Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the bean's altruism & self-portrait #2

dh came home at lunchtime today and as he accompanied the bean at the dining table, she said to him, "daddy, i don't like my chicken pox. (slight pause) can i give it away?"

they continued this conversation in the car later - "who do you want to give it away to?", asked dh.
to which the bean replied, "you".

hmmm...she just might get her wish and one or both her parents could be infected right now.

(btw, dh added that as she was walking to the car she told him that she wanted to leave her chicken pox at home.)

anyhow, this is her latest self-portrait..."it's leah with chicken pox", she announced almost triumphantly to me just now.

i'll describe the portrait a bit - the dot within a circle at the top of the figure's 'head' represents the pox on the bean's forehead (she has just a little pox there); the mad-looking scribbling at the bottom of the figure is the bean's clothing; the two little lines sticking out from the bottom of the 'head' are the bean's legs; 2 circles each side of the wide mouth represent 'rosy cheeks' or they might be ears; figure is missing arms.

note on the picture titles: the numbering of the bean's pictures is just for the blog's reference, and does not correspond to any real-life output.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

bean poxed


the bean has chicken pox. it's not full-blown because she's had her vaccinations, but the doc certainly thinks that it is very likely the pox. which is a shame as it means that the bean might be missing her last couple of weeks of "toddler school" (our under 3s programme), as well as her mandarin classes.

the spots first appeared on sunday but they were just a few scattered ones around her abdomen and her back, which i thought were mozzie bites. then when i bathed her yesterday i was concerned that spots had appeared in a cluster around her shoulders. and the itchiness would explain why her sleep has been fitful the past 2 nights.

yet during the day, the bean isn't particularly poorly. she's still got her appetite (she's just announced, "mum! i'm hungry! i'm hungry!" as i type this), although that could change if the pox gets worse, and she's been pretty chirpy and active.

still, the prospect of being stuck at home for the next week or so is a bit bleak...i hope my resources for entertaining her won't be exhausted too soon!

bean's candid observations

took the bean swimming yesterday. while i was helping the bean to dress in the changing room, the bean, as usual, was being a busybody looking at other people. in particular, she noticed a woman in a corner and asked, "what that woman doing mum?"

sotto voce, i said, "what do you think? and don't point."

bean replied, "she's changing," and added, "she has a big round bottom."

that just gave me a tiny pause, but i said, "so do you."

Friday, November 21, 2008

bean's "big" words & "name of today"

a couple of days ago, a mum at playgroup told me that the bean knows some big words as she had used the word "decorate" whilst playing at the sandpit.

it set me to wonder at what big words the bean does know. so here're some words and terms she's recently uttered.

- troublesome: as in "troublesome trucks" from thomas & friends

- irritating: as in when i get cross and tell her that she's being irritating and she argues back and says she is not "idditating"

- annoying: ditto above

- difficult: as in "this is too difficult for me"

- suspension: as in 'suspension bridge', although it's pronounced "pension bwidge"

- configuration: as in "i don't like this train set configuwation"


arguably one of her favourite lines at the mo' is "what is the name of today?"

this is often the first thing she asks in the morning and even though she'd been told what it is, she might ask it again later on, especially when we're in the car.

this morning (sunday, 23 nov), that was the first thing she said upon waking. then she repeated my reply, "sunday. (pause) where we going today?"

me: "maybe we'll do some grocery shopping."

bean: "no. not grocery shopping."

me: "yes, we've run out of some stuff and we need vegetables, fish, tofu..."

bean: "not milk. we don't buy milk." (this is because i keep force-feeding her milk in the mornings and evenings)

me: "milk is good for you. makes you grow big and strong."

bean countered with: "i bigger girl now," as if hoping that would convince me she doesn't need any more fresh cow's milk.


i put the bean in a red polkadot dress today and with it she took on a slightly different persona. she told me that she is now a fairy and started waving her extra-large bubble wand as a fairy wand. "i not a tiger any more."

she then insisted on wearing her fairy wings (the "pinky fairy wings") that i had bought from cotton on kids.

thus togged out, she then waved her wand at me and said, "i am going to magic you," and enchanted, "magickazoona!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the things she says

a few bean-isms today...

while in the middle of her tea, she solemnly, emphatically declared, "mum! horses can't fly." (of course, it came out as "horses can't fwy", the last word i misheard as "cry".) on her 3rd attempt to tell me this very important fact, she was almost fiercely adamant.

then in the bath just a minute ago, she said, "when i was a little boy, i had a pee pee."

afterwards, she sang a song (i can't remember which one!) and commented at the end, "that is a cheerful song." i asked if she liked it, and she replied, "it's a good song."

