Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The terrifying hide and seek

Hide and seek is a common game that I think everyone has played during one point in his/her life.
Usually, one person hides and the other would look for him/her.
When the game starts, every plays their role, whether hiding or seeking.
But, it becomes a problem when one is hiding and the other doesn't know that he should be seeking.

That happened one day when I was walking home with Aelig.

On the way to school I met my friend and her son so we all went to the school to pick up Aelig.

On the way back, we walked through a park, the kids were running in front of us while we were chatting.

Suddenly, I discovered that they were no longer in the park and the end of the park was a main road with lots of car passing. We rushed toward the exist but the kids were not in sight. I rushed back towards the park, seeking, then I heard my friend calling me saying that she found the kids.

Where were they?

They were hiding beside a house facing the main road. Aelig was all smiling and thrilled that she has tricked me. She didn't know that I was worried to dead and she didn't understand why it was a bad idea to play hide and seek when the seeker was not informed that the game has started. My friend told me that she had never been so scared in her life. Ok, I felt really guilty because Aelig was the culprit, her friend was just following her. When she saw me, she repeated the game. She led her friend towards the house and hid from our sight. When we found them again,  they both giggled with joy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2 years 11 months

Since early October, she has achieved an important milestone in her life : fully potty trained (day and night).

It was a painful process for both parents and her. Me and hubby had completely different method in this matter.

We introduced the potty to her since she turned two. She didn't buy the idea at first and didn't want to sit on it. Little by little she managed to pee in it, but just for fun. At one point, hubby went tough, she was forced to sit on the potty for more than one hour. It didn't work and she got completely blocked. So, we put the training on hold. It got resumed in summer, during the day she went diaperless. I bought potty training story book both in French and in Mandarin, so she got the idea, but still didn't want to cooperate.

Before going to Malaysia she did well when she was with my in laws, was very proud when she managed to pee in the toilet just like an adult. She didn't like the potty after all. But then she was blocked once again when she was in Malaysia.

Back to France in September, we got no choice. She needed to be potty trained at school. We stopped the diaper.

First week at school, she wet her pants everyday, and when grandma picked her up from school she pooed on the way home. She was very upset when she did it, she kept saying that her daddy was not happy. We proposed her to go to the toilet every two hours. When she successfully did it she would be so excited.

That weekend, she had a tough training. My coworker said I shouldn't ask if she wanted to go to the toilet, I should just bring her there. It worked, she did it when I forced her to the toilet. Then, during a long walk she pooed in her pants. At the end of the walk she was very tired and begged me to take her in her arms, but hubby was very firmed, he told her that since she pooed in her pants she would had to walk back herself.

Second week at school, situation improved. She only had one accident at school and two accidents in bed. But she dirtied her pants twice on the way home from school. It was a painful week for me as I had to force her to go to the toilet at school before going home but she still pooed in her pants on the way home.

Third week at school, no more accident at school and in bed, managed to pee and poo at school toilet before going home.

Since then, we don't have to propose her to go to the toilet. She would ask when she need to.

When discussed about this, hubby said that his tough method worked, she improved since that walk during the first weekend. I disagreed with him, I think that the school trained her. The fact that everyone has to go to the toilet every two hours kind of teach her to do like the others. Sometimes she doesn't want me to help remove her pants, she would say "toute de seule" (by herself), that she would want to do it by herself just like in the school.

Anyway, I'm glad that this is behind us now. One of my coworkers was not that lucky. His three year-old son was completely blocked. Due to this he only goes to the kindergarten half day, and wear diaper in the afternoon in her sitter's place. They went to doctor, pediatrician, psychologist, all couldn't tell what was the real problem.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A day working in Paris

In my job I rarely need to go outstation. So, when my manager informed me that the management team will have a meeting in Paris, I was all excited. Now I get to experience the famous Parisian working life: Métro, boulot, dodo (Transport, work, sleep).

On a Wednesday morning, our team took the train to Paris. Two hours later, we got out of the train station, then continued our one hour journey on subway and bus.
One arrived, we were fascinated by the campus style headquarter. I felt like I was back in the USA, as offices consisted of huge buildings, everyone was wearing a badge with a photo, entrance guided by security guards.

We got our visiter pass and headed to the company restaurant for lunch. Several high ranking managers joined us. We got to have starter, main course, dessert accompanied with red wine along the meal. We were joking that if we were going to see our CEO, but one manager said he has never seen him eating in this restaurant. Later I chatted with my coworker, who wished that our top management could spend some times, walking into offices and have a little chat with their employees. Well, apparently in the traditional French companies, bosses still keep a distance from their employees, so you could only see them in the newspapers, company newsletters, but seldom in person.

After lunch, it was time to start working. The heartquarter was consisted of many open spaces, a concept I found revolutionary in France. Basically, there is no fixed spot for an employee, everyone comes to an open space and just take the next available spot. There are some cubicles and meeting rooms available for those who want to have phone calls. A coworker told us that he didn't get used to sitting and working beside a big big boss that he just gets to see once in a while.

