Our Boy is a Cuddle Monster

02.03.2011 Our Boy is a Cuddle Monster
It’s time for an Alfie update so unless you’re a grandparent or otherwise interested party I’d move on because I’m going to wax lyrical about our boy, again.
He loves cuddling! Sometimes, not always. But he has a lovely way of burrowing his face into your neck and sqeezing you tight with his other arm around you, often patting you comfortingly as well. I guess that’s what we do to him so it makes sense! He likes to hug other children too and the girls in our compound, Maumau (Maia) and Mimmi (Yasmina) are getting used to foisting him off.
Naturally the hugging easily segues into squeezing, pulling and yanking, he’s not THAT cuddly! In my awe at his phenomenal vocabulary (more of which later, oh yes, don’t you worry) I have almost forgotten how fantastically strong and agile he is. Daily swimming helps with that and by another 2 years of having our own pool I’m sure he’ll be as strong as an ox. His latest thing is climbing, over everything; into cupboards, over sofas, up and down on chairs and steps. He loves to feel things under his feet so attempts to walk on everything including mummy and daddy if they stand still for too long. If he can’t walk on it he will sit on it which is hilarious when it’s a 3inch plastic cow, for example. He runs fast now, often on tiptoes (no idea why) and is great at stamping and ‘bouncing’ where he almost jumps but kinda bounces on his knees at a terrific rate instead, roaring ‘babounce’ at the top of his voice. He’ll do this on any surface but seems to think the bed is best, even though it’s rock hard.
Last week he started waving his hands about like an orchestral conductor, something I seem to remember he did as a baby too. I don’t know if it’s too much energy or he’s looking for something to do with his hands (takes after Daddy) or perhaps just another form of expression. He loves to dance but prefers it if mummy’s holding him; this morning we danced the waltz and found some jazz on the radio. He adores ride along toys and especially his LittleTikes bubble car which he resolutely gets in every morning, shutting the door firmly and setting off around the compound, for all the world looking like he’s off to work. He’s also started pulling the most amazing expressions, copying things the girls do for example (Mimmi has a wonderful surprised ‘o’ face when she sees you) and seeming to find out what his face can do – he does love to talk to himself in our full length mirror, bless him.
His vocabulary is now so extensive I can’t keep up and have stopped writing down his new words. Some days he seems to learn one or two new words a day, and is now adept at copying most things you say. I did record, on the 17th January, that he used 35 different words in one day (new word that day; towel). And yes, I didn’t have much to do back then! I’m still astonished by some words, such as the day we went shopping and he started shouting ‘nartoes’ at the top of his voice. This of course is tomatoes which he doesn’t even like and definitely won’t eat. We put them on his plate now and again and he tries a bite valiantly but often ends up looking for all the world like he’s about to throw up. So why he learnt that particular word I’ve no idea! Similarly ‘amuls’ (animals) came out one day when looking at a toy farm; not only did he know the word but firmly related it to cows, neighs, cats, monkeys, lions etc. He did the same with ‘fruit’ – hearing me and Amber talking about shopping and the need to buy fruit one day he joined in with nana, noi-noi (oranges) and apbuu (apple). How did he know that?
It is getting easier to tell Daddy apart from dirty (he loves washing his hands and often demands they be wiped when he’s ‘dutty’) and Daisy and teddy are now more distinct too. Some words only we understand I suppose; ‘kraku’ (crocodile, dragon,) is not to be confused with ‘gaku’ (gecko or lizard) or ‘koku’ (cockerel and cockadoodledoo); neither are ‘goks’ (his Crocs) to be mixed up with ‘kok’ which is of course a clock or watch. Butterfly is ‘badu’ and flowers are ‘wawa’ which is close to ‘wadu’ meaning water which he drinks with relish, often preferring it to ‘jees’ (juice) which sounds like ‘dees’ meaning cheese, his absolutely all time favourite food ever, closely followed by ‘am’ (ham). He is adept at anatomy knowing everything from head, shoulders, knees and toes to ‘boobies’ and ‘nips’ and knows poo from pee, even waking up the other day and shouting ‘poo’ at the top of his voice to tell us he had done one. Which makes a change from yelling ‘mummydaddymuk’ first thing, demanding that we get up and fetch his ‘muk’ (milk). When he was full of cold mummy had to wipe up the ‘bogies’ which elicited such hysterical laugher we went around saying it all week.
He’s now using 2 word sentences too and learning opposites and colours. Big car, baby car, daddy car and beep beep car was the start of it, now we have ‘dutty bin’, ‘mummy dees’ (shoving a piece of sweaty old cheese into my mouth) and ‘bubbles down’ when I blow the bubbles and they float to the floor. ‘Push mummy’ is another favourite, learned by the pool and ‘mummy down’ when he wants me to move off a chair. He learnt up and down remarkably quickly and accurately about a month ago but now seems to be a bit confused, saying ‘down’ when wanting to be picked up for example (in fairness it is a bit tricky, what with climbing up on mummy to sit down on her lap). Although he can say colours such as blue and red I’m not sure he’s connected the meaning yet, but Amber lets him play with the clothes pegs and he diligently puts them in a box and takes them out again as she tells him the colour of peg she wants. He’s also attempting much longer words, such as ‘bopo’ (hippopotamus), ‘airbay’ (aeroplane) and ‘pie-pie’ (papaya) and loves to learn family names from photographs of ‘bapa’ (Papa, Pete’s dad) ‘emmee’ (Auntie Emily, my sister) and yesterday ‘suzu’ for Auntie Susan, Pete’s sister. Although he can say ‘affee’ (Alfie) he refers to himself as ‘baybee’ in the mirror and in photographs.
His favourite songs are ‘ba ba bash’ (Baa Baa Black Sheep) which Amber sings to him and ‘abbeydooyoo’ which all the staff sing to him, presumably because it’s the one song in English everybody knows, though it might confuse him later in life (Happy Birthday of course!). We used to sing him to sleep from birth but suddenly mummy is out of favour and now every time I open my mouth he shakes his head with a determined ‘no no no’ which is a lovely vote of confidence I will berate him with in later life.
In the last few days he has started speaking words which seem to definitely mean something to him but which I can’t decipher, many with 2 syllables or more. Maybe more baby language now he feels he’s getting the adult stuff down. He still yakkadaks determinedly at people, often new children, tilting his head to one side and saying with all seriousness to them ‘yakkadak’, or’ daggadak’ then looking at me for confirmation – of what I have no idea.
He is still mad on books (‘buk’) and he has a shelf to himself in the living room where he loves to sit on a little stool and read either by himself or by dragging the nearest adult along so he can sit on their lap. I feel I should make a list of the favourites but the truth is he loves them all and is very firm in his choices; some days it’s ‘dow dow’s (dinosaurs, or dolphins, weirdly!) or baybees and of course amuls are winners. He does love to join in too, finishing sentences and pointing out ‘ats’ (hats) and such in the pictures. Dr Seuss is a popular choice as he helps with the rhymes (his words in bold):