Monday, November 17, 2008

family portraits # 1

today the bean decided to use some new marker pens to do a picture of her cousin matteo. he's the one in maroon attached to a green rock - don't ask me what a rock is doing in the mise-en-scene. (sorry, i've been told that it is NOT a rock, it is a golf ball...apparently matteo is hitting it. silly mummy...)

standing beside matteo are his grandparents, the bean's po po and gong gong, looking suitably taller, albeit a trifle gaunt and limbless.

i have to add that these portraits were not commissioned by me. it was the bean's own spontaneous decision to do them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

sep-nov update: cognition & speech

backseat driver (advanced)
earlier in the week of 3 nov, while we were on the road one morning, we became stuck behind a bus in a bus bay. i didn't know whether the bus was going to move off soon or to overtake it, so in the moments of deliberation i muttered, "stupid bus! are you going to move?"

only to hear from my backseat driver, "mummy, don't be rude to the bus. it is not rude to you. it is stopped because of the red light. so don't be angry at the bus, ok?"

i was kind of pleased that she's able to reason it so logically, but also a little miffed as it is a bit rich, coming from a kid who would sing, "the monkey on the road wouldn't drive properly, drive properly, drive properly" to the tune of 'the wheels on the bus'. ok, so daddy taught her this rather rude song, but still...chagrin...

one of the activities we do to deflect her from potential tantrums, is to ask her to spot street signs. "can you see any roundabout signs? or give way signs?" or we count bottlebrush trees* or look for palm/pine/gum trees. or we look for trucks/diggers/concrete mixers. sometimes, when i remember, i would get her to call them out in mandarin...but this isn't as often as it should be.

jiang hua yu
i have enrolled the bean in both a mandarin playgroup and a zhuyin fuhao class - they're run by 2 different organisations. the latter class is to (hopefully) ground her in chinese phonics and to familiarise her with traditional characters.

she still resists going to both sessions, yet once there she doesn't want to leave! but i guess our efforts are paying dividends...some.

at home, she does sing some of the mandarin children's songs that they use in the playgroup, even though she would just rather spin round and round (that's her signature dance, and she usually ends her twirling with a little bow) than sing along with the jie jie and other kids in class.

we have a simple bopomofo** table at home and she likes to point at the characters and spout its pronounciation.

it's rare, but she does use mandarin phrases or words. like, "bu yao" (don't want) and "bu zhi dao" (don't know).

20 questions - the why phase
folks have written or whined about the onset of the age of "whys", and i had always thought it cute but exaggerated. well, now that the bean's started, those parents have my utmost sympathies.

she doesn't use "why" yet, but the phrase "what's the meaning" and variations there of: "what's the meaning of saturday, mum?", "what's the meaning of parrot?", "what's olives mean?", "what's eggplant mean?" ad nausem...

off pronounciation
at this age the bean obviously still can't get her tongue around some consonant blends, most notably "sp" ("pooky poon" is spooky spoon, a villianous character from the tv show numberjacks) and "st" ("we topping now").

when the bean is asked if she would like something and she's not interested, she now says, "anything!". after a while we worked it out that 'anything' actually means 'nothing'. but we didn't 'get it' until we've had much tears over crossed messages.

e.g., i might ask, "would you like to wear this outfit or this one?" the bean would look at them and then turn away, "anything! anything!" and then when i pick one outfit for her and try to get her to wear it, she'd protest, "no! no! anything!" only after a couple of these exchanges did i realise that she meant she didn't like any of the outfits.

