36 Months (aka Third Birthday)

Not too terribly late this month! And here is the 3-year-old Yaya on the morning of her birthday!

[[image:2011_0722yaya01.jpg:3-year-old Yaya says Hi!:center:0]]

Before we start, just a note that this is going to be the last of the long monthly blog recapping her entire day. While I’m torn about the decision, I think three years of this has been a lot. I’m not going to stop blogging on her birthday, just not quite as long an entry just chatting about what she’s done or accomplished, and maybe one or two pictures. Three years is a long time. I’ll miss it. But there will still be long entries when we have stuff to say. Plus with Yaya’s Adik’s impending arrival, inshallah, in the interest of equality I will try to do a monthly blog for the new little one when the time comes and Yaya will no doubt be prominently featured in those. Right? ūüėČ

It was a busy month, and we spent time in New Jersey for work, arriving home only two days before the birthday, so we were already exhausted to begin with. But we rallied! It’s not every day that one’s little girl turns 3 (years!!!).

Quick status update. Food – no change. Potty training: Yaya = 5000, Mama & Papa = 0. She assigns us so many different roles to play that it makes us dizzy and confused. But we do our best. She mostly speaks in whole sentences now, which is amazing considering that she said nothing a mere 10 months ago. She’s starting to pick up on colloquialisms and homonyms confuse her (but I guess that’s true for all of us). I still haven’t done much introduction to Malay sentences but she knows a lot of Malay words. I’ll have to step it up in that regard. She has been very into her building blocks and lots of drawing and even coloring. Sadly, we forgot her Wonder Pets sticker book and left it at the Mansons’ when we visited them so she hasn’t quite gotten over that loss yet.

She goes around “matching” things (pointing out things that are the same color, or have the same patterns). She was really into Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever at bedtime, but the Mansons gave Yaya a bunch of their outgrown toys and books and since then she’s really been into Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae (one of the books the Mansons gave her). Not the Muhammad Ali version, but the children’s book. She spent a lot of time swimming in the past month and is definitely tanning up nicely.

Anyway, let’s get to how our 3-year-old spent her day. First she gets dressed so she and Mama can go to the airport to pick Aunty Mandy up. Our friend Mandy flew in from Boston to spend Yaya’s birthday weekend with us and to finally meet the girl. Aunty Mandy is the person who sent Yaya her beloved Purrsley!

[[image:2011_0722yaya02.jpg:I’m ready to go:center:0]]

It was a drive-by pick up and she fell asleep on the way home.

[[image:2011_0722yaya03.jpg:Sweaty sleeper:center:0]]

Then she woke up and we ran around the house for a bit.

[[image:2011_0722yaya04.jpg:It’s hard to hold up 3 fingers:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya05.jpg:Playing catch with Aunty Mandy:center:0]]

And then it was time to go out for lunch and Yaya’s birthday treat: the Newport Aquarium. The original plan had been to go to the Zoo but there was a heat advisory so we decided to do something a little cooler and “indoors” and still involved animals.

[[image:2011_0722yaya06.jpg:Baby reindeer on the way to lunch:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya07.jpg:Baby reindeer drawing at the restaurant:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya08.jpg:Someone stole Papa’s chopsticks!:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya09.jpg:Yayyy let’s go to the Aquarium!:center:0]]

Birthday lunch consisted of curry for Mandy, basil fried rice for Mama, sushi for Papa, and cinnamon raisin toast for the birthday girl. Humph! Onwards to the aquarium!

[[image:2011_0722yaya10.jpg:I love to play the bongos at the aquarium!:center:0]]

Here are some of the marine life we saw:

[[image:2011_0722yaya11.jpg:Horseshoe crab:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya12.jpg:Shark!:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya14.jpg:Yaya pointing to the sheepshead fish:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya16.jpg:Some kind of huge fish (catfish? maybe?):center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya19.jpg:Jellyfish:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya13.jpg:Yaya and the elusive Aunty Mandy:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya15.jpg:By a raised pond-like construct:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya17.jpg:The best part of the aquarium!:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya18.jpg:Let’s climb a frog!:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya20.jpg:What is Yaya so excited about?:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya21.jpg:Penguins!:center:0]]

The penguin area was climate controlled – even had ice and snow in there! And just a quick note, besides the Penguin Palooza, the Newport Aquarium currently has an awesome shark exhibit. There were all kinds of sharks, and they were big. And quite intimidating and fierce. ūüôā

[[image:2011_0722yaya22.jpg:Posing before we leave the aquarium:center:0]]

The door led us through the gift shop and Yaya ended up picking out a stuffed penguin and a hippo (which she claims is mine).

[[image:2011_0722yaya23.jpg:Waiting for Papa to pick us up at Newport on the Levee:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya24.jpg:Happy and sweaty in the car:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya25.jpg:Ooooooo-:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya26.jpg:chak!!!!!:center:0]]

Apparently ooo-chak (peek-a-boo) is still funny for a three year old, especially when appropriating the paper bag that the new stuffed animals were in. We drove home then.

[[image:2011_0722yaya27.jpg:Pirate sitting on a stool:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya28.jpg:Pensive in the stroller:center:0]]

(I wonder what 3-year-olds ponder – the meaning of life? Sunsets? What’s for dinner?)

[[image:2011_0722yaya29.jpg:Baby cat walking on all fours:center:0]]

[[image:2011_0722yaya30.jpg:Hugging Aunty Mandy’s leg:center:0]]

And then it was bath- and bedtime for little girls.

At any rate, a while ago (pre-Yaya) Hisham told me how much fun it was being a parent and how funny Irfan was. Like many childless people, I understood that theoretically but of course didn’t really get it. But I get it now. Yaya (despite all the challenges that we have to go through to try and raise her right), is tons of fun and we do find her funny. We’re constantly laughing at her and with her and these have been the best three years we’ve ever had. We are definitely looking forward to the future!¬†

Happy birthday baby! We love you! And to close, Yaya blows out the candle on her cupcake with a little help from Papa:

[[image:2011_0722yaya31.jpg:Blow!!:center:0]]

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