It Ain’t TMI, Little Guy

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Photo: Pixabay

 

“My face gets all red,” he noted.

“Oh?” I didn’t know where he was going with this little tidbit of self-disclosure, but oftentimes neutral responses worked the best for those.

“Yeah,” he nodded. His hands continued to manipulate a small figurine: twisting, bending, spinning the head around.

I offered a box with a some accessories: a chair, a bike, a car, a bath, a bed, a backpack.

He raised his eyes without really looking at me, and returned his attention to the object in his hands. He wasn’t exactly aggressive as he was persistent. I found myself wondering when he’ll realize the head could come off.

“My face gets all red,” he repeated. “I watched.”

“Hmm?” I responded.

“Yeah.” He looked up, this time meeting my eyes in part-challenge, part-fascination. “In the mirror. Did you know I have ropes in my neck?”

He touched the sides of his neck, then grimaced and twisted his face and torso into a representation of intense muscle tension. Strain or fury or struggle or all.

“See?” he grunted.

The veins in his neck bulged and a small tributary pulsed at his temple, sprouting a delicate delta underneath the almost transparent skin.

“Yes, I do see.”

“It’s what happens every time,” he sighed as he relaxed his face and shoulders. Fierceness gone. Vulnerable.

“It’s what happens, when?” I had some inkling as to what he was describing but I wasn’t fully sure … and not assuming was often the right thing to do, anyhow. Especially with children who’d had so little opportunity to question or discuss or explain or inquire or straighten worries out. This little guy had had almost none, and for a boy who talked with almost no one, it was progress that he could speak about himself at all.

His eyes sought mine and the rising pink in his cheeks competed with the retreating redness from his earlier maneuver. He bent the figurine to sitting position, to a stand, to sitting again.

“When I go,” he muttered. “You know, when I … um … have to, uh, push the poo out.”

“Oh,” I noted blandly. “In the bathroom?”

The boy nodded. The blush spread down to below his chin.

“I think most people strain when they poo. It can make their faces red.”

His eyes widened at that, or perhaps also at my matter-of-fact discussion of matters too many in society render embarrassing even though these are naught but normal body-functions.

“Did you look, too?” he tried.

“At my face? You mean, when I use the bathroom?”

He bit his lower lip and nodded, balancing a tightrope of shame and disclosure and curiosity and possibly worry. Perhaps all. Perhaps more.

“I can’t say I have, but it is just what happens when people move their bowels. It is normal to strain or push a little.”

He thought about it. Continued to play with the figurine in his hands.

I wrestled with whether to say anymore. I wanted to reassure him but also wanted to know if it was hurting him to go to the bathroom, so I would know whether there was a problem that needs to be checked. I wanted to know if anything changed recently … if something happened … Heavens knows plenty had in the past, even if I did not know exactly what. Was this him just being more aware of his own body, or was it an attempt to speak of other things … of other kinds of red-faced strain he might’ve seen? Was it both?

I breathed.

He didn’t look distressed. Then again, Toy-figurine Man had lost his head a few times.

Another moment passed.

“Yeah, Dara does it, too.” He stated, asked.

The new infant at his foster home.

I nodded encouragement.

“Sometimes her face gets really red and funny and then Mama Molly changes her.” He looked at me, shame and blush seeming to recede. “You can smell it,” he giggled, testing.

“I bet,” I smiled.

“It stinks,” he took himself into full-out-laugh zone now. “Mama Molly says Dara’s poo stinks to infinity and beyond.”

I grinned. Mama Molly was a keeper. “Poo sure can.”

“Mine does!” he chortled.

Toy-figurine Man got his head back. Kept it on. Got put onto his bike and taken around the table and into the box.

“So,” the boy raised his chin in the direction of his folder and the games on the chair next to me. “Can we start?”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS prompt: Strain

 

Come Play!

play NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

My pink shoes are a mess

But I’m in no distress.

I have been in the dust

For elephants it’s a must.

I’m a fierce one, you see

Will you come play with me?

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Play

 

Cookie Share

round biscuit with heart jelly in center

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

“Now it’s my turn to ask you a question,” she said. “And you have to answer.”

“Fair enough,” I smiled. After all, I’d just subjected this child to a long list of questions to which she had to respond.

“What if,” she began, twinkle-eyed, “you had only one cookie, but you needed to share it with fifty kids?”

