拜託,熊貓先生 Book Review


Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

Title: 拜託,熊貓先生 (bai4 tuo, xiong2 mao xian sheng)/Please, Mr. Panda

ISBN: 9789862742334

Author/Illustrator: 史蒂夫 安東尼

Translator: 劉清彥

Publisher: 青林國際出版

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Mr. Panda asks his friends if they want donuts but they keep changing their minds.

Sample Pages:






Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: As with the other Mr. Panda book, Gamera (5.5) is also willing to read this book because of the cuteness of the illustrations. And again, Glow Worm (3.75) always brings this book out because he loves the illustrations (but no one reads with him). Poor neglected child.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt from the book.

Commence Panic Mode


I am not excited. 

We are T-9 days from our Taiwan Trip 2017 and I am not excited. 

I mean, I am excited for all the yummy foods and hanging out with my mommy friends in Taiwan, but… I am not excited about packing or traveling at very fast speeds in a metal tube with my four children for 12-13 hours. 

At this point last year, I think I already started packing. I have not even bothered. Or tried. Or felt bad about it. 

I don’t know if this means I have evolved or I am super procrastinating. Maybe both. 

Does it count if I made my packing list about two months ago? And have been Amazon Priming like a BOSS?

But truthfully, I bought most of the stuff last year and I don’t really need anything else other than more bug spray/sunscreen combos. 

And diapers. Lots of diapers. 

But otherwise, my kids are going to the same camps (actually, one less camp so it’s even easier), we are staying at the same Airbnb, and my mother is coming with me for a few days and my cousin is flying back with me so really, what is there to worry about?

Then why is there a nervous ball of dread in the pit of my stomach? Why am I purposely avoiding thinking about this trip for fear of totally freaking out?

I have taken my kids to Taiwan before. By myself (and with friends and family). I have sent my kids to school there before. I have used buses and taxis and MRTs before. I have even ergoed a baby there before. 

I can do this. 

It will be fun. (Mostly.)

I will eat lots of delicious food. (Especially almond tofu shaved ice.)

I will see my friends. 

I will see my family. 

I will have a constant sweaty front because of Big Fat Baby Sasquatch permanently being worn. 

I will not be pregnant. (Thank goodness for small mercies.)

I will be fine. 

My kids will be even bigger and they remember stuff from last year so they are prepared. 

We will be fine. 

I have to keep repeating this to myself like a spell. 

I will be fine. I will be fine. 

And if I am really delusional, maybe I will be so fine I will consider bringing a toddler to Taiwan next summer. 

I guess I should see how things shake out this summer before I do anything that stupid. 

熊貓先生,我願意等 Book Review


Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

Title: 熊貓先生,我願意等 (xiong2 mao xian sheng, wo3 yuan4 yi4 deng3)/Mr. Panda, I’m Willing to Wait

ISBN: 9789862741870

Author/Illustrator: 史蒂夫 安東尼

Translator: 劉清彥

Publisher: 青林國際出版

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction

Summary: Several animals ask Mr. Panda what he is doing. He says to wait because it’s a surprise. Animal after animal is unwilling to wait, but the penguin is willing to wait.

Sample Pages:





Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Book Review: Gamera (5.5) is willing to read this book so it must be easy and have super cute illustrations. (It is and it does.) Cookie Monster (7.5) likes this book, too. And, of course, Glow Worm (3.75) always brings this book out for someone to read him (but no one does because I am a neglectful mother).

The pictures are super cute and the content incredibly easy. The plot is also very silly and easy. Super fun.

Here is a video of Gamera reading an excerpt from the book.

Reader Mail: Why Don’t I Like KDramas?

In an effort to be more engaging with my readers (and really, it’s just a handy excuse to talk evermore of my favorite subject – MYSELF), I have opened up the inbox to take questions.

So, NOW IS THE TIME TO ASK ME YOUR DEEP, BURNING QUESTIONS. (Yes, it is likely a UTI. Or an STI. You should get that checked out.)

Anyhow, Guavarama wants to know why I do not watch K Dramas (Korean dramas).

The answer is many fold and totally a strange amalgam of preference, laziness, and ignorance.

So then, here is more than you ever cared to know about why I do not watch K Dramas despite me having an incredibly addictive personality.

1) I cannot handle having one more thing to be obsessed about. 

Seriously. I wish the answer were more complex or subtle, but this is the main reason I have never started, nor have any desire to start, watching K Dramas.

I simply do not have the bandwidth.

