Thursday, April 24, 2014

Through the Eyes of a Child

My granddaughter, Adaline, is 20 months old - almost 21 months. In the past few weeks both empathy and imagination have kicked in, moving her irrecovably from the realm of baby to toddler. This picture was taken on Easter Sunday - her poor nose shows the signs of a tumble she took the other day.

It started when she had a check-up and got three shots. I don't think the shots bothered her nearly as much as the bandaid covered gauze the doctor placed on her leg. When I went to change her diaper, she saw the gauze and freaked out. "Yucky, yucky," she screamed. Then, tugging at the bandaid, "Stuck, stuck!" My daughter handled the situation by quickly removing the bandaid (I'm using this term generically) and gauze. Adaline is very vocal about "bangaids" - she's not having them in any way, shape or form. We bought some with cute dolly-type pictures on them to see if we could change her mind. No way - she loves stickers, but now she's dubious about these "sticker" bangaids, too. She has become fascinated with an old Golden Book that embodies her worst fears - EVERYONE has owies and bandaids in DOCTOR DAN, THE BANDAGE MAN:

The trauma set in when Adaline noticed the arms had fallen off my nearly 60-year-old Ideal Saucy Walker doll, Melissa Kay. Melissa is made of plaster and her arms were connected by metal hooks and an industrial-strength rubber band. The rubber band broke some time ago, but I had managed to keep her arms attached with tight fitting doll clothes. Adaline has fallen in love with Melissa Kay, and the more love she gives the old doll, the more Melissa falls apart. Adaline was already concerned because Melissa's arms moved around inside the sleeves, but when I made the mistake of changing her clothes, Adaline saw the hole where the arm was supposed to go. "Broken, broken! Doctor, doctor," she hollered, and continued to holler it repeatedly all afternoon. Until I find a doll hospital, I'm trying to redirect Adaline's interest to other dolls. But the die was cast.

Two weeks ago, repairs started on a leak in the hallway of our 1920s building. It's outside our condo, just across from the elevator. Adaline wasn't too worried by the banging when the workmen cut a hole in the wall to fix the leak - the noise didn't bother her. When we walked to the elevator, though, it was a different story. She looked at the hole with an expression of sheer panic. "Uppy, uppy," she yelled, practically leaping into my arms. "Carry, carry!"

When the workmen came back, I took her into the hall so she could watch them work. She was very interested in their tools and sat on the floor, almost hypnotized, as they worked on the hole. I walked to the elevator with Adaline and her mommy and daddy later that day. She waved good-bye to me and then waved again. "Bye-bye, hole!"

When she arrived the next day, she was worried again. She greeted me with, "Broken, broken! Hole, hole!" Several times during the day, she took my hand and said, "C'mon! Hole!" We would troop into the hall (where the workman had left the pipes exposed, presumably so the hole could dry out) and Adaline would plonk down in front of it and just stare. Occasionally she'll say, "Pipe, pipe," and show us that the pipes aren't hot. Mostly, she looks worried.

Today, when she took my husband out to visit the hole, she picked up BEAR SNORES ON, a book she has enjoyed since she was little(r). She turned to a picture of the bear's dark cave and then pointed to the hole. I hope the publisher won't mind if I share this picture, so you can see for yourself:

This is Adaline and her friend, the hole in the wall:

One of these days, the hole will be fixed. I'm afraid the lack of a hole will be just as upsetting to her as the "broken" wall was when she first saw it. Will she worry that the snoring bear has been sealed up in the wall? Will she look at the smooth wall and think of "bangaids"? It's hard for an adult to master child-speak, in part because their reality does not always match ours. And as good as my imagination is, I must admit that it wouldn't have occurred to me to worry about the hole in the wall. 

Will she still say "Bye-bye, hole" when the wall is fixed? I hope she will!


JMVDavis said...

Every time I get ready to go outside for any reason, she runs to the door and says "Grammas!". She clearly loves the time she spends over there!

Becke Davis said...

Awww! Well, you know I love spending time with her. She makes every day fun!

Becke Davis said...

Update: The hole was fixed a few days ago. Adaline was concerned about the racket in the hall, so we went out there and watched the whole process. She was most interested when the repairman smoothed plaster over the hole. Now whenever she goes by it, she touches the wall and says, "Smooth!"

Becke Davis said...

Adaline is now coming up to her third birthday, and she STILL stops and points to the place on the wall where the hole used to be. "The hole is fixed now," she reminds us. We miss you, hole in the wall!

Becke Davis said...

Adaline is now coming up to her third birthday, and she STILL stops and points to the place on the wall where the hole used to be. "The hole is fixed now," she reminds us. We miss you, hole in the wall!

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