Monday, 27 June 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Slings and arrows




AJ is 20 months old, nearer to two years old than one year old. I feel that if there has been a theme to this month, it's that we can't entirely protect her from the dangerous and unpleasant parts of the world. Hence the Hamlet quote: the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", the "sea of troubles" which we all must face.


First of all, about 2 days after she started walking extensively without support, AJ fell on my mom's steps. I was not even an arm's length away. I was not distracted. But I didn't quite catch her and while she didn't fall far at all, she fell very awkwardly on one leg. A few hours later we found out she had a fracture on her tibia. So, a few short days after she got excited about "walkie, walkie!" poor AJ had a cast on her leg and wasn't walking anywhere.


But mentally and physically healthy humans, especially little ones, are resilient and adaptive. Having a cast and a bad "bump" was occasionally distressing to AJ, especially the first few days. Before long however, she was crawling, scooching and erm, standing and walking on her cast.


And remember how I said I couldn't wait for her to dance? Well, she started dancing with the cast on. (it sounds likes she's saying "mucous" in the video but she means "music")


video




She continues learning at an amazing rate. We definitely have to be mindful of what we say and do around her, as she is taking it all in. On the morning of Sunday June 12th I was relaxing in bed, looking a friend's Facebook page. A post caught my attention and I Googled the story to learn more.  I found the story I was looking for, alright, and then I saw a news headline that dozens of people had been shot dead and injured in an Orlando nightclub. Mr. Turtle was up with AJ. I staggered out of bed and greeted AJ and him with "There has been another terrorist attack in the U.S. At least 20 people dead." AJ promptly began repeating, "Dead, dead!" Oh, no. It's official: I have to think about how to talk to her about terrorism, murder, violence. It's one of those things I accepted in theory, but it's a helluva lot different to look into her sweet face and think about how to say it.


Time goes on, the cast comes off. AJ didn't miss a beat: she showed no hesitation to walk or dance or even climb stairs after she had full use of both legs. I am being a bit more vigilant, especially when she starts climbing. But then yesterday I was walking close beside her outside, ready to snatch her away from danger, and she tripped on my foot and fell.  Sigh.


Another first today. The daycare called and told me that another child had bitten AJ. Not to break the skin, but there were tooth marks visible. They said she was briefly upset, but soon consoled. I am not overly concerned about the incident itself, but it's the first time I know of that another child has been mean to AJ. Well, I don't know if toddlers can really be mean on purpose, but she might perceive it that way.  It makes me wonder: how much will she worry about mean people in the world? Everybody does to some degree, but I hope it's not a crippling fear for her.


And finally, the Shakespeare quote has another somber resonance for me this week. It is of course part of Hamlet's famous soliloquy where he contemplates ending his life:


To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—

This weekend we received news that one of the graduating class at my school committed suicide. He had reportedly struggled with a variety of academic and life issues, but was not described as isolated: he had friends, he had plans, he had "many connections." "This is the last person I would have expected to harm himself," the principal said. Somewhere along the way however, he decided he could not accept what life had dealt him.

I didn't know this student personally, so the shocks reach me through the impact on other people's lives, and you cannot predict what where a fault will crack open. My colleague's eyes welled with tears as she stumblingly told me of her now adult daughter's suicide attempt and how this latest tragedy brought it back to her. It's a reminder that there is so much under the surface of people's lives. No wonder that we often think people behave in a unreasonable and irrational way when there is so much that can't be seen. It makes me even more grateful for the blog world and the outlet it provides me, and others.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, poor little AJ! I love the bright pink cast...if it's got to be there, at least it's pretty! Kids are so resilient -- I myself was in a double cast at 9 months when doctors finally figured out that my hip was dislocated at birth...they had to break both legs and reset them so I could walk. Which I did, just later than everybody else. It was really hard for my mom to see me in that cast, but we all survived it. I am so sorry for the loss of your school's student. What a tragedy, and magnified by the fears and losses compounded in people's own families, in their own histories. The blog world is definitely a great place to get it out, to have your voice heard, to feel your own personal tragedies and have them felt by others. I wish that everyone hurting could find that kind of catharsis, could find their outlet for grief, whatever the cause. I hope AJ feels better, and from the looks of her cast dance, she's on her way! Thinking of you in these times of uncertainty and sadness.

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    1. Yes, me too, I wih everyone had that outlet. I DJ remember being young and not having it. I journaled, I listened to music, I made art: those things helped. But I didn't always have the sense that someone was listening. That might not have always been a bad thing though, it probably helped me be more reflective. AJ has recovered well. That's a huge operation you had as a little one. I see how it would have been traumatic for your mom but glad you recovered well.

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  2. It's amazing how quick little ones bounce back! I love the dancing! Bubs has some great moves too. Today I let Bubs feel the slings and arrows of the cat's claws when she was pulling poor Cleo's tail. She has a small scratch on her hand and possibly a broken heart, but hopefully she will learn that cats are not to be pulled at! My telling her "no" certainly wasn't working!

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    1. Oh dear! Haha. I hope the lesson sticks. The world is not a safe place, that's for sure. At this age "no" is still a game to them a lot of the time.

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  3. It's quite a testiment that after breaking her leg, AJ was dancing in her cast. That a fall that landed her hurt didn't stop her from finding a reason to be joyful.

    I'm sorry to her about the student. It is tragic when someone ends their life. It makes us question and wonder. But I think taking a page from AJ's book is a good one. To mourn the hurt, but then find a reason to dance and remember the good. Life is far to short for anything else.

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    1. Yes, I agree! You have to feel the weight of the grief but the possibility of joy beckons too.

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  4. Oh no poor AJ (cute dancing though!). I'm impressed that she showed no fear once the cast came off- good for her!

    My daughter has been bitten by the same girl a couple of times at daycare and although she tattles on the girl every time, it doesn't seem to affect her. Toddlers aren't biting because they are trying to be mean, they just don't know how to communicate correctly.

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    1. Yes, that's what I figured. Although I still hope biting doesn't become a regular thing and I certainly don't want AJ imitating that behaviour. Her experiences are mostly very positive though.

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  5. Ouch, sorry to hear about the broken leg! SB recently fell on a gravel path and hurt her nose :( Fortunately a week later it's much better.
    We have also started watching what we say about the state of the world when she's around. I remember as a kid being terrified when the ultimatum before the Iraq war ran out, because I thought we'd be at war... Not to say it wasn't terrible, but I clearly had no idea how to put those news into perspective.
    SB bites me occasionally, I think when her emotions run extra high, e.g. on the beach. I hope she grows out of it soon, and that that toddler at daycare doesn't bite AJ again!

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    1. Yes, it's important to consider the child's point of view when discussing state of the world or any topic. Children learn from our tone too: if I sound scared or upset that's what she'll remember. So it's a reminder to be calm and levelheaded. Yes, I hope there is no more biting!

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  6. So sorry to hear about the broken leg. Eek. B falls all the time and I'm waiting for the first time it is serious.

    Sharing the story about the student you committed suicide reminds me of the quote/statement that goes something like, "Be kind as you have no idea what struggles someone is going through." I remind myself of that constantly -- people don't know what I've been through or am going through and vice versa. You just never know.

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    1. Hopefully there are no serious falls. AJ got unlucky I think. Also there bones can go through fragile phases when they are growing. I like the quote about kindness.

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