I obsess over things so easily. And then it takes over my life. And then I am overwhelmed with all the things that I need to watch and hunt down and I am a completist so I would not be satisfied with watching only one or two episodes they’re like Pokemon I GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL.

I’m exhausted just writing this paragraph and thinking of all the work I would have to do in order to hunt down free versions of these episodes and all the new apps I would have to install and then to find time to watch these episodes!!!

GAAAAAAAAH!!

2) In general, I try not to watch any shows that are serial. 

Again, for the same reasons as above. I am a completist. I have to watch everything in order. And I want to binge. But I can’t because part of my self-care routine (and for love of my children) is to go to sleep at a relatively early hour and get enough sleep so I don’t scream at my children the next day.

THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

There is a reason that the majority of my DVR queue is full of episodic shows wherein you don’t have to watch EVERY SINGLE SHOW (although I do).

A few years ago, I simply decided that short of the serials I currently watched, I was not allowed to add any more without dropping one. And as my serials have gradually ended, I have not added anymore – despite knowing full well there are plenty of awesome shows out there.

My main exceptions to this are SHORT serials. So, Legion was perfect because there were only six episodes. Into the Badlands was perfect because again, abbreviated seasons. Now that Season 2 just finished, I STILL haven’t watched them because the sheer thought of watching 10 episodes is overwhelming.

I still have the last ten episodes of The Vampire Diaries in my DVR that I haven’t watched because every time I start, I have to watch 3-4 and next thing I know, it’s 2am and I AM SO TIRED.

Have I mentioned that I still have Roots in my DVR that I never watched but can’t bring myself to delete? That was LAST SUMMER.

3) I don’t want to read while watching the show on a small screen.

Yes, yes, yes. There are many ways to get around the watching of the small screen. I, in fact, own almost all of those options.

IT DOESN’T MATTER.

The main hindrance is that I do not understand Korean and I would have to pay close attention otherwise have no clue what was going on.

I multi-task when watching TV/shows. I am usually texting (which is difficult to do if I’m watching the KDrama ON MY PHONE), Facebooking, reading, watching my kids, and sometimes writing.

I CANNOT DO THAT IF I AM TRYING TO READ.

4) It is difficult for me to obsess over actors who look like children.

Yes, I know they are very attractive. (My friends lust over SJK.) But you know what? I am unable to find anyone who looks under 35 attractive. I realize, IN MY BRAIN, that they are undeniable good-looking. But my loins, where I make most of my decisions, DO NOT.

My loins reject them BECAUSE THE ACTORS ARE CHILDREN.

MY LOINS DO NOT LUST OVER CHILDREN.

5) I avoid shows that would make me cry or feel emotions.

People, I cry at commercials. Or thinking about fat babies.

I also would like to continue to think that I am a hardened sophisticate so NO SWOOPY ROMANCES FULL OF ANGST PLEASE.

(Unless it features Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore because Helloooooo, Nurse!)

I also do not watch This Is Us despite knowing 100% sure that I would love it based on the trailers alone. I JUST CANNOT EMOTIONALLY HANDLE IT.

So, there you have it.

I know. I am an emotionally inert human. We can still remain friends though, right?

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe What You Read on the Internet

Don’t Believe What You Read on the Internet


I have a confession to make.

I know I’m all RAH RAH about making my kids speak Chinese all their applicable waking hours. Shoot, I even wrote a book on the subject (affiliate link). And after the thousands of words I’ve written about my kids and our learning Chinese endeavors, etc. ad nauseammy children still prefer to speak English.

In fact, they would speak English all day if I let them.

The constant refrains at my house are, “說中文!” (shuo zhong wen2/Speak Chinese!) or “聽不懂!” (ting bu2 dong3/I don’t understand!)

And then, sometimes in moments of exasperation, I threaten ridiculous things such as taking away all their toys, forcing them to only watch Chinese YouTube, or taking away all English screen time.

I have even threatened them to not be able to play with each other (since all they speak is English – EVEN TO THE BABY).

It drives me up the wall.

I am exasperated and frustrated and feel like a failure and a hypocrite.

In my moments of angst, I see all the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on Chinese swirling to the bottom of the toilet as it flushes into the sewage system.
And then, if I happen to be on Facebook, I will catch glimpses of other bilingual mothers posting pics or videos or posts about their awesome kids reading super hard/advanced Chinese books and I’m like, CRAP ON A STICK.

Now, keep in mind, I LIVE on Facebook. I understand that what happens on Facebook is heavily curated, capturing only the best (or most comically horrible) moments in a life. After all, I am a Master Facebooker (though a bit more TMI than most).

