Buddy is a rather strong-willed child, with a mind of his own; he showed his likes and dislikes at a very young age. Since he was a baby, he has certain quirks which makes it quite challenging to handle him. I’m not sure why but he has never been keen on bath since he was an infant. In fact for a very long time (probably till he was 18 months old), it requires two persons to bathe him, basically my husband and myself, with one of us holding him since he would struggle. We had to brace for a bout of wailing once we mentioned bath time. It was only when I put up stickers on the bath room wall that we managed to get him somewhat willing to go for his bath, and over time, I had to add something interesting, like a water shooter, rubber duckies, and recently monster truck squirters. Still, even now, there are days when he would put up a fight. It baffles my husband and I why Buddy doesn’t seem to enjoy bath time like other babies or toddlers, though we tried to make it fun for him, like singing or talking about the stickers on the wall.
It’s the same for diaper change. It was quite akward for us when we had a wailing Buddy in the changing room , while the other babies happily had their diapers changed without any fuss. It was only when he got older, around 16 months old, that he started to tolerate it and didn’t cry woefully like we were about to sell him off.
Buddy likes to exert his independence. He wants to figure out how to play with a certain toy on his own instead of allowing us to show him. Some time ago, my husband bought a spinning top for him, and tried showing him how to spin it. But Buddy wanted to do it his own way. It was the same with the motorized Thomas Train that I got for him. He didn’t want to allow Thomas to run on the track and instead was interested in holding Thomas stationery on a surface with its wheels running, or just looking at the moving wheels. He also hardly wants us to hold his hand when he is walking or climbing steps, unless the steps are high. It’s like he wants to behave like a big boy. Yet, for a long time especially when he is upset, he wants to be carried by my husband. It was only during the last one month or so that he is willing to sit in the stroller, after rejecting it for several months.
When Buddy was younger, he had a fascination with texture, and would touch the flowers and leaves, fabric of a couch, the uneven surface of the wall and the grainy foot stone to feel them. He doesn’t do this as much now. He also had a love for spinning and turning wheels, and still does. Whenever he sees any wheels or round-shaped objects, he cannot resist giving it a spin. And so the song “Wheels on the bus” is one of his favorites, and I guess this leads to a love for cars, trucks, trains and buses.
We don’t know where he learned to spin objects, but he can spin almost anything with his hands. It started after he learned to walk, and we saw him spinning a ball on the table. It amazed the teachers in daycare at how dextile his hands are. Basically he just loves the rotating motion. I also didn’t realize, until recently, the significance of his ball kicking skill. He was already able to do that at 18 months old. Yes, kick a ball. In fact he is well known in daycare as the baby/toddler with great ball skill. He is now able to run towards the ball and kick it.
After seeing many kids at the playground and at Buddy’s gym class, I noticed that only the older kids like those 5 years old and above are able to run and kick the ball. At Buddy’s age, the other toddlers basically just pick it up and throw it. My husband and I believe this is a special talent Buddy is born with, though we have no idea why he has it since no one in our extended families ever played soccer. We do hope that this gift will be developed to good use in future. Judging at how crappy the soccer scene is in Singapore, I seriously doubt if he can have a soccer career here or even be a professional. The only hope is that he can develop it to a good enough level to get a college scholarship somewhere. (Not that we don’t believe in Buddy, but let’s face it. There are at least half a million European, African and Latin American toddlers with soccer talents. Buddy doesn’t stand a chance against them.)
Buddy does have a little of an obsessive nature, which I understand is common with toddlers. Previously it was car or train. Right now, it’s shapes. It might be my husband who once pointed out to him a hexagon object. He became fascinated with it, probably because it is not the usual triangle or square. He surprised the teacher recently when he called out a hexagonal object. He becomes obsessed with the hexagonal nuts in his tool box. My husband found the Shapes song from Kids TV for him, and he loves the video ever since, and has been singing the songs he picked up. He learned about pentagon, which he discovered in the colored patch of a soccer ball (in fact it interconnects with the hexagonal white patches), and octagon (found in the stop sign).
Buddy has also shown a stubborn streak. When he does something wrong, he refuses to apologize. When we threaten to take away his toys, he doesn’t scream or throw the toys in anger, instead he will just give them to us rather than say sorry. Goes to show what a headstrong boy he is (might have gotten that from me)! The only things he is allowed to have are books and puzzles. (We don’t believe in capital punishment, and might as well use the punishment time productively.) He ends up quietly working on the puzzles and completes them.
I don’t know if this is another characteristic of his obsessive nature, but Buddy has shown remarkable patience and focus when he works on the puzzles. In fact he focuses best when there is no other toys to distract him. So it’s good to remove them on a regular basis.
When I wondered aloud about Buddy’s quirks the other day, my husband pointed out to me that I have plenty to boot myself. I guess, this may be a case of “like mother, like son”.