December 20, 2007

-- Newsletter from Emma's class

Hello everyone! We wanted to let you know what has been going on in the classroom over the past month. We wrapped our music unit last week and we are so pleased to say that it went so well. The kids had a great time with it and they were really the ones who started all the investigation about music. We played different types of instruments, wrote songs, painted and drew to music, etc. We had a lot of fun with it and we thank you for sharing your child's instruments with us. They were eager to show their friends how to use them!

The kids' play has really expanded lately. The children have also been more interested in the Legos. This is a great toy that enhances math skills and fine motor development and is just simply a lot of fun to play with. They have shown much creativity with their art. They love to experiment with color mixing as well as folding the paper to see how their painting has changed. The sensory table is always a popular spot, whether it's filled with snow, water, dried pasta, etc. The kids are constantly communicating with each other and problem-solving. A lot of language development occurs here. The writing table is as ays busy with the kids drawing/writing stories and pictures. They also write down their observations and thoughts at the discovery table and in the block area. They publish their work by taping it to the walls. If you haven't already seen the "writing room", you may want to stop in and take a peek because it is great!

They have been VERY interested in marbles and the marble maze (a great holiday present ©). When they put it together, they really have to think about how the pieces need to fit in order for the marble to roll down. We have added toilet paper tubes to this area for them to expand their ideas. This is a great physical science activity. Block building has been taken to a new level. The children are constantly building garages, houses, etc. for the cars and animals. We have started to take anecdotes from them about what they are building. We take a picture of it with the kids and will be putting it in our "Block Book" that will be available for them to look at in that area. Playing with the animals is also something each of them does on a daily basis. Again, a lot of language development and problem-solving skills occur during these activities.

Since they are so interested in the animals, we have decided to do our next unit on HIBERNATION. We started discussing what that means and have made predictions about which animals may hibernate. Over the next couple of weeks, they will figure out through investigation which ones do or do not hibernate. We have many activities planned for this, including art, science, pre-math, literacy, and language; as well as learning all about the animals that hibernate, their daily habits, etc. So far, they have been really excited when we talk about it at circle time and read books about the topic; it has already expanded into their play.

INVESTIGATORS' NEWSLETTER - dec, 2007

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-- Newsletter from Emma's class

Hello everyone! We wanted to let you know what has been going on in the classroom over the past month. We wrapped our music unit last week and we are so pleased to say that it went so well. The kids had a great time with it and they were really the ones who started all the investigation about music. We played different types of instruments, wrote songs, painted and drew to music, etc. We had a lot of fun with it and we thank you for sharing your child's instruments with us. They were eager to show their friends how to use them!

The kids' play has really expanded lately. The children have also been more interested in the Legos. This is a great toy that enhances math skills and fine motor development and is just simply a lot of fun to play with. They have shown much creativity with their art. They love to experiment with color mixing as well as folding the paper to see how their painting has changed. The sensory table is always a popular spot, whether it's filled with snow, water, dried pasta, etc. The kids are constantly communicating with each other and problem-solving. A lot of language development occurs here. The writing table is as ays busy with the kids drawing/writing stories and pictures. They also write down their observations and thoughts at the discovery table and in the block area. They publish their work by taping it to the walls. If you haven't already seen the "writing room", you may want to stop in and take a peek because it is great!

They have been VERY interested in marbles and the marble maze (a great holiday present ©). When they put it together, they really have to think about how the pieces need to fit in order for the marble to roll down. We have added toilet paper tubes to this area for them to expand their ideas. This is a great physical science activity. Block building has been taken to a new level. The children are constantly building garages, houses, etc. for the cars and animals. We have started to take anecdotes from them about what they are building. We take a picture of it with the kids and will be putting it in our "Block Book" that will be available for them to look at in that area. Playing with the animals is also something each of them does on a daily basis. Again, a lot of language development and problem-solving skills occur during these activities.

Since they are so interested in the animals, we have decided to do our next unit on HIBERNATION. We started discussing what that means and have made predictions about which animals may hibernate. Over the next couple of weeks, they will figure out through investigation which ones do or do not hibernate. We have many activities planned for this, including art, science, pre-math, literacy, and language; as well as learning all about the animals that hibernate, their daily habits, etc. So far, they have been really excited when we talk about it at circle time and read books about the topic; it has already expanded into their play.

Thursday, December 20, 2007
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December 07, 2007


I have posted this on my techie blog: Programmatically Speaking. But since this is very important to me, I double post here.

Knowledgable friends always admonish me: "Do not send your kids to a public school, Otherwise you will ruin them. Move to the surburb. "

Well, there are so many sides of Chicago public schools, good ones, not-so-good ones, bad ones ..., magnet, classical, gifted centers, community ... test-based, open-enrollment, lottery picked ... Based on the 2006 Chicago Sun Times school ranking, it turned out, the best elementary school in the state of Illinois is not from the upper-class suburb Wilmette, or Buffalo Grove, or Barrington, it is Decatur Classical right here in north Chicago. There are other eight schools made in the top 50 elementary schools of the state Illinois.

From next year on, I will cross my fingers for Emma to get in one of them. (Or have not I already?)

The map is available at: Chicago Elementary Schools Ranked Among Top 50 State Wide (based on Sun Times 2006 rankings). I will soon make another map based on 2007 rankings.

Chicago Elementary Schools Ranked Among top 50 State Wide

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I have posted this on my techie blog: Programmatically Speaking. But since this is very important to me, I double post here.

Knowledgable friends always admonish me: "Do not send your kids to a public school, Otherwise you will ruin them. Move to the surburb. "

Well, there are so many sides of Chicago public schools, good ones, not-so-good ones, bad ones ..., magnet, classical, gifted centers, community ... test-based, open-enrollment, lottery picked ... Based on the 2006 Chicago Sun Times school ranking, it turned out, the best elementary school in the state of Illinois is not from the upper-class suburb Wilmette, or Buffalo Grove, or Barrington, it is Decatur Classical right here in north Chicago. There are other eight schools made in the top 50 elementary schools of the state Illinois.

From next year on, I will cross my fingers for Emma to get in one of them. (Or have not I already?)

The map is available at: Chicago Elementary Schools Ranked Among Top 50 State Wide (based on Sun Times 2006 rankings). I will soon make another map based on 2007 rankings.

Friday, December 07, 2007
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November 29, 2007

Wow.

May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. Well, almost December.

Wow, Annya is almost seven months old.

I feel enormously guilty. For so many months, I have barely written about her. Almost every single activity is about Emma, singing, dancing, playing, going around... Little Annya had no say whether to go along or not. Sometimes we drove so far and She screamed and kicked at the back seat, while Emma was all jolly, talking, talking and singing, totally insensitive. But most of the time, she was just so calm, content and always beautiful. I have cries of "unfair" for her many many times.

There was a cover story in the Time regarding the birth order of siblings and the conclusion was that older (especially the first-born) children have more advantages and are generally more accomplished (like the Clinton brothers), they have undivided care and affection of their parents ...

I am not convinced by the story. However, I do think Emma really had so much more. She gets more doses of me. Even so, she still vies for my attention. On the other hand, Annya gets a mostly wonderful sister, who is loud and loving and proud, who is very stimulating and playful.

No matter what, Annya has grown so very beautifully. She is the textbook version of how a healthy happy baby should grow.

She started to recognize people and be choosy when she was four months old (probably even earlier)

She could sit up when she was five months old

She could roll over front-to-back and back-to-front when she was six months old

She could laugh out loud, really loud when she was six months old

She had her first two teeth at the end of her six months

She started to ba-ba three days ago.

Wow, the night before, she ba-ba, ba-ba, ba-ba , ba -ba ...

That was the most beautiful sounds in the world

I was soaked in love all over about her

ba, ba, ba ... how Annya has grown

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Wow.

May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. Well, almost December.

Wow, Annya is almost seven months old.

I feel enormously guilty. For so many months, I have barely written about her. Almost every single activity is about Emma, singing, dancing, playing, going around... Little Annya had no say whether to go along or not. Sometimes we drove so far and She screamed and kicked at the back seat, while Emma was all jolly, talking, talking and singing, totally insensitive. But most of the time, she was just so calm, content and always beautiful. I have cries of "unfair" for her many many times.

There was a cover story in the Time regarding the birth order of siblings and the conclusion was that older (especially the first-born) children have more advantages and are generally more accomplished (like the Clinton brothers), they have undivided care and affection of their parents ...

I am not convinced by the story. However, I do think Emma really had so much more. She gets more doses of me. Even so, she still vies for my attention. On the other hand, Annya gets a mostly wonderful sister, who is loud and loving and proud, who is very stimulating and playful.

No matter what, Annya has grown so very beautifully. She is the textbook version of how a healthy happy baby should grow.

She started to recognize people and be choosy when she was four months old (probably even earlier)

She could sit up when she was five months old

She could roll over front-to-back and back-to-front when she was six months old

She could laugh out loud, really loud when she was six months old

She had her first two teeth at the end of her six months

She started to ba-ba three days ago.

Wow, the night before, she ba-ba, ba-ba, ba-ba , ba -ba ...

That was the most beautiful sounds in the world

I was soaked in love all over about her

Thursday, November 29, 2007
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November 26, 2007

When I am too busy to blog. Emma's highly imaginative, fluid (and nonsensical) story fills in the blank.

Go Sing

Go Sing
And the lullaby song changes into another one with a magic wand. And then it changes to lots of, lots of songs. And then the Y starts to the X. And then the lollipop turns around and sings with a dress lullaby. And then the little gingerbread man smiles with a little happy face. And then the music notes go just singing and all the water comes out of the sink and all the bears just got it and put it in their home. Go sing.

Emma's story - A lullaby song

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When I am too busy to blog. Emma's highly imaginative, fluid (and nonsensical) story fills in the blank.

Go Sing

Go Sing
And the lullaby song changes into another one with a magic wand. And then it changes to lots of, lots of songs. And then the Y starts to the X. And then the lollipop turns around and sings with a dress lullaby. And then the little gingerbread man smiles with a little happy face. And then the music notes go just singing and all the water comes out of the sink and all the bears just got it and put it in their home. Go sing.

Monday, November 26, 2007
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November 22, 2007



I have been so very busy for quite some time now.

Emma plays with Annya

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I have been so very busy for quite some time now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007
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November 07, 2007

Twinkle Star Gymnastics

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
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November 06, 2007

There was an ice cream in the flower. When the flower was gone, the pumpkin was waiting for all the pickles to come in the house. And then there was a mess in the bathtub. The pumpkin opened up his smile. How could there be such a big mess there? And then he went out in his garden to help his garden grow because his flowers say they wanted water. The flowers was talking jokes and then all the flowers were laughing at him. And then the box was leaving. He was coming in there and then he said: "What are you doing in the shed?" He was a silly one! And then the pumplin said: "come on back to the house, you're so silly." They opened up the present and they had a big surprise for the plants because it was one of the plants' birthdays.

There was an ice cream in the flower - A new story by Emma

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There was an ice cream in the flower. When the flower was gone, the pumpkin was waiting for all the pickles to come in the house. And then there was a mess in the bathtub. The pumpkin opened up his smile. How could there be such a big mess there? And then he went out in his garden to help his garden grow because his flowers say they wanted water. The flowers was talking jokes and then all the flowers were laughing at him. And then the box was leaving. He was coming in there and then he said: "What are you doing in the shed?" He was a silly one! And then the pumplin said: "come on back to the house, you're so silly." They opened up the present and they had a big surprise for the plants because it was one of the plants' birthdays.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007
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Swing Low, swing high

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007
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October 30, 2007

I have the highest regard of Emma's personality, she is wonderfully social, contagiously happy, unbelievably articulate. She is funny, amusing and loves to be amused. She is the opposite of me and her dad. I love her and everything about her. However, I never think she is anything out of the ordinary. I do not think she is gifted or particularly brilliant.

Not so, no so, not by her teachers. Today we had a parent meeting with her teachers, and after the meeting, I found myself intoxicated by the praises, by the one after another beautiful comments her teachers Down and Bev gave her.

They said, with unbridled enthusiasm:

(I paraphrase in the following)

Oh, Emma is just phenomenal. Her fine motor skills are so good. No kid in her age has reached her level. She can draw very well.

She is very verbal, very articulate. Her English is wonderful, is way above ... plus she has two languages. ... Sometimes there is a glitch because of the two languages, but once we show her the correct way, she quickly takes it in.

Her academic skills is very advanced. We will not be surprised if she learns to read early. She probably will.

She is brilliant. She will be very successful in her life.

She has the predisposition to be a good student. She is very pleasant, does what she is told. Not just in a "well, whatever" but "sure, yes," very positive way. We never have to tell her twice.

She is in a very good place.

She is very happy. She has a very good sense of humor and she knows it. She likes to tell jokes, then she laughs. If you do not laugh, she would look at you, as if saying "why do not you laugh?" "Am I not funny?"

She is very curious. And her desire to learn is such that sometimes it is a little intrusive. She wants to know everything, She always asks: why. Sometimes we have to keep her back a little bit, then she steps back. But you can see the question is written in her face.

She is very social. She is the only one to greet people. She is our unofficial greeter. When people come in, she would look. We say, "this is Emma", and she says "Hello.". She is the only one who does that.

She loves her friends. Her friends love her. She loves Sally. They do not get into each other as much. Both of them are very verbal, that is why sometimes they clash, but they do not do that anymore.

She is in a very good place.

She tells very good stories too.

"Do you have any questions?"

"Oh, sometimes I listen to other kids talk and see them do things, I would think 'oh, Emma has not been there yet'"

"No, no, with Emma, you do not have worry. She is brilliant."

=====

What parents would not smile in their dreams with a child like this? What parents would not be grateful for a wonderful child like Emma?

What do the teachers say about Emma?

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I have the highest regard of Emma's personality, she is wonderfully social, contagiously happy, unbelievably articulate. She is funny, amusing and loves to be amused. She is the opposite of me and her dad. I love her and everything about her. However, I never think she is anything out of the ordinary. I do not think she is gifted or particularly brilliant.

Not so, no so, not by her teachers. Today we had a parent meeting with her teachers, and after the meeting, I found myself intoxicated by the praises, by the one after another beautiful comments her teachers Down and Bev gave her.

They said, with unbridled enthusiasm:

(I paraphrase in the following)

Oh, Emma is just phenomenal. Her fine motor skills are so good. No kid in her age has reached her level. She can draw very well.

She is very verbal, very articulate. Her English is wonderful, is way above ... plus she has two languages. ... Sometimes there is a glitch because of the two languages, but once we show her the correct way, she quickly takes it in.

Her academic skills is very advanced. We will not be surprised if she learns to read early. She probably will.

She is brilliant. She will be very successful in her life.

She has the predisposition to be a good student. She is very pleasant, does what she is told. Not just in a "well, whatever" but "sure, yes," very positive way. We never have to tell her twice.

She is in a very good place.

She is very happy. She has a very good sense of humor and she knows it. She likes to tell jokes, then she laughs. If you do not laugh, she would look at you, as if saying "why do not you laugh?" "Am I not funny?"

She is very curious. And her desire to learn is such that sometimes it is a little intrusive. She wants to know everything, She always asks: why. Sometimes we have to keep her back a little bit, then she steps back. But you can see the question is written in her face.

She is very social. She is the only one to greet people. She is our unofficial greeter. When people come in, she would look. We say, "this is Emma", and she says "Hello.". She is the only one who does that.

