Mimi is no longer referred to as Mimi but Laptoo. It’s because she looks like a modak. Small head but burgeoning body with rolls of fat.

She also looks like a boy. This is because we shamelessly dress her in Benji’s hand-me-downs, most of which are perfectly new because he went through summer without being able to fit into them. Yesterday, I clicked a photo of Mimi wearing a yellow vest and red shorts, looking like a member of bhaiya gym.

She is very much a girl though. From four months or so she started “talking”. So she makes endless loud yak yak sounds (apart from regular gurgles, giggling etc.) and one must listen to her. She always loves people talking to her. She also gets very pissed if she thinks you aren’t listening and talking properly. Like SOMEONE else in the house, V says. Hmph.

I will admit to this only here and only once. Mimi is a slightly darker complexioned baby than Benji. This bothers me a wee bit because Benji is fair enough to pass off as not Indian (and elicit annoying questions to my helper about what I ate when I was pregnant to defy the racial skin colour) and thus inevitably they will be compared. And also, it’s just easier to be fair skinned in Hong Kong, particularly if you are Indian. I know Indians are obsessed with fairness also, but the difference between growing up as an Indian kid in India is that there are lots of kids of different hues in India but mostly everyone in Hong Kong is a varying shade of white. It would have been easier to have two kids who are of the same skin colour. But this is basically just a minor thing that I feel the need to own up to (to myself) and do not need any advice on (hint).

Generally, Mimi is a bonny baby. She used to sleep from 8 am to 5 -6 am. Too good to be true. It was. Then she started waking up at 4 am, so I asked my helper to add a feed at 11 pm or so. Now she doesn’t wake after that 11 pm feed till at least 5 am (mostly 6 am) which is great for a 5-month-old, as any parent will know though 5 am wake-up will sound barbaric to most non-parents. When she wakes, she laughs and smiles. Unless she is super hungry. Then she screams.

Benji alternates between being jealous of her (grabbing her toys, wanting to drink milk when she is drinking, wanting medicine if she’s having some), being protective (if she cries suddenly, he will rush to where she is to ascertain she’s okay), playing with her (waving a cloth or performing some other antic to make her laugh, wanting to carry her) and generally ignoring her and claiming all our attention.

My son is growing up (well obviously, but in surprising ways). When he got his vaccination two weeks ago, doctor, nurse and I waited for the inevitable wail… which didn’t come. He just pursed his lips and then relaxed. We were all shocked. He got candy, which turned out to be a vitamin, but he was happy with it and life went on as usual as if a big needle hadn’t been stuck into him two minutes ago.

Over the weekend, he bumped his head really hard on the corner of a table at a restaurant when he hurriedly backed away from a friendly waitress who was trying to talk to him. He kept sniffing but not actually crying. It got us slightly worried because it sounded like he was having problems breathing. Then, this morning, my helper moved backward and he ended up hitting his head hard against the wall. Again, he just pursed his lips and tried not to cry. He was upset and we all gave him a kiss, and one tear trickled down but that was it. We’ve never told him not to cry. He’s just doing it on his own. It’s very… interesting. I have this wistful mothery smile on my face that I didn’t know was in me.