I don't normally post things about my immediate family members, but I may have to start doing that because it turns out I'm learning some interesting things from my grandaughter. She may hate me for talking about her on the internet someday, but for now she's only 21 months old, and I figure it'll be at least another three years before she can spit in my eye with any accuracy, so there's nothing to stop me.
So, here's her latest coping mechanism. When life gets too frustrating, or plain boring, and pitching a screaming fit would be too much of a bother, she throws herself on the floor and lies there. Perfectly still. Like a chalk outline from a murder scene. And expressionless, because there is no known facial expression for the depth of her ennui.
Since grandmothers are genetically wired to fix any sign of despair in their grandchildren (unlike parents, who might see this as an opportunity for a quick nap), I kneel beside her prone body with concern. "Oh no! Is she broken?" I ask.
No response from the victim. I tenderly lift one floppy arm and move it around. "Nothing wrong here. How about this one?" I flex the other limp arm. "No, not here either."
By now I'm getting an interested blink or two. I move on. "How about this leg? No, it looks fine. How about the other one? Nope, that's okay, too."
Is that little facial twitch a smile? "How about her head?" I gently stroke her whispy hair, checking for giant fissures in her skull. "No, thank goodness! How about her back?"
By now she's ready to smile at the probing fingers that tickle her back and creep around to her tummy. And presto, she's all better. Seconds later, she's on her feet, grinning with delight, showing me that she wasn't broken after all.
And you know what? I think I want someone to do that for me every once in a while. Not literally, but figuratively sounds good, doesn't it?
I need to start paying closer attention to that kid, because she might know way more about life than I thought she did.