Monday, September 6, 2010

Babies Gone Human

The good news is that my boys are becoming little people; with noticeable interests and strengths. The bad news is their vices and failings are beginning also to show. And I don’t know what to do with them.

Dovene is showing strains of nhye. Man, that kid is bossy! He’ll wear his helmet and then insist that his brother should wear his, to the point of forcibly putting it on Vinyo himself. When he wants to watch Horton hears a who- apparently the only piece of cinematography worth any discerning toddler’s time- then Vinyo must watch it too. If he dares to get up midway, Dovene will try to force him back to his seat. Vinyo is no rollover so these Dovene says moments usually get rough. I think it is nice that he always looks out for his little brother. He won’t let you give him a treat without giving his brother one too. Or even put his shoes on him and not put Vinyo’s on too. Not that he should mind his own business. But he really does go overboard. I’m at a loss how to curb it, or even if I should be the one to sort it out.

He is, for want of a better word, let me say, somewhat lazy. I’m teaching them to pack their lego bricks when they are done with them. And without fail, Dovene will pick up a few, walk around with them, act busy, drop one in the box, stop and say ‘maman, airplane’ or something else to distract you and wander. In the end if you don’t redirect him sternly several times, Vinyo will do all the work. Same for when they help me stack things.

This bothers me a lot. My grandmother’s shrill voice will forever echo in my head saying ‘akwadwesem onnye ohia nam! fi ho ke ye w’edwuma, kwadwefo poree!’ I’m permanently damaged. I can’t spot a lazy person but a fight or flight instinct kicks in. He’s only 34 months old. Fight or flight is rather a melodramatic response. For all I know it’s a phase that will pass when he’s 42 months. In the meantime, I’m flailing.

Vinyo is a stubborn child. To say he has a mind of his own is to put it mildly. Once he decides he doesn’t want to do something, you better be prepared for a stare-down. He has this mutinous look that I’m sure will terrify his subordinates one day.

He also has what looks at this point to be an unforgiving streak. When Dovene offends him, I make Dovene apologise, I pat him on the back and give him a hug and say its ok, Dovene said sorry. He’ll lap it all up and the minute no one is looking, he’ll go and give Dovene a good smack. [it usually serves him right]. How is a kid not yet two, going to carry a grudge and seek vengeance. And how do you cure him of it?!

Of course these are all minor things; nothing to have nervous breakdowns about. We often laugh about them in fact. Its only that I miss seeing them as bits of perfection with nary a flaw. As babies, their everything was perfect. If they cried, it was only until their desire was communicated. If they touched something they shouldn’t, it was only out of ignorance and curiosity. Even their feet were kissable.

Now they are just the often-dirty, flat feet that are not allowed in the chairs. Now they have a guilty start that betrays their knowledge that what they were doing was wrong. Now they can cry loudly without shedding a single tear, just to manipulate you. Sometimes after I’ve scolded, forbidden and repeated myself hoarse, I exclaim. ‘Ah wo how adwene papa!!’ The moments of baby perfection are now merely fleeting glimpses. Little angels are become little mortals; like us. Watching their pedestals disintegrate I am more than a little wistful.