She loves her friends. Her friends love her. She loves Sally. They do not get into each other as much. Both of them are very verbal, that is why sometimes they clash, but they do not do that anymore.

She is in a very good place.

She tells very good stories too.

"Do you have any questions?"

"Oh, sometimes I listen to other kids talk and see them do things, I would think 'oh, Emma has not been there yet'"

"No, no, with Emma, you do not have worry. She is brilliant."

=====

What parents would not smile in their dreams with a child like this? What parents would not be grateful for a wonderful child like Emma?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
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October 24, 2007

An article in The New Yorker reads: "Like many people, I started blogging out of an urgent need to procrastinate. Yet a nagging sense of possibility also drew me in. " I do not have a clue what this guy means, even after I read the whole article to search for a clue. Nonetheless,
I started to reflect on my motive of doing my blog. Out of parental pride? Probably. Just wanted to show off Emma's beautiful baby pictures. To my delight, pride and surprise, the blog just kept growing ... pictures, videos, Emma's doodling, and my mumbo-jumbos.

I wrote down many of the big changes, big events over the four years, Emma's going over to China, Annya's birth, buying a condo. But sometimes I skipped, neglected, out of habitual inertia, laziness or whatever. For example, my parents have come to live with us and Leo's mom has gone for over a month now. To me, it is a big relief, at least finally I am comfortable at my own home again. And I got so much much more help. Annya's life is easier too. She quickly formed a bond with my mom, she loves my mom and my mom loves her so. She carries her (I have to tell her to put Annya down sometimes), play with her and sing to her all the time. She tells me all the little progresses Annya made. "Today, Annya just held me and put her face against mine again and again." Emma was happy too from the first day they came. She jokes and giggles, she even allows my mom to take her to bed. She always have such a good and comfortable time when she is alone at home with my parents. Last week, she was sick and had to stay home, then the third she even complained about going to school. She would rather stay home with my parents! I do not know what magic my parents used.

My parents came to the town

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An article in The New Yorker reads: "Like many people, I started blogging out of an urgent need to procrastinate. Yet a nagging sense of possibility also drew me in. " I do not have a clue what this guy means, even after I read the whole article to search for a clue. Nonetheless,
I started to reflect on my motive of doing my blog. Out of parental pride? Probably. Just wanted to show off Emma's beautiful baby pictures. To my delight, pride and surprise, the blog just kept growing ... pictures, videos, Emma's doodling, and my mumbo-jumbos.

I wrote down many of the big changes, big events over the four years, Emma's going over to China, Annya's birth, buying a condo. But sometimes I skipped, neglected, out of habitual inertia, laziness or whatever. For example, my parents have come to live with us and Leo's mom has gone for over a month now. To me, it is a big relief, at least finally I am comfortable at my own home again. And I got so much much more help. Annya's life is easier too. She quickly formed a bond with my mom, she loves my mom and my mom loves her so. She carries her (I have to tell her to put Annya down sometimes), play with her and sing to her all the time. She tells me all the little progresses Annya made. "Today, Annya just held me and put her face against mine again and again." Emma was happy too from the first day they came. She jokes and giggles, she even allows my mom to take her to bed. She always have such a good and comfortable time when she is alone at home with my parents. Last week, she was sick and had to stay home, then the third she even complained about going to school. She would rather stay home with my parents! I do not know what magic my parents used.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
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October 17, 2007

A Gym lesson

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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October 15, 2007

...

The Investigators are a happy group and we have been having a lot of fun these days. We finished our unit on water, which was a big success, and continue to experiment with water in our water table. Using different cups, funnels, sieves, soap, turkey basters, toys, etc. in the water allows for exploration of the properties of water. Language growth is huge in this area; the children make predictions with their friends about what will happen using different tools in the water and also confirm their hypotheses in the same way.

Another very popular area of play lately is the block area. The children are constantly constructing their own ideas when they are building and talk with each other about how to execute those plans. When the children make bridges and ramps in a pattern and determine which type of block will work best to make the piece stable, they are using pre-math skills. We will be expanding this area due to the need of the children needing more space to construct and build their ideas.

As you already know, we have added a Story Wall to the classroom. This is a literacy activity that allows the children to realize that what they say is important and that print has meaning. The stories are very different from each other; some are actual stories while others are quotes. Regardless, they are all wonderful stories! We will change them every month so you can witness how much they change as the year will go one. They have responded well to this and love when we write down what they say.

The children have also been very much into the marble maze. They have been constructing these amazing structures that require a lot of teamwork and thought about how to make the pieces fit so the marble can travel down to the bottom. The plastic tubes also add another element to their structures. When the children attach them, they make the marbles move faster or slower and the children have been excited trying to figure out how this works. They also use these tubes to make different instruments and have been very creative with how they sound and work, which brings us to our next unit...

Music
The Investigators have always been a group that loves music, whether it is through singing or dancing. We sing finger plays on a daily basis at circle time and the children are always so eager to learn new on. There has also been a lot of discussion of the types of instruments and how they sound. Since they are very interested in music and what the sounds the instruments make, we have decided to focus our next unit on music!

We have many literacy, math, science, and art activities planned, such as having the children create their own music and songs, introduce the names of instruments and what sounds they make, sing finger plays, songs, and chants, and experimenting with different types of instruments, such as percussion, wind, brass, and string. We will also expand into the different types of music and movement. We are looking forward to this and expect the kids to really dive in because there has already been so much discussion about music now that Susan Salidor, the musician, comes in once a week.


, , , ,

INVESTIGATORS' NEWSLETTER - oct. 2007

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...

The Investigators are a happy group and we have been having a lot of fun these days. We finished our unit on water, which was a big success, and continue to experiment with water in our water table. Using different cups, funnels, sieves, soap, turkey basters, toys, etc. in the water allows for exploration of the properties of water. Language growth is huge in this area; the children make predictions with their friends about what will happen using different tools in the water and also confirm their hypotheses in the same way.

Another very popular area of play lately is the block area. The children are constantly constructing their own ideas when they are building and talk with each other about how to execute those plans. When the children make bridges and ramps in a pattern and determine which type of block will work best to make the piece stable, they are using pre-math skills. We will be expanding this area due to the need of the children needing more space to construct and build their ideas.

As you already know, we have added a Story Wall to the classroom. This is a literacy activity that allows the children to realize that what they say is important and that print has meaning. The stories are very different from each other; some are actual stories while others are quotes. Regardless, they are all wonderful stories! We will change them every month so you can witness how much they change as the year will go one. They have responded well to this and love when we write down what they say.

The children have also been very much into the marble maze. They have been constructing these amazing structures that require a lot of teamwork and thought about how to make the pieces fit so the marble can travel down to the bottom. The plastic tubes also add another element to their structures. When the children attach them, they make the marbles move faster or slower and the children have been excited trying to figure out how this works. They also use these tubes to make different instruments and have been very creative with how they sound and work, which brings us to our next unit...

Music
The Investigators have always been a group that loves music, whether it is through singing or dancing. We sing finger plays on a daily basis at circle time and the children are always so eager to learn new on. There has also been a lot of discussion of the types of instruments and how they sound. Since they are very interested in music and what the sounds the instruments make, we have decided to focus our next unit on music!

We have many literacy, math, science, and art activities planned, such as having the children create their own music and songs, introduce the names of instruments and what sounds they make, sing finger plays, songs, and chants, and experimenting with different types of instruments, such as percussion, wind, brass, and string. We will also expand into the different types of music and movement. We are looking forward to this and expect the kids to really dive in because there has already been so much discussion about music now that Susan Salidor, the musician, comes in once a week.


, , , ,

Monday, October 15, 2007
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October 11, 2007

So excited. Still, I took sometime to post some of the videos I shot last Saturday.



Out in Washington

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So excited. Still, I took sometime to post some of the videos I shot last Saturday.



Thursday, October 11, 2007
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October 10, 2007

I thought I was speaking Chinese

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
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October 09, 2007

Emma is not my type. I am a quiet, socially-quite-awkward one, though all my family has a vivid memory of what a talktive little child I was. Emma is different, she talks and talks, laughs and laughs everyday and all day long, from morning to evening. Sometimes she is caught by her thoughts (sometimes disjointed, sometimes flowing), and she quickly wanders through one topic to another and does not always make sense. Sometimes she is just silly. Sometimes she is herself, a little girl with abundance of innocence and cuteness, sometimes she is playing someone else, pretend to be a teacher or me or just an adult. Anyway, she talks and talks. She drives me crazy sometimes, especially at her bed time.

So she has made a lot of collectable little talks. But these few weeks, her school pays special attention to them and writes down some of them (some kids talk really funny. Like this one by Tommy. "My mommy says I am a jumping bean. At night, when I jump on the bed, my mom says 'No one beans jumping on the bead") Since they are in writing and put on the story wall, they assume a fair amount of importance. So I decided to be the copy cat, and put whatever is in writing on the web (they do not make much sense though).


Story 1
The S was waiting for the A. The star says "The End". The outside makes it fly. And the arrow says start.

And then when I was walking to the phone in my house and I was talking and it was raining. And somebody's sister was saying "Hello, Hello" and you did not like it and then the phone rang and it was Mary Beth and She said "Is it Emma?" And I talked all by myself and mommy did not even talk.

Story 2:

One day my mommy was cooking dinner., but I did not see anything because I was in the bedroom and was trying to sleep. And the car was driving on somebody's head. The summer .. The birds were hatching eggs. When the eggs start to crack the mama birds went to get some food and they said "where is my mother". When the sun set down and they were all playing on the beach. After the car then the clouds were going the sky the sun was getting up. and the flower on the bicycle was landing on the octopus.

Story 3:

The people were hiding behind the flowers and inside the flowers there were toys. Inside the toys then there was nothing else, there was just candy canes. And inside the candy canes there was trees and a piece of chicken with all the letters on the refrigerator. And a snowman outside.

Story 4:
He's scared with a big sock. And there was ribbon, a Christmas ribbon. By the house there was a rabbit eating a carrot. and there was a lollipop in there and waiting for the pickle.

Emma's stories

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Emma is not my type. I am a quiet, socially-quite-awkward one, though all my family has a vivid memory of what a talktive little child I was. Emma is different, she talks and talks, laughs and laughs everyday and all day long, from morning to evening. Sometimes she is caught by her thoughts (sometimes disjointed, sometimes flowing), and she quickly wanders through one topic to another and does not always make sense. Sometimes she is just silly. Sometimes she is herself, a little girl with abundance of innocence and cuteness, sometimes she is playing someone else, pretend to be a teacher or me or just an adult. Anyway, she talks and talks. She drives me crazy sometimes, especially at her bed time.

So she has made a lot of collectable little talks. But these few weeks, her school pays special attention to them and writes down some of them (some kids talk really funny. Like this one by Tommy. "My mommy says I am a jumping bean. At night, when I jump on the bed, my mom says 'No one beans jumping on the bead") Since they are in writing and put on the story wall, they assume a fair amount of importance. So I decided to be the copy cat, and put whatever is in writing on the web (they do not make much sense though).


Story 1
The S was waiting for the A. The star says "The End". The outside makes it fly. And the arrow says start.

And then when I was walking to the phone in my house and I was talking and it was raining. And somebody's sister was saying "Hello, Hello" and you did not like it and then the phone rang and it was Mary Beth and She said "Is it Emma?" And I talked all by myself and mommy did not even talk.

Story 2:

One day my mommy was cooking dinner., but I did not see anything because I was in the bedroom and was trying to sleep. And the car was driving on somebody's head. The summer .. The birds were hatching eggs. When the eggs start to crack the mama birds went to get some food and they said "where is my mother". When the sun set down and they were all playing on the beach. After the car then the clouds were going the sky the sun was getting up. and the flower on the bicycle was landing on the octopus.

Story 3:

The people were hiding behind the flowers and inside the flowers there were toys. Inside the toys then there was nothing else, there was just candy canes. And inside the candy canes there was trees and a piece of chicken with all the letters on the refrigerator. And a snowman outside.

Story 4:
He's scared with a big sock. And there was ribbon, a Christmas ribbon. By the house there was a rabbit eating a carrot. and there was a lollipop in there and waiting for the pickle.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
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October 08, 2007

Little sister, big sister

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Monday, October 08, 2007
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October 05, 2007

Have not blogged for nearly two weeks. Reasons? Too busy, too busy. When I am busy, my blogs are the first casualties. I wish I had the same discipline with my blogs as with my work. Somehow, when deadlines at work are hanging, I would simply forego anything and stay up at night however long to get my work done. Somehow, there is a 'must', 'absolute' feeling in my head. Not with my blogs, nor with the housework, nor any self-arranged plans. I am that little horse who constantly needs a stick and a carrot to keep me going ... ...

Now the summer is gone, and autumn set in almost unnoticeably. And now Emma's weekends become busy, really busy. Saturday she takes Gymnastics and Ballet class, Sunday she takes Make-believe at the Old Town school. Since she is older, we parents are not required to accompany her any more. We are not even allowed to peek, at least this is the case with her ballet class. But she surely has grown out the mommy-with-me-everywhere phase too (next year will she start to push me away? People say kids start to claim their Independence and distance themselves from parents around 5. Bittersweet). She is so much at ease in her classes and she enjoys them very much. Last Sunday, after she came back from her make-believe class, she even did a little of the 'The ginger bread man' play. "

Busy weekends

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

Have not blogged for nearly two weeks. Reasons? Too busy, too busy. When I am busy, my blogs are the first casualties. I wish I had the same discipline with my blogs as with my work. Somehow, when deadlines at work are hanging, I would simply forego anything and stay up at night however long to get my work done. Somehow, there is a 'must', 'absolute' feeling in my head. Not with my blogs, nor with the housework, nor any self-arranged plans. I am that little horse who constantly needs a stick and a carrot to keep me going ... ...

Now the summer is gone, and autumn set in almost unnoticeably. And now Emma's weekends become busy, really busy. Saturday she takes Gymnastics and Ballet class, Sunday she takes Make-believe at the Old Town school. Since she is older, we parents are not required to accompany her any more. We are not even allowed to peek, at least this is the case with her ballet class. But she surely has grown out the mommy-with-me-everywhere phase too (next year will she start to push me away? People say kids start to claim their Independence and distance themselves from parents around 5. Bittersweet). She is so much at ease in her classes and she enjoys them very much. Last Sunday, after she came back from her make-believe class, she even did a little of the 'The ginger bread man' play. "

Friday, October 05, 2007
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September 18, 2007

Emma made up a little song like this

Wrap her up
Wrap her up
Wrap her up
In her little blanket

Tuck her in
Tuck her in
Tuck her in
In her little blanket

Pick her up
pick her up
pick her up
In her little blanket

Wash her butt
wash her butt
wash her butt
in her little bath tub

Then it goes on and on, and she became naughtier and naughtier, later, the versies became very silly and nonsensical. But it really sounds good when she sings it aloud.

