THE SCENE: Waiting in line at Marks & Spencer, basically the Citarella of London, except a *touch* less high-end. I’m trying to figure out the self-checkout machine (which, incidentally, is just as infuriating as those in the US). Poppy is strapped in her stroller, eating 5 million cookies directly out of the box with a runny nose. William is bouncing around the crowded area, alternating between jumping on one foot and poking his sister in the face (excuse me, “HUGGING” his sister), with his tie hanging off.
All of a sudden, William is giggling and being polite to someone. I turn around and see him staring up at the demure older woman who kindly guides shoppers to the next open register (“TILL 4!! TILL 4 IS OPEN!! ‘SCUSE ME, TILL 4 IS OPEN!!! MOVE TO TILL 4, WONCHA!!!”). He is LOVING it, which is not always the case when it comes to Will + strangers. Then, I look down, and see that the woman’s arm ends immediately after her elbow. No bigs, except for the fact that I still have PTSD from the time we saw an Iraq War veteran with one leg walking towards us on 6th Ave and William pointed while screaming “Oooohhh, eeeee, sheesh, look at that, owie, that must hurt! What happened to that guy? Man, eeee, oooooo”. (And, yes, I recognize that using the term “PTSD” for effect when telling a story about someone who ACTUALLY probably has PTSD from LOSING A LEG is kind of…something. And if that dude is reading this, I sincerely apologize).
I was expecting the worst, especially when she used her elbow to tousle his hair (I mean, really?). But he just continued bouncing around and didn’t say anything until we were at least 10 feet away from her. Sure, she could probably still hear him when he said “Mommy, that lady didn’t have any arm or hand and that is so weird and I bet that hurt. Like that man with the no-leg that I saw at Citarellas, except this time I didn’t point at it.” But he knew to keep it in, at least for a little bit. Baby steps!