Sunday, October 10, 2010

And she has not even turned two yet…

I saw these shots of Rosabelle in the camera – taken by Wayne on Wednesday night, as they were playing together after her bath. She likes to go, ‘喂,哪儿?上班?按摩了...' on the phone, still thinking about when Wayne and I last went for a massage last Sunday.
Her ability for pretend play is very strong, and highly amusing at times, as she will put baby on her high chair and feed it, reciting our usual chants of ‘不坐好绑起来... 大口吃饭,喝汤抖抖衣服下来找小朋友咯...'. The other day, I took out the whole set of Sassy alphabet/number set for her (she was previously only playing with a selected few during her bath), and she took the ‘L’ and ‘7’ and pretended to shoot with them like guns. When I told her ‘R’ is for rabbit and Rosabelle, showing her how ‘R’ is held, she said no and turned ‘R’ upside down, explaining that it’s because the rabbit had two ears (the letter ‘R’ has two legs at the bottom that does look like a rabbit’s ears). It helps that she can now recognize quite a few of the other letters, as we match them one by one to an alphabet jigsaw and corresponding objects that she has.

Speaking of alphabets, I had the most lousy thing happen on Friday night – Rosabelle took the ‘I’ into the bath, and I always rinse her toys in the bath tub, with the plunger unplugged and right on top of the drainage hole (since the water always flows much too slowly, whenever we bathe or drain the water from her tub, we will open up the metallic cover on top). Her usual toys are big and heavy, and I never had to deal with a light and thin toy that obviously decided to swish its way right into the drainage hole as I went ‘Arrrghhh!’ and realized much too late what I’d done.

I quickly took a torchlight (which wasn’t very bright – I had to squint most times and stare down hard) and shone down the acrid, dirty hole, and there it was, the bright yellow ‘I’ stuck way down there. Now, I was deliberating whether to just leave it, and have a piece missing from the whole set and maybe risk having my girl never knowing what ‘I’ is (haha….) and missing an important vowel when she next learns to spell with the letters, or trying means and ways to get at it so that I did not have to waste money getting another set (it was quite expensive, I remember).

Me being me, of course I went with the latter choice, so there I was, stuck in the toilet for a full, solid hour as I first used a hanger to try and hook it up - nah, the ‘I’ was in an awkward position, so no way I could hook it up easily – and hangers aren’t exactly the easiest thing to bend as I tried to knock it straight with the back of a screwdriver.

Plan B: Nainai suggested I try to suck it up with a vacuum cleaner. Ok, the ‘I’ was thin and light, so I figured why not… so I tried that as well, and the nozzle could only get at the surface as the drainage hole is rather small. All I could suck up was murky water and perhaps some dirty stuff from below. Nope.

Plan C: Nainai then brought in a pair of long chopsticks (the kinds used to deep fry all things sinful) and asked me if these could be used. I did not even try, as they weren’t long enough, and even if they were, the gap was too narrow for me to open them to bring the ‘I’ up. Next.

Plan D: You know those spy movies where the hero/villain coolly plucks the chewing gum from his mouth and sticks it onto the end of a wire/stick to get at some key/diamond ring/treasure island map from somewhere below? That obviously does NOT work in real life. The chewing gum I had (which I did NOT remove very coolly) wasn’t sticky enough to even adhere to the ‘I’. Plan scrapped.

Plan E: There are times when you go ‘Bingo!’ or ‘Eureka!’ in your life, and I wish I had this moment of enlightenment much earlier. I asked Nainai to fetch me the biggest sewing needle she could find, then proceeded to tape it to the end of the wire. I was most hopeful as I half craned (by this time, I was kneeling – the toilet floor was wet – and bent over in the same position for close to an hour) and balanced holding the torchlight in the other hand. As I looked at all the tools and gadgets in the room, I hoped against hope that it would work. I gingerly put the hanger down and jabbed hard a few times, and finally, I saw the ‘I’ slowly making its way from the dark, damp, dingy surface. Extreme exhilaration would be understating it. I quickly shouted out to Nainai to grab at the ‘I’ as it came out, for fear of it falling back, since the hanger wasn’t very straight, and I risked knocking kinks against the surface and having to start all over again.

