Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enough is enough!

OK, this is it. I am typing this in the afternoon of 27 July, 5 days short of August (and even then, did not finish this mother entry in one go, spanning over 10 days and going into August…), and with only one measly entry for the whole of July. Hell, my niece Marianne even turned five on July 14 with no dedicated entry/greeting for it… And even then, I had to type this in a word file as I have problem getting onto Hotspot Shield = no access to Blogspot = not able to update my blog (so it explains a late posting even after I finished my entry on 10 August…I had to install another Free VPN programme as apparently, Hotspot Shield blocks you after you have used up 10GB worth of downloads – HUH?!), and prior to this, we had problems with a faulty mouse, then had to reinstall Windows/all apps on our laptop as our pirated version installed by a lousy IT vendor was giving us problems. Grrrr….

So, short of procrastinating two months’ worth of entry and not getting down to clearing a serious backload, and getting some precious time off from housework, outings, facials/manicures/visiting non-restricted websites/blogs, and keeping my fingers crossed that Rosabelle has a good nap (she wakes up after 1h 15m at times, at others, 3h 15m, so I barely have time to clean up, bathe, and have her cry for me…), I am now writing random updates (note this entry only covers July happenings – June is Singapore stuff, and August will be for much later…hahahaha…).

So… Rosabelle has cleared the 21-month milestone on 24 July, and can say/sing/do a whole load of things. Below is a series of photos I took of her on 7 July (must list down dates of pictures, as I have so many backdates!) pretending to pucker her lips and whistle, whilst swinging her head and arms – tres adorable… (and of her pretending to laugh heartily whilst covering her mouth):

- Increasing affection for Papa after he started working: Think our girl realises Papa’s around the house less often, so she will gleefully run towards him and give a big hug/ask to be carried, following/tagging him around the house when he’s around. She even asks for Papa when she wakes up in the morning to nurse and sees that his side of the bed is empty. Of late, she has been copying me in calling her own Dad ‘老公’, it’s quite hilarious as we explain and test her on who is whose ‘老公’ as it took a few tries of mistaking Ye Ye to be my hubby before she got it right that Ye Ye is Nai Nai’s hubby, heh!

However, when it comes to ‘milk milk’ time at night, Papa doesn’t cut it, and Wayne pretended to lie on the bed and refused to budge whilst I whined that I have no place to sit and nurse her. She laid down, used her small body weight to bulldoze Papa away (so clever, as her hands have less strength/bulk), then called out to me urgently/seriously whilst holding Papa away, telling ‘Mummy, sit down!!!’. Wayne and I had a good laugh at this!

There were a few occasions when she woke up in time before Wayne left the house and she ran to grab her own handbag (my old handbag filled with knick-knacks like old credit/discount cards, a comb, tissue paper, key holder etc, and has been a favourite of late after I put in a few cleaned-up coins in the purse…), and claimed she wanted to ‘
上班’ as she proceeded to follow Wayne out the door. At other times, she will take the bag (or any other item with handles) and announce she is going to ‘买菜’, and when asked what she’s buying, it’s the usual ‘娃娃菜’… This closeness with Papa is good as she is slowly…

- Weaning off her strong dependence on me, or at least my presence: In the few days following our return from Singapore, it was really trying/tiring for me, and also for my poor MIL, as Rosabelle refused to let anybody else feed/bathe/cloth/carry/play with her. She must have been so used to it just being Mummy 24/7 in Singapore that she wanted me to feed her at meals when I would usually eat first and continue feeding her when I am done. However, I stuck firmly to my ground and refused to feed her, knowing that once I relented, there was no looking back and she would cry for me at every meal. So for the first few days, we dealt with an extremely whiney toddler who cried during meals, refusing to eat and only wanting ‘Mummy carry’, so much that she cried and fell asleep in my MIL’s arms once (and woke up an hour later crying, making her crying fit last for a total of 2 hours…), and on another occasion, cried till she almost fell as she was standing and so sleepy. I brought my meals into the study room to eat, as she cried pitifully outside and even called for ‘Papa carry’, and much to my amusement, said ‘Knock, knock, come in’ at the door – a phrase picked up from a favourite library book in Singapore. I had to gradually phase myself out, letting her sit on the sofa with me as Nainai fed her, and it slowly got better as I sat next to her at the dinner table and used the concept of enjoying a meal ‘together’ (a favourite word now) to ease her into the idea of Nainai feeding her.

