Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The things we do these days...

OK, I am hopeful that by this week, I can finish my backlog of entries for this, our trips to Hongluosi, the zoo, Chaoyang Park, various visits to the indoor Yu Island playground at The Place, and maybe start on the June Singapore updates next week. I am hopeful.

On 3 July, after we got back in from Singapore, we decided to pay a visit to Ikea, where father and daughter laid down for some shut-eye, making themselves at home, haha!
It was time to rest (and pose) with her new water bottle, courtesy of my sis/Marianne who does not use it at all, as there were hoards of people on a weekend. When I was carrying Rosabelle at one point, and Wayne decided to take over, she commented, 'Mummy tired'. That's nice... at least she understands this concept and allows me to rest, heh! We decided against eating at the Ikea restaurant as people had to stand at bar counters to eat, and made our way to a shopping mall to have (rather bad) Thai food instead.
The next day, after assembling the various boxes together, our girl used the 'junk' as a crown for her, and another for Nainai - so princess-cey eh...
And ta-dah! Our biggest buy of the day, a cupboard to store her toys/books (and a chair for her). I decided that placing most of them (with others on rotation in boxes) at the sofa area meant that every time I wiped the toys once a week, I had to spend alot of time wiping alot of stuff that were barely untouched, but still dusty from being exposed. This way, I just need to wipe the outside of boxes, and it looks more tidy.
That's the sofa area below with more space for play now. And what of the tricycle and walker that were placed at the entrance area? We gave them away to our neighbour who has a now 11-month-0ld daughter, totally age-appropriate for her. A few days prior, I kept telling Rosabelle that we were giving them away (out of respect - the toys belong to her at the end of the day), and made her go along with me to push the toys next door. The grandma was of course so delighted as our toys are in great condition, and now uses it to bring her granddaughter down every day. For Rosabelle, though she said she wanted to sit in the tricycle as we were leaving, does not even sit in it when we go downstairs these days, and has learnt the important art of giving and sharing. I'm glad somebody is using them, rather than have these collect dust at home where Rosabelle does not even play with them anymore.
However, last week, when Rosabelle was sitting in another kid's tricycle, the very rude grandma said '小心别掰坏' when she was pushing and pulling the rear view mirrors. I quickly carried her out, and now warn Rosabelle very loudly whenever she wants to go near this lady and the tricycle that '别动了。他们车容易坏。你要的话坐我们给妹妹的车,那个质量好,不会坏的。' I also purposely mentioned to my neighbour, within earshot of calculative woman, that '我们这车好。你看我们孩子用了,现在给你们用,怎么用都不会坏。' So 无聊, huh? Haha, but that is me - woman, don't come antagonize me, GROWL!

As Rosabelle has lunch later than other kids, we're usually the last ones to go home, and that's when I will bring her to do things like bringing stale bread to feed the fishes in the pond (or leave it out for the birds), catch little interesting things around the neighbourhood like a praying mantis on the ground, or a cricket in a man's hand (she wasn't afraid at all - even my hairs were standing on end but I did not show my fear - I only teach her not to go too near/touch them as you never know when they will bite), watching turtles in a pond, or when it got too hot, to just go to 7-Eleven, give her a basket and wait for her to put things inside (I have to remind her, and she will constantly chant, '一个够了') whilst I quickly put them back, haha! There was once when we even went to the ICBC bank to sit there and eat her fruits whilst enjoying the aircon, hoho!

When the weather was really hot the past two weeks, I would also bring Rosabelle out to the malls with Nainai (or maybe to Carrefour), and get lunch outside. On 28 July, we spent a fun-filled morning at Shin Kong Place, trawling the shops, the Panasonic Centre, and the playground upstairs before eating at Din Tai Fung.
On days when she finishes lunch early, I would bring her down to the 8th floor of our building, where there is an extended open area, and arm myself with two basins, a shovel, some spoons, cups, water guns, a sponge, some empty bottles and fill one basin with water. Rosabelle will have a whale of a time playing with the water, squirting water from the bottles and guns, and pouring/scooping them all over. She would go barefoot and leave her foot (and hand) prints on the floor, and knows to walk on the concrete area as the marble tiles are too slippery. The cleaner came by the first time and I thought she might scold us for making the place a mess (but it's just water, really), but she actually found it fun to watch Rosabelle at play.

Kids being kids, when they play with water, she will want to pee, and on the two occasions I brought her down, she peed in her pants, and went bottomless too! The second time, when she said she wanted to pee, I carried her, and she actually pooed! Serious big pile of dung! My goodness, luckily she did not poo on me/my shoes!!! I remember my reaction was 'Ah?!?! You bang sai ah?' Thank goodness I had loads of water to rinse it away (and rinse her) and quickly took one of the paper cups to cover over it, but we had to play alongside the covered poo for the next 15 minutes, gosh!
I'm sure the cleaners found hell the next morning when they came, but as Nainai says, '我们交物业费就是因为这个原因' - haha!

