Thursday, November 29, 2007

Too many thoughts in my head

I am looking forward to my Bikram Yoga session tonight. I think I'll take it reasonably easy because I haven't been for a really long time.

It's time to review the year, plan for the next. A time to sow and harvest, and rest and recharge. I get contemplative (and a little stressed) about this all.

Question marks float through my brain like those little black dots that appear in front of your eyes when you are tired. Transient things like: Where am I going with my life? Should we both plan to get another degree? Where do we see our careers going in conjunction with our family life? and of course the really important questions like: What's for dinner?

*POSTSCRIPT: this lovely picture above is taken from a book cover, the title and contents of which are self-explantory. I do not own this book, so if you are thinking of any suitable christmas presents....

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I spoke to Gina today.

We met in Italy some time ago, and I was really sad when we parted (thank God for the internet) and inasmuch as one of my activities to alleviate boredom is to nit-pick on American foreign policy and the Bush administration, I actually quite like many American individiauls.

Gina has the generousity of spirit that both overwhelms and charms, and I have had so many happy memories of Turin in part because she was there.

Anyway, she's back in Seattle with her new baby son and I wish the little family all the best of luck and many happy thoughts!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weaning is such sweet sorrow

Sophie has been fed only breastmilk for the first 5 months of her life. Our general approach to introducing solids and weaning has been a soft and gentle tread.

This perhaps has something to do with our current child care where we (deliberately) arrange for Sophie to have just her mum and dad around every weekend. [Note to Self: A world without any form of paid childcare is a very scary place, and I try never to take my excellent ayis for granted!!]

At 6:30am on weekend mornings when you have an (extremely) active toddler who wants to play the time honoured game of "Let's jump and down on my parent's bed till they get out of it", the best way to get her to lie quietly and snuggle is to offer her "nai-nai".The other thing we have started doing is to set some rules (e.g no nai-nai when we are out of the house) but quite often this rule is more observed in its breach.

La Leche advocates breastfeeding for at least 6 months, but afterwards to continue for as long as both baby and mommy feel comfortable.

I think that this Christmas in France should be one of the last times where she has reasonably easy access to my boob and the 2008 resolution is that I have to be more firm about saying "nai-nai finished - no more!!".

But it will be just so damn hard in those weekend mornings, and a part of me will always miss having her little face pressed against me with that look of pure and utter contentment and security.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

18 months already

"what a lucky girl she is!" my friend exclaimed when hearing about Sophie's adventures.

"You are wrong" I told my friend. "It is not that Sophie is lucky to have this life, but we (her parents) are lucky to be able to share it with her."

My dear daughter,

I am sure the blinkers of parental bias would have engendered the same passionate love; even if you were not the delight that you truly are.

Inasmuch as we would like to believe that it is down to our superb parenting skills and carefully planned organic menu, I am afraid we only had a relatively small part to play in your development.

Whether divine providence, karmic lottery, or genetic jackpot, I am absolutely convinced that your keen intelligence and extremely intense nature were entirely inborn. So far you've demonstrated that you have an excellent memory and you appear to have a precocious musicality which has sparked a great deal of excitement. Your proud parents tend to waver between finding a way to let you develop your gifts, and protecting you from unnecessary stress.

We are likely to make mistakes, we probably will cause you much emotional pain (although this will probably be nothing like what you are likely to inflict on us). Parenting must be the only job in the world where one undertakes the maximum level of risk and responsibility, coupled with no actual control. You are your own little person. A fact which fills me with wonder each time you remind me of it.

If the last 18 months were anything to go by, the next 18 years of your life will probably be alternately exhausting and exhilarating. We are just so glad to be a part of it, and never wish to forget the unique gifts you've graced our lives with - simply by being in it.

Love always - mama and papa

Monday, November 05, 2007

Eternal Life

This morning I realised that a friend had died.

It wasn't someone I knew really well, but whom I considered fondly as one who brought joy to other people that I knew and cared about. And sometimes that is all you need as a basis - call it friendship by contact if you will, but the sadness that comes afterwards is still a personal one.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

She actually really does it!!

Some months ago, the nanny quite proudly announced to me that Sophie could now read Chinese. I sort of dismissed it as the prattling of a dear lady who loves and adores my kid to bits, and was probably mistaken.

We went to Long Qing Gorge today with my Mom and Aunt and the windows in the car were misting up, so I idly scratched some characters onto the condensation with my finger. Sophie took a look and went "papa"...

AUGGGHHH.... It is true. She really reads. I tested various words before running out of window space (and attention span). So far, apart from "baba" she can read the Chinese characters for "mama", "horse", "car" and "soup".

I am stunned and also bursting with pride. She reads more Chinese than her dad. I am so glad that I have a good nanny, because I really do not think that I could have taught her all that myself, even if I didn't work. It just wouldn't have occured to me to do it, partly because I believe children should just be left to play and develop by themselves. But that she enjoys reading (and probably all the attention she gets from doing it!) and has so much fun that I begin to reconsider this stand, and I am extremely grateful to her ayi for it.