There was one day when she refused to go to sleep in the afternoon even after repeated warnings that I will leave the room, asking to go onto her own bed, then to our bed, and vice-versa a few times. I got so fed up that when she cried and asked me to pat her, I told her to pat herself and she cried as she closed her eyes and patted herself on her buttocks – I wanted to laugh as it was a funny sight, so bad huh? She even indicated to me that her 凉席 was crumpled and could not be slept on but as I told her, she deserved it for making a mess of her own bed, so she had to sleep in it. In the end, I really carried out my threat to leave the room as I had given her ample warning, and she cried non-stop for half an hour as Nainai tried to console her. In the end, I went in after and asked her to lie down again. At this point, Nainai said, ‘她不睡,要不就别让她睡了。孩子哭了上火。 Don’t know what snapped in me at that point, but I was so angry that Nainai was allowing her to do the exact opposite, and in front of her, was actually suggesting that she can stay awake. I got so angry that I told her that ‘别在孩子面前说可以不睡觉啊!我们大人在孩子面前应该统一的,你别唱反调吧,妈!’. My ever so nice MIL said ‘’ at that point, and as I laid Rosabelle down (still awake and happy to have Mummy beside her at this point), and tried for another 15 minutes to ask her to sleep, I felt increasingly bad for being so rude to my MIL. I cried slightly (she too) when I apologized to her after, and she even said, ‘我们都是为了孩子好。没事的。你也跟你亲妈顶嘴,你不生气就好。’. So nice, right?!!! But at least now we are on the same page when it comes to contradictory standards for Rosabelle – we discuss backstage if there’s a need to, and she continues to respect my position as a mother, and I in turn respect her authority as the Nainai, and the mummy dearest of my hubby, heh!

- Increasing awareness of body parts: She knows her小腿from her大腿, and will say and proceed to point at them accordingly, as well as her ‘arm’, ‘nipple’ (Haha! She even lay down to suckle at her baby doll’s breasts and said she was drinking ‘milk milk’, at times pointing to her own and saying ‘milk milk’! However, she had a strange affinity for my right breast at one point, even insisting on that side when my left side was due instead… strange!)

- Increasing vocabulary: Says words like properly (as I always warn her to sit properly in her high chair or risk falling down), 服务员 (she will echo after us as we call out for wait staff in restaurants), pocket (as she likes to put her hands in her pockets and walk around like an adult…), squat, 小心水 (Nainai mentioned this casually to her when walking at the basement as there was a puddle of water, and she warned Wayne when he was carrying her on our way back), brassiere (haha… she even identifies these in stores - there was once when my strap was peeking out of my tank top, and she pointed to my back and said ‘brassiere’…), 干杯 (and ‘Cheers!’ immediately after at times) since we make the children drink more water by this act – our girl now ‘干杯’ anything and everything, from curtains to food to toys…, pretty/美丽 (as she commented of her own accord when I took out a new pair of shoes ‘pretty shoes’, and made the connection when singing the last sentence of 小燕子 that ‘Mummy鞋鞋美丽’), 石玥、两岁、女孩 when asked for her name, age, and gender in Chinese and English, 鼠标 (since I gave her the old spoilt mouse to play), 裤头松 as she was running away from Papa as her too-loose pants was showing off her butt crack, 凉快 as she happily lounges on the big bed with the aircon on, or when she comes into the lobby from the hot sun outdoors. She can string many words together, for example like when she instructs for Wayne to get down from the chair whilst he’s on the laptop, with a ‘Papa come down, Yue Yue sit’.

She can count 1 to 10 in both English and Chinese (with occasional hiccups of missing numbers, haha), say 一、二、三个 (and will at times guess wrongly whilst getting confused between两个and三个…).

She can communicate clearly states like , 饿, which is all just too well as it takes away the guessing game we’ve been playing since baby times!

- Increasing curiosity: Something picked up from Nainai is the phrase ‘什么东西’, so she will at times look/point at things and ask ‘什么’. However, she has not gotten into the proper question-asking mode/stage yet, but will still work within her limited vocab/understanding to ask – like when we were downstairs and saw a family eating their dinner outside, and saw the man topless; she commented, ‘叔叔吃饭。阿姨吃饭。叔叔wear clothes – ehhh?’, to mean that she was asking why the man was not wearing any shirt – haha!

When I took out my old pair of spectacles (the old one just gave way one day when one leg came out, so I decided to just refit the old pair with a new set of frames as I could not find anything nice in the stores), she asked ‘Mummy spectacles? Black one?’ when I put it away. Just like one day when she asked for her own clothing – ‘玥玥裤裤? Flower one?’.