A little song improvised by Emma

Posted by Xun  |  3 comments

Emma made up a little song like this

Wrap her up
Wrap her up
Wrap her up
In her little blanket

Tuck her in
Tuck her in
Tuck her in
In her little blanket

Pick her up
pick her up
pick her up
In her little blanket

Wash her butt
wash her butt
wash her butt
in her little bath tub

Then it goes on and on, and she became naughtier and naughtier, later, the versies became very silly and nonsensical. But it really sounds good when she sings it aloud.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
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September 14, 2007

I am a parent frugal by nature (inherited the genes); by upbringing (born and raised with a scarcity in everything, food, books, no toys to speak of) and by reality (two little kids, a meager income, and burning desire for the kids to become something). So Chicago is wonderful place to be. Well, other big us cities must be more or less the same. But ignorant me, Chicago is the only place I know and I just started to know and feel a little more everyday. Only in this summer I started to discover Chicago through the prism of motherhood. What I have discovered is only the tip of the iceberg of the culture that Chicago has offered. Best of all, they are free and good. I need things to be free, free so I do not have to feel the sting and pull of my tight budget string.

Oh, my, the many concerts, dance shows and cultural festivals we had been to this summer. Most of them had performers that have national fame, made cds, appeared on TV and movies.

We went to the crazy, screaming, teenagers-swarmed T-squad concert. There, standing on the lawn, shouldering Emma and sun-baked, I felt my heart throbbing with excitement. I was also sorely, sourly reminded that the youth that has totally passed by me. Emma was not very impressed, she complained about the blasting music. However, many days after, she talked about so-and-so's hair, so-and-so's white shirt, and so-and-so's dance moves.

We went to a children's sing-along concert where Ella Jenkins performed. The Ella Jenkins, the mother of Chicago Children's music! Again, in the hot summer sun. Again, Emma's reaction was barely there. But I was impressed by the simple almost plain yet soothing music about chicken, cows and saying hellos in different languages. I was moved by the frail, simple, short little black lady who has created so many music and has become such a legend. Emma must have caught my enthusiasm, for she would pointed proudly at Ella Jenkins in the picture and say, look, that is Ella Jenkins.

We went to the Ralph's world. That was a raucous, energetic concert. We shamelessly made our way to the very front of the stage. While many little kids jumped, danced, swung along the beats, Emma kept her cool. She looked even drowsy. At the end of the show, I dragged, carried her to the stage, among a thousand of other enthusiastic, camera-crazy and sweaty parents with their babies or teenagers.

We went to a classical concert at Ravinia, with other kids at Emma's school. I do not understand a thing about classical music, nonetheless, I breathed deep in the air filled with music. It was serene. Emma ran around with little kids in her school.

...

We also have been a lot of dancing performances, Korean dancing (amazing costumes), Spanish Dancing, a youth company that packed a whole hour of nonstop dances of all genres (top, contemporary, modern, whatever), Indian contemporary dancing, Ariel acrobatic dancing (beautiful, beautiful, and with captivating plots), tap dancing, tap dancing again ...

Then shows, movies, movies and shows ...

Annya, my little bundle, my little package, was with us everywhere, all the time. Wonder how much was she soaked in all this and that? And anyway, she was the best baby all the time. The cutest too. Everywhere, people would stop to look at her and smile and say: "oh, what a beautiful baby!"

So that is the end of the summer.



, , , , , ,

Oh, the many concerts we have been to. And dancing shows!

Posted by Xun  |  2 comments

I am a parent frugal by nature (inherited the genes); by upbringing (born and raised with a scarcity in everything, food, books, no toys to speak of) and by reality (two little kids, a meager income, and burning desire for the kids to become something). So Chicago is wonderful place to be. Well, other big us cities must be more or less the same. But ignorant me, Chicago is the only place I know and I just started to know and feel a little more everyday. Only in this summer I started to discover Chicago through the prism of motherhood. What I have discovered is only the tip of the iceberg of the culture that Chicago has offered. Best of all, they are free and good. I need things to be free, free so I do not have to feel the sting and pull of my tight budget string.

Oh, my, the many concerts, dance shows and cultural festivals we had been to this summer. Most of them had performers that have national fame, made cds, appeared on TV and movies.

We went to the crazy, screaming, teenagers-swarmed T-squad concert. There, standing on the lawn, shouldering Emma and sun-baked, I felt my heart throbbing with excitement. I was also sorely, sourly reminded that the youth that has totally passed by me. Emma was not very impressed, she complained about the blasting music. However, many days after, she talked about so-and-so's hair, so-and-so's white shirt, and so-and-so's dance moves.

We went to a children's sing-along concert where Ella Jenkins performed. The Ella Jenkins, the mother of Chicago Children's music! Again, in the hot summer sun. Again, Emma's reaction was barely there. But I was impressed by the simple almost plain yet soothing music about chicken, cows and saying hellos in different languages. I was moved by the frail, simple, short little black lady who has created so many music and has become such a legend. Emma must have caught my enthusiasm, for she would pointed proudly at Ella Jenkins in the picture and say, look, that is Ella Jenkins.

We went to the Ralph's world. That was a raucous, energetic concert. We shamelessly made our way to the very front of the stage. While many little kids jumped, danced, swung along the beats, Emma kept her cool. She looked even drowsy. At the end of the show, I dragged, carried her to the stage, among a thousand of other enthusiastic, camera-crazy and sweaty parents with their babies or teenagers.

We went to a classical concert at Ravinia, with other kids at Emma's school. I do not understand a thing about classical music, nonetheless, I breathed deep in the air filled with music. It was serene. Emma ran around with little kids in her school.

...

We also have been a lot of dancing performances, Korean dancing (amazing costumes), Spanish Dancing, a youth company that packed a whole hour of nonstop dances of all genres (top, contemporary, modern, whatever), Indian contemporary dancing, Ariel acrobatic dancing (beautiful, beautiful, and with captivating plots), tap dancing, tap dancing again ...

Then shows, movies, movies and shows ...

Annya, my little bundle, my little package, was with us everywhere, all the time. Wonder how much was she soaked in all this and that? And anyway, she was the best baby all the time. The cutest too. Everywhere, people would stop to look at her and smile and say: "oh, what a beautiful baby!"

So that is the end of the summer.



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Friday, September 14, 2007
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September 12, 2007

Last friday I had a day off. So I got a chance to spend a full day with Annya alone. Perfect. Poor little baby, she really deserved it. And I longed to spend some quality time with her. (Oh, with what speed she has grown! Yesterday, i took to the doc. She is now 14.5 lbs, 2' 1'', and her head is another 2 cm bigger. She can roll over from front to back, she can almost sit...)

Now that Evanston Library has a newly remodelled children's roo, I took her there. The "Mac's Garden", a special area designed for babies and toddlers is the most wonderful, lovely, warm, cozy, baby-friendly space, with over sized, soft sculpture flowers, delightful bug lights hanging about, rattles, cling-clanging fabric toys and colorful board books all around. Playing with Annya, busy taking videos, I was overtaken by joy.

The following are the videos I took and pieced together and added some background music. It is fun, fun, fun.

Oh dear, what can the matter be


Play, Annya, play


Oh-oh, she keeps falling over



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Annya at the new children's library

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

Last friday I had a day off. So I got a chance to spend a full day with Annya alone. Perfect. Poor little baby, she really deserved it. And I longed to spend some quality time with her. (Oh, with what speed she has grown! Yesterday, i took to the doc. She is now 14.5 lbs, 2' 1'', and her head is another 2 cm bigger. She can roll over from front to back, she can almost sit...)

Now that Evanston Library has a newly remodelled children's roo, I took her there. The "Mac's Garden", a special area designed for babies and toddlers is the most wonderful, lovely, warm, cozy, baby-friendly space, with over sized, soft sculpture flowers, delightful bug lights hanging about, rattles, cling-clanging fabric toys and colorful board books all around. Playing with Annya, busy taking videos, I was overtaken by joy.

The following are the videos I took and pieced together and added some background music. It is fun, fun, fun.

Oh dear, what can the matter be


Play, Annya, play


Oh-oh, she keeps falling over



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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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September 05, 2007



Below is Emma's rambling on a cow family (Funny to see her mind runs through a jumble of topics).

The cow family

They pretend to brush their teeth. The cows ran over to take a bath. They were running into red and reading a book. They live on the cow.

They went to bed and had a bad dream. Cows dont have a bad dream and they do not even talk. And they went to draw on the cat. And they went to the rabbit to pick the grass. They went to get a cup to pour some milk on the light.



A totem she made (with MB's help) at the Garfield Conservatory, in imitation of Nikki's works.

The cow family

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Below is Emma's rambling on a cow family (Funny to see her mind runs through a jumble of topics).

The cow family

They pretend to brush their teeth. The cows ran over to take a bath. They were running into red and reading a book. They live on the cow.

They went to bed and had a bad dream. Cows dont have a bad dream and they do not even talk. And they went to draw on the cat. And they went to the rabbit to pick the grass. They went to get a cup to pour some milk on the light.



A totem she made (with MB's help) at the Garfield Conservatory, in imitation of Nikki's works.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
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August 28, 2007

The following is from the newsletter of Emma's class (August 2007). I am totally heartened.

...

The Investigators are a very fun and happy group of children. They are always so busy doing different activities in the classroom. They love painting with different textures and creating their own unique object with the supplies. In housekeeping, the children have enjoyed pretending to be doctors and "taking care" of the babies and each other. Another favorite thing to do is play restaurant, where they write down their friends' food orders and serve them food. In the block area, the kids have been experimenting with building ramps and bridges with the blocks for the cars to drive on. They also love constructing houses for the animals! There are many houses that are constantly under construction O. Another area of the room that is quite popular is the small manipulative area, where the children play games, build with legos or the marble maze, put puzzles together, and work with small table top manipulative toys.

One other important area in the room is the writing table. The children have really enjoyed spending time there making cards, books, etc. We are always writing down their words about the pictures so make sure to read them when they get sent home because they truly are great. We have been displaying some of their pictures around the room-the kids have hung them up themselves!

All of these areas provide so many opportunities for math activities, such as measurement, balance, and symmetry, as well as exploration of physical science concepts and pre-literacy skills. Language development is huge in these areas, along with the practice of motor skills and problem solving. It's great to see them work together!

Circletime in the Investigators' Room is always a fun time where we meet to read a book, dance, and sing fingerplays. It is also the time to talk about what we are currently learning about in the classroom. Usually in the beginning of the year, circletime does not last more than ten minutes or so because of the attention span of the kids. I try to keep it brief, yet fun and engaging. As the year goes on, we will expand on it depending on where the kids are at. As of now, we do some dancing, as well as read a book and sing fingerplays (which is a pre-literacy skill). The kids love to sing and they already have some favorite songs! We also briefly (and I mean briefly because once we start talking everyone wants to talk © ) discuss what we are currently learning about. It's always a busy time and the kids enjoy circletime very much.

Our next unit will be all about water!! The Investigators are a very curious group, so we thought we would turn into scientists and experiment with water. We have many math, science, art, and pre-literacy activities planned that pertain to water. Our discussion about water started last week; we talked about how we use it, and what happens when you add things to water. We plan on really diving into it (no pun intended O) the next couple of weeks so please continue to read the board to hear about all of our exciting things we are doing!

, , , , , ,

From Investigators' Newsletter

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The following is from the newsletter of Emma's class (August 2007). I am totally heartened.

...

The Investigators are a very fun and happy group of children. They are always so busy doing different activities in the classroom. They love painting with different textures and creating their own unique object with the supplies. In housekeeping, the children have enjoyed pretending to be doctors and "taking care" of the babies and each other. Another favorite thing to do is play restaurant, where they write down their friends' food orders and serve them food. In the block area, the kids have been experimenting with building ramps and bridges with the blocks for the cars to drive on. They also love constructing houses for the animals! There are many houses that are constantly under construction O. Another area of the room that is quite popular is the small manipulative area, where the children play games, build with legos or the marble maze, put puzzles together, and work with small table top manipulative toys.

One other important area in the room is the writing table. The children have really enjoyed spending time there making cards, books, etc. We are always writing down their words about the pictures so make sure to read them when they get sent home because they truly are great. We have been displaying some of their pictures around the room-the kids have hung them up themselves!

All of these areas provide so many opportunities for math activities, such as measurement, balance, and symmetry, as well as exploration of physical science concepts and pre-literacy skills. Language development is huge in these areas, along with the practice of motor skills and problem solving. It's great to see them work together!

Circletime in the Investigators' Room is always a fun time where we meet to read a book, dance, and sing fingerplays. It is also the time to talk about what we are currently learning about in the classroom. Usually in the beginning of the year, circletime does not last more than ten minutes or so because of the attention span of the kids. I try to keep it brief, yet fun and engaging. As the year goes on, we will expand on it depending on where the kids are at. As of now, we do some dancing, as well as read a book and sing fingerplays (which is a pre-literacy skill). The kids love to sing and they already have some favorite songs! We also briefly (and I mean briefly because once we start talking everyone wants to talk © ) discuss what we are currently learning about. It's always a busy time and the kids enjoy circletime very much.

Our next unit will be all about water!! The Investigators are a very curious group, so we thought we would turn into scientists and experiment with water. We have many math, science, art, and pre-literacy activities planned that pertain to water. Our discussion about water started last week; we talked about how we use it, and what happens when you add things to water. We plan on really diving into it (no pun intended O) the next couple of weeks so please continue to read the board to hear about all of our exciting things we are doing!

, , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
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August 27, 2007

The past two weeks had been busy at work. It had been busy and fun at home. Interests and energy to blog waxed and waned, then washed off among my busy schedule. Therefore, I have a two-week gaping hole in my blog. It happens all the time anyway. It is always hard to self-disapline.

Anyway, in the past two weeks, we have:

1) Watched Contemporary Indian Dance and Tap Dance at the Cultural center. Fabulous dances. Both Annya and Emma enjoyed. Yes, even Annya. In the dim light, Annya stared at the stage throughout the show, her eyes bright and concentrated.

2) Been to the a miniature performance of Cirque Shanghai at the Harold Washington Public library. Again, the show was stupendous. Only too-oo short. It lasted only about 20 minutes, while we waited for about an hour in line to get in.

3) Emma's school was closed on Aug 16th and 17th. On Aug 16th, MB took her to see the show "Bear's Family Tree" at American Girl's place. The show was so-so, a kind of silly adults-playing-little-animals-without much thought or wit. So Emma was rightly not very engaged and MB concluded that the culture a child needs should be real culture, not a supposedly-children's-version.

4) On the same Saturday, the annual Air and Water show. Been there once already, neither Emma nor I was very interested. However, Leo and his mom could not get enough of it.

5) Sunday, I took Emma and Annya to MSI (museum of science and industry). It was a little challenging to take care of them both, walk around with one in stroller or my arms, while trying not to lose Emma. (Some people gave me sympathetic looks, that poor single mother with two little kids. But in a way, aren't I a single mother? Whatever help I can get from Leo is very very limited. Or in a way, aren't I taking care of three kids? with one who never grows up ...)

Anyway, we had a great time at MSI. Love the idea factory, the colors, the settings, the various projects just amazed me.

6) The following week was much more like any other week, we went to work, Emma went to school. Annya stayed with Leo's mom on Tuesday and Thursday, with MB on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She is getting very big now and have a full range of sounds and noises. Sometimes she looks at me or Emma and makes loud loud sounds with varying tones, as if she is arguing about something. Wow, I wish I could tell what is in her mind.

7) Oh, yes, on Thursday, we had an incredible storm. Trees were slashed off, one garage was toppled down, heavy rains poured down, the sky was menacingly dark ... Could not get hold of Leo, I carried Emma home. Both of us were soaked, drenched, totally, completely wet. But to Emma, it was an amazing adventure, she was too curious to feel scared, and she was flooded with a million of questions and sights she has never seen before. Mommy, look, the tree! Look, that man runs so fast, ha, ha... Mommy, is our house down? Will all the lights be blown away? ...

