November 28, 2006

Christmas is coming, twinkly trees with bright colorful glass balls are everywhere. Christmas is not my thing, but it is pleasant to look at the trees.

Christmas is coming, so is the season of present-shopping and giving. Emma is going to get some Christmas presents, certainly not through a big red sock though. What to give her? I decided to ask her.

"Emma, Christmas is coming. What do you want for a present?"

Here came the surprising and hilarious answer.

"Not candies, not M&Ms, not cookies, not chocolate, not ... (she named a list of things, but I forgot), but a chicken."

Ha, ha.

"Emma, you sure you want only chicken?"

"Yes. Chicken."

...

Yesterday Emma said something else funny. She patted my tommy, then asked:

"Mommy, you have a baby in your tommy?"

"Yes"

"Why is the baby in the tommy?"

I searched for an answer for this typical kid's question. All previous preparation on this topic gone blank. Luckily, she continued to ask:

"What is the baby's name?"

"I don't know. What do you think?"

"Oh, name it ABC!"

Chicken for Christmas present

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

Christmas is coming, twinkly trees with bright colorful glass balls are everywhere. Christmas is not my thing, but it is pleasant to look at the trees.

Christmas is coming, so is the season of present-shopping and giving. Emma is going to get some Christmas presents, certainly not through a big red sock though. What to give her? I decided to ask her.

"Emma, Christmas is coming. What do you want for a present?"

Here came the surprising and hilarious answer.

"Not candies, not M&Ms, not cookies, not chocolate, not ... (she named a list of things, but I forgot), but a chicken."

Ha, ha.

"Emma, you sure you want only chicken?"

"Yes. Chicken."

...

Yesterday Emma said something else funny. She patted my tommy, then asked:

"Mommy, you have a baby in your tommy?"

"Yes"

"Why is the baby in the tommy?"

I searched for an answer for this typical kid's question. All previous preparation on this topic gone blank. Luckily, she continued to ask:

"What is the baby's name?"

"I don't know. What do you think?"

"Oh, name it ABC!"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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November 27, 2006

When we were in grade school, on a bi-weekly basis, we were required to write about a particular day or week, certain events or people, or essays for or against something. A lot of times, we had no idea what or how to write, still to fill in the space, we wrote in a way like this:

"This morning I woke up at 8, had my breakfast at 8:30. I had some steam bread and milk. Then I went to school. I had math, chinese ..."

Or I read something funnier and more outrageous: "I played in the park with my dog bob. Bob ran away, I called
'bob'; he would not come back, so I called 'bob, bob, bob .....'"

With no exception, the teacher would mark this kind of writing failed and called it "a running ledger" (or something like that).

Well, right now I do not know what to write, so I decide to write a "running ledger" about the Thanksgiving Holiday we had.

Thursday:

Went to MB's around 11. We helped a little bit with the dishes. We played and played until the Li's family arrived around 2pm. We had our Thanksgiving lunch. Emma was a little fussy, then she fell asleep. We went home around 5pm.

Friday:

Got up around 8am. Had breakfast. Emma proposed to go to MB's. So we went. On the way, met a little girl Sonia and her mother. Later, Emma played Sonia, putting ornaments up in a tree with twinkling lights. Then they had lunch. The girls had fun. Then Sonia went home, Emma took a nap for about two hours. Around 5, went to see the movie "Happy Feet". It is a fun, cute and a silly movie. Emma liked it, on the way home and the next day, she kept talking about it.

Saturday:

I took Emma to the Children's museum. It has been a long time since I last took her. She was interested in every thing, new and old. She spent a lot of time playing in the Gingerbread fancy factory, however she refused to go to the "Skating ring" (basically a small area where all kids took off their socks and skid on the extra smooth floor). In every sports, she always sees danger and refuses to join in. We played till 5.

Sunday:

A quiet day. Laundry day. Shopping day. We played puzzles, we read some books, we napped, we doodled on paper and Emma's drawing board ...

Thanksgiving running ledger

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

When we were in grade school, on a bi-weekly basis, we were required to write about a particular day or week, certain events or people, or essays for or against something. A lot of times, we had no idea what or how to write, still to fill in the space, we wrote in a way like this:

"This morning I woke up at 8, had my breakfast at 8:30. I had some steam bread and milk. Then I went to school. I had math, chinese ..."

Or I read something funnier and more outrageous: "I played in the park with my dog bob. Bob ran away, I called
'bob'; he would not come back, so I called 'bob, bob, bob .....'"

With no exception, the teacher would mark this kind of writing failed and called it "a running ledger" (or something like that).

