G-tube vacillation, weird habits, small babies oh my!

So in the interest of always maintaining my insane level of disclosure and honesty even at the risk of sounding like a crazy person – although, it may just make you all even more understanding of why I need to be medicated – yesterday I had a complete freak out that I was doing the wrong thing going the G-tube route. I suddenly felt that I hadn’t fully researched it and was just doing what the doctor said because it made a lot of sense at the time. I know I’m not in control of everything and I’m definitely not in control of Sadie circumstances but on the other hand, I can work a little harder at getting more nutrition into her. I phoned her nutritionist who was kind enough to talk to me about at least postponing her surgery for a month to see what else we can do.

The thing is, besides being small and not eating enough, Sadie has no other medical issues as far as we can tell. And she eats close to the amount of what she would be getting even with the G-tube, so yes, I’m an obsessive fickle freak but I’m just keeping you all up to date. I see her surgeon for the consult today and although I’m going to go in and hear him out I’m going to ask if we can put this off a bit longer.

Someone anonymously added a comment to a post I wrote awhile ago about anxiety where I stated that I have a tendency to dig my nail into the soft spot in the middle of my thumb when I’m nervous. I have a pretty good callous there. This person said she’s never admitted before to anyone but she does the same thing and when she goes for a nail appointment she gets asked about it and it embarrasses her. Well, guess what, anonymous, this should make you feel even better. I have another habit which is even worse and more embarrassing. I have a tendency to pull and pick at my hair on top of my scalp when I’m stressed out. Apparently there is a medical term for this called tricotillomania which can be much worse than the type I have. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven years old and I can’t stop. I pray every time I change hair dressers that they won’t mention the tiny little hairless spot on top of my head because it’s humiliating. The other day another writer friend of mine told me that she pulls out her bangs when she writes and it was such a relief to hear someone else does this strange thing too. So, if any of you out there have a strange or embarrassing habit, you are welcome to share. It’s safe! No judgement here! And seriously, I’d never talked to anyone about my scalp/hair pulling thing before either so we’re all sharing. Let’s sing Kum Ba Ya!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 24, 2008 6:29 pmUncategorized50 comments  


  1. Anonymous said,

    My strange habit is that I chew the inside of my bottom lip and it drives me crazy! I try to chew gum or a toothpick (classy!) to keep from doing it but I can’t quit the habit.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

  2. The Mommy said,

    I don’t have any particularly strange habits, but my son rubs his fingers together and he has started doing it with his toes (a feat I couldn’t even do if I TRIED) and now he has callouses there. I know it’s a nervous habit, but it freaks me out a bit, nonetheless. Maybe I shouldn’t worry? That’s MY bad habit…worrying.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  3. Cheryl Lage said,

    This is a gorgeous one: I pick at my scalp til it bleeds…under the same circumstances you pull. Can only imagine the horror that is my head under my hair. (Seriously, at my last mammogram, I had an angsty moment of “what if I have cancer and my hair falls out during treatment all will see the bloody noggin?” Seriously, THAT is warped thinking.)

    I also tend to wiggle my fingers together when I am excited (not sexually, just amped about something). Have been seeing similar finger/hand excitement in my he-twin, and recently in my she-twin…even though they’ve never seen me do it. Go figure.

    If you hear of any discreet hairdressers on the east coast, let me know.

    Keep us apprised of how your sweeties (including you) are doing Stef. Rooting for you 100%.

    (We saw the pediatrician today. Our formerly 3% girl is now up to 10% curve—huge accomplishment, but she’s shot up in height and is now very VERY tall for that weight. Carnation Instant Breakfast is now on my list…)

    Hang in girl…you’re not alone.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

  4. Backpacking Dad said,

    I have a big scar (shaped kind of like Florida) on the top of my head from the time when I was six and riding my chrome BMX Constrictor on the highway and I got hit by a van and flew off my bike and landed on my head in the ditch.

    I scratch that scar all the time when I’m writing; I scratch it just this side of bloody. What else is it there for?

