Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Repeat Visitor

(Written on 13 August)

Now, I have been having problems with accessing blogspot as FreeVPN does not seem to work anymore, so I have a series of posts that were drafted first in word (date of entries at the top of each post), and goodness knows when I am able to post them all…

On 15 July, with the organization of our friend, Feifei’s mother, we went on a visit to Yu Island (E. Island?) at The Place, since she had a card given by somebody else that was going to expire soon (with about 8 more visits valid till end of July). I made sure Rosabelle slept early that afternoon so that we could set off by 5:30pm that evening and catch a ride from them to the big indoor playground.

Rosabelle had visited this place formerly in January, when she was just starting to learn how to walk, so of course there were a lot of games that she could not (or we were afraid to) let her attempt. Further, there were always loads of older kids around (unsupervised, mostly) who have no qualms about bullying the younger ones to get at what they want.

So we ended up at the place with Feifei, and another older girl Baobao, and each went on their own way to explore each of the items (according to Feifei’s mum, he was so terrified the first time round his Dad had to carry him for a full 30 minutes before he dared to venture down/around on his own, so she felt the two younger girls were very brave).

Rosabelle liked to take the stacking blocks and drop them into the ‘pool’ (like a water bed, but she wasn’t keen on going in), and attempted to be a hamster on a spinning wheel…
I was particularly proud of her for daring to venture into the rotating tower on her own and climb up to the next level (and down), but it meant she could not see me, but was all on her own to maneuver the contraption. It also meant that I could only wait till the contraption had turned around (either that, or I needed to keep walking around in circles to peer through the hole) before I saw her smacking another boy (and he smacking her) as she was trying to get down as he was trying to get up.
As adults cannot go onto the inflatable slide, she was also on her own to climb up and down, up against the older children, but she still found the mood to ask me to ‘cheese, smile’ (i.e. take out my camera) and gamely pose for me, haha!
She particularly liked riding on this cat too.
That’s her at play on the slide, with Baobao alongside her.
And the few of them with the balloons that were flying all over the place because of the four fans on full blast – Rosabelle at first turned out towards the door as the sudden gust of strong wind gave her a shock, but very quickly recovered to chase after the balloons.
Feifei and her sat on a slide that was moving really slowly, but still enough to startle him every time he went down, haha!
It was a tiring day for adults as well as we then proceeded for dinner at a Macau Restaurant where our girl enjoyed the wanton noodle soup and egg tart, heh!

And so, after Feifei and his family shifted away, his mum passed me the card, and we made another two trips down – once on 20 July with Baobao and another younger boy, Niu niu (we hitched a ride from them there), and where we ate dinner again at the Macau Restaurant, and another time on our own on 25 July. I made sure to avoid the weekends as it would be teeming with a lot of people.

On 23 July, we went with Nainai, and other than the usual items (this time round, she tried, and seemed to like, the waterbed ‘pool’), she liked to also crawl through the tunnel (where I have to look constantly to peer at which exit she would be coming out from, at times having to run to the opposite side…).
That’s her with, and taking pictures of, Nainai, at the tunnel fixture…
And of her lying exhausted on the padded floor – the whole place has padding around all fixtures, so it’s pretty safe, even when she fell from a carousel-like ride, she quickly recovered after about 2 seconds on the floor.
She did not play as long this time, maybe it’s because we’ve been frequenting the place too often, so we headed for dinner at another Hong Kong Restaurant – food was quite good but way too salty, with service lacking (I had to get my own baby chair and clear my own dishes despite repeated calls to the waiters to do so). Tsk tsk…
On 10 August, we again went to Yu Island, this time round in the morning with Baobao (her mum decided to apply for the membership after the first visit), older girl Rourou, and younger girls Wenwen and Xinran. It might seem like a nice outing, but trust me, once we went in, we were each on our own supervising our own girls and it did not help that there were unexpectedly so many people, which thankfully cleared up around lunch time.

As usual, she went for the blocks (where I taught her to use another block as a hammer to knock it through) and managed to stack them up high. She also liked to place the blocks into the waterbed ‘pool’, and I had to gently remind one parent who was stepping on the waterbed to make it rock for her daughter that adults need to wear socks in this place (she was barefooted). She was apologetic, but I still did not see her with any socks on 10 minutes after.
Worse still, as in China, I saw a lot of kids wearing 开裆裤, and you can imagine how I grimaced when one young boy crawled over the side of the waterbed ‘pool’, of course rubbing his exposed genitals onto the frame. I can’t imagine if any kid touched that – so dirty right? I wasn’t sure about the rules, so of course I could not tell them to please cover the kid up, but after that saw him wearing diapers and realized the staff was handing out diapers to guardians who did not know any better (what if they peed on the fixtures????). Now I know, and I shall be my own policewoman from now – erhem!

