March 30, 2006

Leo and I are fairly short, Leo is 5.6 and I am not even 5.2. My whole family is fairly short too, with my mom towering the rest of us at about 5.3 ft. Leo's family too, but his father and grandfather are quite tall.

Anyway, I think Emma has inherited the one quality that I very much would like her to disinherit: familial shortness. It may be not the case in the future. She may simply have some consitutional growth delay. But right now she seems shorter than the kids of her age. She is only 2 ft 10'', at 15 percentile range.

There is nothing I can do, I know. And being short is not a big deal either. Still, I am a little unhappy. Still, every time when I see a tall kid towering a head over Emma, I am still shocked, I would ask in disbelief: "you are only 2? Wow, you are so tall..."

Happily Emma has no clue about my little silly concern. She loves to measure her height against the colorful growth chart on the wall. Even more so, she loves to measure the heights of her little furry friends, bears, dogs, chicks ...

We ask: "Emma, how tall is the bear?"
She answers: "Two pounds."

A little short ...

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

Leo and I are fairly short, Leo is 5.6 and I am not even 5.2. My whole family is fairly short too, with my mom towering the rest of us at about 5.3 ft. Leo's family too, but his father and grandfather are quite tall.

Anyway, I think Emma has inherited the one quality that I very much would like her to disinherit: familial shortness. It may be not the case in the future. She may simply have some consitutional growth delay. But right now she seems shorter than the kids of her age. She is only 2 ft 10'', at 15 percentile range.

There is nothing I can do, I know. And being short is not a big deal either. Still, I am a little unhappy. Still, every time when I see a tall kid towering a head over Emma, I am still shocked, I would ask in disbelief: "you are only 2? Wow, you are so tall..."

Happily Emma has no clue about my little silly concern. She loves to measure her height against the colorful growth chart on the wall. Even more so, she loves to measure the heights of her little furry friends, bears, dogs, chicks ...

We ask: "Emma, how tall is the bear?"
She answers: "Two pounds."

Thursday, March 30, 2006
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1 comments:

March 24, 2006

My friend Jing and I have a couple of email exchanges about the difficulty of non-English-speaking toddlers facing when they go to an only-English-speaking preschool or the like. I think they are worthwhile to be posted here. I hope when we look back at these posts, two or three years later, the worries / concerns would have long long vanished like dust. Of course, we habitually worrying parents would be worrying about something else at that time.

Jing started the conversation:

As regards to the preschools, for a non-english speaking kid, no matter
how good the daily activities are organized in school, he/she is really
hard to get involved in. So when I looked for the preschools, I only
focused on the teacher/children ratio. If there are more teachers, the
kids have more opportunities to communicate with the teachers, catch on
english more quickly, and feel more secure. My friend's 3 years old boy
has been in a highly commended Montessouri school for a year, but he still
can't communicate with teachers, just understands basic commands, and has
no friends there. The T/C ratio there is 1:10 - I guess that's the reason.
I learned from a couple of my friends, and also from them heard other kids
stories, that for toddlers, really it's not that easy for them to
live/learn in a different language enviornment. It's far more difficult
than what we thought. They'll have serious separation anxiety, and they'll
feel lonely all day along as not being understood/understanding others,
and become very frustrated, sometimes aggressive, at the end of the day.
Even though with the initial conflicts with the teachers in UIC's, I am
still happy with the care quality there because Leo's teachers really pay
attention to children attachment to teachers. They give him special care
when he has difficulty to let others understand his needs.

Xun:
I am not worried too much about language barrier, I also have heard a lot of stories, including one from my colleague. I believe language is natural to children, they would get used to it in no time. Leo has some families here, once their children go to school, they would go so far that they would not speak Chinese anymore. But a high teacher-student ratio is always a good thing, it is always good that children get a lot of attention.

