What’s New With The Mandarin Babies?

It’s been awhile since I blathered on and on about my incredibly awesome children. I know. I apologize. There really is no excuse except that I’ve been lazy. So, for your benefit (and my pathetic memory), I give you an unspecified number of offspring anecdotes and observations to enjoy on your Monday morning. You’re welcome.

1) Gamera now hugs books to sleep. You know, as if they were stuffed animals. She also has been known to attempt “reading” them after I’ve turned off the lights. I don’t mind except that the super anal retentive part of me worries about her getting paper cuts on her face, not to mention bending or warping the books. I will not tell you which I am more concerned about. I would hate to admit that I care more about broken books than cuts to her cute little face.

2) Cookie Monster is a generous big brother to both Gamera and Glow Worm. When Gamera first started preschool, he would help her with the bathroom, washing her hands, getting her snacks, and advocating for her to the teachers. If Glow Worm is crying or wants something, Cookie Monster will bring him toys and snacks and will often try and make Glow Worm laugh. Cookie Monster has also been known to randomly hug and kiss Glow Worm and then tell me he’s being kind.

3) Glow Worm adores Cookie Monster. I’m sure he loves Gamera, too, but Cookie Monster is the one who pays him the most positive attention.

4) Speaking of Glow Worm and Gamera… Karma is awesome. There are few things Glow Worm likes better than to grab one of Gamera’s toys and run away, grinning and chuckling as Gamera runs after him, shrieking in fury, “No, no, no, Glow Worm Boy! That’s mine! Come back! That’s not kind!” In fact, the look on Glow Worm’s face is coincidentally the same look Gamera used to have when she did the same thing to Cookie Monster.

5) Gamera and Cookie Monster have Dance Offs in the family room. They will take turns playing songs on an exersaucer and then dance for each other. It is hilarious. Cookie Monster is quite the aspiring break dancer and runs and jumps and leaps and flips and is going to break something someday. He is also goofy and makes crazy faces, runs in place, and pulls his hair. Gamera lives for interpretive dance and will make flowy arm movements and twirl and lift her legs into poses and also make goofy faces. You can tell they watch a lot of So You Think You Can Dance.

Gamera and Cookie Monster dancing and goofing off.

Gamera and Cookie Monster dancing and goofing off.

More dancing

6) Cookie Monster has been greeting me with hugs and kisses and snuggles in the morning. He will come into my bed and let me cozy him for a bit. It is lovely.

7) Gamera will occasionally deign to grant me a kiss and a hug, too. She will very solemnly cup my face or wrap her arms around my neck, and then gracefully kisses me on the mouth.

8) Glow Worm is a Tyrant King. He has taken to throwing himself on the ground when he doesn’t get what he wants and screams his brains out. It is almost impossible to change his diaper now. (It is especially difficult with cloth diapers!) And for a non-talking child (who also refuses to learn signs), he is very opinionated. His mother, for one, really doesn’t understand him and must be quite stupid because she doesn’t carry out his demands at all. You just can’t pay enough for good help these days.

Glow Worm throwing himself to the floor.

Glow Worm throwing himself to the floor.

Glow Worm protesting my utter inability to follow his instructions.

Glow Worm protesting my utter inability to follow his instructions.

9) Cookie Monster is just such a silly boy.

Cookie Monster making a silly pose

Cookie Monster making a silly pose

10) Gamera turned three recently. I find it so strange because she seems to be so much more mature than she is and I feel as if she has been three for a very long time and perhaps should be turning five. How is it possible that she is ONLY just now, turning three?

Happy 3, Gamera!

Happy 3, Gamera!

11) Cookie Monster sweats when he plays Halo 3 with Hapa Papa. His hair gets all wet and sweaty and sticky. Ridiculous.

Playing Halo 3 with Hapa Papa

Playing Halo 3 with Hapa Papa

12) I recently taught Cookie Monster how to play the card game, War, and he really enjoys it. Unless he is losing. Then he weeps. He is very sensitive to losing lately. I try not to cheat on his behalf too much, but sometimes, I do because I can’t stand anymore crying. But mostly, I tell him that part of playing games is losing and that if he is going to cry all the time about it, then we won’t play anymore. He also cries when Hapa Papa beats him at Halo.

