It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Adroit, he ain’t.

Timmy is the wrigglingest child. He wiggles and he twitches and he fidgets. He doesn’t sit; he bounces in place. He doesn’t walk, he springs. He doesn’t run, he careens.

He’s also skinny. Fifth percentile. Are we surprised? No. Are we worried? No. He’s been at the fifth percentile pretty much his whole life long. How can someone who is never still help but burn a lot of calories? He barely sits to eat. Ironically, eating is the one thing he does slowly. Very, very slowly. He’s not at all picky: He’ll eat anything you put in front of him. Just don’t ask him to focus on it! There’s too much to do!

You’d think that someone who had so much practice with movement would be better at it, though. Two weeks ago, his mother had an appointment for the two of them to have their pictures taken. Portrait pictures, at a studio. The day before the appointment, Timmy’s nana came to visit. Upon hearing her voice as she entered the house, Timmy spun on his heel to run toward the front door. “NAna!!! NAAaaana!” Only he spun left when he should have spun right, and ran STRAIGHT into the doorframe beside himself. WHAM.

They postponed the studio visit for a couple of week. They figured it would take that long for the big blue bump to disappear… Their new appointment is on Saturday.

Today, the children sit on the benches that line my dining table, waiting for their lunch. As I enter with the tray of spaghetti and meatballs and broccoli, there is blur and a thud, followed by a wail. Timmy is on the floor.

“Oh, Timmy. If you’d just SIT for once, this wouldn’t happen.” (Yes, I know. Rather less than tenderly sympathetic, but this happens three times a week, at least. It’s like that old joke, “Doctor, doctor! It hurts when I do this!” Doctor’s response: “Stop doing that.”) Sooner or later, you’d think that it would dawn on the boy that it is not in his best interests to continue with the behaviour that keeps getting himself hurt.

Seems not. At least not “sooner”. I guess he’ll learn “later”. It’s never serious. He just plops on the ground with a jolt, not even enough to wind himself. He’s a resilient little dude, and generally scrambles back up himself with minimal fuss. Today he must’ve landed harder than usual, because he’s actually crying.

I pick him up, give him a hug and a kiss, replace him on the bench. “And this time, SIT down, silly boy.” Dish out the spaghetti round the table.

When I get to the bowls on the other side, so that I’m facing Timmy, I see that he has a blue bump that’s grown so quickly as to be almost visibly swelling. He must have hit the edge of the table or the bench on his way down, poor mite, something which he’s never done before.

When his nana comes to pick him up at the end of the day, I point out the bump (not that she could really have missed the damned thing) and explain its origins and treatment thus far. (Ice, over roars of protest.)

“Well. This one’s on the other side,” she notes as she kisses his battered wee forehead. “Usually he hits himself on the right. If he alternates, maybe the scarring won’t be permanent.”

I guess you have to find your silver linings where you can. I also guess mama will be postponing their portrait appointment. Again.

October 25, 2007 - Posted by | health and safety, Timmy


  1. Maybe they should not schedule the portrait appointment and just do it “on the fly” when he’s not bruised someday?
    At least they’re finding the silver lining and not panicking about every bump and bruise.

    They’re definitely not worry-ers. Thank goodness, or Timmy would have driven one or both of them over the brink by now!

    Comment by Dani | October 26, 2007 | Reply

  2. I say just HAVE the portrait session, bruise and all. It certainly sounds like that would give an accurate picture of who he is! But then, I love portraits that show families as they are, not all dressed up in their Sunday best.

    You know what? I think I will suggest this very thing to his mother. I agree with you: the best shots are of everyday mischief. The picture-perfect ones are pretty, but far less real.

    Comment by Allison | October 26, 2007 | Reply

  3. Oh, ps…typo in the title.

    Adroit. Took me five minutes to finally realize what you meant! 🙂

    I saw that only when I came back to check for comments, but I saw it before I opened the comments. I wondered if I’d get away with it — but no! Someone caught it. It’s all fixed now!

    Comment by Allison | October 26, 2007 | Reply

  4. Oh, I have a NICE school picture where I tobogganed into a tree the day before… and I was a cautious one. It’s bound to happen.

    I also once babysat a kid who would bounce down the hall, hit a doorknob square on, and bounce back in the other direction like a little pinball, not even noticing he’d whacked himself on the head. Crazy.

    We go with the freezie trick to beat out the protests – something I learned in my own brief stint teaching daycare. If they know they get to EAT the freezie afterward, they will sit still and submit to the icing! Still works on Pumpkinpie, too.

    It’s bound to happen. You’re right, of course. Even more “bound to” with a tyke like Timmy. I like the freezie idea. I wonder if I can buy any in October…

    Comment by kittenpie | October 26, 2007 | Reply

  5. Awww.

    Sounds like a job for Photoshop!

    Comment by kate | November 5, 2007 | Reply

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