As art imitates life, Iman is often pushed out of the limelight by Khalid, and I think there’s a disproportionate number of posts in Khalid’s favor. Well, let’s change that. It is time again, for a post about Iman, aka Booboo, who was so named after the sound she would make while trying very hard to cry and pout at the same time.
If there is a human incarnation of Dora the Explorer, Iman is it. Not only does Iman bear an uncanncy resemblance to Dora (albeit three shades lighter), she is also the intrepid discoverer of such things as Doing Laundry in The Toilet, Stuffing Toys in the Washing Machine, and Wearing Unmentionables As Hats When Company Comes Over.
(Yes, I have since rearranged my clothing so that nothing… unmentionable is within Iman’s reach.)
Iman has a thing for hats. ‘Hat’ was her first sign, and she continues to use it more often than any other word in her sign language vocabulary. A swim cap on another kid at the pool is enthusiastically labelled a hat. When we bought a new floor lamp, Iman walked up to it, signed ‘hat,’ and then proceeded to vigorously throttle it in hoping of shaking the ‘hat’ down. She will still periodically make a grab for the lamp’s ‘hat’ if I walk too close to it while carrying her. If I put Iman on my shoulders, she makes the sign for hat. See? Because now Iman is a hat!
When I put my scarf on, she signs hat. When I take my scarf off, she picks it up and winds it around her own head. (as well as neck and shoulders and body and then the rest trails on the floor) Iman herself owns no less than three or four hats, as well as a purse, which contains a tiny pink watergun and a plush red chicken, all a girl needs, really.
Iman likes birds. She will spot birds at the park, the pool, out of the windows of the car- and sign vigorously for bird and then yell out ‘eeeeeeeeeeee!’ meaning that she wants the birds to come to her. It’s all bravado, really. I know this because I took Khalid and Iman to a pet store once, just so that she could see birds close up, and she freaked out. Iman normally channels koala while riding casually around the world on my hip, but as soon as we approached the parakeet cages, she turned into a panicky limpet and tried to hide in my scarf while simultaneously climbing up my head, which seemed to be a logical escape from the pet store. Going near the dogs nearly had her in tears, despite how happily she labels all animals as dogs- cartoon pandas, cats, Mickey Mouse, and once, a picture of a cow hanging in the butcher’s shop.
Iman is a little mermaid. She may be tiny, and she may be only seventeen months old, but the first day we put her in water wings and dropped her into the ladies pool, she was off and chasing after other peoples’ floating toys and making friends with her adoring public. She is a criminally cute waterbaby, and I think it has to do with her tiny face poking out of the water with the bright orange water-wings on either side, and her tiny pink spandex bottom visible just under the water’s surface followed by the insistent kick!kick!kick!kick! of her chubby legs. She loves the pool. She tends to swallow alot of it though.
Oh, and here’s the best thing- Iman is talking. 🙂 Alhamdulillah. 🙂 In just the last week or two, she has started using spoken words (other than just Hat and Ruth) like Op’! for open, Na! for no, Ah-Ah! for uh-oh, and best of all- Mama. 🙂 Iman calls me Mama. And she gives me sloppy wet kisses. And warm, clingy hugs. And she follows me around the house like my shadow, diligently copies anything interesting I may be doing, and is ferociously protective of Khalid. No one, absolutely No. One. is allowed to make Khalid cry. Except for Iman. If Iman hears Khalid crying from outside of a therapy session, she will run furiously up the hall, eight teeth clenched and the battle cry of eeeeeeeeeeee! ringing through the ABA therapy center to rush to Khalid’s rescue.
She’s a fighter. And a biter. And I used to worry about Iman being man-handled by Khalid’s unknowing and highly lacking play skills, but I am now more worried about the number of tiny bite-shaped bruises that Iman decorates her brother with. She also pinches. And head-butts. And pulls hair. She learned the pinching from Khalid, but he learned the hair-pulling from her. So I guess it serves her right that our recent fight-du-jour is over who is pulling whose hair, and not only is Iman half of her brother’s size, but she also has longer and more hair to pull.
Every day Iman does something cute and curious and silly and new, and I email HF or call him (he’s been abroad for nearly a month now) and tell him about it and laugh. I really should write these things down though, because I know I am forgetting them. Iman may be my second child, but to me, it feels like having my first child. Khalid is amazing in his own way, in a very different way, and his victories and quirks are exclusive to his situation. Iman is just a normal kid- a normal, ridiculous, precious, adorable, funny, vicious, insistent and loving little girl, and every day she astounds me with all her neurotypical newness.
I love you Booboo. And maybe when you’re old enough to read, you’ll find this entry and know that your Momma loves you with all her heart. And both elbows. And all of the toes that you once sucked on while I was trying to pray. Alhamdulillah. 🙂