So, as some my readers know, I have a niece, my one and only so far, named Kashmala. She’s 17 months old and the most precious, most important part of my life right now. And I tell you she’s the most precious thing you’ll ever see as well. MashaAllah!! ~spitting lightly towards the darling to prevent the curse of the evil eye~ I know, I know—everyone says that about their kids or other loved babies, but I’m telling you my opinion is the only correct one in this case. You understand.
|at ~12 months|
Before anything, I’m very proud to announce that she knows barely any English, and almost 90% of the language she knows is Pashto! The rest is either mixed (half English, half Pashto) or then English. She’s going to learn English anyway as she gets older, and Pashto is tough to learn in a non-Pashtun community. Sadly, we didn’t do that with our nephew, and so his Pashto is very weak—if he’s got any left in him at all! We’d vowed not to make the same mistake with Kashmala. So when an elder sister of mine was visiting us a month back and was talking to Kashmala in English, the darling had absolutely no idea what she was being asked or told!
|Good luck getting her off the swing!|
She would make a great actress! You should see her pretending she doesn’t know where or what something is, or what’s going on. The expression on her face is priceless!!! You should also hear her pretending to cry when her baby brother is crying, or when she pretends to have her foot stuck in this chair she has set up for her mischief in my room and loves to play with it, pretending she got hurt just to make me go, “OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!” And then she laughs like that’s the funniest thing ever. Of course, I just be pretending to panic because it makes her laugh, but her pretense is so, so, SO ADORABLE!
She calls snow “chini” (Pashto for “sugar”) because it looks like sugar. You know how humans are—we can’t think beyond what we’ve already seen and what we already know. And, speaking of this, she also thinks that 1) all animals besides cats are dogs. In Kiddie Pashto, dog = toto. And that’s exactly what all animals except for cats are to her ;) She calls cats “meow. “ 2) all fruits except oranges, grapes, and bananas are manra (Pashto for apple) because she LOVES apples. She has a cute name for oranges, but we can't really understand what it is. It certainly doesn't sound anything like maalta (Pashto for orange). Banana = killa, kiddie Pashto for Kela. I think she can say "kwar" (grapes) correctly.
Ahhh—who could forget that the only two answers she has to every single question you ask her are: “Huh?” and “No!” (the “No” is often almost violent and let out with much force! We all think she’s gonna need anger management courses by the time she’s 5, but we had the same fear with her brother, and he turned out just fine. He’s 7 years old now and normal, Alhamdulillah!). And she doesn’t tire of saying “huh?” even if you tell or ask her something for a good five minutes, like I once tried.
|Did I mention she loooves to write?|
When we play peek-a-boo, she’ll do anything, including covering her eyes and turning her back towards you, to pretend she’s not really there. So when I see her, I have to pretend not to see her and look past her, shouting in the panic she loves to see me in, “Kashmalooo? Where are you? Oh God, Oh God, where is my Kashmaloo? I should go look outside.” And then she starts laughing really, REALLY hard and goes, “HADEY!” (It’s supposed to be “Hai yam,” which is Pashto for “Here I am!” or “I am here!” But she clearly enjoys referring to herself in the third-person, which is “hai dey” in Pashto for “Here it/he is!”) Sometimes, she’ll just watch me with this grin searching for her or yelling out her name or just being all panicky and stuff, ‘cause I TELL you she LOVES to see me in panic for her! And, so, that’s why you’ll find me playing peek-a-book with her like every other twenty minutes because she loves the game.
And she knows how to say “I love you,” folks! So what that in her language, it’s “Laa loo,” right? Of course. It still means the same thing. Aaaaand she can also express her sympathy--by shaking her head like the cutie that she is and saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk," and even kissing (or pretending to kiss!) you, or your injured spot.
k, I’ll stop here before this post gets longer, but I assure you I’ll write more on her soon! I look forward to it!