Friday, November 19, 2010

That irritating twitch

OK, I've been having a twitch in my upper right lid for at least 3 days - I hope it's nothing serious, or nothing superstitiously bad... Read on Internet that it could be due to stress, fatigue, dry eyes, too much time at the computer, too much caffeine etc - not surprising as I need a vacation to prepare for my upcoming vacation, what with all the packing, the things I need to prepare/clean-up before/after the trip. Yikes! It does not help that pollution levels in Beijing are at hazardous levels for the past few days (I thought it was fog this morning - it was actually bad air, oh dear, and I actually brought Rosabelle out!).

I have to remind myself this is a holiday, and it is supposed to be something for me to enjoy, so breathe...

Until I saw an email from my mum's travel agent that they had cancelled their Guangzhou-Guilin connecting flight, and instead of reaching at the same time as me at 2:50 pm, they are reaching only at 5:45 pm. Great, just great. Their return flight to Singapore has already been changed (was the same time as mine actually, and now it's 3 hours later - if I change my flight, I need to pay RMB250...), and now this.

What this means is - that I will be alone with Rosabelle in a strange city (i.e. never visited before) all by myself for that short few hours, taking the hotel-arranged airport transfer by myself, and hoping that they don't have anymore delays. I will just let Rosabelle take her afternoon nap whilst waiting, and hopefully they will arrive as scheduled.

Please let all else be well man!

Stretching class time @ Familier

As I’d mentioned in a previous post, Miss Duona is the IT girl now for Rosabelle, no matter how many times she repeats the same Chinglish, irritating song of ‘Apple red, apple sweet, apple apple good to eat, apple apple I love you, apple sweet I love to eat’ (to the tune of ‘This Old Man’). Rosabelle will get down and dance to her, though she will strangely turn herself off after some time, perhaps to prevent a burn-out, heh.

That’s Rosabelle doing her turn of a song and dance, singing ‘Happy Birthday to Duona Jie Jie’ enthusiastically… I told Wayne that it’d border on child abuse for him to throw it away when we go to Guilin, seeing how much Rosabelle likes/loves/adores Duona (she requests for Duona to be everywhere – watching her eat, watching her pee, watching her get changed…). Guess I really need to find a good replacement before we phase this lousy doll out…
And yesterday was Kindermusik day again at Familier – there were 7 kids in all with two having try-outs, thank goodness we did not have a full attendance of the regulars (poor Yi An was sick), and we met another Singaporean pair – Priscilla and sweet Rei, who’s younger than Rosabelle by three months. They stay pretty close to us at Blue Castle Apartments, so I can imagine loads of playgroups and hook-ups coming up since the girls are pretty close in age!

However, I made a very bad mistake of giving Rosabelle a madeleine before class, wanting her to at least have something to go with the yoghurt she was taking in the car (since you aren’t supposed to take yoghurt on an empty stomach, or at least that’s what I hear…). Bad, bad, bad move. She refused to let go of it when class started (well, understandably so, right?), and was basically holding onto it with one hand whilst trying to participate in the class. At least she tried to participate instead of running away, heh… well, if you count running away from a younger girl who kept wanting to chomp on her madeleine. We had loads of fun this week with a lot of new songs and movements, and me being me, will be sure to revise and repeat a lot with Rosabelle. I was very relieved when she finally finished the madeleine in time for the last song, the Goodbye song, where she gamely sat down and sang along. Note to self: Don’t commit such a silly mistake of giving her a treat right before class in future.

After that, I really wasn’t planning to stay on for lunch since last week’s meal was oh-so-pathetic and disappointing. I wanted to actually bring her out to The Place to walk around and have lunch there. However, our girl was intent on staying on at Familier, saying she wanted to have lunch there, and she picked having potato soup (out of the alternatives of mushroom and pumpkin soups).

As I ordered lunch, she started on some crafts, led by this very friendly art teacher there whom Rosabelle calls Jie Jie – they did an ice-cream cone with a simple ping pong ball rolled over with glue, then popped onto rolled-up paper and decorated with sprinkled confetti. That’s her with the teacher and the ice cream cone, which she nicely said she wanted to give to Nai Nai.
Sounds simple, but the few steps and nifty handiwork involved wasn’t as easy for a two-year-old – at least she finished it, a much older ang mor boy came along, snatched paper plates from Rosabelle, and did not even complete his cone; cheh! His mother wasn’t much friendlier either – Rosabelle liked his younger brother, who was perhaps about 8 months old (?), still in the crawling stage, and went up to hug him and wanted to pat him. However, maybe the boy was being used to the trauma of having an older brat for a brother, and was very defensive and unhappy about somebody hugging him a little too tightly, and the silly mother actually flicked Rosabelle’s hand away, saying that he does not like it. Sheesh, chao ang mor! Does she really think she is a caste above us? I made sure we kept our distance after, and made sure to reassure my girl that there was nothing wrong in her being friendly – it’s just that some babies (or rather, their idiotic mums) do not like her over-coddling. BI-AT-CH.

Whilst waiting for lunch, I bumped into another mum that I had coincidentally met at another trial art & craft class at Peapod Baby back in September. Sandy actually co-teaches one of the classes offered at Familier, Beijing2Fun, that has stories/crafts/singing etc for kids on Wednesdays, but she said her son liked the Peapod Baby craft classes, so she signed up for 6 sessions, in spite of it being over-priced, and not being much structured/constructive (in her own words, and coming from the point of another child teacher, she feels that they can spend a whole lesson on something very simple, and then pay a high rate for it). I then overheard another staff asking Sandy if she was interested in an assignment at the Ritz Carlton in December, to tell children’s stories for Christmas, as they were looking for a bilingual lady (Sandy’s Taiwanese and speaks both languages very well, of course, as she had studied/worked in the States as well).

That got me thinking… this is the kind of life I’d like – to be my own ‘boss’ and indulge in work relating to kids, so that I can also apply it to my own kids. Since I already spend so much time reading up on and applying related skills to Rosabelle, I might as well expand my sharing and get paid for it! Sandy’s son attends all her classes, of course, and she is also expecting another one next year, phew! PR is still my passion, but I know the longer I put off the job search/re-entry, the more I’m going to feel jaded and want to start looking for something else – hell, I even briefly considered volunteering my services to anything kid-related just to build up a credible portfolio of things related to kids! These people have experience/training/educational backgrounds that contribute to their work with children, and me? I can only say I love children and have a child of my own. Does it count that whenever I tell stories/sing to Rosabelle, other children will gather around me as well? Or that when children see me, at least they don’t cry? Or I’m not afraid to appear/be silly with kids? Haha! Well, that’s subject for another matter, and until I get sorted out myself, these will just be all ramblings from my mind…

Lunch came soon enough, and our girl saw her tuna finger sandwiches and quickly wanted to start on her meal. However, guess she did not like the taste/texture of the mashed-up tuna, and just took small bites of the plain bread before pushing the plate away. So I gave her some of my spaghetti carbonara with mushrooms, and luckily ordered a steamed egg for her (she finished the whole bowl of egg). The spaghetti was way too creamy/milky, with a very strong cream/milk smell, so bad that I had to hold my breath when eating it! This will REALLY be the last time I am eating at Familier, so I made it up to myself by ordering a waffles with ice cream as Rosabelle ate up the pomelo I brought for her. The waffles came this time with chocolate syrup – yummy – and Rosabelle ate one mouthful before running around to play by herself, leaving me in waffle/ice cream heaven (save for when she came running to me to say she needed to pee, and I brought her to the toilet where she actually pooed, so I came back to melted ice-cream mixed with choc syrup, and if I try hard to NOT think about how it resembled what was in the loo earlier, it still all tasted very nice…). When she asked for more waffles and ice cream later, I had to tell her apologetically that I’d finished it all as she was taking too long with her first mouthful, haha!

