Boy-Boy’s favourite television character has, for quite a while, been a cartoon teddy. The little bear lives in a toy box with an assortment of other toys with whom he goes on adventures, which all take place in his imagination. I think that the idea is that children are encouraged to look at their world in a different way, and it is really rather sweet. Boy-Boy will contentedly watch his hero going on missions to outer space, climb mountains, and drive racing cars and sing along to the theme tune. He even has a little bear just like the one on the TV which he takes to bed most evenings. And whilst I’m more than happy to for him to have a favourite character, I do wish that he had chosen one who had fingers.
You see, the problem we have recently encountered is that Boy-Boy is picking things up with two closed fists. This is fine, provided he is only carrying around a soft toy, but it makes it quite difficult for him to steer his bike, or to carry a drink. He has become quite frustrated when he is unable to hold a crayon, but due to his mule like stubbornness, we cannot persuade him to open his hands so that he can grip it. Initially we thought it was quite cute, and whilst this is a relatively new occurrence, it is increasing in frequency and the length of time that he is in “bear-mode”. Recently, we have also taken to hiding the honey. Well you never know.
I’m sure that this is just a phase that he’s going through, and the fact that he doesn’t live his whole life as a bear is reasonably reassuring. Never-the-less, there is no cause for complacency, as one of my own peculiarities was cause for quite considerable concern for my parents, and the source of much mirth to many of my school’s bullies. You see from the age of five until the age of ten, I walked on my tiptoes. Somehow I’d got it into my head that it was a better way of walking, and as a result, was taunted in the playground with cries of “There goes twinkle toes”, and other similar heckles. Whilst this caused much merriment for my tormentors at the time, I don’t remember being especially bothered by it. It was just something I did, for better or for worse. I do recall that, seeing that I wasn’t worried, the bullies moved on to prey which would reward them for their endeavours, with far more blubbing than I did. If there was such a thing as a blog in the mid 80s, I’m sure my own father would have been wringing his hands for all the world to see. “First he wanted to be a ballerina, and now this? Where did I go wrong?” (Actually, as my Dad is a complete technophobe, the only logging on he would have done would have been on the throne first thing in the morning!) My parents were so worried that, just before I started secondary school, I had to see a physiotherapist, who was charged with lengthening my hamstrings, and helping me to avoid becoming the laughing stock for 600 boys!
With our lad though, it’s difficult to see this becoming a long term problem. I’m sure that he will realise that life is immeasurably easier, with fingers to help you. The problem as I see it will be for him to see that this is the case without losing face. As I mentioned before, he is incredibly strong willed, (I don’t know where he gets that from), and so we are, as much as possible, trying to ignore this little idiosyncrasy. It becomes difficult when he is performing tasks such as trying to brush his teeth. On these occasions I have to politely step out of the bathroom, as I find it very difficult to disguise my laughter. Usually what will happen is he will get frustrated and ultimately relent using his hands in the manner most people do. On some occasions though, his paws simply cannot manipulate the brush or fork or whatever delicate instrument he is using and whether he is tired or simply stubborn, he becomes overwhelmed by the task at hand and becomes a very tearful wreck.
I have to admit, that I harbour suspicions that I may bear at least some responsibility for his new found skill set. He may not have begun to behave like this if I hadn’t been so insistent that he wear that little hat with ears.