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13 Jan 2014

My Trooper

Cute little trooper.

He comes running in from the yard, tiny feet pattering across the stones and sand without a care. His chubby face is pink with the exertion yet the rose-bud mouth is pulled out into a great big grin, two little pearls of teeth making their appearance right in the front – the kind of grin that makes you inadvertently break into a smile of your own at the innocent optimism and quick contentment that life seems to take away as we grow older.

I think we lose a lot when we forget how, as a child, we could go from zero to elation in the time it takes to say ‘toffee’.

Anyway…. he comes running in, voice garbled with words that he does not know yet and eyes shining with excitement – he found a butterfly, his first. He reaches the entrance only to trip on the door step; hardly noticeable to the rest of us but to this two-feet-something ball of sheer joy, I’m sure it seemed like a high jump hurdle. He trips and fall onto the floor, the only teeth he has making contact with a soft little bottom lip – the sight of blood twists my insides into painful knots.


He bursts instantaneously into loud heart-rending cries as I scoop him up and check how deep the cut is. Not that deep, I sigh with relief. Then I go into damage-control mode, I coo soft nothings in his ear while cuddling him close as his wails die down to whimpers and then quiet sniffles.

I hoist him onto my hip as I reach for the jar on top of the fridge and pull out a bright red piece of candy. He looks at it and shakes his head, the sniffles growing a wee bit louder. I put the red one back, pull out a yellow one and hand it out. He closes his pudgy, pink fingers around it and chews one end – by now the sniffles have died down completely. I set him down on his blue kiddie chair and search the cabinet for oral ointment, it takes me a good five minutes to locate the tube of Zytee.

I turn around only to hear receding pitter-patter of feet heading off towards the yard again, accompanied by slurping sounds and the occasional word that he cooks up when he’s talking to himself. He’s off looking for the butterfly again.

Brave little trooper.

If only we learn from them, children. If only.

P.S: Dramatized real incident, my brother has grown up so much since this happened, both literally and figuratively, that I cherish the memory of this phase of his so so much. If it weren't for memories.