We stayed on till way past 3pm, yes, way past her nap time, as she just refused to leave. Even Yuliya came back to start her 3pm lesson for babies, and was shocked to see that we were still there! Rosabelle actually wanted to go into the section and close the door on me (as we close the door when starting class), saying she wanted to attend Yuliya’s class- yikes! Rosabelle was totally fine with letting me go home without her when the assistant asked if she would like to stay on to play with her - I had to convince her that we were not going to stay, and that we had books waiting for us to read at home as well (as she loves the books section), before she agreed to go downstairs and put on her shoes/clothes.

After I had put on her shoes, she walked up the steps and told me, ‘妈妈,你去自己吧!' (not a typo – she mixes up the order of phrases at times, and I will let her know by repeating the correct sequence in my reply – ‘你要妈妈自己回家?'). When I asked where she wanted to head to, she replied, ‘上楼找Aunty Yuliya’ – faint…

By the time we got into a taxi and headed home to nurse, it was already 4:30pm and I believe I could have at most counted to 20 before she started falling asleep – heh! She did not wake up till 8pm, and this was with me going into the room and turning on the corridor lights to wake her up. I had to pay for my lax attitude when she fell asleep way past 1 am last night – the next time she says she’s not tired and still wants to play, I will play my ‘I’m your mother and I know better’ card – though not saying that to her, of course - and scoop her up to head home!

Cutie in search of the elusive luggage

On Monday night, after Rosabelle finished up a bowlful of hot milk and was slightly sweaty whilst I was brushing her teeth, I decided to just quickly tie her hair up just for fun/laughs. I didn’t do much tying in summer as her hair wasn’t as long, and I am hesitant to start pulling at/tugging her hairline at such a young age, preferring for her to go au naturel, but doesn’t she look so cute here?
Think she likes it and even kept staring at the mirror to pose, and ran out to Wayne at the dinner table and strike an ‘act cute’ pose, oh dear…

Wednesday morning, we headed to 3e for another session of Mommy & Me, but we were early and had her playing at the slides first. Doesn’t she look like a boy here with her hair under the beanie? Heh!
The kids played with pasta (and sorting), paint and dough stamping/rolling, but it seemed more crowded than usual with about 13 kids (instead of the usual 12, and even then, not all will turn up).

After class and a banana snack, we took a long walk to Tom’s DVD where I bought about 8 cartoons for Simon and Marianne (Rosabelle was helping me to hold the plastic bag of DVDs for awhile, then handed it back to me as she said, ‘妈妈,给你吧。袋子光拉玥玥手' – heh!), then to Comptoirs de France for her favourite madeleines, before heading to Annie’s for a well-deserved lunch as it was quite a walk from the school. Along the way, we went into a shop to look at their luggage bags, and as they were also selling/displaying shoes on the wall, Rosabelle suddenly said ‘放不对', and the sales assistant thought she was making a casual remark, and went on to ask her to put it correctly. True enough, one of the shoes (of about 30 on the wall) was facing the opposite direction from the rest, and our girl went on to turn it around – talk about OCD!

At Annie’s, I ordered way too much, forgetting that our girl can survive on bread and biscuits – I’d wanted her to eat some of the chicken/spinach tortellini, mushroom soup, and baked cheese mushrooms I’d ordered (and I polished off a small Caesar salad by myself), but instead, she preferred to just gorge on the complimentary bread until I quickly polished them off myself, adding to my already distended stomach eating the food she did not want. Luckily she ate like two tortellinis, and a few mouthfuls of soup, and maybe one cheese mushroom, but I basically ate up the rest (well, save for 3 tortellinis – there was only so much I could take).

Next stop was the Sunny Street Market, similar to Yaxiu/Xiushui Street, where foreigners buy fakes and get fleeced. I needed to get a bigger luggage bag for our upcoming trip, and was intent on not paying more than RMB120, but after one round to different stalls (they quoted me prices ranging from RMB360 to RMB480 for the same fake Swiss Army luggage), I realized nobody would go lower than RMB150.

In the end, I went to one of the bigger stalls and was prepared to fork out RMB150, but after inspecting her luggage, I realized it wasn’t of as good a quality than another nearer the entrance, so I rejected and said I did not want it. That sent the lady in a fury, saying, ‘你不要你别让我我拿出来嘛!浪费我时间!没有钱就别买啊!'. My goodness, the bitch! If I wasn’t carrying Rosabelle away, I would have leashed out at her, but I retorted with a, ‘你家东西不好我肯定不买,人家买肉、买菜都得看,这个肯定得看啊!', and just left it at that. I can think of more caustic/rude remarks to make, but thank goodness having a young daughter around tempers your anger somewhat, heh!

And so I made the deal at another store, and happily took a taxi home, and put Rosabelle to sleep (very quickly – she was tired…) before happily transferring all my things into the big luggage (I had to put a piece of pomelo skin in first to get rid of some smell – it’s still there, the smell, that is, not the pomelo skin), and realizing that in the midst of taking things out of the luggage bag, the silly stall assistant also took away my complimentary luggage lock. %$#@%...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In between Guilin/Yangshuo preps

OK, I’ve been busy packing for our upcoming Guilin/Yangshuo trip (departing this Sunday) – I realize I need to buy a bigger piece of luggage as I’m only halfway through and things are already not fitting in… so most free time has been spent seeing to what to bring (or not to) on our trip, but I’m very excited to be able to see my family soon!

There are no major developments/updates of late, unless you count the fact that Rosabelle can now take off her shoes (she will run and place one shoe back at the couch, then go back to her chair and proceed to take off the other shoe before going to the couch again – she has not fathomed that she can take off BOTH shoes before putting them back at the same time…), and do/undo buttons.

The other day, I tore off some pages of a sticker/colouring activity book (I did not want to give her the whole book as she’d probably get more distracted by the many other pages rather than focus on one single page), and got her to colour an aeroplane, bringing the magnetic uppercase ‘A’ and lowercase ‘a’ to spell out ‘aeroplane’ on the page. I’d wanted her to use the stickers to paste the missing parts of the aeroplane first, but when she saw the pages, she immediately shouted ‘画画!' and grabbed her markers and placed her chair at the TV table excitedly.

I was pretty impressed by what turned out – I’d expected her to just grab a colour and draw/doodle randomly on the paper, but she instead took one corresponding colour to match to the orange wing, and coloured WITHIN the wing – tres impressive, no? Of course she still managed to get the marker outside of the wing, and went on to mismatch some colours on the body of the plane, but she got most of the matching colours right, and went a step further to use the stamps on the other end of the markers and place birds on every cloud, then a butterfly next to each bird (patterns evolving here…) - such a nice piece of picture!