I bumped into an ex coworker from R town, he just got transfered to Paris and he spends 3 hours everyday in subway and buses. We left at 6.30pm and jumped right into the peak hour traffic jams. The 15 minutes bus ride turned into an hour one and by the time we arrived in our hotel, we were exhausted. Not only from the long transportation time, but the crowd in the subway, the rushing from one subway line to another (don't know why within half day in Paris we all walked at the pace just like the Parisians). While being sardined in one of the subway lines we saw a group of girls jumping in last minute and immediately provoked an oral flight.

The day was not ended once we arrived in the hotel. We were invited to dine with some managers. I found the price exorbitant for what we got. The cocktail was not impressive, the starter and main course barely passed the standard I expected. Anyway, everyone was chatting and talking and at 11pm my mind was in the Zzzz land. We got back to the hotel at 1 am and we have a train to catch the next morning.

I'm glad I got to participate in this event but I don't think I can stand to do it often. I talked to my manager who goes to Paris often, he said he has to wake up at 5am so that he can catch a train to Paris to have the meeting at 9am. In the evening, he doesn't want to do anything but rest.

Anyway I think it all depends on personal choices. Certain people find Paris charming and could not stand living outside of Paris or its suburbs. Certain people condemn the hectic lifestyle. As for me, if I were younger and childless, I would properly venture into this City of Light.

A weekend with Leopard

Last Friday when picking up Aelig from the school, we were handed a basket.

What's inside this basket?

A leopard with his notebook.

This notebook jots down the Leopard's weekend with one of the students from the class. Apparently every student gets to have him for a weekend, and this weekend he gets to be with Aelig. This is definitely a lucky Leopard because he has been to a beach, an aquarium, an amusement park, a swimming pool, a festival for the kids, a birthday party and a village. So, where should we bring him for the weekend?

According to a website the Giant Elephant is the most visited attraction from tourists visiting Nantes. So we decided to bring him there. He got to share a spot with Aelig's favorite toy Tiger in her school bag. Everyone has a blast.

Aelig has a notebook for herself too. The teacher attached a program/ a term for the week so that parents know what they are learning. She did inform us about this Leopard adventure, but I didn't pay attention to it. Ok I'm still adjusting to the school system here. I myself had never gone to Kindergarten so I really don't know what kids do there. I admit there are still plenty to learn...

Side-note:  We couldn't tell the differences between a Leopard, a cheetah and a Jaguar. So while doing this exercise we actually needed to look through Wikipedia on these three animals. After the explanations it is still hard to distinguish them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Watch your language

The school holiday is over. We were fetching Aelig home from my in laws' place.
While driving, hubby accidentally spelled out a profane word.

Hubby: Connard! (Motherfucker in French).
Before he has time to show his regret, we heard Aelig repeating it.
Aelig: Connard!
We looked at each other and tried to think of a way to undo the damage.
Then, I heard Aelig mumbled something in Mandarin which involved the word "狐狸" (Fox in Mandarin).
I realized that she has mistaken the word with "Renard", fox in French.
I told hubby about this and he quickly agreed with Aelig that he was talking about fox.
Aelig: Oh look, there is fox outside, it is papa's fox. Oh, there is another one, this one is maman's fox.
Me: Oh you saw fox?
Aelig: Yes, many of them.
I just smiled to her without wanting to correct her. There was certainly no fox along the way, I don't know what she saw and what she was trying to say.

Oh that was close. 好险!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The curious one

Aelig is on vacation with her grandparents. Beside doing the usual activities like gardening, baking, collecting apples, leaves, she is now collecting worms.
Why is she not afraid of worms? I think she is just curious of these creatures.

Just like she was curious about this creature: snake. I wonder if she still dare to touch worms and snake when she grows older.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Oh that Madame Curie!

My office is located in a building with a name: Marie Curie.

One day a coworker talked about the book he was reading, a biography about Marie Curie. He asked if I heard about her. He was surprised by my answer. Yes, I didn't know who was Marie Curie and why she was famous. He couldn't believe it.

The problem is, I usually read in Chinese. And in Chinese, we could not reproduce the exact pronunciation of certain words, especially when it involves names.

Would you know who is Madam Chu Li (居里夫人)?

Someone posted something about Madam Chu Li and that caught my attention. I have heard of this Madam Chu Li since I was young. Could she be the Marie Curie my coworker was talking about? BINGO! Looked at the wikipedia in English and in Chinese and the result is: Madam Chu Li = Madam Marie Curie.

So Chu Li is the Chinese way of pronouncing Curie. Note that in Chinese we do not have the "R" sound so everything R would be pronounced as L.

Well, this was not the first time it happened to me. Sometimes people talk about famous characters or celebrities but I just had no idea who they were talking about. The first few years I was in Austin, people laughed at me because I pronounced so badly certain people's name. For example, MaLiLian MongLu = Marilyn Monroe.

Hubby showed me this photo and he was laughing like hell. I didn't get the point, this is just a typical bookstore name, you get a bunch in China and Hong Kong. He then told me :" Look, it is the "Wrong Fucking" bookstore"!

Ok, I would never have guessed...