Friday, December 10, 2010

Daddy’s Packed Birthday

Yesterday was Wayne’s birthday but it was still a work-day for him, so we kept to our usual of going for Kindermusik class at Familier in the morning. Some of the families were travelling and we ended up having an all-girls’ class, having loads of fun as usual, and Rosabelle showing off more love than some of the kids could handle. She would actually manhandle them and wrestle them to the floor with her over-zealous hugging, right in the middle of the poor kid trying to sing and/or dance in class… oh dear!

This love was well-received all around, except that when I was sitting down sipping a cup of hot tea after class, I heard her cry out loud – the cry of when she hurts herself, so I quickly ran into the book room, where she was seated next to the older girl Tian Tian (the newbie who wasn’t very friendly last week), with her right hand slightly trembling on the table. I looked hard at her fingers, thinking Tian Tian might have smacked her hard, and saw a tooth mark. Oh. dear. me. So I asked the older girl what happened, as I saw her holding onto a book, and she said that Rosabelle was trying to take her book. I lightly chided her that it was not right for her to bite other children, and quickly carried our crying girl out, wanting to speak to Tian Tian’s mum, when I saw her speaking to Yuliya.

So I showed off our dear girl’s finger to other concerned mums, one who was Tian Tian mum’s friend, Katherine (her daughter’s Niu Niu), who said she will let Tian Tian’s mum know. This bite wasn’t as vicious as the one she suffered at The Place, and had left just a red mark and slight puncture (no broken skin), but it was still quite ‘heart pain’ for me, though our good girl thankfully stopped crying very soon after.

True enough, Katherine told Tian Tian’s mum, who quickly went to her girl and made her apologize to Rosabelle. By this time, the two girls were already each sitting alongside one of the assistants and listening to the story from the source of discontent (i.e. the book), and when Tian Tian very nicely apologized, I let Rosabelle reply that ‘没事,我们一起看书吧'. I made sure to stress to my girl that it was wrong for Tian Tian to not share, but since she knows that Tian Tian is like this, she should not touch/snatch her things, but instead look for her own books, or look for other kids to play with. Of course I also let her know that it was wrong to bite others, as it will cause pain, and make all mummies very angry. I really have to watch her around Tian Tian (and vice-versa) for the remaining few lessons…

This week, we went off early as I had arranged a photo shoot at Weikaqi – I saw their poster in Familier last week, offering a complimentary shoot to Familier members where we can get 7 selected photos in a 2011 calendar. Nice! So I made the appointment for yesterday, and for once, did not bother to bring any clothes/accessories etc since they had them all in the studio. I don’t normally go for such ‘free’ shots – we get loads of these free trial pamphlets in our yard area, from Lijia Baby etc, but seeing it was in a convenient location (and rather uppity), and ‘endorsed’/'supported’ in some way by Familier, I felt their quality should be fine.

It wasn’t far, just opposite at Central Place, and when we got there and the assistants started selecting four sets of clothing for Rosabelle, I made sure to introduce her to the photographer and his girls. They had a special room with nice deco and toys for the shoot, but I found that it wasn’t warm enough, so every time we changed a set of clothing, I made sure to do it quickly and got them to place the heater next to her.

The crew was all very nice and friendly, allowing time for Rosabelle to warm up as she was naturally quiet and stuck to me initially, not wanting to don the winter beanie for long in the first outfit change. She cooperated for awhile before deciding that she did not like anything on her hair, and even after they brought hairbands, small clips, big clips, and asked me to try and put them on her sneakily, it still did not work. I like to ask my girl for permission to do things on/to her (‘Can I put this hat on you?’) even though I may get a negative response, as I think it only teaches her some respect, so I wasn’t entirely happy that they said ‘不用问了,你就放上去就可以了' – in the end, I put my foot down and said ‘她不喜欢头上戴任何东西就别戴了', so that resolved the issue.

The girls especially tried very hard to do silly things to make her laugh/open up, and Rosabelle was at her best, listening to/obeying every single instruction (point at this, hide behind the chair, peek from the side, cover your mouth etc etc), though she didn’t guffaw/laugh hard or anything like that. When the assistant wanted Rosabelle to say thank you, then use her hand to gesture thanks, then make a cute face, go back and sit on her chair repeatedly, and STILL held a toy away from her, saying she did not say ‘thank you’, I was almost ready to jump in and tell her to ‘please give it to her already, you damn woman you!’, but I held back. I think at times, our girl would have to listen to instructions, and I was amazed at how patient she was in following them through, until all of them had to admit that she was indeed very 乖 – if it were me, I might have thrown a kicking fit had they dared deny me of anything!

Unlike my other paid-for photo shoots to mark her coming of age, this photographer seemed to have fixed shots in his mind, wanting her to look this way/pose that way/get that prop over there, and not really capturing her at her most natural. Oh well, like Wayne says, it’s free of charge, so what was I expecting?