Jing
I agree with you that language is natural to children. They would get
used to it in no time, only if no time = 3 + years. What I observed in the
UIC's preschool is the kids from non-english speaking families are quiet,
play alone, not talkative. They don't tend to approach adults other than
teachers, they don't show a strong desire to communicate with others. I
threw my doubts to the director there by asking her how well the
non-english speaking kids adapt to the school, and how soon they can talk
english. She said they'll get used to it quickly (my hope raised up a
bit). Then I asked how quick, she replied in 6 months, they'll start to
talk in english telling teachers their needs, and in 12 months they'll
explain what's going on a little bit(my heart dropped as I expected
"quickly" means 3 or 4 months). So I asked if she thinks the non-english
speaking kids can talk or write like a english speaking kid in 2 years.
She said no "in no time", "they need more time to do that". Later I
realized that just like a kid can't learn english by watching tv, they
can't learn by listening to others' talk. We teach a baby language by
repetition. But in school, everyone "uses" english, no one is going to
slow down the talk, explain word by word, until the non-english speaking
kids understand, and learn every single word. The kids can't remember or
learn fresh words flooded to their little ears.

I just hope the painful long process won't have negative effect on Leo's
personality development. I expect Leo to be a happy confident kid, but now
I can feel his frustration at the end of school day even though he can't
express it.

Xun:
You probably are right about getting used to English. I once talked a teacher from an Evanston preschool, 6 months to 1 year is about the time a non english-speaking kid gets over the barrier. But there is also a lot of nonverbal communication among kids. They can play together without saying a lot.

Also if this is the price non-english speaking kid needs to pay, then so be it. Remember they already gain the advantage of being bilingual. I am sure language barrier alone cannot harm a child. There are just so so so-ooo many kids growing up bilingual or trilingual. Leo's big family here (4 families, each has two children), all are healthy, strong, happy, wonderful kids.

About Language Barriers

Posted by Xun  |  9 comments

My friend Jing and I have a couple of email exchanges about the difficulty of non-English-speaking toddlers facing when they go to an only-English-speaking preschool or the like. I think they are worthwhile to be posted here. I hope when we look back at these posts, two or three years later, the worries / concerns would have long long vanished like dust. Of course, we habitually worrying parents would be worrying about something else at that time.

Jing started the conversation:

As regards to the preschools, for a non-english speaking kid, no matter
how good the daily activities are organized in school, he/she is really
hard to get involved in. So when I looked for the preschools, I only
focused on the teacher/children ratio. If there are more teachers, the
kids have more opportunities to communicate with the teachers, catch on
english more quickly, and feel more secure. My friend's 3 years old boy
has been in a highly commended Montessouri school for a year, but he still
can't communicate with teachers, just understands basic commands, and has
no friends there. The T/C ratio there is 1:10 - I guess that's the reason.
I learned from a couple of my friends, and also from them heard other kids
stories, that for toddlers, really it's not that easy for them to
live/learn in a different language enviornment. It's far more difficult
than what we thought. They'll have serious separation anxiety, and they'll
feel lonely all day along as not being understood/understanding others,
and become very frustrated, sometimes aggressive, at the end of the day.
Even though with the initial conflicts with the teachers in UIC's, I am
still happy with the care quality there because Leo's teachers really pay
attention to children attachment to teachers. They give him special care
when he has difficulty to let others understand his needs.

Xun:
I am not worried too much about language barrier, I also have heard a lot of stories, including one from my colleague. I believe language is natural to children, they would get used to it in no time. Leo has some families here, once their children go to school, they would go so far that they would not speak Chinese anymore. But a high teacher-student ratio is always a good thing, it is always good that children get a lot of attention.

Jing
I agree with you that language is natural to children. They would get
used to it in no time, only if no time = 3 + years. What I observed in the
UIC's preschool is the kids from non-english speaking families are quiet,
play alone, not talkative. They don't tend to approach adults other than
teachers, they don't show a strong desire to communicate with others. I
threw my doubts to the director there by asking her how well the
non-english speaking kids adapt to the school, and how soon they can talk
english. She said they'll get used to it quickly (my hope raised up a
bit). Then I asked how quick, she replied in 6 months, they'll start to
talk in english telling teachers their needs, and in 12 months they'll
explain what's going on a little bit(my heart dropped as I expected
"quickly" means 3 or 4 months). So I asked if she thinks the non-english
speaking kids can talk or write like a english speaking kid in 2 years.
She said no "in no time", "they need more time to do that". Later I
realized that just like a kid can't learn english by watching tv, they
can't learn by listening to others' talk. We teach a baby language by
repetition. But in school, everyone "uses" english, no one is going to
slow down the talk, explain word by word, until the non-english speaking
kids understand, and learn every single word. The kids can't remember or
learn fresh words flooded to their little ears.

