Friday, February 27, 2009

How many of these do I want?

Sophie's last comment (see below) about looking for parents sort of made me so teary-eyed that I wondered if my hormones were going through some sort of major change. Which made me run out to buy a pregnancy test kit because I was paranoid thinking I might be pregnant again? (*gasp*) I thought the best form of contraception was actually HAVING a baby....

It's not that I am against having more children around this house, but I was quite seriously thinking to adopt/foster them partly because I think we could provide these kids a good home and partly for environmental reasons. So whilst I do want more kids around, I am not actually planning on being pregnant again too soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Seek and ye shall find

We are currently packing clothes, books and toys away, some are for our friends who have babies younger than Alex, and some is for the local orphanage. I now go through this process together with Sophie, and explain that these are for the children who live in the orphanage. We usually make these donations on her birthday and other celebrations, but sometimes we do this as a regular activity.

Sophie used to accept that the orphanage was where these kids live in very much the same way that our house is where Sophie and Alex live.

Now that she is getting more curious, she asks "why do I have to give my toys to them?"
"they don't have a lot of stuff, and you and Alex have a lot"
"But if you give my books and toys away, I won't have any left, and then will somebody else give me things?"
"Yes, Papa and Mama give you things all the time"
"Do Papa and Mama give things to the children too?"
"Yes, probably not as much as we would like to, but we do give things to the children too"
"Do their Papa and Mama give them things too? Do their Papa and Mama give me things too?"
"No, the children in the orphanage don't have papas and mamas. They have lost their parents"

At this point Sophie does a double-take, and is silent and frowning for a really long time.

Then she says "We have to go look for their Papa and Mama! Come on Mama ! Let's go find them "

Bless you my daughter and your kind and generous nature. It is a little hard to describe how I am feeling. A mix of being proud and sad. Proud that she is such a caring and lovely kid, and a little sad that she will (at some point in time) find out that you can't fix all the world's problems so easily.

I don't like going to the orphanage. I always wish I could adopt them ALL.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snow days

It's so rare to see Beijing looking all snow covered and beautiful. Fresh powder white snow (with a little help from the cloud seeding plane unfortunately). This means I worry a little bit when Sophie tries to catch a snowflake on her tongue (as you can see from the photo).

Alex is being carried around by the nanny. When you have 2 kids (and a nanny) it is your second kid that is carried around all the time by the nanny becuase your first kid will want to spend all that time with you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mom is here !

I think I love living in Asia because my mom can help out with the kids. The big plus about having kids relatively younger is that they get to meet their grandparents. Sophie is very lucky to have met not only her 4 grandparents but also 3 great-grand parents too.

My mom came to help out when I went to Hong Kong for a meeting last week. Which was a real relief because it was the first overnight trip I was making without Alex. Of course to add insult to injury, Fabien was away for the first half of the week, and I was away on the second part of the week (we crossed each other at the airport because we have the rule that our kids shouldn't spend a night with both parents working overseas).

When I came back I asked mom and my ayis how the kids adjusted to my absence, whereupon ayi said "do you want the truth or the sanitised version?"

As I feared - both kids missed me terribly. Alex found it difficult to sleep and they ran out of Mommy milk (I had seriously underestimated her consumption) so they supplemented with formula, which didn't agree with her. Sophie standing at the window looking downstairs. She said she wanted to try to see Mommy coming home.

Not surprisingly Fab and I had a whole bunch of sleep issues to deal with when I returned. Alex had a really disrupted schedule and Sophie insisted on having somebody in the room with her all the time. To explain why this is terrible, Sophie used to go to bed at 7pm every night by herself (i.e. tell a story, close the door and walk away). Now we have to stay in the room till she falls asleep, but WORSE - when she wakes up at night and finds nobody there, she screams for us until Fab or I show up in the room.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Parenting Dilemma Number 376

We are in the lift lobby, and a friendly neighbor tries to engage Sophie in conversation. My daughter turns away and ignores him and I am embarrassed. Afterwards I ask "Sophie, why didn't you want to talk to Uncle XYZ? He's nice" And Sophie says "Don't like him"

Now, natural parenting philosophy say you are supposed to respect your children's choices, and allow them to develop their intuition. In this age of child molesters and so on, we are advised that we should allow our children to trust their instincts to refuse to talk to strangers or people that they don't know very well, without trying to justify their refusal. This is supposed to protect your children against being preyed upon by perverts.

But I dig a bit deeper and ask "Sophie why don't you like Uncle XYZ?" and Sophie clearly says (in Chinese) "Because when Mama talks to him, then I can't play with Mama any more. Mama ignores me." Which sort of sucks because she's right. I am really not sure how to argue with that logic?

I wonder if it is a working parent sort of thing, or whether my kid would be just as possessive of my attention and time even if I was a full time parent.

What do I do? Force her into a polite response that she clearly doesn't feel? Make excuses for her (ALL parenting books tell you not to do that)? Ignore this kind of anti-social behaviour?

Nobody said being a parent was easy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Family Photo Shoot

The principal of Sophie's school was asked to suggest a cute toddler for the March cover of a Beijing Parents/Kids magazine, so she suggested Sophie. I'd agreed to do it because we could get a free family photoshoot at home, and I am a sucker for freebies...

So on Saturday morning, the photographer and the magazine editor show up at our house with big light reflectors that Sophie was real interested in playing with. They had wanted to put the "Spring" theme on the cover and so had brought fresh flowers and a spade for Sophie to pretend to re-pot. Sophie fiddled with it for a while, got bored, and then wanted to play with her other toys, and had to be persuaded back to the flowers for a few more photos. A gardener this kid is NOT... There are only so many times you can tell a 2 going on 3 year old "Look at these pretty flowers! Let's count the petals!"

Anyway 2 hours later, we got some shots which were deemed "cover- worthy" and then we could get on with our breakfast. You can see them here if you are interested.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My girls

Alex is both extremely lucky and unlucky. It's great that Sophie loves Alex so much, but it is hard when she wants to cuddle Alex all the time, and squish her. Even when she was just days old (like in this photo)

Tough Love indeed.

I guess I am lucky that I don't have (as yet!) any sibling rivalry issues to deal with. Sophie seems content to be "Big Sister" and is mostly pretty gentle (though she needs regular reminding) to Alex.

I am going back to work tomorrow 3 days a week. I kinda excited and a little worried. I hope Alex accepts the bottle and the pumping goes well.