More Random Thoughts

Again, too lazy to construct my thoughts into a single, coherent piece. You’ll just have to deal with it until I can get my head out of my ass. (Or, alternately, when Glow Worm decides to go to bed earlier than 10:40pm. FFS, child. WHERE IS YOUR EXTRA BATTERY PACK? And can you hand that sucker over?)

1) Started Cookie Monster on his Singapore Math workbook today and he breezed through 53 pages out of 157. I would be more excited and proud of him if it weren’t super easy stuff (the book is for the first half of Kindergarten and covers easy things like the numbers 1-10). However, 53 pages really is a lot – but he wanted to do them.

He got so bored practicing writing number 1-5 that he started to write them in Chinese characters. I think that has me the most excited.

2) Speaking of Cookie Monster, I am starting to sense that some of the hardest things for him will be to actually follow directions in the workbook versus doing whatever he wants. I find myself telling him that if the instructions tell him to circle something and he colors it, he’s doing it wrong.

Is that too harsh? I mean, on the one hand, it seems somewhat draconian to force a kid to circle instead of color, but part of life is learning how to follow directions, right?

I compromised and let him circle stuff and color the circle in.

3) Also, I really need to teach Cookie Monster the calendar. He is confusing the crap out of me with him confusing his actual birthday with how many months UNTIL his birthday. Part of it is because the months in Chinese are literally, “1 month, 2 month, 3 month, 4 month” and the other part is because he isn’t using proper grammar so I have no idea whether he is talking about the actual month or if he’s talking about the quantity of months.

Was that too convoluted? I swear it makes sense when it’s happening. (Or rather, it doesn’t make sense, but I understand why it doesn’t.)

4) I’m getting excited about homeschooling Cookie Monster. Especially since it seems like he really takes to doing workbooks and learning new things. Hopefully, this excitement for learning keeps up and I don’t end up crushing his happy little heart.

5) I’ve also outsourced a lot of Cookie Monster’s education. I have signed him up for two Chinese classes, a Math Squared class that meets twice a week, Kung Fu, piano, art, and swimming. However, because most of these classes accommodate traditionally educated students, the classes take up a lot of evenings. Since my mother usually comes over in the evenings, I’m sad that my kids will miss out on key Ah-Ma time. (Especially Glow Worm since he’s the youngest and has the least amount of time with her.)

We’ll figure it out, but I always freak out a little bit when I see the amount of time with my mom dwindle. I immediately think that my mom will no longer spend any time with the kids and they’ll forget her and be robbed of her presence.

I know I’m being ridiculous and over the years, because of the many times my mom has had extended absences due to travel, schedules, or illness, I know things are not really that dire and that the kids still get plenty of time with her.

However, try explaining that to my panicky brain.

6) Glow Worm is finally talking more. Unfortunately, most of what he says is, “No” (with a finger wag). And if he gets annoyed with having to say, “No” too often, he switches it up to, “You, Go!” (with accompanying finger pointing). It is pretty hilarious and still adorable. Not so much at 10:40pm when he’s supposed to be sleeping.

7) Speaking of sleeping (or the lack thereof), Glow Worm is crazy. WTH, kid? Go to sleep already. I don’t understand how this kid just doesn’t sleep. I used to judge my friend, Not Another DB MBA, for letting her son (also the youngest of three) stay up until 11pm or whatever and how he wouldn’t nap and just be insane with sleep.

I apologize, Not Another DB MBA. I was wrong. So wrong. And as you can see, karma has bitten me in the ass.

8) And what of Gamera? Well, a few weeks ago, I discovered she had a year-long con going on with one of her teachers. One afternoon, her teacher, GLS, excitedly exclaimed to me that Gamera finally learned how to use scissors and was cutting out stars and how this was wonderful because Gamera didn’t know how to use scissors all year and even held them incorrectly.

I just stared at GLS and said, “Gamera already knows how to use scissors. She uses them rather well and cuts things at home and at her other preschool all the time.”

“What?” exclaimed GLS. “I knew she must have known in order to improve so much!”

When I related the story to Gamera’s other preschool teachers, they told me she tries to pull that same trick on them as well. But they make her do it anyway and practice.

I’m so screwed.

9) Although, my therapist tells me not to worry because children are supposed to manipulate people to get what they want. That’s how they get people to do things. Our job as parents is to teach them appropriate ways to get what they want. (Like asking for things. Or explaining how they feel.) Dr. T also suggested that when I think Gamera is being manipulative, to try and think why she may be doing so.

In regards to the scissors incident, perhaps Gamera wanted extra attention. Maybe she was lazy. Or maybe she didn’t want to use scissors. So many possibilities.

10) I tried to keep this in mind when two weeks ago, Gamera kept refusing to participate in kung fu class. She would throw a tantrum and just stand stock still like a statue while her classmates did warmups around her immobile body. Then, when the kids started in on the forms, she would allow herself to be dragged in to participate. After three or four of these occurrences in a row, I decided to use my brain and ask her why she wasn’t participating.