I just hope the painful long process won't have negative effect on Leo's
personality development. I expect Leo to be a happy confident kid, but now
I can feel his frustration at the end of school day even though he can't
express it.

Xun:
You probably are right about getting used to English. I once talked a teacher from an Evanston preschool, 6 months to 1 year is about the time a non english-speaking kid gets over the barrier. But there is also a lot of nonverbal communication among kids. They can play together without saying a lot.

Also if this is the price non-english speaking kid needs to pay, then so be it. Remember they already gain the advantage of being bilingual. I am sure language barrier alone cannot harm a child. There are just so so so-ooo many kids growing up bilingual or trilingual. Leo's big family here (4 families, each has two children), all are healthy, strong, happy, wonderful kids.

Friday, March 24, 2006
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9 comments:

March 22, 2006

This is an essay by Alice Stewart Trillin on doctors, illness, and family. It was published eight months before her death from heart failure. I love and was moved by this article so much, I put the link here so I can always revisit and reread

Betting Your Life

Betting Your Life

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

This is an essay by Alice Stewart Trillin on doctors, illness, and family. It was published eight months before her death from heart failure. I love and was moved by this article so much, I put the link here so I can always revisit and reread

Betting Your Life

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
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I used to be a zealous movie fan, I used to watch chains of movies night after night. I once vowed to review every good movie I have seen (I reviewed about 1/4 of them). I also joked with Leo that he could put a DVD player in my tomb after I die. I am still a movie fan, only I have not seen any movies lately, not a single one this month.

I used to be a diligent, if not consistent, blogger. I do a lot of things for my blog, movie reviews, mumbo-jumbo about my mundane life, photo collage, occasionally sketches, a lot of photo editing, or whatever pleased me on any given day.

Now? Since Emma came back, I have only blogged sporadically. For the past two weeks, there was not a single post. No photo-collage, no wacky fun pictures, no sketches at all.

I have good excuses. I do not have time. Every bit of time before and after my work, before and after Emma's sleep, we play. Half of time just Emma and I, another half with Leo joining in.

When we play, we are totally in a two-year-old's fantasy world, a world that is totally independent of reality, believability or logic, a world that is incoherent, simple but fun. What is it made of? Paper, scissors, glue, crayons, a dozen of stuffed animals, quite some mocked household utensils (cups, bowls, pots...), a lot of books, balls, small toy cars, a tricycle ...(Still simple and cheap, but will be increasingly most costly and high tech, I am sure.) And this world is about basic needs, eat and sleep and play and take good care of the stuff animals' imaginary needs.

As I play, everything else fades, a lot of things matters no more. Nothing from my work, no news (good, bad, politically important or gossipy trivial) matters.

Surely, blogging does not fit in this baby land.

No time blogging

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

I used to be a zealous movie fan, I used to watch chains of movies night after night. I once vowed to review every good movie I have seen (I reviewed about 1/4 of them). I also joked with Leo that he could put a DVD player in my tomb after I die. I am still a movie fan, only I have not seen any movies lately, not a single one this month.

I used to be a diligent, if not consistent, blogger. I do a lot of things for my blog, movie reviews, mumbo-jumbo about my mundane life, photo collage, occasionally sketches, a lot of photo editing, or whatever pleased me on any given day.

Now? Since Emma came back, I have only blogged sporadically. For the past two weeks, there was not a single post. No photo-collage, no wacky fun pictures, no sketches at all.

I have good excuses. I do not have time. Every bit of time before and after my work, before and after Emma's sleep, we play. Half of time just Emma and I, another half with Leo joining in.

When we play, we are totally in a two-year-old's fantasy world, a world that is totally independent of reality, believability or logic, a world that is incoherent, simple but fun. What is it made of? Paper, scissors, glue, crayons, a dozen of stuffed animals, quite some mocked household utensils (cups, bowls, pots...), a lot of books, balls, small toy cars, a tricycle ...(Still simple and cheap, but will be increasingly most costly and high tech, I am sure.) And this world is about basic needs, eat and sleep and play and take good care of the stuff animals' imaginary needs.

