Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Friends Forever

I never thought that Lana would have a "BFF" at age two - however we have a particular group of friends that we see more than any others. This group (which Bernard christened the "TESLA" group - an acronym for all five kids first initials) met when the kids were only 4 months old. Over the past two years, we have all become very close. Out of all five kids, there are only two girls - Lana and Shayne. And in addition to this, Lana and Shayne go to school together and often play together after school as well. It's a perfect recipe for them to become "Best Friends".

When you ask Lana about her friends, she will always tell you "Shayne is my best friend". If you ask her "What about xyz?", she will respond indignantly, "No, they're not my friend. Only Shayne is my friend!!"

Lana is the bossy one, the one who tells Shayne what to do, where to stand, how dare you sing when I'M singing. It's MY song and I DON'T WANT TO SHARE MY SONG WITH YOU!! Shayne isn't as bossy, but she knows what she wants, and she knows she doesn't want to do everything that Lana tells her to do! She will yell out "NOOOOOO", driving Lana crazy. Their teacher has commented "They are just like sisters, they play together, then fight for a few minutes and then are best friends again."

They are the kinds of friends that I would love to see grow up together. There is so much potential in their friendship. They could have so much fun together. Get up to so much mischief (oh wait, they already do!).

But sadly, as is often life in Hong Kong, Shayne's stay here is a temporary one. She moved here for just two years. Long enough to form strong bonds. Long enough to be my daughter's first "best friend". Within the week, Shayne will be moving overseas. 

These few weeks have been really sad for me - Lana sees Shayne five days a week at school, and usually has at least one or two out of school playdates with her as well. Seeing the girls play together and knowing that soon, this friendship will be changed by the distance... I know that kids are resilient and while Lana will definitely miss Shayne, she will make new best friends - in many ways, I think that it affects me more than Lana.

Not only will Lana be missing Shayne, but I will also be missing her gorgeous mummy who, although I haven't known for very long, has become very dear to me. Maybe because these past two years have been life-changing... it's included the beginning of motherhood, a miscarriage, a difficult pregnancy and having Maddy - Jingyu has been such a support to me through it all. 

I will miss all of our playdates, swims together, outings... but I know that this is not "goodbye". The world is smaller these days and we will stay in touch and see each other again. These days, you don't need to live in the same city, or even the same country, to maintain a friendship.

And although Lana and Shayne will not see as much of each other, I know that their friendship too may last for many years to come. They have a special bond - and although distance will change that, it will also give us more of an excuse to go visit her :)

So instead of focusing on the "goodbye", I'm looking back at all the fun we've had together over the past two years - the bonds we've made and the memories too. And I'm trusting that although change is inevitable, we can continue to build more memories for many years into the future :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Over in the Meadow

Lana loves books. One of her current favourites is Over in the Meadow. Tonight at bedtime, Lana wanted to "read" the book by herself while I took a video of her (nb - by "read", I mean she's pretty much memorised it, and with minimal prompts, she can recite the entire book). There was much silliness, but we managed to catch this little video of her:

Over in the meadow in the sand in the sun
Lived an old mother turtle and her little turtle - one
"Dig" said his mother, "I dig" said the one
So he dug all day in the sand in the sun

Over in the meadow where the stream runs blue
Lived an old mother duck and her little ducklings - two
"Quack" said their mother, "We quack" said the two
So they quacked all day where the stream runs blue

Over in the meadow in a hole in a tree
Lived an old mother owl and her little owls - three
"To-whoo" said their mother, "To-whoo" said the three
So they to-whooed all day in a hole in the tree

Over in the meadow by the big barn door
Lived an old mother mouse and her little mice - four
"Squeak" said their mother, "We squeak" said the four
So they squeaked all day by the big barn door

Over in the meadow in a snug beehive
Lived an old mother bee and her little bees - five
"Buzz" said their mother, "We buzz" said the five
So they buzzed all day round their snug beehive

