Schooled By A Three-Year Old

Schooled By A Three-Year Old

My cane
My cane

Enjoy this encore presentation of My Odd Sock!    (Fancy talk, eh?) 



She wasn’t shy.  Nor intimidated.

She walked up to me and gingerly picked up my cane which was leaning against the table.

“Don’t touch that” her mother said.

It’s OK” I replied.  “You can play with it” I said to the little girl.

From that moment on, my new friend didn’t leave my side.


Her name was Airyanna.  (I thought she said “Ariel”, like the mermaid)  ariel


She was three-years old.  Cute as a button and wise beyond her years.



I showed Airy a couple of very lame tricks with my cane (I admit my repertoire is rather weak!) and she clapped & squealed with approval.

“I try” she said.  And she performed my “tricks” to perfection.

I applauded for her…while thinking I really need to work on some new tricks.

Noticing her socks adorned with frogs, I said “I like your socks.  Can you jump like a frog?”

She squatted like a frog and jumped several times.  Then she quickly turned to me and said “Your turn!”

“Oh, I can’t…”                                                  

Hop like a frog, you Odd Sock
Hop like a frog, you Odd Sock

“Yes you can.”

“No I ca…”

“Yes you can.  Try it.”

So I got down like a frog and made several “leaps,” all without losing my balance or spasticity tightening my legs like a department store mannequin.

Airy clapped with approval and said “See I told you you could do it.”


The kid was right.  Three-year old luck I figured.


Next, she hooked my cane around a chair and jumped over it.

“Your turn” she said.                                      

Jump over the cane, goof
Jump over the cane, goof

“No, I can’t” I said.

“Yes you can.”

“No I can’t.  I have MS—a degenerative disease of the nervous syste…”

She interrupted “Yes you can.  Try it.”

She would hear nothing of my explanation of MS.

Having a vertical leap that can be measured in millimeters, I picked up my right leg and threw it over the cane.  Then I dragged my left foot over to complete my “jump.”

Airy clapped.  “See I told you you could do it” she exclaimed.


Isn’t it medication time I thought to myself?


I asked her to pass my cane as I wanted to walk and throw a dirty plate into the garbage bin which was about 10 feet away.

“You don’t need this” she said referring to my walking stick.

“Yes I do–I can’t walk witho….”

“Yes you can.”

“No, remember my MS?  The chronic disease?  Myelin sheath…”

“Yes you can.  Try.”

So, slowly but surely.  One foot in front of the other.  My arms out like I was walking the high wire, I made my way to the trash can.

Again, Airy applauded.  “See, I told you!”


Yep she did.  She told me I could do lots of things that I thought this friggin disease had stolen from me.

Who would have known there was no need to consult medical specialists with their wall full of diplomas.  No need to take pills with names I couldn’t pronounce.  Or undergo examinations & treatments costing thousands of dollars.

I only needed to talk to my new little friend, Airyanna.

Thanks kid for giving me some much needed confidence and restoring a little faith & dignity in myself.  The short time we shared together was just a couple of hours, but the impact you made on me will stay with me forever.

Class dismissed.


12 Replies to “Schooled By A Three-Year Old”

  1. What a sweet story, thanks for sharing this.

    Maybe it shows that MS has put us back to the toddler stage, wobbly and uncoordinated while we struggle to learn (or relearn) the intricate skills of walking upright.

    Could there be a better teacher than a three-year-old who has just recently mastered this art?


  2. 🙂 Sometimes we all need a little one to give us confidence in one way or another…even if it’s just until the next faceplant. 😉 Just like kids that push for us to be out in the sun and heat, when we know it will affect us, sometimes in very mean ways. But, as long as it was fun and the kids smiled, giggled, and/or laughed…then it’s all worthwhile if just for that moment.

  3. This is such amazing story, both in content and in how skillfully it is told. From the mouths of babes … yes, indeed.

  4. Hey, had some issues with it showing up first in firefox but after refresh all was good