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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz...

When I dance with William to silly childrens songs we whip around in circles on the floor. He throws himself back in my arms, trusting that I will catch him and laughs with sheer delight or if we just sway slowly to the music he stares intently at me and smiles, his nose all wrinkled up and his lips pursed in a funny little way as if he just never imagined that this much fun was possible and wants to make sure I feel the same. I always laugh too of course, I can't help it.

At The Good Shepard Convent in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where William and his biological mother lived from sometime before she gave birth until the day she handed William to us in the courtroom, the nuns told us that every Friday evening they played music for the women there and the new mothers would clasp their new babies in their arms and dance the evening away.

I think about that a lot for some reason. Strains of Sinhalese music filling the warm evening air, a roomful of women in colorful skirts carefully holding their little ones to their chests as they dance, probably some laughter and chatter shot through with the heavy weight of grief for the mothers who know they won't have many more chances to dance with their babies like this.

They have three or four months of Friday evenings...

Some pictures of the peaceful, beautiful gardens of The Good Shepard Convent where we spent a good deal of our allotted daily two hours walking with William:

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Mystery

You've got it all wrong.
It has nothing to do with me my dear.
I'm not speaking of some great, soul-searching mystery like:
Who am I? or Why am I here?

Rather, it has to do with you.
Why, why, why
By a river on a cold early evening,
In autumn-heavy, dull-dark air,
At that exact moment at that exact hour of that specific day...
Why were you exactly there?

I know it is a mystery but still I think the question fair.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Baby Raised By Wolves (Portrait of a Thirteen Month Old Boy)

Or bears for that matter.

I admit there are days that I think William acts like a boy raised by a pack of wolves. Yes, his manners are sometimes just that bad: loud belches and other noises best left to the imagination at the table or spitting on the priest when being blessed at communion time in church. He is by far the loudest child I have ever encountered. That being said, these things are all done with great enthusiasm, wild laughter and a spirit of silly fun. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse though. He certainly delights in his mischievous behavior and seems quite oblivious to the excellent manners that I, being a good Canadian, am eager for him to learn.

He has mastered the fine art of guttural growling for a few months now but more recently has begun to growl in response to the word "no". He understands no but something in him rebels against our daring to say such a thing to him. For a while every time we said no in a firm voice, his eyes would narrow and he would turn what he imagined an intimidating glare upon us and a deep, churning growl would come from his throat. Then he would settle back satisfied he had made his point. But we bravely persevered. Now when we say no, he seems more resigned but still gives a quick sullen low growl and more often then not, stops his offending behavior. Hey, we'll take whatever small victories we can get around here. ;)

What else? Ah yes, he has added another excellent piece to his conversational repertoire. At the table over breakfast one morning in a state of high excitement over the taste of jam on bread, he slammed his fists down on the table, eyes blazing fearfully and shouted out what sounded like "Mother Calcutta". I can imagine that by using that along with "hyena", "mama", and "dada", he will be able to create a marvelous sentence. Maybe he'll be a creative writer or a charismatic speaker or the dictator of a small country when he grows up. We can only dream...

I should add though that even in the midst of the craziness his waking hours entail, there are quiet moments of absolute sweetness as well. Soft baby boy sweetness, with his small head resting against my shoulder as he wakes up slowly from sleep or watches his mentor, Mowgli from the Jungle Book, on TV. Sweet little songs he sings while playing or sitting in his stroller. His beautiful, crooked little smile and the way his face lights up when he sees Per or me. Chubby little arms around my neck. So you see it isn't all wildness although some days it feels like it.

And this William, is a silly, tongue-in-cheek, imperfect attempt at describing your energy, playfulness, stubbornness, and sweetness. This is you at 13 (and a half) months old.