So I GET IT. Facebook is not Reality.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I see these flashes of other brilliantly bilingual kids and instead of seeing them as inspiration or future possible versions of my children in some ideal world, I instead see judgment, failure, and an impossible obstacle.

After all, I am sooooooo lazy. And my Chinese, though pretty good, is going to be tapping out. Soon. Like, REALLY SOON.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THESE HIGHER LEVEL CHINESE BOOKS IN MY HOUSE???

Here’s the thing.

It doesn’t matter how good the other kids’ Chinese are. 

In fact, short of having actual conversations with these children (assuming your Chinese is good and advanced enough to do this), you really will never know their “true” level – which, incidentally, is meaningless and likely fluctuates on a given day and subject matter.

What you are seeing on the internet is just a slice of time. A teeny, tiny, fractional instant of a REALLY REALLY REALLY long day.

Chinese is not mastered in a day. Or even a week.

So don’t worry. Chill out.

Get off of Facebook. Get off my blog (although, do buy my book) and be happy with what you’ve managed to accomplish.

Whatever you are doing (or not doing) will not doom your child forever to a life of sad monolingualism (is that even a word?). Life is long and unexpected; the time to learn Chinese is both too short and a lifetime’s worth.

You are NOT a failure.

Your children are perfect.

It will be ok.

Suck It Up, May


How is May over?

You know what this means, right? Almost 1/2 of 2017 is over. That seems way too fast.

As usual, here is my monthly check in to see how I’m doing with my yearly goals, aka: My Year of Sucking it Up.

1) Take family and personal health seriously.

What does that look like? I want to:

a) Cook at least 5 meals a week. Still hitting the numbers but May was a month where I felt blah about food and my cooking it. I bought $30 of meat that I was too tired to prep and it rot in my fridge. 

I cooked, but not with joy. It was kinda meh but we ate. And that is important. 

The new thing is that I finally broke out the 愛玉 (ai4 yu4) seeds and made my own 愛玉 (an herbal jelly-like dessert)! This has totally cut down on my trips and cravings for T4 and I am super pleased.

Now, I make my own Taiwanese drinks (Earl Gray and Mother’s Milk teas + homemade 愛玉 + a spoon of honey) and my wallet is happy and so is my mouth!! 

Because I didn’t really get a chance to write a lot, I didn’t go out much, so my personal eat out consumption went down. 

b) Be active once a week.

Still nope. Unless you count lugging Sasquatch around everywhere. Baby boy is 22 lbs. That’s WORK. 

d) Take vitamins and supplements.

This has been hit or miss. 

e) Go to sleep when the kids sleep 4x a week.

This has definitely been happening and happening a lot. So, of course, this cuts down on alone time and writing and reading and TV time. 
It’s a balancing act and currently, the pendulum has swung toward the sleep like an old lady side. 

Sadly, STILL TIRED.

f) No texting while driving.

This was a really bad month. I even got a ticket for texting at a stoplight. Did that scare me straight?

No. 

I feel as if I am hurtling towards the inevitable smack at the bottom. 

2) Take my responsibilities as a grown up seriously.

Multiple rounds of sick kids. Work. Hapa Papa doing extra work. Supervising the handyman getting work done for the house and a smattering of other things. 

I adulted. 

3) Write.

I didn’t do too much writing this month. However, I DID release my ebook (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.  

It even shot to #1 in the Chinese Language Instruction category in a day!


Thank you to all my readers and friends who helped make that happen. I really appreciate it!

Now, I am thinking of other books I can write – and then gathering up courage to write it. 

Alright. That’s it for May. How are you doing on your resolutions? Still going strong?

我的妹妹是跟屁蟲: Book Review

我的妹妹是跟屁蟲: Book Review


Title: 我的妹妹是跟屁蟲 (wo3 de5 mei4 mei5 shi4 gen pi4 chong2)/My Little Sister Keeps Following Me

ISBN: 9789861614663

Authors: 王秋香

Publisher: 信誼

Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Fiction
Summary: A boy’s little sister keeps copying everything he does, following everywhere he goes, and repeating everything he says. It is driving him crazy and he spends the majority of the book trying to get her to stop. 

Sample Pages:





Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: A fun and silly story, it also highlights a common problem among siblings. The illustrations are amusing and Cookie Monster (7.5) had a great time looking at them. He thought the story and illustrations were amusing and interesting. 

Here is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt. 

Like my reviews? Want more tips and advice on how to teach your kids Chinese? Want someone to just give you an Action Plan that you can follow? Check out my book (affiliate link), So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese