There’s so much that’s changing every single day now, Sassi gives me a headrush.
She doesn’t do the sideways vigorous nodding any more to signify a yes which is a bummer. She used to throw her head side to side with her mouth agape in excitement when asked
“Bathroom Chalein” (Shall we go to the loo?)
“Baahar chalein” (Shall we step outside?)
Now she just squeals, jumps on top of me and hugs me Govinda style. ChiPAK KAY! (Hugs me really tight. It’s a movie reference)
Through the 6 weeks in London, she went from a baby crawling through the aisle on the plane and bringing me back a dead millipede and struggling to wobble around what looked like an initial attempt at a stride, she now doesn’t resort to crawling at all. She actually runs like a little banana without brakes. Sometimes falls over in excitement when she isn’t able to run as fast as she wants to but without wasting a second gets up and goes at it with a renewed vigour.
Today she kissed me for the first time. Like proper kiss but without puckering up. Like a straight, plain (super shy) smile and touching her smile against my skin. So she kissed my lips, my hands, my hair. Different times of the day. When younger she would occasionally get overwhelmed with love and lay a slobbery one, an open mouth just attached to your face like a jellyfish. Sometimes she would give me a hickey. I have even appeared on stage Karachi literature Festival for a discussion panel with a bruised cheek and a baby in my lap.
She has also become extremely possessive. I can’t touch anyone and no one can touch me. Or Faisal. It’s hilarious how she will attack with seemingly innocent smiles just pulling us apart or removing my hand from Faisal’s Hand. As if reminding me that yeah everything’s nice and sweet but boundaries Madame!
Two days ago we observed this new phenomenon. This love for stickers!
Though in the past I have woken up in the middle of the night, shitting bricks that I have some deadly insect stuck to my leg only to find that my child lovingly pasted her torn sticker from the clothes tag on my thigh for safekeeping. Or solved the mystery of an itchy abdomen by finding another safely kept treasure by my sticker loving little imp but hear me out, these past few days have been a whole new level of sticky love.
One night in the quest of getting her chips, we ordered a Happy Meal which came with a Toy Periscope that had its mini sticker sheet of Batman logos and Batman artwork that would go on it. It was lying around for over a week or so and she didn’t know what it was. Somehow, on her usual scratch-quest, she figured it was sticky underneath when she peeled it! The sparkle in her eyes was unmatchable to actually find and figure out an unused sticker.
Excitedly she ran around trying to paste it on every surface possible. The sofa, the floor, her clothes, her face, MY face, MY clothes. The excitement was infectious. It took a final place on her forehead but was so worn out by then that it kept popping off.
I tried to take a picture but she would actually eye me as if it’s extremely serious business and she’s almost taking offence at me finding it cute.
The next day she managed to peel off three of them and put two in her hair and one on her forehead.
I took one off.
There was such a ruckus I wanted to buy her a sticker sheet. She was inconsolable. Cried herself to sleep.
That same night we had to meet Faisal’s team at work for dinner and she wore her stickers all through it. It was the most precious act of defiance and confidence I’ve witnessed in my LIFE.
This is everything I wished for in a child. To have her own mind and to follow through unabashedly. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for her so profusely for so long under my breath. Wilful Baby FTW
The love for Batman didn’t however for a second phase her out on her love for bling.
We had gone all the way to enjoy the gorgeous view of Badshahi Masjid and Lahore Fort from the Food street where, if you haven’t been, all the old buildings have been preserved and turned into these gorgeous eateries. The winding and never ending flights of stairs, the wood carvings, the furniture, the paintings. Each one of these restaurants is a work of art and a trip down alleys of history this space holds within.
For those who are lazy AF like me, or have Parents who can’t climb as many stairs (they’re MANY), I have great news. Almost all of them now have a lift. It’s such a sigh of relief. I can eat AND not burn it. *hugs flab lovingly *
She’s the proverbial apple of Faisal’s teams’ eyes. Every time she’s been with them for caring duty while I worked, she has developed quite a fan base. The entire evening except when we sat down to eat, I never once had to hold my child. She’d go from one lap to the other, flitting like a butterfly, holding her Gifu (the handloom cloth, stuffed Giraffe I got for her when I was a month pregnant and had gone to Sri Lanka for work) tightly. So yes. Her love for bling showed up at the sight of a bangles shop.
Before we knew it, she showed up with wrists full of glittery bangles bought by one of her loving, new friends and a 6 teeth wide yet 100 Watt smile to go with it!
So imagine this. A baby in a skimpy, strappy, dress, with Batman stickers on her hair and in the middle of her forehead, holding a yellow giraffe and now with glittery bangles.
Attacking my Qulfi (indigenous Milk ice cream).
I sometimes, most of the times, almost all the time, feel so privileged to have a gorgeous little powerhouse of a girl. Sure. It’s no walk in the park raising a strong willed child and she is just starting out. Since the very beginning I can’t imagine strong handing her into anything under the sun. One always needs to approach her with a degree of gentleness if one wants her to actually consider the option you’re presenting. You may still get rejected but that’s alright. All in a day’s work.
So we suggest. We request and if it’s something that’s essential, she cries and throws a hissy fit through hugs and kisses eventually to only be distracted by something else, usually her own burp. That IS by far the funniest thing in her little life. Her favourite anecdote is a big ripe belch which would startled herself and she would laugh endlessly for hours!
A strong willed child is a blessing. I read this article ages ago and always secretly wished for this handful. I’m willing to put in the hard work and I know there’s plenty. I love this other Article I read on how to raise a strong willed child and this quote resonated with me so much I almost fell off the chair.
Morality is doing what’s right, no matter what you’re told. Obedience is doing what you’re told, no matter what’s right.
– H.L. Mencken
This is what I feel, has been the entire struggle of my life! My learnings, my mistakes, my defiance, my price of ethics that I’ve paid time and Time again whether it was work or relationships.
If as a result of my struggles through life, my child is born with these essential learnings as part of her genes, I am elated beyond human capacity to comprehend.
So whether it’s Gifu that inarguably accompanies you to Baba’s work dinner, or bling you bangles a new friend bought you or Batman on your face quite literally.
Shine on my crazy toon.
You’re meant for epic things in life only and I can’t wait to hear you bubble, babble and trip over your own words telling me all about it.
All. The. Time.