As I play, everything else fades, a lot of things matters no more. Nothing from my work, no news (good, bad, politically important or gossipy trivial) matters.

Surely, blogging does not fit in this baby land.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
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March 16, 2006


We fell in love with Kohl's Children museum in Evanston when Emma was barely 6 months old. Since then, Leo took Emma there almost daily. People works there knew the pair well. However at that time, Emma was not able to hello her charming hellos yet. She could not grasp just how fun the museum was. Evan after she was able to toddle around, She was still totally indifferent to the little Dominicks with their fun shopping cart or cash machine, she had no interests in the noisy wet water planets, she had no clue how to operate the little machine of sandbags... Instead, she spent most of her time crawling contently in the soft colorful crawl space or drumly loudly on the big drums.

Now we fell in love with the Children's museums again. This time Chicago Children's museum (it is a little easier going there). I bought a membership. Every Saturday or Sunday Emma and I take the red line then the trolley to the museum.

Emma loves the Monkey King exhibit that is going on there. Monkey King is a Chinese legendary also literary figure. In China almost everyone knows about this naughty heroic monkey. However, to Emma, monkey king does not bear any cultural importance. She is simply attracted to the little ping-pong-like machine. Beacause she is short, I often sit down on the floor and let her stand
on my knees and play. Push this handle up, turn that wheel around, let the little metal ball fall into holes and slide away, play and play, she plays for an hour nonstop.

Then we would go upstairs and wander into the little activity room
on the third floor. Wow, so many pieces of colorful retangle-shaped cloth, all in a little bamboo basket. So many colorful threads, also in a basket. Plus, there are also knitting frames, thick paper, a little weaving machine. Emma quickly sits down, gluing cloth onto paper, making her collage. She loves to apply a lot of glue, and often times put glue on both sides. No matter. We have fun.

She would spend an hour doing just the glueing. We still have 90% of rooms unexplored.

Of course, we love the shows at the Navy Pier stage, just right downstairs of the Children's Musuem. We love the funny clown juggler and unicycler, we love the pirates on the sea who fight for a diamond. Emma insists that the big green dragon played by a lady is a big frog. So be it.

By the time we head home, sun starts to set. We have had a good time.

We love Children's museum

Posted by Xun  |  No comments


We fell in love with Kohl's Children museum in Evanston when Emma was barely 6 months old. Since then, Leo took Emma there almost daily. People works there knew the pair well. However at that time, Emma was not able to hello her charming hellos yet. She could not grasp just how fun the museum was. Evan after she was able to toddle around, She was still totally indifferent to the little Dominicks with their fun shopping cart or cash machine, she had no interests in the noisy wet water planets, she had no clue how to operate the little machine of sandbags... Instead, she spent most of her time crawling contently in the soft colorful crawl space or drumly loudly on the big drums.

Now we fell in love with the Children's museums again. This time Chicago Children's museum (it is a little easier going there). I bought a membership. Every Saturday or Sunday Emma and I take the red line then the trolley to the museum.

Emma loves the Monkey King exhibit that is going on there. Monkey King is a Chinese legendary also literary figure. In China almost everyone knows about this naughty heroic monkey. However, to Emma, monkey king does not bear any cultural importance. She is simply attracted to the little ping-pong-like machine. Beacause she is short, I often sit down on the floor and let her stand
on my knees and play. Push this handle up, turn that wheel around, let the little metal ball fall into holes and slide away, play and play, she plays for an hour nonstop.

Then we would go upstairs and wander into the little activity room
on the third floor. Wow, so many pieces of colorful retangle-shaped cloth, all in a little bamboo basket. So many colorful threads, also in a basket. Plus, there are also knitting frames, thick paper, a little weaving machine. Emma quickly sits down, gluing cloth onto paper, making her collage. She loves to apply a lot of glue, and often times put glue on both sides. No matter. We have fun.

She would spend an hour doing just the glueing. We still have 90% of rooms unexplored.

