Monday, October 06, 2003

Mini-monster in my living room

Well, not really a monster, but my partner's 2 year old niece. Her family is staying at my place as they visit my partner and the area.

She's not really a monster. She's really very sweet. They've been here for a few days now. I'm really enjoying having the little tyke running around the house.

I come from a large extended family and helped raise or at least watched dozens of cousins grow up. We don't mind kids running around the house. It's a part of life. Walls can be painted over, messes picked up, windows windexed, but how long is someone 2 years old?

She's entertaining to watch. The other day she found her bellybutton and has been showing it off to everyone. She's very proud of her bellybutton. She's not yet talking, but she smiles and giggles and on occassion screams a tone, especially when she has to take a bath. And she kind of knows how to shake her head from left to right to say no. She knows when her mommy is not in the room and knows how to find her.

The "therapists" say she's "slightly retarded" and they scribble notes madly when she says certain "tones" or "vowels." I just roll my eyes. Kids grow up when they're ready. She can hear her name being called and can locate noise and sound. (My grandmother said my aunt didn't talk for a while. At first they thought she might have been a deaf-mute, but she wasn't.) The 2-year old just doesn't want to talk. Eventually, she'll figure it out with or without the therapists.

They say she's "slow" because she isn't as "vocal" as the other kids, mostly because I realized, she's tactile. She touches stuff. She likes to touch the plants and the liquid inside cups. She likes to touch people's faces and hold onto things. This is followed by tasting stuff, such as crayons and leaves.

She may not say anything, but she certainly knows how to steal lumpia and string beans off your plate then run off giggling amused at her successful theft. She is already developing the Filipino trait of pointing with her lips. When you ask her where mommy or daddy or the fish are, she'll turn her head in that direction, then look back at you. She hasn't quite gotten the lip pucker yet.

She is up all the time, walks the same pattern on the floor for a few minutes, through the kitchen around the living room, down the hall and back. Sometimes she'll stop when she notices something new. She's fascinated by people's sneakers. She'll sit and look at them for a while. When we put her own sneakers on she kept looking at them when she walked wondering where she got them from. I forget that most of her world is seen from the knees down. Maybe she'll design shoes when she grows up.

I think she's part cat. In the morning, she'll wake up early, go over to where her uncle is sleeping and sit on her knees bent over and staring, just watching him sleep. Then, she'll plop her hand on his face with a thud. If he stirs, she giggles and laughs. High end experiments for 2 year olds.

She's learned to climb up steps with ease, a modified crawling. And learned to slide down them butt first. She did this for 30 minutes. She throws her head back and looks at the ceiling. This is very amusing for her. She laughs. It's funny.

Maybe I should do that too. Throw my head back, look at the sky, and think this world is a funny place and laugh.

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