Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In our 94 square metres & in her little head…

On Monday, temperatures dipped in Beijing to below 10 degrees Celsius, and it was raining for the whole day. This meant that we had to stay indoors – our girl wasn’t complaining though. I asked if she wanted to venture downstairs as I saw that only some folks were taking an umbrella in the morning, so it meant that the rain wasn’t too heavy, but she chose to be a homebody instead, so we basically cooped up at home whole of Monday.

Before lunch, I let her doodle on a movie poster I brought back from a cinema previously. They were giving away a movie poster of some new Aniu movie, and it was huge, so I figured we could do something with it one day, and it’s been sitting at the top of the shelves for like the past month until it came into use that morning. I spread it onto the floor and let her at it with some crayons and markers. She wasn’t sure what to make of it first so I took a lead by drawing a fish next to the two fishes in the picture, then drawing an aeroplane, sun and a bird in the sky. After that, I drew on the characters’ legs and told her they were dirty or bleeding, and pretended to make conversation between the two (Man: ‘Ouch, my knee’s bleeding… painful…’ / Woman: ‘Who told you not to watch where you are going… serves you right…’). She got the idea of how to have fun with the different items on the big layout and started using a red marker to go at the portraits of the other characters in the film. Haha…all I can say is that we had a lot of小花猫脸 in the end. She even took her old toothbrush and pretended to brush at the dirt/blood I had drawn on the legs, saying she was helping to dust away the marks.

After we were done (I took her cue of walking away to play with other things), I taught her how to fold and push down creases in the paper, and rolled it up to play ‘telephone’. It’s such a simple device – to use a rolled up paper and speak into her ear – but you should have seen the look of amazement on her ear as she wondered why the paper had Mama’s voice coming out of it, and even heard a dog barking, haha!

In the afternoon, as she was sleeping, I then went at work to get my Colour Wheel done. This has been on my to-do list forever as I first needed to buy wooden pegs, and after getting a set about a month ago, I just needed to get down to preparing it. I was inspired by an entry on one of my favourite blogs
No Time for Flash Cards. You are actually supposed to paint on a cut-out circle (you can trace the big circle with a bowl, though I wished I had a projector and compass to make the segments measure more accurately since I did everything freehand - I used hard paper like the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box), and then paint the pegs the corresponding colours. However, I was too lazy to mix and paint 10 different colours, so I used colour markers instead. Me being me, I decided I did not want to waste all the markers’ ink on colouring this wheel, so I went a step further and wrote the colours on the wheel so as to save some ink space, haha! I then coloured parts of the pegs (I wanted to colour over the heart shapes on the pegs but realized only the dark colours could cover the red hearts), and was stuck when I realized I only had 9 colours. Yikes… not wanting to put a ‘light blue/green’ vs ‘dark blue/green’, I did a grey, haha! This meant that I left the segment as it was since it was cardboard-coloured, and then went on to cut a small grey section to stick onto the peg. I’m so clever at times, huh? Haha!

And ta-dah!
My daughter immediately went for it when she woke up from her nap, and was clutching at it the whole evening/night (even asked for it these few mornings), making me almost tear from the sheer joy since this was one of the few projects that I needed to spend more time in preparing for (about 15 minutes?). Even Wayne thought it was well-done and did not realize at first that it was hand-made – it was a true accolade for me when he took a photo of it with his handphone even, haha!

The whole purpose of this colour wheel is of course to teach children their colours, and importantly let them practice their manual dexterity in the pegging/unpegging, and eye/hand coordination in ensuring the pegs latch onto the paper. No-brainer for us adults, but as I see her getting better at it, and knowing her colours well (I did not see that the green peg was on the wheel as it was pegged to another colour, so I asked if she misplaced it – after she took a quick look, she could quickly spot and put it in the correct place), I’m glad I still bother to take time to make homemade crafts in spite of all the ready-made (read: expensive) toys we can get.
Such inspired creativity will no doubt also inspire corresponding creativity in our kids, as our girl is hilariously making up songs these days, going into a pretty nice tune of a medley of English/Chinese songs, with high/low pitches to boot. Also, since I first taught her to recognise ‘小心地滑' and ‘小心台阶' signs, she had been looking at words and assuming that they are warning her to be ‘小心' about something, like seeing signs around sinks that tell us to save water, and saying ‘小心水', or signs on bins that tell us what waste to throw in which bin, and saying ‘小心plastic bag’ (the first thing she saw in the bin) – haha!

However, it can get hilariously exasperating when she goes into a mood of wanting to go against every single thing you say, for example:
Me: Later, can you tell Nainai what you ate for lunch – mushroom…
R: 不是
Me: Chicken…
R: 不是
Me: Spaghetti…
R: 不是
Me: 那是什么?
R: Dong Dang Wu!

