Tales of Toddler Genius
Musfira asks Momma for a cookie.
Momma gives Musfira a cookie.
Musfira receives the cookie and folds it carefully into a tissue.
Then, she takes her tiny first and begins pounding it into crumbs.
Momma is taken aback.
“Musfira! What are you doing to your cookie?”
Musfira is reassuring.
“Iss okay momma. I making a puzzle. Hee you go!”
Momma accepts puzzle.
Glowing with pride, Momma eats it.
Alhamdulillah, we acquired a lovely new sister in law this weekend as HF’s younger brother got married. Family wedding preparations were a team effort, and Alhamdulillah, everyone did their part to ensure things went smoothly- even Musfira, who took the initiative to do her own hair and makeup with a pair of scissors and a blue marker. And she did it an entire day before the party, making her not only helpful, but also forward thinking.
A proper stylist was commissioned to neaten up the asymmetrical bangs Musfira cut for herself, and I followed that with a cleansing baby-oil and rubbing alcohol facial.
The Behavioural Analyst
Musfira likes to play limit-testing games- as toddlers often do- and they follow a pretty simple format. Momma says to do something. Musfira refuses to do it, and she smiles and waits to see what will happen.
One of these more recent games is a jolly round of “I’m not leaving the car.” This game takes two people to play and is usually initiated at the end of a long drive, after a long day, when Momma would much rather be bathing children and putting them to bed. Musfira’s car seat is unbuckled. Momma says let’s go inside. Musfira makes a run for the back of the van- a cramped space that Momma is not a fan of climbing in to chase a wiggly and wilful toddler.
So in a recent round of the game, I unbuckled Musfira and she made a successful break for the back of the minivan. Rather than engage in a Tom & Jerry style chase, I stood outside and said, “Musfira, it’s time to go home. You need to come out of the van now.”
In response to which, she did her best imitation of a stern face and said, “No momma. I stay inna van. One… Two… Three… I hit you!”
Now, I would like to make three things clear:
- Iman does get a count to three, but when three comes, it isn’t with a smack, it’s with a physical prompt. If, by the count of three she’s not walking to the bath I will take her by the arm and walk her there myself.
- I may not be the best mother in the world, but I don’t threaten my children with “I hit you!” anymore than “I will cut you.”
- Musfira is a squeaky two-foot nothing and has all the authoritative presence as a rubber duck.
I was so impressed that she had made, and then used her own assumptions about what would happen when 3 came that my toughest battle was suppressing a laugh.
Besides, in accordance with the cardinal parenting rule of No-No-Prompt, the thing to do when Musfira had disregarded my instructions twice already was to climb in and just take her inside the house, not argue with a grumpy two and a half year old.
At the end of the valima of same said family wedding, Musfira kept trying to steal the limelight from the bride & groom’s photos by dancing on stage with no shoes and only half of her party ensemble on. When I went and physically removed her from the stage, she wailed and pleaded, “Momma wait! I wanna photo!”
I put her down and handed her my phone with the camera open. “Alright then. Go take photos.”
I don’t think she quite caught the grammatical trickery that got her from the front of the camera to behind it, but it worked. She took my phone and stood behind the other amateur photographer. She returned with around 30 fuzzy, poorly composed pictures of the stage- with and without bride and groom- and proudly showed me her work. Alhamdulillah.
We were driving home on E311 after a long day in Ajman, and the children were riding in tired silence. Suddenly, Musfira sat straight up in her seat and squeaked “Momma! Look! Issa crown! Issa crown!”
“A crown? I don’t see any crown…” I scanned the traffic and tried to figure out what Musfira was getting all excited about.
“A crown! A magic crown! Iss fwying away!”
“Musfira, do you mean the light on top of that car?”
“Notta car!” she angrily insisted, “A crown! Iss going!”
I sped the car up and chased down Musfira’s magic flying crown. I matched its speed and pointed, “Musfira, is that your magic flying crown?”
“Oooh! Iss bootiful! A crown!”
“That’s called a taxi dear.”
“A kaksi! Iss so pretty!”