He started screaming "OH NO" in the bathtub tonight. Over and over. Crying and stomping his feet, saying the same thing over and over again.
"oh no oh no oh no."
I couldn't get him to tell me what was wrong. Finally, he held his hands out to show me his wrinkled fingers, sucking in air between sobs.
"HANDS" he said.
I assured him that they would go back to normal. He won't have permanently wrinkled hands for a very, very long time.
Later, after he was fast asleep in his bed and the fear of his hands was a far-off memory, I started thinking about hands.
The reason that, with his small understanding of the world, he would view his broken hands as something devastating. The hands that build trains. The hands that help stir the pancake batter on Saturday mornings. The hands that run through his mamas hair when he isn't feeling well. Hands that separate the sections of an orange, peel back a banana peel, pick out the chocolate chips from the trail mix.
His hands are his way to navigate. To explore. To experience the world.
Then there are my hands. Mother's hands.
Hands that are gentler than they have ever been before. Hands that are slow to reprimand but fast to pick up a screaming boy when he forgets that his feet don't always move as fast as his body. Hands that can unscrew the lid of the peanut butter jar and hands that can spread that peanut butter on a graham cracker. The hands he grabs for first thing in the morning. Hands that motion to what he needs in leu of a fully-developed vocabulary.
He cannot express himself without his hands.
As a hand-talker, I would have a hard time expressing myself without my hands, either.
We speak with our hands, along with our words.
Hands that won't be permanently wrinkled for a very, very long time.