Gosh, it was a real HALLELUJAH moment for me – thank goodness the ‘I’ is light and spongy, or I really would have been at a loss as to how to take it out. I gave it a good scrub and soaked it in some Dettol soap, then some hot water, before wiping it with an anti-bacterial wet wipe, and presenting it to our girl, who was all along very well-behaved as she played with Nainai outside the toilet. PHEW! I sure wouldn’t make a good plumber/repairman (not that I want to…). If you are wondering, Wayne was peacefully OT-ing at work amidst all these, and it’s really one of those times when I wanted to just be a weak woman and hand it over to the man to do his job, haha!

On the topic of repairmen, Rosabelle said something that really cracked me up on Friday night. I was bringing her out for her evening walk when I saw that the lights at our lift landing had gone out, so I made a quick call to the management office to ask them to get it fixed. Later, when we were in another building, and she wanted to go up the steps, I told her it was too dark, and asked her to come on out. She looked at me and suggested in all seriousness, ‘妈妈打电话叫叔叔来修' – I seriously broke out in a laugh there and then, so cute! As she ran at my bag wanting me to take my phone out, I had to explain to her that it would take very long for them to get down here and fix the lights immediately for us.

Randomly backtracking to Thursday, when we had our Kindermusik class – Wayne could drive us there as it was still a public holiday – and though we did not learn any new songs that day, the kids had fun listening to old favourites and nowadays at home, when Rosabelle hears the song played during rest time, she will ask us to dim the lights as she pretends to sleep on our laps, haha! Outside of class music, she can now sing parts of Three Blind Mice, Mary had a Little Lamb, London Bridge is falling down (loves playing this as we go around and under her short bridge) and This Old Man, usual kiddy ditties that I never really taught her much previously but have been hearing a lot of on CDs, heh!

We then played around a bit at Familier, with her asking to put this mouse-ears head band on, as we waited for Wayne to clear some work at the office.
After that, we then drove to Sanlitun Village where we had lunch at Panino Teca. I’m not sure why it’s voted as one of the best family dining spots, when it does not have kids’ cutlery, when the high chairs came all soiled and dirty, and when it does not have cooked vegetables (think sandwiches and salads), and when it STILL can only accept cash and no credit cards for payment. So all I could manage for her was spaghetti from Wayne’s Carbonara, tuna, raw tomatos, and broad beans from our tossed salad. She did not really like the carrot soup, but happily gobbled up the pomelo dessert I’d brought along for her.

Later, after walking around the place a bit, I decided to treat her to a McDonald’s ice-cream cone. As Wayne said, ‘有人过大节了', meaning that it was such a joyous day/occasion for her as she held onto and finished up the cone and biscuit by herself. I encouraged Wayne to take huge bites of the ice-cream (which I find much too sweet…) so that she would not have too much of it.
Maybe it was because of the glucose/sucrose overdrive, and mainly because she woke up only at 7:30pm from her afternoon nap, but she was really active that night, refusing to sleep even after I nursed her late at 11:30pm. Poor Wayne had to start work the next day, and I had already taken a quick nap as she laid on our bed singing/crawling/riding around, refusing to sleep. By the time she finally quietened down on her own to sleep, it was already past one!

On Friday night, I was half-expecting her to be sleep by bed-time since she woke up early by 5:30pm from her afternoon nap. However, she was procrastinating and refused to go brush her teeth after Nainai finished her bath. So I gave her a bit more leeway until Wayne came home, and she suggested for Papa to take a bath first before she went to brush her teeth. Oh dear, so good at bargaining, huh?

Whenever it comes to time for brushing teeth, she likes to go ‘再一个/再一次' as she looks at me, holding a toy or a book, asking for one last time/story/game before she gets sent to bed. There is a set of 6 short fairy tales that I bought in Singapore, and she makes sure I go through all of them before she is happy to cooperate. She now knows Goldilocks (filling in the blanks for the hot/cold/just nice porridge, and hard/soft/just nice bed, and pretending to put a finger to her face like how I do it when Mummy Bear talks), Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast (old merchant in rose garden, angry beast comes out – complete with teeth-grinding closed fists), The Ugly Duckling, Aladdin, and The Three Little Pigs (can huff and puff to blow the house down).

However, that night, she refused to pee first or brush, until I had to go into the room and close the door before she cried and asked me to come out and brush her teeth for her. After nursing, she refused to sleep, singing on the bed and kicking/crawling around, until Wayne suggested that we try and tell her stories to make her sleepy.

