You keep me busy, as you should, so you’re doing your job well. Still that means it has been hard to keep up writing about your developments and adventures on a monthly basis. So I’ve switched to doing this quarterly, by the season. This first one will overlap a bit with the last Babel Monthly, because after all that was part of our Spring with you.
This Spring you got to hang out with a lot of family members! Your Dutch oma visited England at the beginning of Spring, as scheduled, but then she and uncle Gyano surprised us by showing up on the day of your birthday party! Uncle Djamo and aunt Yasmin sneakily helped them organize the international surprise. It was a short visit, but loads of fun, especially since you hadn’t seen uncle Gyano (who you currently know as ‘Awesome’) since your first birthday party.
You also had a large dose of quality time with your Japanese family members, because we visited Japan for more than 3 weeks. You turned two there and we had a lot of fun with your Japanese Opa and Oma. A couple of weeks after we were back in England, you even got to meet your aunt Yuka and uncle Chris for the very first time.
This spring you’ve been surrounded by trains. They have kind of taken over from the cars. This was not really by your choice since I’ve hidden the cars and bought you most of your trains. But you love your trains or ‘poh-poh’s’ as you call them, because of the Japanese train onomatopoeia. You also have a strong love for Doraemon and Anpanman. You know their names, but have your own way of pronouncing them, with ‘bai bai king’ for Baikinman being everyone’s favorite.
You love dancing, making music and singing. There’s a YouTube video where SpongeBob plays the guitar and sings Queen’s ‘We will rock you’. When the video is on, you grab your ukelele and give Papa his guitar and your guys play music while you sing along with very wide mouth movements! “We will, weeee wiiiiill, we will, weee wiiiil…… ock you!” You often sing this song when we’re out as well, and you’re loud, very loud when you do that. You also think SpongeBob is named ‘We will rock you’, so when you spot him somewhere the song comes out immediately.
You understand things really well. You know to put your hand in front of your mouth when you yawn. When Papa wants to brush your teeth, you know to open your mouth and go “aah” and “eeh”. We bought you a step for the bathroom because you want to drink water from the tap with a cupped hand, just like I do. You can do it too, you just spill a lot of water on your clothes as well. You understand when to flash your social smile, for a photo, or while greeting a person accompanied with a very sweet "hi".
When you see me put down your diaper bag’s changing mat, you lie down on it to get changed. The first time this happened months ago, I was so surprised. I had put your mat on the floor and left the room for moment to get something. I came back to the room and found you laying on the mat on your back, crosswise (which is how I always change you since you’re too big for that mat now), looking at me patiently waiting to be changed. It was hilarious and adorable at the same time.
There’s been a speech explosion, in all three of your languages. You repeat anything we say, surprisingly well. You can repeat several words and syllables at the time. You remember a bunch of new words and phrases and know when to use them. You say thank you when you receive something. You say ‘onenne’ [Japanese for sleep] and good night in three languages when we go to bed. One time you were playing with an Anpanman figurine, and after you made him pretend eat your sandwich, you laid him down and said “Anpanman onenne" and then “good night”. That really made me proud!
Usually todlders say ‘no’ a lot, you say “bye-bye” a lot, in stead of ‘no’. You can be quite adament and forceful with your bye-bye’s as well. You often add “ah” in front of a word. For example: “ah cute” when you see a dog, or “ah Mama” when you see me.
You’re good at problem solving. For example, if you’re in the living room and you want a snack from the fridge. You come up to one of us, grab our hand and say “ikoka” [Japanese for ‘let’s go’]. You take us to the fridge, open the door, then you say “dako” [Japanese for ‘hold me’]. We then pick you up and you have access to the contents of the fridge and point at what you want. If you want to play with the water from the tap, you drag the kitchen stool to the sink, climb up and open the tap.
Your gross motor skills are impeccable. You climb up and down stairs no problem, you run so fast, you kick balls, you jump, you spin, you dance, you climb the playground installations like a true monkey. You’ve tried hula hooping and it even worked for a bit. You’ve kited by yourself. You also want to walk everywhere. You walk next to buggy instead of sit in it, actually you even want to push your buggy, but you are really bad at steering that monster. Your fine motor skills are impressive too, you ‘play’ your ukelele, you can draw with pencils and chalk.
Spring brings Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For Mother’s Day, you and Papa made me a special and very delicious juice. Papa took you to the grocery store and let you pick whatever you wanted from the produce section. Secretly, he was hoping you’d pick some weird things or combinations, but you really didn’t. You did have a slight obsession with apples, you got like 20 of them! Papa was smart enough to only buy three. Your Mother’s Day juice consisted of apple, pear, tomatoes, carrots and blueberries. You had so much fun shopping and washing the ingredients. We all enjoyed the juice a lot.
For Father’s Day, we gave Papa a bag of craft supplies and we all got to work on some handprint souvenirs. We finished them a few days afterwards, since it required quite a bit of drying in between. You especially enjoyed painting our hands, and adding a layer of mod podge to the prints.
We also took your yearly hand and foot prints a few days after your birthday, and it was really quite hard to get you to cooperate. Hence the poor quality of this year’s prints. Hopefully next year we can just explain to you what we’re doing and I’ll be allowed to print your hands and feet beautifully.