my pinocchio

Yesterday afternoon I took Calvin into the back yard to practice walking. He has become interested in touching the plants and trees, his vision and engagement with the world having improved of late. I led him across the lawn then onto bark paths amongst flowering rhododendrons, dwarf evergreens and hasta.

If I weren’t holding his hand and/or his harness reins the kid would have fallen every few steps. As it is, I do let him softly fall so he can practice his protective reflexes, and outdoors where the ground is soft is the place to do it. When he falls, if we’re lucky he puts his hands out front to catch himself. Reflexively, he’ll grab a fist full of whatever is on the ground, which is often dirt mixed with bark chips and pine or fir needles. That fist goes straight into his mouth often before I can intercept, but he lets me fish out the debris with a hooked finger. I’m trying to teach him to wipe his hands together to brush the grit off instead of eating it.

Calvin doesn’t understand the fragility of plants—that they can’t support him like a table or a chair. He fell into a small rhododendron and split it down the middle. I grabbed the fanned broken half and angrily whipped it onto the compost pile while thinking out loud, “plants know how to develop and grow, but my kid doesn’t.”

Tense anger quickly turned to pathetic sobs with another fall ... and another ... and another. I feel like a puppeteer with Calvin as my pitiful little marionette—my Pinocchio—suspending him from his harness straps, guiding him with one tug here and another tug there. I wish Calvin could one day, magically, become a real boy who could do real boy things.

help.com puppeteer

1 comment:

  1. Calvin is doing a great job training his Mom to be a fine writer and blogger. Plus Dad is not too bad with the camera.

    I admire all three of you, and I am sure the dog is doing his part to clean up the crumbs.