Grandma and Grandpa are visiting! They drove all the way down from Rochester, NY and got here late Sat night.
They are the first guests that stayed at our place overnights, and we are so happy to show them our new place and have Maddy get to know them.
Maddy bonded with grandpa last night. They tossed the ball to each other while Maddy is on the top of the stairway and grandpa is downstairs, and she had her nai-nai sitting next to grandpa the whole time. This morning she giggled when she saw grandpa coming out of the room and she mumbled the word ‘grandpa’ (well.. it sounded more like g-PA)
Grandma cook so much food for us. Our big new frig looks like it’s running out of space, which never happens before. Grandma’s organic blueberries is the biggest hit for Maddy, followed by the delicious chicken/beef congee. Grandma also made mommy and daddy a lot of buns and curry chicken and beef sauce. I don’t think we need to buy any meat for a while. Grandma even left a big jar of her secret sauce for us!
We went to Big Asia Bowl for dinner the other day. Grandpa and Grandma were shocked by the amount of noodles Maddy ate. They look a little ‘worried’ and almost speechless. I don’t think grandma believed my earlier blog about Maddy eats more than us sometimes until she witnessed our little eating monster in action. They asked if Maddy ever stops eating.
Grandpa put up two tricky babygates for us on the top of the stairs. They look beautiful without too many permanent screws here and there. Grandpa is the best handyman!
Thank you grandpa and grandma for visiting, and we’ll see you again at Brekenridge during Thanksgiving!
It’s becoming quite a handful to take Brownie/Maddy on the walk and feed the ducks. Maddy had figured out that I’m giving the ducks bread, so both she and Brownie whine for food all the way to the pond. Then the brave ducks and the sometimes aggresive Canadian goose (yes, just one of them who had ‘left’ his gang and joined the domestic American ducks. I think he is a goose) All of them come to get bread crumbs, plus Maddy and Brownie. Sometimes I feel like a herd of hungry animals come towards me. It’s been really nice though. I’m so looking forward to the beautiful fall and it’s wonderful taking the girls out without sweating like a pig.
And the airplanes. Maddy points to every one of them that passes above us. She even tried to say ‘plane’. Not much success, but she tried.
Daddy came home early today. Maddy saw daddy from afar and she stood up, started laughing loudly, and waved to daddy. We ran home (well, mommy ran and pushed the stroller) as fast as we could, and Maddy gave daddy a biggest smile and hug. It was the best thing daddy came home to.
I went to the Women’s group at church last night. The gals there were sweet and friendly, and I met a couple new faces there. However, I did realized again how ‘different’ I am from the general ‘population’ here.
One of the gals there mentioned that she wants to have a child but her husband is not ready yet. All the sudden, all the rest of the gals started to tell her how she should really start having kids early and never wait until she’s 30.. blah blah blah. A total opposite of me: I didn’t even want to talk about having kids until I’m at least 30 years old.
I mean, I had always known that people in the ‘South’ prefer starting families early, and it had always bugged me about that. I mean, I am not saying that having a child is such a bad thing, but in all reality, it does hinder a lot of things… Gosh, experience life as a single for a couple of years… experience life as a couple without kids for a couple of years…. then you can experience life as parents… there is no need to start a family in a ‘hurry’. You’re going to be a wife/husband and parent for the rest of your life.
My fear being here is not that I can’t adjust to the Southern lifestyle. You always adapt (but not necessary conform); human are amazing creations. My worst fear is that Maddy will become one of them, believing ‘getting married early’ and ‘having kids early’ and just ‘relax’ is the way to go in life.
I had always loved the fast pace of life. I believe in working hard and playing hard. I don’t want to settle for things being ‘ok’ or even just ‘good’. I want to strife for the ‘best’ in everything in my life. Sure I enjoy relaxing… after I have accomplished something productive. None of this just relax for the sake of relaxing mentality. You can call it whatever pretty name you want.. kind of resembles lazyness to me. And don’t give me the ‘Martha and Mary’ lecture. I don’t seem them as the good ‘Mary’; they are more like the Martha, except that she is doing things very slowly and inefficiently.
I sure would hate for Maddy to miss anything because she is ‘relaxing’ and ’settling down’ early. I want her to go far away for university; for whatever she decides to do after school, I hope it’ll give her the opportunities to move around… making different friends and experiencing different areas. When/If she decides to get married, I hope they enjoy being a couple without kids for a few years. When/If she decides to have children, I hope she’s done most of the stuff that she can’t do when she has a child.
And I know, the typical Southerners probably think I’m this snobbish, never content, always on the edge dork. So be it. I swear if I see any sign of Maddy becoming a Southerner, I’m looking to move out of here.
My child has turned from a little sweet baby to a major tyrant with temper in one weekend.
For the past three days, she shaked her head decisively when I told her it’s time to get out of bath. At first I thought she was just shaking her head by coincidence or for fun, but she was not kidding. She threw a fit when I took her out of the tub.
