Monday, March 31, 2008

i love you daddy

as we were putting the bean to bed last night, dh was bowled over when she suddenly said, "i love you daddy." and reached out to give him a big hug. he was so chuffed by it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

more on manners

finally! today the bean actually put her hand to her mouth before she coughed. i noticed this as i was sitting beside her in the car, so i gave her the deserved praise.

before, she would usually cough and then when reminded about the hand gesture she would proceed to make a fake cough (which sounds like a little belch really) before placing her hand over her mouth.

"oh my god"

i admit, hesitantly, nervously, that the bean may have picked up the phrase, "oh my god" from me some time ago, but she does use it well in context.

e.g. once at the beach, when she got excited about the waves splashing at her she squealed it out a couple of times.

and more recently, she used it to refer to the number of spiders (on spider webs) she can find in the garden or near the house. she isn't afraid of spiders (yet) though and thinks that they are "cute".

her other variations on the theme: "oh me", "oh my", "oh my gosh".

"listen justeeen! animals"

for the past week or so everytime we got into the car, she follows "seat belt please mummy [or daddy]" with "listen justine! animals!" which in bean-speak means: let's listen to justine singing; the song about animals please.

she knows which one it is too so if we put on a different track, as soon as she hears the intro she goes, "no no not dat one! animals!"

the song she harps about is the gumtree family and it is sung by justine clark, a presenter from abc's playschool on her album i like to sing. we have both the cd album "deedee" as well as the dvd "deedeedee".

the bean's fave song on this album used to be the title track but these days she only cares for the animals being sung about under or on the gumtree. she always tries to sing along, mumbling along to most lines (usually half a second behind) but really belting out the last line of the chorus: "part of the gumtree fameelee!"

our 1st royal easter show as a family

a few years back dh and i had gone to the sydney easter show and loved it - from the lumberjacks throwing axes at targets to the different homemade produce and crafts on sale. it must be one of the largest, if not the largest, agricultural event in oz open to the public.

so now that we are living here, we had to do the easter show again, especially as the bean can appreciate the farm animals on display. unfortunately, we "chose" the wrong day to go - on good friday itself - and it was overcast and wet. the coldest day in march so far (max. 19 degrees C), bringing with it a real feel of autumn-winter (even dh wore his lightweight fleece jumper and his raincoat).

i don't know whether the easter show has always been this big, but this year it lasts over a week (from march 20 to april 2) and every night there will be fireworks. needless to say we didn't plan to stay till the evening - we don't have such stamina and the bean certainly won't last that long.

anyhow, the first thing we went to see were the cats at the cat pavilion. the breeds that were being judged that day included ragdolls and norwegian forest cats. and there was a ragdoll for people to see and stroke during the purina cat talk. its fur was wonderfully soft and it lay limp in its handler's arms looking faintly sulky and petulant. when the bean entered the cat pavilion, she was "i want that one!" at every single cat. she did get to touch the ragdoll that was being displayed but she could spend an entire day happily playing with a cat if she was allowed.

post-cats, we went to the dog pavilion where dogs were being trotted out and being judged. that wasn't very interesting and we went to watch the woodchopping instead, in the stadium that
has been purpose-built for this 'sport'. we got there in time to see some lumberjacks chop trees. there was a token canuck who was useless really. took him forever to do just one side but he got there in the end and the crowd encouraged him on towards the end (especially this enormous chap sitting in front of us).

the woodchop was dh's favourite event and the only thing he would come to the show for, really. and i have to admit that it was pretty interesting to see these rugged men and women make short work of very chunky slabs. (the commentator seems to think that everything needed explaining to the audience. and at one point, he even told the audience that the hunks of wood being used for most of the competitions are called "slabs", "that's s-l-a-b ladies and gentlemen". i had to roll my eyes there and stifle a giggle.) it is quite an international sport in that we saw reps from kiwistan, usa and canada besides those from the other oz states - queenslanders being fairly well represented after the nsw-ers.

the bean got very restless after about 4-5 of these woodchopping and sawing events. a change of scene was called for, although dh would've gladly stayed for the axe-throwing contest. too bad; maybe next year we'll get a chance to see that.

when we got out of the woodchop stadium, i saw a sign for the r.m.williams's sale so we went to the store, which had a few ersatz stables leading to it with real horses in them. (r.m.williams is a large chain of expensive country-bush gear, selling clothes and gorgeous boots to city-slickers who would never be within 10 yards of a tractor.) the bean was very very taken with the horses, "i want that one!" to all 4 that were there.

