Sometimes I look at Calder running around the yard and I wonder... is he special?
Is my son unique?
Are other children this freakin' uncoordinated?
I mean, really. I know small kids are total spazzes and all but Calder seems to excel at flailing and falling. He's four and a half and still drinks mainly out of sippy cups because if he didn't, the floor would get as much milk as his stomach. At times it seems as though his brain has NO IDEA what his arms are doing, like they operate under the control of some other independent, and much more destructive organ. I cannot even count the number of times Calder has gone from sitting perfectly still, eating his dinner, to sitting in a pile of rice and meat chunks after having somehow catapulted his plate off the table. Or himself off the chair. Somehow, Calder has made gravity his mortal enemy.
Now that he's getting more into sports, we are trying to ease him into the various activities closest to our hearts. First I got him the wiffle bat and then the tee to hit off of. Recently, Bruce got him his first real glove but playing catch with Calder has been less catch and more trying not to throw a ball at his face. Even though I do my absolute best to not toss the ball too close to his head, he still manages to occasionally duck into it. I worry for Calder because his calamitous nature is not solely confined to fine motor skills like catching and throwing or other sporting skills. Simply navigating his person through a field a space can often pose a challenge. It's like once the legs have been engaged, his mind just tunes out his surroundings and he ends up smacking full speed into walls, trees, furniture, etc. No stationary object is too large or too obvious to be completely overlooked by Calder. Luckily, Calder has managed to avoid severely injuring himself but how many stubbed toes or bonked heads does a person get in life before they move on to broken noses and stitches?
If there is blame to be assigned for Calder's seeming lack of grace, the fault falls clearly in my lap. While Bruce can skate in dizzying circles on ice and land, I have actively failed at every activity which requires strapping some sort of implement to my feet. While Bruce can juggle all sort of objects, I nearly dropped an acting class in college for being unable to make 20 passes with three specialized juggling balls. For a former athlete, I am ridiculously uncoordinated. I would tell you how long it took me to learn the "step, step, shoot" of a basketball layup but some things just need to be kept to oneself. I am awkward in everyday life, even. I fall down for no reason. I fall down for very good reasons and in spectacular fashion. If Calder has inherited this lack of physical prowess, then I feel for him. I remember what it was like to go to the dance studio with my sisters and watch them do beautiful ballet moves and roundoffs and handsprings while I arrhythmically practiced my sad little tap routines. Hell, one of my worst spills came at that studio, after class, falling down two flights of stairs for no apparent reason. Eventually my parents signed me up for riding lessons instead.
Like I said at the
start, I don't know if this constant tumbling and smacking and dropping and crashing is normal kid behavior or if Calder is more
prone to accidents than his peers. We don't really have anyone around to
compare him too. Most of the people I know with kids his age live
inside my computer and the people I know in meatbag life live too far
away to provide a useful peer group. By signing Calder up for karate lessons, I was kind of hoping that the
classes would teach him some sort of grace and control and I guess they have helped a bit? His severe case of noodle arms seems to be getting under better
but the boy still cannot do a jumping jack to save his life and he is
still regularly bested by cracks in the sidewalk. If despite all the classes and lessons, he is still cursed to a lifetime of stumbles, I want to protect Calder from the same feelings of inferiority that I had. I don't know how, but I want to try.
Perhaps I am worried about nothing and it will all come to pass and Calder will grow up like his dad, sure in his movements, accurate in his steps. Or maybe Calder will stay like me, always wondering where that latest bruise came from and furtively looking around to see if anyone else noticed how the ground just jumped up like that. If that's so, I will just have to make sure that I am always ready with a kiss and a hug and that I always have an ice pack or two on hand.