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The meaning of ‘toppled over everywhere into handstands


The passage below is from Fathoms: The World in the Whale Hardcover by Rebecca Giggs.


Lucy, my sister, and I, seven and eight years old: in the museum, our minds flung upwards. Soaring unseen, five flights of stairs overhead, were the white bones of the blue whale. We felt it jerk on our attention. If we dawdled then, scuffing our heels, our only aim was to distil the adrenalised trickle of dread and urgency, to extend our suspense. We were a duo with theatrical tendencies. All jest and hiss, good liars, sulkers in cahoots and picky eaters, we toppled over everywhere into handstands.


I have questions on the bold-faced part.

First, ‘toppled over’. At first it sounds to mean ‘stumbled over,’ as in ‘We toppled over in our platform shoes’. (Am I right? But in context this meaning doesn’t make sense.)

If they don’t fall over something, what they are doing?

Do they go everywhere and whenever they have their minds to it, they do a handstand to make the world seem to stand on end? What they are doing? I cannot make a good picture for this visualizing expression.

Please help me.

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Stenka25The meaning of ‘toppled over everywhere into handstands’

For once, she is being strictly literal. A handstand is where you place your palms on the ground and flip your legs up so that you are "standing" upside down on your hands with your feet in the air. She and her sister would do this wherever they were without warning, at the drop of a hat, so to speak. She says they toppled over to make them seem like unstable objects doing it and to emphasize the suddenness of it. Her use of "into" is for things like this; you can curl into a ball or break into a trot or topple over into a handstand.

Stenka25First, ‘toppled over’. At first it sounds to mean ‘stumbled over,’ as in ‘We toppled over in our platform shoes’. (Am I right? But in context this meaning doesn’t make sense.)

To topple is not to stumble. It is to fall from vertical.

Stenka25Do they go everywhere and whenever they have their minds to it, they do a handstand to make the world seem to stand on end?

whenever they have a mind to

the world seem upside down

Yes.

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Stenka25we toppled over everywhere into handstands.

You have to topple over in order to get yourself into the handstand position. It is rather difficult to do. But, I suppose once a kid learns the skill, they can do it anywhere.


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Thanks a lot as always, anonymous.

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Right, she seems like soon she'll be doing a handstand whenever she gets a chance.

Thanks for the video, AlpheccaStars.