Too bad, no pictures for all the things we've done.

,,,,,

Ah, the past two weeks

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

The past two weeks had been busy at work. It had been busy and fun at home. Interests and energy to blog waxed and waned, then washed off among my busy schedule. Therefore, I have a two-week gaping hole in my blog. It happens all the time anyway. It is always hard to self-disapline.

Anyway, in the past two weeks, we have:

1) Watched Contemporary Indian Dance and Tap Dance at the Cultural center. Fabulous dances. Both Annya and Emma enjoyed. Yes, even Annya. In the dim light, Annya stared at the stage throughout the show, her eyes bright and concentrated.

2) Been to the a miniature performance of Cirque Shanghai at the Harold Washington Public library. Again, the show was stupendous. Only too-oo short. It lasted only about 20 minutes, while we waited for about an hour in line to get in.

3) Emma's school was closed on Aug 16th and 17th. On Aug 16th, MB took her to see the show "Bear's Family Tree" at American Girl's place. The show was so-so, a kind of silly adults-playing-little-animals-without much thought or wit. So Emma was rightly not very engaged and MB concluded that the culture a child needs should be real culture, not a supposedly-children's-version.

4) On the same Saturday, the annual Air and Water show. Been there once already, neither Emma nor I was very interested. However, Leo and his mom could not get enough of it.

5) Sunday, I took Emma and Annya to MSI (museum of science and industry). It was a little challenging to take care of them both, walk around with one in stroller or my arms, while trying not to lose Emma. (Some people gave me sympathetic looks, that poor single mother with two little kids. But in a way, aren't I a single mother? Whatever help I can get from Leo is very very limited. Or in a way, aren't I taking care of three kids? with one who never grows up ...)

Anyway, we had a great time at MSI. Love the idea factory, the colors, the settings, the various projects just amazed me.

6) The following week was much more like any other week, we went to work, Emma went to school. Annya stayed with Leo's mom on Tuesday and Thursday, with MB on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She is getting very big now and have a full range of sounds and noises. Sometimes she looks at me or Emma and makes loud loud sounds with varying tones, as if she is arguing about something. Wow, I wish I could tell what is in her mind.

7) Oh, yes, on Thursday, we had an incredible storm. Trees were slashed off, one garage was toppled down, heavy rains poured down, the sky was menacingly dark ... Could not get hold of Leo, I carried Emma home. Both of us were soaked, drenched, totally, completely wet. But to Emma, it was an amazing adventure, she was too curious to feel scared, and she was flooded with a million of questions and sights she has never seen before. Mommy, look, the tree! Look, that man runs so fast, ha, ha... Mommy, is our house down? Will all the lights be blown away? ...

Too bad, no pictures for all the things we've done.

,,,,,

Monday, August 27, 2007
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August 07, 2007

Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All - TIME


The research found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."


Intuitively I know. I also knew this from a talk in NPR two years ago. However, sometimes just cannot help relaxing a little bit. I just cannot play that chatterbox for my little kid, especially when she is only 3 months old, when she can respond with some sounds at the best (not even yi-yi, ah-ah). One-way conversations die down quickly. So which way is more damaging, silence or some TV/DVD?

Fortunately I do not have a TV at home (pathetic).

Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All - No TV please

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Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All - TIME


The research found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."


Intuitively I know. I also knew this from a talk in NPR two years ago. However, sometimes just cannot help relaxing a little bit. I just cannot play that chatterbox for my little kid, especially when she is only 3 months old, when she can respond with some sounds at the best (not even yi-yi, ah-ah). One-way conversations die down quickly. So which way is more damaging, silence or some TV/DVD?

Fortunately I do not have a TV at home (pathetic).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
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August 06, 2007








This woman, Niki de Saint-Phalle, is fun. "I often have the irresistible urge ... to make crazy fun things". And the exhibit Niki in the Garden at Garfield park is crazy, fun, spectacular, totally unconventional, (not those arts in the museum, on the wall, somber, serious, you are supposed to worship, yet you just feel bored and like an idiot).

Her nana/woman figures are voluptuous, gigantic, exuberant and utilitarian (situating in the midst of tall trees, they are variably water sprinklers, fountains, or water pots, or even chairs). The colors are so bright, alive and cheerful. The materials are glass fiber, stones, or whatever, I am no artist. And the animal sculptures are extraordinarily fun, cat, seal, a pair of colorful lions and alligator. As if they have been happily waiting for years and years that grass grows around their feet, and they are impatient for kids to touch and climb, to jump up and down, to explore them inside out, be totally at ease with them. How kids love the alligator! How Emma loves the alligator. She climbed on its tail again and again, she tried to climb up along its body, oh, no, too high, too difficult (she is such an timid, cautious kid that I am so glad that she had such fun climbing). She walked inside its tommy. She touched its body, which has scaly sandy skin and smooth glossy bumps (made of green shiny stones(?)).

Emma so enjoyed the sculptures that we back in after we left the first time. In the end, Mary Beth sat down with her in a little kids art program making totems. And me? I took pictures. And I got lots.

(Again and again, I am amazed that being a kid is such fun. And art, something is supposed to so out of reach, is actually so within reach. Creating art can be so easy and can be done in so many ways. Anything can be art, or part of art. Stones, shells, flower seeds, threads, beads. Art can be anywhere. Gardens, parks, home, school. This summer makes me love Chicago. The exhibit makes me want to read a lot more about Niki. And she is so beautiful. Makes me jealous)

, , , ,

Niki in the Garden

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This woman, Niki de Saint-Phalle, is fun. "I often have the irresistible urge ... to make crazy fun things". And the exhibit Niki in the Garden at Garfield park is crazy, fun, spectacular, totally unconventional, (not those arts in the museum, on the wall, somber, serious, you are supposed to worship, yet you just feel bored and like an idiot).

Her nana/woman figures are voluptuous, gigantic, exuberant and utilitarian (situating in the midst of tall trees, they are variably water sprinklers, fountains, or water pots, or even chairs). The colors are so bright, alive and cheerful. The materials are glass fiber, stones, or whatever, I am no artist. And the animal sculptures are extraordinarily fun, cat, seal, a pair of colorful lions and alligator. As if they have been happily waiting for years and years that grass grows around their feet, and they are impatient for kids to touch and climb, to jump up and down, to explore them inside out, be totally at ease with them. How kids love the alligator! How Emma loves the alligator. She climbed on its tail again and again, she tried to climb up along its body, oh, no, too high, too difficult (she is such an timid, cautious kid that I am so glad that she had such fun climbing). She walked inside its tommy. She touched its body, which has scaly sandy skin and smooth glossy bumps (made of green shiny stones(?)).

Emma so enjoyed the sculptures that we back in after we left the first time. In the end, Mary Beth sat down with her in a little kids art program making totems. And me? I took pictures. And I got lots.

(Again and again, I am amazed that being a kid is such fun. And art, something is supposed to so out of reach, is actually so within reach. Creating art can be so easy and can be done in so many ways. Anything can be art, or part of art. Stones, shells, flower seeds, threads, beads. Art can be anywhere. Gardens, parks, home, school. This summer makes me love Chicago. The exhibit makes me want to read a lot more about Niki. And she is so beautiful. Makes me jealous)

, , , ,

Monday, August 06, 2007
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In Emma's school, kids in the 2-3-year-old-class are called adventurers, 3-4-year-old are investigators, then 4-5-year-olds are explorers. (Grand names, big terms. So such impossibly sophisticated words are among the first English words Emma learned.) Anyway, in July, Emma was promoted from an adventerer to an invistigator.

Activities for an invistigator are abundant, more varied, mature and fun. There are even more categories, math, science, reading, dramatic play, music, physical... Everyday, the little white board outside of the room is proudly filled with what-we-do-today activities. Every time when I stop to read, I cannot help but wow. The teacher has talked with the kids about oceans, the earth, they pretended to go to London or the Mars. They do dances. Emma even learned about captain and pirates. Wow. In contrast, the adventurer's room kind of falls apart, since the new teacher is not quite up to the standard.

I am so glad Emma is an investigator now. So is she. She sometimes would remind us that she is an investigator. But she is also eager to go to camp (because Arther goes to camp), she has asked me so many times: "Mommy, when do I go to kindergarten? When do I go to camp?"

An investigator is she

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In Emma's school, kids in the 2-3-year-old-class are called adventurers, 3-4-year-old are investigators, then 4-5-year-olds are explorers. (Grand names, big terms. So such impossibly sophisticated words are among the first English words Emma learned.) Anyway, in July, Emma was promoted from an adventerer to an invistigator.

Activities for an invistigator are abundant, more varied, mature and fun. There are even more categories, math, science, reading, dramatic play, music, physical... Everyday, the little white board outside of the room is proudly filled with what-we-do-today activities. Every time when I stop to read, I cannot help but wow. The teacher has talked with the kids about oceans, the earth, they pretended to go to London or the Mars. They do dances. Emma even learned about captain and pirates. Wow. In contrast, the adventurer's room kind of falls apart, since the new teacher is not quite up to the standard.

I am so glad Emma is an investigator now. So is she. She sometimes would remind us that she is an investigator. But she is also eager to go to camp (because Arther goes to camp), she has asked me so many times: "Mommy, when do I go to kindergarten? When do I go to camp?"

Monday, August 06, 2007
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July 31, 2007

Finally I shot some videos of Annya (having been feeling guilty that everything still seems to be orbiting around Emma). Anyway, here they are:



This one has one precious segment where Emma is singing to Annya.

Annya walks the walks, talks the talks

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Finally I shot some videos of Annya (having been feeling guilty that everything still seems to be orbiting around Emma). Anyway, here they are:



This one has one precious segment where Emma is singing to Annya.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
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July 27, 2007



Beautiful.

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Friday, July 27, 2007
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Emma and Tricia at Millennium Park

Beautiful. A walk an the Millennium Park

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Emma and Tricia at Millennium Park

Friday, July 27, 2007
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July 26, 2007

How come I never knew there is soooo much going on in the city in the summer? Free, good programs everywhere (parks, museums, libraries), competing for my time and schedule. I was nuts jailing myself at home for years and years, bored and half-dead. I still would be the same if it were not for Emma. Now little kids brought out my energy and actions seeking fun. Like Mary Beth said, because of Emma, she found a new world, trees, new leaves, moon, everything now has a new life, and she sees them with fresh eyes.

Now I only need time, for fun and for work and for career advancement. (Sometimes I found myself madly happy. It must be the coffee I drink.)

Last Thursday, I took Emma to the Jammie night at the Evanston Library. Stories and songs, songs and stories, a room full of big kids and little kids and smiling parents, making wild gestures and funny silly sounds, pretending to be jelly fish, star fish... we had such a good time that Emma just did not want to leave even after it was ended.

Saturday and Sunday, there was ethnic arts festival. We did not go, instead, on Saturday we went to a block party Buffalo Grove, invited by Jin Jin. There we got to see and play in the big impressive fire trucks and ambulance. In the Sunday morning, a trip to the Nature museum, in the afternoon, a concert in the millennium park.

And there are all sorts of things to do this weekend, and next, and next ...

====

Annya, my little bundle, was with us all the time, to movies, libraries, museums, concerts. She is really heavy now, making my shoulders and arms sore. She has grown quite a lot, longer, heavier, much much more responsive. She has very gentle sweet smile, however when she is sad, she gives you such a sad hurted look. She becomes very good with her hands, eating them freely and making loud noise as if her hands are the most delicious food in the world.

Summer fun in Chicago

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How come I never knew there is soooo much going on in the city in the summer? Free, good programs everywhere (parks, museums, libraries), competing for my time and schedule. I was nuts jailing myself at home for years and years, bored and half-dead. I still would be the same if it were not for Emma. Now little kids brought out my energy and actions seeking fun. Like Mary Beth said, because of Emma, she found a new world, trees, new leaves, moon, everything now has a new life, and she sees them with fresh eyes.

Now I only need time, for fun and for work and for career advancement. (Sometimes I found myself madly happy. It must be the coffee I drink.)

Last Thursday, I took Emma to the Jammie night at the Evanston Library. Stories and songs, songs and stories, a room full of big kids and little kids and smiling parents, making wild gestures and funny silly sounds, pretending to be jelly fish, star fish... we had such a good time that Emma just did not want to leave even after it was ended.

Saturday and Sunday, there was ethnic arts festival. We did not go, instead, on Saturday we went to a block party Buffalo Grove, invited by Jin Jin. There we got to see and play in the big impressive fire trucks and ambulance. In the Sunday morning, a trip to the Nature museum, in the afternoon, a concert in the millennium park.

And there are all sorts of things to do this weekend, and next, and next ...

====

Annya, my little bundle, was with us all the time, to movies, libraries, museums, concerts. She is really heavy now, making my shoulders and arms sore. She has grown quite a lot, longer, heavier, much much more responsive. She has very gentle sweet smile, however when she is sad, she gives you such a sad hurted look. She becomes very good with her hands, eating them freely and making loud noise as if her hands are the most delicious food in the world.

Thursday, July 26, 2007
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July 18, 2007


It used to be that morning time was up, up time for Emma, fresh and happy, talking and giggling, now mornng time for her is down, down, down time, crying, whining, stalling, no, no, no ...

However in the afternoon she is happy.

Yesterday afternoon, with my half pulling, she biked home. Then on the way, we saw the "Toddler, tune, turtles" program held at Loyola park. So eagerly and curiously we went. What a great show! We saw turtles, a baby allegator, and a Rattle Snake! Most amazingly of all, Emma touched them all. Not me, I have to control myself not running away from the black, scaly snake
turtles

Turtles, allegator and a rattle snake

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It used to be that morning time was up, up time for Emma, fresh and happy, talking and giggling, now mornng time for her is down, down, down time, crying, whining, stalling, no, no, no ...

However in the afternoon she is happy.

Yesterday afternoon, with my half pulling, she biked home. Then on the way, we saw the "Toddler, tune, turtles" program held at Loyola park. So eagerly and curiously we went. What a great show! We saw turtles, a baby allegator, and a Rattle Snake! Most amazingly of all, Emma touched them all. Not me, I have to control myself not running away from the black, scaly snake

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
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July 16, 2007

For the past few weeks, it has been a struggle to get Emma to school. She would just follow me everywhere, saying: "Mommy, I miss you", "Mommy, I do not want to go to school." "Mommy, I want to stay home with you." "Mommy, do not go."

At night, before going into sleep, she'd ask: "Mommy, after nap (sleep), where will I go?" I say, "Emma, you will go to school, and I will go to work". That is a recipe for tears. In the morning, after waking up, she would ask again, and again I would tell her that she needs to go to school. Then she would cry, protest, whine, scream, whatever, refusing or stalling to dress herself. I reason with her, saying how school would enrich her, how she has to go to school, how i have to go to work, how no use crying. She may control herself a bit, then again burst into a big cry. So I ignore her or be really strict with her, demanding she dress and tidy herself. I told her: "Emma, I do not want to hear you say that you do not want to go to school". It worked to some degree, but she still could not stop her tears.

Handing her over to her teacher induces another scene of big crying, though the teacher said, normally she would recover very quickly and collect herself and play.

Still I am tired and weary.

Is it because of the addition of Annya to the family made her so needy? But Annya spent so much time sleeping ... When will she grow out the phase?

