Monday, August 18, 2008

nursing a bumble bee

the bean and i have been under the weather for the past few days. i don't know how the bean got sick in the first place but her nose started dripping badly on friday. so it was that all day long she kept asking, "i need a cloth mama! i need a cloth!" (to wipe her nose). i caught my cold from the bean, naturally, and wonder when it will be dh's turn to fall ill.

anyhow, despite her cold, she's been remarkably chirpy and this morning she played happily outside on her ride-on toys. then suddenly we (dh was still at home, prior to heading out to work) heard her call out loudly, "i found a bumble bee! i found a bumble bee! it's got wings!"

turns out it was indeed a bee, but it was very obviously dead, lying motionless on the brick-tiled yard. i told her so, but she doesn't yet understand what 'death' means and continued to talk to the bee as if it could understand her. i returned to the kitchen and from the window i could see her reaching out to the bee chatting to it. then, inspired, she cried, "i going to feed it!"

she toddled up to the garden and plucked a few strands of grass and presented them to the bee. perhaps a breeze made the tiny blades disappear because i next heard the bean call out, "the bumble bee ate the grass! it ate all the grass!"

this inspired her to get more, "bumble bee, i get you some more. then you will feel more better."

when the bee didn't ingest the latest grassy offering, the bean talked to it awhile before losing interest. soon after she got onto her trike and called to me, "mummy cat! can you help me?" when i went to her thinking that she needed help with the seat belt buckle, she knew her ruse worked, "mummy cat, can you push me?" i decided to humour her a bit and pushed her around the yard for a bit before making my excuses and got back to my chores.

much later, after finishing breakfast, she announced, "i found a dead bumble bee."

Friday, August 15, 2008

the fussy eater

i'm listing the bean's peculiar dietary preferences just so's i can compare with what she will or won't eat when she's older. by the way, i am hoping she will grow out of her pet food hates and become a more catholic eater.

meats/fish
1. salmon - she'll eat it ovenbaked or grilled, not dressed unless with a light sprinkling of salt. (unlike some kids, the bean doesn't like any sauce on her food.)

2. ocean trout - again, ovenbaked or grilled as is.

3. birdseye frozen fish fillets with spinach & feta - i've tried her on normal kids' fish fingers and she is not terribly fond of those, nor would she gobble down other 'flavoured' frozen fillets as much as she does this particular version with spinach and feta.

4. beef - she likes the japanese-style very thinly/finely sliced beef. i think she likes beef only when it's tender and not chewy.

5. chicken - normally she hates whatever chicken i cook her but yesterday i tried her on small pieces of teriyaki chicken and she liked those.

vegetables
1. broccoli - she'll eat a few and then needs lots of coaxing to finish the rest. plus, she's partial to the stems. she doesn't like the florets part of the veg.

2. celery - she likes this raw, without the leafy bits.

3. spinach (or any other leafy veg) - will eat only when i spoon-feed her.

4. kailan - she used to eat a lot of this (simply stir-fried, not too oily, and must be tender) but we haven't been giving her much of it lately

fruit
watermelon is arguably her favourite fruit, tied with blueberries and mangoes. she will eat the usual apples/pears/mandarin oranges/grapes et al but they won't be greeted with the same enthusiasm.

she told me today, "i don't like it" looking at the bowl of rockmelon i had placed on her table, but when i asked her to try just one she managed to scoff down most of it.

as a baby she used to retch when i tried to give her bananas. but after she turned 2 she began to like them more. she still won't finish an entire banana but now she will pick one up and peel it herself - when she is in the mood.

rice/pasta/bread
she likes boiled rice (she used to like fried rice but she doesn't like egg, in whatever form) and she prefers plain brown bread to any fancier gourmet variety that i am partial to ("without the seeds mama"). she will eat ravioli if it's just stuffed with spinach and cheese. i tried her on beef ravioli and that was a dismal failure.

miscellaneous
1. macaroni cheese - the easy-cook pasta packs are her favourite. she doesn't like it when i melt cheese into cooked macaroni - i think it's the lumps and gooey cheese that turns her off.