    And I just saw Cheryl’s comment and now I’m all “really, Shawn, you have to just copy someone else’s embarassing habit?”, so I’ll also add that I have musical Tourrettes and that shit comes out hard when I’m nervous.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  5. Anna Marie said,

    I pick at the sides of my thumbnails when I’m stressed. the skin there is so beat up and bloody that it looks like I stuck my hands down the garbage disposal.

    And if you aren’t ready for the g-tube then by all means, get second opinions, third opinions, and do all the research you need to feel comfortable with it. I would give anything to be able to go back in time and do more research on some of the issues we had with our son when he was an infant.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

  6. Anonymous said,

    I’m a hair puller too. Aweful habit since I was 10. You are not alone.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

  7. Heather said,

    I click my thumbnails on my teeth. Hard to describe, not tapping my teeth, but pushing the edge of the nail along the edge of the tooth until it snaps. Drives my husband completely bonkers.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

  8. Rachel said,

    I do the same thing, but I pull at my eyebrows. Luckily I have pretty thick Brooke Shields type eyebrows so they grow in faster than I can pull them out.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

  9. BabyShrink said,

    Stef: I bet ALL your readers have something weird like this. An embarrassing but totally common thing — it’s called a “self-soothing mechanism”. Just like a binky for a baby. I myself do a version of the hair pulling/head scratching thing. Not very attractive.

    Anyway, good luck with the decision. Hang in there!

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

  10. Anonymous said,

    I obsessively fit sentences and phrases into the pattern of an old nursery piano song I learned when I was 4. Odd? Yes.

    But worse, and more embarrassingly to admit- I also pick my right nostril (in private only) until it bleeds. I let it heal and then pick at it again. I worry that one day, I will cause my nose to collapse a la Michael Jackson. No one knows this about me. No one.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  11. Stefanie said,

    Isn’t this healing?? Aren’t you feeling better already? I am! To think I spent the morning crying and now I smile everytime I read a new and more embarrassing tic of someone else’s.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

  12. J-momma said,

    i bite my nails, like obsessively. if there’s no nail, i bite the skin. i also scratch my skin, like my arms or neck when i’m nervous. not till i’m bleeding or anything, but it does get red. i pretend i have an itch if people notice. i cross and uncross my toes too, like “The Mommy” said. i also grind my teeth and bite my cheeks. man, i must really be messed up.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  13. Nut Nut said,

    I’ve always picked at the skin on my fingers. The more stressed I am, the more I pick, regardless of the pain or the amount of bleeding I cause. When I’m not stressed, I don’t do it. I haven’t done it in a long time, so I guess I’m not stressed anymore. For years my husband would have to stop me before I really did some damage. Totally unconscious sort of act.

    The ladies on my mom’s side of my family get fat lumps on their heads (there is a realy medical term for this, but I’m too lazy to look it up). When I’m thinking a lot about something, concentrating or whatnot, I tend to rub it. People can’t tell it’s there, so they just think I’m rubbing my head.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

  14. Suzy said,

    I’m perfect, as you know, but in my teens I used to bite my right forearm, trying to draw blood.

    It stopped when I just admitted to myself that I hated my parents, I left home at 17. Whenever Im around my mother, I scratch the back of my head until it bleeds.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

  15. Lisa said,

    I can’t believe how much I missed!! I’ve been spending so much time at Facebook, I haven’t checked in here for awhile, and I’m flabbergasted!

    Sorry to say, I spent some time reading about 35 of the comments at Yahoo Shine. Ugh. There’s time I’m never getting back, and it just confirms how stupid people really are. I always have a problem with people who have self-boasting nicknames, such as our friend “Hotmami”. What a moron. I just continually think that my life is better than hers because I am not that stupid.

    Sadie, Sadie. My thoughts are always with you and that precious little girl. Mattie and Elby too, of course. Your husband probably not as much πŸ™‚ I hope something comes up soon so you can start obsessing about something else πŸ™‚

    As far as weird habits go, I pick at my skin. Mostly on my face, where there’s usually these little hard I don’t know whats clogging up my pores. I dig them out with my nails. I also make a weird noise when I’m trying to scratch my throat.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 10:26 pm

  16. goodfather said,

    I used to be a pen twirler when I was nervous, or sitting at the computer reading a blog post.

