Monday, May 31, 2010

The Shis on the Great Wall

Another highlight of Wayne's father's trip to Beijing was his parents' first-ever visit to the Great Wall of China, Rosabelle's second, as we visited the same place, Mutianyu, that we brought my family to when they came here last June.

First off, I'm glad the Minnie Mouse cap I bought for Rosabelle came on time for her to wear it yesterday as shield from the sun. She goes 'mao' as she can't really pronounce 'mouse', and even sleepily pointed at the Minnie Mouse on my T-shirt once after waking from her nap and before wanting milk, haha! So I decided to get her a proper 'mao' (mouse) cap - again, girls being girls, pretty in pink as we waited for the adults to offload (i.e. go to the washroom) before we made the trek. It was a smooth journey, and not as may people as we thought. We'd actually wanted to go on a Friday, but as I was nursing a flu, thank goodness we put this off till Sunday, as the weather was really great - not too hot, a bit cloudy (though with a slight drizzle at one point).

We set off as soon as Rosabelle woke up as Nai nai prepared steamed egg with prawns for me to feed her in the car. Nai Nai took care of her whilst Wayne went to purchase the tickets. She went 'Wa wa 多' when she saw alot of male visitors, haha...
Here they are looking at ants - 大蚂蚁 and 小蚂蚁 (and a better view of her new cap).
Here is a classic '看妈妈' warning from Nai nai whenever Rosabelle does something wrong - Nai nai normally does not have the heart to reprimand her harshly (think all grandparents have a soft spot) and will use me to threaten her, haha!
And then we took a skylift up to the Great Wall (yah, we cheated), where brave Rosabelle held on to the handrail with both hands and did not struggle/move around when I was carrying her in my arms. It was actually quite dangerous, come to think of it, as she does not have any seatbelts, and thank goodness she was well-behaved. I even wanted to take photos but Wayne was so disgusted with my blatant lack of safety that he confiscated the camera from this mamarazzi. -_-

Ye Ye and Nai Nai were on the skylift in front of us but only Nai Nai waved back at us when Rosabelle called - turned out Wayne's father has a fear of heights and had his eyes closed throughout the 5-minute ordeal for him.

And so we reached, with Wayne starting the ascent with the 11kg load....

We had some snacks like bread, milk and noodles, and Rosabelle had steamed potato and sweet potato we'd prepared earlier - just to make sure we had enough energy before the climb.

There she is, one of the smallest/youngest climbers around....
As the roads were steep/rocky, we held her hand whenever she came down, and I decided to squat to get to the same level as her...
And she decided she also wanted to squat like us...
Some of the steps were low, and just nice for her to practise her climbing.
An elated Ye Ye who thinks it'd only take us 30 minutes to get to the cable station to bring us down (we took like about an hour...). Rosabelle stretching out her arms for Daddy to carry her - quite clever as Wayne was the fastest amongst us in spite of the load...

Though Nai nai and I took turns to carry Rosabelle at times, alot of the steps were high and/or steep, so thank goodness for fit and healthy Daddy!

We also ventured up to one of the viewing galleries and waved at Ye ye and Nai nai from up there. Wayne carried Rosabelle up to see a donkey outside, and she can now remember and say 'donkey' very well, heh! Just as well she saw a live one as she always referred to donkies in pictures as a horse.
Their first trip ever to the Great Wall of China, a must for any Chinese citizen...
And with their granddaughter at that... they must feel so happy...
Wayne's Dad likes to strike poses, asking Wayne to 'take one with the sunglasses, another without, then one half-body, another a full shot...', as he always likes to look far away - a very classic 70's pose.
Here, Rosabelle even picked up Ye ye's faraway gaze...
The sun was up most of the time, but it was not scorching hot, though there was a passing cloud that Ye ye warned us about ('Let's hide here and wait for that to pass,' said Dad. 'What cloud? Just move on!' said Mum... and she admitted her fault after we had to turn back less than 1 minute on, and had to whip out the lone brolly I had the foresight to bring... (yes, I was that prepared, but I actually forgot to bring my daughter's water bottle and she had to drink from our mineral water bottle and the cup from the hot water flask...yikes!).

The younger-generation Shis...
Don't the three of them look so very alike?
My mother-in-law, the most patient and kind that anyone can ask for... she has to be - she has put up living with me under one roof for more than two months! Rosabelle was too engrossed eating the seaweed I gave her...


And we finally posed for a full family shot.When we reached the cable station, we were all happy as larks, but almost fainted when they said our return ticket for the skylift cannot be used for this. Luckily they said we could get a refund, but needed to purchase separate tickets for the cable car. Phew!

