Friday, November 13, 2009

Arthur's Naive Question

One day I was driving with Arthur, another car all of sudden jumped in front of me. I quickly pressed brake and said "Shoot".

Arthur must be opening his eyes big at the back. He exclaimed, "Mama, you just said 'Shoot'". I said to him, "Sorry, Arthur. Mama was not supposed to say that." Arthur was still amazed, "Mama, your car has shooting power??"

(No. Arthur.  Mama's car doesn't have shooting power.  It is not a transformer either.)
(For some reason, the two kids keep on thinking Papa's truck is a hot wheel and it runs faster than my van.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Minglun's Happy Times and Sad Times

Minglun's answer to a school assignment -

Happy times: 1. When I go asleep.
2. When my dad snores like a baby.
3. When my little brother does NOT play with me.
4. When I go to store with my mom.

Sad times: 1. When my brother Arthur screams at me.
2. When I cannot go to grandma's house.
3. When I get timeout in school.
4. When I cannot watch Star Wars.

A Serious Talk with Arthur

Arthur is almost three and half now, but he can still get into toddler mood sometimes and make some big noise in the house, such as the roars, "DON'T TOUCH MY BIKE." "This is MY toy!"

Last Saturday morning, after he screamed at Minglun, I found myself start talking to him like this, "Arthur, you have to try to control your temper." At the back of my mind, I was thinking, "Does he know the word control or what it means?" Arthur looked at me quite unhappily and said, "I cannot, because I am too little."

Since he answered, I felt that I need to keep the conversation, "You need to change." Arthur looked even unhappier, and said, "I don't want to."

Minglun had been listening carefully since our conversation started, and now he threw himself to the couch and hit his head against it repeatedly in frustration, "Arthur is never going to change. Arthur is never going to change."

Where does Chocolate Milk Come From?

"From what type of cows?" - questioned by Minglun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arthur and Wrinkles

This summer, we played a lot in water. Minglun is five and half and Arthur is three and half and I finally can take both of them to the pool all by myself. The only difficult part was to get them out from the pool. Arthur is the more difficult one and he wouldn't listen sometimes. I tried different things and the one worked really well was telling Arthur that he got many wrinkles on his hands and he cannot stay in water any longer. Arthur will talk in his baby voice, slowly but clearly, "Oh my gosh. I got so many wrinkles. Hurry, hurry, we have to go wash my wrinkles away."

I think I played this too much. Then later Arthur wouldn't like to go to the pool any more. He would say, "I do not want to go swimming because I will get wrinkles." And I found myself talking to him, "Arthur, you are only three years old. You don't need to worry about WRINKLES..." So we still go to the pool but now I have to be careful not to mention wrinkles to Arthur any more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Henry and Gordon

At bedtime, Minglun and Arthur were reading a new book with Mama, "Henry and the Elephant" fromThomas and friends series. Both boys are quite into the stories about Thomas and his friends. Especially Arthur, who has a set of little trains. Each of the trains has their name at the bottom. Arthur asked Mama before for each train's name and he requires other people to remember them too. Such as, if he asks his Grandma, "Grandma, can you bring Percy to me?" and if Grandma doesn't know who is Percy, Arthur will not be very happy.

Anyway, they started reading the book. Minglun was the one that was doing the reading because he was at the age of a beginner reader. The first page is "Thomas left to run the Branch lines. Gordon and Henry missed Thomas." Minglun couldn't recognize "Gordon" and asked Mama for help. Mama tried to give him a hint, "Minglun, this is the name of a train. It starts with a G. Look, what train is this one?" At the same time, Mama was pointing to a blue train on the book. Arthur said casually, "That's Gordon!" Mama said, "That's right. See, Arthur knows that train's name. It is Gordon."

Minglun continued, "Gordon and ...". He didn't know how to read "Henry" now. Mama helped again, "Now it is another train's name and it starts with an H. See who is this?" She pointed to a green train in the book. Arthur exclaimed, "It is Henry!" Mama said, "Right. Minglun, see, even Arthur knows the trains' names. Gordon and Henry." Minglun was feeling unhappy and refused to continue to read the book.

It was late alreay and Mama sent them to bed. After turning off the light, Minglun asked Mama, "Mama, can you tell Arthur that he still doesn't know every single train's name." After comforting Minglun and assuring him not to worry about those trains, Mama went to Arthur's room. Arthur was holding his blue train Thomas in bed. Arthur was still feeling so proud and hadn't fallen asleep yet. He was talking to himself, "This is Thomas, and this is Gordon and that is Henry. And that's it."

Monday, August 10, 2009

When I grow up - by Minglun

At around four years old, Minglun likes to say, "When I grow up, I am going to put on my belt, take my backpack, drive papa's truck, and I am going far away." Every time I heard this, I would ask him, "Minglun, where would you be going?" Minglun thought a while, and then said, "I am going to Grandpa's house." Then I felt that my heart go back to its place because his grandpa's house is very close to us.

At around five years old, Minglun likes to say, "When I grow up" or "When I turn 17, I am going to drive papa's truck and pick up Arthur from his school. I am going to put Arthur to his car seat and help him to put seat belt on, then I am going to take him home." Sometimes I have to remind him that when he turns 17, Arthur will be 15 already will not be needing a car seat. My heart just turns very soft when he says that and I will always give him a lot of hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A moment for the Moon

Not sure from when, probably after Arthur turned three, he likes to look for the moon in the sky when it is getting dark. He is not very happy when the moon hides behind the clouds, and he gets really excited whenever he finds the moon.