Well, right now I do not know what to write, so I decide to write a "running ledger" about the Thanksgiving Holiday we had.

Thursday:

Went to MB's around 11. We helped a little bit with the dishes. We played and played until the Li's family arrived around 2pm. We had our Thanksgiving lunch. Emma was a little fussy, then she fell asleep. We went home around 5pm.

Friday:

Got up around 8am. Had breakfast. Emma proposed to go to MB's. So we went. On the way, met a little girl Sonia and her mother. Later, Emma played Sonia, putting ornaments up in a tree with twinkling lights. Then they had lunch. The girls had fun. Then Sonia went home, Emma took a nap for about two hours. Around 5, went to see the movie "Happy Feet". It is a fun, cute and a silly movie. Emma liked it, on the way home and the next day, she kept talking about it.

Saturday:

I took Emma to the Children's museum. It has been a long time since I last took her. She was interested in every thing, new and old. She spent a lot of time playing in the Gingerbread fancy factory, however she refused to go to the "Skating ring" (basically a small area where all kids took off their socks and skid on the extra smooth floor). In every sports, she always sees danger and refuses to join in. We played till 5.

Sunday:

A quiet day. Laundry day. Shopping day. We played puzzles, we read some books, we napped, we doodled on paper and Emma's drawing board ...

Monday, November 27, 2006
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November 20, 2006

So here is Holiday season. Again. And Thanksgiving. Again. And very soon, Christmas. They used to mean little to me, even after I came to US. I was always business as usual, uninterested and uncaring. Sometimes I got to go some people's dinners, sometimes I did not. The only disadvantage was that I had to struggle to come up with a cheerful response to a qustion like "hey, did you have a good Thanksgiving or whatever?"

So another year is almost gone. Is it a cause to worry or cheer? There are reasons for both. More to do with the baby that is to be born than anything else. A lot of things have to be changed. A new place, a new car. If possible, a new husband (woo, how unlikely, how sad!). That means a lot of new money. It is a mistery I really want a second baby despite all the insurmountable obstacles.

When a new year comes, I got a little older, but Emma is getting a little bigger. How I love to see her grow. Yet still so very tender and loving. Love to hear her say "Mommy, I want to take care of you." (She does not know the weight of taking care and she may take it back some day) And the kisses she gives me at night just fill me with joy. And with her, I have to cheer like everyone else. Have to go by her tradition to do all the holidays. So turkey and pumpkin pie and maybe mashed potatoes will be on.

Funny how traditions alway go down to food.

Turkey oh turkey

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

So here is Holiday season. Again. And Thanksgiving. Again. And very soon, Christmas. They used to mean little to me, even after I came to US. I was always business as usual, uninterested and uncaring. Sometimes I got to go some people's dinners, sometimes I did not. The only disadvantage was that I had to struggle to come up with a cheerful response to a qustion like "hey, did you have a good Thanksgiving or whatever?"

So another year is almost gone. Is it a cause to worry or cheer? There are reasons for both. More to do with the baby that is to be born than anything else. A lot of things have to be changed. A new place, a new car. If possible, a new husband (woo, how unlikely, how sad!). That means a lot of new money. It is a mistery I really want a second baby despite all the insurmountable obstacles.

When a new year comes, I got a little older, but Emma is getting a little bigger. How I love to see her grow. Yet still so very tender and loving. Love to hear her say "Mommy, I want to take care of you." (She does not know the weight of taking care and she may take it back some day) And the kisses she gives me at night just fill me with joy. And with her, I have to cheer like everyone else. Have to go by her tradition to do all the holidays. So turkey and pumpkin pie and maybe mashed potatoes will be on.

Funny how traditions alway go down to food.

Monday, November 20, 2006
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November 09, 2006

Time and space do not make sense for little children, at least not for Emma. What is Monday, Tuesday or any other weekdays? It only takes meaning in the song "Monday string beans, Tuesday Roast beef ..."

She is so young she does not have a clue about the passing of months or years. Well, change of seasons is different, because in fall she gets to crunch or collect beautiful leaves and in winter she can go out to make a snow baby. Still, only the present occupies her. She forgets spring when it is summer and forgets winter when it's fall. And the concepts of four seasons are still very much muddled in her head. (She is a little muddle-headed. She juggles imaginary and real things. E.g., she had a little scratch in her arm. Asked her how, she said "a ladybug bit her")

What is yesterday? Yesterday is anything in the past. Emma uses the word "yesterday" frequently. She tells me that so-and-so gave her a high-five yesterday, while actually it happened half a year ago (we went to see a clown perform tricks, after he was done, he surveyed and walked around the audience, and he gave Emma a high-five). She would say "mommy bought me mittens and hats yesterday", but in fact I bought those in the morning. She does have a firm grasp of the concept "now". She would demand, I want to go out NOW. I want the cookies NOW.

