Like finely ripened Gruyere…   1 comment


My daughter Taylor is an artist – no, better. An artisan. Truly gifted. I know most parents feel this way about their kids, especially their first, but in my humble opinion, it will be Taylor who surpasses all my children in that she already appears to have a useful talent, one which hopefully some day will bring fame and fortune to our family name.

You see, Taylor, my sweet little “Tally-wa”, my “good twin”, my rolly-polly chunky-monkey pudge-urchin extraordinaire, is a cheese-maker. That’s right folks, a bona-fide Triple A master frommagier. For deep in the recesses of her umpteen chins, a little pool of breastmilk, spit-up, and God-only-knows-what collects and slowly, beautifully, ripens. And then, from under that sweet, dimpled smile comes a smell that could wake the dead at least three counties over…

Tally's multiples chins

Tally's multiples chins at 5 months

We discovered Tally’s mad skillz one hot, sticky early-summer morning, somewhere midway between two growth spurts when she had really packed on the poundage but hadn’t sprouted upwards yet. Leaning in for a snuggle and tickle, the smell hit me like a tonne of bricks. And so I went digging to look to find the source. After heaving up the first massive chin fold, I discovered that Tally’s chin is actually more like a little fifedom, with the central chin overseeing several smaller, more subservient “underling” folds that extend from her jawbone right down to her mid-collarbone region – it’s quite a little kingdom. And deep in this vast territory lay my first glimpse of Tally’s true gift: a thick white line of moldy neck cheese extending almost from ear to ear. Ee-yow-sah!

 Suffice it to say, Ms. T immediately got a bath. A thorough, deep-cleansing bath from head to toe. With three children under three (and several furry beings) demanding constant attention, bathing just doesn’t happen as often as it says you should in “the books” – you know, the funny “twin-specific” books I bought from Chapters that preach on about completely unobtainable things like “co-ordinating twins’ naps” and “nightly bathing routines”. Ha!

But until that moment, I truly thought I had managed to avoid being bitten by the sliding standards of hygeine in our chaotic little household. Not so. Even with a good once-over and a gentle but firm cleansing of the skin fold, it took days of wiping, air-drying (yes, folks, just like it sounds), watching and agonising for the harsh red, raw line of skin to truly look normal again.

Ah. A sigh of relief. A crow of triumph. I am SUPERparent. No. Within the week, my little angel was back, honing her craft and growing something more along the lines of thinly-veined blue Roquefort this time.

Over the last few months of fighting against nature (and the extreme humidity of urban Toronto), we have learned a few tricks. So I will pass them on to you, in the event you too birth a truly gifted and extraordinary child. Don’t worry, you won’t – Tally is the only one. But should you happen to, here’s the scoop:

Neck Cheese Rule #1 – Prevention is the Key: Okay, I know that sounds cruel and unfair, especially if your kid already is as talented as Tally. But really, it is the best strategy. Anything that keeps this area from getting wet in the first place is your new best friend. Now if you live in a truly stinky humid climate like I do, that might be tough to control. However, little bibs to catch drool and spit up, especially ones that don`t gape in the neck region, work well to keep flotsam and jetsam out. Take the extra five minutes to get bibs on before sitting down to breastfeed (or bottlefeed, if you choose to) to catch the inevitable bit of drool or spit that might escape when the babies are done. Check the area. A lot. And if there is even a hint of moisture, give it a gentle wipe and make sure it is dry before letting the chin fold drop. And repeat. Ad nauseum.

Taylor grows a neck! (7 months)

Taylor grows a neck! (7 months)

N.C. Rule #2 – Fresh Air Is Your Friend: Anything that gets air moving in and under your infants (non-existant) neck will help to prevent and control neck cheese growth. This rule works for two reasons – mainly, because moisture is the key enemy in the battle against the frommage. Air, especially moving air (ie. blowing on it, or using a hair dryer on the non-heat/low flow setting) dries the skin’s surface, simultaneously removes the narsty stench while drying out the skin and making it a less tasty environment for the yeast (the most common culprit) to work on the dribble buildup. And two, because nature abhors a vacuum (okay, that has nothing to do with it. Just always wanted to work that into a conversation somehow. Can cross that off the bucket list now…)

And finally, N.C. Rule #3 – Patience, Grasshopper: Infants, somewhere between the fat-drained first week when they look like soggy old men, and their first real pack-on-the-pounds 3 month growth, tend to develop a waddle. Some little body shapes just naturally have more double chins than others. Our other twin wasn’t affected at all. And now, at 7 months, it appears that little Tally’s cheesemaking days are over. While still a chunky little monkey, one morning she woke up with a newfound neck that lives, uncovered, below her single (okay, double) chin. And so far, she is back to the fresh smelling sweet baby girl I used to know.

Well, until she learns how to remove her diaper…


One response to “Like finely ripened Gruyere…

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  1. Kym, you are hilarious! I think you should write a book with all these little pearls of wisdom contained therein. You sound quite a bit like Erma Bombeck in these pieces and you know how well SHE did financially!! WHO KNEW you were so talented in so many varied areas??? Go for the gold (not brass) ring my friend, GO!!

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