Both of my children attend a large Chinese school in the area with a well deserved reputation for being ferocious. The school packs in a rigorous weekly lesson all in 2 hours every Friday night and then the students are sent home to digest the lesson with a week’s worth of intense daily homework. Three times a year, the students endure a painful final exam to gauge how well they absorbed the curriculum.

Unbeknownst to me, my baby’s 2nd grade Chinese class started a weekly “spelling” test since the beginning of this school year. Since I didn’t know about it, practicing for a “spelling” test didn’t make it into our daily homework routine. If you know a thing or two about taking a Chinese character test, you can image what the test results would look like if a student is caught unprepared–especially if the student is a little kid.

Both of my children have been spoiling me with good grades, and we are unaccustomed to such utter defeat on a piece of paper! Yikes!!

When this was finally brought to my attention, I kept quiet and did not make it into a big fuss, but took immediate actions to correct this unfortunate little embarrassment. Everyday of last week, I had my baby practice all of the Chinese characters a whole bunch of times, then we took practice tests, then more writing, more practice tests, more writing… By Friday, we were confident that the baby knew all the characters by heart, and would pass this test with flying colors.

So, last night, as I was walking my kids to their Chinese school, I happily put my arm around my baby, and said proudly, “Tasterbach, your Chinese teacher will be so surprised! You are going to get an A+ on this test.”

“Yeah. She will be so surprised. Because I did really badly on my tests before.” The baby agreed happily.

“What’s really bad? Like an F?” said my 10 year old.

“No. Not a F. My children would never bring home a F.” I covered for the baby.

“No! I did worse than an F!” Tasterbach boldly exclaimed.

“What’s worse than F?!” asked my 10-year-old.


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