2. spaghetti bolognese - this is on every children's menu in restaurants, but the bean hates it

3. sushi - to be precise, it's "cucumber hosomaki", i.e. the plain nori-wrapped cucumber rolls that have been sliced into bite-sized pieces. she doesn't like it when i change the filling to chopped carrots/tinned tuna etc.

4. spinach/ sausage rolls - yup, those rather unhealthy pastry shop snacks. she usually gets a sausage roll and a cup of hot chocolate after her swim lesson. and when we used to do kindermusik, we used to pacify her with a roll and a babycino after class too.

5. french fries - the chips in fish and chips used to be a bean favourite. but lately she is not as into them as before...or maybe it's just that she prefers sushi now?


food hates/loves
egg could top her list of food she dislikes. she doesn't like egg in any form - boiled, fried et al - which is a bit inconvenient as a boiled egg is such a wholesome all-in-one food. several months ago she used to be given one at least once a week, and although she'd only eat the egg white portion she would at least go them a go. not so now.

an inherited trait, her very favourite 'food' is ice cream. i even tried her on green tea ice cream yesterday and she loved it.

it's a sign that childhood is no longer what we remember it to be when kids cry out for a babycino. and er...the bean is no different from any other middle-class aussie brat with a penchant for the foamy milk concoction laced with cocoa, having announced 2 days ago as i drove her to playgroup, "we are going to a cafe. i want a babycino mama."

food for thought? it's truly bemusing business feeding the bean.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

i'm going on holiday

after i got out of the shower this morning i came into the living room calling for the bean. only to have her answer from the backdoor in the kitchen, all togged out already - sunnies on her face, slingbag on her arm, favourite necklace and bracelet and shoes on, "i am going on holiday! i can't be late. can you help me?"

i burst into laughter and asked what sort of help she needed. she didn't elaborate but reiterated, "can you help me go to the* holiday?"

*hopefully, the bean's grammar will improve, along with her grasp of abstract concepts such as 'holiday' and 'months'. she still thinks that her nainai and yeye live "in the month of august", because we had been saying that we'll be visiting them in the month of august.

well, i didn't bring her on her holiday (just yet) but we ended up in a sushi restaurant for lunch, where i very nearly fed my daughter wasabi instead of green tea ice cream. how was i to know that the large, attractive, round ball of green sitting in a pretty bowl with a small plastic ice cream spoon wasn't ice cream???

luckily for us a hawkeyed waitress came up and asked, "does she really like wasabi?"

me, "isn't it green tea ice cream?"

waitress, "oh no no!" and hurriedly whisked the fat bowl of wasabi away before the bean was about to scoop a mouthful.

she returned with a small tub of the proper stuff from the fridge. and the bean was mollified (she was most anxious about the faux ice cream's disappearance thinking that mummy was about to gipp her yet again), so much so that she refused to share the ice cream with me. even when i blackmailed her by saying that she was being as mean as diesel**.

**diesel is, as his name implies, a diesel engine from the thomas & friends pantheon. he's one of the few engines that the bean always insists, "i don't l i k e him. he is n a s t y." she tends to drawl out certain words in emphasis.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the magic word

i forgot to post this when "normal service" resumed - the event took place the day we got the keys to the new house and we launched our move, so it's a few weeks' old.

it was a saturday and dh had taken it on himself to cater to the bean's breakfast needs. she was given some cereal (or maybe it was toast with honey - that's her favourite brekkie) and then she asked, "i want some apple juice, dad." almost like an afterthought she added, "in a teacup. i want some apple juice in a teacup."

dh is quite particular about Ps and Qs and he prompted her with, "and what's the magic word?"

the bean replied loudly and slowly, "teeeaa cuuup."

this temporarily floored dh as he was expecting her to say "pweese".

i guess we should be somewhat thankful that she's still wee and doesn't yet know how to truly talk back. when we related this incident to a married friend, he said that when he asks his wife what's the magic word, she inevitably growls, "now!"

while the bean still has yet to have courtesy ingrained so that it's second nature, she can trot out 'please' when it suits her, as the episode with the sydney airport immigration officer showed.