Mommy, I miss y ou

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

For the past few weeks, it has been a struggle to get Emma to school. She would just follow me everywhere, saying: "Mommy, I miss you", "Mommy, I do not want to go to school." "Mommy, I want to stay home with you." "Mommy, do not go."

At night, before going into sleep, she'd ask: "Mommy, after nap (sleep), where will I go?" I say, "Emma, you will go to school, and I will go to work". That is a recipe for tears. In the morning, after waking up, she would ask again, and again I would tell her that she needs to go to school. Then she would cry, protest, whine, scream, whatever, refusing or stalling to dress herself. I reason with her, saying how school would enrich her, how she has to go to school, how i have to go to work, how no use crying. She may control herself a bit, then again burst into a big cry. So I ignore her or be really strict with her, demanding she dress and tidy herself. I told her: "Emma, I do not want to hear you say that you do not want to go to school". It worked to some degree, but she still could not stop her tears.

Handing her over to her teacher induces another scene of big crying, though the teacher said, normally she would recover very quickly and collect herself and play.

Still I am tired and weary.

Is it because of the addition of Annya to the family made her so needy? But Annya spent so much time sleeping ... When will she grow out the phase?

Monday, July 16, 2007
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A busy week, a busy weekend as usual.

Emma was sick for most of week. Barely rid of the "pink eye" (an viral eye infection) she had the week before, she caught cold, then fever. Her fever lasted four days. Her temperature was tamed down a little (or a lot down to normal) in the morning, then jumped up to a scary high at night. But as usual, a visit to a doctor was superfluous. We did any way and was told: "It is very common. No worry. No medicine needed. Bring her back though if the fever does go away in x days".

(It is totally against my parents' philosophy which is pushing for very strong medicine. In their words, "Act early, kill the disease at bay". I appreciate the western approach, I do think it is better let our bodies fight rather than resort to stronger and stronger medicine. In many ways, I definitely think better of western values and approaches.)

Saturday MB and Emily took Emma and I to Monica's birthday party. Had some great views of the downtown's flowers and sculptures, and music too. However, Emma was quite sick and gloomy. Sunday I took her to a Folk music festival. None of the music interested her. But she had a lot of fun playing in the playground, and tasting a very sweet yellow ducky ice cream.

Emma had a fever

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A busy week, a busy weekend as usual.

Emma was sick for most of week. Barely rid of the "pink eye" (an viral eye infection) she had the week before, she caught cold, then fever. Her fever lasted four days. Her temperature was tamed down a little (or a lot down to normal) in the morning, then jumped up to a scary high at night. But as usual, a visit to a doctor was superfluous. We did any way and was told: "It is very common. No worry. No medicine needed. Bring her back though if the fever does go away in x days".

(It is totally against my parents' philosophy which is pushing for very strong medicine. In their words, "Act early, kill the disease at bay". I appreciate the western approach, I do think it is better let our bodies fight rather than resort to stronger and stronger medicine. In many ways, I definitely think better of western values and approaches.)

Saturday MB and Emily took Emma and I to Monica's birthday party. Had some great views of the downtown's flowers and sculptures, and music too. However, Emma was quite sick and gloomy. Sunday I took her to a Folk music festival. None of the music interested her. But she had a lot of fun playing in the playground, and tasting a very sweet yellow ducky ice cream.

Monday, July 16, 2007
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July 10, 2007

I do not know what poems are, but the other day what Emma said over dinner sounded like a cute, little poem to me, since I am lazy and busy to blog, I put her little "poem" below:

Growing Up Anytime, Everywhere

I grow up in the morning,
I grow up in the afternoon,
I grow up in the evening,
I grow up at night.

I grow up at my house
I grow up at Mary Beth's house
I grow up at school
I grow up inside
I grow up outside
I grow up everywhere

A little "poem" by Emma

Posted by Xun  |  3 comments

I do not know what poems are, but the other day what Emma said over dinner sounded like a cute, little poem to me, since I am lazy and busy to blog, I put her little "poem" below:

Growing Up Anytime, Everywhere

I grow up in the morning,
I grow up in the afternoon,
I grow up in the evening,
I grow up at night.

I grow up at my house
I grow up at Mary Beth's house
I grow up at school
I grow up inside
I grow up outside
I grow up everywhere

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
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July 06, 2007


We had a busy July 4th. We went to the millennium park, made worms using colorful beads, glued eyes on the worms' head. Emma and I got "totally, completely wet" (her words) splashing water at the crown fountain. Then we had all sorts of foods at the Taste of Chicago. At night, we watched the fireworks. When the first set of fireworks shoot up in the sky, Emma said "it was like colorful sphaghetti".

...

Again read about this little child literary prodigy Adora Svitak, who "types 70 words per minute, reads two to three books per day and writes about 100 short stories and poems per year". What is the formula to make a genius like that? Why I never have that kind of luck?

Fortunately this world is still full of fools like me, instead of genius like Adora, otherwise I have to do street cleaning for a living.

Busy July 4th and Adora Svitak

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We had a busy July 4th. We went to the millennium park, made worms using colorful beads, glued eyes on the worms' head. Emma and I got "totally, completely wet" (her words) splashing water at the crown fountain. Then we had all sorts of foods at the Taste of Chicago. At night, we watched the fireworks. When the first set of fireworks shoot up in the sky, Emma said "it was like colorful sphaghetti".

...

Again read about this little child literary prodigy Adora Svitak, who "types 70 words per minute, reads two to three books per day and writes about 100 short stories and poems per year". What is the formula to make a genius like that? Why I never have that kind of luck?

Fortunately this world is still full of fools like me, instead of genius like Adora, otherwise I have to do street cleaning for a living.

Friday, July 06, 2007
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July 04, 2007

Emma is probably not built for pianos, not from her first disastrous piano lessons any way. Last week, MB signed up for a private piano lesson in a little musical instrument store (not terribly expensive). So yesterday Emma took her first piano lesson. She simply could not get IT. She could not even simply sit at the piano as she was told. She got off the bench every 10 seconds then talked aimlessly.

I got off work early to watch her. It was unwatchable.

The teacher, a young man, pointed a piano key, "Emma, this is A".

Emma moved her finger along,
"What is this?"
"What is this?"
...

The teacher: "Emma, let's not go through so many keys now."

Emma got off the bench, "I want to learn the thunder-making machine", referring to an instrument she saw the other day, then she walked away.

...

So in less than 20 minutes, the teacher stopped teaching, we gave up the hope for Emma to play piano. And Emma said emphatically: "I do not like piano for sure."

I do not care.

A diastrous piano lesson

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

Emma is probably not built for pianos, not from her first disastrous piano lessons any way. Last week, MB signed up for a private piano lesson in a little musical instrument store (not terribly expensive). So yesterday Emma took her first piano lesson. She simply could not get IT. She could not even simply sit at the piano as she was told. She got off the bench every 10 seconds then talked aimlessly.

I got off work early to watch her. It was unwatchable.

The teacher, a young man, pointed a piano key, "Emma, this is A".

Emma moved her finger along,
"What is this?"
"What is this?"
...

The teacher: "Emma, let's not go through so many keys now."

Emma got off the bench, "I want to learn the thunder-making machine", referring to an instrument she saw the other day, then she walked away.

...

So in less than 20 minutes, the teacher stopped teaching, we gave up the hope for Emma to play piano. And Emma said emphatically: "I do not like piano for sure."

I do not care.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007
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July 03, 2007


The second week since I was back to week passed fast, so fast I could hardly rememeber anything has ever happened. Yes, there was Leo's mom hepatitis B scare (still need to deal with all the possibilities, and the anger, and the mixed feelings, confusion as to what to do. But like everything else, I am resigned. What can I do? ...)

Annya slept through most of the week, she always does. The three days (Friday, Saturdaywhen I was taking care of her Friday, Saturday and Friday) I took care of her, she slept about 18 hours a day. She slept so much that I started wondering if it is normal to sleep so much. Is there something in her brain kept from waking up and play? But when she is awake, she is wonderful. She coos a lot now, and often flashes big smiles to me, then she averts my eyes a bit as if shy. She can support her head quite good now. She likes going out a lot and a lot.

Sunday I took Emma and Annya to the Children's museum. Emma's little friend Alison went too. They had a good time together, working on picnics, playing at the water plants, watching shows ... We all love the children's museum. Always so much to play, so fun to stay.

A week in a second

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The second week since I was back to week passed fast, so fast I could hardly rememeber anything has ever happened. Yes, there was Leo's mom hepatitis B scare (still need to deal with all the possibilities, and the anger, and the mixed feelings, confusion as to what to do. But like everything else, I am resigned. What can I do? ...)

Annya slept through most of the week, she always does. The three days (Friday, Saturdaywhen I was taking care of her Friday, Saturday and Friday) I took care of her, she slept about 18 hours a day. She slept so much that I started wondering if it is normal to sleep so much. Is there something in her brain kept from waking up and play? But when she is awake, she is wonderful. She coos a lot now, and often flashes big smiles to me, then she averts my eyes a bit as if shy. She can support her head quite good now. She likes going out a lot and a lot.

Sunday I took Emma and Annya to the Children's museum. Emma's little friend Alison went too. They had a good time together, working on picnics, playing at the water plants, watching shows ... We all love the children's museum. Always so much to play, so fun to stay.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
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June 21, 2007

The first week has proven to be easy to me at work. No heavy loads. But it is a hell of week for Annya, I imagine. She refuses the bottle, she fights, only drinks milk when she reaches the point of starvation and desperation. Yesterday, she took only about 6 oz., too little. MB said often she frantically twisted her neck from side and side, flexing her arms, kicking, mouthing for milk, sucking, sucking in the air, only to find nothing but bottle, then she screamed ...

Poor, poor Annya. It makes me worry. Even though, in the evenings she constantly wants to be fed (which freaks me out, afraid that I run out of milk), She did not wake up much during the night.

Ah, the supply of frozen milk quickly builds up (hey, One oz of breast milk costs 3 dollars). I hope Annya learns sooner to enjoy the precious milk. If not, I have to donate the milk away)

===================
The first week has proven difficult for Emma too, since every morning I have to leave early so to work out a bit and get back home early in the afternoon. Emma wants me to wake her up and watch her to school, so she cries and cries in the morning. She woke up yesterday and this morning at 6:30, then she demanded, begged and cried for me to stay with her ...

===================
Yesterday, MB took Emma and Annya to downtown and we went to see the Carl Wirsum art exhibit, drawings, paintings, sculptures, puppets ... Some of the puppets are very funny and silly, we had good laughs. But we went to the Millennium Park, and of course, the incredibly whimsical, fun and kids-crowded crown fountain. Emma could not have enough of the water splashing ...

Too bad, no pictures

Back to work - new updates

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

The first week has proven to be easy to me at work. No heavy loads. But it is a hell of week for Annya, I imagine. She refuses the bottle, she fights, only drinks milk when she reaches the point of starvation and desperation. Yesterday, she took only about 6 oz., too little. MB said often she frantically twisted her neck from side and side, flexing her arms, kicking, mouthing for milk, sucking, sucking in the air, only to find nothing but bottle, then she screamed ...

Poor, poor Annya. It makes me worry. Even though, in the evenings she constantly wants to be fed (which freaks me out, afraid that I run out of milk), She did not wake up much during the night.

Ah, the supply of frozen milk quickly builds up (hey, One oz of breast milk costs 3 dollars). I hope Annya learns sooner to enjoy the precious milk. If not, I have to donate the milk away)

===================
The first week has proven difficult for Emma too, since every morning I have to leave early so to work out a bit and get back home early in the afternoon. Emma wants me to wake her up and watch her to school, so she cries and cries in the morning. She woke up yesterday and this morning at 6:30, then she demanded, begged and cried for me to stay with her ...

===================
Yesterday, MB took Emma and Annya to downtown and we went to see the Carl Wirsum art exhibit, drawings, paintings, sculptures, puppets ... Some of the puppets are very funny and silly, we had good laughs. But we went to the Millennium Park, and of course, the incredibly whimsical, fun and kids-crowded crown fountain. Emma could not have enough of the water splashing ...

Too bad, no pictures

Thursday, June 21, 2007
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June 20, 2007

One thing I very much enjoy is to sit down with Emma and watch her write or draw pictures. It used to be one of our evening routines. Now with Annya coming to town, and with me going back to work, I do not get much time and chance to do that at all. We only managed to keep the nighttime reading routine, however, very often, it is interrupted or cut short because of Annya's cries. Emma never complains much, however, she keeps telling me: "Mommy, mommy, I miss you.", sometimes in tears. My heart aches.

Anyway, last Sunday, while Annya was sleeping, Emma and I sat down at her little table. We talked while she drew one picture after another.

I loved the pictures, however, what I loved most is how she gradually add various things to the pictures, how the pictures grow busier and busier, how she explains them, how her mind wanders around, how she depicts things in her everyday life in her pictures.



For example, in the above picture, she started to draw baby figure for mommy (her favorite subject), then she added shoes, and she decided to give an orange shirt. Then she changed her mind, she wanted me to have a ladybug shirt. Then black mops of hair. Then she remembered daddy cut my hair, so she added another baby on my head, indicating someone was cutting my hair. Now she moved on to add flowers, because she remembered on Mother's Day, daddy bought roses. So a lot of flowers, and with thorns ...



In this picture, she drew Annya sleeping in the bassinet. Again she put lots of flowers around. She also wrote down Annya's name

Drawing a picture

Posted by Xun  |  2 comments

One thing I very much enjoy is to sit down with Emma and watch her write or draw pictures. It used to be one of our evening routines. Now with Annya coming to town, and with me going back to work, I do not get much time and chance to do that at all. We only managed to keep the nighttime reading routine, however, very often, it is interrupted or cut short because of Annya's cries. Emma never complains much, however, she keeps telling me: "Mommy, mommy, I miss you.", sometimes in tears. My heart aches.

Anyway, last Sunday, while Annya was sleeping, Emma and I sat down at her little table. We talked while she drew one picture after another.

I loved the pictures, however, what I loved most is how she gradually add various things to the pictures, how the pictures grow busier and busier, how she explains them, how her mind wanders around, how she depicts things in her everyday life in her pictures.



For example, in the above picture, she started to draw baby figure for mommy (her favorite subject), then she added shoes, and she decided to give an orange shirt. Then she changed her mind, she wanted me to have a ladybug shirt. Then black mops of hair. Then she remembered daddy cut my hair, so she added another baby on my head, indicating someone was cutting my hair. Now she moved on to add flowers, because she remembered on Mother's Day, daddy bought roses. So a lot of flowers, and with thorns ...



In this picture, she drew Annya sleeping in the bassinet. Again she put lots of flowers around. She also wrote down Annya's name

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
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June 18, 2007

Uh-oh, have not blogged for at least two weeks. But for once I could not be blamed for laziness. Simply the baby dictated my schedule. Now she is a little grown, she started demanding my time. Still MS. sleepy head, she demanded even while she was sleeping. Hold me, rock me, walk me, go out, out, out. In her cries, she seemed to demand. So I hold her, rock her, and take her out when she cries her saddest cries.

...

Back to work. After nearly 7 weeks' maternity leave, I am back to work today. Mary Beth takes care of Annya. In the beginning, Annya seemed to be inconsolable, refusing to drink milk from a bottle, at least not warm milk. Out of desperation, Mary Beth gave her milk directly out of the fridge, and it worked. So cold milk in hot weather is the way to go.