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish
Black fish, blue fish, old fish, baby fish! (should be new fish but there is a picture of a baby in a pram so fair enough)
This one has a little star
This one has a little car
Say what a lot of fish there are
Yes some are sad…glad..bad…why are they sad and glad and bad?
I do not know go ask your daddy
Some are thin and some are fat, the fat one has a yellow hat
And so on …

His weight is almost 14kgs and length 80cms. He wears age 2 clothes and his head is so massive we have to get age 3+ sunhats, which mummy promptly loses in taxis…. He adores washing his hands (so far) particularly now we have a step in the downstairs loo and would stand there all day playing with the soap and water if he could. His sweeping mania hasn’t abated and he loves to help Amber with the chores, particularly changing the bed when he’ll jump all over it and lie down pretending to do ‘nanight’s. He’ll often shower with mummy or daddy after a swim but still loves his evening bath, mostly because of the incredibly cheap jar of foam letters I bought from Asda before we left. He plays with them endlessly and the jar and lid themselves are sources of great amusement as he fills them up and tips them over himself. Lotions and potions are a minefield now as he’s apt to pour everything possible on the floor and play with it, though he willingly wipes it up on occasion too.
All in all he is tackling life with his usual sunny demeanour and happy outlook, saving particularly beaming smiles for his nearest and dearest, including our neighbours, their children and all the staff in the compound and shouting with excitement when Daddy comes home from work or Mummy is back from meetings. Just this last couple of days two people have commented, on separate occasions, that he looks the epitome of rude health and I have to agree; he’s not only tall and blue eyed with cherubically round cheeks and legs, blonde hair curling in his neck, he makes eye contact and smiles easily, has no fear of new situations or people, chats freely to all nearby and is physically agile and seemingly fearless in and around the pool. He is also, as Pete proudly pointed out, not afraid to make his feelings or desires known by all means necessary, never letting up in communicating his wants with the wider world. Albeit by some hefty shrieking and roaring now and then! Seeing him happily absorbed with his toys, hearing him belly-laughing at random things and feeling that strong arm around your neck as you take him upstairs for bed are what we live for; he really is a cuddle-monster our boy. I call him Angel Pie.

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