One recent late evening, I’m sitting in Timothy’s room with him, rocking him to sleep. He seems to be sacked out in my arms, and so I slowly stand up (more to go easy on my back than to keep Timothy asleep), and walk slowly toward the crib. I rock him a little and get to the crib and as I lean slowly forward and lay him gently down in his bed, my foot accidentally brushes against a musical turtle under his crib. POW! The room suddenly transforms from darkness and quiet into a Fourth of July celebration, with loud music and blinking lights thanks to the plastic tortoise. Like the pro that he is, Timothy pops up like a Jack in the box and makes it clear that he’s ready to do the scene over again from the start, this time with more feeling.
Timothy continues to make gradual progress toward walking. These days, he often pulls himself up to a free stand for a few seconds. He stands up, gets an excited look on his face and begins to gesture like he’s going to tell a joke, but then sits back down, as if he forgot the punch line.
As we’ve mentioned before, the school district lent him a small wheeled cart that he likes to walk behind and push. He’s been using it for so long that he gets going fast and has incredible control – he’s like a NASCAR car driver jockeying for position. He’ll deftly avoid the table or toy and back up slightly to maneuver around a dining room chair. But him being able to drive like a valet makes it a harder to feel empathy for him when he rams the demolition derby cart into your ankle.
The toddler cart of doom produces a loud noise, almost like a lawn mower (which he revels in using just as we’re trying to have our Sunday Skype calls with Elisabeth, over in India – though it seems oddly appropriate for a video call to India to include a jackhammer-like noise in the background). As he walks faster, the sound speeds up and as he gets closer to you, the sound gets louder. And so, knowing that he’s coming for you, it’s like hearing the music from ‘Jaws’ (da-da-da-da-da-da…) and you’re a sitting duck. After his vehicle completes its less than controlled crash into your Achilles tendon and he flashes that winning smile, your heart just melts, though part of you also wants to call a doctor.
Or maybe just exchange insurance cards and call an attorney.