after dh had indulged in his retail therapy, we went to another horse 'barn' where a dear little miniature pony was on display. children were allowed to come up to it and pet it. the owner said that it had no function other than as a family pet. it was gorgeous. a lovely black sweetie. the bean got a chance to stand next to it and stroke its mane and head.

we then did the 'heritage walk' and found a pony ride that didn't have a massive queue. the bean was probably one of the youngest and smallest there but she behaved very well on the pony, whose name was snot (yes, really). dh held onto the bean as she and snot were walked around a paddock, and he said that the whole time she kept going, "riding pony! having fun!" so i was well pleased we did this.

after this we went to see the cows, whom the bean insisted were "horses" instead. we had to repeatedly assure her that cows can indeed be this big, especially the holsteins. as the cow barns were really aromatic and i was feeling faint from not eating a proper lunch (and the miserable weather didn't help with my mood either really), we speeded through those and decided that the farmyard nursery would not be for us. i just had visions of the bean contracting mad cow disease or hand-foot-mouth from too close bovine and poultry encounters. i know it's irrational but...

we then went to see what the kids world pavilion was about but it just had stalls selling very gaudy, plasticky toys and tat for kids. big yuck! however, it was useful as a temporary retreat from the rain that was beginning to sleet down.

we missed the morning abc kids show as we were watching the lumberjacks - i was hoping the bean could see the bananas in pyjamas in real life - but with the rain in the afternoon, i doubted that there would be a repeat performance, so we did a brief visit of the world bazaar (tat for adults) before finally entering the woollies food pavilion (my objective).

in the food pavilion, also sheltering from the rain were the rest of the easter show crowds. we managed to get some free wheaties samples from the uncle tobys (or was it the kelloggs?) stall and huddled at a costi seafood oyster bar table, where dh and i took turns to look for food: he for more free wheaties and me for sushi (which i paid for).

i think some folks could have free meals at the pavilion just by going round the stalls and getting enough free samples: e.g. we managed to get some biscuits and cheese dip and chocolate macaroons.

after meandering around the woollies pavilion and then through the arts and crafts section, we headed out to see if it was worth it to visit the showbags pavilion, as i was in two minds about getting the thomas the tank engine showbags. they seem quite interesting, with a wheely bag, beach ball, etc etc advertised inside, but i have been disappointed with the quality of showbag contents before and wasn't willing to part good money for tat.

then as we turned i saw the longest queue i had ever seen (even longer than those of the customs queues in the airport) - people were queueing just to get into the showbag pavilion - i didn't want to know what the queues at the showbag counters would be like. so i had to not look back and repeat to myself, "je ne regrette rien."

that was the finale for me - we walked back to the car park and sang to the bean to make sure she kept awake. she was a little trooper the whole day. apart from some minor truculence earlier on when she insisted on meandering off on her own, she had been quite accommodating.

dh remarked that the easter show seemed bigger this time, or maybe it was just that we had the bean with us and negotiating our way around is a little bit slower.

p/s. i felt strangely flat walking back to the car park from the show, but what cheered me up was this very unexpected "have a happy easter!" from a man on duty who was monitoring the buses ferrying people to and from the show. the kindness of strangers sometimes...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

rude boy

took the bean to a 'country' festival this morning, which is really just a 'bush' band on stage performing songs about sheep shearing and a couple of fenced pens with goats/chooks/ducks/sheep/rabbits. there were free 'train' and pony rides but the queues were so long it was not worth waiting: imagine just me (dh couldn't be with us) standing in line for over an hour with a toddler when it is near lunchtime and there are kids eating ice creams nearby...nah-uh.

anyhow, despite the heat and the crowds (it was a spectacle of prams/strollers too and it made for quite interesting traffic congestion around the kindy farm exhibits) i had to honour my promise to show the bean "farm animals". i think she was more fascinated by the rabbits - there were a few largish ones twitching their noses about - as she was able to pet one very docile floppy-eared critter at the zoo 2 weeks ago. so i had to find a space for the bean to see the animals and especially the rabbits up close.

after waiting patiently for other children to have their fill and get out the way, she finally had a chance to stroke or at least get closer to a rabbit. but after a short while, a boy (considerably older - maybe around 6?) who had been hogging the rabbit space started to shove the bean out the way. so i went up to them and told the bean loudly, "this boy is very rude for shoving you." and then extricated her from the scene. because by then the rabbit was trying to escape from the boy's clutches too and i was thirsty and needed a break.

