He wasn't planned, though came to be very much wanted. He slept through the first two weeks of his life, then woke up, and wouldn't sleep through the night again till he was 3. As his hair grew, it turned blonde and curly, setting off his piercing blue eyes perfectly.
He was a happy baby for the most part. But he let you know when he wasn't. Usually it was because he was hungry or tired. His big sister would "read" to him and "feed" him by shoving a spoon down his throat. She took on a lot of the responsibility for looking after him, as long as it suited her. He would look admiringly at her from his bouncy chair. His little face would light up when he saw her.
As a toddler, he and we discovered his sense of humour. His laugh was loud and deep, an indicator of his profound amusement. He would roll his eyes back into his head, then roll them back again and laugh long and hard at our reactions. He adored his mother too, buying her plastic flowers to plant in her garden, pulling broccoli out to help with the weeding.
He started to founder a bit when he started school. Blame it on his gender and the month of his birth. His very clever older sister was only one year ahead of him in school. Where she excelled, he struggled. He began to resent her a bit, and tears of frustration became common as he tried to learn to read. He became more introverted, only showing that brilliant sense of humour at home. His mother became frustrated too, as she tried all the tricks that had worked on his sister, and often homework sessions ended in tears for all.
But underneath the sharp wit lurked a latent intelligence. His mother knew this and still pushed and tried and got him into a grammar school. Quietly, though, she wondered if she'd done the right thing by him. A few weeks into his first term at school, she knew she had. For he had become the most popular boy in his form, his year, on the bus. He still struggled with his studies though. And his mother reverted to some old tricks -- bribery and threats. Threats worked better.
He started to confide in his older sister. The bond that had always existed grew stronger. Every day after school, he waited for his sister to tell her all about his day. He showed her his school report first. He told her his hopes and dreams, his fears. She dried his less frequent tears. And his mother stood by and watched, hoping that he would come back to her, would be once again that boy who once bought her plastic flowers for her garden. And she shed tears of mourning for the boy she lost to his sister.