Saturday, October 18, 2008

Goodbye for the first time

Sonny's a pretty alert young chap these days. His eyes flit from person to person, drinking in our speech, actions and conduct. At the moment, as he's only on the cusp of turning six months old, he hasn't started to consciously imitate us yet. But the day is coming. The only question is just what gesture or odd behavioural quirk he will first adopt and repeat ad nauseum. Here are some of the contenders:

1) 'Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye': Over at the little fella's infant care centre, a 'farewell' virus has been sweeping the (admittedly very small) kiddy population. The slightly older children have all mastered the skill of floppily waving goodbye to all and sundry, sometimes upon first laying eyes on a visitor. It figures that, just like with a flu bug, the whole lot of them will pick up a specific social building block at the same time. Say goodbye even half-loudly, and there'll be a small forest of little hands responding... sometimes accompanied by blank expressions that make it seem as though the limbs are moving through a hidden clockwork mechanism. We're guessing the likelihood of Sonny catching the farewell virus is pretty high, unless it recedes pronto.

2) Kissy-kissy kiddo: Very young children, we've noticed down the years, are always being told to 'kiss' a visitor by way of greeting (or prior to departure). We've not actually been steering Sonny down that route. But since there must be be some hidden kiss-reflex with babies that explains why every other parent ends up doing the 'Kiss [fill in the blank with relevant person]' routine, there's no reason to believe Sonny will be able to resist. It appears a harmless enough gesture anyway: We're not likely to let him get too close to people who haven't been showering for days and would therefore be a health risk.

3) The clap trap: Then there is the not insignificant number of our relatives who've decided that Sonny really ought to learn how to clap his hands. Presumably, this is because there's something irresistible about producing sound on demand, so that clapping is fun to learn and easy to master. Which is a classic case of folks having their fun and then exiting the scene, leaving us to face the horrific consequences: A great spike in noise pollution as the little rascal roams the place clipping and clapping incessantly.

4) Pick-up line: 'Pick this up, Sonny'. For our money, this could be the easiest order for Sonny to obey, given that his fingers are already grabbing at any item that comes into range. Every baby goes through a phase when he is basically a circus pony, and must perform dirt-simple tasks on demand for the amusement of visitors (Correct audience response: "He's so clever"). Given that, we might as well have in our repertoire some undemanding tricks - and, really, the little fella would probably have his hands greedily swishing even without instructions.

5) No go, guzzler: It is Pa's fondest wish that Sonny first learn what is essentially a 'negative' gesture: To spit out whatever is in his mouth upon demand. Part of this is linked to his endless quest to keep Sonny from sucking his thumb, but Pa also points out that we must be able to instantly prevent a baby from swallowing pins, needles and other dangerous but small items. We've already launched enforcement sweeps to spot possible threats, but you can never be too careful. Just like an attack dog must be trained to drop whatever may be between its fangs at a sharply-barked word, so Sonny - explains Pa with just a little too much glee - must spit out any foreign object without hesitation.


Anonymous said...

What? NO "Gong Xi Gong Xi"???

Hahah..that would win many many angpows for you! Oo err..I meant, your kid.

Are you guys be chinese? HAHAHA..funny, I made an assumption you were.

Cloudsters said...

Good guess. As for cash-filled ang pows, Sonny will probably get his share next Chinese New Year, which we will grab... I mean, save up and hoard on his behalf.