13) Gamera is super protective of Cookie Monster. When Hapa Papa beats Cookie Monster at Halo, she will yell at him to stop and scold him, saying, “That’s not kind!”

14) Gamera also adores Cookie Monster. They are still such good buddies and playmates.

15) At school, Gamera clearly has everyone wrapped around her little finger. Not only does Cookie Monster help her with things, one of her teachers will braid her hair into “Anna braids” (from Frozen) or “Elsa braids.” Another time, a little boy ran over and gave her a doll. Gamera looked at the doll, shook her head, and threw it to the floor. The boy immediately ran and got her another doll. This time, she hugged the doll and nodded her approval. I fear for whoever loves my daughter.

16) Glow Worm has started earlier than his siblings and now only wants to eat snacks. Regular meals, nope. But snacks, especially cinnamon rice puff cereal? YES.

17) I really didn’t expect my children to be so different from one another. So it constantly surprises me when Glow Worm has a fever for a week every time he teethes (neither of his older siblings had much of a problem with teething) and then he is super cranky and only wants to nurse. Turns out it is because he always ends up having three teeth coming in at the same time. Recently, it was three molars. And after those popped through, the fourth one started coming. I would be cranky, too.

Also, my other two kids never demanded milk from me. Glow Worm full on tugs on my shirt, or walks and points to the nursing chair in his room, or screams at me until I shove a boob in his mouth.

18) Speaking of which, Glow Worm is really smart. Not that I’m biased. But whenever I take him out the crib, he immediately directs me to turn off the sound machine, turn off the fan, and then sit down to nurse him. I guess he figured it out after I did that after every single sleeping session.

19) When Gamera turned two, we totally failed at weaning her from sucking on her left index finger. I didn’t anticipate a problem because I weaned Cookie Monster from sucking his thumb in three days. Gamera would just switch fingers on me. When I figured that out, she would power through and suck until the bitter stuff I put on her finger either overwhelmed her senses or she sucked it off entirely. So, I gave up and since the dentist said it wasn’t affecting her teeth, I waited to try again until her third birthday.

We warned her over and over that she would no longer be able to suck on her finger after her birthday party. She knew and was anticipating it and seemed ok with the decision. This time, I put the bitter polish on all her fingers, just in case. I found her wiping her tongue off on her shirt in her sleep last night because she sucked on her finger. It was hilarious. She did that again this morning. But it seems like she is powering through again. WHY IS SHE SO STUBBORN?

Alrighty. I think that is quite enough for now, yeah? Gotta save some stories for my annual Christmas newsletter. Thanks for reading about my awesome children. Try not to be too envious of me. They’re mine and not for sale.

Killing the Sun and Other Bad-Assery

Sigh. The kids are ecstatic that there are only three more days of school left. I, however, am mildly depressed. Now that Hapa Papa is here, the urgency and feeling that we’re missing someone has abated. I eat guilt-free. Ah well, I better get to my updates! Here we go:

1) Hapa Papa was putting sun block on Gamera and explaining that he was protecting her from the sun burning her. Gamera replied, “I kill it and make it red. (From bleeding.) I cut it with a knife!”

Later that day, Cookie Monster asked Hapa Papa where the sun was. Hapa Papa replied that the sun was behind a cloud. Gamera piped in and said, “I kick it!”

Because Hapa Papa finds this hilarious, he now constantly asks Gamera, “Where’s the sun?” Some of her other replies have been:

“I jump high and kick it!”
“I kill it dead!”

I blame Hapa Papa and him letting the kids watch him play Halo. Bastard.

2) In addition to her vendetta against the sun, Gamera has also been talking about 烏雲 (Wu Yun/Dark Clouds) and how it blows. Then she says, “I cut him and make him red and he’s dead.”

I thought it was some story she heard at school so I asked her teacher about it. Teacher Nancy had no idea what I was talking about and asked Gamera where she heard this story. To which she happily replied, “iPad!”