What is space? Who knows? What is Chicago or China (the two places we sometimes mentioned to her)? She is totally clueless. She would say, Mommy, let's buy a donut in Chicago; Chicago is in China, or China is in Chicago; we will drive airplanes to China, we'll go home in China, etc., etc.

I wonder what a children's educator or psychologist like Jean Piaget would say about this kind of "little girl talk". But it is as interesting as "a typical Piaget dialogue".

Piaget: What makes the wind?
Julia: The trees.

P: How do you know?

J: I saw them waving their arms.

P: How does that make the wind?

J (waving her hand in front of his face): Like this. Only they are bigger. And there are lots of trees.

P: What makes the wind on the ocean?

J: It blows there from the land. No. It's the waves...

From thousands of such dialogues and interactions with young people, Piaget concluded that behind children's "cute and seemingly illogical utterances were thought processes that had their own kind of order and their own special logic." (Times)

That is why he is so great.

But I, even though I possess the basic adults logic and knowledge, I know Mondays and Tuesdays, I am clueless, probably more clueless than Emma, about the inner working of her brain, I have no idea about her logic and thinking. And I have long stopped growing.

Time and space make no sense

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

Time and space do not make sense for little children, at least not for Emma. What is Monday, Tuesday or any other weekdays? It only takes meaning in the song "Monday string beans, Tuesday Roast beef ..."

She is so young she does not have a clue about the passing of months or years. Well, change of seasons is different, because in fall she gets to crunch or collect beautiful leaves and in winter she can go out to make a snow baby. Still, only the present occupies her. She forgets spring when it is summer and forgets winter when it's fall. And the concepts of four seasons are still very much muddled in her head. (She is a little muddle-headed. She juggles imaginary and real things. E.g., she had a little scratch in her arm. Asked her how, she said "a ladybug bit her")

What is yesterday? Yesterday is anything in the past. Emma uses the word "yesterday" frequently. She tells me that so-and-so gave her a high-five yesterday, while actually it happened half a year ago (we went to see a clown perform tricks, after he was done, he surveyed and walked around the audience, and he gave Emma a high-five). She would say "mommy bought me mittens and hats yesterday", but in fact I bought those in the morning. She does have a firm grasp of the concept "now". She would demand, I want to go out NOW. I want the cookies NOW.

What is space? Who knows? What is Chicago or China (the two places we sometimes mentioned to her)? She is totally clueless. She would say, Mommy, let's buy a donut in Chicago; Chicago is in China, or China is in Chicago; we will drive airplanes to China, we'll go home in China, etc., etc.

I wonder what a children's educator or psychologist like Jean Piaget would say about this kind of "little girl talk". But it is as interesting as "a typical Piaget dialogue".

Piaget: What makes the wind?
Julia: The trees.

P: How do you know?

J: I saw them waving their arms.

P: How does that make the wind?

J (waving her hand in front of his face): Like this. Only they are bigger. And there are lots of trees.

P: What makes the wind on the ocean?

J: It blows there from the land. No. It's the waves...

From thousands of such dialogues and interactions with young people, Piaget concluded that behind children's "cute and seemingly illogical utterances were thought processes that had their own kind of order and their own special logic." (Times)

That is why he is so great.

But I, even though I possess the basic adults logic and knowledge, I know Mondays and Tuesdays, I am clueless, probably more clueless than Emma, about the inner working of her brain, I have no idea about her logic and thinking. And I have long stopped growing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006
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November 02, 2006

Emma has been to her preschool for 4 months. The first 2 months, she was the little quiet observing smiling Chinese girl. She kept her silence, soaking in all the English conversations, words, phrases. She hardly uttered a word. Then in the third mouth, she started talking in English, everyone was amazed that the little mute girl now became the talkative bubbly bee.

Her English is quite good now. At home, she used a mixed language of Chinese and English. I version one day soon she will use exclusively English, and my parents will be so at loss as to communicating with their little girl. Or maybe not. I hope not. My friend's son Leo now is a fluent English speaker and uses English exclusively even at home with their Chinese speaking parents. Though he is quick in switch to Chinese when talking to a Chinese stranger.