Of course, we love the shows at the Navy Pier stage, just right downstairs of the Children's Musuem. We love the funny clown juggler and unicycler, we love the pirates on the sea who fight for a diamond. Emma insists that the big green dragon played by a lady is a big frog. So be it.

By the time we head home, sun starts to set. We have had a good time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
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March 12, 2006


It is hard to find a decent preschool or day care. All I wish for is a decent preschool that has convenient, nice and affordable. I know. What I am wishing for already has conflicted elements. No preschool can be nice and affordable at the same time.

How to navigate and benefit from American school system? I have been given various advice, dire predications (No public schools. They are disasters.) since I was pregnant with Emma. When Emma was one, I started thinking/worrying about how to get her into a good preschool. But I did not set myself into active mode until she left for China last June.

Since then, I have searched online numerious times and visited about 6 preschools or the like. However, except one Montessouri school in Evanston, none fit in my fantasized baby's world. I was way too spoiled the look and feel of Children's museums. I was hoping for a great place with a lot of bright colors, rooms after rooms of project-based fun settings (a baby water plant, a mock Domini's, tree houses, loads of music instruments...), comfortable, baby-friendly, neat environment. A place you would be so happy so wanted to become a child again. Instead, I found most the preschools were a little messy, kind of dull.

However, what am I to want such a fantasy world? So I always quickly accepted the reality and asked about the availablity. But I was always told: "Fill out the application. We will put your daugher on the wait list." "No, we are full right now." "No, there is unlikely a spot available next spring. Call us in the fall".

...

My mom always complains that everything is easier in China, fresh groceries, shopping centers within walking distance. I never could feel her pain. However, in terms of a good child care center, a "children's garden", she is abosultely right. Emma was accepted right at the spot when my parents took her to a very very good children's garden, located 2 blocks away.

Well, it is easier to spend dollars in China. With a little luck, I probably can land into the "haves" category, so Emma's education would be a piece of cake; but here I am a "have-not", doomed to struggle

...

It is hard to find a preschool

Posted by Xun  |  4 comments


It is hard to find a decent preschool or day care. All I wish for is a decent preschool that has convenient, nice and affordable. I know. What I am wishing for already has conflicted elements. No preschool can be nice and affordable at the same time.

How to navigate and benefit from American school system? I have been given various advice, dire predications (No public schools. They are disasters.) since I was pregnant with Emma. When Emma was one, I started thinking/worrying about how to get her into a good preschool. But I did not set myself into active mode until she left for China last June.

Since then, I have searched online numerious times and visited about 6 preschools or the like. However, except one Montessouri school in Evanston, none fit in my fantasized baby's world. I was way too spoiled the look and feel of Children's museums. I was hoping for a great place with a lot of bright colors, rooms after rooms of project-based fun settings (a baby water plant, a mock Domini's, tree houses, loads of music instruments...), comfortable, baby-friendly, neat environment. A place you would be so happy so wanted to become a child again. Instead, I found most the preschools were a little messy, kind of dull.

However, what am I to want such a fantasy world? So I always quickly accepted the reality and asked about the availablity. But I was always told: "Fill out the application. We will put your daugher on the wait list." "No, we are full right now." "No, there is unlikely a spot available next spring. Call us in the fall".

...

My mom always complains that everything is easier in China, fresh groceries, shopping centers within walking distance. I never could feel her pain. However, in terms of a good child care center, a "children's garden", she is abosultely right. Emma was accepted right at the spot when my parents took her to a very very good children's garden, located 2 blocks away.

Well, it is easier to spend dollars in China. With a little luck, I probably can land into the "haves" category, so Emma's education would be a piece of cake; but here I am a "have-not", doomed to struggle

...

Sunday, March 12, 2006
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March 06, 2006

teletubbies
I can understand and appreciate why little boys and girls like stuff animals, dogs, rabbits, bears ... Emma has about a dozen. She treats them quite seriously, feed them, wash them, take them out occasionally. At night, some of her stuff animals crowd on her bed, snuggled with her under the blanket.

I have no problem with that. Instead, I always try to use her animals as role models so she would cry less and eat better ... But I am a little puzzled why babies and toddlers (including Emma) are crazy about teletubbies.