Still on the subject of water, there was a particularly hot day when we went to play at her beloved Mai Dou's house (these days, she will ask herself, '去麦兜家玩会儿?' and answer '好!' in the next breath), and his grandma ran the water in the bath for both of them to play in. Gosh, did they have fun! They played with sea animal figurines, with scoops and basins (Rosabelle even placed her face into the basin of water once and obviously came out sputtering...), and Mai Dou even donned a buoy (Rosabelle wanted it, but the boy didn't want to lend her). Rosabelle could even stand up and use her feet to pick up the small figurines to place on the side of the tub - without slipping. Clap, clap! Mai Dou's grandma commented that Rosabelle is very well-behaved and she has never heard her cry in spite of all the rough handling by an older boy, heh!

Hot summer days also entails the use of nice ice to cool us down, and I let Rosabelle play with some ice cubes in her bath one day, teaching her that it's solidified water that melts at the touch of heat, and she learnt that it dissolves in the water to make her bath water cool. Fun science for toddlers!

On rainy days (ya, Beijing also has wierd weather like Singapore's, raining in dry seasons like July/August), we have to stay indoors and being inspired by her first painting (
finger painting below done at a playgroup), I got down to preparing her for her first-ever painting indoor session.
I spread the old playmat on the floor and pasted a large piece of paper on it (thank goodness I did not heed Wayne's advice to throw it away), and put on an old art apron courtesy of my sis, and let her at some brushes with paints in an ice cube tray.
She was quite miffed at the paints on her hands, wanting me to wipe them away, but this is what we ended up with on 6 July.
At the next session on 9 July, I gave her sponges and some stencils.
I took 10 minutes to set up, and she always played for less than 5 minutes each time. Oh well, I'm the one who brought her up into a cleanliness freak, didn't I? She wasn't keen on doing finger/hand printing as the paints dirtied her hands, and she will ask for 'wet wipe' all the time.

-_- Nowadays, she still does alot of drawing on the easel stand, but once used the pink marker and (accidentally) drew on the shoe sofa, aiyo. Now that mark is permanently there, but luckily we stopped her in time, but we only told her sternly to keep all drawings to the paper in future.
On another occasion, on 11 July, I brought out the old basin of rice, but was this time more prepared by laying the playmat below so we did not have major sweeping up to do after (just poured all the rice back in).
And on 25 July, I introduced another element - different colors/sizes of beans in an ice tray.
She was patiently trying to scoop them up with a small stirrer spoon, and it kept her occupied for yet another while on a hot or rainy day.
However, of late, her most favourite activity is piecing together jigsaw puzzles that I got off Simon/Marianne. She can complete 8-piece puzzles now, though she needed some help from us to sort them out in the beginning (as there were like 4 to 8 pieces of 4 different pictures in each set). She will open all 4 boxes, and very easily piece the 2-piece Transport/Animal ones (learning the word 'crocodile' in the process) together, then do the Rescue Vehicles one (and accurately match the driver to each vehicle, learning the words 'ambulance', 'mountain Ayi' in the process), and then move on to the most difficult Big Wheels one.

Every time she finishes them, she will say '还要' and go on to dismantle them to fix them together again. There are times when she will be in such deep concentration that she got up from the floor after awhile, said '热!', then ran to the sofa and lay flat on it, closing her eyes to rest, haha! Last night, she even had a bad dream where she was crying and said, '要拼图!要拼图!' - she must have been dreaming about us nagging her to eat or sleep whilst she was hard at work. These days, I push the chair to the TV table for her to do the jigsaws on the table, as it puts less strain on her little neck/back, heh!
Other than these play activities, another is play acting eating/feeding time with Nai Nai, as she takes out the kitchen set, asks Nai nai to sit on the floor with her, and puts pretend food in her mouth (or feeds Nai nai) as my MIL will read off a long list of different foods to her. Or she will pretend play as a doctor and put a cold patch (some bottle label) on the baby doll, rub some Ruyi oil from a small bottle on its stomach, give it an injection, take its temperature (she actually said the word 'temperature' last night), feed it medicine/water, and even help it poo/urine by placing it on its seat and making ssssh/grunting noises.

Play time for her means I need play time for myself too. I had to resort to taking out a fake Barbie doll (courtesy of Wayne's friend) for her as Wayne and I went out for a movie last weekend (唐山大地震 - very good movie where I was crying alot as there were alot of heart-tugging scenes of a mother's sacrifice for her children), and I was afraid Rosabelle would wake up crying from her afternoon nap for me. Luckily Barbie Jie Jie placated her that day, heh! Last Sunday, I was so bent on having a good dessert that when she slept, I went out with Wayne for a good Haagen Daazs treat - YUMMY!

And I can think of no appropriate ending to this post except with an abrupt 'I GTG since it's more play time for my girl as I bring her downstairs on her evening walk already!'...

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