lizzybennet: (dear tom)
Cici is here and the kids are done homeschool, so I thought this seemed a perfect time to get caught up on LJ and email.

Homeschool went pretty good today. Zack did get a little upset by the length of his math lesson. We haven't even finished it completely, but I decided to pick it up again later today. He didn't do any reading yet either. He did work on typing, so I guess that's something. Petey, on the other hand, did reading, math, handwriting with time left over for computer games. They are so so different from each other. Cici also taught them some Chinese today and we'll probably make that a daily activity. Today she taught us the words for "big" and "little".

I think we may have solved the lunch problem. We made the boys pb&j sandwiches and just took that with us upstairs to the group lunch. Such a simple solution! And Petey still ate some chinese food as well. Personally, I don't want to give up eating with the group. I love the food and I enjoy the company as well.

Connor is doing really well with potty training. This is much easier than it was with the older boys. Could it be that I'm actually getting the hang of this mom-thing? Nah...I'm sure it's all to his credit that he's ready and willing to potty train. Also, the toilet in our apartment is larger, wider, or different shaped than the one back home. I'm not sure exactly what the difference is, but he can climb up on it and sit on it much better than the one we had before.

Ok, if you've stuck around past the gritty details of potty training, I applaud your dedication to the Life of Tina :) Now for some random observations on life in China: People spit a lot here. It is common for taxi drivers to open their door at stoplights, lean out and hock a loogie. Zack noticed this habit very quickly and picked it up right away. Also, as I mentioned before, most babies don't wear diapers. They wear split pants or no pants and they simply go wherever they happen to be. Yesterday Chris and I saw a little girl going poo on the sidewalk. Her parents were just standing beside her chatting. I wonder if they pick it up? I think they must because I've never seen any poo sitting around, not even animal poo. That's another neat thing about China. It's very clean and dirty at the same time. There are always people busy sweeping the streets or mopping the floors in the shops. Everywhere you look, people are cleaning. Yet somehow, things stay a certain noticeable level of dirty. The taxi drivers get very mad if you put your shoes (which Zack did and got yelled at) on their white seat covers, yet they have no problem smoking in and stinking up their own cabs. Quite ironic.

Enough for now. Cici will be leaving in a few minutes. Oh, I dreamt last night that she asked for 18 rmb/hour and I refused to pay it so she quit. It really is an odd dream, because 18 rmb is only slightly more than $2/hour. See what China has done to me already! I'm a cheapskate after only 3 weeks!
lizzybennet: (lj geek)
Some days I find it very difficult to find time to write in my journal. This saddens me, because I really want to chronicle our adventures here. I suppose I could justify it in saying that we're having so many adventures that I don't have time to write them down :) However, I think the fact of the matter is that we're just trying to settle into our new life here and I'm not on any sort of schedule yet. Whenever I sit down to the computer, there is so much to do that lj seems to get pushed aside. Also, our Internet connection is much slower than I'm used to (chalk that up to a just-barely DSL connection as well as a wi-fi system that Chris set up but can't figure out how to make secure. I suppose Chinese instructions are very confusing, lol. One of our collegues who lives two buildings away said she picked up our wi-fi signal. That's frustrating because sometimes when I'm in the next room over I can't pick it up! Our walls are solid cement.) Anyway, my point is that I wish I had more time and ease to just pop on LJ and write random thoughts like I used to. There is so much here that I want to comment on or remember.

Yesterday was our first day of "church". I put that in quotes because it was held at someone's apartment and there were only two other families attending. However, it was wonderful to be around kindred spirits. The Yui's are from Hong Kong. They have 2 kids and the 15 year old girl totally talks with an American accent. Ok, actually it is Canadian as they lived there for several years. The Watley's are from Michigan. They have 5 kids, spanning ages 16 to 4. They have 2 boys the same ages as Zack and Petey!! Our kids hit it off so well together, I'm very happy. Zack and Jay were sitting on the couch, making farting noises with their armpits and laughing their heads off (this was after the church service was over, not during!) Petey and Eli were wrestling. Connor bounced around from one pile of boys to the other. Unfortunately, they live pretty far away from us, so we probably won't be getting together outside of church, but still it's great that they have buddies. AND the Whatley's have an oven so she made lasagna and muffins for the pot luck. It was wonderful to have some familiar food.

Today was Cici's first day AND the first day of homeschool. I'm exhausted! Cici seems like she will work out well. She wore high heels which I find amusing but is totally an everyday footwear in China. She had a hard time keeping Connor occupied during homeschool. He just did not want her around him. I felt bad for her because she really tried, but he wanted me and no one else. She'd try to hand him a crayon and he'd take it from her and throw it across the room. I was a little embarrassed by his behavior. But later, he went in the bedroom and called her "Cici, toys." He said it in a sing-song voice, inviting her to come play with him. After lunch (we ate with the group) Chris and I took off for a couple of hours and left her alone with the kids. This was our first time alone in about 3 weeks. He took me to the electronics district where we tried to find the best deal on a printer/copier/scanner. I need one to print out worksheets for the boys. We found an HP for about $60, but we didn't get it. We kept looking for the next best deal and ended up with nothing :) We'll have to go back.

When we got home, the boys were still right where we left them: playing video games. We had told her they are only allowed to play for 30 mintues a day. I don't know if she misunderstood us or disregarded what we said. We'll have to try that again tomorrow. She did have Connor asleep so that was good. I think it may be easier for her once the weather cools off. It was much too hot/humid to play for long outside today. As Petey points out, it's almost difficult to breath because of the thick humidity. I'm pleased with her so far. She commented on how the boys hardly ate any lunch. As far as I can tell, the Chinese don't subscribe to the American custom of expecting kids to eat what's served to them, whether they like it or not. It really worries them when my kids don't eat well at lunch and they are often asking me what my kids would prefer to eat. I'm ok with what we are served for lunch, and I feel that eventually my kids will start to eat it if that's all there is. Chris says this is all part of the "little emperor"syndrome that has swept across China. Little emperor's are the pampered children of China. Because most families can only have one child, the children are usually very indulged. It makes sense if you think about it. There is only one grandchild to two sets of grandparents. Anyway, back to the point here: Cici says she can fix food that she knows the boys will like better. Apparently she has know several Italians and learned to cook Italian food. She says she'd be happy to fix lunch for the boys. I think we'll give it a try and see how that goes.

And now for the homeschool report: it went pretty well for the first day. The kids were excited about it and pretty cooperative. We did math first and then we painted Chinese characters. They liked that a lot. Next, I put one kid a typing lesson (it's a game, they really liked it) and the other did reading lessons. We swapped it up after a few minutes. We only did about 2 hours of homeschool today, but I'd like to do 3. I know everyday will go more smoothly as we settle into a routine and Connor gets more accustomed to Cici. I hope things with her will work out. I was worried she was overwhelmed, but she said she'd be back tomorrow :)

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lizzybennet

April 2011

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