My dad (that's Gramps) is a man of logic. He makes his living out of algorithms and computer programming, all really good "if X then Y" kind of stuff. He likes his world to come with a hearty helping of natural order, and when a person defies natural order, the only explanation for it, if you ask Gramps, is that that person Must be a Communist. He says it with a twinkle in his eye, but I think he means it in his heart. He's also restricted to a dairy-free diet, and this is the man who, during my childhood, would heap a bowl with enough ice cream to feed him, my mom, my brother and me. This was dessert, sometimes several times a week. He'd dole it out by the spoonful while we watched a TV show together, either on the couch or in my parents' bed, but both my brother and I believe he both got extra bites and the biggest bites. So I'm sure, if you told him that his oldest granddaughter won't touch ice cream, the only explanation that would satisfy him is that she's a Commie.
(Why does Communism explain the illogic in his world? Nobody knows for sure. It might be that he's displaying some brainwashing from his Cold War-era childhood. It might also have something to do with his arch-enemy, known as the Korean Plagiarist. But that's another story altogether.)
But the cold food thing - E is very sensitive to lots of sensory experiences that don't seem to bother her peers. The pre-megillah Purim puppet show at our synagogue was just too loud for her. All of her friends were sitting on the floor in the front of the room, as was she, but as soon as the performers began singing into their microphones E burst into tears, yelling "it's VERY VERY LOUD!" We had to leave the social hall and take a walk in the quiet part of the building. Once she adjusted, we were able to re-enter the social hall, but we stood in the very back, and I held her as she stood on a chair to see. She wouldn't get any closer.
And she hasn't had a bath since August. (Don't worry - we've been taking her in the shower with us, but as Sweating Season approaches again, I'm getting nervous about the (in)frequency of how often water meets her skin.) We've figured out that the noise of the water coursing out of the faucet into the tub, magnified by the small space, overloads her. But we can't figure out yet if that's the only piece of it that bothers her because she's so upset by that trigger, or even the memory of it, that even seeing a bath filled with already-run water launches her into a meltdown.
And my favorite body lotion - E loves it to be put on her, but she doesn't like to do it herself. She doesn't like the feeling of it on her hands, and if she gets any on her hands, she can't just wipe it on her arm or belly herself, she demands that you get it off of her hand for her. Thicker emollients don't bother her. She LOVES lip balm (which she calls lip lotion). She'll take that and enjoy the experience of putting it on her lips so much that she'll just keep going and rub it all over her cheeks and chin, and once those areas are sufficiently lotioned, she'll keep going and start putting it on all of her stuffed animals if we don't intervene, just for the love of touching lip lotion.
Our pediatrician says hey, she's a sensitive kid. Don't play into it, but if she's upset, help her work through it, and slowly try to desensitize her to the things that bother her. He doesn't worry about much. He's not worried about this, either, but says just to pay attention that it doesn't get more extreme. Most kids outgrow it, says he.
In the meantime, more sorbet for us! And the bath part really does bug me so to console myself we'll just explain that E must have signed up for the Reds' water rationing program. It's almost the end of the month; maybe she'll be rewarded with an extra potato for her efforts. But just ask E, she "no like potatoes." She wants the cup of rice.