The first time I ever paid attention was at my friend's home. The then 2-year-old son of friend was playing with a toy with "Teletubbies" printed at the bottom. I blurted out: telet-oo-bies. My friend corrected me: No, it is teletubbies. I thought to myself: what a strange name. The second time my friend's son showed up at my door, wearing a teletubby packpack. I praised: "what a cute backpack!". My friend again told me, quite expertly: "This is tinky winky". I kept my quiet to hide my ignorance.

When Emma came back to Chicago (after spending 8 months in China), she is well caught by the Teletubbies fever. Only she called them in Chinese, "TianXianBaoBao" (天线宝宝), meaning "babies with antenna". I had no clue that this cute named thing is the famous teletubbies.

Emma almost talks about "TianXiaoBaoBao" daily. There is no way I can just "eh-ah" to get past this topic. So I looked it up on the Internet, searched on Baidu.com (the Chinese Google). So west meets east, "TianXiaoBaoBao" are telltubbies. So from then on, Emma gets to see telebubbies online everyday. Also teletubbies tv also greatly satisfied her appetite.

Soon enough, I can tell Tinky-Winky, Laa, Po, Dispsy apart. I also eh-oh with Emma. However, looking at the fluffy, colorful, surrealistic 4 little creatures, I am still puzzled by such an invention. Cannot articulate, I just feel them weird. What is it in them that have attracted children?

Teletubbies

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

teletubbies
I can understand and appreciate why little boys and girls like stuff animals, dogs, rabbits, bears ... Emma has about a dozen. She treats them quite seriously, feed them, wash them, take them out occasionally. At night, some of her stuff animals crowd on her bed, snuggled with her under the blanket.

I have no problem with that. Instead, I always try to use her animals as role models so she would cry less and eat better ... But I am a little puzzled why babies and toddlers (including Emma) are crazy about teletubbies.

The first time I ever paid attention was at my friend's home. The then 2-year-old son of friend was playing with a toy with "Teletubbies" printed at the bottom. I blurted out: telet-oo-bies. My friend corrected me: No, it is teletubbies. I thought to myself: what a strange name. The second time my friend's son showed up at my door, wearing a teletubby packpack. I praised: "what a cute backpack!". My friend again told me, quite expertly: "This is tinky winky". I kept my quiet to hide my ignorance.

When Emma came back to Chicago (after spending 8 months in China), she is well caught by the Teletubbies fever. Only she called them in Chinese, "TianXianBaoBao" (天线宝宝), meaning "babies with antenna". I had no clue that this cute named thing is the famous teletubbies.

Emma almost talks about "TianXiaoBaoBao" daily. There is no way I can just "eh-ah" to get past this topic. So I looked it up on the Internet, searched on Baidu.com (the Chinese Google). So west meets east, "TianXiaoBaoBao" are telltubbies. So from then on, Emma gets to see telebubbies online everyday. Also teletubbies tv also greatly satisfied her appetite.

Soon enough, I can tell Tinky-Winky, Laa, Po, Dispsy apart. I also eh-oh with Emma. However, looking at the fluffy, colorful, surrealistic 4 little creatures, I am still puzzled by such an invention. Cannot articulate, I just feel them weird. What is it in them that have attracted children?

Monday, March 06, 2006
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March 04, 2006

To raise a healthy baby is all about to get him/her eat well, sleep well and play well. Sounds simple. Yet, you can easily amass thousands of books on how to get babies sleep well alone. With so much ink spilled, so many experts debate, then concede, then insist, we still do not have a finite answer to simple sleeping questions such as: Should babies sleep alone? Sleep on her tommy or her back? Should you pick up your baby if he /she cries? Do not we have an expert whose name is Richard Ferber who has a "Ferber" sleeping method for baby?

I choose to do what I believe is good and convenient. Emma sleeps on her back. When Emma was still a baby, we picked up her whenever she cried. At night, she slept with us and she often fell asleep while nursing. However, I do not feel very good about it. I believe a baby should sleep alone.

When Emma went to China, Emma slept with my mom. I tried to persuade my mom to have her sleep alone. My mom rejected the idea on the ground Emma was not able to sleep by herself. She did made an attempt unsuccessfully, though.

Now Emma is back, to have her sleep alone become my first agenda.

