'Big Hug' from my Zara.
Tomorrow my baby, Zara Aaliyah turns TWO. I've been pinching myself a lot lately as this date has gotten nearer, wondering how it's possible that two years could have gone by so fast, and how my baby suddenly grew into a little girl without me realising!
But sure enough, here she is dancing in front of the TV to her favourite Sesame Street video ("Elmo's World" - which she chose herself by the way), mimicking the actions, songs and dialogue of all the characters, sometimes even before they appear (yes, she's got it memorised by heart!).
I remember thinking a year ago when she turned one what it might be like when Zara would be able to talk and express herself more clearly. I wondered what she'd be like as a little person - what would she say, what activities would she enjoy, what she'd look like.
I'm not too far off in my imaginings: At one year, 364 days, Zara has grown into a sweet, caring little girl. She's very independent, very boisterous and can be very very stubborn, but she's also kind to animals (loves cats, though scared of dogs), worries when you look sad (she'll kiss you better, look at you closely and ask, "Better?")and shares all her stuff/food/toys willingly (but will get into a big fight with you if something is taken away from her forcefully).
Most mornings I'm greeted with "Morning Mummy! Big kiss, big hug!" followed of course by a big kiss and a big hug. And sometimes we'll roll around in bed a little because she'll say "Lie down Mummy", pointing at the pillow and then proceed to cuddle me or stare at me with both hands cradling my face (I call these my 'special moments' because sadly I know they wont last!). There are also mornings when Abah or Mummy will wake up with a foot in our faces, wet diapers on our chests or a good kick in the nuts (oh, and this morning her diaper burst and I got pee down my front). Yes, those arent so great, but more often than not, the experiences are of the former (Thank God!).
When her 'angin' is good, Zara loves to 'sayang' (a cuddle and a pat) her Mummy, and if it's extra good, even Abah will get a sayang, especially if he has a boo-boo and needs a 'big kiss' to make it all 'better!' On these days, she will 'kemas' her toys and put them back in their rightful places, eat her meals all on her own with a fork or spoon (this morning she refused to eat her bread without her fork!), sit quietly in her playpen with a book she's chosen from the book shelf, or take off her clothes and put them in the clothes basket when asked.
When her 'angin' is bad, good luck lah trying to get her to do anything. These days, she wont walk (she will need to be dragged, literally), will throw tantrums on shopping mall floors (thankfully, this was just a brief phase), completely ignore you or do the exact opposite of what you ask. A couple of months ago, Naz and I disappeared for a quick weekend away and returned to find her arm covered in bite marks so bad they were bruised. I was horrified, thinking she must have gotten into a big fight with her cousin, only to find a few hours later that she allthough they were fighting, she was actually biting herself in frustration! She's also pretty good at playing 'tipu', where she'll pretend to cry (very tipu-sounding cry!) or sleep, just so she can block out what you're saying. And I cant count how many times she has tipped over her water or juice, despite me warning her not to, simply because she loves the drama of having to clean it up.
On the activities front, Zara has graduated to more grown up pursuits. She loves 'schwuming', pulling out her swimsuit every now and then to remind you to take her for a 'schwum'. She has just learned how to pedal her tricycle (yay!), and goes nuts around playgrounds (especially ones with 'schides' and 'weeeee' aka swings).
No surprises here, but Zara is also quite the entertainer, loving to dance and sing for the aunties and uncles on Saturday nights at Tok's house. She will happily perform 'Row Row Row Your Boat', 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', 'ABCD...' and our favourite 'Proud to be a Cow' song from Sesame Street, and will go around to her audience making sure they clap during or after each song.
Her vocabulary is not bad at all, she can name most things in her 'Words' book, sometimes in English ('dress') and sometimes in Malay ('baju'). She's pretty good at counting to ten, and will sometimes go up to 13, though sometimes she manages to count only 8 fingers or give me an extra 3 instead LOL.
And I've discovered that despite having mostly boys for cousins, you cant take the 'Ah Moi' out of this one. Zara loves carrying around her little 'handbag', loves being told she's 'pretty' and will tell you so if she think she looks nice, will wiggle her bum-bum when she's wearing a cute frilly skirt, and enjoys role-playing as Mummy with Elmo, feeding him (sometimes even with real food, urgh!), putting him to bed, and 'sayang-ing' him if he's fallen off the table.
Honestly, I have to say that the approach towards the Terrible Two's hasnt been as horrific as Ive expected. Of course, I've still got a whole year to discover what else is in store, but overall, I am truly thankful that in hindsight, Abah and Mummy have really had two wonderful years with a lovely little girl. Hard to believe she's mine (because I was a monster)!
Although I have neglected to update this space in quite a while, being busy with so many things (the business, TV work, planning Zara's party, planning for No 2's arrival) and carrying around an 8.5mth pregnant belly, I couldn't not take this opportunity to wish my little girl a very very happy birthday and to thank her for bringing meaning and joy to my entire existence.
Yes, No 2 is on the way, and Mummy will soon have her attention divided (which worries me a great deal) but never ever forget, my Zara, that you will always be my baby, even when you're 16, 30, or even 50. I will love you even when you're embarassed to hear it, and will wish for your cuddles years after you no longer want to give them.
Happy TERRIFIC TWO, darling girl!