the limp
0 comment Saturday, May 24, 2014 |
Towards the end of the Christmas holidays I sent the kids outside to ride on their scooters. They can't practically do it in the back garden and so this always has to be done on the path of the quiet street at the front. Normally they are supervised, but Husband was ill in bed and I was at the end of my tether, and I just said to them 'you know the rules, go out and play'. This was in response to the fact that every time I left the living room they were festering in, they would either fight or be in some way destructive (the drink getting knocked over was the final straw) in order to get me back within eyesight, and I was sick of constant attempts at controlling my movements.
They have never, in all their 9 and 10 years, been outside alone before. Inside 60 seconds Daughter was banging at the front door crying because she'd fallen over. That'll teach me! Except it didn't. She was checked over and sent back out to play again.
The fall resulted in a grazed knee, and we all know how gloriously bloody knees can be. Daughter soon had a lovely thick scab develop that saw her dressing in skimpy clothes in order to show it off at its best. She also developed a limp. Now we all know that when the skin is healing from an abrasion it will pull tight and restrict movement for a little while and so to help I bathed her knee in warm water a few times and put vaseline on it to the sound of her screams and wails.
Soon she was able to curl up on the settee as normal and play kneeling on the floor with her toys, but her limp got worse and worse. It was like some comedy peg-leg walk, like she had a false left leg that was unbendable and two inches longer than her right. And she went up and down stairs like she was crippled with arthritis and just after having a hip operation.
Oh the good old days were back. Daughter had sustained some minor, slightly irritating damage to her skin and this was going to define her and colour every waking moment of her day.
Yesterday we were pottering around Tescos together, Daughter and I, when wandering down the confectionery aisle empty of other shoppers, I ventured that Daughter couldn't stop limping because she was upset about recent events at home. I recalled that when she had first come to us she told us she had headaches/bellyaches/ leg aches when really there was nothing wrong with her body, but actually it was her emotions that were upset. Then I went over the old ground of being able to identify her emotions and verbalise them rather than pretend she had a headache, or, on this occasion, a limp.
She didn't say much whilst I was wittering on, but after we'd chosen our rice pudding, she said Look mummy, I'm not limping anymore! Unfortunately she was limping again by the bread aisle, but at least I had broached the subject with her and given her something to think about.
This afternoon I took Daughter out for a walk in order that she might practice crossing roads, something she has no experience in and something she will have to do a lot of when she goes up to High School next September. The exaggerated hobbled limp came with us. I chatted to her and the limp as we meandered the streets, talking to her about the independence that was within soon to be within reach. High School might be scary, I said, but it brings with it lots of great things. I talked about how she could just arrange to meet her mates at the cinema to see a film she wanted to see, rather than rely on me and dad to take her. She could get on a bus and meet friends in town for lunch at McDonalds. She could walk herself down to the local shops with her pocket money and buy whatever the hell she wanted.
I'm not sure she's convinced. I think the idea of freedom is not that far removed from neglect to her. Goodness knows she fights against any encouragement of independence in the home.
Anyway, having done our fair share of side roads, we started practicing using a couple of pelican crossing situated across a main archery road into the city, which was busy even though it was a Sunday. I thought this would be the easy bit because, well, all you do is press a button and wait. But I quickly saw that any chance of getting her to cross one of these without me was none existent. She's like some sort of fairy That's only been used to the odd fairy cart bumbling along a dirt track, suddenly transplanted into the big bad city. My advice to just check if the cars had stopped before walking out in front of them saw her hesitate to the extent that had I not been there to shove her across she'd have been quivering in the middle of an A Road like a human version of Bambi.
The positive side of her being terrified of being crunched under a ton of metal however was that she forgot to limp. She realised this as we were walking back home I'm not limping mummy! I told her to keep it up, and that if she wanted to talk to me and tell me she was upset rather than limp I was all ears, but speak she did not. Little did she know how lucky she was to lose the limp when she did. I was almost sad not to be able to act out my plan to embarrass her out of it by doing the exaggerated peg-leg walk with her.

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