We then moved on to the stickers, where she did not really get it, wanting to place the stickers onto the smaller, complete aeroplane (that shows you where the missing parts of the big picture are), and of course with some guidance, she got the stickers in the right place (well, almost – some were backwards/too high/low, but hey, she’s only 24 months old!). When we were ready to place them onto the Wall of Fame, she found out that there was a 喜洋洋 bus picture at the back, so we did some more sticking and I nicely introduced B (Bus) to her as well.
I think she loves crafts and art, so when we went to Ikea on Saturday, the only things I got were some paint brushes and more markers. Well, I also managed to get a big and small funnel that she has fun with during bath time, pouring water into bottles. Things that I’d wanted to get – small tongs, tea-time play set, measuring spoons… they were all out of stock. Sheesh.

At least we had a good lunch at Ikea, where I amazingly managed to get a table within one minute of looking (they were just clearing to go and even nicely wiped the table for us). Rosabelle was busy playing with an older girl (7 years old) at the next table whilst Wayne got the food. They had fun looking at the animals/flowers on each other’s clothes, chuckling when they both tumbled to the floor as they were squatting down together. The girl kept carrying Rosabelle up, so I of course had to keep my hands ready in case they fell over. When lunch started and we put Rosabelle in the high chair, she told the girl, ‘姐姐,不玩了,玥玥要吃饭了' – haha… An older girl next to her at the next table was eating, and she told her, ‘姐姐,好好吃饭,快点嚼!'... goodness…

As we were leaving, she spotted this stacking toy that I deliberated buying earlier (but it’s pretty pricey – RMB49.90 for something I wasn’t sure she would play with) – she had fun with it, and I even wanted to go back on upstairs to buy, but rational Wayne was like ‘Aiya, she will only play with it for 10 minutes…’ – oh well…
She then enjoyed a treat of Ikea ice cream cone (with a crazy queue of hoards of people waiting to buy hot dogs and ice cream – they must make loads with this one!), preferring to eat the cone instead – just as well, since she won’t be injesting so much sweets…

Yesterday, at 7-Eleven, she took a chocolate lollipop and came up to me:
R: 咱们买这个吧 (she loves to use the ‘咱们' these days…)
Me: 这是什么东西?
R: 棒棒糖吧。。。
Me: 你看过谁吃?
R: 惟惟姐姐。。。
Me: 你觉得好吃吗?
R: 好吃。。。

And I let her hold onto it as I explained that it was very sweet, and I can offer her fruits if she’d like. She chose some other flavors and suggested I buy them, where I gently rejected, of course, and thankfully, she was most cooperative when I asked to leave to go to another supermarket – no meltdown/tantrums etc, phew! I almost gave in and bought one just because she was so sweet and patient about it, but thankfully resisted as I don’t wish to set a precedent – if I buy one today, she will expect one every time we step into the place!

On Sunday, Wayne wanted to bring Rosabelle along for a visit to the chiropractor’s since Dr. D was returning to the States soon, so that’s us in the car making funny faces (pardon the bad framing as I was trying to pose in the picture AND snap us both at the same time)…
In the course of taking the shots, our heads would collide gently at times, and she has picked up a very colloquial ‘没事', complete with 儿化音, as she pats me gently on the head, telling me it’s ok and it’s not painful even though it might hurt, haha… (she will at times blurt out phrases that she picked up, like suddenly saying ‘真讨厌' when the Lego blocks she was stacking toppled over… I gave her a large spoon to cook a fake brinjal in the pan and she told me in a very adult-like fashion, ‘妈妈,咱们用小勺吧,用大勺炒不动呢...').

We then headed to Pizza Hut around the corner of the clinic to get lunch first, and had to wait about half an hour for a table. Maybe she was hungry, but she finished lunch pretty quickly and could even pose for a shot with the Pizza Hut cowboy – yee hah!
After that, we went to the chiro’s and when Wayne enquired, Dr. D had already returned to the States on Friday! Tsk tsk… that’s how it is with Wayne – he assumes that his verbal appointment with Dr. D last Sunday (to return this Sunday) was cast in stone, when me being me, always believe you should at least call prior to confirm. But no… he always likes to save the call but make a wasted trip, haiz…

Anyway, after we reached home and put her to sleep, we both headed out to New World City near our house as Wayne wanted to get some mens’ wear (but we couldn’t find anything good…). When we reached home close to 7pm, Rosabelle had just woken up and was playing with a new doll, Duona. This doll was given to us by our neighbor for her birthday, but I’d saved taking it out until Sunday morning – the smell was really strong and I hung it in the balcony for two days, then wrapped it in a plastic bag with two big pomelo skins to get rid of the bad synthetic smell.

When we took Duona out for Rosabelle in the morning, she was so delighted, and kept hugging it. However, you are supposed to talk to it and it will talk/sing back – after Nainai and I asked it to sing a song, it replied, ‘我听不懂你说什么 / 你再不理我,我就不跟你玩了', making me worried that even with adults’ pronounciations, it still cannot understand us – how demoralizing can it be for Rosabelle if she speaks to it and gets such negative feedback? Worst of all was the quality is really bad – its knitted top kept shedding fur balls, and its hair kept dropping out! Wayne was suggesting that he will throw it away when we go to Guilin, but our girl loves it to bits, asking for Duona all the time, and it was Nainai’s saving grace to stop her from crying when she woke up from her afternoon nap and I wasn’t home on Sunday evening.

Nainai has spent a lot of time trying to remove bits of fur balls and tousling the hair…sigh..let’s see – I can’t imagine how ‘poisonous’ its materials must be if the smell was so strong… I must look for a better-quality substitute before we get rid of this lousy Duona (she finally sang – quite lousy-quality recording and Chinglish English songs as well… yikes!).

But I know it’s going to be tough – Duona is finding her way into the stories that Rosabelle invents, like her story about her going into a house, seeing a cat/rat with a candlestick, then realizing it’s Duona’s birthday and her friends like Mai Dou and Niu niu were also there and pretending to be riding the sofa like a horse. The other day, there was yet another hilarious story about her leading a blue cow to 金港国际 to play at the slides and do some cooking as she cooked some 娃娃菜for it to eat…sure is fun to see where her imagination takes her!

Last week’s classes

Blogging has taken a hiatus, not helped by Hotspot Shield failing me (and in between downloading a new update that turned out to be a fake one and had many Trojan viruses! AND when I manage to log in, it takes FOREVER to upload even low-res pics….)… so as usual, it’s the conventional ‘blog in Word, then paste later’ mode.

Last Wednesday was Mommy & Me day at 3e again, and as usual Wayne drove us there, but not before posing for a shot of father and daughter looking spiffy in their winter gear…
We played with tea leaves and soaked confetti, but Rosabelle strangely (or maybe not?) prefers the book section these days, spending more time there than anywhere else, getting me to read the books she picks.

After class, we took a slow walk to Element Fresh again, where she had a disappointing teriyaki chicken rice kid’s set (chicken was too tough and came with fats at the edges, and the broccoli was really hard), so thank goodness I ordered her favourite pork wontons and she almost finished all of the mushroom soup.

On our walk to Lido Place to visit the bookshop again, she was greeting strangers along the way – somebody was apparently in a chirpy mood!
I’d wanted to get 3 titles at the bookshop, but had a lot of difficulty finding another book of the same value (as it’s still a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ promotion), since I already had most of the titles I wanted. The slothy sales person wasn’t much help even, stuck to a game at her laptop and telling me to look for myself when I asked which other book costs RMB52 – they don’t classify by pricing, so I had to basically flip every book on its back.

