We would not be surprised if Timothy eventually becomes a thoracic surgeon or ear nose and throat doctor. This boy has such a keen sense of the anatomy of the neck and throat. If you’re holding him and he’s feeling especially squirrelly and cranky, he’ll squirm a lot and then reach his arm out and put pressure on the proper blood vessel (carotid? jugular?) to distract you and cut off just a little oxygen. If you turn away from him, he might grab at your windpipe. These highly effective maneuvers rank somewhere between a doctor’s precision and a wrestler’s hold. And while this doesn’t happen much, little Doogie Howser MD knows what he’s doing.
And that’s why, when we hear the old saying ‘he’s a lover, not a fighter’, we’re proud to say that our son is creative — Timothy doesn’t see the need to choose one or the other. He’ll take both, thank you very much. When you hold him, it’s possible that he’ll be stroking your hair with his left hand while his right hand is on your throat. Again, this doesn’t happen very often, but just enough for us to appreciate his ability to multi-task.
Elisabeth, age 17, finished her junior year last week, and so she is done with high school (other than two pesky online courses), and she leaves in late July to study in Pune, India for 10 months. We’ve moved quickly down this path from ‘Maybe I’ll study overseas’ last Fall to learning Hindi to getting a visa to sorting out required vaccinations (malaria, rabies, etc). She’s even Facebook friends with her Indian host family, which is nice, though it’s hard not to be a little offended when she already calls them ‘mom and dad’.
This impending foreign travel reminds me of when Elisabeth was a year old and we traveled to Israel for a visit. Passing through security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, it was stressful wrestling with stroller, luggage and baby while enduring the many probing questions and the stern looks of the uniformed screeners and heavily armed soldiers. But once we’d made it to the other side of security, the soldiers who moments earlier seemed ready to shoot us were smiling and cooing and fighting to hold our young daughter. And that was one of the first times that I realized what an effect young children can have on other people.
Little kids seem to bring out the best in people. Granted, that crying brat next to you on a flight might not make you smile, but I’ve been surprised at how carrying a cute little boy around changes people’s demeanor. People walking toward Timothy and me might have a crabby look on their face, but as they get near us, Timo throws out a smile and a casual wave of the hand, and the other person just lights up. It happens all the time, and it’s really neat to see this transformation. When I see Timothy turning on the light bulb for people, it reminds me of how easily people can be cheered out of a funk.
And so while I lack his boyish smile and red hair, and it would look creepy if I waved at everyone who passed by me, I can learn from Timothy and do more to bring out the best in other people.
That is, if I imitate TRBL’s smile and not his Vulcan neck hold.