Sunday, 28 August 2011


I thought she was terrified. For a moment I had no idea what to do.

It was when I went back to work part-time when my daughter was a toddler. (I say 'toddler', but that word was never quite appropriate for her, because she never toddled until she was three and a half. At that stage, 'roller' would have probably described her more aptly).

A good friend of mine had also returned to her job two days a week. So we did a child-share, looking after the kids when the other person was at work.

Amy was a little poppet. And as she knew me well, I was convinced she’d be fine about staying with me when her mum wasn’t there.

So the first day I had her, I picked her up to give her a big hug. And she froze. I mean, really froze. Her body was rigid, like every muscle in it had snapped to attention. She felt like a wooden board, she was so stiff.

I looked at her face, convinced I’d see two wide, frightened eyes and a mouth wide open, about to let out a scream.

What I saw instead was a happy, smiling girl, who started giggling, presumably at the startled expression on my face.

She wasn’t scared at all. She wasn’t “frozen” either. What I had felt was the body of an average 18-month-old child. Because my daughter was hypotonic (a fancy way of saying she had weak muscle tone) I was used to a squidgy, soft, floppy body. Amy’s toughness was just the way muscles should feel.

Video is Spandau Ballet - Musclebound. In my defence, the video is a) deliciously terrible and b) extremely funny.

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