Back to work

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Uh-oh, have not blogged for at least two weeks. But for once I could not be blamed for laziness. Simply the baby dictated my schedule. Now she is a little grown, she started demanding my time. Still MS. sleepy head, she demanded even while she was sleeping. Hold me, rock me, walk me, go out, out, out. In her cries, she seemed to demand. So I hold her, rock her, and take her out when she cries her saddest cries.

...

Back to work. After nearly 7 weeks' maternity leave, I am back to work today. Mary Beth takes care of Annya. In the beginning, Annya seemed to be inconsolable, refusing to drink milk from a bottle, at least not warm milk. Out of desperation, Mary Beth gave her milk directly out of the fridge, and it worked. So cold milk in hot weather is the way to go.

Monday, June 18, 2007
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June 05, 2007

These pictures are taken in a birthday party of a little girl Sonia. Sure enough, Annya slept through most of the party. It was boring anyway. Emma hovered around Annya all the time too, was only away for her share of cake, ice cream, a little kitty portion of food and a worthless junky sort of "Goodie bag". One thing I love the most is that she is so loving towards her little sister. And she is so proud of her little Annya.








Some notes:
1. Recently have posted many pictures and videos. Too many, I am afraid. Although videos and pictures are powerful and accessible to everyone, I am afraid it makes me lazy and "cheapens" the blog.
2. Now about writing. As much as I want to be insightful, funny and witty, all my writing is small talk. Oh, how cute, how lovely, how beautiful Emma and Annya are ( But they are). One day when Emma and Annya look back, they would be bored to tears by my account of them (for there is none).
3. Why birthday parties? I am anti-parties, anti-social, always a little skeptical, a little contemptuous of rituals of big, noisy, "why, everybody-is-supposed-to-do-it" parties, weddings or funerals or tiresome cake-laden birthday parties. But, have to admit, a lot of times I also feel the pull of parties, why? Everyone does it.

What else? More pictures

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These pictures are taken in a birthday party of a little girl Sonia. Sure enough, Annya slept through most of the party. It was boring anyway. Emma hovered around Annya all the time too, was only away for her share of cake, ice cream, a little kitty portion of food and a worthless junky sort of "Goodie bag". One thing I love the most is that she is so loving towards her little sister. And she is so proud of her little Annya.








Some notes:
1. Recently have posted many pictures and videos. Too many, I am afraid. Although videos and pictures are powerful and accessible to everyone, I am afraid it makes me lazy and "cheapens" the blog.
2. Now about writing. As much as I want to be insightful, funny and witty, all my writing is small talk. Oh, how cute, how lovely, how beautiful Emma and Annya are ( But they are). One day when Emma and Annya look back, they would be bored to tears by my account of them (for there is none).
3. Why birthday parties? I am anti-parties, anti-social, always a little skeptical, a little contemptuous of rituals of big, noisy, "why, everybody-is-supposed-to-do-it" parties, weddings or funerals or tiresome cake-laden birthday parties. But, have to admit, a lot of times I also feel the pull of parties, why? Everyone does it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
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June 03, 2007

By Chinese tradition, the first-month-birthday is a milestone. There is a special term for it and a slew of rituals to follow. Fortunately I am only vaguely aware of these and totally unbothered by them. But my mother-in-law is here, so we ate red eggs. Why? Not sure. But I am not object to hard-boiled eggs.

The really significant and happy news for the day is brought from the doctor's visit. Again, the doctor gave me and Annya thumbs up for her development. And here are the numbers:

Weight: 9 lbs 10 oz (was born 7 lbs 13 oz)
Height: 1'9'' (was born 1'7'')
HC (Head Cirumference): 14.61'' (37.1 cm). It grew about 3cm.

Great. And she looks great and fat.

The following are the first "reading" pictures.



Annya - one month old

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By Chinese tradition, the first-month-birthday is a milestone. There is a special term for it and a slew of rituals to follow. Fortunately I am only vaguely aware of these and totally unbothered by them. But my mother-in-law is here, so we ate red eggs. Why? Not sure. But I am not object to hard-boiled eggs.

The really significant and happy news for the day is brought from the doctor's visit. Again, the doctor gave me and Annya thumbs up for her development. And here are the numbers:

Weight: 9 lbs 10 oz (was born 7 lbs 13 oz)
Height: 1'9'' (was born 1'7'')
HC (Head Cirumference): 14.61'' (37.1 cm). It grew about 3cm.

Great. And she looks great and fat.

The following are the first "reading" pictures.



Sunday, June 03, 2007
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May 31, 2007

I have a friend whose son is quite gifted (at least by his mother's account). He can read sentences and he can easily count up to 20 when he is three. And he is not at all the nerdy-little-kid type. He runs, climbs and jumps very well, though he does not talk much.

Emma does not seem to belong to his league. Her development, as commented by her teacher, is right where it should be. That is, she is in the middle, not outstanding nor lagging behind, her IQ is probably not in the top 10 percentile, not is it in the bottom.

I am very happy anyway, because she is happy, funny, healthy. She is probably smarter than me, and definitely more social and articulate than me.

About two or three months ago, Emma suddenly became interested in writing and spelling. Now she can write quite some words, like Emma, Sally, mommy, mom, Dad, MB..., somehow this ability does not leap into an ability to read (as I wished). Given a book, she still tries only to read the pictures or "read" from memory. Given a word like "Dad", she still could not make a connection with the "Dad" she writes.

Hmm, I wonder when she will really become a reader? (Her counting skill is also less than desirable. She has mastered up to five, however, her skills are less solid when counting more than that).

Oh, she is really good reading from memories. The following is the video that she reads "The grouchy lady bug", a very long book. (Too bad, the lighting is so bad that we can barely see her, but just listening the story is fun. On a note, too boost her morale and increase her audience, Emma has invited a great many stuff animals to listen to her story.)

Emma Reads a book

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I have a friend whose son is quite gifted (at least by his mother's account). He can read sentences and he can easily count up to 20 when he is three. And he is not at all the nerdy-little-kid type. He runs, climbs and jumps very well, though he does not talk much.

Emma does not seem to belong to his league. Her development, as commented by her teacher, is right where it should be. That is, she is in the middle, not outstanding nor lagging behind, her IQ is probably not in the top 10 percentile, not is it in the bottom.

I am very happy anyway, because she is happy, funny, healthy. She is probably smarter than me, and definitely more social and articulate than me.

About two or three months ago, Emma suddenly became interested in writing and spelling. Now she can write quite some words, like Emma, Sally, mommy, mom, Dad, MB..., somehow this ability does not leap into an ability to read (as I wished). Given a book, she still tries only to read the pictures or "read" from memory. Given a word like "Dad", she still could not make a connection with the "Dad" she writes.

Hmm, I wonder when she will really become a reader? (Her counting skill is also less than desirable. She has mastered up to five, however, her skills are less solid when counting more than that).

Oh, she is really good reading from memories. The following is the video that she reads "The grouchy lady bug", a very long book. (Too bad, the lighting is so bad that we can barely see her, but just listening the story is fun. On a note, too boost her morale and increase her audience, Emma has invited a great many stuff animals to listen to her story.)

Thursday, May 31, 2007
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Read somewhere that today's educated people believe that they are more likely (than their uneducated parents) to have a gifted child. Not really me. However, occasionally, secretly, I do daydream of a prodigy. Or at least my children be high achievers. Or successful professionals. (Be very honest though, I never wish them to be movie stars, models, or something along the line)

I also believe in the importance of stimulation in the early years. People say the first three or five years is the most crucial time period in a child's brain development. Though this is counter-intuitive to a lot of people, especially older people, people of my mom's generation and older. It is really hard to get my mom-in-law to take an effort to talk to or play music to the baby.

It is not entirely easy for me either, but I try these few things anyway.

A non-talker, I generally cannot talk very much, though I find it easier when I am alone with Annya. With her alone, I can talk in very silly long monologues;

Singing is natural and enjoyable to me, so is playing various music. With Emma, I have accumulated a lot of music. So I fed Annya a lot of music;

Longing to go out, I start to taking more and more walk outside, morning walk by the lake, evening walk to see the moon (with Emma too), afternoon walk to pick up Emma (then bus home). In most cases, Annya immediately goes to sleep when we go out, however, these two days, she seems to savor every minute, eyes wide open, her head tilting this or that way, she stares at everything within her sight;

Emily (MB's sister) gave her a few books (beautiful colors, high-contrast glossy patterns), she hasn't shown any interest. Both Emma and I have tried.

Oh, she will 1 month old tomorrow. So I will get her a few toys and a jungle-gym mat with a lot of mobiles.

Playing with Annya

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Read somewhere that today's educated people believe that they are more likely (than their uneducated parents) to have a gifted child. Not really me. However, occasionally, secretly, I do daydream of a prodigy. Or at least my children be high achievers. Or successful professionals. (Be very honest though, I never wish them to be movie stars, models, or something along the line)

I also believe in the importance of stimulation in the early years. People say the first three or five years is the most crucial time period in a child's brain development. Though this is counter-intuitive to a lot of people, especially older people, people of my mom's generation and older. It is really hard to get my mom-in-law to take an effort to talk to or play music to the baby.

It is not entirely easy for me either, but I try these few things anyway.

A non-talker, I generally cannot talk very much, though I find it easier when I am alone with Annya. With her alone, I can talk in very silly long monologues;

Singing is natural and enjoyable to me, so is playing various music. With Emma, I have accumulated a lot of music. So I fed Annya a lot of music;

Longing to go out, I start to taking more and more walk outside, morning walk by the lake, evening walk to see the moon (with Emma too), afternoon walk to pick up Emma (then bus home). In most cases, Annya immediately goes to sleep when we go out, however, these two days, she seems to savor every minute, eyes wide open, her head tilting this or that way, she stares at everything within her sight;

Emily (MB's sister) gave her a few books (beautiful colors, high-contrast glossy patterns), she hasn't shown any interest. Both Emma and I have tried.

Oh, she will 1 month old tomorrow. So I will get her a few toys and a jungle-gym mat with a lot of mobiles.

Thursday, May 31, 2007
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May 23, 2007

The few wakeful moments of Annya cannot be wasted. So I had her lay on her tommy and do some pushes.

Some evidence in pictures and video of what a tough mommy I am.






Push, baby

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The few wakeful moments of Annya cannot be wasted. So I had her lay on her tommy and do some pushes.

Some evidence in pictures and video of what a tough mommy I am.






Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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In an effort to catch the sweet smile at the corner of her lips, I took a row of pictures. Too many. Shown here are only a fraction of those. But she is lovely.




Annya asleep

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In an effort to catch the sweet smile at the corner of her lips, I took a row of pictures. Too many. Shown here are only a fraction of those. But she is lovely.




Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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With my planned 8-week-maternity leave, I thought I would have a long never-ending stretch of time to kill, to get bored to tears, to be fussy and irritated (I tend to have this kind of problem). After all, my mother-in-law has picked up most of chores and Annya is still in her very infant stage of doing nothing but eating and sleeping.

But no, not nearly so.

My time so far somehow are sliced into many pieces, some long, some short. A slice to breastfeeding and diaper-changing, a slice to cojoling a little smile from the baby (not very successful so far. She smiles mostly in her dreams and to herself), rocking and cooing and singing and talking whatever; then a slice to rest and clear out a big lump of mess (clothes, wash clothes); then some time for my books and movies I have long wanted to finish.

Gosh, I am so behind. There are so issues of The New Yorker that I only barely glanced (hi, once it becomes part of my reading list, I find myself no longer so eager to devour). And my movies (yesterday, I saw "Mrs. Anderson Presents"). Then I have planned to finish about one book per week. So far, I only have fast read parts of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (Surprised it was quite an easy read. Both delighted and disappointed. For I thought politicians would talk in grander and more complicated, comprehensive terms.) Yeah, I have also read Lee and Bob Woodruff's In an Instant (two moving, honest and vivid distinctive accounts from Bob Woodruff and his wife. I am more interested in their recount of the Beijing experience.)

And my blog! I am afraid I would never start on the redesign of the blog.

We have beautiful summer days now. Everyday. Actually I think Chicago is just beautiful, winter or spring, summer or autumn. Even in Rogers park, a not-so-good-at-all neighborhood with its large mixed populations of low income Hispanics and Blacks. Love the green everywhere, and the pink, red, yellow, white, purple ... Love the wind, breeze, occasional rain, the sky, the sunshine, and the incomparable lake.

I know China has changed quite a bit, no, drastically, dramatically. Nowadays China no longer resembles my old-days China. However, from the pictures sent from family, I still see a lot of grey concrete, not much green at all. The pollution is so terrible that the sky in Beijing is almost always grey. ... I think I love to be in America, even though i have to wait for my immigration paper for indefinite time. But in the mean time, longing to go back to China to see.

Things to do

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With my planned 8-week-maternity leave, I thought I would have a long never-ending stretch of time to kill, to get bored to tears, to be fussy and irritated (I tend to have this kind of problem). After all, my mother-in-law has picked up most of chores and Annya is still in her very infant stage of doing nothing but eating and sleeping.

But no, not nearly so.

My time so far somehow are sliced into many pieces, some long, some short. A slice to breastfeeding and diaper-changing, a slice to cojoling a little smile from the baby (not very successful so far. She smiles mostly in her dreams and to herself), rocking and cooing and singing and talking whatever; then a slice to rest and clear out a big lump of mess (clothes, wash clothes); then some time for my books and movies I have long wanted to finish.

Gosh, I am so behind. There are so issues of The New Yorker that I only barely glanced (hi, once it becomes part of my reading list, I find myself no longer so eager to devour). And my movies (yesterday, I saw "Mrs. Anderson Presents"). Then I have planned to finish about one book per week. So far, I only have fast read parts of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (Surprised it was quite an easy read. Both delighted and disappointed. For I thought politicians would talk in grander and more complicated, comprehensive terms.) Yeah, I have also read Lee and Bob Woodruff's In an Instant (two moving, honest and vivid distinctive accounts from Bob Woodruff and his wife. I am more interested in their recount of the Beijing experience.)

And my blog! I am afraid I would never start on the redesign of the blog.

We have beautiful summer days now. Everyday. Actually I think Chicago is just beautiful, winter or spring, summer or autumn. Even in Rogers park, a not-so-good-at-all neighborhood with its large mixed populations of low income Hispanics and Blacks. Love the green everywhere, and the pink, red, yellow, white, purple ... Love the wind, breeze, occasional rain, the sky, the sunshine, and the incomparable lake.

I know China has changed quite a bit, no, drastically, dramatically. Nowadays China no longer resembles my old-days China. However, from the pictures sent from family, I still see a lot of grey concrete, not much green at all. The pollution is so terrible that the sky in Beijing is almost always grey. ... I think I love to be in America, even though i have to wait for my immigration paper for indefinite time. But in the mean time, longing to go back to China to see.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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May 22, 2007



A green eyed-monster and flowers (Emma's art)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
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May 17, 2007



Breastfeeding is superior to bottle-feeding in many ways, both for mom and baby. I know. Still, I have some complaints.

First of all, it hurts, especially the first week, especially when the little baby seems desperate, flailing, kicking, grasping (?), every single touch hurts.

Second, now the task of feeding rests solely on the mom. Day and night, you are the sole feeder. Whenever the baby cries, people look at you, urging (sometimes blaming), hey, the baby is hungry.

