Monday, August 04, 2008

Christmas in October

Since our Kid #2 is expected between 15 to 20 September, Fabien's parents are coming to visit in October. Thus, we are not planning to going back to France this Christmas, so we will have Christmas in October ! YES - We will exchange our Christmas gifts and make our yearly charity donations, in OCTOBER this year - in utter disregard of the normal calendar rules! You might be wondering if my kids are ever going to be sane in this kind of environment - you might be right!

At the same time, we will also celebrate Fab's end of August birthday, and I have decided to buy him a digital SLR. If any of you "serious" photographers have some recommendations about what to get, I am all ears - please do tell me.. (especially you girls Gina and Fioleta - I think your shots are great).

Buying Christmas presents for Sophie is pretty easy too. My dearest daughter has very simple tastes - all kinds of moving things! I originally wanted to get this cool Kawasaki tricycle, but couldn't find it anywhere in Beijing (oh well)...

On the subject of gifts, I have no idea whether it is unusual in 2 year old girls, but Sophie absolutely despises Barbie, and so we had a slight diplomatic incident recently where one of my husband's chinese collegueas generously offered Sophie a bright pink barbie doll-set with (I am not kidding) a matching wardrobe of sparkly dresses. It looked terribly expensive, and my daughter took one look at it, ignored all my promptings to "say thank you"; shook her head and then ran away to play with the toy motorcycle which another kid had. She's a normally very polite kid, but I wasn't really sure what the parental teaching is supposed to be in situations such as this - what would you have done if you were me?!!

Eventually, I smiled weakly at the collegue in question and said "thank you, what a lovely gift! I am sure Sophie will love it when she is a little older, right now she just likes moving things ..." Anyway, I've got the giant box set in a cupboard at home now, and I just need to find an orphanage to give it to. Though if anyone wants a set of very 80s looking barbie clothes, please let me know !!

Actually, I lie when I say she just likes moving things - Sophie seems to be in a Playmobil phase now. But I have a natural aversion to plastic toys for a whole bunch of reasons (see this link if you just want the health reasons, but note that there are also lots of environmental reasons as well). Also on a practical level, Playmobil has lots of tiny little parts and that's a really bad idea when you have a second baby in the house that will very soon be crawling around and trying to eat everything. I do not relish the idea of performing a Heimlich Manuever on any infant much less my own!

We have managed to keep her entertained in the mornings (yes, at 5:30am !!) by setting out the smurfs playground, or the wooden dollhouse family (except they don't live in a house but a lego appartment) for her to play with in the morning. When I can get a photo of her playing (at a more sane hour!) I will, but they keep her entertained for some 45 minutes without bothering Fabien and me, so it's working thus far - sort of... more on that later!

Also, I've been looking to get some fun pretend play toys in wood for her. I really like the stuff from Plan Toys (yes, it's a hitherto unknown brand, and when you become a parent, you become fluent in a second language called brands of children toys and gear as your kid reaches each stage).

I am considering this Pirate Ship (lovely aint' it? As an alternative Playmobil one)

The other thing that she loves is construction equipment - her favourite being the Crane.

They are all made in Thailand, and I wonder whether any of our Thai friends can find out where to buy them from within Thailand, or are they made for export purposes only... I am quite happy to pay for them, but I need someone to find out for me - (Xavier? Pins? Judy?)


x said...

I have a Canon EOS 40D and can only recommend it. Great interface, easy to use, great build and photo qualities.
Don't skimp on the lens as this is more important than the camera body.
I recently acquired this Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS USM and its photo quality just blew me (and others) away.
If you hope Fab' will take crisp portraits and family shots that could be the winning combo.

Again, whatever your choice, make a point to select a good lens.

x said...

Girlfriend called and it appears they have the crane at Emporium for 2,900 THB.
The pirate ship is no longer in production but they may have a left-over stock. Any other preference?

I will be in Bangkok on 18th August. I can pack that in my suitcase and hand it to your parents when I come back to Singapore if you want.
With luck I would get the VAT refund :)

La IsleƱa said...

I must beg to differ. I've a Nikon DSLR and they take the most beautiful photos. Plus, they are better looking cameras. But yes, splurge on lenses not so much the camera body.

For advice on things Nikon:

Further than down under said...

Hi Sharon,

my hubby got a canon 40D before we came to NZ so we could take pictures of Middle Earth. Must say it was a good buy. we bought it in HK where it's cheaper than in sg. but not sure abt in Beijing, But yes... the choice of lenses is more impt, esp when you are out when 2 kids, and all 4 hands are needed, you don't want to be carrying too many lenses/needing to change them etc.
But, the hubby often keeps the cam in bag when we're on our walks... just cos his hands are often tied up (either with pushing pram or helping with kid on bike etc) He gets his best shots when either one is sleeping, at home, or on his own :P

Inspira said...

Can't recommend an SLR since I am an old-fashioned film kind of girl.

On Sophie, I remember my dad used to tell me I did the same thing when given gifts of Barbie "offerings". I used to bury the Barbie dolls in the backgarden. eek...I'm such a terror. Just in case you're wondering : I'm normal. At least I think I am. *heh*