Tuesday, February 9, 2010

19 months, and long blog-silence

It's been forever since I updated, despite the fact that I'm now working part-time. It's partly because, although I do have more time than I used to, it's not actually all that much more time, since most of the reason for cutting back on work was to leave more time for the joys of housework (hmmmmmmmmmm) and childrearing (yay). Plus, actually making these Arabic-language tot-school activities is taking longer than I thought it would. So it's the documentation of all these activities that is falling to the wayside. Oh well, I'll keep trying.

Basbusa, my sweet little munchkin, is getting more and more articulate. She can almost always use words to give you some idea of what's upsetting her when she's having a melt-down, which makes it much easier to help her process the latest trauma of not wanting to come out of the bath, or of wanting to eat Baba's chewing-gum. She's still mostly on one-word communications, but she's starting to put a few pairs together, as in "white headscarf" or "cookie first" (as opposed to the milk I was offering her). Oh, and of course, the ever-present "I want a _____" (which in Arabic is just two words, عايزة _________")

She's becoming more self-aware emotionally, too. When she's getting over an upset, she often observes, "Basbusa crying. Basbusa crying." I've been trying to give her the vocabulary to describe moods, which seems to be sinking in: the other day, as she lay on the carpet howling because I wouldn't let her play with Baba's laptop, she said pitifully between sobs, "angry! angry!"(She doesn't really have full-blown tantrums - they never last long, and she's pretty easy to distract - but she certainly has a mind of her own and objects strenuously and dramatically to having her plans thwarted). Oh, and of course she's known "scared" for quite a while too (she invented her own baby-sign for that one a long time ago, and now knows the word to accompany it). She can communicate her worries quite effectively, as in, for example, "Vaccuum cleaner. Vroooooom. Basbusa scared. Vroooooom. Vaccuum cleaner. Scared," which she reminds me whenever she catches sight of it sitting in the cupboard.

All that playing with rice has paid off hugely - yesterday I was cooking two dinners at once (one for yesterday and one for today), and Basbusa asked to play with the rice after I had taken it out to add to the kosheri. I thought I'd chance it, and would you believe, my angelic little cupcake played with the huge tub of rice for half an hour, without spilling *any* of it? She was scooping and digging and pouring from hand to hand, and didn't make the least bit of mess.

On the "academic" side of things, she now recognizes 7, 8 and 3 fairly reliably, in addition to her favorites 0 and 6. (She has no clue what they actually represent in terms of numbers, of course, but she can find them on elevator buttons and cell phones etc.) She now knows س, و, غ, ج, and ب, and I have a whole bunch of fun activities all laminated and ready to go (and hopefully post about) to reinforce them before we add a few more.

She is loving books more and more every day, to the point that we don't often go more than half an hour without a break for some reading (that's mama's little bookworm!). She's finally gotten into the classic toddler-mode of wanting to have her favorites read to her over and over again, so that The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Owl Babies are now permanently seared into my memory.

Meanwhile, though, she also seems to be picking up Baba's love of computers. She vaguely gets the concept that waving the Wii controllers and pressing the arrow keys causes some kind of motion in computer games, and is getting the hang of the laptop mouse. She's a huge fan of YouTube, which we use to watch animals ("Rooster! Coo-coo-cooooooo! Putin! Putin Baba! Coo-coo-coooooo!"). We hear so much about Putin over here (her pronunciation of "computer") that you'd think we were living in Russia.

She also seems to pick up three or four new English words every time we go over to Mum's, even if we're only there for an hour or two. It's amazing how fast it happens.

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