It’s a whine I hear a dozen times a day from both Grace and Jazz.
A whine of indignation, dismay and resignation.
Each time, it’s because Daniel, in his happy, blundersome way, has bumped, knocked, toppled, tumbled, banged, dinged, crumpled or otherwise discommoded their ladyships. Now, this is not to say that their protests are unwarranted. Well, some of them.
Fact of the matter is, Daniel can be a blundering nuisance. Fact of the matter also is, the girls complain far more readily than needful. And always in the same, pointless, ineffective way.
Time and again, I explain to them. “You have to talk to Daniel. When you just say his name, he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what he’s done. Tell him what you want him to do.”
“I want him to not push me.”
“Then tell him, ‘Daniel, no pushing me. Daniel, hands are for hugging.’ You know he loves to hug.”
Most often, Daniel’s actions are not deliberate or willful. The boy is just very active, built (as my grandfather would have said) like a brick shithouse, and clumsy. He moves far too fast for his not-quite-two years of coordination. He hasn’t pushed, he’s only bumped, jostled, careened off of.
Which is why, when Rory walks through that door, Daniel’s wee face lights right up. Well, in truth, it lights up for Grace and Jazz, too, but I think I see a particular aura of relief in the beaming face when he sees Rory. Because, though he is a sensitive and very verbal little dude, a boy who can play quietly, who ‘reads’ books for long stretches, and also talk up a storm, a boy who can play with the girls without eliciting wails of protest, Rory is also a boy. A loud and physical boy.
(I only wish, come to that, that Grace and Jazz were as versatile.)
Rory arrives, and within seconds the two little boys are in a tumbling and writhing heap on the living room floor, playing a ‘game’ Rory has labelled “Monster Chairs”.
A few minutes later, they are thundering from one end of the house to the other. They bounce off each other, they bounce off the walls, they careen around corners. Both of their faces alight with the sheer thrill of the physicality, the joy of the speed rush, the exhilaration of the noise. (Because, when you are almost-two and just-turned-three, it is not enough to BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM around the house, you must also YELL AND BELLOW while you BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM. Girl or boy, this is required.)
Daniel loves Rory. They play alike. It must be a relief for the poor little guy, to play, to just play to your heart’s content, and not have someone inexplicably become fraught and indignant, over and over again. There are very rarely any shrieks of “Daaaaanieeellll!” when Rory and Dan play together.
They thunder into the kitchen, wheel around me and thunder down the length of the house, to the tiny front hall.
BAMBAMBAMBAM – giggle giggle – YELL BELLOW YELL – BAMBAMBAM …
Oh. Ouch. That sounded like a head. A head against the wooden front door. A head against the wooden front door at speed.
I wait for the wails.
They don’t happen.
BAMBAMBAMBAM, giggle giggle, YELL BELLOW YELL, BAMBAMBAM …
and they are in the kitchen with me. Rory looks up at me, dancing from one excited foot to the next, his face shining with fun … and is that a smallish red bump I see on his forehead? I glance at Daniel’s face, equally happy, equally fun-filled … and with a matching red bump rising on his forehead.
“Mary!” Rory stops dancing, but isn’t precisely ‘still’. He vibrates in place, quivering with glee. “Mary! Mary, we runned into the front door! We bonked our COCONUTS!!!”
“Yeah!” Daniel taps his head. “Bonk HEAD!!”
“You guys want some ice?”
“No fanks!” And they thunder away again.
I am truly glad, for the sake of Daniel’s psyche, that he has Rory to thunder with. I do, however, entertain modest fears for their life and limb…
Heh. Not really. I’m loving it.