Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Case of the Two Sonnys

This is going to sound pretty wild, but we're beginning to suspect that there are actually two Sonnys running about, substituting for each other at critical points of each day.

Here's why this bizarre notion has occurred to us: When our son gets to the infant care centre, his behaviour apparently changes drastically. For instance...

(i) At home, he prefers to crawl from place to place, albeit with a unique high-backed gait. Yet when he gets to the centre, he transforms into an inveterate walker. The staff uniformly report that Sonny toddles upright for minutes at a time, confidently cackling as he shows off to all and sundry.

(ii) As far as we can tell, Sonny has a vocabulary limited to 'Mum-mum' (which refers to both his mother and food of any description), 'flower' (go figure) and a few other snatches. At the centre, however, he somehow accesses a hefty vocabulary and is able to count from one to two, identify various parts of his anatomy and even sit on demand.

(iii) Come mealtime, Sonny apparently prefers to hold his water bottle by himself and slurp away contentedly. At least, the Sonny-at-the-centre does. The 'home edition', on the other hand, insists that one of his parents wait on him and play water-carrier - though he is as likely to disregard H2O altogether and imperiously call for good old mother's milk instead.

You get the general idea. The little fella has two separate personalities, which assert themselves respectively when he is with his parents and the infant care staff. Which leads us to suspect that he has already learned that grand old secret of human existence: Get away with as little work as you can and slosh around in as much luxury as you can insist on. Presumably, the tough professionals at the centre are strict and unbending - insisting that Sonny pull his own weight and recall lessons taught with fidelity. Mum and Pa, however, are considerably more indulgent - so the little monster cuts himself some slack and operates at 'idling' power settings.

This may seem rather amusing now, when he can't get into much more trouble than tossing raisins to the floor or upsetting his water cup. But the stakes obviously rise with time. We must therefore come up with a strategy to run a tighter ship and try and merge the two Sonnys together. A psychiatrist's help is probably unnecessary - we think we know what our crafty 13-month-old is up to - though the little fella's divergent personalities is driving us a little batty.