Over in the meadow in a nest built of sticks
Lived an old mother squirrel and her little squirrels - six
"Jump" said their mother, "We jump" said the six
So they jumped all day round their nest build of sticks

Over in the meadow where the grass grows so even
Lived an old mother frog and her little froggies - seven
"Hop" said their mother, "We hop" said the seven
So they hopped all day where the grass grows so even

Over in the meadow near the little mossy gate
Lived an old mother lizard and her little lizards - eight
"Run" said their mother, "We run" said the eight
So they ran all day on the little mossy gate

Over in the meadow by the tall Scots pine
Lived an old mother pig and her little piglets - nine
"Oink" said their mother, "We oink" said the nine
So they oinked all day near the tall Scots pine

Over in the meadow in a cozy wee den
Lived an old mother fox and her little foxes - ten
"Play" said their mother, "We play" said the ten
So they played all day round their cozy wee den

Over in the meadow in the sand in the sun:
One turtle digs
Two ducklings quack
Three owls to-whoo
Four mice squeak
Five bees buzz
Six squirrels jump
Seven frogs hop
Eight lizards run
Nine pigs oink
Ten foxes play
Over in the meadow till the end of the day

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Growing Up

There have been two milestones left for Lana to go through in going from a "little girl" to a "big girl". One was potty training, the other was giving up her dummy.

After a bit of a push around a month ago, Lana's potty training began - and it has been a month of enormous progress for her! A month ago, we decided to let her run around the house with no nappy and pee all over the floor (and she did indeed pee all over the floor and not in the potty at all for the first few days!). These days, she is in underwear from the time that she wakes up until when she goes to bed at night, including her nap time, and the accidents are getting less and less frequent all the time. We still do put a nappy on her if we are going out and are unsure of where the toilets are, but even if we are going to the mall or the park, she is mostly in undies. I wasn't expecting it to be this easy, particularly since she wasn't really the one to initiate the toilet training! 

I really thought that getting Lana to give up her dummy would be another major issue for her. She has been extremely attached to her dummies since she was two months old and would take not one but TWO to bed so that if she lost one, she had a back-up. I have been telling her for months that she would need to throw out her dummies soon but again, she didn't seem ready to do that. I was a little wary of just throwing them out and making her quit cold turkey, so I decided to take a page out of my parents' book.

When my sister was Lana's age, she also was attached to her dummy. My parents ended up giving her a choice as to when she was ready to give up her dummy by offering to buy her a barbie doll when she threw out her dummies. Ash understood the offer and took a few months to consider the offer, but one day she decided that she wanted that barbie doll more than she wanted her dummies, so she threw them out and bought a barbie doll the same day. 

The other week, we went to a friend's place to ride bikes and this friend had a new, pink scooter which Lana loved. There it was - the perfect bribe! So after a quick talk with Bernard, we put the idea to Lana over dinner last Saturday. We explained that we wanted to buy her a scooter but scooters were for big girls who didn't need dummies for sleeping - so when she was ready to go home and throw out her dummies, we would buy her a scooter right away. And to sweeten the deal, we went to the toy store to have a look at what they had to offer.

As soon as we arrived home, Lana demanded her dummies. "I need to chuck them in the rubbish bin!!" We asked her if she was sure and she assured us that she was, so into the bin they went and off we went back to the toy store to buy her a new BLUE scooter.

Over the past week, Lana has asked for her dummy a little, but we remind her that she threw them out and got a blue scooter, so would she like us to chuck the scooter in the bin and then get some dummies instead? (she doesn't like that idea, thankfully!) The first few nights, it was a little hard for her to get to sleep - she needed a little extra comfort/cuddles/please draw on my back at bedtime - but it is getting easier for her.

Again, I'm surprised at how easy this process was - I was expecting it to be much harder as well! But Lana keeps surprising me with how adaptable she is and how easily she learns new skills. And now our little girl truly is growing up into a "big girl", and what a beautiful "big girl" she is!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Oh wheee!

