Other than that, all is well. She's talking nineteen to the dozen, and it is all so hilarious and entertaining I couldn't imagine being at a fulltime job right now and missing all this. She's also getting super shyaani, and here's a sample.
Xena (watching her father pack his suitcase) - Where's Poppy going??
Me - He's going to Amsterdam.
Xena - Xena want to go to Amsterdam!
Me - Err... If you go to Amsterdam, who will go to school?
Xena (thinking for a moment) - Xena and Poppy go to Amsterdam, Mommy go to school.
Here she is, making a long-distance call to her Poppy on her toy phone (she was starting to get the hang of the time difference and knew when he would be sleeping).
We are reading tons of books together and she loves reading and listening to stories. I was telling her the story of the tortoise and the rabbit (yes, I know it's hare, but she only knows hair). When I reached the part where the tortoise was walking past the sleeping rabbit, she interrupted me with this - "Tortoise rabbit ko wake up karega, good morning bolega!" (The tortoise will wake the rabbit up and wish it good morning.) OTT sportsmanship, I tell you.
Just before she sleeps, she likes to name random characters and I'm expected to instantly create a story around them. Sometimes she repeats the story back to me the next day, making hilarious mix-ups. This is her, relating the story of the boy, the kite and the giraffe.
As you saw in the video above, she likes to say 'Thank you' in a sing-song 'Thaaaaaankyouuuuuu' kind of way when I give her something. Sometimes she will pass me something and say, "Here go!" ("Here you go!") and then say, "Thaaaaaankyouuuuuu!"
This is her at the library.
We go to the beach twice or thrice a week, and it's always very entertaining. For her, yes, but mainly for me. Aside from the facepalm moments I have, of course. The other day we were walking past the cable ski lagoon at the beach when a guy emerged from the water, soaked to the bone, skiboard in hand, red in the face and trying not to look anyone in the eye. She pointed at him squarely and loudly declared, "UNCLE FELL DOWN IN THE WATER! GOING HOME NOW." Then there was the time she saw a topless guy jogging and said, "Uncle ka top kangya?? Uncle nangu hokar running running!" ("Where is Uncle's top?? Uncle is running naked!")
We always run into two beautiful cats at the beach - one white, and the other black. She likes to stop to look at them and says, "Hiiiii, cats!" One day, we only saw the black cat. She asked me where the white cat was. I told her I didn't know. She said, "Black cat ko poochhenge white cat kahan gaya." ("We will ask the black cat where the white cat went.") and proceeded to pose her query to the very surprised black cat.
The curls in her hair are getting crazier and curlier and bouncier and I love them. Sometimes she shakes them like Zakir Hussain and says, "Junglee baby!" (I often address her as 'Jungle princess' or 'Junglee baby'.) Sometimes when I'm drying my hair and it's all over my face, she says, "Junglee Mommy!" We also do what I call the 'pull and boinggg' where she pulls at one of her double-helical locks when I say "Pull!" and releases it when I say "Boingggg!" and it springs back. Cheap thrills for Mommy.
Her school had an open house and parent-teacher meeting a few weeks ago, and she got a good report. Of course, she majorly flunked the subject of eating, but the teachers said that she is very helpful and concerned about others. She hands out tissue if someone is sneezing and fetches things that the teachers need. She can match her classmates to their parents so whenever a parent comes to pick up his/her kid, she calls out to the kid.
They had done a project on bananas and the teachers had prepared posters on them. One of the posters said, 'When asked about the colour of the bananas, kid X said, "Yellow!" When asked about the shape, Xena said, "Rectangle!" When asked about the taste, kid Y said, "Sweet!" Xena said, "Yucky!" Uhhhhh... She was running around during the event when she bumped her head and started to cry. The Principal came over, grinned and said, "That sound is most unusual. We have never seen her cry." Her Laoshi (Mandarin teacher) at school said that her heart breaks every time she changes Xena's clothes because she can see her ribs and thin limbs. She commended me though, for sending food cut in interesting shapes in Xena's snackbox. Xena likes Hello kitty so I use a mould to cut cheese, pancakes, parathas into Hello Kitty shapes for her snackbox. The snackbox almost always comes back untouched but some days I see a corner nibbled off and the effort seems worth it.
This a picture of her in her firefighter uniform for her school project. We were supposed to make one at home, so we used a black jacket, her school uniform pants, some insulation tape, a bicycle helmet, black paper and a hose to come up with this.
This was taken at her school's mid-autumn festival celebration.
The teachers also told me that she's the diaper-changing supervisor of her class. When it's time for diaper changes, she stands there and oversees the proceedings. She tells the teachers whose turn is next and makes sure nobody cuts the queue. The teachers actually humour her by strictly following her instructions.
Speaking of diapers, since she was imprisoned at home during the HFMD scare, I decided to make the most of it and toilet-train her. It was a success and now she's off diapers at home, wearing them only when sleeping or when out and about.
She likes order, and everything must be done properly, or like she says, "Pij do poperly!" We were at her friend's birthday party and she had been in the queue to sit on a rocking toy. When she got to the toy, she passed me her shoes and socks. I randomly put them outside the play area. I didn't realise she was watching me until she got off the toy, walked towards the shoes and neatly put one sock in each shoe. Whoa. She actually let go of the toy she had queued up for, because Mommy had not kept her shoes and socks 'poperly'.
She's also very particular about queuing up and taking turns, which makes her set a great example in the playground, and she even makes all the other kids comply. She also uses the word "turn" in odd scenarios. We were in the bus and she asked me why the wipers were not moving. I told her that wipers only move after it rains. She declared, "First rain turn, then wipers turn."
She has started correctly pronouncing some words which she used to mangle before. It's nice, but kind of sad too, as the mangled versions were so cute. She used to say "magmo" (mango), "klangya" (kahan gaya), "connot" (cannot), "ni hola hai" (nahin ho raha hai), "coolinform" (school uniform), "wadithat?" (what is that?), "goob job" (good job), etc. But of course, there are still some words she mispronounces, which Viv and I lap up, like "contocton" (construction). Whenever she sees any construction going on, she will point at the workers and say, "What uncles doing? Contocton!"
When we are out, she is vigilant and keeps telling me, "Car coming, be careful!"
She's developing a cheeky sense of humour, and will sometimes, instead of singing "So many fishes swimming in the water" sing, "So many fishes swimming in the... TOILET!"
My cheeky monkey
All the fun aside, it can get very exhausting to take care of a toddler all day. It's also challenging to keep up with her energy levels and come up with activities to keep her engaged and happy. Our no-TV rule is still on, and when she was ill and couldn't go out, I was really running low on my creative juices. (I will do a post some time on some of the things I do to keep her engaged.) I couldn't wait for Viv to get back from Amsterdam and take over so I could catch a breather. Once he got back, he had a cricketless Sunday and I decided to take the entire day off and do random things, while he stayed at home with her. I met up with a friend and we went to my shopping mothership Vivocity. We had a great lunch, and proceeded to shop for 5 hours straight, after which we had dinner and went for a movie. It was wonderful to be able to shop without worrying about Xena's meal time and milk time and pee time and poop time and nap time and what not. Now that's my kind of 'duty-free shopping'. I strongly encourage all mommies who are the main caregivers of their kids to take such a full day off when possible. It really refreshed and recharged me.
I leave you with one last video - my blatant use of bribery to make her eat. Fingers crossed that she hits 10 kg before she turns 3!