Sunday, January 10, 2010

In & Around

On Friday, when Wayne went to enquire about Rosabelle's visa matters* (as she needs to apply for an exit permit to get out of China, since there is no clarity about the denounciation of Chinese citizenship stinky conundrum), I brought her to Raffles City - alone. Gasp! I realized it was my first time alone with Rosabelle in a shopping centre for a long period of time - any other time would be on familiar grounds in the yard.

In any case, given that she can now toddle pretty well, we seldom bring her Quinny Buzz out, since she does not like to sit in it (must be the tight straps caused by too much thick clothing), and she likes to explore things on her own.

So off I bravely went, donning a backpack (as our usual side-sling bag is rather impractical for me to carry and still hold/carry her at the same time for a long period). On the way there as Wayne gave us a lift, she started becoming greedy and went 'nom, nom, nom', her usual way of pretending to chew if she wants to/sees people eat (she rejected the banana I offered her, so she probably wanted some other food, but I did not bring her biscuits that day). So I thought...'Ok...alone in a shopping centre, and alone feeding her in a public place...'. And later on, when we were reaching, I told Wayne 'Ok, now I also need to go to the toilet... let's see how I can manage that with Rosabelle...'.

In any case, when we got there, I was more excited than she was - it was a girls' day out, and the start of many Mummy-daughter shopping trips to come - haha! I looked around first for a snack place to cure her 'nom, nom, nom'-ing, and found Toast Box, a Singapore branch selling toast (the name gave it away, huh?). I ordered a kaya+butter toast and a warm cup of barley drink, and sat down in the (luckily) not very crowded restaurant with a sofa seat.

Bad news - they had no baby chairs, so I basically had to keep one hand on Rosabelle as she sat next to me and I fed her some bread. Deciding I did not want her to eat too much of the sweet kaya jam, I cut up the banana and left it on the same plate and fed her from there, effectively deluding my own child into thinking the banana was 'adult/foreign' food = nice food, haha!

Rosabelle was pretty obedient, sitting next to me and cruising along the sofa, until the last part where I had to hastily gobble down my food/drink when she had to get down from the sofa and start walking. When I asked the waitress to help top up her water bottle with hot water, Rosabelle even said '谢谢' on her own accord - how nice!

Next stop - toilet break. I decided I will do a quick one whilst carrying/holding her with one hand and doing erm... my miscellaneous toilet stuff with the other. Tricky business, but I was sure as hell going to have to do it - I could not possibly leave her anywhere else... until I saw the heaven-sent installation in the first cubicle I went into.

Ta-dah! Ta-dah!! Ta-dee-dah!!!
This - I'm not even sure what it's called - baby carrier in the cubicle was perfecto for mums like me! Rosabelle wasn't very keen on getting into the rather cramped seat in the first place, resisting it slightly but I pushed her in - I'd rather a sitting, crying baby than one standing around me getting her hands all over the toilet walls, or horrors, toilet bowl, right?

After some time, she seemed to enjoy her new seat (or view? ho-hum...), and even swung her legs and started tapping her fingers on the wall/door, haha!

The rest of our outing went along rather uneventfully as she walked at times, or I carried her at times - Wayne and I realize that she's a good girl when it comes to shopping. She will know/realize the out of-bounds items and mumble to herself to '不动、不动', or if she wants to touch something, she will look at the adults to see our reactions first. If we give her the go-ahead, she will use only her fingertips to touch ever so gingerly then look at us sheepishly, haha!

On Saturday, we went to Solana for some shopping around the kids' level first before we headed to Annie's next door for lunch. At Solana, she enjoyed stepping on/looking at older kids play with the interactive light pictures of flowers/fishes/soccer balls. At the beginning, she just sat on the floor and wanted to grab at the flowers, even looking up to grin/wave at the adults standing around looking at her - haha, what an attention-seeker!
This is her with her favourite animal of the moment - 猫猫...
We had a good, albeit pretty rushed (since they had a huge booking for 1:30pm and we needed to finish before then) lunch at Annie's, where she had spaghetti bolognese (she actually tried beef at home already and likes it very much), seabass, and some mashed potato and lentil soup.

For Wayne and I, the highlight of our weekend was on date night on Friday, when Wayne had craving for paella. So we took out a listings magazine, and decided on heading to Nali Patio (see? Sanlitun Village/Nali Patio is really our de facto place) to try out
Niajo, a Spanish restaurant. When we entered the cosy restaurant, I knew we hit on a right place as it was full of angmors (expats) - haha... we couldn't be wrong, huh? So we ordered lentil soup, shrimp tapas, rocket salad, and of course, the chicken paella. Top these off with our drinks of red wine for Wayne, and a sangria for me, and it was a most wonderful dinner, with great service (and free flow of hot, crusty soft bread) to boot. Yummy! It did not come cheap at RMB385 in total, and the paella wasn't really something that wonderful (maybe we preferred the version we had in Zurich), but it sure was a nice experience.

After that, we headed next door for more drinks! (Bad, bad, bad - Wayne was driving, and I'm still nursing...but well, it's Friday date night, right?)
Apothecary has had alot of great reviews, and I knew I just had to check the place out. It's nice and cosy, and we sat at the bar where the waiters/waitresses liked to make small talk with you (not to the extent that it's trying-too-hard/intrusive), and they had a daunting drinks list which was different but interesting. I settled on an egg nog (I didn't know egg nog had alcohols in it - heh!), and Wayne had a Ward Eight of whisky cocktail. I liked my drink heaps and would definitely have another round if I did not know to curb myself...hic!

The alcohol sure made me have a nice, great sleep that night!

* Turns out we need to return to Zhengzhou this week, with Rosabelle in tow. We were told, upon return from Singapore, that Rosabelle does not need to renew her two-month-validity China visa since she is considered a Chinese citizen, and just needs to apply for an exit permit upon leaving China. However, apparently, the rules have since changed (surprise, suprise - this is China!), and they cannot issue her with an exit permit as her visa has expired. Only way we can leave China now, without her incurring a hefty fine of RMB500/day for each day of expiry (!!!! I can think of unprintable swear words... if only this wasn't a family-friendly blog... !!!), is to denounce her citizenship... in Zhengzhou. So yes, it's going to be a roadtrip (coincidentally, we also made the trip home in August before returning to Singapore in September), and I'm hoping it won't be too tiring for our girl and she remains in high spirits/good health!

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