    Oh wait, no, I’m still a pen twirler. And, it turns out, a pen biter when I hold it in my mouth to type…

    | November 24, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

  17. Jen said,

    I’ve got tricotillomania as well. I have pulled my hair out ever since I was very young. I used to get bald spots but then I learned to mix it up a little so that I pull sort of all over the place and not just from one spot. Now that I’m 30 something I “pull with a purpose” and yank out my gray hairs. (I can tell them just from feeling them. A lifetime of fingers in your hair will teach you how to do that.)

    I don’t really feel wierd telling people that but I have had some people be kind of rude about it once they find out. I figure the hair pulling is my problem, the assholery is theirs.

    | November 24, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  18. anita doberman said,

    At home, I squeeze my right butt cheek with my right hand. I can’t help it and my sister always makes fun of this awful habit.
    I even have a picture of me with a hand in my pants…in my living room.
    She wants to frame it for my kids πŸ™‚

    | November 24, 2008 @ 11:56 pm

  19. tammiemarie said,

    I wish I could just choose a tic. I go back and forth between chewing off all my nails, to obsessively checking for blackheads and picking at my face. And if I get a bite or scratch, forget it, it will be ten times worse when I’m done with it. It’s nice to see all the other crazies come together to group share. Free therapy, hooray!

    | November 25, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  20. Body by Twins said,

    I pick at my fingers; a hang nail will turn into a full scale wound when stressed. My college roommates were repulsed to find the pins that I would stick in the couch so I could dig at my fingers. It’s a stress release…I can’t say I understand people who cut themselves (I think it’s big with teens) but I think it’s in the ball park.

    Parenting is stressful. You’re doing the best you can.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 12:36 am

  21. All Things BD said,

    I’ve had tricotillomania since middle school. I obsessively pluck my eyebrows and lashes, and I’ve tried for over 20 years now to stop and can’t. It’s embarrassing, and my doctor even recently recommended getting my eyebrows tattooed so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Can you imagine?

    I also recently started pulling hair from my scalp, but like another commenter, only the gray ones. πŸ™‚

    | November 25, 2008 @ 2:12 am

  22. Overflowing Brain said,

    I pick at my lips until they bleed. I also chew on my the fleshy side part of my index fingers. Sometimes I see bite marks on my fingers with no recollection of actually biting them.

    My husband has trichotillomania, as did my college roommate (hers was SEVERE). I’m like some kind of magnet.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 2:41 am

  23. April said,

    i bite the skin off the bottom of my lip until it splits and bleeds. and i’ve been known to grind my teeth so hard that my jaw area swells and i can’t close my mouth all the way… how’s that for f*cked up…

    i think you should do whatever makes you comfortable. my friend has twin daughters who have always been tiny and barely eat anything, but are bright eyed bushy-tailed six year olds now with no problems what-so-ever. doc says they’re just going to be small and it’s probably the way they were meant to be. i’m not saying this is or isn’t the case with you – obviously i have no way of knowing – but i do think you should do whatever you’re most comfortable with. sorry for the ramble.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 2:48 am

  24. BlackOrchid said,

    Wow! Wow!

    Here I thought i was the only freak with these nervous habits! Thank you all!

    I pick, pick, pick. I ALSO pull out the hair of my eyebrows and eyelashes compulsively. When I was younger, I pulled out the hairs on my arm. I had almost all of them out of my left arm!

    I chew my hair so now I keep it shorter. I grind my teeth so now I have a mouthguard. Bite my nails. The works.

    I wring my hands also, so I often hold something to squeeze so I won’t move them too much – so I always have some small object in one of my hands to “worry” instead of my face/eyes/arms/hair.

    My poor daughter has several of my habits, but thankfully not all of them and not the most obvious and annoying ones. She always holds something tho! There’s always something in one of her hands.

    Good luck with the surgeon Stefanie! I think you’re doing great with everything!

    | November 25, 2008 @ 3:49 am

  25. Anonymous said,

    I have been a hard-core nailbiter since the beginning of time. And -get this- I studied violin for 15 years straight. Imagine pressing down on strings for hours with "bloody stumps." (Affectionate, no? A term given by an ex, obviously.) I don't know how I did it for all those years. Now that I'm grown up, I do plastic nails (at home, not salon) and it's impossible, although I still try. The plastic is not as satisfying, though.

