Archive for » March, 2011 «

I am a regular volunteer at both of my children’s classrooms. Part of my weekly volunteering duties at my 7-year-old’s classroom involves working with a small group of children. And over the past several months, I have gotten to know these kids, and apparently enough for at least one of them to take an interest in me.

“Mom? Mia asked me how old you are today.” 7-year-old.

“Oh. What did you tell her.” Me.

“I don’t know.” 7-year-old.

“Tomorrow, you can tell her that I am 29.” grinning, as I declared myself to the universal age for women past the age of 30.

“Mom! You CAN”T be 29!” 10-year-old stood up from their homework table, and stared at me with an incredulous look.

What’s wrong with this child!!

“WHY NOT!” I roared.

“I am 10 years old. If you are 29, then people will think that you had me at 19!” 10-year-old.

Wow…smiling to myself. I have successfully ingrained in my children that 19 is not an appropriate age to rear children. A proper 19 year old should be a busy sophomore in some nice university.

“Ah…good thing you know math…” me, “can I be 35 then?”

10-year-old tapped a finger on the temple, and then finally approved, “Yes, you can be 35.”

“Tell Mia that I am 35 tomorrow.” me, to my 7-year-old who was nodding in approval.

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As the devastating Images of the Japanese great quake and Tsunami unfold all over the news media, they serve as a strong warning of what can happen here where we live. We live within close proximity to two rather famous menacing fault lines. Like Japan, we have an ocean nearby, and our local news channel recently introduced me to two nuclear reactor plants that are located near the coast south of us. One of them is about 200 miles south of us, which is about how far the first troubled nuclear reactor in Japan is from Tokyo, the news anchor had explained purposefully.

All of this sprang me into action last week. I finally got an earthquake emergency kit together for my family. I have always thought that we should have one, and seeing what happened in Japan had me thinking that getting a 3-day emergency supply kit is the responsible thing to do.

I didn’t just go online and buy a ready made kit. I diligently did some research to see what an emergency kit should consist of, and built my own list of emergency supplies to cater to the needs of my family.

Here is what I got:

Earthquake Kit

1)First Aid kit with a variety of 70 items.

2)Extra pair of our contact lens and solution. (We have to be able to see)

3)Children’s Pain Killer medicine

4)Hand Sanitizer and Wet Naps

5)Feminine product for me

6)Drinking Water

7)Canned food – nutritious with long expiration dates

8)Can Opener

9)Flash light

10)Swiss army pocket knife

11) Bleach – In the event of an earthquake, the plumbing might be out of order, and we must continue to answer nature’s call, so bleach is necessary to keep our area sanitary, and prevent us from getting sick.

12) Duct Tape – This is where I evoke our government’s comforting words – “Out of abundance of precaution”, this tape is necessary in case of radiation or other bio hazard agents are released in the air, and we are told to stay in-doors, and seal off outside air from reaching us.

13)My children’s favorite toddler fork-and-spoon set that I could never give away.

14)Copy of our passports for identification, with family members’ phone numbers written on the back.

The Earthquake Kit is all set and ready, but it is only part I of my emergency preparedness.

Part II required me to gather my children together and discuss what they should do in the morbid scenario if my husband and I should die, and they are left to fend for themselves.

I kept the conversation real simple and matter of fact. I went over the individual items in our emergency kit, how and when to use them. Including that the canned food was purchased for its nutritional value and that even if they hated it, they must eat to survive even if they don’t feel hungry. And that they need to remember to drink water. And if they can hear rescue people outside, they must make lots of noise to attract their attention. Finally, I informed the children where copies of our Living Trust are located.

As I put all the emergency supplies in a sturdy bag, and put it in a place that we all agree is the best spot for an earthquake disaster. I felt a little better about facing the impending big quake that all the experts are threatening us with.

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My kids found a plate-coloring arts-and-crafts kit in our garage, and spent the bulk of their weekend designing and coloring a set of two plates.

My 7-year-old’s plate had 3 colorful shapes of fish, immersed in a turquoise blend of green and blue. It was beautiful, looked just like the bottom of a tropical ocean.

My 10-year-old’s plate featured bold bright colors. It had a red dragonfly at the center, a yellow background, and a green rim all around the plate, with simple and artistic designs around the dragonfly.

The kids were really proud. They left them in the kitchen to dry, and shared happy conversations about how they couldn’t wait to use these plates.

After I dropped the kids off at school, I noted that the plates were already dry. So, I decided to clean them. I figured that the proper use of plates requires a pile of food on top of them. So, these plates need a good rubbing to accommodate food consumption.

I put both plates in the sink, and turned the water on them. Then I turned to prepare my sponge with soap, when I turned back to the other side of my double sink, I saw with horror that nearly the entire sink was streaking with bright colors rushing to the drain of the sink.

I froze momentarily, CRAP!!…should have read the directions first. I turned my head to look at the box these plates had came from. The innocent looking box was still sitting on our kitchen island.

