Friday, August 27, 2010

Wheels, fans & beer

On Sunday night, Rosabelle again went to her favourite Ge ge, Mai Dou’s, house in the evening, and when returning, kept saying she wanted to sit on his bicycle. So his grandma and grandpa sneakily slipped out the bicycle to us as we were going out the door, and our girl sat on it home. She can reach the pedals, but does not really know how to press upon them with her feet to move the bicycle, so I asked Wayne to bring her down to the 8th floor lift landing (where we usually have our water play) for a quick tutorial. As I was going home to prepare her dinner, I heard her crying for me in the lift but all was well once she started ‘cycling’, heh!

On Tuesday morning, I put her on the bicycle again so that she could try and cycle outside. As I was asking her to pose for a picture, amazingly enough, she pushed onto the pedal and cycled forward one single revolution – yippee!
She, and of course Nainai and I, were pretty pleased, so I happily headed out with her as I pulled her along, controlling the direction by putting one hand on one of the handles (she does not really know how to maneuver it yet), and stopping her from slipping/falling by putting another arm around her. Now, as you can so imagine, this was how I was positioned for the next 5 minutes or so as we went down the lift and out into the open space downstairs to try and cycle. It wasn’t as tiring as it was straining for my back and neck (I’m still sore till today!), as my girl just relaxed and placed her feet onto the pedals as I controlled both the bike and the direction, aiyo…

Later, she decided she did not want to cycle it anymore and I had to chase after her AND look after/drag a heavy bike along with me until I decided it was more a hassle than anything else, so we sent it up again before coming out sans bike.

Later that evening, she said she wanted the bike again, so obliging mother that I am, put her onto the bike and did my ‘awkward position supporting daughter and controlling bike’ stance again. Goodness… I was so glad when she wanted to get off and many other kids were fighting to get onto the bike. Mai Dou doesn’t usually let others touch, let alone ride, on the bike, so you can imagine the field day others had taking turns on it that day.

As for Rosabelle, she was happily running away with someone else’s toy as I chased her around the corner. That’s when I decided to give her a lesson on accountability and went into a mini lecture about her having to be responsible for the bicycle since Mai Dou lent her, and not others, the bike, and she has to continually check that it’s not missing or spoilt. She seemed to realize and quickly walked back and called out to the girl riding on it, then went on to grab the bike and hold onto it without letting others on. To clear her confused mind (you wanted me to take care of the bike, so nobody can touch it!), I told her to just ensure that she knows where the bike is all the time and return it safely to Mai Dou when others are done. That worked and she was happy to play alongside others riding the bike after.

At one point, all seven toddlers and their mothers were holding hands in a circle playing a game of 木头人 (we’d played this before and she actually blurted out木头人out of the blue that morning, so just nice we were playing it on a large-scale that evening). We all walk around reciting ‘我们都是木头人,不许说话,不许动!' (she can now recite this as well) and at that point, we are supposed to keep still and will run up to tickle anyone who moves. Kids being kids, there are some who purposely laugh every time and everybody will go up to tickle her. Rosabelle managed to keep still but after a few times, giggled and came up to hug me. The next few times, she actually went up to hug, not tickle, the ones who laughed, going round to hug all the kids in turn, haha!

When we were going home after that and I was carrying her, I tried dragging the bike along with one hand whilst carrying her with another. Gosh… too menial and tedious for me, so I put her on the bike and had to quickly push her along the road as it was already quite dark and dangerous. I seriously felt my back and neck strain then man, sheesh! We returned it to Mai Dou on the way home, and no way will I put myself to such physical torture until she’s ready (or has a smaller bike!)…