Parenting FAIL. facepalm

3) Cookie Monster doesn’t want to be left out so he says he wants to hit the rain in the arm.

4) The other day, a little boy was talking to Bebe and Gamera sidled up behind Bebe and straight up mad dogged the nice little boy the entire time.

This is not an isolated incident.

Another kid pushed her and she came crying to me and I told her to tell the kid she didn’t like that and to stop. So Gamera ran back to the kid and said forcefully, “Stop! I don’t like that!”

5) Gamera is straight up gangsta.

6) As of a few days ago, all the kids have now wet the bed. Cookie Monster peed thru his pullup twice. Gamera peed after she woke up from her nap. (She missed the pee pad but managed to pee all over the blanket and sheets.) And Glow Worm had just finished taking a bath, crawled away from me on the bed after shoving his foot in butt paste, smearing it all over the sheets, then peeing all over the top of the bed by the headboard while I was cleaning off butt paste.

7) Finally made it to 師大 (ShiDa) night market. Hapa Papa stayed with the kids while Fleur and I snuck out. It was a lot of food and clothing. We ate two shaved ices and bought out a guy’s 粉粿(fen guo) stock. Mmmmm.

8) We went to a specialty mah jong store (東方不敗/Oriental Undefeated) for a fancy mah jong set and sticks but they didn’t have any. The shop was tiny. So disappoint.

9) Glow Worm has had two more minor allergic reactions. I am not clear what was going on but he threw up once and the other time, his trunk broke out in a rash. Regardless, his face is always so clear and better the morning after taking Benadryl.

10) The older kids learned about the Swiss earlier this week and when we asked them what they made, Bebe replied that they drew a Swiss flag hat while Cookie Monster said they made ambulance hats.

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11) The kids have gotten used to eating with a floating table and stools because Glow Worm will squeeze under the table and push it and the chairs around as the kids are sitting there, trying to eat.Fleur, calls him The Kitchen Table Troll.

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Alright, that’s all for today! Four more eating days left!

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One Week Left!

I can’t believe we only have one week left! It seems too soon! Maybe the next time we do this, we’ll stay the whole summer. Only eight more eating days left!

1) Hapa Papa flies in late tonight! Whoohooo! We haven’t seen each other for about four weeks. The kids are excited. Lately, Gamera has been saying “我的爸爸說可以。” (“My Papa says it’s okay.”) to everything I or her teachers say “No” to. Pretty convenient if you ask me.

Even though Fleur and I have gotten into a rhythm and it may take some getting used to, I will be glad to have Hapa Papa
around. An extra set of hands is an extra set of hands. Oh, right. And we love and miss him, too.

2) The kids have gotten so good about walking to and from the bus stop. It makes me very pleased! Of course as soon as Hapa Papa is here, I bet Gamera will mysteriously forget how to walk and will be forced to be carried to and from the bus stop.

3) Cookie Monster and Gamera were taking turns being the teacher before bed. It was so cute. And a nice glimpse into their world and what they do at school. They were playing together in Chinese! And Gamera was playing by herself later in Chinese, too! Unheard of!

4) Speaking of language, Cookie Monster has picked up the Taiwanese way of speaking. He now adds “啊 (Ah)” to the end of every sentence as well as “超級(super)” to every description. So cute.

5) I forgot that the older kids have English lessons every morning and the other day, Cookie Monster started reciting in stilted, robotic, English, “Good morning, Miss Michelle! Thank you for reading us a story.” I nearly died laughing. Obviously, he still speaks English just fine and fluently. But boy does that kid mimic the teachers! I have to get it on tape.

6) Cookie Monster loves pineapple. He just shoves it in his mouth. This pleases me!! He also eats eggs and a few more foods. Whoooo!!

There is a pineapple and watermelon truck by the subway station and the guy there cuts them up fresh. 🙂 So we try to pick some up on the way back from our outings. Anything for my kiddo!

