No touching!

Yeah. So THAT happened.

The follow-up appointment was not good; her healing progress combined with the debacle of trying to restrain her for x-rays last week led the doctor to decide that she really DOES have a small hairline fracture. So into a cast she goes. I actually don’t know how long this is going to last. We went straight to the “plastering room” (the Brits do have a way with words) for a cast and the follow-up with the “fracture clinic” is on Thursday. Anyone want to take bets? I have 2-3 weeks. I hope I’ve overshot. Fortunately the cast is flexible at the knee and she is welcome to crawl on it. It’s ugly, but she can do it.

In true Maggie fashion, getting the cast ON was a spectacle. They heard her screaming throughout the fracture clinic and the ER. It took four adults, including me, to keep her steady enough to get the cast on. The original plan to have a purple cast with pink stripes flew by the wayside when it became clear that the purple wrap wouldn’t dry nearly fast enough to accommodate the writhing monster on the table. For the record, if you get purple plaster dye on your arm when it’s wet and don’t notice until later, all your arm hair is coming off. A little PSA from me to you.

After that we moved on to traditional white quick-drying plaster. Even with the extra hands (“She’s…quite strong, isn’t she?”) they only had time to reinforce the injured areas and left the rest gauzy and soft with a flexible outer covering. Her foot is rigid and her shin is reinforced, but there are flexible spots so she can still move around a bit. And as you can see, having a white cast and a toddler is not such a bad thing. Just add markers and it’s fun for all!

One thing that embarrassed me a little at the time but now thrills me to pieces was Maggie’s outspokenness at the clinic. Maggie doesn’t like strangers, she especially doesn’t like them in her personal space, and she has no problem letting anyone know about it. One thing she’s going to need to learn is context: sometimes wellness professionals will need to enter your space to set you on the road to healing. It’s just part of life. But since she hasn’t quite learned that yet, she told off the three casting techs today in a volume and tone that could have shattered crystal: “I don’t like that. You don’t touch me.”

I don’t like that. You don’t touch me.

Now, much like y’all, I was raised to be deferential to adults. So having my pint-size monkey tell three grown-ups (who were just trying to HELP, for God’s sake) where they could step off was slightly mortifying. I repeated my mantra: validating that she hated them there but that she needed to let them help her get well and that I would be there the entire time. We got through it.

I thought about it more on the way home: what she said was really kind of incredible. Maggie knows her boundaries. She knows what she’s comfortable with and what she isn’t. And probably most amazing for a child who, like most toddlers her age, has been carried along on the whims of adults for her entire life, she had no problem–or hesitation–telling an authority figure that she was not okay with what they were doing and that it needed to stop. She spoke with command, confidence, and unmistakable clarity.

Context will come in time. Like every person who’s ever walked the earth, she’ll understand that into every life a little “unpleasant but necessary” will fall. But that lesson is easy to learn. Knowing who you are, what you want, and what you will not tolerate when it comes to people in your sacred space? THAT’S the hard lesson. So…I’m not going to correct her. I’ll work with her to teach her context. But if someone gets up on her body in a way she’s not okay with, I’m not ever going to tell her she’s wrong to be honest about voicing her feelings in a direct way.

My little girl is gonna be just fine, I think. In every possible way. 🙂




2 thoughts on “No touching!

  1. “She’s…quite strong, isn’t she?” – aw, britons!

    your daughter is awesome and amazing and better she be that outspoken for herself than the reverse. she’ll figure out context, but for now she’s an awesome badass.

    • Thank you. 🙂 I think it’s a much easier job to teach them when touching is appropriate than to teach them that it’s okay to defend their boundaries.

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