So, me, the SAHM who does not need to get up early, kicked it off by asking her to lie on my pillow as I related the story about Goldilocks. Bad strategy. Bad story, maybe. When we came to the part about Goldilocks running out of the house after seeing the three bears, Rosabelle chipped in with her own sound effects of continuous, loud screaming (like she always does when I tell her the story). That obviously did not lull her to sleep…

So I asked her to roll over to Papa to tell her the story about白雪公主, since she likes listening to it on the CD. Instead, Wayne told her stories about Kong Rong giving up a big pear to his Great-grandfather, and another story about somebody measuring an elephant’s weight with the help of a ship for Cao Cao. Much too deep even for me – and obviously having no slumbering effects on our girl.

So I had to take the hard way out – after repeated warnings of telling her not to climb/crawl/stand, I carried her onto her own bed and left her to cry herself to sleep. Of course, she kept wanting me to carry her out onto the bed but I threatened to leave the room if she continued her crying, so she was very obedient and laid down, sobbing lightly as she really went to sleep on her own, and even then, it was already close to 1 am.

So from Saturday onwards, I decided it was time for some change. Even though she woke up only at 10am (after having a late night prior), I nursed her earlier in the afternoon so that she went to sleep before 3:30pm, and she then awoke before 6:30pm. That night, I started brushing her teeth by 10:15pm so that she started nursing by 10:30pm. And true enough, she slept before 11:30pm after abit of tossing and singing on the bed! It’s still late by anybody’s standards, but it was a good start, as she woke up at 8:30am today, and as I was blogging all these, she had gone to sleep in the afternoon before 3pm – yaay! Very soon, we can adjust her night time slumber till 10-ish, just like the way it was when the Ayi was around. I guess with me pottering around the house and busy with things at times, I do like to get some alone time and am contented to let her play happily till it is way too late. I also do not wake her from her afternoon or night sleeps, which I think I might have to start doing, to prevent her next sleep time from being affected. Sigh… let sleeping babies lie, which I’ve been doing as I thank my lucky stars that she sleeps long afternoon naps. No more of these - I have to stop being so selfish and plan for how she’s going to adapt to the schedule when she starts school next year, haha!

Since we’re on school and early learning in general, this morning, whilst on our usual walks, we went to the basketball court where we saw a pre-education centre东方爱婴having a roadshow. We of course went in to take a look as Rosabelle helped herself to the toys laid out on the playmat, and also watched some performances by kids (though the stereo was way too loud). Then I saw a lot of the folks clambering around a table – the management office had set up a booth there and upon filling up a feedback form, the adults could get a free toy for their kids. Now, the toys weren’t anything much – inflatable balls/hammers, wooden spinning tops, shooting gadgets etc. Cheapo stuff – but you can imagine the crowd that milled around. Goodness… as for me? I brought Rosabelle out to finish up her dragonfruit snack, and could not be bothered to get something that I need to waste my efforts in holding onto (since our girl would probably lose interest in it after awhile). Sigh… the mob mentality – if there is a crowd, it must be good, eh?

Afterwards, the centre had a teacher who started leading adults and kids alike in song and dance, and when we all sat down and sang the小兔子乖乖song, she started demonstrating how children can flex their arms sideways as adults guided them in ‘opening’ doors. However, whenever she recited开右门, she would instead put out her left hand, and vice-versa. After she did that the second time, I mouthed to her from where I was to indicate that she was doing it the opposite way, thinking that it had slipped her mind. Instead, she explained that since she was facing us, her left is our right, and vice versa. OMG. So the poor confused kiddo on her lap would not know her left from her right, and shouldn’t we be teaching kids to know their real left from their real right? I was quite disgusted, and quickly pulled Rosabelle away before she gets misguided further, and obviously did not take part in anymore of the activities. Sheesh. What irresponsible teaching!

As we were leaving, Rosabelle had a last go at the slide, and as a younger boy came on after her, she put on her most Big Sister face and tone and started telling him, ‘弟弟,小心!滑下来这样子衣服脏,裤子脏,得回家换衣服,换裤子...' and then started to demonstrate for him as she proned onto the floor to show how dirty he can get if he came down the slide on his tummy.

I just laughed at her from the sidelines, and wonder at how matured she seems at times – like she told Nainai when we came home, ‘玥玥大了,两岁了,要过生日了'. Speaking of which, our girl’s turning two in two weeks, and I don’t think I will be planning any bash, seeing that a lot of good friends in the yard are scattered all over the place – it really isn’t like last year when there was a bunch of really close friends who got together all the time. Now it’s just a few left, and the rest are either much younger or just mere acquaintances. It’s going to be just a family affair, but will surely be fun for our girl, nonetheless!

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