It’s Not All Mary Poppins

It’s a clue…

Daniel is a happy, cheerful, bumbling little tank of goodwill. Emphasis on ‘tank’. He means well, but he does steamroll.

I try to get the girls to come down off their injured-princess horses and cut him some slack.

“Daniel didn’t mean to hurt you, love. He’s just little, and he’s c lumsy.”
“Daniel is not hurting you, he’s hugging you. You can let him hug you. You just” I begin to prise “need to tell him” Daniel’s too-enthusiastic arms “when you’re” from her neck “done hugging. It was a c lumsy hug, but it was just a hug.”
“That was not a bite, that was a kiss. He just missed a bit. He’s little, and he’s c lumsy.”

I work equally hard at getting Daniel to develop some awareness and to TONE IT DOWN A BIT.

“When you’re standing right beside someone, you cannot swing your arms like that. See? Poor Poppy is crying!”
“Slow down, Daniel.”
“When you hug someone, you must stand still, and then let go. Let GO, Daniel. She’s done being hugged.”
“Daniel, lovie, you need to walk. WALK in the house.”
“I think you need to stop kissing people for a while, Daniel, until you can stop banging them with your teeth. No more kisses today, love, I’m sorry.”
“Daniel! Slow down!”

Most of the injuries Daniel does others are inadvertent. He doesn’t mean to bump, collide, careen, knock flying, run over, trample upon… that stuff just happens. Inexplicably. He moves from one room to another, and someone is, mysteriously, on the floor and/or crying in his wake.

Well, it’s not really even inexplicable to Daniel, because to be inexplicable, he’d have to be aware of, and confused by, it. Mostly, he’s completely unaware. Blithely oblivious. Grace may be crying, but what’s that got to do with him? Nothing he knows about.

But, sweet and amiable as he is, he’s not perfect. Some of the injuries that happen are indeed deliberate. He acts on an impulse, and BAM!, tears.

Only, when tears follow Daniel like a wake follows a duck, how do you know which is deliberate and which accidental?

Easy. If it’s an accident, Daniel is blithely unaware. Jazz may be seething in righteous indignation, but Daniel is happy, happy, happy. Happy, smiling, cheery, positively exuding bonhomie. Default Daniel.

If, however, he’s done a Bad, Bad Thing, and he knows it? When I look for him to come and deal with the flotsam and jetsam of his passage, this is what I find:

Which has got to be just about the most damned adorable picture of little-boy contrition I’ve ever seen.

Okay, so there’s a lot more “I’m in so much trouble!” worry there than there is “I shouldn’t have done that” contrition. He’s not feeling remorse for his actions so much as he knows his actions have earned him a correction, maybe even a scolding. But cute? Is that not cute, cute, CUTE?

I mean, just look at all that hair! Just look at those pudgy arms. The one hand with its fat little drooping fingers, the other in an awkward toddler fist, grinding into his eye. And see the sad, sad little lip peeking out at the bottom? Is that not too freakin’ adorable for words???

Even when he’s bad, he’s good.

I love this boy.


July 25, 2012 - Posted by | aggression, behavioural stuff, Daniel, individuality, the cuteness!


  1. Oh that sounds like little middle dude here. I keep thinking he’ll outgrow it and the discussions about awareness will sink in, but now he’s 3 and 40-some-odd pounds of still oblivious, cheerful, tank. Fortunately, he is careful around the baby. Big brother and I are usually the ones who are inadvertently pounded.

    Comment by Samantha | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. You’ve probably heard of this and run into it before, but in case he seems much more physical this way than other boys that age you’ve watched, you might look into Sensory Processing Disorder. Some kids with SPD are the oversensitive to physical things (the kids who hate to get their hands sticky and can’t stand tags in their shirts), but some are the opposite and crave extra pressure (and just love to crash into things for that extra sensory input). (My middle kid kept getting into trouble in preschool for crashing into the other kids, until the director realized that it wasn’t deliberate and we got him tested for SPD. We then did things like having him carry heavy piles, playing ‘wheelbarrow’, making sure he got enough playground time, especially monkey bars, etc).

    Comment by Anita | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  3. That picture is so stinking cute!

    Comment by Kate | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  4. I wish Owl would show some contrition. I’ve never managed to get the least bit out of him.

    Comment by IfByYes | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  5. Oh I just adore two-year-olds!

    Comment by rosie_kate | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  6. Mary, I am so glad this little ball of energy has you in his life to understand and appreciate him–and to guide him without crushing his spirit!

    Comment by Meg | July 25, 2012 | Reply

  7. Whenever I see the “dang it, I’m caught” face, my first reaction is to laugh. I’ve got my tongue nearly bitten in half. 🙂

    Comment by Hannah | July 26, 2012 | Reply

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