￼Moka turns one year old today and so I’d like to commemorate that by listing 12 things about her, one for each month she has been alive.
Moka and I share an unusual quirk. We both like to rub our feet on different textures. Who knew that podotactilia (my term) was genetic? Other traits she acquired from me: multiple sneezes and a love of watermelon.
She has a sixth sense for watermelon. As soon as I get it out of the fridge, she stops whatever she’s doing wherever she may be and comes running up to me and starts tugging at my shorts and raising a ruckus until I give her a piece.
But her favorite food is black sesame tofu. It’s crazy. She can’t get enough of it. It’s the only thing she doesn’t get tired of.
She doesn’t like her hands to be touched. By anyone. It’s amazing the number of strangers who come up to her and try to touch her hands. She shoos them all off. Sometimes she smacks their hands away.
No matter how much we’ve tried to be gender neutral, she coos at cute things, and she clearly prefers pink feminine clothes.
Moka started walking solidly at 10 months old, which by all accounts is very early. She took her first steps during her ninth month. This wasn’t some natural ability. I saw first hand how much work she put into it. She started practicing standing up since she was 6 months old, repeatedly using the full length mirror to pull herself up and then recklessly tossing herself back onto my lap. She would do this sometimes for an hour. She had a goal and she worked at it. She is a Virgo.
In public she likes to go up to people and stand in front of them until they smile at her. Then she flashes a huge smile back. Some people just look up and don’t smile. Others don’t even look up. I kind of feel bad for her when that happens. But they have a right. If they want to ignore an irresistibly cute baby they are welcome to continue living their cold heartless lives.
In order, these are the kinds of people she is drawn to most.
1. Elderly ladies. We think they remind her of her grandmother.
2. Pretty mothers. But only when she’s with me and without mommy.
3. White-haired men. She loves her grandpa.
4. Elementary school age boys. She sometimes goes up to them and opens her arms for a hug. My theory is that they remind her of her cousin, JJ, who she’s only seen on skype.
5. Older girls. No hugging here. Just observing from a distance.
6. Happy young couples. She’s drawn to smiling happy people in general.
7. Dogs. Hey dogs are people too.
8. Pigeons. Uh, pigeons are people too?
Her first word was ‘elephant’. In both English and Japanese. Well, ‘edeba’ in English and ‘doda’ in Japanese. So she’s already bilingual. It’s from a Japanese children’s song that I adapted into English. She starts singing it whenever she sees a picture of an elephant. In English with me and in Japanese with mom.
Whenever we enter a forest or a grove of trees, she makes happy chatty cooing sounds.
In the morning she just lounges on my lap, leaning back into my body and just chills out. It’s one of my favorite times with her.
When she falls or gets hurt she goes to mommy. When something scares or startles her she comes to me and commands me to take her to the offending thing. Already, she’s learning to face her fears. And I’m happy to chaperone her on her journey.