Oh….NO!! I shut off the water. The bright colors of the plates had melted all together by the splashes of the running water, still draining continuously onto the base of the sink.

I took a deep breath, then proceeded to give the plates a good scrub with my ready soapy sponge. I concluded that I am better off with naked plates, than leaving behind strong evidence of just how badly I had assaulted my children’s art projects.

As the day went on, I began to dread the time when my children would come home. I knew they would be livid when they set their eyes on these clean plates.

I know!!! A bright idea popped in my head. I will take the children straight to Baskin Robbins after school today! What kind of kids would throw bad tantrums at their mother after she just fed them huge ice cream.

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Category: Humor, Kids, Parents  One Comment

“Wait! Don’t you get your test papers back tonight?” I gasped suddenly in our otherwise quite drive to my children’s Chinese school last Friday evening.

“Yeah…” 10-year-old replied from the back seat.

We just had a 2 week break from our Chinese school, and the previous Friday before that was our Chinese school’s big 2nd trimester test night. I vaguely recalled that my 10-year-old had mumbled something about not doing well on that test. This was a bad sign.

I adore Ms. Jiang. We are fortunate to have had her as my 10-year-old’s Chinese teacher for the last three years. But she is very strict, and has a passion for teaching these kids Chinese that I sometimes consider over-zealous.

Ms. Jiang’s Chinese tests are impossibly hard. In order for children with even superior intelligence to do reasonably well requires exhausting parental assistance on a daily basis for at least 2 weeks. Therefore, the fault of children who fail her tests lies strictly on the mothers. And Ms. Jiang has the habit of lecturing such mothers on such occasion.

I am against being lectured by Ms. Jiang. She doesn’t even pull you aside, and do it in a discreet manner. No! She does it in the middle of her classroom in her regular lecture volume. Since she can only catch the parents right before or right after the class, usually, other parents in addition to her students get to witness the embarrassing exchange. I decided that I must avoid her that night.

“Meet me at Tasterbach’s classroom after class tonight!” I quickly turned to my 10-year-old, and issued this order.

“Why!” 10-year-old.

“In case you bombed that test! Your teacher will want to complain about me.” me.

“Oh.” my 10-year-old has witnessed Ms. Jiang barking at various parents a number of times, so no further explanation was required.

At the school, I parted ways with my 10-year-old, and lead my baby into the 2nd grade classroom.

Oh, no! We had the wrong school bag with us, I had my 10-year-old’s bag. It was still 10 minutes before class, perhaps, Ms. Jiang will not be in her classroom. I told my baby to grab a front row seat, and rushed to the 5th grade classroom to swap the bags.

As I pulled the heavy door open, I came to face Ms. Jiang bending down at her teaching desk to shuffle what appeared to be the children’s test papers. She turned her head and saw me.

“Jiang lao shi, ni hao!” I quickly summoned my big smile and greeted her.

She straightened herself and smiled in return.

“Tested very poorly.” Ms. Jiang stated dryly still wearing her smile.

I paused to consider this half sentence…not sure if she meant specifically my kid or her class as a whole, perhaps I am in good standing thanks to a low curve.

Ms. Jiang still looking and smiling at me, waiting for my response.

“Do you mean my child or the whole class?” I had to ask.

“Your kid. But I am talking to YOU!” Ms. Jiang.

Oh…what a jinx! My earlier fear was coming alive.

“Oh, sorry, sorry. Next time, we will do better. Next time, sorry…” as I made my apologies, I quickly ran over to my child’s seat, exchanged the bags, and ran out of the classroom as quickly as I could.

I had two very good reasons for retreating from Ms. Jiang as quickly as humanly possible. One, it is never a good idea to extend a conversation that lacks a happy ending with certainty. Two, if I linger long enough to appease Ms. Jiang, there is a good chance that her A or B students will arrive with their moms, and Ms. Jiang would seize the opportunity to rub it in some more by complimenting those Moms on their children’s good grades. She would then proclaim the “A” kid’s mom to be the model mother for her classroom.

When I heard her classroom door shut, I slowed down my pace in the hallway. For a brief moment. Ms. Jiang’s tactics had its presumed desired effect on me. As I headed back to my baby’s classroom with the right bag, I considered methods to become a better drill sergeant for Chinese tests, and try to whip an “A” out of my 10-year-old the next time. For once, I would like to be the model mother in Ms. Jiang’s class!

I met my 10-year-old in the hallway at the end of class. My worry-faced child immediately handed me the miserable test. A 53%…that’s the 6th letter of the alphabet. As I counted this ruthless test was eight pages long, I did not have the heart to bark at my child. I held my child close, and said, “It’s okay. We will do better next time.”

The test papers with 53%

Here are my two previous posts about Chinese School: 1) Chinese School Vs School school 2) Crazy Memorization Week

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