- Increasing entertainment value: Other than past songs she already knows, she can now sing new songs - whole songs of 小燕子, 咏鹅, 小老鼠 (though she will cheekily say上电梯at times instead of上灯台), 小花猫 and parts of Twinkle, Twinkle (English) + 一闪一闪亮晶晶 (Chinese), 我爱北京天安门 (as my sis said, ‘So propaganda!’), 从前有座山 (she went ‘破扇子’ one day, and we realized to much amusement it referred to a line in this song, and she started singing parts of it), Do Re Mi, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Ding Dong Bell, I’m a Little Teapot, and about a dozen other Chinese nursery rhymes/ditties.

Below are a series of photos taken on 28 July attempting her ‘act cute’ pose…

- Increasing maturity?: I’m glad we brought our girl up to be thoughtful of others and be polite to them. At play, when I was telling an older girl to thank her Mum for buying her water, the girl just kept her mouth shut whilst Rosabelle went ‘谢谢,阿姨’. There was once when she was happily playing and riding on an older kid’s bicycle when she saw an older boy, hunched in a corner and looking very unhappy. She immediately clambered down, went towards the (rather dirty-looking, I must say) boy, and called ‘Ge Ge’, whilst touching him gently. So sweet, I tell you. At that point, another kid also came along with her mother, and we found out he was depressed because his basketball went over the fence, so the older girl climbed over to get it, and the three kids had a field day playing together after.

Rosabelle is sensitive to other kids, and this is really a nice, positive side of her I want to develop. Whenever I see new faces around, I will ask her, ‘That boy/girl looks lonely – shall we go and make friends?’, and she will quickly nod her head and run towards them, and though we get hostile reactions at times (kids being kids), it teaches her to always spare a thought for, and include others, even when she has the blessings of being surrounded by so many friends every day. However, her old group of friends have either shifted homes (with some professing that our apartment area is unsafe for kids with so many open roads/cars, which is rather true…), went back to their hometowns, or in the case of older ones, attending school, so it’s good to have her social circle open, and it looks like she is on her way to becoming somewhat of a social bee like Mummy!

She can also listen to, and obey instructions, more. There was once in the supermarket when she refused to budge from looking at something, and I just walked away, thinking she would follow. Instead, she remained at the same spot for the next few minutes. As I observed her, my initial thoughts of, ‘How stubborn! Mummy’s gone away and she is still standing there!’ turned into ‘How clever! She knows she cannot see/find Mummy, so she is not panicking but instead standing there waiting for me to come to her!’. I became very proud of her and used this to practice a ‘If you get lost’ scenario, going out of sight as I left her in a place, and ensuring that she did not walk away whilst calling out for ‘Mummy’ at the same time. How useful in crowded situations (though fingers crossed I never have to use it)!

She also has amazing observation and memory (I think somehow all kids do?), as there was once another kid took out a new bottle to use, and a week later, we chanced upon the same bottle left on a table in an eating place in our apartment area. Rosabelle climbed onto the chair and said ‘
文文妹妹bottle’, and it struck me that they must have left it there. True enough, we passed the grateful mother the bottle just as they were coming out of the supermarket. On another instance, we were at 7-Eleven and she said ‘Zhao zhao 弟弟’ whilst pointing at a tissue packet, and I recalled that she snatched an orange-coloured Miffy Rabbit tissue packet from a younger boy a few months before – gosh! On yet another occasion, she held a plastic bear in her hands whilst saying ‘boat, boat, boat’ whilst I could not figure out why she was calling a bear a boat, when I realized that a month ago, Nainai had placed the bear in a boat and spun it around.

Folks have been commenting that our girl looks more and more girly now (I must admit she did look very boyish in the past, especially with a shaven head and a rather packed frame!), and since her hair’s getting longer and getting swept by the winds into her eyes, I attempted hair clips on her…

- Increasing appetite: This is something good, though she is still on twice-a-day 5ml lactulose since late June to help with her bowel issue. The doctor in Singapore said to take her off the medication (might be for two months) only when she poos every day without pain, and our girl has been pooing only every three days, or alternate days at best… but at least it’s not painful, and she knows that the ‘medicine is to help you bang sai…’. That’s why I’ve been giving her prune juice once a week, one of her favourites, and when I pretended to be unable to open the bottle, she told me, ‘Mummy, ah!, to open the bottle’, indicating for me to use my teeth – haiyo! Must be she saw Wayne and his bad habit of using his teeth as a bottle opener!