For July 4th, we went to a soccer game which started at 8:30 pm. After the game, there would be fireworks right there at the stadium. As we got into the stadium and found our seats, it was getting a little bit dark. We were a little bit late and the game already started. Everybody was watching the game as my husband and I hastened putting the kids to their seats. Arthur's mind was not at the game at all because he was busy looking around. All of sudden, Arthur pointed to the sky and cheered very loud, "The Moon!" All of the people around us, probably more than 100 eyes followed Arthur's finger and looked that way. They must be perplexed for a little bit. Yes, the Moon was there. But there wasn't anything wrong over there. Then everybody turned their heads back and started watching the soccer game again.

Only Arthur stared at the Moon a little bit more until he got satisfied that the Moon was there and he started watching the game too.

Birds and Grapes

1. The grapes in our backyard grow very well each year. This time, we got some grapes again. When I gave Minglun grapes to eat, I told him to take off the skin and seeds before eating the grapes. He was having fun doing that and he even helped to get some grapes ready for Arthur to eat.

Later, we were in the backyard playing. Some birds flew there to eat grapes. Minglun asked me a question, "Mama, do the birds know that our grapes have seeds?"

2. Since many birds come to eat grapes and tomatoes we have, my husband has been looking for ways to protect the plants from the birds. We have a scarecrow which does not work at all. We also have an owl and I put it away last year because it looks a little bit scary.

One evening, I went to the backyard to pick up some tomatoes. My husband didn't tell me that he moved the owl out earlier that day. So I was bending down getting tomatoes. As I stood up and turned around the other way, I saw this big owl with huge eyes looking at me. I screamed and was scared to half death. My husband dashed out from the house and ask me, "What happened? What happened?" It took me a while to be able to talk, "It was the owl. I didn't know it was there. I was so scared."

But later, I thought about the owl. If I was even so scared by the owl, how come the birds were not scared. Are they too smart or too dumb?

3. The next morning, we were sitting at the table eating breakfast, Minglun looked through the window and reported, "Mama, some birds came to eat grapes again. They didn't see the owl over there." I started laughing, "I bet they saw the owl. They just don't care."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mama says, Papa says and Grandma says

Minglun and Arthur's Mama is from China and speaks Chinese. Their Grandma from father's side is from Peru and speaks Spanish. Grandma lives close by and plays with them often.

When Minglun was little, Mama liked to play Flash cards with him in Chinese. Sometimes, Papa joined in and said some words in English. Like when Minglun lifted the card with a picture of an elephant on it, Papa would say "Elephant". Minglun frowned at Papa and lifted the card to Mama and Mama would say "Da Xiang". Minglun nodded his head satisfactorily and gave Papa a disapproval look.

From Minglun and Arthur's house to Grandma's house, there is a ranch. Many times on their way to Grandma's house, they see some cows in the field eating grass. Mama will point to the cows and say to Minglun, "Minglun, look... Niu. Hao duo Niu." However, Minglun seems to pick up Spanish first. One time, when Mama was saying, "Wow, Niu, Hao Duo Niu.", Minglun started saying, "Vaca, muchos vacas." And then sometimes he will repeat after Mama, "Niu, Hao duo Niu."

One time, Minglun asked, "Mama, why you say Niu and Grandma says Banca?" Mama said, "Because Mama speaks Chinese and Grandma speaks Spanish." Minglun asked again, "What does Papa speak?" "Papa speaks both Spanish and English."

Later when Arthur was learning how to talk, he also discovered the language differences. When he tried to count, he would say, "Grandma says, 'Uno, dos, tres.' Mama says, 'Yi, Er, San'". Everytime after he counted in English, he would say, "Mama, now count in Spanish." What he meant was in another language since he was not using the word Chinese well yet. Then he started counting "Yi, Er, San...".

What time is it outside?

In Minglun's house, there is a garden themometer in the backyard hung on a shelf. Every morning, Mama likes to look through the window toward the backyard to take a look at the themometer outside and decides what clothes to put on for Minglun and Arthur. Minglun has been observing Mama and he didn't know what is that for.

After Minglun learned how to read a clock and read the clock correctly several times in the kitchen, one day he finally asked when Mama was trying to read the thermometer in the backyard. "Mama, what time is it outside?" Mama laughed and said, "That is not a clock. It is a thermometer." Minglun asked, "What is a thermometer?" "Thermometer is to tell you what temperature it is. Not the time. From the temperature, you can know if it is hot or cold."

"Okay, then I can read a thermometer!" Minglun was so excited and started reading the number. "It is 60 o'clock." Mama laughed again, "It is 60 degree, not o'clock. But you are doing very good Minglun. Sixty degree means that it is nice outside, but just a little bit chilly. You can wear your jacket and go outside with Arthur."

So from then on, Minglun started reading the thermometer every time they need to go outside. He will say, "Mama, it is 50 o'clock outside, me and Arthur need our jackets." Or "Mama, it is 65. We can go to the backyard to play."

It took him a while to say "degree" instead of "o'clock" and Mama was having so much fun hearing him saying that.

Minglun, Mama's sweet boy, just one step at a time.