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This is my entry this week for the Exhibit A competition of therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week's topic is "Introduction."

Alyce and her son in June 2012
Me and my son in June 2012

Meet my toddler, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, for his remarkable "Kung Fu action grip" at birth and because, after his first bath, he came to me bundled in a panda blanket. Now, at 2 1/2, he continually surprises me with new accomplishments. The other day, when a pan grew too hot and started smoking, he dashed in, wearing his firefighter hat , and said, "Hi! I'm a fireman!" While his combination of interests, talents and physical characteristics is uniquely KFP, on a daily basis, much of what he is and does reminds me of my husband and myself.

Like his daddy, The Gryphon (nicknamed after the kindly storyteller in "Alice in Wonderland"), KFP has deep, brown, long-lashed eyes full of warmth and emotion. I claim his button nose and oval face, as well as his wide hobbit feet. He has his dad's tendency towards a strong upper body, and his honey-blonde curls blend our hair texture and color.

Our panda has a penchant for books, and reading to him only whets his appetite for more. There's a stash of children's books in every room, because he loves "reading" them to himself. He revels in words, and tries to spell with his magnetic letters, getting at least half the letters right. Shortly before Christmas, he surprised us by singing the Alphabet song, more or less perfectly.

His voracious reading, fed by frequent visits to the public library, reminds me of a story my parents relate. When I was KFP's age, I used to wake them each Saturday, carrying a stack of books and demanding, "Read to me."

Like his father, the Gryphon, KFP is a budding gamer. He's gotten so good at the jigsaw puzzles we gave him for Christmas that he put all four of them together without help, even when the pieces got mixed up.

In addition to honing his puzzle skills, KFP has been building increasingly more complex towers from the Duplo blocks he began "practicing" with at age 1 1/2. His most recent tower, he bragged, was "the tallest tower in the world… with flags!"

This, plus his unfailing interest in robots and dinosaurs, and his attempts to build a rocket-ship from Duplo blocks, indicate he's well on his way to becoming a science geek, just like his father and grandparents.

His love of music has become legendary, as I tell anyone who will listen how he kicked to the beat before he was born. Like me, his taste is eclectic, with his prenatal preferences leaning towards Stereolab, the blues, and the Beatles.

Yesterday, while helping me put new CDs in a case for the car, he chose Bach, the Beatles, a compilation album of space lounge music, and a live album by Jimi Hendrix (although I suspect he chose the Hendrix album for the flaming guitar).

I grew up listening to classical music alongside show-tunes, folk and rock. In college I discovered the blues, as well as jazz, reggae, and alternative rock. Music makes me happy, and when I have a difficult or unpleasant task, music makes the work easier.

My son sings along to any song he hears, becoming adept at memorization. He dances, and frequently plays along with his small collection of instruments: drums, shakers, a bell, harmonica and an ocarina. As a former first-chair clarinetist and longtime pianist, I look forward to the days when he, too, will learn to play an instrument.

I believe his exuberant activity comes from me, if only because of my parents' stories of how I climbed everything and babbled nonstop. I even spoke in my sleep. KFP is following suit: I've heard him exclaim while fast asleep, "My fire engine!"

The talkativeness, along with his independent streak, create challenges. Similarly, his impish sense of humor can sometimes test me. This morning, KFP asked me to pretend to be a dog, and when I barked, he said, "No, no, no, no, no, bad doggie" with a wicked grin. He did this until I licked him, and then he giggled.

I've been known to tweak the ones I love, stemming back to my childhood, inspiring this poem:

Why I Called You Stinky

I, the jealous, short-haired tomboy.
You were a flitting faerie princess.

Dancing in family photos,
you were afraid of ants.
Always inventing songs,
a delicate pixie, your punches
tickled. Sometimes,
really, you smelled like
fresh grass and daffodils.

Having reached the magic age of 42, which as any Douglas Adams fan can tell you is the answer to the Ultimate Question of the Secret of Life, the Universe and Everything, it may seem odd that I'm introducing myself by describing my child. But of all the things I've ever done, he is the most amazing. Watching him develop and grow makes me believe he will be the most lasting and remarkable achievement of my life.

There's only one thing more to say, and I'll let my son tell you. One night while taking care of KFP, my husband mentioned me. With a cheerful voice that might have even sounded a little proud, KFP declared, "Mommy writes."


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
This was a lovely introduction, Alyce!

A lot of you shines through in noticing which elements of KFP to highlight, and your love for your family comes though very clearly as well!

Good luck in the competition,

Katie :)
Jan. 21st, 2013 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! As always, it was written between diaper changes.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
Such a lovely entry! Idol would not be the same without such wonderfulness as your writing! hugs!
Jan. 22nd, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! *hugs* coming back your way!
Jan. 22nd, 2013 02:17 am (UTC)
KFP is awesome. Especially for knowing that Mommy writes! :)
Jan. 22nd, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
Yes, I know! I was blown away when I heard about that. But then again, this was back in November, when I was actively working on a book for him, and I told him about what I was doing and read some of it out loud to him. Really ought to get back to that project!
Jan. 22nd, 2013 02:24 am (UTC)
"Mommy writes."

She does indeed! :) A very nice way of handling the intro assignment.

Jan. 22nd, 2013 02:34 am (UTC)
Thank you! I wanted to do something creative that was nonetheless about the aspects of my life that are most important to me right now.
Jan. 22nd, 2013 09:28 am (UTC)
There's a stash of children's books in every room, because he loves "reading" them to himself.
nice! you gotta love that in a kid :-)
Jan. 22nd, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
A proud mommy indeed and rightly so! Your photo is gorgreous. Welcome back to the fun!
Jan. 22nd, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
Being a parent really does transform how you see yourself, I'm discovering. And in my case, watching my little one also inspires me--to be bolder, to live in the moment, to be open to new experiences, to say hello to strangers...
Jan. 23rd, 2013 02:23 am (UTC)
Awwwwww. :)
Jan. 23rd, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Awww. KFP is indeed adorable. And next time I meet him, I shall have to bring my kids. I think Leo would love to play with him. Sounds like they have some things in common!
Jan. 23rd, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Aw--this was awesome and sweet! He's beautiful and so are you!
Jan. 23rd, 2013 03:59 am (UTC)
So nice to learn more about your little guy! And the reason for his name, too. :)

Space lounge music! I'm almost afraid to ask-- more "space" or more "lounge"?

Your story of little you reminds me of my son at age 1, who used to trail after me saying, "Read some more book? Read some more book?" By contrast, I could not read an entire picture book, verbatim, to his sister until she was 2 1/2. Once she'd absorbed the pictures, it was time to move on!

Glad you're back for another round. :)
Jan. 23rd, 2013 05:10 am (UTC)
Awesome stuff. I wish I had a KFP to inspire me! :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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