking up about it (mostly because — ahem! — the marker didn’t really wash off very well), and are still listening to my talking belly button.


  1. liz

    i love, love, love the jellyfish! we used to let zoë draw all over her body with markers when she was around four, and her preschool teachers HATED us for it (all the other kids wanted to do it, when they saw her come to school with her fabulous body art, but they weren’t allowed to).

  2. emily

    Delicious! I think you are the Sudden Fun Mom more than you know! Does Eli really fixate on your belly button? I remember Henry with moles. I wanted to ask you when this ends, since I spend much time resisting the urge to swat (rather than endure or patiently say, “that tickles mommy, please don’t…”) when he goes for my…well, I will not say on public intraweb. but I’m pretty sure you get it…when does it END?

  3. Julie

    I am cracking up about the preschool teachers being all annoyed by Zoë’s body art. We did go to the beach last week, and there were some kids who were pointing and staring at the boys’ markered bellies. It was all I could do not to say, “Stop it, with your oppressive conformist pointing and whispering! You only WISH you were allowed to draw all over yourself, snotboy!”

    Em, I think Henry stopped picking our moles after about a year. Though that may have happened because he just (shudder) picked off all the moles and there was nothing left to pick. Eli became obsessed with my belly button when I was pregnant, because it was all outie and super soft, and then when I stopped nursing him, it because the thing he did to feel comfort: poking me in the belly button. He cannot control himself and probably sticks his fingers in my belly button 10 times a day. If he gets hurt he immediately runs into my lap and pokes my belly button. It drives me NUTS and I do swat and then he says, defensively, “I’m not going to poke! I’m just going to pat!” Sigh. He shows no signs of stopping. I’m going to have to stop him when it gets too much. Probably when Zuzu starts massaging my ankle as a comfort measure.

  4. Kate

    Ah, parenthood! I love the idea of the body art but I’m afraid that Mean Mommy made an appearance recently and put away all the markers on a semi-permanent basis after Ian drew all over one of the chair cushions. I’d really love to show Hugh the picture of the boys because he has the same PJs as Henry does, but then I’ll have to face the disappearance of the markers issue again. Bah humbug!

    I don’t currently have any boys with odd body fascinations (having to do with me, that is) but I wonder what will happen when my belly grows big during the hot summer months? Julie, a thought occurs to me… Perhaps you could try a preventive measure involving some masking tape over your belly button for a few days to see if it will deter him. Cruel, I know, but there’s that weird, goofy feeling when someone plays with your belly button that’s kind of like nails on a chalkboard for me, you know?


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