Monday, January 5, 2009

Sonny marches to own tune - and eternal rhythm

So it's back to normalcy again, after the controlled madness of the year-end holiday season. Just take this blog: We've posted far less regularly than in previous months as we balanced see-sawing schedule disruptions at work and at home.

But one thing hasn't altered: The steady rhythm of Sonny's acquisition of new skills and blooming interests. He can't walk yet, but with the steadying help of a few friendly surfaces, he's already taking his first dodgy steps - albeit swaying like a drunk and with many a yip of concentration. His first tooth is all the way out (and sinking into Mum's soft flesh all too regularly), with reinforcements clearly champing at the bit. And he's begun directly mimicking our actions - a frightening reminder that we must soon be very careful with our gestures and words.

In short, then, the little fella - now just about a fortnight short of completing nine full months with us - is impelled by his own programme and schedule, one that does not give a hoot about our job timetables, vacation chaos or ever-so-important career milestones. It's a catch-it-or-miss-it situation: "Sonny's Growing-up" is a 24-hour reality show that does not repeat, ever: Snatches caught on videocam or on photographs don't count, though we've been very tardy even in that department.

You might think, then, that such reflections - coupled with the hoary traditions of each New Year - would lead us to rather mawkishly resolve to attend more closely to the little fella's adventure. After all, he already spends much of every weekday in the embrace of professionals at his infant care centre, leaving Mum to spend the evenings with him and Pa to re-engage late at night or over the weekends. But a little humility is always a useful corrective. Sonny isn't growing up for our benefit: He isn't a show for us to enjoy, so that we must be sure not to miss the next exciting instalment. He's been launched on a voyage powered by Nature's millenia-old rhythms - and we're only along for the ride: We may be able to decisively influence its course, but we are not its be-all and end-all.

Really, then, the point isn't that we should be there to enjoy the myriad parenting highlights. It is that we should be doing what we can to ensure the highlights hit the true heights; that we should be executing our responsibilities so that he learns the right lessons during these early years.

Happy New Year.