7) Glow Worm can now get to a standing position by himself! No holding onto anything! He’s walking so much better now, too. Not that he gets much opportunity since he is always strapped into the ergo.

8) Also, Baby Boy loves to eat. He really is adorable. (Photo credit: Fleur)

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9) Cookie Monster and Bebe are fighting and loving like sibs. Every morning they fight on the way to school to push elevator buttons. Poor Bebe arranged a good compromise but Cookie Monster still hit the buttons because he got there first. So yesterday, Bebe threw a massive tantrum and Fleur had to drag her to the bus stop.

Today Fleur left first to avoid this mad rush but then Cookie Monster threw a tantrum because he wanted to go with Bebe. He hates being left behind. He threw his backpack and for the second day in a row, his water bottle burst open and spilled all over his stuff. I ripped him a new one I was so pissed. The whole complex and block probably heard.

Poor little man. All the way to school he was uncharacteristically subdued. He kept saying, “I’m sorry, Mama.” I also apologized for screaming at him.

10) Gamera went upstairs with the teacher today without crying! Told me to stay downstairs. Yay!

11) I recently realized that I very much enjoy taking new buses. Fleur laughed and called me a bus collector. I like it because it makes me feel as if I’m a local and savvy. Plus, I see more of the city.

12) Saw some more of the local fauna yesterday afternoon. What the hell, Taiwan? (Photo credit: Fleur; iPhone mine)

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13) Yesterday, we ate three different shaved ices. One leftover from the night before. One at Smoothie House. And one at a random shaved ice place Fleur passed by on her nightly forays into the neighborhood after taking out the garbage. It’s our way of making sure we stay hydrated. (Photo credit: Fleur) Here’s a pic of a new shaved ice we got at Smoothie House.

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14) I keep forgetting to look for quality mah jong sets. I want the kind that is slightly translucent, fat, and looks like almond jello. Mmmmm.

Ok. Off to cram more food in my mouth. Have a great weekend!

An Object of Envy

Every now and then, I see my friends’ Facebook posts about visiting far away countries, climbing mountains, and delicious food porn pics, and I envy their lives, wishing I would have the balls or time and money to do those things. I just realized this morning that I am now one of those people. My Taiwan Trip 2014 is pretty fucking cool, if I do say so myself.

All thanks goes to Fleur since she was the one who suggested the trip almost a year ago. I had just had Glow Worm and she had just found out she was pregnant with Baby Gnome and that her company’s maternity leave had increased to five months.

Of course, I immediately said yes. I have been wanting to do this for so long, but have been terrified of going by myself. So to have a buddy for eating and exploring purposes and my kids to have buddies at school in class? YES! Sign me up! Just show me where to shove my money to you.

Side note: if folks are interested in replicating our trip, let me know in the comments and I will put together what school we sent the kids to and where we stayed and how we booked the apartment, etc. For obvious security reasons, I won’t post until after school is over and we are back in the US. I will have a separate post for food related stops. There will likely be ZERO posts on touristy things because I have not gone to any, nor do I plan on attending any. But I may also do a post on things to do with kids that we did. That will be a very short post.

If there is enough interest in any or all of these topics, please let me know. These types of posts are a PITA so I likely won’t bother unless a few folks would like them. 🙂

Alright. To the updates!

1) Due to the weather being so humid, our nursing pads and the teething pads we put on the baby carriers have gotten really funky. Despite being washed, the thickness prevents the pads from drying adequately and the pads started to smell like curdling milk mixed with human sweat. An aromatic feast, to be sure, but one we’d rather do without. I suggested boiling the pads and the first time we did it, the water turned cloudy. After boiling and wringing out several times, the water finally cleared. (Photo credit: Fleur)

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2) Speaking of milk, Glow Worm was on a semi-nursing strike a few days ago. He had a low grade fever for a few days in a row and seemed cranky and refused to nurse. Here then, is its logical conclusion.

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3) Cookie Monster and Gamera are now coughing and a little under the weather. They love milk with their oatmeal but drinking/having cow’s milk makes more phlegm. How convenient for them that I had two glasses of breast milk at the ready. I love convergence.

