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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 11, 2010

'Hercules' wastes no time showing off his strength

By Monica Quock Chan

Males may have 50 percent more brute strength than females, but my husband and I were still unprepared for the differences between our daughter and our second-born, a son.

After coming home from the hospital, we gently supported our newborn son's neck, remembering how floppy our daughter's was as a neonate. But to our amazement, when we placed our son on the mattress, he pushed himself up on his forearms: neck, head, chest and all.

That evening we placed him on the play mat. He twisted his body and limbs until plop! he rolled over.

"We all witnessed it," announced my mother-in-law, just as I was wondering if I was suffering from postpartum delusions. My husband decided he needed to start a regular weightlifting routine pronto if he was ever going to keep up with this kid.

Sure enough, our son was crawling at five months, and took his first step at nine months. I nicknamed him "Hercules," and christened his diaper changings "wrestling matches."

Our son's strength was accompanied by what our friend euphemistically called "fearlessness." As a baby, he rolled off the bed or diaper changer multiple times. Later, when he became more mobile, he would head straight for the pool or drop offs. He has bumped his head so often that we wonder if he needs a helmet.

Just before he turned 18 months, he learned how to escape his highchair straps. The stroller straps soon became fair game as well. Thankfully, he will still sit down if he's occupied with something interesting, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Around the same time he learned how to remove his bibs. The disposable ones were a cinch; the Velcro ones not much harder. While the plastic strap and snap ones took more doing, by sheer force he was soon able to rip them off, too. The safety gates in our house were the next to be overcome, as he would literally lift them up to move them aside or pass underneath.

Climbing is our tyke's latest hobby. We thought we had our place babyproofed securely, but he has used chairs and toy bins as handy stepstools to maneuver himself atop the desk and dining table. Currently he is plotting a way to ascend the 4-foot-high kitchen counter.

He has used his strength in beneficial ways, too, however. For example, when our daughter wasn't able to pedal the tricycle herself, he would push her around the playground, much to their mutual delight. Later he would "help" me steer the stroller down the street. Hopefully he can help us push our loaded Costco carts in the future.

In reality, our son is probably just a normal boy of average strength, but to us, the contrast with our little girl seemed pronounced. Now please excuse me, I need to stop him from climbing my office chair and hitting the keyboard cgrt04872395xjslie. ...