By Sammi Johnson
During a recent morning ritual of getting dressed while brushing little people hair and cooking oatmeal, I was tasked with fixing a tiny necklace with tiny little beads for a tiny girl. My 4-year-old had to wear this beaded necklace, which turns out wasn’t totally fastened on one end, causing the beads to fall everywhere.
Even with my concentration and pointed effort to tackle this challenge, I still managed to drop the wrong end of the necklace and watched as dozens of beads fell into the oatmeal. Cue toddler meltdown and subsequent mom meltdown.
My notoriously large hands and non-surgical deftness struck yet again. I’ve never been one to excel at working on, playing with or fixing anything tiny.
Threading a needle is basically my worst nightmare. Embroidering a pillow, no, but perhaps someday I will be able to sew on a button. Ikea furniture and tiny screws – please, no!
Beginning an art project with the kids seems like a good idea at the time, similar to how once a year I think that chopping my own bangs is a good idea. It isn’t.
Now with my life coming full circle, my fear and inadequacy of handling tiny things brewing for decades, I have two minis of my own, who only have tiny things to manipulate, handle and master. This is a daily recipe for monumental disasters.
Let’s talk about scale. I can palm a basketball in either hand. I should have been a concert pianist. I’ve had friends question whose hands are draped over their shoulder in pictures. They can’t possibly be attached to me, right? What works on the basketball court is not necessarily designed to work on tiny jewelry, barrettes, snaps, and shoes.
In contrast, there are these perfect little miniature hands that I saw for the first time the day I met my children. How is it that they have such tiny hands in a huge world? How will these tiny hands ever get big enough to take on the tasks to make it?
I’m amazed at their ability to develop their fine motor skills while I’m still learning how to navigate what seem like the most basic tasks. As trivial as huge hands in a tiny world may seem, I just hope that my persistence, despite my blunders, lays the groundwork for their tiny hands in a big world to keep trying and succeeding.
I’ll fail again. And so will they. Will we all try again? Yes, and maybe that is the point I’ll take away from all of this.
I have strengths that hopefully overshadow the lack of acute-precision hand movements. And I find it hilarious and an opportunity to learn that it’s OK to fail – it’s OK to drop the necklace without an instant meltdown. It just means that the tiny beads are now deliciously laced with brown sugar.
My history of non-agile mitts has proved burdensome in many kid-related topics: art, toys, clothes, shoes, jewelry. That doesn’t mean that I’ll stop trying, failing and trying again.
Big hands in a tiny world.
Tiny hands in a big world.
Both situations prove difficult, but we can overcome them.
Somehow we’ll manage, spill the milk, crash the tea party, then learn and adapt. I just hope that genetically they get the right-sized hands to fit under the car seat to fetch whatever it is they want without swearing and sweating. And I hope my daughter can slip on bracelets over her hand that I wasn’t able to fit over mine.
Sammi is a mother, wife, business owner and production and marketing director at the Flathead Beacon in Kalispell. Have an idea for a column, or a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.