In the end, Rosabelle was already perspiring from the heating in the shop (I wasn’t planning to stay for long, so I did not take off her coat/scarf), and I gave up looking for the books – I ended up going out of the shop empty-handed. If Ms. Sloth is so lazy, she’s not going to earn my easy money (obviously she’s not the boss, or at least she would have been more eager/helpful, but still!), and I made my disdain/disgust known with the mess of books all over the shelves – serves her right and gives her some work to do to earn her keep!

Then, Thursday was Kindermusic at Familier again, and we strangely had a high absentee rate with only two other kids around, one of who was Yi An, her
Korean admirer from the previous week. His mum told me after he woke from his afternoon nap that day, he was still looking for Rosabelle and refused to believe his mum she was gone (even though he sent us down to take a taxi), and kept looking in the toilet to see if she was there (as we had planned to just use their toilet and scoot that day). Heh! How sweet…

This time round, his mum cleverly brought biscuits and fruits to fill him up, and got her Ayi to come and play with him, basically putting him in an uber-good mood so that he would not cry during class, and it worked! But Rosabelle was bent on planting kisses on him/hugging him during the course of the class, even hitting him twice when he resisted her amorous advances – oh dear!

She was most uncooperative during class, running all over the place and refusing to participate in/sing along to songs she normally likes at home. Sigh! However, story time was something else, and she loved the story about different fishes in the ocean, and even Yuliya knows that she has to keep reminding Rosabelle to sit a distance away, or she will stand and/or go too near and basically prevent anyone else from seeing the book.

After class, we stayed on to play and have lunch, which was a seriously disappointing affair. The shrimp udon noodles was miserable (two small shrimps) with loads of mushroom (that Rosabelle spat out as she found them too chewy) and some sliced turnip (she only ate a little). Even the egg added was raw – hello… children’s food… raw egg?!!!

My Indian fried noodle (popularly known as Nasi Goreng), promising of noodles in sambal sauce, was a pathetic mass/blob of unappetizing-looking noodles with 3 measly prawns at the side. I took a bite of the noodles – they were too stringy and reeked of some cheap prawn paste, nothing like the delicious Nasi Gorengs we have in Singapore or any decent outlets in Beijing. I decided to order a teriyaki chicken skewer and a Cajun chicken sandwich (both of which had meat too dry/tough). Sigh… Rosabelle did not eat much, though she enjoyed the fries, haha! I felt bad to force her to eat more as the food was really terrible. So she just ate junk food, and also ate grapes/tangerines I and Yi An’s mother brought.

I made sure the service staff heard my feedback about the bad bowl of noodles posing as Nasi Goreng, and they nicely waived off the charges, but the rest of lunch was too bad for me to complain about. Guess it’s going to be our last time eating there (unless I just have my fix of crispy waffles– last week’s waffles were way too soft!).

Yi An also had lunch there, and he was gorging on a pack of organic fruit chips as he sweetly offered Rosabelle some – he swallows after chewing like only twice (or not at all?), and both he and Rosabelle should really strike a balance in their chewing times! After her friend left, we stayed on to play awhile more, with her refusing to go and asking me to read her more books. I had to remind her that she had books at home waiting for her to read before she would leave… aiyo!
When she came home, she slept immediately after I nursed her – obviously a tiring morning/afternoon, and not helped by the lousy lunch!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected; Dealing with the Unexpected

I like unexpected photos – I’m always the mamarazzi, but sometimes when I upload the photos from the camera, I see that Papa and girl have played around a bit, as in this case... She was trying to take a photo of Papa with her toy camera, just as Papa was snapping a shot of her. She even took real photos of Papa, albeit with his head chopped off, haha…
These days, with the advent of cold weather (thank goodness central heating started today, but it means it’s going to be dry at home – out come the humidifiers to the rescue!), we’ve had to stay home quite a few mornings, and of course in the evenings. The other day, she only slept for an hour in the afternoon as the winds were howling quite loudly and woke her up – it also did not help that our bedroom curtain was disengaged. Yes, the whole rod came down when I stepped on it whilst cleaning the bedroom – it’s not the first time this is happening as the curtain rod in Nainai’s room had dropped before. So we had no curtains that afternoon and night, and when the repairman could not come the next morning, I knew I needed to quickly put a makeshift curtain together, tying rubber bands at both corners of an old bedsheet, and stringing them onto the curtain hooks left on the walls, haha! The curtainman finally came this morning, and apparently, our curtains are double-layered (to keep out the sun) and thus rather heavy, and it does not help that the curtain rods are supported only by a knob of metal on both ends, making it very easy to give way. He suggested we get the ends elongated so that they can hold better – even the curtain rod in Nainai’s room is giving way again… think I’d better get Wayne to see to this when we are in Guilin…

Back to Rosabelle’s activities these days - even though our girl is happily occupied enough with her many toys/books, I’ve had to whip out my list of ‘To Try’ and go through my toy box to expend my ration of new books/toys. One thing she has been most happy with of late is a slate of 'Disney Cars’ foam stickers – I should really get her a sticker book one day, but she has fun pasting them all over us and herself, onto empty sticker sheets, and simply holding onto them for fun.
I also got some ideas from reading an activity at 3e during last week’s Mommy & Me – to let her play with her Play Dough set together with some beads/beans, so I took a few colours of red beans, yellow beans, green beans, black beans etc, and proceeded to construct a teddy bear face on a ball of Play Dough. She then proceeded to try and pull out the beans and later stuck them back into whatever shape she wanted. Nice, and just what the whole activity is about – practising their pincer grip when taking the small beans out, and letting them experiment with what/how beans look like when placed randomly (or not so randomly) in dough.
Another beany activity we got up to of late was inspired by a photo of her favourite Mai Dou at play in his kindergarten – he had a bowl of yellow beans and was scooping them up with a spoon to pour into an Ikea glass bottle. So, latching onto her interest in my vitamin bottles that I’d emptied out earlier that morning, I placed the two empty bottles side by side and gave her a spoon and a small bowl of red and yellow beans, asking her to scoop and sort the beans into the respective bottles. Surprisingly, she understood my instructions and did a pretty good job of getting the beans in – she even wanted to take a short cut and pour them all in, haha! I have been wanting to get a funnel and she can then experiment with it, using water, flour etc as well. After that, we just poured the beans into the bottles and used them as shakers, and she also had fun pouring them out again on the tray and swirling them around in the tray.
She also loves the new books I took out for her – Little Pirate Goes to Bed and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. She asks for the latter book when she wakes up, and since I’ve been pointing at the words when I read to her these days, she has picked this up and also points at random words when she reads any book to herself, heh!
The book is quite fun with nice drawings, though I find it morbid to introduce the concept of death (the old lady dies in the end after swallowing a horse…), and of swallowing such strange animals/insects, haha… So long as she likes it, I guess!
On the subject of books, she likes to ask Nainai to read to her as well, and I have an issue with Nainai’s pronounciation at times, pronouncing ‘luo bo’ (carrot) as ‘luo bu’, something my girl has worryingly picked up. Her hanyu pinyin intonation is also at times wrong, saying ‘ben3 ling4’ instead of 'ben2 ling3’ in a rhyme about a cat, so all I can do is repeat the correct word to Rosabelle when the wrong one has been pronounced. I feel bad about telling Rosabelle, ‘No, it’s not XXX, it should be XXX’ because correction of mispronounciation should be subtle, and it’s not her fault as she followed the pronounciation of Nainai, but I also hope that Nainai can hear as I correct her. Sigh… it has not been working much, and I really don’t wish to dampen our poor girl’s language leaning capabilities, so I had to resort to telling Rosabelle before her nap time just now that “If Nainai says ‘luo bu’, tell her 'no, it should be luo bo’”… Hopefully with enough repetition, Nainai will get it…