“Hmm …” I pondered. “That’s a tough one. One cookie only?”

“Yep!” She raised her eyebrows in satisfaction at what had to be my stupefied expression.

“Can I hand out something else instead?” I bargained.

“Nope. One cookie, fifty kids.” The eight-year-old was utterly too pleased with herself.

I smelled a rat but I wasn’t going to show it. She’d earned this after soldiering on through the difficult portions of the testing battery. “I give up.” I raised my hands in surrender. “I don’t see how I can split one cookie between fifty kids.”

“I never said how big the cookie had to be, did I?” she chortled. “If you have a gigantic humongous cookie it would be easy peasy to have everyone share it!”

 

 

For Cee’s Share Your World June-18-2018

Kind of Famous

Rose DvoraFreedman

Photo: Dvora Freedman

 

“I’ll be famous,” she said, twirling and eyeing her reflection in the mirror. She was wearing a particularly twirl-worthy skirt and a shiny pair of sandals.

“Yep, famous,” she repeated with finality. She spun a few more times then stopped mid-turn to face me. “Do you know what famous means?”

I raised an eyebrow in half-query, half-invitation. Children’s explanations are immensely more informing than anything I might attempt to guess at.

“It means everybody knows you and everybody likes you a lot.”

“It does?” I lent a slight undulation to my voice in what I hoped was just a smidge of challenge for the second part.

She’s a perceptive little one. She caught it. Paused. Frowned. Pursed her lips and pursed them again in front of the mirror to inspect the effect. “Well, everybody knows famous people,” she countered and puckered her lips a few more times to make a point. “But … maybe not everybody likes them?”

I smiled and raised my eyebrow again.

She straightened and crossed the room to lean into me. “Because some famous people can be bad?”

I wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Some. Sometimes people get famous but not for very good things.”

She nodded into my side. “Like Hitler and … you know?”

“Yes. Hitler … and some other people … are known for doing very very bad things.”

“I don’t want to be that kind of famous.”

I gave her a squeeze. “I understand. I wouldn’t worry … You are nothing like that … You have a beautiful, loving, caring heart. It’s not a bad thing to want to be famous. Most famous people aren’t bad. Most people in general aren’t bad. Famous and not famous ones.”

She leaned into me a moment longer. She knows hardship. Young as she is, the pain of cruel actions isn’t abstract to her.

I took a deep breath to remind her she was safe. She followed. Took another. Shook the pensive worry off and looked down into her magnificently twirl-worthy skirt.

“Well,” she stood and made a quick half-turn, watching the edges of the fabric lift and roil and dance and fly. “I’ll be the good kind of famous.” She walked back to the full-length mirror to reinspect her reflection. “The beautiful heart kind …”

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Knotty Problem

knot DavidJFred

Photo: David J. Fred

 

 

She refused to retreat

In the face of defeat.

She pursed lips, furrowed brow,

Still the bead would not bow.

Pushed into the string’s knot

It slid off … yet she fought.

All suggestions were waived

She refused to be saved.

Five more minutes she spent

String nor bead would relent.

Just as frustration frayed …

Cookies came to her aid.

 

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

The Crank

Silver Gelatin Print

Photo: Vivian Maier (Girl Crying) N.Y. 1954

 

She huffed and she puffed and she stomped her small feet. She whined and she cried and she kicked the car seat. She refused to wear shoes, threw her coat on the ground. Made sure everyone heard her for miles around. She tossed food on the floor. Then asked for some more … Like a kid on a mission for the spoiled child edition.

Evening came.

Gramma called.

Mama handed the phone.

“Tell me now, little one, what on earth’s going on?”

“I’m a crank,” the child said in response. “Now Mama’s tired, all on my own.”

 

 

 

For more of Vivian Maier’s amazing photography: http://www.vivianmaier.com/

For The Daily Post

The Lost Quartet

fishbowl

 

 

He reached into his pocket and rummaged around. “I’ve brought something to show you,” he said, eyes searching mine. “But it’s a secret …”

“Oh?” I offered.

“Well, sort of,” he shrugged as an uncertain smile worked its way into his cheeks. “I took them to school … but I didn’t tell anyone … because we’re not allowed to … The teacher woulda’ taken them away and other kids maybe woulda’ told her or asked to see them and then she’d know …”

I hiked my eyes up and nodded my expectation.

