Raising Thayu has proved to be different from my parenting experience with either TJ or Toriah. Perhaps part of it is because, like any other child, he is unique and so exhibits different capacities and behavior from the others, or perhaps it is because I am older, wiser and more calm than I was back then; I am not sure. What I know is that this journey is definitely different.
For instance, he is much more expressive than his brothers ever were; he even began to talk earlier. Most of it is because he has older siblings who engage him but all the same I was surprised by the range of vocabulary and the clarity of speech he possessed by the time he was two.
Like Toriah he showed a love for music early but unlike Toriah who loves musical instruments, more so drums, Thayu loves to sing. At first he mimicked the songs we sang in our family devotions and then those he watched on Kid’s TV. There is nothing very unique about that, but with Thayu it went a little bit further. Whenever he heard a new song, whether we were the ones singing it or it was on media, he would keep quiet and tint his head towards the music; it was evident he was paying attention. Later you would hear him humming the tune and before long if the song was played or sang at least three or four times, he would begin singing the lyrics. Now I am not talking about simple rhymes, he would do that even for complex worship songs. Finally, God was giving me a song mate.
Beyond expressing himself musically, Thayu is very clear about what he wants and does not want and does not shy from expressing it. I have NEVER had to deal with the tantrums that he has been trying to throw my way. He will throw his head backwards, scream and roll on the floor if he doesn’t get what he wants. Shock on him! Neither Tony nor I fall for his drama.
Unfortunately, though we ignore him when he is on a roll, I realise a reluctance on my part to spank, somehow (perhaps because I am convinced he is the last born) I rationalise that this is the last time I am ever going to deal with it and that it’s not that big a deal. I am in real danger of doing what myriads of parents have done before me; spoiling the baby.
I have hence made a pact with myself to be more deliberate in dealing with his infractions, my guiding principle is from the Bible and it states, “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them,” Proverbs 13:24. I love him and hence I will discipline him, whether I am tired or not, whether I find the infraction funny or cute.
The one thing I celebrate most about Thayu beyond his independence and brilliance is his affection. Having been much awaited, Thayu was lavished with attention particularly by his older siblings. I remember Tony’s cousin commenting once, when she came to visit him, “This baby is the most kissed baby I know.” I figure that set the pace for him, he loves to kiss and cuddle.
That is all fine and good but sometimes it can be awkward; for instance when he tries to kiss the girls in his Sunday school class or when he tries to kiss Toby and Zain (our two dogs).
He also loves babies and will sing to them and console them when they cry. I keep praying that in an era of self-centredness and machismo, he will not lose that ability to show care.
I was scared of being an older mom, unsure whether I had it in me to do this all over again after 10 years. Thayu has taught me this one truth that no matter the age, circumstance or energy level, all the motivation a parent needs to raise their child is love; and that I have plenty of!