Yesterday, Rosabelle strangely peed in her pants three times at home on different occasions, even after Nainai urged her to pee (she resisted as she was playing), making Nainai quite mad – understandably so as she was asking her to pee, and she also had to wash her clothes after. When Nainai is telling Rosabelle off at times, she has a habit of poking our girl’s forehead casually, something I don’t really like. I told her lightly to not do it in case Rosabelle imitates her and pokes other young children, but when she repeated that just awhile later, I had to tell her bluntly to not do it. I think it equates to beating – it’s demeaning, something I wouldn’t do to myself, and definitely not to our daughter, no matter how gently Nainai does it.

Since we’re on rants, sigh… I found out to my horror that Nainai has only been bathing once a week. Yes, you read that right. Unthinkable in sweltering temperatures in Singapore, but with the cold weather, coupled with the fact that she has sensitive/dry skin, she has resorted to bathing/washing her hair only once a week. Thank goodness she does not smell, but I do feel squeamish when I think about it, and it does not help that her once-a-week-shampooed hair keeps dropping all over the house, on Rosabelle’s toys etc…

Oh well, all I can say that I’m glad she’s Rosabelle’s Nainai, as that’s what keeps me sane in spite of all these little quirks and happenings!

Monday, November 8, 2010

She'd rather another boy!

Last Saturday, I wasn’t planning any get-aways as we now have unpredictable cold weathers/winds (we had to stay home this morning because of strong winds), but just as well as on Friday morning, I received a message from a Mummy in the yard for a lunch get-together to celebrate her daughter’s third birthday.

We went out earlier to Shin Kong Place (since the restaurant was just opposite), and had a quick walk-around as I wanted to get some comfy shoes (my current casual shoes are either too worn-out or too thin for winter) for the upcoming Guilin trip. Wayne knew better – Shin Kong doesn’t have many sales, though I saw a pair at Acupunctures costing RMB599 (no discount, and Wayne did not think much of it…), I didn’t get it. I managed to get a pair of Nikes at Outlet, going out with Wayne when Rosabelle slept that afternoon. They were at 20% off, costing RMB454 after discount – though Taobao seems to have it at RMB50 lesser inclusive of shipping, although I am not sure if they have them in my size since I could not be bothered to come back and do an online search/transaction after spending quite abit of time trawling Nike, Adidas etc shopsthere. With things like shoes, I’d rather try them on for design and size.

Back to birthday celebrations and all – that’s our girl very pleased to see herself on the screen at Panasonic Centre, doing a jump/hop and laugh number:
After that, we walked over to Mao Restaurant at Blue Castle (serving Hunan cuisine, as that’s the hometown of Chairman Mao) – we were the first to arrive after the birthday girl. That’s our girl giving Jing Jing Jie Jie a warm birthday hug after handing her a nice turtleneck present.
The room was very warm as the afternoon sun was flooding in through the big windows, so when the rest of the kids started coming in and filling up the space as well, adults and children alike stripped down to their basics. That’s the gang posing on the sofa as we waited for lunch to be served; Rosabelle’s a year younger than all of them…
And her being not as cooperative (covering her eyes and wanting to cover Jing Jing’s as well) when I asked them to pose for yet another shot together…
The youngest, as usual, was Mr. Meat Loaf, Junqi, 9-month-old brother of 3-year-old Qi Qi – I have yet to take an uncute photo of him…
Even Wayne found it tiring to carry him for long, haha…
Lunch started soon enough (one big table of adults and kiddos) and Rosabelle loved the四喜烤麸 (sweetened dried bean curd), and went on to feed herself tofu, fish, broccoli, and pumpkin (filling up on them all and rejecting the noodles that came last…). She also chomped on a stick of cucumber, using it to deny her mum of yet another photo opp… She even wanted some of my ‘南瓜水’, clamouring to try some of the orange juice I’d just ordered from the waitress – she did not know what it was and kept saying she wanted it, assuming it was pumpkin juice since it was orange in colour, and she was eating pumpkin at that time, haha!
Birthday cake time came, and that’s the Princess of the Day! Rosabelle even shouted loudly ‘祝你生日快乐!', to thunderous applause from adults all round.
Rosabelle fed herself some cake, though thankfully did not finish the whole slice (and obviously also rejected the ‘healthy’ option of pomelo I brought along for her). Every adult commended her for sitting in the high chair for such a long time without fussing, saying she was such a well-behaved child as the rest of the older kids were running and jumping all over shortly after lunch started. Well, they don’t see the behind-the-scenes where she takes way too long to finish a meal by turning/twisting away from us, and harbouring food in her mouth and not chewing/swallowing!
Our girl earned her playtime well and joined the rest of the kids on the sofa, jumping and riding it like a horse.
That’s Weiwei, Mai Dou and her – poor Maidou has a black eye from falling from a slide last week, and it’s much better now, though we can still see a ring of blue-black around it, poor thing…
After lunch, we were heading out together when Rosabelle was holding hands with Mai Dou (he kept asking her to go to his house, and our girl of course agreed vehemently), and declared to heart-broken Wayne that she wanted to follow Mai Dou’s car when asked which car she wanted to sit in to go home. She was most happy in Mai Dou’s mum’s car on the way home, and Wei Wei was sitting together with us as well, though Mai Dou pretty much ignored the poor older girl, only asking Rosabelle ‘玥玥,好听吗' as his mum played some songs over the radio.

When we reached our house lift, Rosabelle was still holding on tightly to Mai Dou’s hand, and when we reached our 10th floor, they actually hugged on tightly to each other and refused to let go. When I asked if she wanted to follow me, she said ‘No, Mai Dou家', agreeing to let me go on home without her! Oh dear, the heartbreak of it all… so I had no choice but to follow our smitten girl to Mai Dou’s house, even though it was already 3pm and close to their afternoon nap times. Poor Wei Wei could not come as her grandmother wanted to bring her home, so she was bawling away on the way up to her house.

Thank goodness Rosabelle agreed to come on home with me after about half hour of play at Mai Dou’s house, and she slept away for close to 4 hours that afternoon, waking up close to 8pm for dinner. As you can imagine, she kept Wayne awake till way past 1 am that night, giving excuses to use the toilet, drink water… phew! Now why doesn’t she look for her Mai dou to do these – she still has to rely on the man she abandoned earlier that day, haha!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Angel in his eyes...

Yesterday, I brought Rosabelle for our usual Mommy & Me session at 3e, and it was another fun-filled hour as she got flour all over her clothes from one of the activity stations (as I always say, ‘I’m glad all these mess isn’t happening in my house!’), and knows the class routine of quickly running to grab a musical instruments bag and sitting in a circle once the teacher takes it out at the end of the class for sing-along sessions.

