Friday, July 23, 2010

Two years old!!

My darling Basbusa turned two a few weeks ago. I can't believe how time has flown, and how much she has grown and changed over the past two years, masha'Allah! She's the light and joy of my universe, and every day she lives, her company becomes even more fun and more interesting. She's such a blessing, al7amdulillah!

At two, Basbusa can say pretty much anything she wants to say in Arabic. She can explain all kinds of complicated ideas about the past, the future, and about how things work, and picks up new words at the speed of light, masha'Allah. (I know all toddlers do, but it still never fails to amaze me that I can tell her words like "walrus" or "dome" just once, and hear her remember them perfectly weeks later.) She chatters all day long, and there's nothing in the world that I enjoy so much as listening to her plans, opinions and explanations!

In English, she's much more limited, but it's insane how fast she's picking it up since we've moved back in with my parents (who don't speak Arabic). I was even getting seriously worried in the first week or two that she had already started on the slippery slope of letting Arabic become her second language rather than her first, but now it seems like she has sorted out that Arabic is her main language, and what she uses with Mama and Baba and our friends, and that English is what she uses with Grandma and Grandad and people in shops. (The other day, for example, she told Baba in Arabic that she wanted to go play in the water (in her paddling pool). "يا بابا! يا بابا! عايزة العب في الماية!") But Baba was too busy to keep an eye on her, so he said no. Undeterred, Basbusa went to find Grandma. "يا Grandma! يا Grandma! عايزة play in the water!")

She is absolutely crazy about books, and reads them all day long. She even likes to sleep with her favorites sometimes. It's interesting; all of a sudden a few weeks ago, she has started to show a very clear preference for longer picture-books with more complicated plots, rather than the board-books she has loved for so long. She still looks through them occasionally and enjoys them, but rarely goes in search of them any more. Overnight, she seemed to reach a point where she loves books with characters having experiences she can relate to, and follow through the courses of their adventures. In most picture books, some of the details of the plots are still over her head, but she gets the general gist, and loves reading them over and over again until she can "read" them back to you. She's also making all kinds of connections between things that happen in books and things that happen in her own life, and between similar or different occurrences in two different stories.

Also quite suddenly in the past week or two, she has jumped into imaginary play. In a picture book showing bears in an icecream shop, and she spends ages pretending that we're in the shop too, picking out which flavor she wants to eat, asking the sales-bear to give it to her, pretending to eat it, asking me which one I'd like and "buying" it for me, etc. In the car the other day, she was playing with a flash drive, and within the course of fifteen minutes it became a camera that she took pictures with (admiring herself in each "picture" after taking it), a phone to talk on, a Quran she was reading, and a bottle of juice she was drinking. She also has all kinds of adorable one-sided "conversations" with her friends and family while she's pretending to talk on my mobile phone. It was an amazing transition to watch: One day, each thing had its own name and purpose; the next day, her imagination had opened up a thousand possibilities.

She loves playgrounds, beaches, the garden and her paddling pool, but she's still a little more on the cautious side when it comes to gross motor activities, especially if they're new to her.

She loves bugs. Almost nothing is as fascinating as watching ants and spiders, and she's intrigued to watch them running around on her hand when she can persuade them to climb up on her (which she does with great enthusiasm: "يا نملة! يا نملة! تعالي! اطلعي! اطلعي على عيدي!").

She very much enjoys spending time with her three "best friends" (two little girls and a little boy, all almost exactly the same age as her). She still has a long way to go in terms of the whole "sharing" and "taking turns" concepts, but I can see her getting the hang of it more and more each week. After these visits, she talks endlessly about who she played with, what they said, what they did, and what their mothers said in reaction :) She doesn't run to make friends with new kids in the playground, but she watches them in fascination, and is starting to interact with other toddlers without being encouraged to.

And just a few other sweet randomnesses: her hair is just long enough now that she no longer has a "palm tree" sticking straight up out of the top of her head, and she's getting the most beautiful curls and ringlets masha'Allah - just like I always loved when I was a child. She's inherited her food preferences from both Mama and Baba: her favorite foods are ice-cream and chocolate (that's my girl!), and anything salty (bint Baba). The other day, to entertain her while I was doing the dishes, I gave her a grocery flier and a pen and asked her to circle anything that we needed to buy when we go shopping. I thought she'd just circle and scribble randomly, but she want through it page by page and circled two kinds of ice-cream, strawberries, chips, cinnamon bread, and a cleaning product that she thought was chocolate :)

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