Being at that age, I have also been more ‘lax’ about her ‘snacks’, letting her try things like our famous kaya (so sweet!) on her bread on some mornings, almond jelly (no konnyaku jelly yet – choking hazard!. She loves the almond jelly, even taking Papa’s share and having Wayne come out of his bath to see it all gone – to this day, she can still relate the story of “Jelly. Papa bathe. ‘Uh?’ In Yue Yue’s pocket.” to tell us how Wayne came out looking for the jelly, and her replying that it was in her pocket, haha!), taking Yakult (though I’m not sure if it spoilt her appetite for dinner the one time I gave it to her more than an hour before food…), eating pastries like cakes and desserts like ice cream like at most once a fortnight. She has not started on chocolates and sweets yet, and I intend to stave her off them as much as possible – I just can’t fathom how some parents of kids younger than her can feed their kids chocs, lollipops, jellies….aiyo!

- Increasingly potty-trained: Yep, since 6 July, we have started taking the diaper off her, wearing it only for sleeping times and for long car rides/outings. So I have officially joined the club of Chinese mothers who expose their daughters’ nether regions to the world, squat unsightly and go ‘Sssssh, sssssh’ as urine dribbles all over their butts (and on my shoes/slippers). I never liked doing this, as goodness knows whether a bee, or an ant, would find its way into my daughter’s private parts! And we are blessed with having a stable economic condition to afford disposable diapers, so why would I want to do this? Well, maybe because it’s time, and because our girl has been having a lot of dry diapers after her naps/in the mornings, and also because she can say she needs to ‘Ssssh, ssssh’ or ‘Bang sai’ as she goes on the toilet bowl. But mainly, because the Beijing summer is getting increasingly hot, and she will be more comfortable without those hot diapers on…

However, it wasn’t as easy in the beginning when our girl, used to having diapers on, would say she wanted to pee, and in the next second, pee in her pants/skirt. She started to slowly give us more ‘warning’ and/or run along to the toilet, and gone are the days of having to mop up after her at home, or bringing along extra pants when we go on walks – the worst was peeing 6 times in a row, or when there was one shitting incident in the bedroom (now I can read her signals better – when she asks for me to carry her for no rhyme or reason, and looks fretful, I will quickly force her to go onto the toilet bowl no matter how hard she resists…)… aiyo! Thank goodness for hand-me-down shorts from Simon and Marianne…. There are also times when she’s being difficult and once resisted having Nainai help her pee, insisting that I help her, then proceeding to pee in her pants. You can imagine how angry I got!

When it’s ‘about time’, we will also remind her to pee, as there have been accidents when she was too engrossed in play and forgot to tell us she needed to go, and it helps with the mob factor, as I will quickly ask her to go join so-and-so
妹妹 or 姐姐 when they are peeing, as they get a kick out of seeing each other go, and at seeing their splatter of victory on the floor, as she will proudly declare ‘玥玥 sssh sssh’… She will at times still protest at being put on the duck to pee, and we had to mop up after her when I relented and carried her down to wash her hands, only to have her reflex action of peeing once she touched/heard water – haiz! At least Nainai knew better when she told me when patients in hospitals have difficulty peeing after an operation, they listen to the sound of water – haha!

Sometimes it’s easier for us to just bring her into the shower and rinse the pee (or worse, poo!) off her legs when at home, but there was as slight accident as I did not hold onto her once and she, being a usual active toddler, turned around, lost her footing, and fell backwards as she hit the back of her head against the toilet door. She whined slightly, said it was ‘painful’, and quickly held onto me, saying ‘hug tight tight’. When I looked at her head later, there was a 1cm gash where she hit the side of the toilet door hinge edge – ouch! I quickly washed the small wound with water and applied some Zam Bak – surely painful, but our brave girl is so hardy that she amazes me at times. I really believe that so long as adults don’t make a fuss, they grow up stronger… However, since the days of using the shower in Singapore, I have been tricking her whenever I turn off the shower. All children love water, and I was trying to avoid howls of protest when she was happily playing with the water spurts from the shower head, so whenever I shut it off, I will go, ‘Oh no! Aunty is so naughty!’

So nowadays, even when we put the diaper on for long car rides and outings, she will insist on finding a place to pee, but it has not always been all nice and rosy, as Nainai made the mistake of removing her pants/diapers at the sink area of the Pizza Hut restaurant loo (so she would have to struggle alone in the confines of a toilet cubicle), and our girl, thinking she could let it all go, went on to pee all over the sink area, making the female manager who witnessed it all very, very unhappy, hooha!

So there, until the next entry, here’s a set of 26 July photos to say ADIOS to!

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