Thursday, July 22, 2010

Auguries of innocence - William Blake

To see the world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My friendly kiddo

Originally uploaded by vacheorange
Alexandra is a real charmer when she wants to be. Here is the small one working her magic on this Balinese dude, at the temple, and Sophie is scratching her leg.

Whilst we love tropical holidays, there is always one micro-mili square that we miss when applying sunblock and repellent. And that will be the part that gets bitten. Poor Sophie - she is such a mosquito magnet.

I found out yesterday that Ally is allergic to some kinds of sun-block. Need to stock up on the hypoallergenic kind for her when we go on vacation - Badger Balm here we come.

Turn Left Turn Right

Originally uploaded by vacheorange
Anyone who has tried photographing children and dogs will know that it is highly improbable if not downright impossible to get them to do anything you want them to at the correct time.

Which is why I am so proud of this photo which I snapped in Bali at Chinese New Year (yes, I am very late in the uploading process).

Sophie and Alex managed to look in the opposite directions at exactly the same time, which is a scene out the Taiwanese movie "Turn Left, Turn Right".

We're going to France shortly for about a month. I am currently in the midst of baptism party planning craziness. I went and bought a hundred organza butterflies last week to display on the white tables that will be set up for the outdoor dinner. And some big balloons also. And party favours. It will be fun, and I hope Alex will appreciate this when she grows older. Sophie's baptism was a quiet and family-only affair.

Alex will be a rollicking party. This is due to a large amount of parental- guilt (self inflicted) for not paying enough attention to the Number 2 child, as Number 1. I think Alex has much less photos and parties in her honour than Sophie does overall. So we decided that if we throw a party for her, then we might as well do a really big one. And we so invited all our friends and family, to celebrate Alex's special day. There will be about 80 people coming, so it will be quite a party !

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just Happy in the playground

Originally uploaded by vacheorange
Sophie is growing so big and strong, she swings like a monkey from the bars. Alex on the other hand is just at the age where she is strong enough to get into big trouble, but not yet aware of how dangerous it is. There are photos of Sophie and Alex getting as much legitimate fun out of a playground as can be had. There are of course no photos of my kids in the midst of clearly inappropriate usage of playground equipment usually because I am busy yelling "get DOWN from that"

Friday, May 07, 2010

Timeless toys

Lego, duplo, megabloks, wooden blocks, weird plastic things that fit together with balls, or magnets or whatever.

I think the kids have played with them all.

I think they still like the simple ones the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sophie in School

One of the reasons why I love Ivy school is that it makes this blog almost redundant. In the sense that the teachers have a weekly report where they upload photos of what the children have been doing, and put it on a school website, and parents and grandparents have a password where you can check out what your kid has done that week.

Here is Sophie painting a picture in the style of Paul Klee. Heck, I didn't know who he was until Sophie told me so I googled it, but once you know who he is, you can see her inspired use of square color blocks that she stole off him.

One of the big admin tasks for me this weekend is to write an admissions essay (no kidding) for Sophie to go to the bilingual program in the French school. It's a classic problem of supply and demand, and with just 24 places serving a large expat community, there is a question of how to allocate resource. So they get parents to write an essay "introducing" their child, and indirectly explaining why their child is a wonderful addition to have in a class of 4 year olds.

Multi-lingual education is a big personal research topic of mine for fairly obvious reasons. Fabien speaks French exclusively to the kids, and I speak to them in both English and Chinese, depending on who the other listeners are. How this is tackled in school is another issue though. The French school does one day in French, and one day in English, but following the same syllabus. I think that is one reasonable way of approaching it.

When Sophie is 6 years old (i.e. in 2 years time) one of the things I would consider, if we continue to be in China, is to send her to Daystar Academy. This is where the kids do the Chinese syllabus (in Mandarin) in a sit-down classroom downstairs in the morning, and then go upstairs and do the British syllabus (in English) in a Montessori classroom upstairs after lunch. This means your kid basically goes to 2 kindergartens in one day, and gets native fluency in 2 languages. The draw back is that your kid has a very long day. As Sophie has quite a high sleep-need. She still sleeps 11 hours a night and naps for 60 - 90 mins in the afternoon, I am not sure whether she could do Daystar.

Alex on the other hand is a prime candidate for it. She seems to function with much less sleep.
Partly as a second child, we were much less strict on the sleep training, so Alex gets what Sophie gets in terms of sleep. At the same age, Sophie was sleeping many more hours. However, this is still pretty much within the normal range, although my first kid is on the higher end of it, whilst my second kid is on the lower.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I want to retire in Napa

Originally uploaded by vacheorange
I didn't upload the photos of our vacation in California (the bankrupt but still sunny state). I have to say that we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I found Americans (at least along the coastal cities) are generally extremely courteous and pleasant people. It's the or two annoyingly stupid ones who give them all a bad name, usually by getting themselves elected into public office. Anyway we had an awesome holiday - nuff said. And all the organic fruit and food we could ever want to eat - gorgeous ! By the way, I use Native Energy to buy my carbon offsets when I fly, but I realise that if I flew Cathay Pacific, they would do it for me - how neat !

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Grandparents are for spoiling

Originally uploaded by vacheorange
The kids met my mom and dad in San Francisco. Needless to say, a wonderful time was had by all parties involved. At all the wonderful things the city has to offer. I think Sophie's highlight was the Nutcracker, where she sat through 2 hours without twitching - completely mesmerized. Alex adored the California Academy of Science play-room for infants. Parents enjoyed Sendak exhibition and Napa valley.

Here in SF zoo, they contemplate the lion with my dad - an old Leo himself.

Moments like these are precious, and loved.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010 to everyone !

Gosh, this blog has been going on for some time, and its purposes have evolved over time, saving itself from being rendered obsolete usually at the last moment.

A friend asked whether I had any resolutions for 2010, and I didn't really have any. I guess I am the kind of person who usually will just change on a day I decided to, without needing to wait for the end of the year. I was talking to B, and he decided to stop smoking a couple of days ago because he didn't have any nicotine on him handy, and just decided "okay, I guess I will stop". Hasn't had any since.

I don't know if I am grumpy about Copenhagen, or just resigned. There is too much of the blame game going on, so there is no need to add my voice to the chorus. The simple point is that there just isn't a deal that will reduce carbon emissions. The world is going to hell, so what is there for us to do, but eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die?