4) Gamera tried to fly the other day at the park. She kept jumping up with her arms raised up like Superman. Then, when there was clearly no liftoff, she dejectedly said, “I can’t fly!”

5) Cookie Monster used to always ask me about new foods, “Is it delicious or disgusting?” That was in itself, hilarious. But now, he just goes, “Disgust!” Fleur and I find this endlessly entertaining and have now adopted this as our go-to catchphrase.

6) Yesterday, Cookie Monster really wanted to try 冰豆漿 (sweetened soy milk). Since he rarely seems interested in new things, I got it for him. He did not enjoy it. He took one sip, went, “Disgust!” and lifted the bottom of his shirt to wipe his tongue off and tried to scrape the taste of it off his tongue with his hands. I really wish I had the foresight to video it.

7) Glow Worm will make this low, keening wail like “AAAUUUHHH” sometimes when he is crying. It sounds as if it would match Edvard Munch’s The Scream. We have also adopted this as a catchphrase. (Henceforth known as Glow Worm Wail or GWW for short.

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8) We had awesome 滷肉蛋and滷肉飯 (lu roh egg and lu roh rice) yesterday from the famed 金峰滷肉飯(Jing Fen Lu Roh Fan). Gamera loves eggs and happily ate her stewed egg. What was surprising was Cookie Monster asking if it was yummy and actually trying it and liking it. This boy has never liked eggs (possibly because he used to be sensitive to them) and I am so pleased this trip has broadened some of his food choices. We are going back for more eggs today.

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The stewed meat rice was delicious until Fleur found this in hers. (Photo credit Fleur)

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GWW.

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9) I think last night was a weekly or monthly exterminator thing because we found dead cockroaches all over the sidewalks on our way to school. Cookie Monster said he liked them and thought they were cute. Disgust! (Photo credit: Fleur)

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10) Only seven more days of school left! How have the days been just flying by?

11) Cookie Monster and Gamera have been acting up lately and I think it’s because they are not used to being away from me for so long. They are so clingy to me at night and seem so sad. The last two nights or so, Gamera has been crying in her sleep and having bad dreams. She keeps crying for me to hold her and not leave her.

Somehow, Gamera puts things in a way that make me feel awful. (Cookie Monster just whines about not wanting to go to school and wanting to be with me. It isn’t as cute for some reason.)

For the first week or so, Gamera would say to me accusingly, “You lose me!”

Last night before bed she said, “我想你。我哭哭。我不能找你。我沒有車子。我不能drive.” (“I miss you. I cried. I couldn’t find you. I have no car. I can’t drive.”)

It breaks my heart. But I still send them to school.

I need to remember that they are still so small. I get so frustrated at them, but I suppose they are also adapting and in a foreign country. The least I could do is be kinder in the moments we are together.

All right. My elbows are numb. Until next time!

Eating Like A Hobbit

It’s my favorite day of the week! School has started up again and although Cookie Monster is super sad, I am relieved. It is hard to keep them entertained for a full day (Clearly we had too much fun this weekend because he thinks we are having loads of fun without him. We are, but we are having fun because he is at school. Mean? Yes. Truth? Also, yes.)

Anyhow, off to the updates. That’s what you’re really here for, right? The pics of food and children. (I understand. Both are incredibly mouth watering.)

1) I am surprised by how many churches there are in Taipei (at least in the Da An district where we live and frequent). There are like twenty just in the block by our apartment and on the short bus ride to school.

2) I love how there are so many living walls in the city. It helps with air pollution and is lovely to look at. I will try to get a pic before I leave.

3) I decided to take the kids to eat beef noodle soup and shaved ice and wonders of wonders – my kids actually loved it! Cookie Monster kept saying it was delicious and super yummy. We went to 老張牛肉麵 (Lao Zhang Beef Noodles) and Smoothie House. Here are pics for proof!

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4) People in Taiwan constantly stare at and approach Fleur and I and ask if the kids are ours. I think I would’ve gotten stares anyway if I were with my three, but together? Fleur and I are like a walking cult.

