Pretty soon, he was pulling up to sitting. Then, actually sitting. And before we knew it, he was pulling himself to standing. Cruising came next. Crawling, walking.
And of course, talking. A milestone, that will take years to develop. One, that will challenge and excite all new parents. I’m excited about this particular step, as it means he’s actually communicating with us in a two-way dialog, as opposed to, well, just me talking to him.
We are a pretty unique family, I think. I’m Malaysian-Chinese, my husband is Australian-Libyan and our son is Libyan-Chinese, born in Australia, and right now, we live in Malaysia.
In this day and age, merging of cultures and races appears to be the norm, rather than the exception. This of course, makes for exciting times. Our son will grow up in a multicultural, multilingual environment, which I hope, will result in a well-rounded individual.
At home, we speak English. My Cantonese is a little lost here, as there’s no one to converse with, other than the occasional phone call with my mother. My son, now 16 months old, spends half his time at my in-laws place, and he adores his grandparents. They have been talking to him as if he understood them since he was a baby.
I believe this is why my toddler speaks Arabic. Last week, for the first time, I heard him say jid-doh (جد ), which means ‘grandfather’ in Arabic. Clear as day. He hasn’t even said ‘Mama’ yet!
He also understands the following words in Arabic: maa’, which means ‘water’ (مياه ); ma’boub which means ‘beloved’ (محبوب ), ta’ala which means ‘come’ (تعالى) and of course, la, which is ‘NO’ (لا).
He babbles non-stop, talking to himself, to me, to his father, to his grandfather and more often than not, grabs someone’s mobile phone and has entire pretend conversations, which makes for very interesting video fodder!
Some of the things that we do to encourage him to talk more are to, well, talk to him (and not at him!). I’m a stay-at-home mother, so he spends most of his waking hours with me. I talk to him when he wakes up in the morning, saying good morning, and engaging him while I dress him, asking him whether he would like to wear this tee-shirt or that shirt.
When I feed him breakfast, I talk to him. Open your mouth, come here, don’t spit it out and so on. When he’s playing, we have ‘conversations’ about what he’s doing, whether he’s playing with his toy truck or his shape sorter.
When he first started saying hello, it sounded like ‘gu’. Eventually, he would say ‘ha-woh’. Now, he says ‘lo’, which in my ears, sound as close to hello as is possible at his age. Progress!
This all means that we have to watch what we say. He is in copycat mode these days. A few days ago, he tried to put on my glasses. He’s been trying to slip on his grandfather’s shoes for weeks. Sometimes, he grabs my fork and tries his hand at eating pasta, the way he has seen us do it.
He is also obsessed with closing and opening doors and drawers, taking things out, and putting them back. He’s discovered the thrill of a slide, the joy of splashing in a pool, the fun of drawing with crayons.
Before we know it, he’ll be reading, writing, riding a bike, running across a playground, playing on swings, participating in a game of football, or basketball. He’ll be going out to his friends’ houses to play, or to study.
He’ll be going to kindergarten, primary school, high school, college, maybe even pursue a PhD, following in the footsteps of his aunt, my sister.
We hold our hopes and dreams in our children. As they become less and less a baby, and more and more a boy or girl, we watch those hopes and dreams become a reality, day by day. However, before I get too carried away with his future, I will focus on the present. Just as I am, drinking in his new-found ability to talk.
Enjoy the here and now, as time passes too quickly when you have children.
Do you have any favorite milestones that your child has reached?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Alison Lee in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia. She can also be found blogging at Mama Wants This!
Photo credits to the author.