Monday, July 14, 2008

You are 1... you are 2... you are 3!

"Happy birthday, my dearest niece Marianne Toh! You are exactly three years old today! You have really brought much joy to the Loh, Toh, and Shi families, and though your Kor Kor Simon makes it seem as if he wants to literally tear your hair out at times, he has also gained much and grown from having a lovely Mei Mei like you as his best playmate."

I first saw my niece less than a week after she was born as I had a Client meeting back in Singapore then, and she was just a reddish-looking, wrinkled puppy-like helpless baby.

Fast forward to 7 months later on my next trip home, and my oh my, has she grown...into a sweet, doe-eyed lovely girl. She loved to frown, to the extent that she has a full-wrinkled forehead, but when she smiled, boy, could she melt hearts with her toothy grins...

As time went by and as I caught up with her growth on the trips home (or over family holidays like the ones where they came to Beijing to visit us, or in Malaysia, Australia, or Indonesia), I witnessed the maturing of the little baby girl. Anybody who saw a photo of her would clamour about how cute she is, and how beautiful her eyes are...

...or how much she looks like the Japanese cartoon character Chibi Maruko Chan/Xiaowanzi!

Mummy and my sis always call her a very "matured" child, and perhaps even fierce at times, fiercely defending herself/her property from her Kor Kor; fiercely sticking closely to her Mummy at all times; fiercely adamant/stubborn (a trait of her Mummy, I find, hehe)... I still remember a hilarious incident where I mentioned to my Mummy that I noticed streaks in Marianne as an infant that reminded me of my Grandma (who passed away before Marianne was born) - she liked to stare at/observe people, make her mouth into an "O" shape, and at that time, had my Mummy at her beck and call (haha!). So I asked my Mummy to address Marianne as "Mah!" (meaning: mother), and Marianne actually looked around - we had (and still have) a good laugh about this - "Imagine me having to call my granddaughter my mother!"

Anecdotes about the kids, as shared by my Mummy and Sis, always lighten me up, and Wayne especially thinks that Marianne (his "Anne Anne") is such an obedient and cute girl. Marianne has also returned the affection by being really sweet and close to Wayne (our guess is that after Wayne whisked her off into the sunlight after she almost broke out in tears in a pitch-dark limestone cave in Perth, she has viewed him as her knight in shining armour... henceforth it has always been "Uncle Wayne" this, and "Uncle Wayne" that...haha!).

When she was scolded at home recently for not eating her food, my Mum threatened that Uncle Wayne (that of Wayne in our wedding pic on the TV set) was angry, and Marianne immediately slipped out a big smile at "Uncle Wayne" in the photo to appease his anger - hilarious!

At times, when I am on the phone with Mum, Marianne does not really want to come to talk to me on the phone, but upon finding out Wayne's on the line as well, she will scoot over and sing songs for him (and I thought blood is thicker than water!).

And when my Sis was going through the alphabet with Simon and Marianne recently, Simon said "W for Yiyi Wendy", no prizes for guessing what (or who) the "W" in Marianne's heart stands for! Well, I can take heart at her having the same, good taste I have in men - wahaha!

But Marianne, like Simon, have been great joys in my life, and also the reasons why I enjoy my trips back to Singapore. When my family recently went on a trip to Switzerland to visit my Brother, Marianne asked my brother on the first night they were there, "Is Yiyi coming?" - she has always associated family reunions with my presence as well, and it's such a sweet thought/association.

Such (to borrow from my Client, MasterCard), "priceless" moments are what I hold close to my heart, and I am looking forward to reuniting with my family in Sep when I am home.

"Happy Birthday Marianne - wish you a happy, healthy, and bountiful life! I hope our darling daughter will grow up to be as sweet as obedient as you, Marianne dear, and that you will impart good values on to your cousin Mei Mei."

With love from Yiyi Wendy (and your favourite Uncle Wayne) in Beijing!

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