Other than outdoor activities stuff, one other thing she has been up to of late is doing a fan dance. Haha… of course inspired by Yours Truly. She will rip the two covers off her toy baskets, and then request for/turn on the music, and slowly wave the covers around as she twirls around or bobs up and down or sways from side to side. Not bad at all for a toddler of her age, I must say, and needless to say, highly entertaining for us adults as we look and cheer her on. She has an exhibitionist streak in her, often going, ‘Show Mama’, or ‘See, Mummy, see’, or ‘奶奶看玥玥xxx (whatever she’s doing)’, as she proudly demonstrates whatever she’s doing, heh.
She was also highly thrilled by Papa’s paper plane that Wayne folded for her on Monday night, shrieking when she saw it soaring in the house. She actually saw another kid’s paper plane that morning and I had to remind her that it belonged to others, and she could not just grab any dirty paper off the floor (she wanted to pick up a soiled brochure) to fold a plane. Keeping to my promise, I was going to fold one for her when Wayne took over with a more sophisticated version, haha! She has yet to master the art of throwing it well, but as Wayne remarked, ‘小孩子可以对这么简单的玩具玩的这么开心'. I also think it’s all the more meaningful and exciting for her because it’s a handmade gift from Papa as Papa held her hand and taught her to hold/fly it. It’s not something I’m trashing in a long time to come – it’s still in the toy box.
Of late, I’ve also been singing ‘My Bonnie lies over the ocean’ to her, and she loves the song, especially when I’m nursing her at night, and has started singing, breaking out into a ‘bring back, bring back’ at times out of the blue.

Our girl turned 22 months old on 24th August, and to mark her coming of age, very cleverly tried to trick Nainai that night. She saw Nainai trying to block her iPod earphones on the latter’s bed, and wanted to reach for them when Nainai said that she could not touch them. And then the below exchange took place (R=Rosabelle, N=Nainai):
R: 奶奶,出去!
N: 奶奶不出去。
R: 玥玥出去。
N: 好。
(As Rosabelle stood outside the bedroom door)
R: 奶奶出来。
N: 好。(Nainai stood up to follow her out to the door)
At this point, our girl sprinted quickly back onto the bed and wanted to reach for the earphones when Nainai dashed even more quickly and caught her in time. We had a good laugh at her cheeky, but oh-so-clever, strategy after!

This is a cheeky face that she likes to give these days, liking to peep her eyes to one side (not captured very well here, though). I do get worried at times when she keeps liking to jut her lower jaw out (maybe because of the growing teeth), and really don’t wish for her to have a permanently jutted-out lower jaw, so I have gotten down to reminding her that it’s more pretty for her to push her lower teeth inwards and make her upper and lower teeth meet. Hope it’s just a passing phase!
She also picked up on the 小花猫 phrase as I was commenting about an older girl who had ice cream stains around her mouth. Later that day, she said she had a 小花猫脸 when eating, and when she saw our neighbour’s girl with a rash on her face, also said, to my embarrassment, that’妹妹小花猫脸', haha!

One grouse/gripe I have been meaning to, and forgetting to blog about, is that our girl will at times not chew the food/fruits in her mouth. My goodness… similar to Marianne Jie Jie’s bad habit now! I will bring a box of cut-up honeydew outside, and pop one into the mouth, and she can leave the piece of fruit in the side of the mouth for the next few minutes until I nag at her to chew, or when I’m impatient enough and put another at her mouth, she will spit the previous one out. It’s not that she does not want to eat – after the first few pieces, she will chomp on them quickly, finishing the whole box of fruit. It’s just that she has to get past the first few bites, and I do get frazzled nerves at times, especially when I’m trying to feed her the fruit, and somebody else comes along with a biscuit or some other fruit, and she will want that instead. I have learnt to stand my ground and tell others not to offer alternatives to her, telling her that if she does not eat the fruit I have prepared, there is nothing else till lunch/dinner time, and she is not supposed to eat anybody else’s fruit.

I’ve seen parents feeding their kids (younger than Rosabelle) lollipops, jelly, chocolate, sweets, potato chips (hell, the girl was holding onto a whole can of it!)…and funnily enough, they complain to me that their kids don’t eat their meals well. *roll eyes till whites turn out* So. very. asking. for. it.

