We've never been really big on nicknames for our kids. I mean, we call our kids by pet names — Owen is often "O," "Little Dude," "Big Guy," while Nicholas is "Baby," "Little," etc. But neither has really had an official nickname. Now one of them does. From this point forward, Nicholas shall officially be known as Bam Bam. You know, like Barney and Wilma's little cavekid on the Flintstones? Lisa came up with this, and it's pretty much perfect for him. He's small, cute, is a man of few words, and smashes the hell out of anything he can get his hands on.
As I wrote in a post back in September, our kids are so different from each other. They have stuff in common, too, but in some fundamental ways they are just very different people. Owen is curious, but cautious. Careful to avoid risks, he weighs unknown situations and challenges before trying anything new. This has been his M.O. pretty much forever. He wasn't too quick to start walking, waiting till he was sure he could pull it off before getting up from the safety of all fours. Once he was up, he took it slow, measuring his steps, making sure there was was something or someone to grab if things got wonky. He's the same with food, new activities, school, and just about everything else. Especially anything physical - he'll try stuff, but he thinks about it first, analyzing the situation, and occasionally needing encouragement or help if he decides it's not within his reach.
Then there's Bam Bam. He started walking at 10 months — a full 4 months before his older brother. I think he crawled exclusively for about a week. Having mastered that, he was up on his feet, cruising around holding onto whatever he could get his hands on. Not long after that, he let go and went for it — look Ma, no hands! BAM! He'd fall down and bash his head/eye/nose/face/whatever. Short pause to cry, then up again. And while Owen walked slowly at first, Nicholas pretty much just fell forward until his legs couldn't keep up anymore. He was a festival of bruises and scrapes, mostly on his face. I sometimes felt compelled to tell people, "Really, we don't beat him, I swear," but it never took long for them to see for themselves where all those little injuries were coming from. Now, at almost 18 months, he's unstoppable. He runs almost as fast as his 4-year old brother, climbs almost as high, and is within inches of learning to really jump, which scares the shit out of his mother and me. To his credit, he's amazingly strong and sturdy with great balance, so he does fall a lot less than he used to. Or at least, when he does, he falls well, catching himself with his hands, rolling on his shoulder, or plopping on his diaper-padded bottom instead of faceplanting into the concrete, hardwood, or wherever he happens to be. If there's a natural athlete among us, it is Nicholas.
I have visions of who my kids will be later in life, and Bam Bam is so clearly going to be the trouble maker. While Owen stares up at the ball lost on the roof, working out whether there's something he might throw at it or a stick long enough to knock it down, Nicholas will be dragging over the ladder, or whatever's handy to give him enough of a leg up to climb up and get it. Since he's three years younger and bound to be shorter than his brother for a while at least, I can also easily imagine him talking Owen into doing the climbing. "C'mon, dude, it's not that high. I'd totally do it but I can't reach. Dude, you'll be FINE!" This will translate later in their lives to Bam Bam convincing Owen that "Mom and Dad TOTALLY won't mind if we take the car out for just a minute to go pick up girls/get beer/drop in on a friend's party. We'll be back before they even know we're gone. It'll be totally cool."
But we've got a few years until then, I hope. Meanwhile, it's great to watch little Nicholas give his all to keep up with his brother. In addition to being the destructor, Nicholas is also the total clown. Owen's funny in a verbal, occasionally mugging face kinda way. Nicholas is Charlie Chaplin. Well, maybe that's crediting him with more finesse than he currently has. Maybe he's more like a one-man Marx Brothers. He's the total physical comedian, and loves to dance. Let's take it out with a little video of Bam Bam rocking out with Ernie. If Bam Bam doesn't stick, we can always just go with "Trouble." And yes, that's a wine refrigerator in the background. We almost always wait till the kids are asleep to unlock it. Almost always.