Then, to me, it is rather unsightly that I have to unbutton or pull up my shirt at any minute, exposing my breasts and the layers of tommy fat beneath it. Breasts for show and breasts for feeding are two different things. The latter, as phrased in "Everybody loves Raymond", is "working breasts". The good thing is that I never care much about my own image. However, I was worried that Emma would find me weird. Luckily, she does not. To her, it seems natural. To her, the only thing matters is that mommy also pumps milk for her, because the baby needs to share.

Then, while the breasts get inordinately large in preparing for feeding and during the period of feeding, they sag and shrink afterwards. Like small oranges. This happens after I breastfed Emma. I am sure this time too.

Then, the business of pumping. Aye, have to carry the pumping set everyday to work, have to steal time and place to pump, have to carefully store milk. And with no baby to actually stimulate and dictate milk supply, breast-milk pumps gradually drains the supply. No to say, in the beginning, you probably have too much milk, so you save. To keep the milk from going bad, you probably would always want to use up the oldest milk first ... so unlike formulas, all you need is money and someone capable of making milk out of formulas. And of course, the milk would always fresh to the minute.

...

Obviously, the breast are breast for show, the baby too. I have to concede, mine is far lack the aesthetic value, Annya is not yet up to the standard of poster baby, either.

Complaining about breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding is superior to bottle-feeding in many ways, both for mom and baby. I know. Still, I have some complaints.

First of all, it hurts, especially the first week, especially when the little baby seems desperate, flailing, kicking, grasping (?), every single touch hurts.

Second, now the task of feeding rests solely on the mom. Day and night, you are the sole feeder. Whenever the baby cries, people look at you, urging (sometimes blaming), hey, the baby is hungry.

Then, to me, it is rather unsightly that I have to unbutton or pull up my shirt at any minute, exposing my breasts and the layers of tommy fat beneath it. Breasts for show and breasts for feeding are two different things. The latter, as phrased in "Everybody loves Raymond", is "working breasts". The good thing is that I never care much about my own image. However, I was worried that Emma would find me weird. Luckily, she does not. To her, it seems natural. To her, the only thing matters is that mommy also pumps milk for her, because the baby needs to share.

Then, while the breasts get inordinately large in preparing for feeding and during the period of feeding, they sag and shrink afterwards. Like small oranges. This happens after I breastfed Emma. I am sure this time too.

Then, the business of pumping. Aye, have to carry the pumping set everyday to work, have to steal time and place to pump, have to carefully store milk. And with no baby to actually stimulate and dictate milk supply, breast-milk pumps gradually drains the supply. No to say, in the beginning, you probably have too much milk, so you save. To keep the milk from going bad, you probably would always want to use up the oldest milk first ... so unlike formulas, all you need is money and someone capable of making milk out of formulas. And of course, the milk would always fresh to the minute.

...

Obviously, the breast are breast for show, the baby too. I have to concede, mine is far lack the aesthetic value, Annya is not yet up to the standard of poster baby, either.

Thursday, May 17, 2007
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May 16, 2007

It is still Emma's showtime, even though Annya has come to the world. People still gushes about Emma, how social, how charming, how funny, how articulate, how smart ... (I do not even need to play the adoring mom, feeling already uneasy about the unbridled praises) If Emma were a little older, she herself probably would feel quite embarrassed and uneasy.

Anyway, yesterday it rained. While Annya was sound asleep, while the rain pouring outside, I dug out some of the old videos of Emma. Leo's mom also brought a CD of old pictures and videos they took in HK, so I watched and laughed. Then I put a few on YouTube. The videos taken in HK are of very poor quality, however, Emma's charm still shines through. She is indeed a darling.

And what lovely memories.

And here they are

Reciting Chinese Poems (in HongKong)


Singing Chinese songs. What a singer (in HongKong)


Singing Chinese songs. What a singer (at Chicago)

A shining star

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It is still Emma's showtime, even though Annya has come to the world. People still gushes about Emma, how social, how charming, how funny, how articulate, how smart ... (I do not even need to play the adoring mom, feeling already uneasy about the unbridled praises) If Emma were a little older, she herself probably would feel quite embarrassed and uneasy.

Anyway, yesterday it rained. While Annya was sound asleep, while the rain pouring outside, I dug out some of the old videos of Emma. Leo's mom also brought a CD of old pictures and videos they took in HK, so I watched and laughed. Then I put a few on YouTube. The videos taken in HK are of very poor quality, however, Emma's charm still shines through. She is indeed a darling.

And what lovely memories.

And here they are

Reciting Chinese Poems (in HongKong)


Singing Chinese songs. What a singer (in HongKong)


Singing Chinese songs. What a singer (at Chicago)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
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May 15, 2007

Once read in The New Yorker an article called "What is Normal" (about children affected with bipolar disorders), a woman was convinced that her son has bipolar disorder even before he is born. The reason? He was so restless even in her womb.

So if behaviors inside mom's womb is any indicator, Annya should be sweet yet competent. She never seemed restless in my womb, yet she was always a strong performer (My ob. doctor said she was a happy baby). Seems that she is the same way when she is out in the world. She is always content, happy, secretly smiling, rarely screaming (Emma was more taxing when she was little). Yet she is competent enough to get fed fat and satisfied. She gained 11 oz. in only 6 days.

Now Annya is still in her marathron-sleeping-mode, only waking up with hungry cries (loud). Occasionally I would wonder if she sleep too much and if she would sleep through her first month. Then yesterday, she was quite playful. She now probably has about 6-7 hours wake-time a day. Well, sleeping beauty, sleep along.

People say with your first born, you would take a thousand pictures; with your second born, you probably would take one hundred pictures; then with the rest, you probably would not even bother. True. Still you love them all the same. So true.

Good news, Leo's mom has arrived yesterday. And she is a big help cleaning the house and making it tidy. Bad news, my one-bedroom condo is even more crowdy. Have to kick everything under the bed or sweep them to some dark storage room. Yesterday, my huge nuclear family of four (Emma, Annya, Leo and I) managed to sleep in the bedroom. Leo and I in one full-sized (or is it queen-sized) bed, Emma in her twin bed, Annya in her basinet. Every cry of Annya made me worry (luckily she is such a sweet sleeper). Bad news, Emma wet her bed, so we had to transfer her to our bed. Bad news again, she wet our bed too.

Mumbo Jumbo

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Once read in The New Yorker an article called "What is Normal" (about children affected with bipolar disorders), a woman was convinced that her son has bipolar disorder even before he is born. The reason? He was so restless even in her womb.

So if behaviors inside mom's womb is any indicator, Annya should be sweet yet competent. She never seemed restless in my womb, yet she was always a strong performer (My ob. doctor said she was a happy baby). Seems that she is the same way when she is out in the world. She is always content, happy, secretly smiling, rarely screaming (Emma was more taxing when she was little). Yet she is competent enough to get fed fat and satisfied. She gained 11 oz. in only 6 days.

Now Annya is still in her marathron-sleeping-mode, only waking up with hungry cries (loud). Occasionally I would wonder if she sleep too much and if she would sleep through her first month. Then yesterday, she was quite playful. She now probably has about 6-7 hours wake-time a day. Well, sleeping beauty, sleep along.

People say with your first born, you would take a thousand pictures; with your second born, you probably would take one hundred pictures; then with the rest, you probably would not even bother. True. Still you love them all the same. So true.

Good news, Leo's mom has arrived yesterday. And she is a big help cleaning the house and making it tidy. Bad news, my one-bedroom condo is even more crowdy. Have to kick everything under the bed or sweep them to some dark storage room. Yesterday, my huge nuclear family of four (Emma, Annya, Leo and I) managed to sleep in the bedroom. Leo and I in one full-sized (or is it queen-sized) bed, Emma in her twin bed, Annya in her basinet. Every cry of Annya made me worry (luckily she is such a sweet sleeper). Bad news, Emma wet her bed, so we had to transfer her to our bed. Bad news again, she wet our bed too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
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May 11, 2007

Babys have been the recurring theme in Emma's "art", one especially cute thing she draws baby in mommy's tommy. The first picture below she said is for Annya.



Emma's baby pictures

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Babys have been the recurring theme in Emma's "art", one especially cute thing she draws baby in mommy's tommy. The first picture below she said is for Annya.



Friday, May 11, 2007
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Gradually have sent out emails or called to tell my families, my friends, my colleagues about the new baby. Every time, inevitably, I was asked how we were doing, or I volunteer to report that we are all doing fine. Everyone, Annya, Emma, Leo and I are doing great.

That is true. But how exactly are we doing?

Annya

The very moment of coming out to the world must be one of the most painful moment. Not to say leaving the warm, snugly womb of mom, or breathing on her own. Just the pushing and contracting, the painful journey of squeezing through the narrow birth canal, the unbearable screaming of your mom in pain.

Fortunately, for Annya and me, it was a quick arrival. With only 3 (or 5) intense push, Annya's little head was safely out in the doctor's hand, her little body quickly followed.

And there, I saw her. A tiny tiny creature, her face was kind of grayish, her face closed tight and was no bigger than my palm. I gasped: "Oh, she is so tiny."

Actually, she is just right. 6 lbs 13 oz. Perfect. She cried loud. She had a Apgar score of 99. Perfect.

The following day in the hospital was probably hard for her as well. Damn (sorry)the doctors and nurses. Besides all the regular check ups (there are a lot), she also got her little feet poked again and again. Because I had gestational diabetes. Damn me. So they checked her blood every one hour, then every two hours, every four hours. Finally the doctors relaxed and gave Annya a clean bill of health.

She is such a healthy and beautiful baby. Capable too. She soon learned to find my breast and sucked.

She was so good and so eager seeking my milk. 3 days later, my milk came.

From day 3 till now, Annya is my sleeping beauty. She sleeps and sleeps, only wake up for milk. She gets a little more wakeful and alert everyday. Love the big smiles in her sleep.

What are you dreaming, dear baby?

Emma

Emma is a natural sister, a feat I never anticipated. Actually I was quite worried how she would handle or adapt before Annya was born. Will she be jealous? As I have heard a lot of sibling rivalry. Will she be disappointed because we cannot keep up the routines (reading, drawing, bedtime singing and talking?)

Emma indeed is a natural. The first moment she saw Annya, Annya was crying, we said, Emma, can you sing a song? She sang a Chinese song she half made up. Magically, Annya stopped crying. The following days, Emma sang that song everyday, again and again.

She is so curious about the baby. "Mommy, why the baby made a face like that?" "Why she cried? She needs milk." "Why she smiled? Does she like me?" "Why she clenched her fists like that?" "Will she like the little singing bee I gave her?"

Despite all of her love, good intentions, curiosity (because of that), Whenever Emma is around, it seems a little chaotic. She showered the baby with kisses while I am trying to feed Annya, she grabbed the baby's little hands (learning from me) while Annya was searching for my breast, she sings loudly while Annya cries loudly (too much noise then), she busied to read Annya books, she runs around and around the baby...

As for our routines, she was quite understanding. Often times, Annya starts crying in the midst of our reading, I say: Emma, I have to go. She lets me go without complaining at all. Only she refuses to let Leo read to her, she says, I have to wait for mommy. I can wait. Then I say, Emma, sorry, it is so late. We can read only one more book, ok? She says: how about two more books, mommy?

...

Leo
I am grateful for Leo, even though he tried to impose all sorts of how-to-take-care-of-yourself rules on me. But man, he works hard, cleaning, cooking nonstop, doing laundry, taking care of the household.

So, no complaint.

Me?

I am doing well, very well. Only to my dismay, my tommy is still unbearably big, so is my waist. Even Emma asked, why, mommy, why you still have big tommy?

So what do i do everyday? Some light chores. Some reading. Looking and talking to the baby. Blogging. Some light exercises, like sit-up, kegels, and leg slide, as suggested by my book. Next week, shall start to redesign the blog. Next week, shall do some serious reading and writing. Then as Annya gets more and more active, shall play more and more with her.

How are we doing?

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

Gradually have sent out emails or called to tell my families, my friends, my colleagues about the new baby. Every time, inevitably, I was asked how we were doing, or I volunteer to report that we are all doing fine. Everyone, Annya, Emma, Leo and I are doing great.

That is true. But how exactly are we doing?

Annya

The very moment of coming out to the world must be one of the most painful moment. Not to say leaving the warm, snugly womb of mom, or breathing on her own. Just the pushing and contracting, the painful journey of squeezing through the narrow birth canal, the unbearable screaming of your mom in pain.

Fortunately, for Annya and me, it was a quick arrival. With only 3 (or 5) intense push, Annya's little head was safely out in the doctor's hand, her little body quickly followed.

And there, I saw her. A tiny tiny creature, her face was kind of grayish, her face closed tight and was no bigger than my palm. I gasped: "Oh, she is so tiny."

Actually, she is just right. 6 lbs 13 oz. Perfect. She cried loud. She had a Apgar score of 99. Perfect.

The following day in the hospital was probably hard for her as well. Damn (sorry)the doctors and nurses. Besides all the regular check ups (there are a lot), she also got her little feet poked again and again. Because I had gestational diabetes. Damn me. So they checked her blood every one hour, then every two hours, every four hours. Finally the doctors relaxed and gave Annya a clean bill of health.

She is such a healthy and beautiful baby. Capable too. She soon learned to find my breast and sucked.

She was so good and so eager seeking my milk. 3 days later, my milk came.

From day 3 till now, Annya is my sleeping beauty. She sleeps and sleeps, only wake up for milk. She gets a little more wakeful and alert everyday. Love the big smiles in her sleep.

What are you dreaming, dear baby?

Emma

Emma is a natural sister, a feat I never anticipated. Actually I was quite worried how she would handle or adapt before Annya was born. Will she be jealous? As I have heard a lot of sibling rivalry. Will she be disappointed because we cannot keep up the routines (reading, drawing, bedtime singing and talking?)

Emma indeed is a natural. The first moment she saw Annya, Annya was crying, we said, Emma, can you sing a song? She sang a Chinese song she half made up. Magically, Annya stopped crying. The following days, Emma sang that song everyday, again and again.

She is so curious about the baby. "Mommy, why the baby made a face like that?" "Why she cried? She needs milk." "Why she smiled? Does she like me?" "Why she clenched her fists like that?" "Will she like the little singing bee I gave her?"

Despite all of her love, good intentions, curiosity (because of that), Whenever Emma is around, it seems a little chaotic. She showered the baby with kisses while I am trying to feed Annya, she grabbed the baby's little hands (learning from me) while Annya was searching for my breast, she sings loudly while Annya cries loudly (too much noise then), she busied to read Annya books, she runs around and around the baby...

As for our routines, she was quite understanding. Often times, Annya starts crying in the midst of our reading, I say: Emma, I have to go. She lets me go without complaining at all. Only she refuses to let Leo read to her, she says, I have to wait for mommy. I can wait. Then I say, Emma, sorry, it is so late. We can read only one more book, ok? She says: how about two more books, mommy?

...

Leo
I am grateful for Leo, even though he tried to impose all sorts of how-to-take-care-of-yourself rules on me. But man, he works hard, cleaning, cooking nonstop, doing laundry, taking care of the household.

So, no complaint.

Me?

I am doing well, very well. Only to my dismay, my tommy is still unbearably big, so is my waist. Even Emma asked, why, mommy, why you still have big tommy?

So what do i do everyday? Some light chores. Some reading. Looking and talking to the baby. Blogging. Some light exercises, like sit-up, kegels, and leg slide, as suggested by my book. Next week, shall start to redesign the blog. Next week, shall do some serious reading and writing. Then as Annya gets more and more active, shall play more and more with her.