The first night was relatively smooth. Just off the airplane and with an almost sleepless night, Emma was so sleepy she did not make a sound when I put her in her bed. But she woke up around 4 the next morning. Looking around, she was so despondent and so scared. She dropped her mouth and cried. I took her out so she could snuggle with my mom.

The second night was a battle. Around 10 o'clock, I took her to her bed. No. No. No. She screamed and kicked, wailed and pushed, tried so very hard to get away from me, but I held her so tight, and pretended deaf to her crying, she eventually stopped struggling. She must have been so miserable when she finally exhausted herself and fell asleep. I kissed her and silently said my sorry. Again she woke up around 4 in the morning and tried to walk out of the room to be with my mom. I held her and said to her, while showing her the clock, which was signing: "4:30", "Emma, when this 4 becomes 5, you can go out." She cried a little and gave in. So we waited and waited, as if for ages. Finally the clock signaled "5", I let her go. Before that, I said: "Emma, tomorrow you need to sleep till 6 in the morning. Ok?" She nodded.

The third night was a lot easier. Emma simply buried her head in my shoulder and cried in protest. She asked for milk, I gave her milk; she asked to pee, I took her to pee; she protested that her nose was running, I dried her nose; She cried: "I want my grandma. woo...woo." I said firmly, "no, Emma, you cannot go out to play with grandma until next morning at 6". She cried. I said:” Emma, how about I sing to you?" Then I started singing, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." "Rock bye baby"... 20 minutes later, Emma fell asleep. She woke up around 6 the next morning.

The fourth night was similar.

During all these days, I was having a very good time with Emma. She likes me, loves me, I know. We played together, we played her piano, we feigned ducks quacking, we took her Minnie and doggy to go out swinging, we play hide and seek, we sing. I hold her up and swing her high and low... I spend every minute with her.

The fifth night we had a happy night. At 9, her bedtime, suddenly Emma looked at me and said, "I want to read". I was so overjoyed. I brought a dozen of books to her bed, and then we read. I made up stories, she made up her stories, and we talked and talked. There, there, slowly, slowly, she lay down and fell into sleep. I looked at the clock. It was 10:20.

Now Emma has got used to sleep alone. We talk, we make up stories, we flip through this book and that book, and I sing to her till she is sound asleep.

How I love her.

Sleep Alone

Posted by Xun  |  10 comments

To raise a healthy baby is all about to get him/her eat well, sleep well and play well. Sounds simple. Yet, you can easily amass thousands of books on how to get babies sleep well alone. With so much ink spilled, so many experts debate, then concede, then insist, we still do not have a finite answer to simple sleeping questions such as: Should babies sleep alone? Sleep on her tommy or her back? Should you pick up your baby if he /she cries? Do not we have an expert whose name is Richard Ferber who has a "Ferber" sleeping method for baby?

I choose to do what I believe is good and convenient. Emma sleeps on her back. When Emma was still a baby, we picked up her whenever she cried. At night, she slept with us and she often fell asleep while nursing. However, I do not feel very good about it. I believe a baby should sleep alone.

When Emma went to China, Emma slept with my mom. I tried to persuade my mom to have her sleep alone. My mom rejected the idea on the ground Emma was not able to sleep by herself. She did made an attempt unsuccessfully, though.

Now Emma is back, to have her sleep alone become my first agenda.

The first night was relatively smooth. Just off the airplane and with an almost sleepless night, Emma was so sleepy she did not make a sound when I put her in her bed. But she woke up around 4 the next morning. Looking around, she was so despondent and so scared. She dropped her mouth and cried. I took her out so she could snuggle with my mom.

The second night was a battle. Around 10 o'clock, I took her to her bed. No. No. No. She screamed and kicked, wailed and pushed, tried so very hard to get away from me, but I held her so tight, and pretended deaf to her crying, she eventually stopped struggling. She must have been so miserable when she finally exhausted herself and fell asleep. I kissed her and silently said my sorry. Again she woke up around 4 in the morning and tried to walk out of the room to be with my mom. I held her and said to her, while showing her the clock, which was signing: "4:30", "Emma, when this 4 becomes 5, you can go out." She cried a little and gave in. So we waited and waited, as if for ages. Finally the clock signaled "5", I let her go. Before that, I said: "Emma, tomorrow you need to sleep till 6 in the morning. Ok?" She nodded.

