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Coping with sticky-phobia

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Last week I wrote about my husband’s abnormal affinity for all things salt. In particular, I noted the fabulous healing power of this miracle mineral. In response, a friend sent me an email reminding me that raw honey also has many medicinal uses, including wound and bite relief.

Honey, and particularly raw honey, helps fend off allergies and is another amazing remedy for skin wounds and infections. Raw honey, according to the National Honey Board, lacks a true definition, “While there is no official definition of ‘raw’ honey, it generally means honey that has not been heated or filtered.”

At my house, we eat honey fairly regularly, but my friend’s suggestion to use it topically caused me to burst out laughing. Not that I doubt its ability to heal, quite the contrary. It’s just that my family has a bizarre aversion to anything sticky. They barely tolerate maple syrup on their pancakes. The reaction to putting gooey, clingy honey on their skin, on purpose, would be priceless. I imagine it would resemble the reaction of someone who had a poisonous spider crawling on them; they don’t scream or shout, for fear of being bitten, but they exhibit the early stages of complete hysteria as they beg you to help them remove the foul offender.

This revelation came to me as quite a surprise. In the early days of dating Brian, I just thought he was really adept at eating an ice cream cone. Never a drip nor a stray drop touched his skin. Honestly, I probably didn’t think about it at all.

Life is sticky. No one likes it, but you just clean up and move on. Unless you’re my husband. Then you shun sticky things and completely overreact in sticky situations.

I think the first time I noticed this was when we were living together and I served him pancakes. I unceremoniously dropped the syrup on the table and went back to the stove. The exclamation of, “Dear God!” had me quickly spinning, wondering what breakfast-table tragedy could have befallen the man that I love.

Had the coffee burned him? Had the poisonous spider of my nightmares landed on his plate? Had a masked gunman broken through the door, hellbent on stealing our second-hand futon?

No, it seems none of these had occurred. However, what had happened was some syrup spilled down the outside of the bottle and when he reached for it, his hand became sticky.

It took a solid two minutes of explanation on his part for me to even understand that this was a problem. I mean, isn’t there always syrup down the outside of the bottle? Isn’t that the very first thing that happens the very first time you use the syrup? Isn’t this an accepted consequence of syrup use? Nope, not in Brian’s world. And apparently, it’s genetic.

Having kids is a messy business. You can’t go into parenting without expecting to deal with vomit, urine, feces, snot and every other wonderful bodily fluid. You also know that at many points in their life, your child, or children, will be filthy dirty. They will fall down and bleed. They will pick their nose (and probably eat it.) They will ingest ice pops, ice cream, lollipops and even oranges and get grossly sticky; hands, faces, hair and sometimes, even legs. And then they will want to hold your hand or kiss you or hand you their garbage.

This surprises no one. It’s part of the job. Unless you have some kind of stickiness phobia. It is so severe for Brian that my little one used to make a game of going directly to him whenever she was sticky. The man developed evasive maneuvers that would make any NFL coach proud, replete with fun phrases like, “Ahhh! Don’t touch me!” and “Don’t come near me with that nasty ice pop!” It was a heart-warming game of sticky daddy tag where daddy always loses.

Brian need not worry that his son would inflict such pain upon him, though. As I mentioned, the stickiphobia is a genetic mutation. Like his father, my oldest will completely avoid foods that he enjoys if they can get him sticky and there is no immediate relief in sight. This has caused me to get creative. Honestly, I don’t care if he wants syrup on his waffles. But when he was little, I did care if I had a screaming toddler who wanted to have his cake and not be sticky with icing, too.

Enter the stickiness rag. It’s as glamorous as it sounds; a white bar rag that has been dampened with water. It accompanies every meal that contains a sticky item. Nary a pancake is served without the stickiness rag. It was a quick and easy solution that has become a staple in my house. But to hear my husband tell it, you’d think I cured cancer. At the first unveiling, I believe he called it genius. He’s not difficult to impress.

Whatever. I’ll take it. Any sleep deprived, hungry mother who has been standing at the stove flipping pancakes for an hour in her batter-stained pajamas is happy to get a compliment. Genius it is.

Pancakes are a favorite in this house and when we went gluten free, I had to find a good alternative, or face a possible mutiny. Try this recipe for a high protein, and tasty, start to your day. Syrup or not, these are our favorite.

Gluten Free Pancakes

1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 to 2 cups gluten free flour (I know this is a big range, but it will depend on what flour you use and how you like your pancakes. We like big, puffy ones so I use the higher amount)
1/4 cup coconut flour

Blend the yogurt and milk together. Beat in eggs. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the batter is a little wetter then the consistency you like. Add the coconut flour, blend well and let it sit for about five minutes. Coconut flour will thicken the batter and make a lighter pancake. Using a 1/3 cup measure, pour onto a well oiled skillet over medium heat. Wait until edges are set and the pancakes start to bubble. Flip and cook another minute or two.

I always double this. Though it keeps me at the stove for over an hour, we have an easy and nutritious breakfast that heats up in minutes, for the rest of the week.

What kind of crazy phobias did you discover in your significant other after it was too late? Feel free to commiserate: laurie@riverheadlocal.com.

Laurie Nigro
Laurie is the mother of two biological children and one husband and the caretaker of a menagerie of animals. Laurie is passionate about frugal, natural living. She was recognized by the L.I. Press Club with a “best humor column” award in 2016. Email Laurie