After class, she obediently sat with me at the school lobby area and ate some tangerines before we took a leisurely stroll to Element Fresh again for lunch – no rushed errands/things to buy this time, not like last week. It was a nice walk there, and I’ve always liked the surroundings in Lido area – Wayne thinks it’s like he’s overseas, haha… rightly so, as there are so many foreigners, foreign schools, restaurants and shops here.

Rosabelle wanted her mushroom soup again but that wasn’t on the menu, so we had pumpkin soup instead (halfway through drinking the soup, she proclaimed, ‘玥玥要喝水。南瓜汤可甜了,得漱漱口呢。' Heh! She seemed to also enjoy the pork wanton and chicken/mushroom ravioli I ordered (note to self – don’t order things that are so similar in future – both are meats wrapped in flour skins, though one’s Eastern, and another’s Western…), and nicely fed herself so I could finish my lunch at the same time.

However, I had a different waiter this time round, and he wasn’t as attentive as the lady we had last week – not clearing plates fast enough, not getting kids’ utensils to me before the food even came, not preparing more napkins for me etc etc… and one bad thing was the washroom was upstairs, a spiral staircase up. So I had to carry Rosabelle twice (yes, she wanted to go to the toilet twice in that short span of lunch) up and down the steps. In my leather high-heeled boots. Thank goodness I did not stumble over on my face… But all these aren’t going to stop me from going back to Element Fresh for their nice food and generous portions – though I might give it a miss and try something else next week.

Today, we headed out for Kindermusic classes at Familier, decking her up in a boy-style gear of camo pants and a bomber jacket, haha! Tres cute, no?
As we were getting down from our car, we saw another Mummy, Gina, wheeling her son, Yi An(?) in his stroller as the boy cried away. They are Koreans and live at Central Park just next door to Chaowai SOHO, and poor Yi An absolutely hates coming to class, bawling away as his mum headed towards the direction of class. She had to carry him, and Rosabelle enjoyed helping to push his stroller on up to class, and as we were preparing for class to start, he was crying away.

I had bought an orange madeleine from Comptoirs de France yesterday for our girl to eat for breakfast in the car (after drinking some of the Green Yard yoghurt), and she was holding onto half of it still. Deciding that she did not need too much sweets, and not wanting to have to deal with cake crumbs on the classroom floor, I quickly peeled half for Yi An and that made him stop his crying. Immediately! Bravo!

And so whenever he started crying, I would feed him bits, and that seemed to work somewhat… heh! Thank goodness sweet Rosabelle was very willing to share her treat, and we started class soon enough, learning new songs, and having distracted kids running all over the place.

Rosabelle had so much love to give that half-way through a song, she went over to another Mummy’s lap (as she was carrying her son Jonas on her lap) and laid on it, even hugging and kissing him till he cried, oh dear me… At another point, she rode on a huge teddy bear and started singing ‘To market, to market’ (because we had used the bear to bounce on our laps previously), and then ran away – another Mummy asked ‘Is she always so happy?’ – haha! Yes, I should think/hope so!

Class ended soon enough and as the kids munched on cookies, I quickly gave Rosabelle her Yakult to fill her up (with something more healthy) but Yi An remembered her favor and quickly came over to also share some of the cookies, so sweet of him. His mum later told me that he told her - 'Rosie漂亮' – haha! She must have been like his angel for giving him such nice food when he was crying away earlier…

We had lunch at Familier where she wanted 蘑菇汤, and I ended up being the one drinking every single drop of it as she did not even finish her spaghetti with broccoli/cauliflower (I pinched chicken from my BBQ Chicken Pizza for her as well), and was distracted by the grapes I took out for her and Yi An to share. That’s why Mummies get fat so easily/quickly, polishing off food they have no heart to waste when their kids don’t eat up…

The kids played around awhile more, stringing straw necklaces (see her donning it?).
She was also supposed to glue a bird and paste feathers on it, but she just left it at the gluing part and left the feather affair to the assistants there, heh!
When Gina/Yi An wanted to head home, we also left with them since I always wanted to check out BabyGro at Central Park. More importantly, I read that CC Sweets had opened a shop there as well. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth and I’ve been always wanting to try their cupcakes (Colibri’s at Sanlitun North as well), so I wanted to buy some to pack and go.

We took a nice walk back with them and normally, Yi An will fall asleep in his stroller but maybe he had 漂亮 Rosie with him, and he was too distracted, asking to come out of his stroller and running around in the compound with her. Gina pointed me in the direction of BabyGro and CC Sweets, and Yi An actually overheard us saying I was going to buy cupcakes. After we’d bade farewell to them, he asked his mum to also go get cupcakes, so together, we first went for a browse around BabyGro (so small, and so expensive for basics, though for some imported brands, they are actually cheaper than Taobao!). Then we headed to CC Sweets where Rosabelle decided she wanted to poo and pee! Okay… now this wasn’t in my yard area where I could just let her pee wherever in the bushes. This was at Central Park – and it is quite an elite estate, so rather than run to the nearest toilet (quite far and dirty, according to Gina), Gina nicely offered to let us use her toilet, so we quickly made our purchases (RMB22 for ONE small cupcake, which is VERY expensive, but I just tried the chocolate one, and it really is very good!) and headed to their home.

As you can imagine, our day stretched as after Rosabelle peed (no poop – false alarm!), Gina invited us to stay on for awhile and she opened up the cupcakes she’d bought (which had become a mess as Yi An was holding onto, and swinging, the box around wildly…), and asked the Ayi to cut some apples and prepare some tangerines.

Basically the kids had a tea party, and Rosabelle kept feeding Yi An the cream on top of her cupcake, then went on to feed him the cupcake. She was also feeding him, and eating herself, quite a lot of apples, and even wanted to feed him his water, aiyo! In the end, I told her to feed herself the cupcake and THAT was what she was waiting for. See, she knows I don’t normally let her eat sweets and cakes, and her tactic is to hold the object of desire and feed other kids. She will wait for the exact moment where the other kid rejects, and then look at me, giving me the cue to say ‘XXX不要了,你吃吧' – and you can imagine how quickly she polished off the small cupcake, haha!

By the time we were ready to go, it was already close to 3:30pm, and Gina/Yi An even sent us down to take a taxi. Gina said Rosabelle made Yi An very happy, but I’m not sure who made whose day in this case as Rosabelle was also having a good time! It’s no wonder than less than 10 minutes into nursing her just now, she already fell fast asleep!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Coming full circle for The Choons!

Last Saturday was a special day for us – we were going out without our car, haha! Wayne had accidentally knocked into a barrier at his office car park on Wednesday, and had sent the cars for repairs, so we were basically car-less until Sunday. More significantly, we were going to meet the Choons for the first time since they’ve come back to Beijing, yaay! It has been a long while since we’ve met (though Wayne and his parents put up at their place in Shanghai, and Vanessa was in town recently for a quick stop-over to get things in place), so I was really looking forward.

