Archive for September, 2006

At meal times

Alexander always likes stories. You can often see him flipping books at a corner. Every night after his Chinese lessons with me, he always asks for daddy for story time before going to bed. Recently, Alexander has been requesting stories at meal times. Since he is such a slower eater and always ends up feeded at the end, I figure the story request can be a motivation to have him self feeded and also speed up his eating time.

At first I just made up some silly animal stories and later we moved on to colors (i.e. blue+red=purple etc… what things are in purple etc) then back to animals again– but more on animal facts (i.e. physical features, what do they eat etc…). I usually started telling a little to get Alexander interested, then I would point at his food and said, “Take 3 big bites and I will tell you more… I want BIG bites…” I asked him questions to make him stay focused. I also wrote down Chinese characters (that corespond to the subjects) on paper, have him pointed at the characters to start the conversation on that sujbect. 

So far this method works. Alexander is doing pretty good job feeding himself and he enjoys having conversations at the table. For me it’s a new trick learned. It is less frustrated for both of us as I don’t have to count to 3 for every single bite. Parenting, parenting, parenting… it’s a matter of endless learning for the moms and dads!

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That little hand on the door…

Two days ago, things were pretty much the same as every afternoon. Ethan was up from his nap and playing happily by himself in his room. I was catching a little TV after I was done busy in the kitchen. Then I heard a door opening sound from the baby monitor. The door was opened, then closed… then it opened and closed again for a few more times. I went to Ethan’s room, standing quietly outside next to the door, watching the door handle being pulled down. This time it wasn’t closed… instead, I saw a little hand on the door and here came my little Ethan, giving me a big smile and trying to tell me of his new discovery… I smiled back, gave him a big hug and a big kiss. Little Ethan is growing up everyday, healthy and happy. I love you, Ethan. Thank you for being a part of my life. xoxoxo

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Even though Ethan is only 13 months old and 2 1/2 years younger than his brother Alexander, he sure knows how to fight with brother already. During last several days Richard and I have been observing the two boys while they’re playing together. What we saw is that when Alexander wouldn’t let Ethan play with the toy(s), Ethan would pull Alexander’s hair. This happened several times. Sometimes Alexander got away but there were times that made him cry.

Richard and I were laughing because back then when Alexander wasn’t nice to his little baby brother, we told him that one of these day he would have a payback from Ethan… and here it came! Yeah, this is probably shouldn’t be funny… as a matter of fact, I can already see the trouble in the future! Sigh…

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Fall is approaching

Do you see it on the trees? Do you feel it in the air? I sure do. Even though the sky is still blue and sunny, but when I am outside I can already feel the difference in the breeze blowing on me– it’s cooler. The trees in the park are starting to dress in yellow. The other day when I was at the park with my children, I looked up into the sunny sky. It was so very blue, without a single cloud. Then the wind started to blow, and the lined trees started to dance. I turned to look at those yellowish trees, watching them moving from side to side and listening to the noisy moving sound they made. I suddenly felt different deep inside– sadness filled my heart and tears started to form in my eyes…

I like the rich red color the fall brings but I never like the sadness that comes with it. Fall always reminds me of a scene of a person carrying a backpack, travelling by foot, passing from dried brown mountains to mountains; to a place that is far far away from home, to a place that he doesn’t even know. The future is a uncertainty. All he knows is that he must keep moving forward. He must be strong for the hardness of cold winter is ahead. The parting is always tough, and it’s difficult to put away those sweet memories. He feels lonely, and tiny compared to the sky, earth and the wind surround him. It’s sunny but his heart is chilling… perhaps he is scared. The wind blows on the trees, making thousands and thousand of leaves crying in the air, as if they are the only one understands him and cries out his sorrow. Many shed their tears as he walks pass them. He dare not look back, or even slow down his steps, for he is afraid he won’t have the power to move forward. The journey is tough but he doesn’t have much choice… just keep moving until he is too tired to think, until he has no more feelings…

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September 16th was Alexander’s first day of school. It is a year round weekend Chinese learning program and we think it will be a good transition for Alexander before exposing him to longer school hours, plus he can learn more Chinese along the way. Since we registered a bit late, we had only 1 week before the school started to mentally prepare Alexander to the school idea. We told him that now he getting a big boy so he will go to school just like many of his friends; that daddy and momma and Ethan can’t stay in the classroom with him but will pick him up when it’s time to say bye-bye to teachers and friends; that if he needs to go potty at school he has to do it on his own without any help… etc. Alexander was OK with what was told but I was still a little concerned about his reaction when the day came. The program started from 9 to 11am, so Richard and I were up that day 7ish am (earlier than weekday schedule!) in order to get everyone changed and fed and ready to go by 8:30am.

We parked our minivan in front of the school on the street.  Knowing Alexander’s personality and also learning from his schooling experience in Malaysia, we purposely arrived early so he got some time to be familiar with the environment. Richard and Ethan stayed in the minivan while Alexander and I went inside. At this point Alexander is still in pretty good mood, but as soon as we were greeted by the principal and teachers Alexander started to “glue” to me. I decided to bring him to the bulletin board that has all kinds of chinese learning posters and he loosen up a little. More students and parents flew in and he got attached to me again– wanted to sit on my lap. While the principal was giving a speech during the orientation Alexander asked to see those educational posters again, and later sat by himself (next to me) and even clapped his hands after the speech. I was a little relief. Later, we followed his teacher to the classroom. While the teacher was sorting things out, Alexander was walking around inside the classroom and even played a little fooseball. He answered to the teacher when being asked about his Chinese name. Minutes after observing all these good signs I decided it’s time for me to go, so I told Alexander that momma has to go back and will pick him up after school. He was silent… wasn’t sure if he was OK with me leaving him alone. As I was closing the classroom door, I saw him still seated with his head turning towards me, watching me leaving. No crying… I was so glad! We were there early too to pick him up. The teacher said he was OK the whole time. He was excited to see us and keep wanting to hold on to his school backpack that has new text books inside.

All and all, it was a GOOD first day of school for Alexander. Remembering the schooling experience in Malaysia, it wan’t as smooth and was quite frustrating for him and myself. My little Alexander is growing up and is ready for school now. I have mixed feelings for that… I love you Alexander and I am very proud of you!

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