My Little Fierce Potentate

It’s hard to believe that M is already one year old even though admittedly I feel five years older.

M’s character was prominent from his entry into this world, fierce and fast with less than three hours of labour and only three pushes (the hospital staff referred to us as the “stop and drop”). Since we are all to some extent the prisoners of contingency, my little potentate’s character developed through his attempts to eclipse the refulgence of his elder brother’s lucent personality. He has mercilessly learnt how to charm and wile and makes friends of strangers when we're out and about.

Learning from his elder brother and in a nanny share with his brother and his best bud, who are 19 days apart and about 21 months older than M, he has learnt how to fight, because he’s had to. Some months ago, when L and W decided the only way to protect their puzzles from the resident Godzilla’s rampage was to play on top of L’s bed where M couldn’t crawl to, they provided M no better incentive to conquer the climb and he was up there in no time. The desire to play with his older brother and outdo him led to him crawling at seven months, before his body could even support the physical act, so that our determined little dude looked rather as if he were on a military mission with a Navy Seal crawl. 

One of my favourite memories thus far is when M, shy of months, decided on his own to start playing the piano. His elder brother and I were flabbergasted and both burst into laughter. The piano had been for his brother, but M must have seen him thump away at it and decided he would attack it - and yet, M delicately approached it and was very conscious of its sonorous qualities whereas L’s relationship with it could be somewhat termed abusive were it decidedly not sentient. While L is also quite musical, I’ve never seen a baby take to melody and rhythm and be able to copy what he or she hears like M. This talent he avowedly did not inherit from me. I perceive myself to have certain talents, but musical ability is not one (and unfortunately I’ve learnt the hard way that you can’t make up in decibels what you lack in melody). While I love to concoct little ditties and sing them to my boys, considering that all boys must enjoy their mother’s voice, I would not dare impose by trituration of melodies on any innocent ear- particularly after my own son asked me not to sing to him. To give you an idea as to how much my toddler doesn’t enjoy my singing, he even allows me not to sing the part in The Book with No Pictures (if you want to know the truth, ask your children- their verity is venerable). But I digress…

Ah yes, mon peti carporal’s conquests have been grand. A few months ago, he took to the walker and then began to zoom about the house before we had taken the gates from L’s rampage out of storage. He took his first few steps alone when he was 11 months. I seem to have missed his first sprint even though I was right there. I was speaking with my sister and brother in law, who came to visit for his birthday and baptism, relating that M was ready to walk, but he felt unsteady, so that his first promenade could happen in a couple of months or in a few days or any second. As I finished saying this, my brother in law calmly asked me how my son had travelled from the coffee table in the centre of the room to my feet. I looked down and sure enough my little guy was there, smiling resplendently. He crawled, I concluded. My brother in law contended that he had never seen his head drop at which point I understood he was telling me that while I was telling them that he could walk at any moment, I had missed it. Oh, the misery! 

I had previously worried that while M’s appetite for literature was voracious, he was literally digesting the pages, rather than enjoy their content and am pleased that he outgrew this stage, albeit he enjoys reading by himself more than being read to, turning the page and immersing himself in their images.

We can already see that M is going to be a grand conversationalist, just like his brother. When they start talking, they don’t stop and they like to command the conversation ( L has become an ardent negotiator). M babbles away incessantly, the general vein, which we can discern through his animated expressions, frustrated gesticulations and changes in cadence. However, we can only understand a few clear words. His vocabulary consists of mama, dada, baba (grandmother), yia yia (ditto), hi, bye and water. The other day, as his dad was holding him, he watched me get ready to leave and as I headed for the door he waved to me and said “bye mama” and I stopped at the door, staring at him, stupefied. They grow up so fast!

M has a particular smirk when he conquers something new. The other day we showed him a toy musical carousel which he immediately became enchanted with and learnt how to manipulate so that he spent hours pressing the button to renew the songs until we took it from him before its repeated sonorous incursion into our house eclipsed our sanity. 

We recently got M down to two feedings a night and I hope that before he is 13 months, I can cut the dream feed and have a straight 8hours of sleep (oh, joy!). The other day I unwittingly overheard, due to the decibels undulating in my direction from a very stentorian speaker, how a woman’s children both started sleeping through the night at 2 months. Neither of my children slept through the night for a year. When the woman complained of how difficult the first two months were, I wanted to exclaim “try a year!” but resisted such a social faux pas (this was my punishment for eaves dropping after all). 

M’s favourite foods are avocado (he is Californian after all), apple, broccoli, salmon, banana, strawberry and havarti. He has a voracious appetite and thumps his table when he wants more. 

M and L have begun to hug and kiss each other as well as tussle. This latter activity has spiked anxiety in our household for L does not understand how fragile M is, nor does M realize this and I’ve had to break them apart and provide stern explanations. My husband warns that the tussling will continue as they grow older.

M has a distinct quality of finding what is most dangerous to do in a room and ventures forth to do it. His adventures have already resulted in innumerable scratches, bruises and a chipped right canine. What am I do with my thrill seeker?

As much as he may fight with his brother and is at times, the fiercer party, M adores his elder brother. He wants to be just like him. I hope that they become close and stay close throughout their lives. I've never had a sibling and am happy to have provided them a relationship I lack. 


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