Also, I am slightly jealous that Fleur gets approached so much because of Omi and Gnome (I mean, have you seen them? They are gorgeous.) On the other hand, Fleur is always questioned whether or not the children are hers. Really? That would piss me off.

Taiwanese people love mixed race babies and since all our kids are multi-ethnic, we are constantly approached. On Saturday, two ladies chased us down to ask if all six kids were ours and if they were mixed. This morning, a lady gave me her business card and asked if Glow Worm was mixed. She wanted him to be a model for their maternity and kids’ clothing line. Unfortunately, they need him at the end of August and we will be back in the US by then.

I am constantly tempted to say wildly inappropriate things. But I realize there are far fewer multi-ethnic kids here so people are really curious. Plus, the Taiwanese birth rate is even lower than Japan’s and I think it is uncommon to see families with so many children (let alone a swarm of SIX).

5) Our good friend Tiger Woo suggested we go to the Lucky Art Crayon Factory to see crayons being made, but it is really far. It’s one hour by car and 5+ hours by public transportation. Fleur and I were going a little crazy last night while texting Tiger Woo and Fleur discovered it is 18 hours and 41 minutes if we want to walk there. Double if Omi has to walk. The thought of poor little Omi and her short little legs walking had Fleur and I giggling furiously in the kitchen as we texted side by side into our phones. Hmmm. Perhaps this is only funny if you were actually there. Sorry about the botched telling.

6) Fleur and I might actually be losing weight and/or inches despite our eating like Hobbits and spending almost every waking moment shoving food and shaved ice into our mouths. I think it’s because we have to walk so much and carry everything. Plus, it is so hot we barely need to pee because we excrete all our liquids via sweat. All you have to do is see how we have to haul our children to see why. Here’s Fleur after a long day. (She’s basically Super Mom.)

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7) Glow Worm has had a fever these past few days. I think he is teething. Poor little man. He hasn’t been sleeping well and also refuses to nurse. I suppose he isn’t going to starve – particularly since I swear he has gotten so much heavier since the trip started. So either I am getting weaker or he is gaining weight. I constantly think my backpack is too heavy (even when empty) and only when I shift it in an attempt to lessen the weight that I remember it is fatty Glow Worm that is causing my shoulders to ache. But seeing as he is the only child of mine to so joyously eat food, I don’t mind.

This morning, I wasn’t feeding him 蔥油餅(green onion pancake) fast enough and he started uttering guttural noises and pounding both hands flat against my chest as if to say, “Hey Lady! I am displeased with the caliber of your service. Let’s get a move on!”

7) We went to Kidsburgh, Da An Park, and Wen Zhou park again this weekend. Everyone except Cookie Monster was wiped out. What does it take to tire this kid out? Apparently only extreme heat saps his energy. And even then, his recovery time is super quick. shakes fist at sky Here are some pics of Kidsburgh, the bus ride home, and the park. In case you can’t tell, the kids are melting.

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Alright, I think I broke WordPress’s App. See you soon!

Two Weeks Left

I can’t believe we’ve been in Taiwan for three weeks already! Two weeks of school down; two more weeks to go. Fleur and I are planning to cram in as much eating as possible in the next week for “research” purposes. That way when Hapa Papa joins us next Friday, we can take him to only the best. The sacrifices we make.

I’m sure many of you are interested in where we ate and what. I will try to cobble together a food related post later but be forewarned. I am mostly a consumer of food, not a reviewer. So this is just to say that YMMV on that post.

Here now are some more random thoughts and updates on our life in Taipei.

1) The MRT and bus here really are super convenient. Not only clean and easy to use, but also with breastfeeding rooms (so nice!) and signs in English. I couldn’t quite catch the whole breastfeeding room at the subway station, but it is part of a bigger baby changing area. There are two private rooms for nursing mothers, an attendant you speak with via intercom to let you in and out of the area, a baby changing table, hot and cold water station for formula, air conditioning, magazines, and a sink.