The third night was a lot easier. Emma simply buried her head in my shoulder and cried in protest. She asked for milk, I gave her milk; she asked to pee, I took her to pee; she protested that her nose was running, I dried her nose; She cried: "I want my grandma. woo...woo." I said firmly, "no, Emma, you cannot go out to play with grandma until next morning at 6". She cried. I said:” Emma, how about I sing to you?" Then I started singing, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." "Rock bye baby"... 20 minutes later, Emma fell asleep. She woke up around 6 the next morning.

The fourth night was similar.

During all these days, I was having a very good time with Emma. She likes me, loves me, I know. We played together, we played her piano, we feigned ducks quacking, we took her Minnie and doggy to go out swinging, we play hide and seek, we sing. I hold her up and swing her high and low... I spend every minute with her.

The fifth night we had a happy night. At 9, her bedtime, suddenly Emma looked at me and said, "I want to read". I was so overjoyed. I brought a dozen of books to her bed, and then we read. I made up stories, she made up her stories, and we talked and talked. There, there, slowly, slowly, she lay down and fell into sleep. I looked at the clock. It was 10:20.

Now Emma has got used to sleep alone. We talk, we make up stories, we flip through this book and that book, and I sing to her till she is sound asleep.

How I love her.

Saturday, March 04, 2006
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March 03, 2006


Since my parents and Emma arrived, now the already tight one-bedroom apartment is definitely crammed (I know, we need to get a bigger one). Not just that. My parents bought 4 suitcases full of things and they strategically stuffed things everywhere. On our side, we started buying things, more things, for Emma. Now her toys crawl over half of the living room. Yesterday, she got a tricycle.

A tricicle with red seat, yellow handles, three stocky sturdy wheels, and a big yellow back passenger seat (?) dragging behind.

What a fun! What a thrill!

Emma is definitely excited. But she had no clue how to operate it. I showed her. So soon she was on the bike and wheeling all over the place (with me pushing behind). The funny thing is that Emma thinks so important of her little fluffy bunny, fuzzy doggy, smiling Minnie, and grizzly bear. After a few test drives, she got off the bike, and took over her quiet stuff animals and carefully placed them in the back seat. She said: "Bear, Minnie, doggy, let's ride the bike". After another five minutes or so, she got a better idea. She took the doggy and seated him in the front seat and tried to teach him to ride. I said: "Emma, doggy has very short hands. He cannot do it." Then she put the doggy back, and put the big tall Minnie in the front seat, said: "Minnie, ride the bike".

Ha, ha, ha, why the world of a 2-year-old is so wierd, so imaginative yet so real so fun?

A tricycle

Posted by Xun  |  No comments


Since my parents and Emma arrived, now the already tight one-bedroom apartment is definitely crammed (I know, we need to get a bigger one). Not just that. My parents bought 4 suitcases full of things and they strategically stuffed things everywhere. On our side, we started buying things, more things, for Emma. Now her toys crawl over half of the living room. Yesterday, she got a tricycle.

A tricicle with red seat, yellow handles, three stocky sturdy wheels, and a big yellow back passenger seat (?) dragging behind.

What a fun! What a thrill!

Emma is definitely excited. But she had no clue how to operate it. I showed her. So soon she was on the bike and wheeling all over the place (with me pushing behind). The funny thing is that Emma thinks so important of her little fluffy bunny, fuzzy doggy, smiling Minnie, and grizzly bear. After a few test drives, she got off the bike, and took over her quiet stuff animals and carefully placed them in the back seat. She said: "Bear, Minnie, doggy, let's ride the bike". After another five minutes or so, she got a better idea. She took the doggy and seated him in the front seat and tried to teach him to ride. I said: "Emma, doggy has very short hands. He cannot do it." Then she put the doggy back, and put the big tall Minnie in the front seat, said: "Minnie, ride the bike".

Ha, ha, ha, why the world of a 2-year-old is so wierd, so imaginative yet so real so fun?

Friday, March 03, 2006
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