Toddler Talk Society

My little shadow

Toddler  

I have this little shadow. Its size and shape are rather different from mine, though you can see a resemblance from certain angles. It’s appears by my side within moments of my waking up in the morning, and stands by me as I brush my teeth, go to the bathroom and get my coffee. (It has also been known to shoot rapid-fire questions at me at this stage).

It sticks steadfastly to me through the day thereafter, trailing behind me from room to room, hovering around me when I sit, and getting in the way while I attempt to get work done. Its movements might be erratic – I walk, and it bounces along, I stop and it still keeps bouncing – but it rarely leaves my side for long. Sometimes it zigzags or races ahead, but it always returns and firmly attaches itself in the region of my hip.

At certain times of the day, however, it will inexplicably go missing – usually around bath-time or nap-time or when it’s time to go out and I’m already running late. Then, suddenly, that ever-present shadow will need to be coaxed out of hiding, and dragged along unwillingly. When it decides to lag behind and dawdle, my usually speedy little shadow can slow me down to the pace of a doddering old snail. The more I try to hurry, the slower we’ll go.

When out in public, my shadow can turn shy and stick so close that it’s hard to tell us apart. At times, it’ll appear to virtually merge with my clothing. That can make movement a bit of a problem. But this is far preferable to the alternative, whereby it vanishes into thin air and has to be desperately searched for in a crowded outdoor space. When this shadow disappears, you’re in for a rough time. So you train your little shadow to make sure it sticks with you at all times when you go outside – oh the irony of it all.

For all that it’s so little, my shadow can loom large over me at times. It can take over my space, blocking out the TV, obscuring the laptop screen or blotting out the faces (and voices) of people I attempt to have a conversation with. That’s when tension starts brewing between the shadow and I. I need a break, I say, a bit of a breather. And my shadow goes and sulks in a dark corner.

But it’s usually a short-lived thing. Sooner rather than later, my little shadow will be back, pottering around by my side. Because that’s what shadows do, and if they aren’t around, doing their thing, something just doesn’t feel right.

So, night or day, bright or dark, whatever the lighting in the room, my little shadow is right there. In fact, it sticks the closest when the lights go out at night, attaching itself to my side like a limpet (you can’t unstick it if you try), draping itself all over me and crowding me out of my own bed.

Sometimes I creep out of the bedroom early to try and get a few shadow-free hours to myself. But I’m not fooling anybody. Moments later, I’ll hear a shuffling sound, and there my little shadow will be, standing at my feet, reporting for duty, bang on schedule.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way because, little though it is, my shadow is big on love. When the cuddles and kisses are through, there isn’t a constant companion I’d rather have by my side.

I have this little toddler-sized shadow, who sticks with me 24/7. And that (mostly) makes me one happy mom.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 6:44:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/toddler-talk-my-little-shadow/article7170639.ece

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