I know the title is needlessly sensationalistic, but last week, due to an intellectual growth spurt, I felt like Raihana had undergone the experience in the title. Suddenly my docile, sweet-natured, cooperative, gentle little baby girl had turned into a little girl with an ego, a possessive streak, an awareness of what she wanted, and a spark of really quite irresistible determination.
I miss the days when I could bark “No!” from a distance, and she would withdraw her hand from the knives in the dishwasher, the peaches on the table, or the laptop. If she wandered off to the kitchen, and I was in my study, I could call her by name if I got worried that she had been quiet too long, and within seconds she would come pattering along with a question-mark on her face. When she put a coin in her mouth, she did it slowly, with guilt painted large on her face, staring at me the while; as soon as I did “thhoo” (the Urdu version of ptooey), she would immediately spit out the coin on my palm.
No more. She sucks the coin for a good few seconds, with relish, before I stick my finger into her mouth and force her to surrender it. She focuses more closely on the offending task/object at hand than on my “no” and my disapproval.
This also means her eye is brighter, her posture is more erect somehow, she is more of an intrepid explorer, and she is more of an extrovert as well. She is also more sociable with other children – and with Bhalu (her teddy bear) with whom she holds long loving conversations lying in the crib.
I’m still not sure if this is merely a developmental stage, and if it’s a coincidence that it happened in the same week that she started daycare.
Her hugs are still sweet, and she runs to hug me still, but the hugs are just a tiny bit less frequent, and she is less inclined to be lovey-dovey with me if she is preoccupied with a toy or a book.