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2) I am surprised at how much I miss Hapa Papa. We Facetime every few days and text throughout the day, but it’s not the same. I barely know what time zone he is in due to all his traveling. At least he got to see a lot of cool sights. 🙂 The kids are counting down the days until Hapa Papa is here and are very happy about it. Of course, Facetime still can’t compete with videos, but they do clamor to tell him about their days and lives when they finally can be torn away to chat with him. Glow Worm is especially excited to talk to Hapa Papa. It’s very cute.

3) Gamera has been eating lunch at school now for a week. She even ate TWO bowls of noodles yestersday. Whoooo! She still cries at drop off, but her Chinese is improving and she seems to like her teachers and is having a good time.

4) And a miracle has happened. Cookie Monster ate a bowl of noodles (albeit plain) at school yesterday. PRAISE THE LORD JESUS. I told him for every bite of lunch he ate, he’d get a bite of cake after dinner. But that wasn’t what convinced him. Somehow, his teacher made him try one bite and since it tasted good, he ate the rest.

5) Fleur and I never manage to stay awake long enough to take out garbage. We have to chase down the garbage truck at 9pm each night if we want to throw stuff away. The streets here are too small for a garbage truck to go down every alley so they have set routes and you meet them at whichever corner is more convenient for you. Except we always fall asleep. Then one of us wakes up at midnight and does laundry and hangs it to dry. And in my case, also eats dinner.

6) When Cookie Monster was getting frustrated on a logic puzzle and wanting me to do it for him, I told him to use his brain. He said, “I can’t. I dropped it!”

7) Fyi: Gamera says her vagina castle is her favorite. When I posted that snippet on Facebook, a friend wrote that as long as she keeps her drawbridge up, all would be well. I know she meant well and was trying to be funny, but come on! Gamera is barely 2.75years old. And as much as I would like all my children to remain pure as the driven snow and make grand babies through cellular fission, I also want them to live a full and meaningful life – which includes living as sexual beings. So as long as all my children (not just Gamera, the lone girl) are physically and emotionally mature to have healthy sexual relations, I am ok with that.

Plus, what the heck is up with people telling me that Gamera needs to be sexually protected but that Cookie Monster is going to “clean up” in high school? (My friend didn’t say anything about Cookie Monster. These are just related comments.) There are just so many problems with these world views I can’t even begin to unpack it without writing a super long screed. But suffice to say, my boy doesn’t need to be encouraged to use and throw away women just like my girl doesn’t need to be locked up and guarded with a shot gun.

8) I went to go buy dinner with Cookie Monster and Fleur had the rest of the kids. Glow Worm was inconsolable. He kept thinking I was in the bathroom and kept crying for the half hour I was gone. Then the next night, I had to go to the bathroom and he thought I left again and wailed and wailed. My poor baby boy. How am I going to leave him for five days in September when I attend a blogging conference in Atlanta? I want to cry just thinking about it. I’ve already had sad dreams because of this.

9) Glow Worm and Baby Gnome, Fleur’s 3.5 month old girl, are “talking” to each other through the bedrooms. Grunting and making dinosaur noises. It is hilarious.

10) Glow Worm really does understand everything I say to him. He can’t talk yet, but he knows to follow directions and basic commands. How can he be so big already? He’s turning one in a month! (Which means my blog is also about a year old, too!)

11) It just goes to show you that my heart is a selfish and self-important beast. Since Fleur and I live together, we’ve come up with a rhythm each day. After we get home from picking up the kids each afternoon, Fleur will bathe and hose down all six kids while I prep/cook/fetch dinner. We wash dishes and clean up after our kids as if they all belonged to us. And yet, each time I do the dishes or do some normal adult thing, I expect thanks and adulation. Keep in mind, we are all very considerate and express our thanks to each other. Rather, I write this to point to my own heart and how selfish and egotistical it is. That even while doing the stuff of ordinary necessity, taking care of my kids, my heart wants to seem special and amazing. What is it Chris Rock says? “You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that?”

All too true, my friends. All too true.