In languages spoken, there maybe quite some hope for them to be bilingual. But to be literate in both languages? That is an uphill battle. Yes, it is possible to send Emma to a Chinese school, but it can be done only on weekends. Who can afford to turn the back to the mainstream culture, the culture you breathe day in and day out? Yes, it is possible to get books in Chinese to learn read and write, but how difficult it is? How committed can I be? I flinch at the thought of it. Not to say the scarcity of suitable resources.

Language aside, the culture is destined to loss in the second generation, except some traces and pieces, some cultural souvenirs we still have them hold on to. But American culture is the water we drink and air we breathe now. Emma is soaked in everything American, she is well on her way to be conversant with American children's classics, she loves Winnie the pooh, the three billy goats, she sings many Mother Goose songs. But she hardly know anything about Chinese classic poems and those icons and symbols we favored as a child. During the eight months she stayed in China, she could recite Chinese poems and rhythms like a brilliant little scholar. But now, all that memories are replaced by her running talks about teletubbies, froggies, squirrels. (Ha, in china, it would be hard to find anybody who see squirrels so often like they see sparrows.) Emma even likes western cuisine better, she loved cheese the moment she tasted, her favorite food is pasta (it keeps changing though). She often seems to lack appetite for the food I cook for her (my mom did a better job, but she had the advantage being in China.)

And people. We are the minority and we, like Emma, is Americanized a bit more everyday, but we adults are and will always be in essence stubbornly, incorrigibly Chinese. However for a young one, for Emma, for an ABC (America-born-Chinese), she will be much more American than Chinese. Who can compete with her classmates, her friends, the majority of people (Americans) she deals with everyday?

The only thing will definitely remain is her Chinese looks, which may be lost in her next generation.

I do not really mind. We lost and changed old culture anyway. Think of the once glorious old rotten culture of China.

I do mind, however, if Emma lost her Chinese language and understanding and therefore lost one invaluable opportunity to work in/for China (when everyone is vying for), if Emma lost her uniqueness and became only one of many vain and empty Americans.

Destined to lose

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

Emma has been to her preschool for 4 months. The first 2 months, she was the little quiet observing smiling Chinese girl. She kept her silence, soaking in all the English conversations, words, phrases. She hardly uttered a word. Then in the third mouth, she started talking in English, everyone was amazed that the little mute girl now became the talkative bubbly bee.

Her English is quite good now. At home, she used a mixed language of Chinese and English. I version one day soon she will use exclusively English, and my parents will be so at loss as to communicating with their little girl. Or maybe not. I hope not. My friend's son Leo now is a fluent English speaker and uses English exclusively even at home with their Chinese speaking parents. Though he is quick in switch to Chinese when talking to a Chinese stranger.

In languages spoken, there maybe quite some hope for them to be bilingual. But to be literate in both languages? That is an uphill battle. Yes, it is possible to send Emma to a Chinese school, but it can be done only on weekends. Who can afford to turn the back to the mainstream culture, the culture you breathe day in and day out? Yes, it is possible to get books in Chinese to learn read and write, but how difficult it is? How committed can I be? I flinch at the thought of it. Not to say the scarcity of suitable resources.

Language aside, the culture is destined to loss in the second generation, except some traces and pieces, some cultural souvenirs we still have them hold on to. But American culture is the water we drink and air we breathe now. Emma is soaked in everything American, she is well on her way to be conversant with American children's classics, she loves Winnie the pooh, the three billy goats, she sings many Mother Goose songs. But she hardly know anything about Chinese classic poems and those icons and symbols we favored as a child. During the eight months she stayed in China, she could recite Chinese poems and rhythms like a brilliant little scholar. But now, all that memories are replaced by her running talks about teletubbies, froggies, squirrels. (Ha, in china, it would be hard to find anybody who see squirrels so often like they see sparrows.) Emma even likes western cuisine better, she loved cheese the moment she tasted, her favorite food is pasta (it keeps changing though). She often seems to lack appetite for the food I cook for her (my mom did a better job, but she had the advantage being in China.)

And people. We are the minority and we, like Emma, is Americanized a bit more everyday, but we adults are and will always be in essence stubbornly, incorrigibly Chinese. However for a young one, for Emma, for an ABC (America-born-Chinese), she will be much more American than Chinese. Who can compete with her classmates, her friends, the majority of people (Americans) she deals with everyday?

The only thing will definitely remain is her Chinese looks, which may be lost in her next generation.

I do not really mind. We lost and changed old culture anyway. Think of the once glorious old rotten culture of China.

I do mind, however, if Emma lost her Chinese language and understanding and therefore lost one invaluable opportunity to work in/for China (when everyone is vying for), if Emma lost her uniqueness and became only one of many vain and empty Americans.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
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