Dec 1: A is for Advent
The dinosaur’s arm slots into place. The left or the right, it doesn’t matter. Left and Right are grown up words. Timmy doesn’t care for them.
The other arm slots into place. The left or the right.
Timmy picks up a tail, a little pointed piece. He holds it for a moment, feeling its edges, thinking of where to put it. Amidst the pile of dinosaur pieces in front of him, this piece has a proper place to be. Just like all the other pieces. He has to fix it.
It feels good to fix the dinosaur. This is something he can do. He’s good at puzzles. He couldn’t use the playground today; Mum said it was still wet. He couldn’t run to the library either. Mum had held his excitement by the hand and said something grown up about roads and cars. He had tugged at her, impatient to get inside. There were puzzles to be puzzled, inside. Puzzles like this one. Something he can do.
The pointed piece settles nicely at one end of the board. A perfect fit.
Timmy hears Mum growling at his brother as he runs away again. He's racing past the crayoned paper Christmas tree and out of the Children’s section, in a sprint for the back doors. Or for the staircase. Last week Mum had found Daniel upstairs in the Genealogy section, and had to work with other grown ups to corner him for capture. He’s fast.
Timmy wasn’t, at the time. He was doing a teddy bear puzzle. He didn’t mind being alone in the Children’s section. He doesn’t mind now, either. He’s figured out where the jaw piece goes.
Mum is bringing Daniel back, and putting him on a chair. Telling him not to move, or we’re going home. Timmy hopes not. He hasn’t finished his dinosaur yet. He’s holding a green scaly-looking piece and doesn’t know where it goes, but doesn’t want to ask. This is something he can do. Something he will do. By himself.
Mum sits, eyeing Daniel on his quarantine chair, waiting, and Timmy still can’t place the piece.
Okay. He’ll ask. “Where’s this goes, Mummy?”
Mum looks at it. “It’s a thigh.”
What does that mean? He grips the piece tightly, its edges cutting into his fingertips, and he doesn’t understand. His eyes flick across the fragmented dinosaur, looking for the answer in its shapes.
“It’s the top of his leg,” Mum finally adds, and points to a blank spot on the board. “It goes here.”
Timmy tries it. Turns it. Tries again.
Yes. He can do this. The belly is easier to fix now. He can see how it fits around the thigh piece.
“Mummy, look!” Timmy calls. Mummy is pinning Daniel to his chair with raised finger and a frown, now. She’s not looking. “I did it! I did it the dinosaur!”
“Well done,” she says in a voice that doesn’t agree. It’s a monotonous voice, but Timmy takes it anyway. His smile is wide and excited, and he slides the puzzle back into its bag. It takes a few attempts, but he does it.
He’s fixed a dinosaur. He’s good at this.