She totally made this ‘Dong Dang’ thing up some time back, giving answers of ‘Dong Dang X’, with the last syllable changing from time to time, as it can be ‘Dong Dang Bi’, ‘Dong Dang Bu’ etc etc… and when asked what 'Dong Dang Wu’ is, she will answer ‘Dong Dang Wu 就是 Dong Dang Wu!’ -_-

Yesterday, she made a much older girl cry in exasperation with her resilient no-nos. Her mum wanted to head upstairs to fetch a pair of old Uggs for Rosabelle (it’s hard to put it on but can otherwise fit quite well – if the cold weather keeps up, I can consider bringing them to Guilin as she loves it, wearing it throughout and after lunch!), and left the two girls with me. As the older girl is quite a crybaby, she was maybe cajoling/convincing herself when she told Rosabelle that her mother had gone upstairs for awhile and would be back soon. Rosabelle went into her 不是 mode, and it was quite fun to see the older girl getting increasingly perplexed as she said是, and Rosabelle went不是. The exchange went on until the older girl screamed是, and Rosabelle actually slapped her lightly on her chest and said, ‘不要喊!', haha! That of course made the girl cry, but I was more amused by how the little one was acting more like the Big Sister than she was. When she cried again as we had to go home and could not go to their house to play, our girl was not crying at all (shouldn’t the younger girl wanting to go and play be the one crying?...), and thank goodness did not learn to bawl like her, and Crybaby Jie Jie wanted her mother to carry her after. Tsk tsk… I would have NOTHING of that from Rosabelle.

In the spirit of making things up, on Monday night, as a change from ‘The Three Little Pigs’ before bedtime, Rosabelle invented this story together with me – parts in bold courtesy of the little one (of course it wasn’t such a smooth story as we had to pause at times as I prompted/asked/repeated):

"One morning, Rosabelle woke up from her sleep and looked out the window. She saw an Ayi and ShuShu干活,搬东西to五号楼, so she quickly woke up and ate her breakfast of 娃娃菜, put on her白色 pants and 小裤头, as well as her purple Nike shoes, and pressed the lift button to go down. In the lift, she saw 大朋友和小朋友, and eventually walked out to see the Ayi and Shushu. When they asked her for her name, age, where she stayed, as well as her nationality and parents’ names, she could answer them loudly and clearly (this is where I role-played and asked question after question as she answered them). After that, Shushu asked if she wanted to follow them…"

I then jumped in with a morale of the story after she agreed to follow Shushu – I taught her to never follow strangers even if they say that they have nice food/toys/places to go, and that she has to be tough and reject them or run away as she waits for Papa/Mama/Nainai. Throughout the story, I just made things up and paused for her to come in, prompting her at times if she got stuck or did not realize it was her cue, heh! It’s quite fun…

And fun it was when I took out our old ski gear that night so that Nainai could try out my winter jacket and wear these days since cold weather is coming – our girl went wild taking things from the box as she helped herself to the gloves (even taught Nainai how to put it on – 大拇指放这里...), the ski caps, and even the ski goggles. Haha, she was game in wanting to put them on – at least it has come into use – Wayne used his goggles twice and I did not even use them once since I bought it in Switzerland on our honeymoon 2007!
Maybe all these excitement has been affecting her sleep – I was actually hopeful on Sunday night that she would finally have a good night’s sleep. See, since I was going to follow Wayne to the chiropractor for my back, and Nainai also wanted to check her own condition (the last check was done ages ago in Zhengzhou), we also brought Rosabelle along on Sunday morning as a doctor from the US, David, had recommended that we bring her along, so that he can just check to see if everything was in place.

Rosabelle was at first afraid of David (Dr. D Yeye, as she calls him), and of course refused to let him carry her – I heard her protest and cry as I was getting my back kneaded. After that, Wayne told me he laid down and let Rosabelle lie on him instead as David felt her back. After he adjusted something, she got up with a smile and said she thought the 按摩 was 舒服. Apparently, according to David, her No. 6 bone in the spine was slightly out of alignment (maybe due to pushing/pulling during childbirth, maybe due to foods she took, maybe due to activities etc – can be due to anything), and it’s connected to the stomach, so she could feel queasy in the stomach at night. He asked Wayne if she was waking up often at night, and Wayne had not even told him anything. The adjustment would not have hurt as she did not cry, but otherwise she’s in good condition and he suggested we can come a month to 6 weeks later just to see if all was well.

As Wayne and Nainai also needed to get their massages and treatments, and I had finished first, I fed her her pear and walked around the hospital with her – it’s very small, like a clinic, and only had two stories, but she obviously built up an affinity with David, and kept calling/looking for ‘Doctor D’, heh! By the time we were done and had lunch at 陶朱公馆, it was already way past one. But alas, my hopes were dashed – she still kept waking up that night, and these days, to nurse. Sigh… guess it’d never be over until I wean her off completely...

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