Friday, August 08, 2008

(inherited?) scatalogical humour

i'd found a new thomas & friends audiobook in an auckland children's books and toys shop and when we returned to sydney the first chance i got i played it on the car stereo. most of the stories should be familiar to the bean as the little thomas storybooks she has at home replicate them. however, the cd stories expand on the paperback versions and anyway, the bean is captivated by anything thomas related.

during a recent drive home the bean listened to one of the stories - about thomas and terence, a tractor with caterpillar treads. after thomas made fun of terence's caterpillar wheels and scoffed at the effect of snow to deter trains, saying, "pooh!", the bean burst into a peal of delighted giggles. at the next instance when thomas disparaged snow ("soft stuff!") and made another "pooh" interjection, the bean had another fit of giggles.

i was amazed and gratified. i hadn't heard this giggle for a while (it is one of the best sounds from the bean - most infectious and cute) and i wanted to know what about the story made her laugh so happily. that night i asked the bean what made her giggle, giving her a few prompts to remind her which story it was. and her smiling reply was, "thomas said 'poo'."

i related the episode to dh, and he wondered if she thinks "poo" is a naughty word. i don't know as i couldn't get the bean to give me a better reason.

finding beauty in little things

yesterday the bean found an evil eye amulet* hanging from the doorknob in the kitchen. she looked at it and exclaimed in awed tones, "what is this? it is so beautiful! it is precious!"

you'd have thought that the bean had stumbled on the most stunning sunsets or most precious of jewels, not a small gypsy souvenir.

* a traditional turkish (istanbul-style) amulet to ward off evil looks from jealous or ill-wishing people that was a present from one of dh's brothers.

charm offence on an immigration official

we had a comparatively good flight from auckland to sydney earlier this week. the bean had a short nap on the plane; she ate a tub of chocolate ice cream; and she had watched a little thomas & friends on her portable dvd player, so i guess she was in a good mood when we landed at sydney international.

after a bit of a wait we finally got to an immigration counter and when i picked the bean up so that the official (a woman) could take a look at her, the officer greeted the bean with "hello gorgeous". this probably set the tone as the bean smirked back and when i placed the bean on the ledge at the front of the counter, she leaned over the counter and engaged the immigration officer in a huge charm offensive. dh and i were virtually ignored as the immigration officer talked to the bean. so our ordeal was a little longer than usual at the immigration counter but it was a great deal pleasanter.

a snatch of the banter between the woman officer and the bean:
"and who is this?", the officer pointed to my passport photo.
"mummy."
"do you love your mummy? is she a good mummy?"
the bean straightened up, leaned over to me, wrapped her arms round my neck, and smiling coyly said, "yes."
"what's this? a stamp. i am stamping all your passports."
"can i have one too? pweese?"
"awww. she said 'please'!", this was to the officer's neighbour in the next counter.
"sure you can. just wait till i'm done."
the bean then said, "this hand too! pweese?"

i couldn't see the bean's facial expressions as she had her back to me but dh said that from what little he could observe the bean did a couple of her special beams (where she scrunches up her face in a funny smile) and smirks to the officer. truth be told, when she wants to she does simper quite well. dh is convinced that the bean's charm and social skills comes from him. (roll eyes)

moving house (again) & montessori update

i am typing this up from our 3rd residence in oz amidst a chaotic house still full of boxes/binliner bags of clothes etc, having just shifted. last month our old landlord decided that s/he will be upping the rent and we found that we had to find a new house and move in just a week short from an overseas trip that could not be postponed. all rather inconvenient but we have found a cheaper place and the saved money will go to the bean's preschool fees instead!

with the move and the trip, the bean's sense of order has been inevitably affected. so she was "all over the place" on the first week of term 3 at her montessori playgroup. however, she did demonstrate that she has advanced in her motor/spatial skills and she performed some of the practical life exercises admirably this week (wk 2).

e.g. she was shown how to undo the buttons of the big button dressing frame only once last term (and then she had not been much interested, to tell the truth) so i thought she would've forgotten how to do it and needed a new demo from the directress. but this time she just took over and unbuttoned and buttoned up the frame very efficiently. when the directress found that she had completed this one, she showed the bean how to do the buckles dressing frame. after seeing how it was all done, the bean also managed to do this exercise rather quickly. once completed, she then went to the dressing frames basket and proceeded to work through the rest of the dressing frames till she completed them all. thereafter she announced in rather self-satisfied manner, "i did all of them!"