    The saddest part of it all is this: my children are picking and tearing at their nails (6, 3 & 2) and I know I'm powerless to help them. I can't believe I've unknowingly doomed them to a life of "bloody stumps" too! -dq

    | November 25, 2008 @ 4:39 am

  26. liz.mccarthy said,

    Hi, my comment isn’t about habits, about gtubes. I’m sort of an expert and if you read my most recent blog post, you’ll see that we just thrillingly pulled out daughters gtube, even though she hasn’t gained weight in 5 months…..Feel free to email me, ask me anything about gtubes and feeding issues.


    | November 25, 2008 @ 5:29 am

  27. Anonymous said,

    Yes! I am a postpartum lip picker. Gross, yes but extremely calming to me at the time! I still pick at the skin around my nails. I can look at my thumb and determine how stressful my life is at the time by what kind of shape my thumb nail is in! Oh, well everyone’s got somethin’.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  28. gmcountrymama said,

    I wish I could violate myself in some way, but I just eat under stress, oh and take meds.
    Have they thought of trying a more temporary feeding tube like an NG? Maybe Sadie could have one of those for a couple weeks just to see how well she handles the tube feedings. If it goes well then it could be taken out and a Gtube be put in. Just a thought, I am sure you have discussed all the options. Thinkin of you.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  29. Anonymous said,

    I’m a “hair puller” too–hair on my head, my eyelashes, or my eyebrows. Although, I have not created a bald spot since 6th grade, when my mother saw my (rather large) bald spot and took me to the doctor for it. She still doesn’t know that I pulled it out myself.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  30. pixiemama said,

    Our oldest son has had more than his share of medical crisis. One invaluable lesson I have learned is that every specialist will advocate for his specialty. I have no idea whether the GI tube is ideal for Sadie, but it’s likely that the GI doc will think it is, and that the nutritionist will think it’s not, and the pediatrician will say another thing, and someone else will think something else.

    You’ve no doubt already thought of this … how can you not when you have a little one like Sadie? So, of course you’re picking at yourself (literally)! We have babies thinking that it’s all going to be fun and easy and the worst thing we will have to worry about is when she struggles with algebra. This parenting stuff is way too hard. Pass the Xanax, would you?

    | November 25, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  31. Threeundertwo said,

    I’m not a hair puller, but I’m a compulsive counter. When I walk I *have* to count steps. I do this especially when I’m stressed. Sitting in the doctors office (I’ve been doing that a lot lately, but that’s another story), I count the stripes in the curtains. Over and over and over.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  32. kelly said,

    these comments are the best – how good to read them and feel less alone/weird.
    i count the stairs everywhere i go. i cant talk to you when we are walking up/down the stairs in case i lose count. i also bite the insides of my cheeks. the dentist even commented on it. i was pretty embarrassed that day…

    | November 25, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  33. MereCat said,

    I like to peel stuff. Skin, hair, nails, scabs, sunburn, paint, glue, anything that will peel. Ew.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  34. Amnesia said,

    I pull out my eyebrows. I pick at my nails. I cannot leave a scab alone. And I am biting my lip as I type this. WTF? Seriously – I must have some issues here, no?

    | November 25, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  35. Piccinigirl said,

    I suck my thumb and click a pen, people who love me (for now) know that if I am stressed I am playing with a “clicky pen” or sucking my thumb. All very attractive for a 38 yr old woman. Maybe I should up my Xanax instead .

    I hope that the decision made about the G tube does not cause hair pulling, you should only do what you are comfortable with. You’re Sadie’s mom and you’re really good at it, trust that instinct.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  36. Jaime said,

    My embarrassing habit is that I am constantly counting the words, letters, and syllables I hear in my head. Not only do I spell everything out as it’s being said, I try to count the letters off by threes. If someone is talking I am half listening and half spelling the words silently trying to make the words fit into groups of 3. If they don’t fit I try breaking it down into pairs of letter. Sometimes I also finger spell them to myself in sign language. I know that even describing it is confusing so I don’t really expect anyone to understand. But the person who left a comment anonymously about fitting sentences and phrases into the old nursery rhyme seems very similar to what I do. It’s not weird at all to have a habit like that, some people’s habits are just more obvious than others. Nobody even knows I’m doing what I do unless I tell them. The upside of mine is that I am constantly spelling so at least I’m good at it.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  37. Jaime said,

    Oh yeah, I also count my steps almost everywhere I go, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I’m at 70 something . If I am walking on a sidewalk that has sections, I try to step in time with the words of whatever song is stuck in my head at that exact moment. I try to step on the outside of the line or crack, then time my steps within the section along with the words and end the phrase stepping outside the section. But this always presents a problem because right when I am finishing with one section I want to be starting another. It’s all very confusing and annoying. Since it’s not something I can stop and I am usually doing it without even realizing, I guess I just have to deal huh?

    | November 25, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

  38. Aunt Becky said,

    I have a callous on both of my index fingers from where I dig at it with my long thumb nail. When I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m nervous. I guess it’s leftover smoker habits?

    | November 25, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

  39. SUEB0B said,

    I am a skin picker too. Any little scab or rough spot gets picked and picked, sometimes for years, never letting it heal completely. I had a spot on the side of my neck for about 3 years. It is so weird. I CANNOT STOP no matter what I tell myself.

    | November 25, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  40. Jenn said,

    Oh wow, Jaime sounds just like me. I count everything – steps, train cars, stripes, dots, lines, plants… and when people are talking to me and I’m stressed, you can be sure that I am frantically spelling inside my mind. I also try to walk to the rhythm of poems, or songs inside my head – it’s hard to describe how that works, but I bet Jaime knows exactly what I’m talking about! There are also certain songs that I have to sing along with, adds on TV that I have to recite along with the announcer. There is one add here in Canada for Zellers where they rapidly show an item beginning with each letter of the alphabet. I cannot begin to describe how crazy it makes me.

    It’s awfully nice to read that there are people out there who are as incredibly odd as I am…

    | November 26, 2008 @ 12:58 am

  41. Kristine said,

    Wow, nice to know I’m not alone with the skin picking and eye brow pulling. I try to keep the skin picking to my scalp so it can’t be seen but I just can’t seem to leave any scab on my body alone.

    I used to have a boyfriend that would let me pop his zits on his back. That was so therapeutic for me! Boy do I miss his back.

    | November 27, 2008 @ 4:00 am

  42. courtney said,

    I twirl my hair. That’s my nervous habit.

    Do what you need to do for Sadie – go with your gut.

    | December 1, 2008 @ 6:17 am

  43. adsiz said,

    I’m a hair puller too. Aweful habit since I was 10. You are not alone.

    | December 1, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  44. EdenSky said,

    I sucked my thumb until I was a teenager. I have a scar from where it rested on my teeth. I fanally stopped but I still tend to stick my thumb or fingertips in my mouth a lot. When I’m angry I bite the inside corners of my lips intil I break the skin. Not only is this gross, it also makes me the stupidest looking angry person you’ve ever seen because I will be making a ‘fish face’ the entire time i’m arguing.

    | December 2, 2008 @ 3:04 am

  45. Anonymous said,

    I pick at my nails and the skin around my nails as well and have definitely had the “bloody stumps” issue. Lately though I’ve managed to keep it to just the cuticles/ hangnails so at least my nails look ok. I also pick at my scalp in one spot at a time until that spot gets raw… then I’ll stop but come back and pick at the scab when it forms. nice. glad to know I’m not the only one…

    | December 2, 2008 @ 4:59 am

  46. isimsiz said,

    thnks means, get second opinions, third opinions, and do all the research you need to feel comfortable with it. I would give anything to be able to go back in time and do more research on some of the issues we had with our son when he was an infant.

    | December 4, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

  47. alperen said,

    ohh baby thnks

    | December 12, 2008 @ 12:02 am

  48. isimsiz said,


    | December 22, 2008 @ 7:46 am

  49. zalim said,


    | January 9, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  50. henry said,


    | December 7, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

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