Update: Since yesterday's post, Lana has managed to wee on our bed AND on the sofa, all in the same morning! Oh well - I suppose some setbacks are to be expected with potty training! :|

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh poo...

I remember quite vividly the day Lana did her "business" in the bathtub. I can't quite recall how old she was then, but she probably was around half a year old. I can still see the scene in my mind - Nic had filled up the bathtub with warm soapy water, got Lana undressed and plopped her in. I'm guessing that the water must've been a little on the warm side and quite "relaxing" for Lana. We saw some bubbles float up from her little bottom, which, if we were more astute, should have been a clear sign and portent of the storm that was to follow.

Looking back at it now, I can laugh at the mad hysteria that ensued. The cute little bathtub setting was suddenly shattered by a couple of new arrivals on the scene - what some of you might call "floaties". Okay, that's actually not 100% true - because apart from one or two brown logs floating in the water, there were a number of smaller pellets which had sunk to the bottom of the tub like fishing line sinkers. The next few minutes were pure comedy - Nic was trying to hold Lana above the tub so that Lana wouldn't be able to play with the "logs", while I was desperately trying to clean the mess so that we could refill the tub with clean water. Cleaning the mess involved myself scooping brown logs with my hands and unceremoniously depositing them into the toilet bowl, while at the same time trying NOT to think about how soft they were. Or how slippery. Or how warm. I'm really glad that our normal routine is to have dinner BEFORE bath times.

Fast forward two years from that little incident to the present, and we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of trying to toilet train Lana. One of our "TESLA" friends had told us that they had toilet trained their kid by giving him a treat whenever he did his business in the potty instead of the nappy (so a "carrot and stick" approach, but absent the "stick"). So we thought we'd try to emulate that approach, and, knowing that carrots probably won't go down too well as a "treat", we decided to substitute that with M&Ms. And not just one M&M. FIVE M&Ms for a wee-wee. And TEN M&Ms for a poo-poo. That should be incentive enough for any kid to sit on the potty all day long.

It's been about a week now, and Lana's doing pretty well at scoring those "em-em-ems" (as she calls them). Whenever she hears the call of nature, she would stop whatever she was doing and pull down her "princess" underwear so that she doesn't desecrate the innocent smiling faces of Belle, Snow White and Cinderella. Then, with her undies around her ankles, she would scoot and shuffle over to her pink Eeyore potty and plonk her little bottom onto it. After a few moments, she'd stand up and peer into the bowl to see the fruits of her labour. If she managed to make a deposit, she'd proudly declared: "I wee-wee'd!" or "I poo-ed!", which was our cue to go and wipe her down.

It was during one of these moments that I had the pleasure of witnessing her do a "big" business into the potty. She had stood up (to indicate that she was done), but when I went over to inspect her, I found a substantial portion of "do" still stuck to her behind. My sudden scream of surprise must have alerted Lana to this fact, because the next thing she did was to reach around with her hand... It was two years ago all over again as, between fits of laughter and gasping for breath, we tried desperately to wipe her bottom down, while at the same time trying to keep Lana from smearing that mess anywhere else. Who knew that fecal matter could be this much fun.

But she's getting there. She's definitely improving very fast. Just a couple of days ago, Nicole took Lana and Maddy and went to visit one of our other friends. During their visit, Lana indicated to Nicole that she needed to "poo-poo", so Nicole carted Lana off to the big people's toilet. She had never pooped in the toilet before, so imagine Nicole's joy and elation when she found a few little brown things in the toilet bowl (clarification: the little brown things showed up in the toilet bowl AFTER Lana had been sitting there, not before - there's no joy or elation in finding someone else's leftover business)! I never thought that the day would come where I'd be proud of my little girl taking a dump in someone else's toilet - but here we are. That moment had arrived - now I wonder if Hallmark prints cards for these occasions...?

Greeting cards aside, 'tis definitely the season of toilet humour for us. The other day, we were all riding home in a taxi after dinner, when I suddenly remembered that I had a truckload of work still waiting for me to do once we got home. In my frustration, I exclaimed: "Oh poo!" - to which Lana promptly retorted with: "Oh fluff!"

