If you haven’t read this letter of apology to her second son, go read it! It’s hilarious but oh-so-true. It definitely hits the nail on the head for me – the sentiment, not exactly having the first child pee all over the second.
Baby Z is almost 10 months old and I really wonder what have I been doing the last 10 months that they just flew by and I don’t know or remember what I did with him. Quite a lot of guilt comes up in times like this, because I knew with my firstborn K, I was constantly reading, finding out her developmental milestones, trying to help her develop cognitively, emotionally, physically with age-appropriate activities. I was always talking to her, pointing out stuff to her, naming objects. But I have to be honest and say that with Z, I was just happy to go through the mundane routines, happily lost in my own thoughts. It was a bonus that he did not demand for me to engage with him in pretend-play and force me to be an ice-cream auntie or make me buy ice lemon tea at $5. And then forcing the exorbitant bath water down my throat. Z is just happy to get a bath. He’s just happy splashing away, exploring his chubby little hands, running them through the bubbles.
While many things with K were celebrated like epic milestones and memorials, e.g. crawling backwards for the longest time and then finally taking a tentative shuffle forward, many things with Z were so fast that they seemed to be non-events. He flipped and started rolling (off the bed) in no time. Once upon a time, I would have freaked out that he rolled off the bed. Now, he tumbles off, gives a cry and then gets right back into the action – and I don’t even bat an eyelid. Terrible, I know. Hey, at least I’m honest. Z crawled backwards for 2 days and learned how to go forward at 7 months. At 8 months, he suddenly decided to stand and grab anything to lean his weight on (not so wise) but he now learns which furniture will bear his weight. And now, he’s trying to cruise and lifts off 1 leg as he balances with the other (with his hands supporting). They all happened so fast that at every stage, I didn’t even have time to let it sink in and marvel and grab my camera (iPhone with the lousy battery) and when I do remember to take some photos, my phone will be out of batt at those inopportune moments.
My memories of Z sometimes seem to stay stuck in the first 3 months period – when he was a more unresponsive, cry-ey, whiney baby just demanding to be fed. I often found myself thinking, “Z, please go and sleep so that I can ________ (do various random things).” It’s not that I didn’t like spending time with him or playing with the baby, but there’s only so many times of peek-a-boo and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star before your brain turns to mush… and then you yawn… That’s the signal you’ve fulfilled your peek-a-boo quota for the day. Just 2 days ago, I played some game with Z where I hid the rubber ducky under a cup and he had to find it (there was another empty cup). And even after shuffling the cups, he could still find the rubber ducky pretty well! I realised… wow! He is starting to develop his personality and mind now and is no longer just stimulated by food anymore!! Wonders of all wonders. He won’t stop eating and will harass anyone and everyone who has food. He has perfected his large, twinkly-eyed look and lip-smacking that you can’t resist not giving him what you’re eating.
Z loves his sister K and adores her, though she is frequently trampling on him, sitting on his arm and shouting at him to “go away”, not in the malicious sense, but he tends to want to get so close on the action that it might be dangerous for him, e,g. putting his hands on the hinges of the play pen gate. He knows deep, deep, deep, deep, subterannean down, beneath the rough play and loud shouts, she loves him and he does too, often grinning and showering her with his undivided attention, mostly meant for me, but I’m happy to share the load – his generous, overwhelming affection. He’s pretty clingy still and if I step out of his 0.5m radius, he starts bawling and clinging to my legs, demanding to be carried. So you can see his love is pretty overwhelming at times. But he’s a natural charmer with his crazy, gigantic eyes and dimpled smile – that’s probably the survival instincts of a second child.
So Baby Z, I once wondered if I can and how to love you as much as Jie Jie. But now I know. It just happens and it’s like with another child, your heart just enlarges and God puts in more love that isn’t shared and halved, but doubled many times over. You are my first son and I’m going to pour everything I have to train and teach you to be man after God’s own heart. Part of that includes doing housework and cooking – so your future wife won’t look at me with contempt, like what have you been teaching him these past years. It’s gonna happen, albeit at weird times, like your sis being in school and knocked out at her afternoon nap, but it will happen and you will also get my undivided attention. Love you lots Z! Grow up happy, strong and healthy!