12) The typhoon day was seriously The Longest Day Ever. Fleur and I were exhausted trying to entertain and occupy the kids. They watched three movies, played Connect Four, Penguins on Ice, Camouflage (another puzzle type game), red light green light, dress up (my tops make awesome dresses it seems), playdough, coloring, I cut out crowns, they made puppets out of bags and stickers, we pretended to “shop” and buy things to put in those bags, statues, dancing, ipad, and I’m sure more stuff but OMG, the minutes just crawled by.

Below are pics of the kids in dress up, random pics, and one of Glow Worm pooping. 🙂

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Alright, have a great weekend every body! See you next week.

Patients Zero and Other Sundries

Our first week of school is almost over and I’ve been in Taiwan for almost two weeks already. The time is really zooming by fast! As usual, here is a list of stuff and observations because I am too lazy to put together a cohesive narrative.

1) Now that we’re all settled in and into a rhythm, the school is great. The teachers are nice and kind and really good sports to deal with my insanely ridiculous children.

All the teachers wear colored smocks and instead of learning their teachers’ names, my kids refer to them as “Blue Teacher” or “Green Teacher.” What happens when they change smocks?

2) Every day is a battle to get my kids to school. Thank God my kids like the bus. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I could force them to go. They are patients zero for the incredibly infectious “I don’t want to go to school” disease. Their first casualties are my friend, Fleur’s daughters, Bebe and Omi.

3) Today, Cookie Monster went quietly and almost happily because he knew it was the last day (for the week – Monday will be sad for him) and that he would get a bar and snack. I broke down and said the teachers could give them snacks I sent with them if they don’t eat lunch. Whatever it takes to get the kids to school.

Gamera refused to walk down the street the school was on and cried and cried. I basically had to tell her a story of Gamera and Fluffy the Bunny and Jesus going to school with her and giving her help and superpowers to calm her down. She stopped crying in the lobby but started up again in class. Gamera claims school is scary – especially the stairs leading to her classroom.

Omi was crying all morning and then stopped. But any time some kid cried it would remind her and she would cry more and say she didn’t want to go to school. 🙁 She and Bebe were doing fine about school until my kids infected hers with their intense hatred of being hungry and away from me.

Omi won’t say why she doesn’t want to go but most likely it is because Gamera doesn’t and Omi isn’t stupid. If other kids are crying, she knows something MUST be bad about school right?

4) So today on the bus, Glow Worm kept touching this lady’s hand. The lady was holding onto a vertical bar and Glow Worm likes to hold onto the bars, too. Turns out, he wasn’t trying to touch the lady. He was trying to remove her hand from HIS bar.

5) Fleur’s husband is leaving back for the States today. I’m gonna miss him. He seriously is such an fantastic guy.

My mom left for Kaohsiung two days ago. She is mailing me a care package of red dragonfruits because she is awesome. She is leaving for the US tomorrow. This also makes me super sad. My mom was not only helpful and useful, she really takes care of me. It’s nice to have a mommy. No wonder my kids want me around all the time.

We are going to be alone. For two weeks. Then Hapa Papa will come for the last week and then we’ll be home. It’s going to fly by.

6) Despite all our difficulties at drop off, my second-most favorite part of the day is coming home, putting Glow Worm down for his nap and eating my sizable breakfast (including the requisite dragon fruit), reading, napping, and doing whatever. But most importantly? All done at a leisurely pace. In Silence.

7) My favorite part of the day is those 30 seconds when Cookie Monster and Gamera come marching out of class. They each have a tentative look/smile on their face as they scan for me. As soon as they see me, their face alights and they run to me with arms wide open and envelop me in a giant hug. It’s lovely.

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8) The above two reasons make me reconsider homeschooling. Wouldn’t want to deprive myself of these joys, right? 😉

9) The people here are incredibly polite and helpful. Every time I get on the bus, numerous people stand up and offer the children and I their seats. When waiting at bus stops or at intersections, people have raised and angled their sun-brellas to cast their shade over us. Truly, these small acts of kindness are wonderful.

Alright. Glow Worm just woke up so I’m out. Have a wonderful weekend!