Thursday, January 13, 2011

Golden Stars From Heaven

Today, our almost 4 year old daughter, Mia/Zhuzhu, did not cry, for a whole day, what a treat! This peaceful moment had been long gone for so long that I honestly can hardly remember a single day passed by without her whines or cries, except for today.  It has been annoying.  How can a little angel like Zhuzhu turn into a cat in her heat cycle in a fraction of a second is beyond me!

I so miss the sweet infant that I had 4 years ago!  Could this be a delayed terrible 2 phase or is it that she is still crying for the loss of her privileges of being the only child of the family?  Or both?

Let's analyze the situation here.

We experienced 2 distinct difficult periods so far since she was born.  The first was when she transitioned from 2 year toddlers' room to 3 year old preschoolers' room.  At that time, she was barely 30 months, whereas all her new classmates were at least 6 months older, except for Marie, the one actually got her in at the first place.  Marie is 4 months older than Zhuzhu.  The teachers decided it's time for Marie to move up, so Zhuzhu was paired with her.  School teachers were attentive and considerate; they did not want Marie to feel lonely.  In the mean time, I was happy for this decision since I always preferred my older friends to younger ones when growing up.  Plus, I thought Zhuzhu would have learnt more older kids.  Little did I know, this may have introduced extra stresses to Zhuzhu, since it made her skip the 2 year old room altogether.  Now she is the youngest in her new Rainbow room.  Being born in a Chinese-French family, she deals with 3 languages - we speak to her with our own mother tongues, she gets to learn English at school only.  She expectedly has delayed language skills.  My best bet is that our dearest Zhuzhu had experienced her first "shock" for losing her identity - others are so good at expressing themselves, she no longer shines.  She needs to watch and learn now.

How did she deal with her difficult transition?  She had cried every single morning!  Not just a little wimpy that I am talking about here.  It's crying hysterically that get me in tears type!  It took months for her to adjust and gained her comfort at where she was.

Just when the dropoff became less painful, another "shock" occurred at the end of this summer.

Again, it's time to move her up at the end of this summer.  Zhuzhu loved her Rainbow room teachers by then and did not want to leave them so soon.  Understandable, because it took so long for her to feel safe and comfy there.  I tried to make her stay this time, but teachers believed there wouldn't be helpful to her development.  Boy and boy, I so wished this was not the policy!

Anyway, she moved up to another preschooler class - the Explorer room.  She again turned into a crying monster.  Each morning was a big ordeal: she would start her day by asking to either going back to the Rainbow room or staying at home, follow by crying gently on the way to the daycare, finally end by hysterical crying at the door of the Explorer room.  Even though her language skill now is sufficient to express her feelings with words, she is still only using tears as the best weapon to communicate with us, which has been bothering me at so many levels.

So, how do I deal with it, you ask?

I have simply excused myself from the dropoff duty!

As a loving mother, I hate to feel the guilt.  I dislike to experience heart-breaking dropoff moments!  After all, the father has been growing up with 2 younger sisters, he has been trained.  It would not take too much more for him to suck it up!

He has been great.  Have not heard his complaints!  Love you, Fabrice, I mean Fabulous!

Having been transitioned for months, you'd expect that Zhuzhu would have moved on to accepting phase by now, right?


Dropoff is not the only time that she cries these days: she cries when she tells us at pickup that she does not want to go home but we do; she cries when she asks for an apple but we give her a pear; she cries when we don't go the Costco every single night; she cries if we don't let her hold the mail; she cries when we flush the toilet without letting her to check out what's in there first; she cries when she/we forget her baby doll at home or at school; she cries when we don't go to restaurant every night; she cries in the middle of the night if she wakes up finding her berets not in her hand; she cries if we use a wrong spoon, plate, or bowl for her dinner; she cries if we mix food together...

Yesterday at pickup, I folded her drawings as I had always done.  Suddenly, I heard this ear-piecing scream, "Mommy, you folded my picture, I told you not to do that.  You broke it, woo-woo-woo-woo, woo-woo..."

As usual, we ignored her for a long while.  When she finally slowed down, I said to the father, "We need to do something about this crying business." The father agreed, "Yes!"  But then we could not carry on the conversation, because Zhuzhu would have cried louder if we dared to undermine her tantrums.

After we put the little ones to bed, I worked on a review article and had not heard Fabrice for a long time.  Just before I was getting ready for bed, he showed up with a stack of golden stars in hand - he cut a golden chocolate inner cover into many little stars.  He said, "These will do wonders."  I shrugged my shoulders and went to sleep, did not pay much of attention to these paper stars.

Then, the morning came, I heard our daughter's running steps in the living room as usual.

She wakes me up every morning with such pleasant/annoying running steps.  She always in a great mood at wakeup and stays being pleasant until changing-cloth-for-school moment.  As soon as we try to put regular t-shirt and pants on her, she turns into a crying monster.  She absolutely and positively demands a dress every single morning!  Well, the problem is that I grew up with no dresses and also never craved for one.  The loving mother of Zhuzhu is a little behind for her sudden and newly acquired beauty senses.  Dresses have made into her cloth collections so far because she has French Aunts and grandma.  However, they are short in numbers now.

