Archive for » January, 2012 «

The kids spent Monday at home with me. It was the MLKJ school holiday.

I took them grocery shopping at a Chinese supermarket. I thought it would be fun to buy Chinese New Year treats together. I have fond memories of going shopping for Chinese New Year with my parents when I was little.

After an authentic Chinese lunch at a restaurant in the shopping center, we walked toward the supermarket.

“Wait, Mom! Can we go in there?” The kids halted my march and pointed to a gift-ware store with enthused anticipation.

“Uh…okay.” me.

“Yeah!” they filed into the store cheering.

I immediately began to regret the okay. This store is full of random totally unnecessary, but ridiculously cute things that appeal to young children and overgrown she-child. They have these little tea pots that I would want to pet, rather than drink tea out of.

As soon as I stepped into the store, my children greeted me with this big-eyed whatever it is stuffed animal thing.

The Big Eye Thing

I felt trapped! They must have seen this thing from the store window, and knew they wanted it.

They wrapped their arms around this thing and stood pleading with me with the biggest smiles they could fake. The kind of smile that I often demanded from them when snapping a picture of them, then quickly decided that isn’t the smile I really wanted.

They are 11 and 8 years old. They have outgrown stuffed animals. So, I shook my head, and mouthed no.

They immediately changed facial strategy. They both curved their mouths downward, turned their fake smiles into sad faces, stared at me intently with those big sad puppy eyes, and blinked purposefully. Three pairs of big eyes staring at me were too much to bear. I cracked too easily.

“YEAH!!” the kids and the store owner were happy.

This big eye whatever it is cost $30 dollars!! This store is not cheap either.

On the drive home, I aired my grievance about this purchase out loud.

“I feel like a sucker for buying this thing for you guys.” me.

“Can’t believe it cost $30 dollars!” me.

“You two are too old for stuffed animals.” me.

“Sure, you have to have it now. But in a day or two, or at the most 2 weeks, it will sit in some corner collecting dust.” me.

The kids were oblivious to my ranting. They were busy holding the toy and giving it a name. They like to name everything.

“I want to call it Po Po.” 8-year-old.

“No! It sounds like Poo Poo.” 11-year-old.

“Why would you name that cute little thing Po Po? It sounds like grandma in Chinese!” I chimed in.

“How about big eye?” me.

They ignored my suggestion.

After we got home, the children spent most of their afternoon upstairs. They were suspiciously quiet.

Around dinnertime, I went upstairs to peek at them. I was surprised with a long line of toys from one of their bedrooms all the way around the hallway to the middle of our bonus room.

Line of toys

Toys along the wall

I have not seen most of these toys in a LONG time. They were dormant in some toy chest until that day. Most of the toys were stuffed animals, and many were old favorites, which I immediately reacquainted with sentimental feelings.

line of more old favorites

This long line of toys lead to the big eye thing, which sat in a big black leather chair.

Big Eye on his throne

Our newest toy has a god complex.

“What is this about?!” me.

“Today is Butterball’s birthday. So, everyone here is standing in line to wish him a happy birthday.” 11-year-old.

Of course, it was Butterball’s birthday. Butterball is a fitting name for Big Eye.

I was duly impressed with Butterball. That he could just show up and make my children shake off their sophisticated 3rd and 6th grader ways, and play like pre-schoolers. I have a healthy respect for childish happiness.

I no longer regretted buying Butterball.

“You two will need to clean all these up.” I shouted out, as I headed back downstairs.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Category: Kids  Leave a Comment

The most challenging part of my baby’s weekly Chinese homework is the 3 sentences. It introduces three Chinese words, and the baby has to write Chinese sentences incorporating each of the three words.

Every week, my baby procrastinates this assignment until my rescue. I usually start with encouragement, then helpful hints, then total giveaway suggestions, and finally, I write down the sentences on the homework sheet myself.

The baby is 8 years old. I decided it is time to wean the child from this dependency…cold turkey style.

“Tasterbach! You are 8 years old now. It is time you write your own Chinese sentences.” me to the baby.

The baby stared back at me, wide-eyed and disbelieving.

“You can do it! If there are words you don’t know how to write, just come and ask me. But you have to come up and write your own sentences from now on.” me.

All week, that section of the homework was left blank, and I began to feel hopeless.

Then, today, I opened the baby’s worksheet, and found this Chinese sentence written in the most childishly charming way. The word was “If”.

8-year-old's very own Chinese sentence!

The sentence translated into English almost word for word: “If I get an A+, my mom will hug me.”

Ha, ha. That’s for sure! But this baby gets plenty of hugs from me everyday, even without the support of an A+.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

We have a new addition to our family. His name is Fred.

We brought Fred home on Dec 30th, just in time to ring in the New Year with us.

Fred’s arrival was greeted with paparazzi-like fanfare, with camcorder rolling and competing cameras flashing. But none is more excited than my 11-year-old, who promptly started a Fred journal to deposit the details of this new excitement that will stand the test of time.

I took a peek in the journal today, and noted a few interesting clips of some entries:

Journal for Fred

12-30-11: Mom and Dad are taking too many pictures, and I think Fred is getting scared…..

12-30-11: When Mom was trying to take a picture, and she made me get out of the way. Now I can’t even look at Fred!! :( !!

12-30-11: He is very pretty.

(Dec 30th was Fred’s first day home, so the journal had many, many entries on that day.)

12-31-11: It is actually 1-1-12 now. Fred should really go to bed now. I think he’s tired. HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRED!!

1-1-12: Lauren and Megan came today. We showed them Fred, and they were excited.

1-2-12: I think Fred’s happy – I know I am!

1-3-12: We’re going back to school today. We won’t see Fred for 6 hours. :(

1-4-12: He farted! Bubbles came out of his butt!

Meet Fred

Fred is our kids’ new pet fish. Yes…we showered extreme admiration on a goldfish the size of a jolly rancher.

This little fish that swims aimlessly (and sometimes backwards) in his fish tank probably has no idea that he currently plays the role of the hero in our children’s happy childhood memories in the making.

Fred in his new home

I, too, love our Fred. He reignites my marvel at the simple joys of youth.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
Category: Kids  Leave a Comment