I forget exactly what she said, but I eventually figured out that she was throwing the tantrums on purpose in order to get out of doing the warm ups because they were hard and they made her tired. I told the Head Sifu and he gave her a stern talking to about practicing and she’s been fine ever since.

Did I mention that I’m so screwed?

11) This week was the first time (well, first time since last summer in Taipei) that Gamera has been in a class without Cookie Monster and she was very upset and would start to cry every time I tried to prepare her for this inevitability. Well, when I dropped her off at camp yesterday, she was so happy to see her teachers and friends that she forgot all about how sad she was and went off without a hitch.

The super cute thing is that as soon as she gets into the van after school, Cookie Monster will quiz her about her school day. And since he knows EVERYTHING about how class works, he is able to get way more information out of her than I ever could. Of course, the first thing he asks her about is what they had for snacks (and what she chose and how much of it she ate). He quizzes her on what crafts she made, what books, who had what role, who the new people were, and what toys she played with.

It’s adorable. Also, creepy. But mostly adorable.

12) Ok. It is really late and Hapa Papa is on “vacation” in NYC and I’m really screwing myself over for tomorrow morning. I’m trying to prepare the kids for no screen time before breakfast/school (because truthfully, I don’t care that the American Pediatric Association warns us not to exceed two hours of screen time a day – sometimes, we hit that number before breakfast – STOP JUDGING ME) and lack of sleep really doesn’t help!

13) Although, related to this is that I really started to feel exceedingly guilty about the kids’ excessive screen time so I made (and of course, cut and laminated, too) eight 15 minute “coins” for the kids to cash in throughout the day for screen time of any sort. They each get eight and if they are done by breakfast (although again, trying to avoid this), then they are done for the rest of the day.

It took a few days for them to get used to it, but now they are pretty good about rationing. Cookie Monster is especially aware of how many minutes he has left and when he realized the minutes didn’t rollover to the next day, has been militant in using up all his minutes by the end of the day. He is also getting really good at controlling his iPad time in order to get more Halo time. I don’t know whether or not to be happy or unhappy about this development.

I’ve also started to take away minutes when they’re being punks. Again, this works much better on Cookie Monster.

Kids, let this be a lesson to you. Don’t allow your parents to know what you love. All you’ve given them is leverage.

Ok. For reals now. I’m going to sleep. (No guarantees on this being the last post with disparate thoughts. This type of thing may continue for some time. Possibly because I’m tired. And exceedingly lazy.)

Thanks for reading and Have a Wednesday!

Quick Update

So much has happened since I last posted (I took most of July off because I’m tired) but I don’t know if I’m back in the swing of things yet. So, we’ll just practice posting with a quick update.

Here are some of the things that have been on my mind the last month (in no particular order). I may or may not expand upon them in future posts.

1) I find it patronizing when people tell me being a SAHM is hard. It really isn’t. And yet, I am exhausted and wrung out at the end of the day. My brain is slush. So if I don’t really think it’s hard, and yet it is hard for me, what does that say about me?

I feel bad for finding it hard even when it isn’t.

How is that for a conundrum?

My friend JC summed it up perfectly when he said that parenting is hard because it is about character. It is hard on your character.


2) As much as I am a social and a night person, I can no longer stay up late without paying a steep price. A few weeks ago, I stayed up until 3am two nights in a row. It took me a week to recover. A week. I felt as if I had the flu.

3) I have been experiencing a reading slump lately. I can’t tell if I’m too tired to read or the books I’ve chosen haven’t really grabbed me. It makes me sad and yet, I am also glad for the free time.

4) Adventures in homeschooling begins on 8/31. I am alternately excited and terrified. I console myself with the fact that it is only Kindergarten.

5) My main problem with parenting (or even life in general) is that to do it well and with intention requires a lot of work. I keep looking for shortcuts and am coming up short (pun intended).

Where is my “Easy Button”?

6) A corollary problem: I have no idea what I really want or expect from my kids other than the impossibility of them being automatons blindly obeying my will and psychically knowing what I want on a Monday may differ than what I want on a Tuesday.

My poor confused children.

7) I can’t decide if I am relieved or disappointed that I have yet to conceive Baby 4. I am both.

8) I most certainly AM annoyed that my perfect plans and schedule have been rendered obsolete.

9) I don’t know why there still isn’t a better feminine hygiene product for menstruation. Over half the world bleeds on a monthly basis. WHY IS THIS STILL A THING?

10) Before you tell me about the wonders of the menstrual cup, let me just stop you right there and say while the cup maybe awesome for you and for many others, I have tried two different cups unsuccessfully for nine months. NINE.