I don’t normally likes kids to get dressed in those adult-like clothes, but just for kicks, she was donning a sweater/hot pants combo in one, a cheongsam in another, a denim jacket/frou frou tutu in one, and the last one with a working-type dress/fuzzy jacket, haha! Let’s see how the photos turn out next week – if they are really good, I might consider paying for extras/negatives…

I think our girl became hungry during the shoot, so I brought out grapes and she finished up the box. When she asked for bread, I was most happy when the shoot wrapped up after 1.5 hours, so that by the time we had lunch, it was already 2pm. I wasn’t ready to walk around and look for a restaurant by this point, so I walked into the first ‘passable’ one – a Japanese deli within Central Place, and ordered a miso ramen and a chicken cutlet bento for myself. Our girl was happily drinking on my Vitamin water whilst waiting for the food to come.

Since Rosabelle insisted on feeding herself, and there were no baby chairs available, I folded my down jacket for her to sit on – it got her to just a right height to start feeding herself the chicken slices, seaweed, and egg with the ramen. However, she had not really eaten much by the time I finished my meal, so I gave her a bit of help, where she loved to slurp the noodles off my chopsticks – I managed to feed her one whole bowl with her asking for more!

By this time, it was already close to 3pm and I did not want to stay on for her to finish her fruit, so I packed the pomelo I had peeled and got her going in the taxi on the way back. Think the whole photo shoot was rather exhausting for her as she slept a solid 3 hours that afternoon, which was nice, because it fully recharged her for celebrating Papa’s birthday that night!

By the time we got to Aroma Restaurant at Ritz Carlton, it was already 7:30pm, just in time for our reservations – Wayne came from work so Nainai and I took a cab there together with our girl. We’d chosen this place since Wayne has a 1-for-1 deal for their dinner buffet with his credit card, and it was also close to home. As Wayne carried her, I began picking a selection from the buffet table for our girl – pumpkin cake, potatos, mushrooms, pork, fish, carrot soup, fried rice… I’d put them all in a bowl at first but she was more keen on starting on the pumpkin cake first, until I laid them all on her plate and gave her a small fork to pick at the items. That’s her having an adult glass of water as well…
The food selection was ok, but just about that – Asian, Japanese, Western, Italian, Indian… but there was nothing spectacular about the food. All was just passable (some even bad…), the kinds you would expect at a thrown-in breakfast deal at a five-star hotel, but definitely not worth the RMB268+15% service charge per person price tag.

Nainai, who normally does not eat much to begin with, stopped taking food after awhile, and that’s the mother-and-son duo (don’t they look so alike?!), as seen from my eyes (above), and from our daughter’s (below, taken from Rosabelle’s angle).
The Pine Stone Cowboy birthday cake I’d ordered from 21cake was supposed to arrive at 8pm, but the delivery guy called to say he forgot some battery or something and was going home to recharge it, so he came only at 8:30pm and called me to meet him at the hotel lobby. As I was waiting, who should I see walk through the main entrance of the hotel but Jackie Chan (Chen Long), followed by an entourage. Wow! He isn’t very tall, just well-built, but it sure is uncanny to see him in the flesh… The delivery guy told me to wait awhile more as he wrongly went to JW Marriott next door instead, tsk tsk, so I was quite irritated and went back to the restaurant first. In retrospect, if not for blur delivery man, I might not have had the chance to see Jackie Chan, haha!

We continued some more eating, in spite of the lousy food, and Rosabelle enjoyed the plain crepes, though still stopping to camwhore at times… (I look so bloated here!)
When I finally got the cake, I left it with the hotel staff to place in the fridge first as we wrapped up and headed out for some photos first. I love desserts but could not bring myself to try/eat any of the unappetizing-looking cakes at the buffet, and I sure did not want to waste Rosabelle’s appetite on lousy desserts, so we decided to save our stomachs for the good cake from 21cake at home. And when we were out taking photos, then we all saw Jackie Chan again, this time accompanied by his son and even bigger entourage. Wow… I have never seen him in the flesh, and now TWO times within the night, this must surely count for something!
As we headed home, our girl was most looking forward to cake time, and had to practise a lot of self-control as we took photos, sang the birthday song, and finally allowed her to swipe/sink her fingers at/into the cake, where she loved the pine nuts on top. She was basically eating from 7:30 till 10:30pm last night, so I did not prepare any milk for her before bed, for fear of over-stuffing her.
After that, we also had fun with the bunch of rabbit ‘flowers’ I’d ordered for Wayne from – I’d gotten a RMB50 voucher when I collected our movie tickets last week, so I went online and got something to be sent to Wayne’s office yesterday, signing off as Rosabelle. Heh… that’s our girl’s first bunch of flowers for her Daddy!
The website, service staff, and packaging etc were all very professional, so I think I can use them again – at least both recipient and giver look pretty pleased with their rabbits!
P/S: In case you are wondering what I gave Wayne for his present, he is eyeing an Omega watch for his year-end gift, of course that is way above my budget, so lazy me has agreed to sponsor a bit part of it as his birthday present, haha!

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