Thursday, September 13, 2007

Little N: The Quirk Chronicles

When Little N was born, I thought to myself that I should, at all costs, avoid comparing her to her older brother. After all, I thought, I am a mature woman; I know people are different and there's no reason that kids born to the same parents should behave the same way or react the same way to their surroundings.

Well, in the past 15 months that resolution has gone clean out the window. Not a week goes by without my husband or I marveling at how different Little N is from her brother. Other than that my water broke at exactly 3:15 in the morning for both the kids and that both of them walked at thirteen months and a week, the two are as different as they could possibly be. Of course, this makes life interesting and entertaining.

Tharini at Winkie's Way wrote a lovely post about how quirky her little one is and tagged me. So here it is, in writing, what I swore to myself I would never do - the Chronicles of Little N's Quirks:

1. Going down steps: Rather than getting on her knees and slowly backing down step by step, as I've seen most kids do, Little N sits on her butt, usually about a mile away from the step she wants to do down, and starts sliding along the floor towards the steps. When she gets to the first one, she slides herself off and lands on the second one and goes down each step on her butt - boom, boom, boom. We cringe every time we see her doing that wondering if her back hurts from the impact. She doesn't seem to care. Perhaps her diaper is enough to cushion her fall.

2. Food: Food is a big quirky thing. As Tharini said about her younger son, Little N eats everything. She's had sambhar rice and puliyogare, avocados, tomatoes, chicken sausage, eggs, cheese, bell peppers, yogurt, all kinds of fruit. Little N eats way spicier food than her brother eats even now. I have a feeling this is because I had a craving for hot rice and pickle when I was pregnant with Little N but had no cravings when I was pregnant with Calvin.

The most quirky thing she does about food is that she wants everything that I'm making and doesn't want me to give anything to Calvin. She watches to see if he's anywhere near the kitchen and watches to see what I do with the plate. If I call him to come to the table she screams her head off. The birth order must have something to do with is - survival, maybe? - but it's fascinating to watch it work unfailingly every time.

3. Seeking attention: She's not shy about it at all. This is usually with her dad and particularly apparent when he's just back from a trip. She starts out by calling him, "dadaa." If he doesn't respond, she repeats it, endlessly, her tone and impatience rising every time she has to call him, until he says, "What, Little N?" Then she launches into her news bulletin. She says a sentence exactly like she's having a conversation with him, only none of us can understand what she's saying. (Aside: And the intonation and sounds are exactly like a Chinese dialect - with the slight upturn at the end of the sentence and odd groupings of consonants (a lot of n sounds in the back of her throat). We've decided she was Chinese in her previous life or something.)

Whether we understand or not, my husband has to say, "hmmmm" (like in a harikatha session, where the audience does the "hmmmm" thing so the story teller keeps going). Then she launches into another sentence. If he doesn't respond, then it's back to "dadaaa" again until he responds (and she will not accept substitutes. No siree. Only the real McCoy for her). It is totally fun for me and Calvin to watch this as my jet lagged husband struggles to keep up. One afternoon, after a particularly long trip, he went upstairs to sleep off his jet lag, but she wouldn't stop calling him from the bottom of the stairs until he came down and had a conversation with her.

4. Music and dance: She has two sets of moves. She goes up and down with her knees bent, bobs her head up and down (like a chicken strut) or shakes her butt side to side for percussive, beat heavy music. If the music is melodious and has long notes that are held down, then she bends her torso sideways from the waist up, her head almost reaching her waist on either side - and she tries to sing along drawing out the notes like in the music. And she has a serious expression on her face while she's dancing almost like something involuntary is making her do it, but she intends to get her moves right, concentrating on how and how far her body moves. It is thrilling and heartwarming to watch her dance when Calvin plays on the piano. I feel cocooned in something way bigger than I can comprehend.

5. Hugs: Little N is a touchy-feely, cuddly ball of slobbery kisses. If I ask for a hug and she runs off, all I have to do is extend my arms, ask for a hug in a whiny, sad voice and she comes running with her arms outstretched and throws herself on me. Again and again, no matter how many times I play this game. She's always been good at imitating sounds, but over the past few weeks, she's learnt to imitate actions as well. So now she does the pleading action for a hug and it makes me want to cry. One look at her small arms stretched out in front of her, palms upturned asking for a hug and I want to bawl. I don't want her ever to plead for a hug from someone. I know it's a game and she has a naughty smile on her face when she does this, but it still breaks my heart.

