Thursday, December 23, 2010

Posh playdate

Yesterday, Wayne drove us to Upper East Side at Lido for a playdate with the twins, Sandrine and Natalie. We had to make one round as the car could not enter the grounds, and as their Mum Claire had emailed me, it was really much nearer to stop next to Beanstalk sports field and walk in. I really loved the landscaping and amount of greenery in the grounds, and it’s a very exclusive and high-class area, so when we stepped into their 280 sq. m house, it was really all so nice!

I had Rosabelle wish the twins Merry Christmas as she handed them their present of a Christmas book I got for them, and let her loose into the huge play area in the living room.
Claire had invited two other families along, but it was an awkward 30 minutes for me as I wondered whether anybody else was going to come along! That’s the girls – that’s Sandrine on the left, and her meimei Natalie, on the right, and they are 16 months old. They were very sweet, clambering onto me as I read to them, until jealous Rosabelle sat on Natalie, haha…
Sandrine is developmentally faster than Natalie in the motor aspects – she can toddle on really well whilst Natalie shuffles along on her knees. The former saw Rosabelle’s water bottle with a straw and was hooked on it, loving to drink from it. Claire said just a few months ago, she didn’t know how to use a straw so I guess babies learn fast! Claire also gave them all some crackers bought from the US and Rosabelle was really sweet, sharing her portion with the younger girls and even feeding them.

Claire’s originally from Malaysia, husband’s from HK, but she’s been living in the States, and was in HK and Shanghai before this. She has an Ayi, driver, and even a part-time cook in Beijing, so it must be pretty comfortable for them. As we were playing, she was on the phone with her husband asking him to buy sweet corn and Japanese sweet potato from Macau, where he was flying home from that night. Heh! She also gets a lot of things from the States and admitted she was busy Internet shopping for the girls’ clothes and toys so that her husband could bring it back from the US, hoho…

Then the other folks came – Michelle and Jin, her 16-month-old son, and Lane with her 3-year-old son Michael, and two-year-old daughter Claire. That’s Jin (I didn’t have the chance to snap Michael and Claire..).
For us adults, Claire (the adult) had lovely kueh lapis and pandan cake that her sister brought from Singapore (she even offered us home-made latte, yums!) – Rosabelle was intent on eating the adult snacks and feasted on some cake as well… as you can see, I stripped her down as the house was very warm...
Claire does not allow her girls to eat any cakes/sweets, and she looked quite irritated when unknowing Lane offered Natalie some, haha! I can remember the stage where I used to also be very offended if well-meaning folks give Rosabelle such sweet treats.

The kids had fun playing with each other, and also riding/pushing along in this Little Tikes car, that Rosabelle attempted to pull Jin out of, making the poor boy cry.
By this time, it was already close to 12pm and past Jin’s and Claire’s bed-times, so they were all preparing to go. I sure wasn’t going to stay uninvited for lunch, so we all left at the same time. Lane had nicely prepared two wall calendars to give to Claire and myself, but after holding it for some time (it was too big to fit into my bag), I decided it was too troublesome to lug it around (and I wasn’t likely to use it…), so I left it on the benches as we were walking out. Rosabelle was helping me carry it earlier and gave up, handing it back to me as she claimed it was hurting her hand, haha!

Though it was nice weather of about 7 degrees, it was quite a distance to go for lunch, and Rosabelle was already walking quite abit by dawdling around the apartment grounds, so we just took a taxi and headed to Annie’s, where the waitress offered to let Rosabelle make her own small pizza for free. So cute! They came with a small ball of dough and flour on a plate, a small cup of tomato sauce, and a serving of cheese. She did not flatten the dough much, preferring to scoop the sauce onto it, and just putting about 4 strips of cheese… and ta-dah!
Here she is, enjoying her creation after they took it out of the oven. So nice, huh! She ate quite well during lunch, having lentil soup, fettucine with fish (that she wasted one bowl of as she accidentally dropped the bowl onto her lap – luckily it wasn’t too hot…), and loads of bread and tomato that she strangely liked to dip into the soup to drink together…

She was most well-behaved, sitting there by herself as I asked a waiter to watch over her eating her blueberries when I went to the washroom, heh! After lunch, we headed to Comptoirs de France to get some breads and went to a boutique next door for some shopping before heading home.

Today, at Kindermusik, she was hugging kids till they cried, oh dear! She wasn’t as participative today, maybe because there was a couple with their daughter, newbies; and she as distracted and more focused on looking at the man than doing her own thing, haha! We stayed on for lunch with Priscilla and Rei, together with Yuliya, and Rosabelle very nicely shared her box of strawberries with Rei – so sweet! However, they have revamped the menu and deleted a lot of things, so all of us were devastated that they no longer have waffles with ice cream on the menu – boo hoo!

The girls stayed on to play awhile more, and of course Rei had to leave earlier to go back for her nap, as our girl was intent on maximizing her Familier entrance fees. One older girl (maybe around 5?) was sitting in a circle of cushions and when Rosabelle wanted to shift the cushions to go inside, she refused to let our girl in. I watched from a distance to observe – our girl struck the girl on the shoulder and went ‘eeeeeee!’, wanting to push her away, not the least afraid of the girl who was dangerously holding onto a big water bottle and could just strike her anytime! So I quickly went over before either of them did any damage to each other, and asked her to say ‘Excuse me’, and the girl let her in. I then made her say sorry and give the girl a hug as she had hurt her. The girl then moved away and I told Rosabelle she has now made a friend instead of an enemy. Hope she uses the civilized way to settle any disputes henceforth or our feisty chili padi would get hit by older kids!

Some older kids were painting and using the brushes with a palette, as well as washing their brushes in a glass bottle, so she actually took a glass bottle and wanted to fill it up with water, saying she also wanted to paint, and asked for ‘像姐姐那样的flower (palette) and bottle’, heh! As she had a relatively early lunch, I let her have a yogurt ice-cream, so that took her away from the painting, and of course I finished it up quickly so she would not eat too much sweets. When I offered her water after, she was most disappointed and asked, ‘Ice cream呢?’, then started making sad, whimpering noises, acting pitiful, haha!

By this time, it was already past 2pm, and I really wanted to go to Weikaqi to collect the photos, so when she refused to budge from the paint table, I had to carry her, screaming, away and out of the room, onto the bench outside to wear her shoes. She was crying and screaming very loudly, making all the assistants very afraid and trying to pacify her. I just ignored her protests and proceeded to dress her up, and she did stop after some time, the naughty girl…

We then went to collect the finished 2011 calendar from the shoot, and it felt really cold with strong winds all round (it’s like minus 5 today?) I’d brought a 128mb thumb drive, thinking it would be enough for the 29 photos, but each was about 6.5mb, so luckily I had a 8gb card in my camera that they could save into. They gave me a DVD, but since our home laptop has no DVD drive, it made sense for them to give me a copy on a thumb drive too.

As we were waiting, our girl occupied herself with the brochures, drinking water, and riding their toy car. As we were leaving, she asked, ‘阿姨,拿这个可不可以?', holding out the brochure. So polite! Then as the lady put her toy car back, she said, ‘阿姨放错了,得排队', indicating an empty space in between – she had taken the car from there and wanted to put it back in the exact same spot. OCD at work here, I tell you!

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