I’m a reasonably intelligent person with pretty good Google skills. I have not been able to fix this problem. I have given it a good go. I’m done.

11) Also, this will most likely turn into a post in the near future. You have been warned.

Ok. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Small Victories

I know my posts tend towards the ranty and doom and gloom. Or if not that, then something Chinese related. But this past week or so, I haven’t been feeling quite so low or fragile and I thought I would celebrate that feeling of normalcy. 

1) After a month and a half of carting all three kids to Kung Fu lessons twice a week and opting to have the older two in private lessons because they refuse to join the group lesson, Cookie Monster FINALLY joined the group lesson this past Friday. WHOOOOO! And he even had a good time. His world did not end. 

2) Last week, I cut down on some of the kids’ screen time and surprisingly, I yelled less, actually played with the kids, and didn’t feel like shit. Turns out, I felt better because I didn’t feel guilty about the kids being on the screen so much. 

It was a weird, light feeling. 

3) When I did yell at the kids, I didn’t feel myself slip into an uncontrollable rage. I felt as if I was more yelling out of muscle memory than actual fury. 

4) I felt more mindful as I went through my week. It was oddly good. 

5) I made smoothies multiple times this week, took my vitamins (and gave the kids theirs, too), and also made sun butter, hummus, and a chocolate hazelnut spread. 

6) Did I mention that I actually played with my children? And enjoyed it?

7) We successfully picked $85 worth of Ranier cherries this past weekend. Last year was a fiasco but this year, the kids were into it and there actually were cherries. Going with good friends helped, too. I was super pleased. 

8) I got to go out with a friend and watch Mad Max: Fury Road. So thrilling and exciting!! I even made Hapa Papa go by himself to watch the movie tonight. 

9) I actually made it to a Book Club meeting! Yaaaaay!!

10) I finished 3 books. Since I have been on a tear, I have just been devouring fluffy book left and right. 

Alright, the list is silly, but it really HAS been fun and I can’t even explain how great being free of my hangups has been the best part. 

Random Observations

Sometimes, I have snippets of thoughts that might not flesh out into full-fledged posts of their own and thus, I have nowhere to shelve them. Well, I”m shelving them here in a sort of catch-all for stunted ideas. Is it really the idea’s fault though? Surely their stunted state of being is more the problem with the ideator? And is that a word? If so, it’s a pretty handy yet utterly awful buzzy type word. It’s one of those words that sound entirely fabricated and make me want to punch someone in the throat. I hate it already.

Anyhow, why should my laziness and lack of follow-through deprive you lovely people of my pithy and, dare I say, profound (but not original), thoughts?

So, here they are, in no particular order:

1) The other day, someone asked me in all sincerity why I was so dressed up. I was wearing yoga pants. I may have reached a new sartorial low.

2) I had stopped posting Time Out pics of my kids for awhile on Facebook because I rarely put the older two kids in time out anymore. Thank goodness Glow Worm has stepped up to the plate in that regard and filled that niche in so timely a manner.

That pouty face!

That pouty face!

3) I despise silly putty.

4) Rubbing alcohol gets rid of silly putty and their incumbent stains. It also gets rid of permanent and/or non-washable marker stains.

5) I love rubbing alcohol. (In either noun or verb form.)

6) Why do I insist on taking pregnancy tests when it is too early to tell? It’s as if I enjoy starting the day out disappointed.

7) I feel churlish and ungrateful for being disappointed that I’m not pregnant yet. In part because I used to just think about getting pregnant and then, BAM! I’m pregnant. But mostly, so many of my friends have had actual difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant or both that it feels unseemly to complain.

I’m still complaining.

8) As vapid as I find Taylor Swift’s lyrics (although, no more so than your typical pop song), they are just so dang catchy!

9) Incidentally, I find 90% of current music unbearably bad. And even the tolerably good ones, I find the lyrics abysmal. At times, this state of affairs even makes me angry. Not just angry, FURIOUS. (This may turn into an actual post some day if I can actually get off my duff and write it.)

10) Now, get off my lawn.

11) I “like” too many things on Facebook. I admit, my likes are worthless. In my defense, what’s not to like about cute kid or pet pics? I desire people to like my pics. Why wouldn’t I return the favor? And really, I like a lot of things. You should be worried if I don’t like something of yours. Don’t you crave my good opinion? Oh. You mean you didn’t notice?

I hate you.

12) Getting stuff ready for Cookie Monster’s kindergarten registration makes me want to homeschool even more. (Yes. I would rather homeschool than fill out paperwork.) The only reason I’m even registering is to keep my options open next year. (We’re in an impacted area so there are too few spots for too many students. And isn’t it better to have a spot and not need it than to need a spot and not have it?)

You’ll be pleased to know that I somehow, successfully finished registration before the deadline. It was a near thing though since apparently, I gave the school the wrong birth certificate. Too many kids with the same starting letter to their names.

