What do you do with a baby like Alex

Alex has learned to call me ‘mama’. For the past month or so, my husband and I have been teaching him that I’m mama, my husband is papa and Alex is baby. A few days ago he suddenly said ‘mama’ when I was near. I wasn’t sure if that was what he said since he has been babbling for some time. It was only when he turned to me and called out “mama, mamama…” when he wanted me to cuddle him, that we realize that perhaps he has learned the association. Now many mothers out there would get all excited. But I’m still not very sure if Buddy truly gets it since that only happened a couple of times so far.

Alex looks better now that his eczema problem has improved so much. The teachers at infant care exclaimed that he’s a handsome boy! One even told my husband that he’s the most popular baby. At one time when the eczema on his face was bad, his ranking fell to no. 2, but now he’s back with a vengeance. Other parents go goo goo ga ga over him. As the infant care center is located on the ground floor of a residential apartment, my husband has seen residents looking through the glass window at Alex playing. It’s like he’s an exhibit. My husband always jokes that we have to find a way to monetize Buddy’s popularity.

Recently we were at Ya Kun cafe at Changi City Point. Buddy was standing on my lap and looking around as usual. A little girl, who appears to be 4 or 5 years old, came over to make friends with him. Her family was sitting behind us, and a family member turned around to look at Alex. She offered her hand to high-five with him, which he reciprocated. The little girl did the same, and all of a sudden, she burst into tears and then ran over to her mom. She was babbling something which I couldn’t make out. I thought Buddy hit or scratched her, and got a little worried.

The family member (might be the aunt) and the mom kept consoling the little girl that it was alright. I asked the aunt if she was ok, and she explained that she was tired. The mom then said something about Alex not reciprocating her high-five. At that point, the little girl stopped crying and gave Buddy the evil eyes, and proceeded to shout at him. Both mother and aunt told her to stop it, but the little girl continued to glare angrily at Buddy, who remained blissfully ignorant. Honestly both my husband and I were taken aback by her strong reaction. She’s only a little girl, but acted like someone jilted. My husband remarked, “I really pity her future boyfriend.” Then he turned to Buddy and said, “Alex, when any girl offers you her hand for a high-five, you do the same. Otherwise, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!”

Alex has shown his likes and dislikes since he was a newborn. Till today, he doesn’t enjoy bath nor changing of diapers. He also wouldn’t lie still for us to change his clothes. We have bought a swimming diaper and a float for him, hoping to take him into the children pool for a dip and get him to enjoy the water, but so far we haven’t gotten down to it. But one thing Buddy has shown a love for is toy ball. The infant care teachers told us that he’s the only baby who loves playing with toy balls, particularly those that bounce. I got him one, but it doesn’t bounce. I can’t find those available in the infant care center in any department stores or toy shops. It turns out there are two suppliers of toys to the infant care centers and they don’t sell to the retail stores.

But what I don’t understand is why it is so difficult to find toy balls. Instead I see Lego sets, transformer toys, remote-controlled cars, some complex-looking gadget from Fisher-Price and fancy-looking toy guns etc. My husband told me these are high margin items that toy manufacturers love to sell. Toy balls are low margin stuff that they prefer not to make, but they still do, only in small volume. But a toy ball provides lots of fun for Buddy when my husband and I play with him. He is especially tickled when my husband head-butts the ball at him. He tries to do the same but doesn’t realize he has to move his head, and ends up throwing the ball behind him instead.

The older Alex gets, the more active he becomes. Feeding him solids takes half an hour. He wouldn’t sit still and take the food. We haven’t bought a baby chair for him as we weren’t sure if he would be able to sit long enough in the chair. In restaurants, he has enough distractions to stay in the chair for that length of time. At home, we’ve tried putting him in the stroller or try siting him down on my lap. We must have the baby songs on iPad to keep him entertained. But Buddy takes his time with the solids, and after 15 minutes he would start fidgeting. When I feed him in the play pen, I literally have to follow him around with the spoon and bowl.

My mom said that Alex behaves this way because he has no competition. Unlike him, my nephew (who’s 10 months old) finishes his food in less than 10 minutes and screams whenever his sisters come near the food. Even the pet dog get shooed away for sniffing around him. So for Alex, he knows he has full attention from my husband and me.

We haven’t bought a lot of toys for Alex. He’s still playing with those that he received when he was much younger. The last toy I got him was a toy ball a couple of months back. He doesn’t play with the soft toys, instead he sticks to the panda rattle, the crab rattle, the toy ball, and even enjoys playing with a plastic spoon he received at Jones restaurant. Anyway he has some toys, still in their boxes, which are gifts from family members. Recently my husband’s brother and his wife came for a visit from the US, and gave Buddy the popular scooter bike and two packs of flash cards. They even set up the bike for him but he’s still a little too young to get on it. In fact most of the toys are still rather advanced for him, like the flashcards, which has a pen and eraser, are for 3 years old kids. I guess this means we don’t have to buy new toys for Buddy for the next few years except for a couple of toy balls.

Here’s Alex in a gangsta pose.

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2 thoughts on “What do you do with a baby like Alex

    • At Toys R Us Vivocity? Hmmm… Ok let me go check it out. I’m sure that the neighborhood bookstore has the toy balls. In fact the I got the one for Alex from this baby/children store at Raffles Place, something which I can’t even get at Kiddy Palace.

      Sent from my iPhone

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