At 17+ months, Raihana has become a very different (baby? toddler?) child from when I last wrote any updates about her. She’s developed a much healthier ego and a desire for independence – dislikes being fed, and prefers to take pieces of food OFF the spoon/fork and put them in her mouth herself. Sometimes she will consistently refuse food, until I allow her to feed herself. (I suppose I should be happy about this, but it just shows me that some day she’s going to go away for college and I’m going to be very upset about this).
Her Montessori school (it’s not really a daycare but a school, the proprieter insists) is generally satisfactory, and she does not cry in as heart-rending a manner as she used to employ. Bhalu – a pink teddy bear – is her companion to school and bedtime. Speaking of which, anybody know where I can get a pink fleece teddybear, made by Walmart, with a white blouse with hearts on it? Because Bhalu is on his way out after a few more washes.
Because I am cheap, I hadn’t bought her any dolls yet, but a friend took pity on her at last and got her a cabbage patch doll, whose skin tone is just perfect for Raihana. No blond/blue-eyed dolls for her, and yet she’s not black either, so the doll she has is, I believe, Latina. Which tells us something about the categories of the future in this country, and how Raihana, a half-white, half-Pakistani girl may be defined.
She loves “This old man” and the Urdu rhymes I sing to her. I have tried turning the Urdu alphabet to the tune of the ABC, though Svend protests against the plagiarism. I don’t care – the alif bay needs a tune for her to memorize it. At this point, she has a good understanding of most of the Urdu she needs for everyday life. I can tell her to sit (baithho), lie down (laito), eat your food (khana khao) – which really means “run away so mama can chase you down,” do you want water (paani peeyogi?), bahir (outside) – which is her favourite word, let’s go in the car (also will get her running to the door), let’s have a bath (nahana hai?) – also one of her fun activities – and a great deal else, mashaallah. Which means, essentially, that I can issue numerous commands to her and raise her to be my little helper, as immigrants like to do.
Her ability to run and her desire for independence also means that we as parents have to be much more vigilant for her safety than before. A couple of months ago, she would not run more than a few feet before she stopped and waited for me. No more. When she sees the neighbourhood kids playing outside, she makes a beeline for them, full of excitement. Unfortunately the boys (they’re all boys) are not all the gentlest of playmates, so I prefer to take her out when they’re not there.
Our current struggle is with nighttime: she wants to sleep in our bed if she wakes up and is inconsolable until she is brought to bed. This means a long night punctuated with treks to the nursery and back–and a very tired morning. Ah, the joys. Needless to say, my threat of the month is “no siblings for you!”