annie's song

On the first day of October, after D woke up from his afternoon nap, he was resting on my shoulder and I was singing to him. I remembered Annie's Song from a very long time ago and started to sing that. I was well into the song when I heard a sniffle and felt a little smudge of wetness on my upper arm. I stopped singing and asked D what happened, and he pulled back and looked at me, tears welling from his eyes and dropping off his chin. I started to talk to him but he wanted me to keep singing (the usual bum-jiggle that he resorts to when he wants a song). I moved on to another song. No. Annie's Song was what he wanted more of. And he cried loudly, and I sang, and he cried some more, and I paused but he insisted I sing some more, and we kept up this duet of tears and tune until he was satisfied. He still loves the song but it no longer makes him cry.

A long time ago, he had a similar emotional reaction - twice, actually - to my rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He must have been six months or so; we were still in Australia back then, that is how I am able to timestamp this. This is another song he loves but no longer cries to.

One song that we've been playing often these past few days is Attention by Charlie Puth. And there's a part in it towards the end in which he says, "Hey". That's how D identifies the song. I'd be singing or humming some random fragment of the song, and in less than a couple of seconds, he'd look at me and say, "Aai", his version of "Hey".

There is so much I want to share about this little bundle of magic!
He helped assemble his little chair and table by inserting the screws in the slots.
After every meal, he puts away his plate in the dishwasher. He helps me unload clean dishes from the dishwasher.
He knows how to load the washing machine, and pulls the detergent drawer open for me to fill it up, and then closes it too.
He stirs veggies in the frying pan. He helps beat eggs and helps stir the dosa batter.
For a long time now, he has been eating by himself.
He kicks ball.
He easily navigates the big kids' slides, 'whee'ing down both on his bum and on his tummy.
He loves picture books and wants to know the words for everything. He knows the cow says "Mmm" and the sheep says "Baa Baa" and the duck says "Gaa Gaa".
He thinks every word has a song associated with it and asks for the dog song, the sheep song, the duck song, the monkey song. He asked me for a butterfly song once; I didn't know any. I have to either learn one or compose one for him.
And that xylophone that he has been practising everyday? He now knows exactly how to strike each note gently or hard and how to make it all sound melodious.

He is friendly; he looks at people and smiles at them in greeting but does not encourage being touched by anyone other than KrA and I.
He reaches out to pat little babies on the head. He is learning that not all kids want to be touched and that he has to respect those boundaries, just as how he has his own.

He makes mischief, knowing he is being mischievous, which makes it all the more endearing. At the playground, he'd ask me to play music on a little mini-synth built into a small area under the slide, and in the split second that I am lost in the notes, he'd have quietly shoved some dirt into his mouth. Once, at home, he asked me to go check out the sound of a reversing horn from a vehicle, and in those few moments he had licked a piece of chalk, so when I turned back to him I found him grinning at me all yellow-toothed.

KrA and I are incredibly lucky to have the privilege of watching him grow up. We have taught him nothing. We are the ones who did all the learning. Learning how much intelligence nature has bestowed on all its creatures. Learning to just let him be and watch him blossom. Alongside putting in the effort to clean up the messes left in the wake of his experiments.