When daddy was busy packing and didn’t tend to her immediately this morning, Maddy threw her whole body on the ground and played ‘dead’. We ignored her act; finally she got up herself because Brownie went to lick her face.
Today she hit a classmate’s face when he approached to get the toy she was playing. I didn’t have a chance to talk to Ms Doris yet, but I’m sure she threw a tantrum when the teachers told her that it is not ok to hit friends.
When I told her it’s not ok to throw her bowl on the ground during dinner time, she went ballistic… crying, kicking, then wanting to be held, then crying, kicking again.
Oh.. and yesterday, she had insisted to put on the sneakers herself and didn’t want my help at all. Of course she got mad because she couldn’t do it.
After all the bad behaviors, she went to cuddle with daddy during her night-night milk time.. and she impressed us by picking up the wash towel and wiped her neck and body during bath time, then gave mommy a nice hug when I put on her PJ’s… so again, she had mommy and daddy wrapped around her little fingers.
We were prepared to face harricane Ivan to pass us this weekend (which means it was going to be a boring weekend cooped up at home), but we had such a surprise weather besides the one hour pouring on Friday afternoon.
And today, it was a California Day!! It was sunny and cool in the morning, and not a single cloud in the blue sky. Could it be? Could it be? I thought I was in a dream.
It was just perfect. We had lunch with a friend in a Italian restaurant after church. The service was fast and the food was great. We had a good lunch while Maddy ate her spaghtti in peace.
Then we all took a Chen nap. It is really hard not falling asleep on our nice new leather couches.
Later afternoon, we ventured around our Carpenter Lake. Maddy loves feeding the ducks. She says ‘Ya-Ya… Ya-Ya’ shortly after we go on the trail, totally anticipating the ducks waiting and coming to her for the bread. And we went as far as we could go around the lake before we hit the part where the other residencial development area didn’t want to join the trails with ours. Oh well… it’s just as well. The trail on our side is much better anyway.
Brownie had a great time. She didn’t pant like usual when we walk in humidity. This is probably the longest walk she’s taken since we moved here, and she didn’t hurry to get back in to the house. Maddy likes it when we push her really really fast. We think she’ll like roller coasters when she grows up, just like her mommy and daddy.
It was a PERFECT day! Thank You Thank You Thank You God…
Being a parent first-hand is so different from anything else. Although I grew up with many many kids older and younger and I watched my parents take care of my brother who is 11 years younger than me, there are still surprises now a days.
Sometimes I miss Maddy being a helpless little ‘baby’. She just seems so big and mature these days, but there are many little things she does now that tickle my heart:
1) When she is in the right mood, she gives the biggest, slimiest, wettest kiss on my cheek with a loud sound effect “Mm..MA”
2) When she is tired, she hugs her blanket and curls up like a little teddy bear
3) She has her bath routine down. After we un-dress her in her room, she leads the way to her bathroom.. Naked; with her tummy sticking out and little butt wabbling.. and the un-mistakable “Chen” legs stroking.. We follow behind her and laugh everyday.
4) She is into books lately. My absolutely favorite part is when she brings a book over, turns around, back herself up and sits down on my lap. Then she ‘adjusts’ her seat by twisting her butt until it is comfortable for her before she opens the book.
In a couple of years, she won’t cuddle with me any more. She will probably want to hang out with her friends and be all independent. Sometimes I wish she would stay this small forever, being a mommy’s girl.
Maddy’s first words that make sense and are used correctly:
1) uh-oh This is her FIRST word she said intentionally without error
2) ya-ya Duck in Chinese
3) boo boo “book-book” No “k” sounds yet, but she says them whenever she picks out books from her book shelf
4) Bye-bye The new word she just started to say this past weekend
5) Nai-Nai Milk in Chinese… she doesn’t say it right consistently though
6) Ma-ma/Ba-ba Mommy and daddy… she says them at many occasions other than calling us. I’m not sure if she actually understand the words or not
7) “Br-a” Her version of “Brownie”. Still trying to say the whole word, but not too shabby for a one-year old.
I thought the comments we got from Primrose is worth writing down today:
Life is full of difficult choices…. Should I continue to eat or should I sleep? (She was still putting food in her mouth as her eyes were closing and her head was nodding. What a precious sight!)
We went to friends’ house on Sat night. They have two boys age 8 and 5. It’s so different having boys than girls. Boys play rough and they can just run around the house non-stop.
Maddy had such a blast with them. She giggled as she watched the boys chasing each other in circles. She even went up to the big boy and ‘hit’ him in the chest at the end. The same way she provokes Brownie when she wanted Brownie to chase her. She had such a great time that she totally passed out and skipped her bath and night time milk.
The mom is former engineer turned interior designer (although she won’t admit that she’s good enough to be one). By coincidence that we have the same builder with our current houses, so we have a lot to talk about. She painted every room with a different color and different technique. It made such a difference now their house shows their personalities. It ‘almost’ inspired me to do the same, but I think we’ll end up hiring someone to do all the work.
