So, every day I put the baby on the changing mat, switch on the voice recorder on my phone, and start telling a story off the top of my head…
Once upon a time there was a little girl who was perfect in every way except one.
She had one little flaw – it was like a nervous twitch or an impulsive reaction, and all one had to do to make it happen was to push a finger just beneath her nose, on her top lip, and this little girl would stick her tongue out, no matter what.
You could be in a thunder storm, but if you put your finger just there, the tongue would come out.
You could be on a beach with sand blowing everywhere and the waves and the salt, when every other normal person would have their eyes and their mouth tightly closed against the elements, but if you put your finger on this little girl, just there, the mouth would open. The tongue would come out.
Now at first it was a very cute trait – a little trick that we would do to make people laugh at the little girl – very cute.
But the older she got the stranger it became. Because everything else was normal, but whenever anything touched her top lip, her mouth would open, and her tongue would come out.
This caused many embarrassing problems – one of which was to do with eating jelly. Because everyone knows it is impossible to eat jelly without getting a little bit on your top lip. But if every time the jelly touches your top lip, your mouth opens and the tongue comes out, the jelly just falls out of your mouth, down your top, ruining your outfit. Birthdays. Christenings. Weddings. They were all ruined with jelly stains.
And that wasn’t the only problem it caused. Sometimes when she met boys, and they gave her a little kiss to say hello, she’d slip them the tongue, which confused some boys, and frustrated the girl, because clearly she wasn’t that kind of girl (she definitely, definitely wasn’t that sort of girl).
But the little tick kept happening. And one day she thought “maybe life would be better if I didn’t have this. Maybe what I need to do is kill the nerves in my top lip, then I’ll never know if anything touches my top lip and my tongue won’t come out.”
So she embarked on numerous efforts to kill the nerves in her top lip, she tried using frozen oven chips, she tried keeping a little piece of menthol chewing gum up there all the time, she put little dabs of Olbas Oil there. She even pinched it sometimes to try and make the nerves go away.
But it never worked because every time she tried one of those things, she’d touch her top lip, and the mouth would open, and the tongue would come out. So she thought “right – I’m going to see my Doctor”
So along she went to the doctors. It was a nice sunny day, birds singing. It was beautiful. There was a rainbow and an old lady walking her dog. The girl smiled at all these people and then went to the Doctors and said “Doctor I want you to make my top lip numb”.
“Well why would you want to do that?” asked the Doctor.
So she explained about lifetime of the mouth opening and the tongue coming out and the Doctor said “Well- I could give you an injection that would numb your top lip, or, we could just leave it and you could accept that it’s part of who you are, and its part of what makes people love you.”
And the little girl thought about it and though – that Doctor is right you know. It’s part of who I am – the little tongue and the open mouth. And besides, she thought, when he tries to give me the injection all that will happen is my mouth will open and my tongue will come out!
So she lived the rest of her life waiting for things to touch her top lip so she could have her mouth open, with her little tongue out, and then, she’d do a big smile, and remember that was who she was.