The grin grew but it still held a sheen of sad.

He pulled his fist out of his pocket and turned it so the back of his hand rested on the table, then ceremoniously uncurled his fingers.

Four grains of rice in tiny vials, strung onto a keychain ring.

“They have names on them,” he said reverently.

I squinted and reached for a magnifying glass. Handed him one.

Our heads met over the small nest of palm and he mouthed the words, more sigh than voice.  “Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum.”

A quartet recently eaten not by a giant smelling the blood of an English man but by a feline with a swishing tail who had knocked the fishbowl over and left not one golden scale behind.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Jujus

magic all around you

Photo: Samantha Mars

 

She dragged her book bag up the stairs.

Step, bang. Step, bang.

“It looks heavy,” I noted.

“Yeah,” she huffed and paused to frown in the direction of the patchwork of princesses on the backpack. I found myself wondering whether she was directing discontent at her idolized figures not using their royal powers to, at the very least, summon genie help to manage gravity.

“Want me to help carry the bag for you?” I offered.

She raised an eyebrow as if the mere thought of my definitely-not-princess hands handling her bag was beneath the Disney figures that dignified it.

The first-grader lugged the bag another step and stopped, perhaps to reconsider if there are times when commoners’ help is better than none at all. “Yeah,” she nodded.

I walked down to take the bag from her. The thing was heavy!

“What do you have in there?!” I asked. “Rocks?!”

“Aha,” she nodded sagely, skipped a few steps up ahead of me and swiveled her head to look back at me. “Come faster. I want to show you.”

I lifted the bag (and an eyebrow) in her direction and she giggled. “Sorry… Thanks.”

Once upstairs she indicated I was to clear space for whatever that was, then ceremoniously unzipped the top of her school bag and pulled out a succession of boulders. She placed each with care onto the desk. Several pounds of them.

I waited. The lot looked to me like run-of-the-mill New York stones: mostly dark gray schist dappled with a bit of quartz glint.

She leaned back in her chair and waited. Clearly a reaction was warranted.

“That’s a lot of rocks!” I managed.

“Not regular rocks,” she admonished. “These have magic.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah,” she proclaimed. “They have real magic. And gold, too. Inside.”

I tilted my head a bit to one side and nodded my interest.

She narrowed her eyes at me, weighing the merits of talking to grown ups about matters of magic and gold. “They can even make your wishes come true …”

“But … ” she regarded me before adding, a bit haughtily and perhaps to punish me for my lack of immediate awe, “you do have to believe in them, so they’ll only do the magic for me.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Meter Above

work in progress masterpiece

Photo: Pinterest

 

He came in with a poem.

“I used to hate this stuff,” he noted, holding the page face down so I won’t peek while he explains. “But after you showed me ‘A Light in the Attic’ and told me what all this poetry word salad stuff means …” He grinned, pleased at being able to insert one of the expressions from last week. “I think it’s kinda’ fun, actually.”

He lifted his hand from the page, but left it hovering an inch above the white expanse. “You might not like this,” he warned. “It’s sort of a rap song. You know. People my age like those …”

I chuckled. “I know I’m much older than you but I actually don’t mind rap. It’s only when the language is really inappropriate that I don’t care for it.”

He peered at me, only half-convinced. “Anyway … no cuss words here. Even my mom said it’s fine. The first words are from her fridge magnet thingy.”

He turned the page and cleared his throat. “But tell me if you really like it, okay?” he glanced up, suddenly a lot less certain and a lot more the little boy. He took a deep breath. “Here goes …”

“As above

So below.

We learn more

As we go.

So make sure

To go slow.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Mnemonically Challenged

 

teachingmomser.com

Photo: teachingmomster.com

 

“I failed the test,” she sighed and let her book bag slump to the floor.

“What test, and I’m so sorry.” I responded.

“Social studies. History stuff. I studied so hard!” She plunked herself into the chair. Dejection personified. “Who put all those stupid names and dates in there, anyway?”

“Names and dates can be really difficult to remember,” I noted. “I find it helpful to connect them with the story of what happened, or with something else to remind of what the name or date relate to.”

“Yeah, well,” her eyes rose to meet mine, accusatory at my not understanding she just needed me to let her vent. “But you are not mnemonically challenged!”

 

 

For The Daily Post