Poppy toodles about the living room, doing the usual Poppy things. She picks up a toy, looks at it, drops it. She picks up another toy, sticks it in her mouth, drops it. She pats the dog, and laughs when the dog lifts her head to see who’s patting her. She thumps the cushions on the couch. She thumps the cushions with a toy. She stuffs the toy under the couch cushion. She opens and shuts a book twenty-three times, then drops it. She is quiet, focussed, contentedly exploring. Typical 13-month-old baby.
And in the midst of all this concentrated busy-ness, Daniel enters the room. Daniel is 12 months old. Daniel is an affectionate little dude in general, and Daniel loves Poppy.
Loves her, loves her loves her.
When Daniel loves something, he wants to show that love. He wants to hug and squeeze and kiss. He sees Poppy, his face lights up with glee and adoration.
“GLAAAAH!” His arms open wide and he trundles toward her. “GLAAH! GLAAH! GLAGLGLGAGLAGLAAAA!!!” He could not be more delighted. He chugs as fast as his stocky legs will carry him, a small blond tank bearing down on the object of his affections.
The object’s eyes widen. Her mouth drops open into a perfect O as he barrels ever nearer. She backs up, and, in the jerky way of the newly-upright, attempts to turn and make a run for it.
For Poppy, poor thing, has been the recipient of too many of these barrelling hugs. Daniel’s arms fling wide, he churns toward her, gaining momentum as he moves… momentum which he just can’t quite turn off in time. As his arms curl around her chubby form, Poppy knows, from bitter experience, that he will still be going full tilt. Around here, these full-tilt, crash-smash-and-hug manoeuvres are called “commando hugs”.
Now, Poppy is no lightweight. She’s a pleasingly reubenesque little dumpling of a cherub. But Daniel? Our boy adds “square” to “solid”. In short, he is built like a brick shithouse.
And the Brick SH is about to flatten her yet again.
“GLAAAH!” Daniel’s carol of joy is matched by Poppy’s cry of terror. Her feet stamp in alarm. She’s in fight or flight mode, but she knows she can’t escape. Poor sweetie. Daniel is going to love her to a pancake, right here in my living room.
Immediate intervention is required. I kneel between the two of them, sweep Poppy into one arm and absorb the jolt of impact as Daniel thuds into my other arm. Thuds, and halts. If he were a bonier child, I’d have a bruise, I’m sure. Thankfully, he has enough padding for both of us… not that I’m so lacking in it myself…
“Oh, what a nice hug!” I say to both of them. Poppy smiles, probably with relief. Meantime, I’m thinking up strategies for teaching the boy to desist with the commando hugs.
It’s nice to be adored, I’m sure, but poor Poppy! She may not survive all this lovin’.