the organisers had promised dorothy the dinosaur and wags the dog (they are part of the pantheon of characters from the wiggles' tv show) but it was approaching high noon and there was no sign of them. so i got the bean a lemonade and we went home. me having decided that i didn't want to wait another 20 minutes in the heat for a character in a saggy suit with an irritating high pitched giggle (i.e. dorothy).

i am not sure what the objective of this post is. maybe just to observe that the bean still isn't quite able to stand up for herself. for ince, she didn't/wouldn't muscle her way to the fence of the animal pen the way the other kids did and didn't really fight back when another toddler muscled in, pushing her out of the way.

when dh was told about the "rude boy"'s behaviour, he advised that next time, the bean should say, "stop! don't push me." to whoever tries it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

everybody poos

"everybody poos" is the title of a book by a japanese author. it's a nice one to teach the bean that all animals and people poo, and that people poo in special places.

a couple of weeks ago she took this lesson really to heart and would inform anyone who would listen that "everybody wees" as well as "everybody poos".

this morning, when i strapped her into the car seat, i told her not to wee there (she was only wearing a swim nappy - offers no protection to my car at all), and she gave me a 'of course i know that' look and said immediately, "wee wee in potty!" - i was both relieved and proud.

and more, sort of, on this subject...

when her nai nai and ye ye were still visiting us (they've sadly returned to the uk), the bean would go to their room in the mornings and greet them.

one particular morning, her ye ye had got of the shower and was alone in the bedroom when he heard a little voice pipe up, "ye ye got bottom!"

he turned around to see the bean beaming at him, to which he could only reply, "yes, everybody has a bottom."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

years of therapy to come?

one day, some weeks and weeks ago, after the bean's 'uncle whim' had buckled her into the car seat he took the liberty - unwisely it turns out - to bite a bit of the pink jelly snake she had in her hand. however, he did this without asking her first, and because he did it so quickly/abruptly, i guess the bean was taken aback. in fact, her look of petrified horror was a classic - the rest of us in the car, her nai nai, ye ye and i, were worried that she would burst into tears. in fact, i think she was pretty close to it.

anyway, since this incident, whenever a pink jelly snake is offered to the bean, she would say, without fail, "uncle whim. bit head off hnake." it's a matter of fact statement, rather like reciting a mantra.

sometimes, she would preface this statement by saying, "naughty boy". prompting us to ask, "who's naughty?" and to which she would then trot out the homily, "uncle whim. (pause) bit head off hnake."

"whaadat?"

the bean's definitely speaking better and using more and more words and sentences so that we can have a nice long conversation with her sometimes. however, her enunciation is still far from perfect.

e.g. she can't pronounce the "s" sound if the "s" is paired with a consonant. to wit: "hark" (shark), "hip" (ship), "hnake" (snake), "himming" (swimming), etc.

the odd thing is she can say "lots" properly, i.e. if a word ends with the "s" sound: "else", "house"...and usually if the "s" is paired with a vowel: "sea", "sand"...etc.

the other one she can't get right is the phrase "what is that?" or "what's that?", which from her cherubic lips becomes "wha dat?" - she sounds like she is about to go into a rap song or something everytime she says it. and she uses this phrase A LOT. she will point to a picture or object and ask "what dat?", sometimes not even waiting for an answer, and most times, knowing the answer herself. usually, i will try to turn the tables and ask her, "what do YOU think it is?"

"Cheeeers!"

cheeeers
not sure if the bean is picking up alcoholic behaviour from her ye ye and nai nai but she does tend to want to raise her glass at nearly every meal. she would raise her glass of oj/apple juice/honey water/choc milk (you delete) to her ye ye and/or nai nai and it doesn't matter if the other person only has a cup of tea. it's still, "cheeeers, nai nai!" and one *must* clink cups/glasses to complete the ritual.

count to the beat
the other evening the bean took out her xylophone and banged away on it. then she started counting aloud, "one! two!..." etc till she got to ten. she couldn't say eleven properly except with prompting then she continued counting. when she got to fifteen though, there was a very slight pause before she said triumphantly, "nineteen!" and then stopped.
unfortunately, she couldn't quite synchronise the xylophone banging to the counts.