* bottlebrush tree: shrubs and trees belonging to the genus Callistemon. we have one which i think is a weeping bottlebrush in our backyard. it is very popular with rainbow lorikeets and indian mynahs. around our neighbourhood, this is a popular roadside shrub, but i have no idea which specific ones they are. for more info -

** zhuyinfuhao is aka bopomofo colloquially.

Friday, November 07, 2008

sep-nov update - socialisation

i have been remiss in updating the blog. what i will try is to group my anecdotes into broad categories - socialisation (covering her interactions with her cousins and other kids), speech & cognition, and random stuff - stuff that don't fit into the above 2 categories.

i had hoped that the bean's trip to the uk, where she would be interacting properly with her older twin cousins for the first time, would inspire her in some ways. well, she did enjoy being near them, although she could take herself off to play by herself (she was totally enamoured by their train set).

"hi guys! i here now!" was a refrain she'd cry before running to see them. but at her age, being a year younger and still really a toddler, she was really playing in parallel with them.

one funny moment came when the 3 kids were playing with a sandpit in the garage. the twins as usual would be talking-bickering between themselves, commenting on their own and each other's work. the bean was in a different corner working on her own thing, then while still concentrating on her work, she announced, "you guys. you are so naughty." (i am not sure what incidents inspired this observation of hers though.)

christopher wasn't particularly perturbed by her comment as he was engrossed in his own plans for the sandpit (involving moving very heavy bits around the garage) but edward was indignant, "we are not!"

another time, the bean was engrossed with crayoning at the easel when she was kissed on the cheek by christopher. she put one hand to the spot, turned and said to him, "thank you." she then turned around and saw me and explained, "kwiffer did kiss me." the boy in question was a little abashed and ran off...exactly like how i imagined georgy-porgy to react after kissing the girls.

but for his affection, christopher was pipped by edward in looking after the bean. when the 3 of them were packed off to a playbarn, edward was the one who kept saying, "christopher, wait! we have to wait" for the bean.

the bean was obviously attached to the elder boys, but unfortunately, because the younger twins are still too young to 'play' with her, she wasn't as interested in them...the younger cousins are still very new toddlers and at the curious stage where they want to grab everything and do not know their own strength. this they displayed to the fullest whenever the bean was near them - they'd reach out and tug at her hair or give her a whack hello. so after a few experiences the bean tried to avoid them as much as possible.

one morning it culminated as we stepped out of the bathroom and encountered the twins' mother, and the bean solemnly declared, "aunty mimi, i don't like florian and samuel."

talk about kids not having any filter for their thoughts. i was speechless at her frankness/rudeness and mortified. thankfully, aunty mimi was a lot more understanding than i!

i am sure though that when the kids are a bit older all the cousins would be able to play together.

back in oz, while the bean likes being around other kids of the same age or slightly older, she still doesn't know how to share or take turns.

everything is "mine", even public stuff or stuff in school. when i told her that she would have to share her toys with visitors to our house, she thought on it then informed me, "mummy, i don't want anybody to come visit me."

and her wants must be satisfied immediately. i have to constantly remind her about this in the desperate hope that she will learn delayed gratification.

bean's self-portrait # 1

this is the bean's first self-portrait (she'd done a couple of portraits of me before), done yesterday afternoon, thurs 6 nov. it's some evidence of her artistic progress. she began as all kids do, by being content merely daubing on colour and then she moved to what-seemed-like random scribbles and doodles, and thence latterly to 'panda bears', her first 'representational' drawing subject.

after pandas, she did one octopus (with exactly 8 legs, counting as she drew them) and then a few whales and one cat. surprisingly, even though she absolutely adores cats (probably her favourite animal "all day long"*) she hasn't been particularly interested in drawing them.

she really started drawing 'properly' after we came back from the uk early october, when she went into a frenzy of artistic 'expression' - in fact, for a long time, her one drawing subject was the panda bear - a shapeless blob with stick legs, arms and ears, eyes (one big, one small) and gash-like mouth. her montessori directress suggested that i stock the house with lots of paper for her to doodle as this burst of drawing is usually a precursor to actual writing.

our living room is now adorned with a few of her drawings - i've pegged them onto the fishing wire that the previous tenants had left strung on the walls.

* "all day long" is bean-speak for 'all the time'/ 'always'/ 'everytime'/ 'forever'...