Li Ting and Alan's new baby is the CUTEST thing that I have EVER had the pleasure to make the acquaintance of. He's a little baby just heavy enough to have a pleasing baby-ish weight when you lift him under his arms and bounce him around on your knee and he just SMILES and SMILES with this gummy, guileless grin regardless of whether you know what the heck you're doing or not.
After dinner and when we were just hanging out at the sofas outside the Tung Lok restaurant, Shu Shu passed him over to me and asked me to entertain him (ALONE!!!!) while he made a run for the toilet.
I was stunned!! and bewildered!! but terribly terribly pleased at the task and so I picked him up around his fat round chest and under his plump little arms and he GRINNED AT ME and I was an absolute GONER.
I mean I had NO IDEA what I was doing but his little trusting soul was perfectly at ease in the hands of this clumsy not-so-pretty aunty with the big red asymmetrical face (for my left cheek was still obviously swollen from a horrible dual wisdom tooth extraction) and the stupid smile which was basically body language for I-don't-know-what-the-hell-I'm-doing.
So I lift him up gingerly and place his legs horizontally across my lap, with my hands still firmly fastened under his arms and getting warmer and moister by the second (sweaty palms!! the nerves!!) and he turns his head to beam at daddy on my right and a 180 degrees back to peer at my brother on my left.
I say to his daddy, "I have no idea what to do with him," and daddy replies congenially and in a relaxed tone that is infinitely comforting to me, "Oh, do whatever you want, and if he cries, just pass him back." (of course, definitely not his exact words, and very far from the actual content, I'm sure, but that's what I made of it)
My brother laughs and says we have the best job of it, we get to see baby at his best.
Yes! I completely was! I picked up baby and turned him around again, letting him straddle my thigh, and wobble him gently from side to side, just for lack of anything entertaining to do, and make small talk of inferior quality, e.g. "Hello, please don't cry at me, I really won't know what to do, just smile, ok, smile like that, yay cute baby, look left look right I don't know what you're doing ohhhh there's grandpa go back to grandpa ok"
But I managed to spend quite some time with him and I am SO happy for that.
He had small, bright, black eyes and a curious wide, pillowy head that's completely flat at the back, to the despair of Shen Shen, who regaled all with stories of his perfectly-shaped head at the time of his birth, then what did he do but SLEEP and SLEEP all day and see what he did!!! Made his head FLAT because of his love of sleep! Aiyoh!! A shake of the head and a heavy, heavy sigh.
Charlotte too was adorable - and especially so because of the stories her adoring mother told of how loving and protective she was of her little brother. Never, her mother said, ever let her catch you joking that you want to take little brother home with you - for you will immediately become her enemy! She will watch you like a hawk the rest of the evening, and make sure Mummy remembers to take him back from you at the end of the night! What a sweetie.
She was showing Jiu Jiu, perched with both chubby, entighted legs sticking out from the side of his chair, how she played her beloved penguin game on Mummy's iPhone, and would chuckle loudly whenever the penguin skidded off its icy path, to tumble into the waters, or collided with a huge wooden pillar. After noticing that I was watching them from the side for a very long while (somehow, the monotonous adventures of a speeding penguin became quite interesting when the captain steering the phone was a little toddler), she generously passed the phone over to me and watched me as I steered the penguin into his quickest demise yet. After a few excessively quick deaths (for the game was honestly a tiresome and not-very-interesting one), I told Charlotte (not Shallot, as a misguided Ah Pek and papa like to call her on their first attempts) that she was so much better at the game, and she had better take it back.
Oh yes, Li Ting was also telling us that despite her best efforts at telling Charlotte how she ought to be interested in pretty things, Charlotte persists in claiming that she is a dinosaur (and rejecting suggestions of "princess"), and in saying that girls should like blue, while boys like pink. At the end of the night she was running in circles on the carpeted floor outside the restaurant, and hopping/galloping (my brother asked if she was doing it Gangnam style, but apparently she was imitating a kangaroo).
And that's the end of the baby tales.
Oh I ought to log my first meeting with Hui's baby too - an encounter of an other-worldly nature, which brought to mind hands placed on an ouija board hoping to commune with invisible spirits. But least to say, foetus-baby kicked A LOT for me!! Very enthusiastically and regularly too!!
Hui was in a thin black summer dress that made her look slim and decidedly un-pregnant, and we went upstairs to talk and she reclined back on a beanbag chair and allowed me to place a hand on her belly, where she told me to talk naturally and con baby into thinking it was nighttime and mummy was in bed, which was the time when he/she was usually the most active.
And the con worked like a charm!! There was a pattern of little thumps that seemed like inverse drum beats, muffled but VERY decidedly there, coming from the other side of belly-drum, and it was SO SO exciting. I could really feel a little being in there trying to communicate with me. I really, really can't wait to see the little baby and pick it up and feel his heavy weight and look him or her in his little face and watch him look right into my eyes!!!!!!! Aaaah baby-fever!!!!!! I wish I could fly right over to England when the baby pops out and be one of the first to look at him and love him.
I can't even describe how excited I was to see Hui's huuge belly, it was SO WEIRD to see someone you've known for so long going through something so incredibly life-changing, and to be in a teeny tiny way A PART OF IT, wow that was just so so so incredibly cool. Really like communing with extra-terrestrial life-forms liddat, because I know I won't be seeing her again till baby's a separate entity, and right now I'm getting to know Pre-Baby!!!! When he's out in the world I can pick up his little hand (or leg, as it may be), and know that this was the very same little body that I'd interacted with even before he was out of mummy. HAHAHAHAHA. I CAN'T WAIT seriously. Can't wait till Hui comes back to Singapore with baby!!!!! Shall go look up names of Taiwanese stars now for Chinese name inspiration.
[EDIT 6.45am: Whatsapp from Hui: It's a BOY!!!! am thinking of making them a customised babygro - "copyright Hui and Mark 2012" or something like that)