Think our girl was also very keen to meet Rachel meimei (though for strange reasons Tim and Van don’t want us to call Rachel as meimei…hmmm…), and Aunty Vanessa as well as Uncle Timothy, since I was psyching her up the night before, and telling her that she has to help me give Rachel her birthday presents of the many books we’d bought for her.
I had her decked up in a sweet, tight sweater dress, courtesy of another Mummy whose daughter has since outgrown it, and she looks so cute in her tights, Grandma's sweater, and a little tummy. We headed to the Village first since the Choons could only make it past 12:30pm for lunch, and walked around, enjoying the great weather and sunshine, when we chanced upon this futuristic-looking three-wheeler that some old man had gotten off. Our girl was asking ‘这怎么进去的...', haha!
Then, as usual when Wayne’s around, she gets all clingy and wants him to carry (she knows it does not work with me, so thank goodness she does not try it on me…) – that’s her happy that Daddy has given in to her whining, haha!
We walked on round to Village South where she refused to run around on her own, so I took some shots of her as she ran after Papa, crying to be carried…cheh, so naughty!
We finally distracted her with the nice, curvy round benches, and she was happy to get down and walk on and around them as she strutted her stuff.
That’s us, looking totally fab and not out of place for the Emporio Armani shop opening that was going to take place in two hours just next to where this shot was taken – haha…
And then she started going for her stones again, picking them off the floor to stuff into this bunting hole in the bench…
That’s her taking sips from the new Tiger hot water flask I got for her from Taobao (at half the retail price of close to RMB400 – did I ever mention I love Taobao?!) – it’s pretty heavy when filled and the water inside was still warm even after about 6 hours.
And sitting on one of the lights she calls 小蘑菇…
Soon we had to make our way to Prima Kitchen and took a short cut through some dingy backlane/construction site area – as usual, the Choons were not on time, haha, but Wayne kept Rosabelle entertained with the free colour pencils and pictures they’d laid out on another table as I placed our orders. She was instructing Wayne to colour a boy skier in the colours she wanted…
Soon after, the Choons arrived! Rosabelle immediately asked me, ‘书呢?', not forgetting her responsibility of giving Rachel her birthday presents. However, Rachel was a tad shy, maybe because she had not seen us in awhile, or maybe she was tired from having woken up early that morning (and running a few errands to boot!), so she was sticking to Tim and wanting him to carry, refusing to sit in her high chair.
At least she had a balloon to distract her in the beginning, but the girls were not exchanging gifts, so the mummies had to keep them for them, heh! These were the sweet things that Vanessa got for Rosabelle…
Rosabelle took Rachel’s que and also put up a struggle getting into her high chair, but kept quiet after awhile when she started drinking her corn chowder, and had some Hokkien fried noodles and fish from the Fish & Chips set.

After lunch, we started the slow walk to their apartment at Lianbao, where our girl was so happy with Daddy carrying her that she did some arm exercises en route…
We reached their 227 square metres place (2.5 times ours!) – four rooms and three toilets, and loads of space for the little one to run about! Rosabelle was of course attracted to the toys/play area, but we did not hang around for long as it was way past the two girls’ nap times.
When we were about to leave, Rosabelle actually asked to bring along the magnetic alphabets playset belonging to Rachel, but when I told her no, it does not belong to her, she immediately put it back and ran back to me to wear her shoes. Such a good girl!

After that, we went to April Gourmet just outside and bumped into Tim’s parents – his poor Dad was having a case of the runs because of the cold weather, but thank goodness they will be hanging around awhile more so we can catch up with them properly. Just as well, as Vanessa starts work today, and if all goes well, Rachel is starting school soon, and they have yet to confirm the Ayi for domestic chores (one who came the other day declared she did not want in the next, sheesh!). Luckily they have a nanny who is able to take care of Rachel during the day – a retired nursery teacher who is supposedly very serious, haha, but so apt for the job!

Glad that things have come full circle for them and they are back in Beijing – can expect loads of fun playdates (if only the girls can coordinate their nap/sleep/meal times!) and weekends!

And in she dives!

As I was looking through the photos in the camera over breakfast yesterday, our girl clamoured to me to help her 照相, and even struck a variety of poses for me…
Lunch-time, however, was a different story altogether… she was exceptionally whiney, and justifiably so, as she had a rather close shave in the morning on our walks. See, after we came back from the playground at another estate (we walked there early in the morning with another kid, as there were no other kids in our own yard area), she played briefly with another older girl and her young brother (she is so sweet with younger kids these days – when she saw the young boy sneeze, she immediately plucked his blanket from the top of his stroller and draped it over him, making sure his feet were well-covered – awww….). And then the two girls decided to climb onto the bench near the bushes and started plucking at the leaves.

I don’t normally allow/like her to pluck leaves as they are quite dirty (who knows who peed on them?!) and it also kills the poor leaves, but she was having fun and not doing much damage, so I left her at it. However, I was standing on the other side of the bench, and in retrospect, should have stood at the same side she was on.

Before I knew it, she had lost her balance whilst going too far out to reach for a leaf, and dived headway into the bushes and fallen onto the floor! I quickly ran over and pulled our crying girl from the bushes, only to be greeted by a dirty face full of soil and some blood. On closer inspection after sitting her down, I quickly took a wet wipe to first wipe away the soil around her mouth area, and saw a scratch near the corner of her left eye, and some blood on her mouth from two slight cuts to her upper/lower lips. The area below her nose (right above her mouth) was also quite red, so she must have hit her lower face down quite hard, making a 45-degree dive into the bushes. Thank goodness the bushes cushioned her fall somewhat so she did not hit her head/face hard onto the floor, and thank goodness she did not stab herself in the eye with the twigs/thorns.

Of course she needed some TLC and cajoling before stopping her crying, which lasted for about two minutes. For the rest of the afternoon, she screamed ‘painful’ whenever we asked her to blow her nose; turns out that it’s more obvious today as a slight scab has formed over the area below the nose – she must have grazed the skin there and it would have been smarting for her when we touched the area, poor thing. Other than that, the slight scratch near the eye area had faded, and I could only see dots of blood on her upper and lower lips – the damage wasn’t as bad as I thought but I shudder at the thought that it could have been worse. Maybe it was the crying in the cold air, but she developed a slight cough after that and has been coughing at times since. Sigh!

Lesson learnt for me and her – for me, I just have to ensure I am around her whenever she is in so much as a precarious position (and prevent it in the first place), I cannot afford to be out of her reach and leave it to chance. For her – I always tell her not to pluck leaves, so I told her the leaves were angry and have taken revenge by swallowing her up (the gaping hole in the bushes was still there when we went today, and she was showing everybody where she fell, haha!), and that she has to be careful in not missing a step and falling over.

However, it’s not always a lesson learnt for every fall. She had fallen from her step stool in the toilet previously, and the other night, when Wayne and I were having a disagreement about my constant shouting at our girl (she was really testing my patience during teeth-brushing time, walking around with the toothbrush in her mouth, touching/pulling at the soap dispenser and towels… he thinks I should be more patient and reason with/distract her, and I do at times lose my cool quite easily – guess we have to cope with this all the time and he does not realize how ‘patient’ you can get if you face this day in/day out), she fell down from the step stool again. That of course made us stop our squabbling immediately, and I felt guilty that we were too absorbed in our silly tiff to catch/watch her and prevent the fall… sigh… poor thing.

Guess there’s only so much we can do to watch over our girl!

Backtrack SG: That’s the end

OK, I am finally blogging the last entry ever about our June trip back to Singapore… just a simple recap of our flight and tying up some loose ends.