Friday, May 11, 2007
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May 09, 2007

In China, postpartum care is a very serious business, and the rules as to how to take care of a new mom are numerous. Some of them are:

1. No going out, especially do not expose yourself or the baby to wind, especially cold wind. Put on your hat when you definitely have to go out.
2. No touching anything cold. Do not drink anything cold. Ice water as they provided in hospital registers as a big No-No.
3. Rest. Rest. Rest. Better just not get out of the bed at all.
4. No squatting. (Sounds so dubious and bizarre)
5. No sitting for too long.
6. Do not eat too much vegetables or fruits in the first couple of weeks (What???)
7. Eat all kinds of big fat foods, like eggs, chicken.
8. Beef up with ginger, and a slew of Chinese herbs.

I really would like to ignore every single rule, simply because first I feel fine, so fine; second, with my natural instinct of distrusting any Chinese tradition. However, all my Chinese folks (my mom, sister, leo's family, the people I love dearly) just keep warning me with the consequences, the consequences that I could in no way forsee.

"You are young. But wait till you are old ..."

It works like religion, I was thinking, if everyday everyone is telling you about the unknown heaven and hell, how on earth you could not succumb?

So consiously, unconsiously, half-heartedly, I followed the rules regarding postpartum care, just for some peace of mind.

Some bizarre (amusing) Chinese rules regarding postpartum care

Posted by Xun  |  2 comments

In China, postpartum care is a very serious business, and the rules as to how to take care of a new mom are numerous. Some of them are:

1. No going out, especially do not expose yourself or the baby to wind, especially cold wind. Put on your hat when you definitely have to go out.
2. No touching anything cold. Do not drink anything cold. Ice water as they provided in hospital registers as a big No-No.
3. Rest. Rest. Rest. Better just not get out of the bed at all.
4. No squatting. (Sounds so dubious and bizarre)
5. No sitting for too long.
6. Do not eat too much vegetables or fruits in the first couple of weeks (What???)
7. Eat all kinds of big fat foods, like eggs, chicken.
8. Beef up with ginger, and a slew of Chinese herbs.

I really would like to ignore every single rule, simply because first I feel fine, so fine; second, with my natural instinct of distrusting any Chinese tradition. However, all my Chinese folks (my mom, sister, leo's family, the people I love dearly) just keep warning me with the consequences, the consequences that I could in no way forsee.

"You are young. But wait till you are old ..."

It works like religion, I was thinking, if everyday everyone is telling you about the unknown heaven and hell, how on earth you could not succumb?

So consiously, unconsiously, half-heartedly, I followed the rules regarding postpartum care, just for some peace of mind.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
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May 06, 2007

More pictures here.

I really should write something down about the first few days of Annya. And there is a lot to write.

Still, time is short for long boring text. Maybe tomorrow. The day after tomorrow. For now, just some pictures.


Emma and Annya

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

More pictures here.

I really should write something down about the first few days of Annya. And there is a lot to write.

Still, time is short for long boring text. Maybe tomorrow. The day after tomorrow. For now, just some pictures.


Sunday, May 06, 2007
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1 comments:

May 03, 2007






Annya - 3 days old

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Thursday, May 03, 2007
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5 comments:

April 24, 2007


Emma drew the picture. She said the big one was mommy, the little one in pink shirt is the baby.

Love it

Posted by Xun  |  No comments


Emma drew the picture. She said the big one was mommy, the little one in pink shirt is the baby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
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April 22, 2007

My due date is getting closer and closer, at work, I am getting busier and busier, at home, lazier and lazier ... all are perfect excuses not doing anything, not blogging at all.

Feel guilty

So the early videos came to rescue.

The following videos are videos we took before Emma was 2, actually before she was barely one year old. Leo pieced them together, editted a bit, added some background music, and sent to Emma who was in China as her 2nd birthday present. We (especially Emma) all love the videos very much. So post here, so my families at China could see them again.

You are my sunshine - part 1


You are my sunshine - part 2


You are my sunshine - part 3


You are my sunshine - part 4

You are my sunshine - early videos of Emma

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

My due date is getting closer and closer, at work, I am getting busier and busier, at home, lazier and lazier ... all are perfect excuses not doing anything, not blogging at all.

Feel guilty

So the early videos came to rescue.

The following videos are videos we took before Emma was 2, actually before she was barely one year old. Leo pieced them together, editted a bit, added some background music, and sent to Emma who was in China as her 2nd birthday present. We (especially Emma) all love the videos very much. So post here, so my families at China could see them again.

You are my sunshine - part 1


You are my sunshine - part 2


You are my sunshine - part 3


You are my sunshine - part 4

Sunday, April 22, 2007
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April 05, 2007

More than a week has passed. My mood is sort of low and I do not feel like blogging. But anyway, here is a list of "major events" for Emma in the past week (sure only of somewhat importance to me, none earthshaking, or even merit reading)

1. Thursday, MB took Emma to see a musical about a clever mixture of Dr. Seuss's story, a Seuissical. Emma seemed to like it.

2. MB and her friend Monica accidentally dislocated her elbow while swinging her off the train by the arms. Nothing serious. We took her to the doctor the next morning, he fixed it in three quick "twists". (It happened once before when my dad threw her upon his shoulder. But at the time we did not even bother to see a doc).

Lesson learned: never swing her by her arms. Some children are prone to this type of dislocation.

After the doctor's visit, Emma stayed with MB to recuperate from her injury. She was extremely hyper throughout the day.

3. Saturday, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. We saw dolphins, whales, all kinds of fishes, sea horses and sea dragons. It was tiresome, however, Emma was good mood despite her runny nose, her cold.

"Major Events" of the week

Posted by Xun  |  2 comments

More than a week has passed. My mood is sort of low and I do not feel like blogging. But anyway, here is a list of "major events" for Emma in the past week (sure only of somewhat importance to me, none earthshaking, or even merit reading)

1. Thursday, MB took Emma to see a musical about a clever mixture of Dr. Seuss's story, a Seuissical. Emma seemed to like it.

2. MB and her friend Monica accidentally dislocated her elbow while swinging her off the train by the arms. Nothing serious. We took her to the doctor the next morning, he fixed it in three quick "twists". (It happened once before when my dad threw her upon his shoulder. But at the time we did not even bother to see a doc).

Lesson learned: never swing her by her arms. Some children are prone to this type of dislocation.

After the doctor's visit, Emma stayed with MB to recuperate from her injury. She was extremely hyper throughout the day.

3. Saturday, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. We saw dolphins, whales, all kinds of fishes, sea horses and sea dragons. It was tiresome, however, Emma was good mood despite her runny nose, her cold.

Thursday, April 05, 2007
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March 28, 2007



March 27th, 2007, Emma had her first ever public performance and I was her reluctant dancing partner.

All went well and fun. By MB and Leo's account, also by the video, Emma did a superior job. I did not screw up her recital either.

It is hard to tell what Emma thinks of the recital herself. But she was hyper-hyper the whole night after her performance.

Dance Recital

Posted by Xun  |  4 comments



March 27th, 2007, Emma had her first ever public performance and I was her reluctant dancing partner.

All went well and fun. By MB and Leo's account, also by the video, Emma did a superior job. I did not screw up her recital either.

It is hard to tell what Emma thinks of the recital herself. But she was hyper-hyper the whole night after her performance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
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4 comments:

March 27, 2007

In America, (probably worldwide where it is not plagued by famine or warfare), in parenting arena, there is a big chaos of contradicting opinions, voiced in TV, radios, newspapers, and thousands of parenting blogs springing up every day.

The hot-button issues are: breastfeeding vs. formulas, breastfeeding in public vs. in private, co-sleeping vs. sleeping alone, working mom vs. staying-at-home mom, slacker mom vs. smart-pants-mom, parents vs. pal ... The list could go on and on.

Ask my opinion? I am for breastfeeding and breastfeeding in private. Sure I would never sit in a beach breast-feeding my baby where millions of people are around.

I think it is good to let baby sleep alone for practical reasons, my bed is simply too small; however, also for practical reasons, she will probably end up in my bed, because it is easier for me to breastfeed her while still being able to sleep.

I am a working mom, 100% percent, simply because that is the only option. I need to work to feed my family. I need to keep my job. But if I had choice I would still choose to become a working mom, maybe on a less tight schedule. It is just too much for me staying home day in and day out without a break, without a change for something else.

Slacker mom or smarty-pants-mom? I once took a online self-test and was awarded the honor of being a smarty-pants-mom. But I am not so sure. I read books with Emma, take her to libraries, allow Emma no TV time (though she gets to watch DVDs once a week) ... but I am quict relaxed about her lifestyles (since myself is quite terrible in this regard), for example, table manners, keeping her shirts stain-free, training her to be organized (no, no, I am never organized myself) ...

Parent or pal? To me, this is an non-issue. I can be both. If there is a need for discipline, I am the parent to set the discipline and limit. I would not hesitate to say "No" even if she cries and protests. However, most of the time, we are friends, we play and talk to each other as friends.

These are my simple opinions about some of the parenting issues. Of course, in my three-year parenting practice, I already broke a big taboo: I sent Emma away for 8 months to China. Judged by this alone, I am a horrible/selfish parent.

And then yesterday another quite unexpected and shocking news came up: based on Australian research, day cares brings forth some behavioral problems for children, even high quality day care centers. The research reports that the problem is very mild though.

I do not believe that.

Well, come back tomorrow to talk/think about this.

Some parenting issues

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

In America, (probably worldwide where it is not plagued by famine or warfare), in parenting arena, there is a big chaos of contradicting opinions, voiced in TV, radios, newspapers, and thousands of parenting blogs springing up every day.

The hot-button issues are: breastfeeding vs. formulas, breastfeeding in public vs. in private, co-sleeping vs. sleeping alone, working mom vs. staying-at-home mom, slacker mom vs. smart-pants-mom, parents vs. pal ... The list could go on and on.

Ask my opinion? I am for breastfeeding and breastfeeding in private. Sure I would never sit in a beach breast-feeding my baby where millions of people are around.

I think it is good to let baby sleep alone for practical reasons, my bed is simply too small; however, also for practical reasons, she will probably end up in my bed, because it is easier for me to breastfeed her while still being able to sleep.

I am a working mom, 100% percent, simply because that is the only option. I need to work to feed my family. I need to keep my job. But if I had choice I would still choose to become a working mom, maybe on a less tight schedule. It is just too much for me staying home day in and day out without a break, without a change for something else.

Slacker mom or smarty-pants-mom? I once took a online self-test and was awarded the honor of being a smarty-pants-mom. But I am not so sure. I read books with Emma, take her to libraries, allow Emma no TV time (though she gets to watch DVDs once a week) ... but I am quict relaxed about her lifestyles (since myself is quite terrible in this regard), for example, table manners, keeping her shirts stain-free, training her to be organized (no, no, I am never organized myself) ...

Parent or pal? To me, this is an non-issue. I can be both. If there is a need for discipline, I am the parent to set the discipline and limit. I would not hesitate to say "No" even if she cries and protests. However, most of the time, we are friends, we play and talk to each other as friends.

These are my simple opinions about some of the parenting issues. Of course, in my three-year parenting practice, I already broke a big taboo: I sent Emma away for 8 months to China. Judged by this alone, I am a horrible/selfish parent.

And then yesterday another quite unexpected and shocking news came up: based on Australian research, day cares brings forth some behavioral problems for children, even high quality day care centers. The research reports that the problem is very mild though.

I do not believe that.

Well, come back tomorrow to talk/think about this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
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March 26, 2007

Recently Emma has developed an interest drawing babies. Sometimes, she also writes caption for her pictures.

Emma's Sketches

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Recently Emma has developed an interest drawing babies. Sometimes, she also writes caption for her pictures.

Monday, March 26, 2007
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March 23, 2007

Spring officially arrives on March 21st. However, it is hard to talk about spring. It rains one day, shines one day, snows one day. I cannot even tell Emma what to wear. A heavy coat? A light one? Or just a single jacket?

The funny thing though is that, children, little children are perfectly oblivious of the change of seasons or weather. To them, routines are so entrenched that they simply stubbornly stick to them, no matter what. This is what I learned from Emma.

No, no, no, I do not want to take my coat off.
Emma, it is hot today.
No, no, no, I want to wear my coat.

Turned out all children are the same. The preschool's director Bev said that when going out, all of the little ones insisted wearing big coat, even gloves. Ha, unshakable routines.

I think my little cousin in China has the same problem, however, his unreasonable dress code has a lot to do with the law of attractions between adolescent males and females. The psychology of looking good and cool. I remembered that when I was in high school, my mother had to bribe to wear snow pants in winter.

...

Turned out that Emma is (they are) right though. The only day I managed to persuade her to take her coat her, the weather suddenly turned so cold, she got a cold.

Talking about dressing code, can anyone tell what is going through in little children's head? For Emma, she singlemindedly rejects some shirts and some pants (some of them I think very cute), and overly favor some other shirts and pants, like her jeans, a pair of crappy green pants with buttons.

And she has to have long long hair. One day I talked with her about cutting her hair short, that night she was crying in her dream: "No, no, I want my hair long. I do not want to cut it."

Sure she gets her way.

Spring?

Posted by Xun  |  No comments

Spring officially arrives on March 21st. However, it is hard to talk about spring. It rains one day, shines one day, snows one day. I cannot even tell Emma what to wear. A heavy coat? A light one? Or just a single jacket?

The funny thing though is that, children, little children are perfectly oblivious of the change of seasons or weather. To them, routines are so entrenched that they simply stubbornly stick to them, no matter what. This is what I learned from Emma.

No, no, no, I do not want to take my coat off.
Emma, it is hot today.
No, no, no, I want to wear my coat.

Turned out all children are the same. The preschool's director Bev said that when going out, all of the little ones insisted wearing big coat, even gloves. Ha, unshakable routines.

I think my little cousin in China has the same problem, however, his unreasonable dress code has a lot to do with the law of attractions between adolescent males and females. The psychology of looking good and cool. I remembered that when I was in high school, my mother had to bribe to wear snow pants in winter.

...

Turned out that Emma is (they are) right though. The only day I managed to persuade her to take her coat her, the weather suddenly turned so cold, she got a cold.

Talking about dressing code, can anyone tell what is going through in little children's head? For Emma, she singlemindedly rejects some shirts and some pants (some of them I think very cute), and overly favor some other shirts and pants, like her jeans, a pair of crappy green pants with buttons.

And she has to have long long hair. One day I talked with her about cutting her hair short, that night she was crying in her dream: "No, no, I want my hair long. I do not want to cut it."

Sure she gets her way.

Friday, March 23, 2007
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March 19, 2007

The Dora alphabet mat that Emma traced, letter by letter. She is getting very good indeed.


Emma has been kind of obscessed with tracing her little hand and made a hand turkey for a while. Like this one.


Actually I would most love to show is the baby pictures she draws over and over. She draws mom, dad, her baby sister and herself, and she adds captions overhead to indicate who is who.

Sample Works

Posted by Xun  |  1 comment

The Dora alphabet mat that Emma traced, letter by letter. She is getting very good indeed.


Emma has been kind of obscessed with tracing her little hand and made a hand turkey for a while. Like this one.


Actually I would most love to show is the baby pictures she draws over and over. She draws mom, dad, her baby sister and herself, and she adds captions overhead to indicate who is who.

Monday, March 19, 2007
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