"I Love Mommy" by Lizi Boyd is one of my favorite books for Boo. I love everything about the book. I love the graphics, including the font, the drawings, the colors, the characters, the size, the paper - everything. I ran across it at a local bookstore, which sadly, is no more.
I bought the book because Boo had a rather narrow range of emotions. It was one of the many effects of early trauma. I am sure he had feelings, [aside from anxiety, which he readily knew how to express] but I'm not sure he recognized them, and he certainly did not know how to express them. You may say "Oh so-and-so wasn't very affectionate, either." But that's not it. Do you know, somewhere deep inside you, when something is not right with your child? When that rash, that cough, isn't something "normal?" Well, I knew. I couldn't be in denial because he never sat on my lap, never hugged me, never felt pain or extreme cold. Never. I mean never. I had to teach him how to put his arms around me and hug me. I can't explain to you fully what happened in his little brain, but I know, surely as I know there is a God, that he was damaged by being taken from the family he had come to trust. Can you imagine getting all the diapers, crying, messes and duties, but not the cooing, the imitating, the nuzzling? Well, all that's for another post.
I was drawn to the book because it so simply shows a relationship between mom and child, and how the very ordinary things in life form the bonds of love. That mommy "always has a fizzy drink for me," that mommy makes me dinner, prepares the perfect bath and tucks me in at night. Fortunately, Boo took to it, too. We read it over and over and over, literally for years. One day, I took the cover image, printed it on some iron-on transfer paper and made him a t-shirt. He loved that shirt and wore it for quite awhile. Then, like most things, he moved on to other books, other shirts, other characters.
The other night, he suddenly said, in that tight, tear-filled voice, that he missed his "I Love Mommy" shirt and pulled it out of his drawers to wear that night. I was deeply satisfied, that he had such affection for something I made him, but also that he could feel and express what was locked inside of him. We were both disappointed to see that he had grown out of the shirt. Then he said,
"Oma, when I'm a man, and I'm big, could you make me a 'I Love Mommy' shirt that is man-size?"
Ofcourse, honey. Ofcourse I will.