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Battle frenzy with Mr 2

Seona Smiles
Sunday, June 18, 2017

You see, I thought I had this whole grandma thing sorted. I'm not your typical gushy grandma perhaps (less homemade scones type, more the gallons of red wine type), but I do pride myself on having some grandmotherly instincts.

The first grandchild came along and I admit I was thrown for a while — she's not called Tufaan Taylor the Hurricane of Flagstaff for nothing — but now she's talking (and talking, and talking) we get on just fine.

So you think you've got it all under control and then boom! A little golden-curled, hyperactive bomb hits your life.

At the moment the potential explosion is snoring gently on the mat so I can sit unmolested at the computer. But not for long.

So let me quickly ask for your help. The little bomb in my life, my youngest grandchild, needs a new name.

His actual name is Cullen Arjun — after Cu Chulainn (that translates as the Hound of Cullen, also said Culann).

The Hound of Cullen is a mythological hero found in Irish and Scottish folklore, who as a child killed the fierce guard dog belonging to his king Cullen — various versions say by choking with his bare hands or bashing its head in with a stone.

The boy then took its place and stayed on to protect the household.

He became an amazingly fierce warrior who suffered from terrifying battle frenzy and appears to have been extremely short tempered.

Our lad's heroic second name, Arjun, is after a noble warrior of the Mahabharat epic about the family feud between the noble Pandava princes and their scheming cousins, the Kaurava kings. Arjun was also known to be a bit testy at times.

But real names will never do for when your lovely old granny wants to embarrass you in the newspapers.

So, when our wee warrior was first born, a little over two years ago, he was a placid little chap and well earned his nom de plume: The Mighty Quiet Warrior.

Then he found his voice and became the Formerly Mighty Quiet Warrior. The volume has risen to such a level (as our neighbours can vouch) that we now we seek a more suitable sobriquet.

To help with this naming process, let me give you a sense of what he's like.

As the first boy-child born in our household, he has hurled me into a nature versus nurture situation the like of which I have never previously experienced.

I learnt much earlier that the strength of a child of one should not be underestimated. I have several pairs of wrecked spectacles and a number of battle scars to prove it. Yet the destructive force of a two-year old boy is something else again.

No use saying "you're the grandparent, tell him not to do it". First of all, you don't know what "it" is going to be until "it" is in process.

How could you possibly think to say "don't climb on the rocking chair and lean over the stairs to reach the delicate wind chimes".

You don't, you just rush forward to grab his shirt as he tips over the stair railing and watch while the delicate wind chimes become delicate ex-wind chimes.

Or what to do when he is poised at the top of the same stairs on his tricycle?

Hide your eyes? It worked, the tricycle got away from him and went down on its own, with him stumping along behind bawling because he missed the exciting ride.

It's not just the household that has to leap for their lives as a small but determined hero in a Batman cape and his sister's pink frilly pyjamas hurtles past on a Dora the Explorer scooter.

He's hellbent on escaping from the veranda and dashing down the driverway to help his mechanic mate, Bob.

"Hullo, you busy Bobby?" he yells.

"I help you."

I don't say Bob runs away screaming, but he knows the happy little helper recently helped his dad change a tyre by sitting on his knee during the whole process and hiding the spanner in a secret place never to be revealed.

He seems just naturally attracted to machines and cars and spends half his life making growling noises that are probably engine sounds and not mortally wounded yeti.

He is acquiring an impressive array of battle scars, including the one when he fell on his head in the drain.

When it comes to nasty knees, he is seriously challenging his big sister for top honours in cuts, grazes, bruises and gravel rash.

He has a noble carer companion who is kind, patient and highly skilled at the kindergarten craft work that they bring home from School of Angels, where his less than angelic sister also goes.

I sometimes think that by the time seven o'clock bedtime rolls around, their behaviour amounts to elder abuse.

If it wasn't for their noble carer, Auntie Ana, I would be lying on the floor with a double dose of asprin taken with strong drink.

Now that you can see what I'm dealing with here, what on earth do I call him?

No name is too scary for this kid, I tell you. The best submission sent in to will win a bottle of red wine … if I don't have to resort to drinking it first.

* The writer is a regular contributor to this column. Views expressed are hers and not of this newspaper.

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