Many mothers have remarked that their kids will cry and fuss if they don’t get to eat some other candy another kid is eating, or God forbid, if they even dare to reject a biscuit on the child’s behalf. I believe all these are excuses for taking the most convenient way out, to not deal with a crying child. If it makes their child happy, so be it, but don’t sigh and complain later that you wish your kids weren’t eating such things – it’s because as an adult, you let them! You just have to harden your heart, stand your ground, and for goodness sake, you are the adult, so why should someone half your size, and a fraction of your age, tell you what to do? I also absolutely hate/abhor/detest/spit on it when they believe they are the better mother and start pushing the food into Rosabelle’s hands/face, saying, ‘你就给她吃吧,你看她想吃呢。' Hello… salty chips versus boring banana… which would the kid pick? Of course your sinful tidbit right? So I have had to physically/manually block/push their hands away at times. ’I believe in not going, ‘It’s only one time’ as kids have good memory – she will go into the supermarket and point out a potato chip bag to me the next time, and probably bawl till I buy it for her. To her, it’s like, ‘But you gave it to me the other time, so why can’t I have it now? I mean like NOW. As in NOW!!!’

So the only snacks I indulge her in are the occasional ice-cream or cake (at least apart from the sugars, there are milk and eggs), seaweed, homemade almond jelly, and haw flakes. Is she deprived? Maybe. Am I too strict? Maybe. But will she learn to better appreciate the occasional chip or biscuit and not take it for granted? You bet! Will she start eating all the junk when she goes to school, and doesn’t have me around to say ‘No’? Hell, yes! But I will persevere to keep her little body off such unwanted junk for as long, and I have done my part as a responsible mother.

And the point of all this rambling? It’s the sickness and anger I felt when I heard that another mother (if you can call her a mother?) of a 19-month-old girl actually feeds her daughter beer. Yes, you read it right. BEER. With all its alcohol and gassiness and nothing healthy about it. Her daughter was vomiting and having diarrhea (so poor thing, you say… and poor mother, you must be so tired out from looking after a sick child…), and could not even keep water down on Monday morning, so they went to the hospital, where the doctor diagnosed that she was eating too much, and too many different kinds of food. Maybe she neglected to mention to the doctor that the little patient was also drinking beer? I don’t care if it’s only one time (apparently not, because as the mother told me, somewhat too proudly, that it’s not the first time that her daughter was drinking beer), or if it’s only a sip. Just WHAT are you trying to achieve by pumping beer, no matter how little, into your own child’s body? Get a laugh/kick out of seeing her drunk? Get a proud moment by saying that your girl had beer and liked it, and that she can go on to hold her liquor well in future?

Although some cultures might similarly stone me after I let Rosabelle try durian for the first time (caveat: durian actually has ALOT of vitamins and nutrients in spite of the smelly garlic-like smell the Caucasians make them out to be, unlike beer!), I think it’s universal, really, that beer does NOT benefit a child in any way, and will in fact, harm a child. If you really have to, like if someone was threatening to poke a fork into your eyeball (ewwww…), maybe some white/red wine as there are some benefits to those kinds of alcohols. But beer???

This aforementioned mother even let her daughter eat Green Tea-flavored Poky sticks that evening, goodness! And from what others are saying, they eat at roadside stalls, feeding the child food from a steamboat of chili/spicy soup, and even let her eat duck’s neck before she turned one year old (the kinds that people buy in bags as a snack to eat with beer – i.e. very salty and heavily spiced). Please note that I have nothing against roadside stalls, and if you are poor, it’s ok, but this mother splurges on new clothes and shoes for her daughter and seemingly brags about it.

I told her mother unsympathetically (not the tone you would use when you are reassuring a worried mother) when she admitted her daughter had drank beer the night before, that ‘这是你们大人自找的。' I can go on all day… it just makes me sick to my guts, really, and I have no respect for a fellow mother like that. NONE at all. ZILCH.

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