Wayne's Dad was apprehensive and looked down most of the time, but he said it was much better than the skylift - Rosabelle was more interested in exploring around the cabin, heh!
After that, we headed back and went to a restaurant for lunch as I fed Rosabelle in the car first - she had fish cereal with wheatgerm, and enjoyed her peas/corns, topped off by kiwi fruit. By the time we got going, it was close to 3 pm, and I was so tired out I fell asleep before Rosabelle did - she was reading magazines in the car and slowly dozed off, yabbering just seconds before. I in fact asked if she wanted to drink milk before she slept and she just smiled cheekily at me and shook her head - self-weaning soon?!

As the chiropractor's was on the journeyback, we stopped by there first to get my neck pain cured, and the closing of car doors made her wake up with a start crying, thwarting my plan to leave her in the car with Nai nai as Wayne brought me in.

In the end, the whole entourage went down and Ye Ye and Nai Nai played with her for close to an hour whilst we got our treatment, before we headed on home. It was too late to cook dinner so we just stopped by home for me to get her fruit for dinner and food scissors/bib before we went to 花家怡园 for dinner.

When we reached home, it was more than 12 hours since my last feed and I was so engorged I had to hand express about 60ml for her to drink. Oh dear, it's been awhile since I last 'leaked'... *blush*.

Welcome, Ye Ye!

OK, I have less than 48 hours before I pack Rosabelle and myself off on a flight back to Singapore, and I've been negligent in my updates on this blog as Wayne's Daddy came (and is leaving tonight). Gulp! (I have a motherload of an entry for my final Singapore-Sentosa post...)

What has happened since... I've come down with a bad flu since last Thursday, and at about the same time, suffered a bad neck from a wrong sleeping position. Yikes! So, afternoons/nights where I could have been getting ready in my packing or updating this blog, or getting a manicure, or getting a facial before I leave, I had to rest, and yesterday went to visit the chiropractor (Wayne's a regular there) who helped me massage (it's less painful now - phew!) and said I need long-term therapy as the curvature of my spine is now absent (normal spines have a degree of curvature - mine is like straight, and he said it's a build-up of at least 3, or maybe 10 years of such strain/bad posture. Woo hoo, just what I need right now. And I still sound/am nasal as I have finished my last dose of trusty Febs medicine from Singapore, and do not dare take any other as I broke out in rashes taking the local flu meds previously, not safe especially when I am still nursing... so hope this will really clear by the time Wednesday comes.

But back to Ye Ye - he came by on an overnighter train last Wednesday morning, and checked into a studio apartment just across our block (RMB200/night). Wayne's mum seems happy having him around (who wouldn't?), and joins him at night. Rosabelle took awhile to warm up to Ye Ye, giving him smiles, but not allowing him to touch/carry her on the first meeting - maybe it's because it's close to 2.5 months since they saw each other, but whenever he is out of her sight, she will call loudly 'Ye Ye! Ye Ye!', and he will answer '干什么', so she knows how to echo the '么' now... In fact, when Ye Ye went out of the car one day, Rosabelle started her fake crying of 'Ye Ye... Ye Ye', whining pitifully, but breaking into a smile and peeping at me through her closed, crying eyes - what a good actress...
The main reason of Ye Ye's visit was to celebrate his 60th birthday, and we went to this restaurant called 松鹤楼 on 27 May, coincidentally, the restaurant we brought him to when Wayne's parents met Rosabelle for the first time. He remembered the place served 佛跳墙 and wanted to try this delicacy for his birthday, and so we went, with our Queen first sitting on her throne in the reserved room...
Then Wayne doing the usual of entertaining her as we order the food and I have it prepared for her...
Or is it she is entertaining Daddy?...
She looked at the cups for serving 白酒 and shouted '要!要!要!' and we offered it to her. The cup, of course - the 'poison' served is just harmless water. She was pleased, but abit shy, to take the first sip...
See her pretending that she wants, and then not wanting it...
And there you go....ah...water served in another container tastes sweeter huh...
It was a good meal, and importantly, Dad's father was very pleased with the food, and Rosabelle was letting out intermittent '快乐' to wish him '生日快乐'. Her Chinese vocab is growing by leaps and bounds as she says two words like 倒水, 穿鞋, 手手脏, and can now complete the last word or two, or hum/sing parts on her own accord of limericks like小蘑菇 (and she can say that the 伞 in the song is 'um' as in umbrella), 大南瓜, 小袋鼠, 两只老虎, 找朋友. I tell you, kids have the best memory and she can pick it up after we recite it a few times - even I have trouble memorising as she learns at the same time as Mummy, aiyo!
That evening, Rosabelle rejected the pineapple we prepared for her as an after-nap snack - maybe she knew cake was coming? And so it did - almond cake from 21cake, tres yummy, where I only limited her to one slice, and even then, just the cake, and not the cream.
Rosabelle was clapping along, and sang 'Happy' (as she always does when she sees a picture of a birthday cake on a poster in our lift). If you ask her what we ate for Yeye's birthday, she can remember and say 'cake'.
The wordings on the cake read '六十大寿', when Wayne initially wanted '60', and I warned him it looks too much like China National Day wordings, haha!
Ye Ye normally goes for morning/evening walks, even finding a bunch of old men to play table tennis (his love) with, and would at times go buy food for cooking. He's more a morning person, and eats really fast, so he will scoot off for a smoke after his early meals. Think Rosabelle will miss Ye Ye when he leaves tonight, as he needs to go home to Zhengzhou first to get his identification card - he forgot to bring it to Beijing, and Wayne decided to bring his parents to Shanghai for Shanghai Expo this week for a few days since Rosabelle and I are not in. So, he will take the overnight train with his mum and meet his Dad directly in Beijing, where the dear Choons will provide nice, homely accommodation - so sweet of them!