I love this series of photos of Rosabelle chuckling delightedly when playing with the balloons and trying to catch them.
As usual, she likes to sit on the plush toy rides, but as I was putting on my own socks after I had helped her with hers, I let her go in to play first and before I could turn back to find her, I saw her fighting with a much older girl (about 4 years old) who was sitting on one of the toys. When I saw her face, she had obviously been smacked, and the girl’s leg was raised and trying to kick her away, so I don’t know if she had been hit hard, but I quickly pulled her away even when she said ‘要坐。要this one.’ I quickly brought her to sit on a merry-go-round of other plush toys instead. She can say, and identify, the ‘bow tie’ on the cat, even looking round the shopping centre for bow ties after.
Maybe it’s due to the multiple visits, or maybe it’s due to her increasing dexterity, but she’s more confident playing with the fixtures, and unlike the first time when she did not want to go into the ball pool (like at Shin Kong Place where she was afraid of wading through the ball pool and wanted me to carry her – I had to cheer her on as she moved bit by bit carefully towards me, and rewarded her with a big hug after), she went in this time round.
We ended up with lunch at another Hong Kong Restaurant (丽豪), which was so packed and had some smokers even (tsk tsk!). In the taxi on the way back with Baobao and Xinran, the younger girl fell asleep in her mother’s lap, and even though Rosabelle usually does not sing out loud in front of strangers, she started belting out a whole series of 儿歌 (小燕子、小白兔、小花猫、小老鼠、咏鹅etc) in the taxi, very loudly. I was just telling her to be quiet since 妹妹 was sleeping, and she purposely started screaming the songs out – so naughty! In our haste to get out of the taxi, one side of her Crocs button came off, and it being a Russian doll, she will go ‘Uh? Ayi? Left side? Taxi. In 叔叔’s car.’ – every single time that she wears the Crocs now, haha!

On the topic of dexterity and motor skills, she can duck waddle, walk backwards (and big steps like a giant) with a lot of ease, tiptoe, navigate beams/stairs on her own, is more confident (and able to) come down steps (unless they are really high) on her own. She has occasional injuries, like when coming down from the stone slab, she scratched her thigh (as she was just wearing a panty then), or the unavoidable grazed knees from falls (no crying even when we bathed her, just a simple 'painful…’), and now knows to practise caution (or still exhibit plain clumsiness like when she wanted to take a soft toy out of the basket, pulled too hard, and whacked it hard against her face, making Nainai keel over in laughter). It’s no wonder she has since outgrown her 4/5-sized Crocs and had to 'upgrade’ to the 6/7-sized ones since last month.

I can visibly see our girl getting bigger and chubbier now (and maybe too matured as I discovered a sliver of white hair on her fringe – goodness!), and thankfully, she has been hale and hearty except for a strange fever of 37.7 on 7 July at night, waking up with a runny nose the next day (maybe it was because I rotated the fan right at her head when sleeping, heh…), but the fever subsided without any medication by the next morning.

There was one day when we chanced upon a set of badminton racquets and shuttlecock on our walk downstairs, and she, with another older girl, attempted play at it. As they obviously still can’t hit the shuttlecocks on their own, our girl cleverly put the shuttlecock on her own racquet, walked gingerly with the racquet faced up, and dropped the shuttlecock into the other girl’s lap. Haha! She can also say ‘羽毛球' now, as we saw a shuttlecock get stuck in the lamp at our lobby, and the lady and her son were trying to throw things at it to get it out. Now, it is still stuck there and Rosabelle will go ‘羽毛球stuck. Ayi, Gege take out.’

It’s nice to have her watch others at play, and one of her favourite activities is to feed other kids water. She will go for their water bottles, open the cover and stick it in the face of the kid, pulling it away right when the kid is happily drinking from it. I’ve had to remind her that the water bottle is not a toy, and to only hold it when others want to drink from it. One night, she suddenly said, ‘Mingxi 妹妹' when we were sitting at the bench downstairs, and just nice, it was time to go up so I asked if she wanted to go upstairs to look for 妹妹 (our neighbor). She agreed and got up to walk to another bench, taking the water bottle off it. It was Mingxi’s water bottle, and our girl could recognize it – they had left it inadvertently downstairs and were very grateful when we sent it back up.