On 2 June, Rosabelle had an early lunch at home before Wayne and Nainai sent us to the airport, where Wayne and I then enjoyed our Burger King lunch, haha!

After that, we made our way to catch the 3:35pm flight on CA969 back home – this was my first time travelling alone with Rosabelle sans stroller (I'd left it in Singapore over CNY for Gideon), so you can imagine I needed to carry her quite a bit AND still handle a huge hand-carry (I could just hang the bag on the stroller and push her around previously).

Thank goodness all else was quite uneventful as we caught our plane, and sat on a three-seater, where we had the luck of having an empty seat next to us (and a man sitting at the far end). So after nursing upon take-off, she could snooze for about an hour. Maybe she could have slept longer if only the old man seated on the other side of the aisle wasn’t having a hacking cough that sounded highly contagious (and of course loud).

The whole journey was basically quite uneventful as I fed her the usual travel foods (fruits/peas/carrots/sweet potato/biscuits – luckily I had raisins handy as that made her cooperate in sitting down with me upon touch-down). There was an older girl seated in front with her parents, and she was quite friendly and played awhile with Rosabelle, but when she kept turning back to want to offer sweets/chocolates to Rosabelle, to the point of being insistent, I got quite irritated. She also seemed very attracted to the (more healthy) snacks I’d prepared for our girl, and sweet Rosabelle even fed her some of her own biscuits. But when she kept asking about what Rosabelle was eating, perhaps waiting for me to offer her some, I started becoming unfriendly, haha… Well, can’t blame me – her parents were also very unfriendly, not turning back even once to acknowledge our presence nor ask their daughter to thank me for the food I’d given her, cheh!

I managed a few diaper changes in the plane toilet (as well as having Rosabelle being typically obedient and holding on tightly to the rails as I also needed to use the loo), though it wasn’t as safe back in our own seats as she hit her head on the handles on at least three occasions...

The trip back home from Singapore was more eventful… over the whole duration of my stay in Singapore, I had loaded up on a lot of things to bring back – foodstuff, clothes, books, toys, medicines, toiletries etc etc… so I was seriously very worried whether I could bring them all on board as my previous Air China Silver Companion Card had been downgraded (since I wasn’t chalking up enough miles like I used to when I travelled for work), and I had 10kg less of luggage allowance. I was fully prepared and packed my items into ‘Must bring home’ vs '
Not really necessary’ (the packets and packets of teh tarik, milo, and hot chocolate).

So D-Day came on 29 June, where we had to wake up early to catch the 9:30am flight on CA976. After we loaded everything in my brother-in-law’s car, I carried her up from her sleep and she actually woke up half-way into the journey so I could get her changed. When we checked-in, my luggage weighed a total of 55.9kg, 25.9kg over the allowance we were given. Oh dear me.

I pleaded and pleaded and they gave upped the 5kg originally offered to a total of 10kg of additional allowance (seeing that I had a child and I wasn’t checking in any stroller), so I basically repacked and decided to HAND CARRY all the books, and gave up the packets of mixed drinks (my brother-in-law was still around so he brought them back). Even when I repacked, I was still about 5kg in excess and the counter girl was quite nice, waving it off (or maybe my look of dismay was too convincing/dramatic and she could see that I really tried and was at my wit’s end, haha…).

After the drama, Mum stayed on with me and Rosabelle ate her breakfast of yoghurt and cheese – in between, she told me ‘sssh sssh’ so I told her she can just do it in her diaper. Later, when I wanted to carry her for a diaper change before boarding the plane, I realized the diaper had come loose and she had peed into her pants. Thank goodness I always travel with a spare set of clothes and quickly had her wear a new set of dry pants.

After that, we bade farewell to dearest Popo, where she strangely allowed my mum to carry her for a shot. I basically almost fainted after that when I had to wait in queue to clear immigration, carrying her, and two heavy hand-carry bags on each of my shoulders (remember one had LOADS of heavy books). There were times when my whole back/shoulder just almost broke, and I told myself our girl had better appreciate these books, haha!
On the plane, we were originally seated at the front with two empty seats, but a couple came by with a younger baby and needed the space for a crib (obviously they did not have experience and did not request for a seat where they could install the crib), so we made way for them and moved to the middle row. Although we had 3 seats to ourselves, we were right in front of the TV screen, which was too loud/noisy (yes, it was still emitting sounds even though people are supposed to plug into their headsets) for me, so I asked the lady at the back if she minded changing seats (I saw that she had also moved from elsewhere). At first, she was reluctant and did not budge but maybe she figured I might give her killer looks throughout the journey, so she decided to be nice and make way – a good turn deserves another, I guess, in this game of musical chairs!

Luckily Rosabelle managed to catch some sleep at the beginning…
However, for the rest of the journey, it wasn’t as smooth as the one to Singapore – Rosabelle kept wanting to nurse (On this topic - I even called a KKH lactation consultant in Singapore to ascertain if I should be nursing exclusively in favor of formula/cow’s milk, and she said that as long as Rosabelle is eating her solids well, and does not fuss after each feed, she should be fine and can start other milks after two years of age. As long as I continue taking my supplements, she can get the nutrients from me and her own foods. She said Rosabelle was being clever and asking for both sides these days as she knows she does not have enough from one side, heh!), and I had to threaten to go sit with the aunty in front before she stopped being so whiney. Thank goodness she was distracted at times by the baby occupying our previous seats, though we could not play with him for long as his parents had serious issues. The woman kept scolding the man (she’s Chinese, he’s Singaporean) and the poor man took it all in his stride. She even pushed him at times and I suspect she might have post-natal depression. Oh dear me.

Anyway, we reached Beijing soon enough and I had to deal with my 3 heavy loads of 2 bags and one Rosabelle again - I remember perspiring heap loads in the carriage of the airport sky train as they obviously did not turn on any aircon (or any ventilation for that matter). However, all of the hard work/sweat paid off as I loaded the luggage onto our trolley and let Rosabelle sit on top of it to wheel her out into the arrival hall. That’s when she gave Daddy her sweetest ever smile upon seeing him. 28 days of not seeing, only hearing, Daddy did not make him a stranger, and she even looked surprised/a tad disappointed when Daddy suddenly disappeared from view as he ran behind the crowds to get to us. So sweet.

When we reached home, she was rather awkward with Nainai, and did not want her to carry, but was most happy to get changed and go downstairs for a walk (giving her friends like her favourite Mai Dou a big hug) whilst I unpacked our massive loads. That night, she had a good dinner, though she kept wanting Papa to feed her (and I was at first afraid of her pooing on the plane – looks like she saved her best for home, haha!).

The next day wasn’t as smooth sailing – I’d blogged about this previously but she was most clingy to me, not familiar with most of the friends in the yard, and refusing to let Nainai touch/feed her. I had to let her cry it out (she finally ate lunch at 4pm after crying herself to sleep), and when she pointed to our family photos on the fridge door, saying she wanted Gong Gong, I also started having family separation pangs, crying slightly at the thought of having to let her go through such separation ordeals every once in awhile. It might be unfair to her as she did not choose to be away from my family, but I guess we don’t have much of a choice – we’re either away from the Lohs or away from the Shis, and for now, Beijing is our home. Guess it makes her (and me) appreciate family and our homecoming all the more.

That’s why I sure am looking forward to our CNY 2011, and of course the upcoming Guilin trip at the end of the month!