It'll be a good trip and break for Wayne together with his folks, and Rosabelle and I will all miss them whilst in Singapore!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gong Hei Fatt Choy!

This is so seriously backdated - Chinese Lunar New Year fell on 14 February this year (Happy Valentine's too!), but the Shis were apart since Wayne could not get an earlier flight (he only got into Singapore on 17 Feb). As usual, we had our steamboat dinner with my parents at home a day earlier on 12 Feb, as my sister had to join her parents-in-law on 13 Feb, CNY eve. Rosabelle enjoyed the fish ball, tofu (ate almost a whole boxload!), vermicelli, chicken and everything that went into the pot.

On roaring Tiger's day, fortunately she woke up early enough for us to get a quick start on making our rounds, and was decked in a Polo dress Mum bought for her whilst we were at the children's wholesale place last June. Preeeety in pink!
Vain pot Mummy taking the chance to camwhore in Popo's car...
We visited about 6 homes in all, and our girl had her first taste of Yeo's packet drinks - thank goodness they have it in a 'less sugar' version now, but she was only limited to small sips, and that made her want to pull straws off packets and poke them into the holes everytime she saw packet drinks... She also enjoyed the goodies like cakes, egg rolls, and especially kueh lapis (can polish off 3 slices before I stopped her!).
As lunch was out and about, I prepared cereal on the go, a hard boiled egg and some potato, corn and peas for her as she snacked on them along the way. She was a dear in my relatives' places, gamefully accepting the ang pows and giving her sweet smiles, but of course not allowing them to carry her yet, but thank goodness there was no stranger anxiety/crying fits.
This was a rare shot (only one!) of Rosabelle and Gong Gong/Po Po, and even then she was whining and wanting for 'Mummy'... -_-.
This is better, but I think she's more distracted by something else...
By the time we wrapped up the relatives go-around, it was past three as we headed for our last stop at my sister's place. In the car, I continued taking photos of her and she gamely smiled ever so slightly before conking off into a deep sleep milliseconds after this series of shots was taken.
Totally zonked out on my sister's couch...
Before she got woken up rudely by screaming Simon/Marianne as they played around, but I'm sure she was happy since she recovered fast and could then play with her beloved Simon Ge Ge and Marianne Jie Jie (she's giving her fake, hearty laugh here whenever Simon calls 'Rosabelle Mei Mei...').
On 17 Feb, we went to visit my Dua Yi (Big Aunty) at Sembawang.
There she is getting busy attacking the New Year snacks...
And after that, we headed to Sembawang Mall for lunch at a Hong Kong restaurant (see how distorted her face looks when Simon Ge Ge squeezes it?).
On 20 Feb, we had lunch at my sister's in-laws' place, which was amok with so many children as Simon and Marianne have so many cousins (mainly the second brother who has 4 kids). Bethany, the second girl, liked Rosabelle alot, and Marianne was overheard telling her, 'You say something and she will follow you, you know?' Even Christian, the third boy, allowed Rosabelle to sit on his Little Tikes motorbike (unheard of as he is possessive about it with his cousins).Here is Daniel, the third brother's kid, who is a week younger than Rosabelle, and his Mummy, uber-slim Jane.
And there she goes again, spreading abit of New Year love all around...
Lovely series of catch-ups and reunions - would have been more perfect if Wayne was around though!