Then we have other friends over for dinner on Sunday night. Again these are good friends whom we can invite over without us having a dining table. (It is not our fault that delivery here takes so long) We joked about our ‘old days’ when we can do anything at any time or place, but now we’re controlled by our daughters. How we used to go jogging togheter, and now we just sit on the couch and ‘talk’ about working out. It is really amazing though… watching our daughters grow up together.
So.. despite that I am still adjusting to the lifestyle here (and occasionally I get so frustrated and annoyed that I want to drop everything here and move back to MY type of state), I’m thankful for all the good friends here and all the blessings they bring to our lives!
Primrose had their “celebrating of cultures” parade at school.
Maddy wore a Chinese outfit borrowed from friends. I didn’t realize that you can wear outfits from ANY culture (doesn’t have to be your background) until I saw some Caucasians wearing Asian outfits. Maddy could have dressed to be an All-American girl
They couldn’t bring the babies out and all the toddlers were in the cribs. I suppose it works, but what they really need is the Buggy Rides.
It’s very cute though. All the bigger kids paraded around and then we all sang “It’s a Small World”.
Then daddy told mommy that there is a party, and proceeded to go into the big kids’ classroom, where the food is. And for the life of me, I tried to tell him that we’re not supposed to be there.. we’re supposed to be in Maddy’s classroom. But daddy said, no no.. there is no food in Maddy’s classroom, here is where we need to be. I was very puzzled.
And finally, the teacher announced that all the kids should grab a plate and have their parents help them pick out the snacks, and daddy finally realized that he shouldn’t be there.
Needtheless to say, we had to sneak out the classroom. Thank goodness daddy didn’t start grabbing the hot dogs he said he wanted. We would be forever banned from Primrose.
So this time, mommy had to explain to daddy on the way back to work: We’re not in Cisco Daycare any more. We could only have the parade in heat; There is no buggy rides; and the daycare does not provide all you can eat snacks at all the events.
I couldn’t stop laughing. The teachers and parents in that kindergarten classroom must have been so confused and wondered who the heck are this Chinese couple and why does the dad keep eyeing on their food.
Poor Maddy… the torture she has to go through. I can just see the kids in school make fun of her “Your dad tries to steal our food.. your dad tries to steal our food… and your mom complains all the time.. your mom complains all the time”
The muralist we hired completed Maddy’s playroom today. It turned out so much better than I expected and I am really glad that I didn’t do it myself.
I gave her the idea of a forest with different animals. She knew that we love Disney so all the characters she drew were from Disney’s stories: Bambi; Jungle Book; Peter Pan; Snow White; Lion King. Well, daddy requested Eyore from her. He seems so ‘out of place’ in the forest and frankly looking a little confused, but he’s one of Maddy’s favorite characters, thus we’ll keep him.
So one room totally complete and a couple more to go!
A friend commented on my last blog about their years at Modesto (small town outside of SF), how they used to drive back to SF every weekend because they hated how backward modesto was, but how they love the same things now living in hip Palo Alto: good friends, good church and company.
At first I moaned because the closet real ‘city’ for us to drive to is DC, which is 4 hours away, and eating out here in NC is just not so much ‘fun’ any more. First you have to drive 10-15 mins to get to any restaurant, then you wait for the service, which also seems to be on a much slower pace… and by the time you get your food, you’re like “I went through all the trouble for this?@#”
On the other hands, there are many blessings we have here as well. An old friend came over for dinner (she is a good enough friend whom we can invite over although our house is still a mess and she had to stand up to eat because our dining table hasn’t been delivered yet).
Another couple (also our old friends) invited us over many times for lunch/dinner to hang out with them and their daughter who is slightly older than Maddy. Being with good friends just make everything else seem so much more ‘bearable’.
Our next door neighbor turns out to be a big blessing too. She is designing a low maintainence but ‘pretty’ yard for us and doing all the work to get the builders to fix the backyard piping issues.
Sometimes late at night, I still miss CA, specially when Maddy’s caretakers here do not ‘measure up’ to my expectations. It bothers me so much that I wonder if I had made the mistake moving here. For example, they were giving Maddy a big piece of cake at nursery yesterday when I went to check on her. And I know, it is a very innocent thing to do, to celebrate the birthday of another child. But just the fact that they didn’t ask me if it was ok for Maddy to eat it, it bugged me. I know kids who are allergic to eggs, flour; and I know plenty of parents who do not give sweets to their kids until they’re much older.
But looking at other parents who were obviously happy to feed the cake to their kids, I also wonder if I’m just over-reacting or over-critical. But then, I remembered the instances where Maddy’s old caretakers told me that they didn’t give her certain snack because they didn’t know if I allowed that. I feel like there are two Tina’s in me, how the Bible says there is the new self and the old flesh. They’re constantly ‘arguing’ about the ways things are done here.
And maybe that is what it is… I can tolerate everything else being a little ‘backwards’, but it’s extremely hard for me to accept anything other than perfect when it comes to Maddy…
However, I am very thankful, that Maddy is not allergic to anything, and she is such a happy baby wherever she is.
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