For Arddun’s first birthday, I had bought her a toy garage – with the ramps and the car wash and parking and the petrol station. A couple years later, Tony handed her a small box of his childhood treasures – cars, buses, trucks, and even a wooden cowboy gun.
She plays with Tony’s toys still, and Atticus loves them literally to pieces. But then one day, he came across the toy garage and it was like a light came on inside him. Ah hah, he seemed to think as he put two and two together.
For the past 2 days, he would retreat into the library or the rumpus room and play with the garage and the cars for at least half an hour on his own. He is smitten.
Lately, I’ve been more self-conscious of how different my interactions with both children are; how I automatically give grace and room for mistakes with Atticus, and yet how much tougher I seem to be on Arddun because she is older “and therefore should know better”. And yes sometimes, she ought to know better.
But sometimes, she’s not even 5 yet. She’s not. She’s very tall for her age, her dresses are for six-year-olds, and she definitely knows her own mind on many things. But she’s not even 5 yet.
Months, MONTHS late with these photos, but I thought I’d share what little photos I managed to take and borrow (thank you Andrea and Famiza!) that were taken during our trip to Singapore in late January.
We’ve been reading Alice in Wonderland to Arddun lately – the unabridged version. She’s watched the Disney version about ten times and has a very short board book version of it. But it wasn’t until she kept asking me to read the Ladybird Classic version – broken into chapters – that I wondered about her appetite for the whole hog.
I ended up downloading Alice for the iPad. More ebook than app, it features the unabridged version of AiWL with some cute interactive bits now and again – falling cupcakes, Alice elongating like a telescope as she gets bigger before shrinking again, comfits bouncing off a Dodo’s back… A childhood classic imagined by Lewis Carroll, illuminated by John Tenniel and then brought to life through the wonders of technology.
I don’t know that Arddun pays attention to the whole thing. There are lots of talky bits and Alice herself tends to go off in tangents that a 4yo can hardly keep up or be bothered with. But by and large, Arddun understands what’s going on. And she really looks forward to doing the book together come bedtime.
So it was little wonder that when Book Week was around the corner and Arddun was to turn up in school as a book character, we did Alice.
Lots and lots of rules about the dress-up, actually. They could only come as a book character, not a TV one. Please, no princesses or superheroes (read: no last-minute raiding of your child’s dress-up box). They had to bring their book along to school (so I had to run out and buy one because she wasn’t going to traipse into school with my iPad!)
After a quick rummage through existing stash and a dash to Top Bargain for that cheap and cheerful traffic-stopping yellow wig, our Alice was born. But just so there could be no mistaking who her book character was, we needed a storytelling prop.
Poor second child. Sporadic monthly photos, even fewer videos, hardly any blog posts waxing lyrical about the tiniest milestone or developmental leap. So sorry, son.
So what can I tell you. He drools a lot. We were wondering where on earth the next tooth was, when it suddenly popped up beside his other two on the bottom front. He’s got a third tooth! And he loves gnawing on anything – fingers, bibs, telephone cords if he gets a chance, wool rugs, table legs… ANYTHING.
For the longest time, Atticus had been perfectly content to lie on his playmat and contemplate the ceiling. Attitude adopted for the previous 7 months had strongly been along the lines of, “I could roll over I suppose… but I really can’t be bothered.” Couldn’t even sit on his tushy without keeling over and face-planting from lack of effort. If he did roll over to his front, his modus operandi had been to sob pitifully into the carpet until his sister hollered at me to do something.
In the last two weeks, however, he’s suddenly decided that life outside the playmat is pretty grand. He’s finally getting mobile! Leave the room, and I might return to find him under the coffee table. Or commando-squirming towards my ankles while I’m preparing dinner. All with the sheer delight and gungho of a baby with oodles of determination and muscles, generously padded by adorable baby fat.
Most of all, he’s got a great temperament and just loves to laugh. He is the quintessential Happy Bubba, determined to spread the love. Time and time again, I’ve watched him stare up into the faces of perfect strangers from his pram, just willing them to glance at him. And as soon as they do, he flashes his biggest and brightest goofy grin. And about 8 out of 10 times, said stranger turns into putty.
He tries the same things in the middle of the night but at 2.30am and completely sleep addled, I remain rather impervious to his charms. It helps to sit with him in the dark and not make eye contact.
But the one person who consistently cracks him up at least once a day is none other than his sister. He coos and chuckles at his daddy and me but when his sister enters the room, he turns into a fan boy.
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