"Mommy, I said, DRESSES. Don't ever put a shirt on me, never!" - this, my friend, is what I often get in a regular morning!

This morning, however, was irregular.

She ran up to my bed and said excitingly, "Mommy, Mommy, wake up, the sun is up, wake up!" Then she started to jump, up and down, up and down, nonstop!

Ok, she must have slept well, I thought.

She also surprised me by staying out of my comforter.  She loves to insert her little cold feet between my legs after getting out of her own bed.  The two of us often cuddle until her feet warm and I get my morning little sleep Zs (回笼觉).  Today, she was obviously way too excited to stay in bed, I gave up the cuddling idea.  So I got up and went on for my breakfast.  Shockingly, I could finish my cereals peacefully.  Then I noticed that Zhuzhu was already dressed up and ready to go.  She was so anxious to go to school that she could not even sit still for her milk.  What amazed me even more was that she was wearing T-shirt and pants!

Trying not to open a can of worms, I did not say a word about her clothes and quickly got some random clothes on myself. Off we went.

In the car, the father asked, "You noticed our daughter did not cry today?"  "Of course, what happened?" I questioned.  He then raised his voice to make sure everyone in the car could hear him loud and clear, "Someone is going to earn one golden star if she does not cry for a whole day,  I wonder who that will be?"  "Me!" Zhuzhu exclaimed cheerfully, "I am not crying now and I am not going to cry later today either.  I am going to get a golden star tonight."  She went on telling me that there would be a fairy who would bring her one star for each non-crying day from the heaven.  "And when I get 5 stars," she announced happily, "I can use them to buy a beautiful dress."

What a great idea!  The father finally has come up with a weapon to counteract her tears.

Now, I am peacefully sitting at my desk enjoying my cry-free day.  Our daughter is soundly sleeping now.  She did not make any fuss today indeed for a whole day today.  Not only did she not cry, she even had been very pleasant, polite, and using magic words for every single request!  She IS an angel after all.

Golden stars, thank you!

The father said that fairies bring those golden stars and leave them on her night table at night.  Then she can collect them in the morning and put them in her Jewelry box that Santa gave her this past Christmas.

Mother tongue


在个人的生活上,我是心比天高,只求十全十美。因为从小被老爸和哥哥安了很多难听的花名,老以为自己其貌不扬,怕嫁了丑男人生出像我一样的丑八怪。到了美国已后才发现老中和老外都没把本人归于其貌不扬的行列!谈了一堆男朋友,老中,老外,白,黄,黑,五花八门,但还没碰上一个中意的。 40多岁才看上并且嫁给了我的法国“西施”。他虽然不是十全十美的白马王子,但老爸和哥哥认为我是癞蛤蟆吃着天鹅肉了!他们很难相信我的运气。但还是邀了弟弟,弟媳一到去了法国,开开心心的把我送出了家们!


我还有个是中文网页,,用来跟不懂或者懒得读英文的亲朋好友交流。 欢迎光顾!

不能保证我天天来此一游,但如果你们有什么好消息, 建议,问题, 别忘了告我老一声,谢了。

Dry translation:

Welcome! Allow me to introduce myself here. I am an old lady who is close to 50, and I have lived in America for almost 20 years now. The 20 years passed as a snap of fingers! I taught Biology in China prior to coming here. Honestly, that 9 year period is what I am proud about myself the most, so proud that lecturing on a stage to bunch of middle-high school students is still the most frequent dream that I have. I actually have graduates everywhere in the world from that era. At 29 and as a single, I left my dear motherland and resolutely came to America to start a new life. It may sound strange, I did not have a penny in the pocket then and finished the study for a Master Degree by washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant without feeling it was unbearably tough. Those who were born in 80's and 90's should consider this experience of mine the best materials for "remembering hardship while living large" education! Later when I was studying for Ph.D, I did not have to work outside the campus anymore. But working in the lab day and night did not seem to be easier at all. Nonetheless, it was all these years of hard work that has given me a professor position in a great University. At least, this made it all worth it. Since I'd wished to be a teacher and an educator since I was little, I consider myself lucky to have this dream come true.

Regarding my personal life, I'd got my heart set on perfection. Because I was called many names by my father and older brother, I had always thought that I was so ugly that if one day I'd married to someone who was not a perfect looking guy, my children would have been just as ugly as "the 8 eccentrics of Yangzhou" or "the scarecrow". It was only after arriving the U.S that I found out that I was not categorized as ugly by either American or Chinese standards since suddenly I became dateable. Over the years, I'd dated Chinese, Foreigners (Lao Wai, 老外), yellow, white, black, brown...truly multifarious. But none of them took my heart. It wasn't until 40 that I met and then married to my French "xishi". Although he is not "the perfect prince on the white horse", father and brothers definitely think that "the toad has gotten swan for dinner". They all came to my wedding in France and happily married me out of "the mother's home"!

That was year 2005. My life now can be called happily ever after. We have two children, one almost 4-year-old girl, Mia/Zhuzhu, and one almost 2-year-old boy, Remy/Niuniu. See, teaching and educating continue to be my destiny, right?

I also have a Chinese website, welcome to have a look there too!