6. What I can't do is not worth doing: She's learning the actions for the usual nursery rhymes - Baa baa black sheep, Twinkle, Twinkle. When we get to a line for which she can't get her hands to do the action, she jumps up and down and says, "unnn, unnn, unnn" telling me to get a move on and go on to the next line. She doesn't like, "Have you any wool?" because she can't get her fingers to do the questioning action, and she doesn't like, "Three bags full" for the same reason. She loves the "One bag..." part - she's got the wagging the finger motion down pat. (I was wagging my finger at her one day and asking, "Do you understand?" in a stern voice and she did it right back to me with the correct intonation and finger wag. Sigh.)

There are so many little things. I don't know if all of the above are quirks, but it's definitely something that I've noticed only her doing.

Gosh! It was fun to take stock. Thanks, Tharini.


DesiGirl said...

awww! i want a girl like Little N too!! waah!!
she sounds like an absolute darling, Suj. What a sweepea!

Tharini said...

Firstly, thanks Suj, for taking up this tag. I'm enormously pleased that you did.

I passed this tag on to little N, because I felt I know her sooo little. Calvin, I have heard about from time to time, but I was curious about her. And now, I know. :D

The going down steps thing could actually be a good promo ad for Pampers/Huggies. ;) Was picturing her doing that.

And how cute of her to be calling out to Dadaa like that. Chinese in her previous life. LOL. Someday soon, I'd love to hear her talk!

I can feel it when u say it breaks ur heart over her pleading for a hug. I hve NEVER seen any child do that, and that's sooo sweet.

She sounds like a sassy little lady!

Choxbox said...

that was lovely to read :)

bird's eye view said...

Hi Sujatha,

I always enjoy reading your posts, and this one was really sweet. My daughter, littler a is 15 months old - and I don't know if it has anything to do either with my cravings when I was pregnant with her or survival instinct, but she's a chowhound just like Little N. Whatever anyone is eating or drinking, she has to taste, and wolfs it down without any problem. She's even grabbed and eaten a whole green chilli!

Anonymous said...

hi sujata,

that was so cute!! please give little N a big kiss from me (and Calvin too, though i am guessing he probably runs from kisses at his age.)

i have noticed with friends who have 2 kids that the second one tends to be slightly bolder than the first one. i have attributed that to the mom being more relaxed with the second pregnancy than the first one.....usually, pregnant women tend to be more adventurous and just less scared with the second pregnancy and i feel that rubs off a little on the baby.

of course, this conclusion is based purely on observation, among my limited sample size of friends. it's as credible as the theory about the belly sticking out for a boy vs. spreading out for a girl.:)

Anonymous said...

hey suj,
LOVE your new layout! It ROCKS!!

Anonymous said...

She sounds like a little darling

timepass said...

LOL on point 3.Shows that she misses her dad when he is not around.

Sujatha Bagal said...

DG, don't let the OPC syndrome get to you. You know if you have one just like her, you'll still have to be with her at the end of the day. :)

Tharini, you're welcome. Sassy is spot on! That's exactly what she is.

N, thanks. :)

BEV, thanks for sharing your story. My husband was laughing at the chili episode. :)

Anjali, kisses delivered. Calvin was wondering who Anjali was. :) And I agree with you about the second child idea. We are definitely more relaxed with Little N.

DG, you know, I like this layout too. It's simple and straightforward. No frills.

MG, thanks. :)

TP, yes, she does. It's amazing to see that.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me if eating dosa (made of urad dal) is safe during pregancy?

- PM

Sujatha Bagal said...

Anon, I ate lots of dosas (made with irad dal) while I was pregnant. I hadn't heard that it was not safe during pregnancy. However, if you are concerned, you should check with a nutritionist, just to be on the safe side.

Good luck.

Sujatha Bagal said...

Yikes! That should read "urad"!