13) My handwriting is atrocious. I clearly rarely hand write anything anymore. It’s laughable. Let’s not even mention my Chinese handwriting. Cookie Monster puts me to shame. He is five.

14) Prepping for homeschooling seems overwhelming. Especially since Hapa Papa doesn’t think I can do it. Not because of any lack of ability on my part. More so that I’m so lazy and put in such minimal effort with my children. I’d be mad about his lack of support but I can’t say he’s off the mark.

15) I find myself no longer interested in movies. In part because so many seem to suck. But mostly because given my limited free time, I’d rather use it for reading. Or eating.

16) I find it so crazy that everyone out there, all those people driving in their cars, sharing the road with me on a daily basis, these are all PEOPLE. You know, with their own lives and wants and desires and hopes and dreams and jobs and families and kids and loves and pets and everything. And there are 7 billion more people out there. 7 BILLION.

I find that mind-boggling.

17) Cookie Monster now makes all these ridiculous poses for the camera like he’s Sailor Moon or some anime character powering up. It is ridiculous and awesome. I blame Taiwan.

Cookie Monster pose 1 Cookie Monster pose 2 Cookie Monster pose 3 Cookie Monster pose 4IMG_0263IMG_0248

18) Glow Worm now refuses to nap. He is so obviously tired but he is like, “FUCK NAPS. FUCK SLEEPING. EVERYONE IS HAVING FUN WITHOUT ME. FUCK YOU ALL!”

He’s literally hopping mad. Stomping his little feet and slamming his hands against the crib. I hope he doesn’t figure out that he can climb out his crib. (His siblings both did before 18 months.) Then I would have to gate the room because baby boy can open doors now. Little stinker!

19) And because I haven’t posted a pic of Gamera in awhile, here are some of her best over-the-shoulder looks when she was about Glow Worm’s age (and younger).

IMG_0821 IMG_0820 IMG_0819

20) And to round out the list to twenty, here’s a recent one of my pretty girl and I:



Alright. Go enjoy your Wednesday and stuff. Be off with you all!

Baby, I’m Back!

The hardest part about taking a hiatus from writing is getting back into it. I keep postponing writing and updating my blog, not because I have nothing to say, but because I’ve been a bit tired from the holidays and traveling.

But now that I’m forcing myself to start up again because, hey, new year, it may be a few posts before I get my writing legs back.

So… what has the Mandarin Mama Family been up to? Here are some recent highlights:

1) We went to Taiwan for two weeks with my brother’s family and my mother. Lots of visiting family, eating yummy food, and taking the kiddos to do fun things. (More on this in another post.)

2) Of course, because I was in Taiwan, I broke down and bought a few more “educational” items. But thankfully, since I was just there in July, I didn’t have too much more to purchase.

3) I hired an organizer and Jenn from Jenn’s Pretty Organized transformed my house. Every time I walk into my garage and my front room, I am super happy. I still have some work to do (nothing like the holidays and traveling to make a house insane again), but I will definitely talk more about my experience in a later post.

Just know that if you have organizational issues with your house and life, Jenn will change your life. She will make you sane. She is fantastic.

4) For the first time in several years, I failed to meet my GoodReads Book Challenge. I am somewhat bummed until I remember that I still managed to read over a hundred books in 2014. Yes, this is a humble brag.

5) I only managed to get a few things crossed off my “Get Done By Year End” list. I worry that now since my artificial deadline is over, I won’t do anything until the end of THIS year. Key things that don’t seem important but I want to get done anyway: 2014 Family Yearbook and Glow Worm’s Baby Book.

6) Finally made appointments for my three kids’ well-baby checkups. (They’re a few months overdue.) Nothing like a measles outbreak to spur me into action.

7) There was a lower than usual turnout for my annual New Year’s Eve party. I was pretty disappointed, but then, I realized that the party itself was a little more enjoyable for me because the flow was a lot more reasonable and I actually got to talk to a lot more people.

8) I was so happy that my nephew got along well with my kids. They were so cute together.

9) Since we just got back from Taiwan on Wednesday, jetlag is still kicking our butts. My older two kids are mostly switched over, but poor Glow Worm! He’s all time-shifted. He slept until 1pm this afternoon and screamed his brains out for several hours last night. (The past few nights, actually. And tonight as well.) I will be better about waking him up tomorrow (it helps that I have to take the other two kids to school and have a playgroup at my house) and hopefully, I won’t give into the temptation of letting him nap excessively.

10) I have finally unpacked from our trip as well as put away lots of things that needed to be put away in their proper spaces (eg: putting clothes in my new closet!). Also, I sold several items that we no longer use (due to the reorg) and I’m pretty pleased about that. It doesn’t exactly recoup the money we spent, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

Ok. That is all my frazzled brain and hungry tummy can handle tonight. I missed you guys. Talk to you all soon.