Ellie and BFF Xixi like to hang out with another girl, Hanhan, all three of them born in October 2005, and all six of us parents have vivid dreams of our daughters' bilingual glory. Our circumstances in light of that goal differ widely. Hanhan's parents are Chinese, but her father speaks good English and they hope to immigrate to an English-speaking country. Xixi's mother is Chinese and father American, so she understands both languages well, but speaks mostly Chinese. And then there's Ellie, who honestly doesn't know the difference between the Chinese and English words she utters, and whose parents are somewhat less than conversant in Chinese (me especially). For Ellie to really gain any Chinese aptitude, she'd need to be enrolled in a Chinese preschool (8-5 M-F, as young as 18 mo. old), but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Despite her behavioral querks, I think I'd rather miss the kid.
One of the numerous career paths Kyle has investigated lately is nursing. Ellie demonstrated her support for this career, but to no avail. In the end, Kyle just couldn't come to terms with the needles, catheters, and a whole year of chemistry and biology classes!
These days when a family prayer is proposed, Ellie immediately assumes the responsibility of offering the prayer herself. If we are blessing a breakfast of eggs and toast, the prayer sounds like this: “Hebby Fah-ver, tank tu for Eh-ie’s food, bread, eggs, Mommy’s bread, Mommy’s eggs, Ellie’s eggs, Daddy, Daddy’s work, family, Didi bood boy (good boy), pea-buh bed (peanut butter bread), watch a movie-- Tarzan!, church dress, Jesus, Daddy, Jesus Christ A-mehhhhhn (with the intonation of a gospel choir). This is an improvement from her previous response to prayers, which was folding her arms when a prayer was called and then exclaiming “A-mehhhhhn” when the prayer became disinteresting, afterwhich we’d spend the rest of the prayer trying to stop her from eating her food, running around the church building, etc.
I can’t declare Ellie officially potty-trained, but she did employ her potty duck (aka “defecation seat”) seven times in one day last week. Actually, it was all within three hours, and I feel she may be taking advantage of the potty candy system (entitles her to a candy every time she “goes” on the potty, though we’ve yet to determine how many drops constitutes “going"). In any case, she sports her big girl undies with pride!
One of the tastiest perks of living in
Boxes are too valuable here to resurrect Ellie’s beloved box house of previous days, but some Americans moving back to the
Well, all Didi wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth, and the slobbery little kid’s wish was granted! Unlike Ellie, teething does not seem to be an excruciating process for Didi, so we didn’t even notice his gums were making way until the teeth had broken through. Didi doesn’t scream, but the kid can DROOL! I can’t tell you how many people here have expressed concern for our perpetually wet-chested child. “No, he’s not leaking body fluids or vomiting—he just drools.”
One of the advantages of not having many friends here (with children) is that my children are not frequently exposed to the myriad of diseases floating around this pollution-saturated city. (And maybe I haven’t mentioned this before, but perhaps because people’s lungs are already headed toward cancer, or perhaps because a pack is 50 cents, but virtually every man in this city is a chain smoker, and some women, too. So, if the coal and car exhaust pollution doesn’t kill them, tobacco’s right there to make up the difference.) Our friends’ kids have recently been hospitalized with things like pneumonia and the croup, and we count ourselves quite fortunate to have avoided such illnesses so far… <