i've alluded to it before, but haven't told you the story yet: gracie and her "mema biss."
when gracie was still an itty bitty, way back in the summertime when we still lived in holland, gracie saw a fly flitting around the house. she wanted to know what it was. we said "fly" and then made the sound for it: "bzzz bzzz bzzz!" gracie, still too little to make the "zzz" sound, said "psss! psss! psss!"
shortly after that, ANYTHING associated with bugs became "psss psss": dustbunnies, appleseeds, cobwebs, other bugs, etc. if it was little and looked like a bug, or something that came from a bug, it was "psss psss!"
now, she didn't have a favorite blanket for a long time. but eventually she became attached to these handmade crocheted blankets that my mom had made for her. she liked them cuz they were so fuzzy, and gracie has always liked to tug on and touch fabrics, even when she was just an infant. (i remember nursing her when she was just tiny, and she'd get her arm behind me and start just flailing it around, feeling the fabric behind us: the couch, an afghan throw, a fleece blanket, a wicker chair back, etc.) these fuzzy blankets had a nice way of peeling little bits of fuzz off of them when she picked at them, which was an activity she enjoyed doing as she was trying to settle down to sleep, or relax from an exciting activity.
i noticed it when we were on our trip to oxford: gracie had this insistency in her voice, wanting something "pss pss psssss!" i figured out that she was asking for her blanket. i'd hand it to her and instantly she'd melt; she'd pick fuzz off that thing until she had finally recovered her senses and could function again in the world. when i told adam this, he said that he had the same experience with her -- so we started asking gracie if she needed her "pss pss" whenever she was upset about something.
eventually the word became "biss biss", and then just shortened to "biss". she had two of these "bisses" (or is it "bissen"?), both of which were becoming pretty ratty and bald since she spends all day long picking fuzz off of them. then my mom, gracie's "mema", made her a nice new heavy pink and purple one for naptime at school; she mailed it in a carepackage along with a bunch of other goodies, and put this new biss at the bottom of the box. gracie and i were opening the box together, admiring the little knick knacks that her mema got for our new house here in texas, when all of a sudden gracie shouts "BIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSS!" and practically DIVES into the box to grab this new blanket. she ran away and sat in a corner and just sat and picked and picked and picked the fuzz off that thing for the rest of the day. ever since then, it's been her "mema biss" since it's a biss that mema made.
my mom is out here right now to celebrate gracie's birthday with us, and to keep herself busy she's made gracie a nice, new, blue biss. (blue is gracie's favorite color.) as soon as she finished it, we showed it to gracie and said "look, gracie! another new biss!" she took one look at it, screamed "mema biss!" and ran the other way to get her mema biss. she has shunned this blue one entirely, which is VERY unfortunate because it's about a third the size and weight of the other, monstrous, mema biss. maybe we can convince her eventually, but i doubt it!