It’s heartwarming to perform nice deeds, like when we all saw a man selling helium balloons from the back of his taxi motorcycle, the kids were clamouring for one. Now, I don’t usually buy for Rosabelle, nor does she request for it, but as Baobao’s mum was buying one for her, I noticed that one of the man’s leg was missing (i.e. no right leg in the pants), so I went ahead to get one for Rosabelle. I asked him how much it was, and he said ‘五块钱’, so I gave him RMB6, and he refused to take the extra yuan. When I insisted, he said, ‘真的谢谢你。你是好人。我再给你个气球吧!' – Hmmm… then I would have gotten each balloon for RMB3! Of course I also refused, and walked away happy that the extra yuan made his day. Rosabelle held onto the balloon for all of like two minutes before giving it to me, and did not want it anymore. Sheesh! So I passed it to an older boy, and went upstairs without asking for it back. His grandpa was so apologetic that the balloon flew away and offered to pay for it the next day, but as it wasn’t something Rosabelle wanted, and she often played with his grandson’s guns (this is a family blog, so don’t think of anything porno with this phrase), it wasn’t right for me to ask for anything in return.

In the yard, we all share toys (although kids can get possessive!), and there was once when Rosabelle took a plastic caterpillar, looked at it and said ‘Caterpillar - 叔叔' and hid it behind her back before I realized she was copying the picture of a man hiding a plush toy caterpillar from his grandson I had shown her the night before. Heh!

She isn’t afraid of such creepy crawlies, but has started using the word ‘害怕', like when she went up close with a Dalmatian (she can say ‘dalmatian’ now after hearing me say it only a few times), or when a big flying insect came too near her, or when too much water splashes onto her face in the bath (the other day, she suddenly said ‘骆驼' in the bath, and I realized I had the song ‘Alice the Camel’ on in the background, haha!). I try to raise my daughter up without needless fears, balancing it with a need to protect herself, so whilst other kids go scampering when dogs come around, she will not be afraid, but knows better than to go too near/pat it.

New songs include ‘Twinkle, twinkle’, 小弟弟当司机, 小木盆, 小袋鼠, 静夜思 – she used to just sing parts of the songs but can now sing them in full without prompting.

It’s real fun being with and around Rosabelle these days, except that we really need to get her to stop beating/pushing others. On Wednesday night, she made me really angry when after brushing her teeth, Nainai carried her off to change into her pyjamas/diapers and she started smacking Nainai at least 4 to 5 times on the face. Poor Nainai had to struggle with her, and Wayne was standing a distance away putting the clothes to dry. Without a word, I carried Rosabelle out of Nainai’s arms, put her in a corner in Nainai’s room and told her to stand there alone as nobody was going to play with her, that we were all going to sleep and she could stand there alone. Of course she wanted to follow me out of the room but I warned her twice and surprisingly, she was obedient enough to follow my instructions and stand there crying.

After about one minute, I went in, sat on the bed and lashed out at her about how rude she was to Nainai, and how Nainai was trying to help her get ready for bed so she can get her ‘milk, milk’. I made sure she understood how serious it was and repeated to me, ‘No beating, no pushing’, and went to say sorry to Nainai before she could go out. After nursing her, she even said ‘打奶奶不乖。妈妈吵 (means ‘to scold’)。' I hope I really screamed sense into her, as when she was crying, I told her to be quiet (and she really did stop crying) as I was talking to her. Thank goodness she peed into the toilet bowl before that as there have been accidents when she was brushing her teeth/washing her hands/being difficult and crying and just let go on the spot. (Though she’s really good these days, having a dry diaper after a night’s, or an afternoon’s sleep – we’ve been reusing the same diaper for about 4 days straight, so much that the sticky tape is getting non-sticky, and the bum area has cotton balls from excess friction…)

Maybe the saga affected her sleep and she surprisingly woke up before 8:30am the next day on Thursday (most times will sleep till 9+am). Coupled with another water play session before lunch time that day, she zonked out after nursing only for awhile in the afternoon, sleeping a solid 4 hours till 7pm! (Though she did wake up at 5pm for a feed, and to my surprise, rolled over to sleep after.) Aiyo… I could not even bring her down for a walk that evening, and so we stayed at home till dinner time, entertaining her with a new jigsaw puzzle (a numbers train one) from my sis. She liked the new jigsaw, but kept going ‘Uh?’ at the missing ‘number 2’ piece. When I explained to her that this set belonged to Simon and Marianne previously, she said, ‘Popo house’, telling me that the piece must still be there, and went to pick up her toy phone to call Popo, telling imaginary Popo about the missing ‘square one’ (as the number was on a yellow square), heh! Luckily the sample piece coincidentally had a ‘2’, so Wayne cut it out for her to use.

I was afraid with a lack of running around, along with so many hours of sleep, would mean a late night, so Wayne and I brought her for a walk after dinner. (Mum just called me today to warn me that it’s the Ghost Festival month, and told me not to stay out too late, haha!) Think my tactic worked, as she fell asleep before 12 midnight, and did not wake up till 5 hours later for a feed (usually it’s about 3 hours), hoot!

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