My little girl's a real gas, ain't she? ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The sound of music...

Kids say the funniest things - especially Lana. Ok, I admit that I don't spend a great deal of time with many other kids, but I'd imagine that what Lana says is pretty funny by most standards. It gives me some insight into the wonderful and creative way in which her mind works.

I am hereby proud to present to you Lana's interpretation and arrangement of "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music - I hope you enjoy it.

Bernard: Do, a deer a female deer...
Lana: Play-Doh?

Bernard: Re, a drop of golden sun...
Lana: this? (makes the shape of a ball with her hands) Like a rainbow?

Bernard: Mi, a name I call myself...
Lana: Lana? (pats her chest with her palm)

Bernard: Fa, a long long way to run...
Lana: this? (runs away to the foot of her bed)

Bernard: So, a needle pulling thread...
Lana: this? (pulls on the front of her shirt)

Bernard: La, a note to follow so...
Lana: this? (walks around) Is this follow?

Bernard: Ti, a drink with jam and bread...
Lana: eating bread and peanut?

Bernard: ...that will bring us back to...
Lana: ...Play-Doh!

Now that's music to my ears. =)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

But I Practiced!!

Lately, Lana has been loving Lilo and Stitch. We have the movie on our iPod touch and we give it to her for entertainment when she wakes up too early or when she's getting cranky at a restaurant, etc. She's been watching it over and over lately (except for the first 10 minutes which she always wants us to skip). She always tells us "I want to watch Lilo dance!" 

In one of the first scenes of the movie, Lilo goes to her dance class all wet from swimming in the ocean and makes a big puddle in which the other little girls slip and fall. Because of this, much to her distress, Lilo gets kicked out of the dance class. She exclaims to her dance teacher as she is getting in trouble, "I just want to dance! I practiced!"

Lana has seen this and interpreted it through her two year old understanding. I think she thinks "I practiced!" means something like "But I really really want to!!" because now she comes out with things like:

"I want to draw! I practiced!"

"I want to go to the park! I practiced!!"

"I want to eat chocolate! I practiced!!!!!"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Miss Independent

The other day, Lana was putting on her shoes.

Although there are some shoes that Lana can manage by herself, it is common knowledge around here that she can't quite manage this particular buckle yet.

Bernard saw her struggling with them so he went over to help, only to be greeted with:

"No Daddy, No Daddy!! Don't help me! Don't help me!! Don't even TOUCH my shoe!!"

I know the day is coming, not too far away most likely, when that will be followed by "Don't even THINK about touching my shoe... don't even THINK about thinking about it" and so on. 

It is hilarious to hear Lana vocalise these ideas and thoughts, I love the way she thinks and I love the independent little girl she's becoming :) 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Check out our new header!

Bernard made me a new header for Lana's blog! Check out how great it looks :)

If you're viewing on google reader or something like that, here it is, just for you (Uncle Ant!):

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Sensitive Girl

Lately, we have been having a couple of Movie Nights with Lana. She really likes to watch the stories and she will talk about them for a long time after she has seen them. She loves to watch the Tinkerbell movies (which she regularly watches on our iPod Touch, it's a saviour for when she's cranky at a restaurant!), and a week or two ago we watched Finding Nemo, fast forwarding the frightening parts because as Lana says, "I don't want to be scary" (hehe - so cute!)

Last night, we decided to watch The Lion King with her. Lana has been loving lions lately, and Bernard has been singing "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight" with her, so it was a natural choice. We decided to fast forward some of the scary parts of the movie with Scar and all that, but for some reason we didn't fast forward the stampede when Mufasa died. It is not so much scary as it is sad.

As Simba was crying out for someone to help him, I looked over and saw a tear in Lana's eye, and as Simba began to cry, Lana told us: 

"The baby lion is crying. And Lana is crying too".