Saturday, April 27, 2013

3 year 4 month

 Some highlights of the month:

1. Pacifier-weaning
She has been pacifiers free for three weeks.
We know we need to do this, but we kept procrastinating it.

She had two pacifiers, one green and one blue. She usually puts the green one in her mouth, and the blue one in her hand. We let her have them when she sleeps. Sometimes she asks for it when she is frustrated, tired or uncomfortable. They helped her calm down.

One day she lost the green one. The blue one was at the school. Each day she forgot to bring back the blue one so she slept without any for three nights. She had hard time falling asleep though. The fourth day she brought back the blue, she was proud as she remembered to bring it back. But, we were cruel, we hid it. Since then, goodbye to pacifiers.

Then one night she begged me with a sad and serious voice :"Maman, I have lost the green and the blue pacifier. Can you please find them for me? Can you go to aunt's house to look for them?" I almost surrendered to her plead. I kindly explained that the pacifiers wouldn't fly themselves to her aunt's house in Malaysia. They should be in the apartment. But, since she is a big girl, she doesn't need them anymore. She was not convinced but she has no choice. In my heart, I feel that I have taken away her two best friends that have gone through up and down in her small world. I'm not convinced that pacifier would harm her teeth. I agree that esthetically it doesn't look nice when a kid has pacifier in her/his mouth, but why bragging around a stuffed animal wherever a kid goes is accepted or even encouraged at school?

2. The first dental visit

In France very kid has a health book. It recommends the first dental visit at age 3. I have heard that kids are afraid of dentist, so I tried to prepare her mentally. After eating chocolate, I would tell her that some chocolates were glued to her teeth, if she doesn't brush her teeth, the ants or insects would come dig a hole. And we need to go see a dentist to let him / her catch the ants and insects. She agreed to go see a dentist.

The day came, we went as a family. I went first to show her how it works. I asked if she wanted to go after me but she said papa should go first. Then it was her turn, she did it without fear. She was very happy to hear that all were fine with her teeth.

Here is where I found skeptical about the pacifier's harm on teeth. The dentist looked at them, and concluded that she must be sucking her thumb while sleeping. Well, he was wrong, we told him about pacifiers. He said it must be the pacifiers who started to make her teeth parting away from each other. Ok, that was not his first diagnosis. I feel that every dentist will tell you different things, there is just no concrete evidence on this.

3. Language development

The school starts teaching the kids recognizing alphabets and words. Sometimes she would point at some alphabets on a billboard and scream with excitement. So hubby decided to teach her ABCD. She doesn't have much patient though. However, she prefers alphabet to Chinese characters, I think she can sense that learning ABC is much more easier than learning  大小. On the other hand since French's pronunciation on ABCD is different than the English one, she feels confused when watching Dora or when I accidentally pronounce an alphabet in English (eg French pronounces i as e). She would say, no maman, you are wrong!

4. Trip to library

The Town Hall built a new library so we decided to pay it a visit. This was the third time she went to a library so she knew she could choose the books she likes and bring them home. She chose quite some and I borrowed the DVD "Chicken Run" for her. She complained when we returned some book to the library but she finally accepted that they were not hers. One day we went for grocery shopping and was passing by the books alley. She went to pick up a bunch of Dora books and said we would bring them home. I told her here is not library, we need to pay! Eventually I let her buy one book, she was so excited to see Dora and boots in a book!

5. School carnival

Her school organized a yearly carnival where kids were invited to disguise in whatever they wanted. I asked my mother in laws to pass me one costume and guessed what? She passed me a costume from my BIL, disguising as a Chinese, with a Chinese coolie hat (斗笠) tailing with plait. When we arrive in school, her eyes almost popped out seeing her teachers dressing as a crown and a witch. Some kids came to see her and I told them that she is a Chinese. "I know", said the two boys. Suddenly I felt very stupid, even without the costume she looks like a Chinese. I have heard several times kids telling their parents that I'm the mother of the Chinese girl in the class. What was I thinking? Next time I will dress her up as a Malay or an Indian.

6. Enjoying holidays with grandparents
It's school holidays again so we sent her to her grandparents. Previously, when we had to leave without her, she would cry and protest. This time around, she waved goodbye to us with a smile! Hubby said this is just the beginning, the day would come when she would cry when we go picking her up!

She is so blessed, she gets to climb apple tree, goes to the beach / zoo / library / bicycling, plays hide and seek in the garden. Not to mention that the weather has been pleasant these days.

Enjoy your holidays my girl, I hope to bring you camping again since you loved it so much during our trip to Noirmoutier.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Learning French is a continuous process

Learning French is a continuous process. I hear words that I don't understand everyday. Sometimes I finished by getting the meaning, sometimes I just let it go. Here is an expression that I have heard several times and finally understand what it means.

Le mouton à cinq pattes = The lamb with five legs.
My team has been looking for someone who has a special skill on a specific domain. We have been looking for this five-legged lamb without success. It means someone with a very special skills that is hard to find or non-existent.

I was finishing a report and I needed to describe to my boss the pie chart I prepared. I realized that I didn't know the French word for pie chart, so I turned to my coworker, showed him my monitor and asked him what was the word in French. He replied : "Camembert". Camembert is one kind of cheese in France. I felt so confused, why was he telling me a cheese when I was asking him about a chart? He laughed, explained that pie chart = camembert in French.
Ok now I know.
And it makes sense.
In English it is called pie chart, pie is one kind of foods.
In Mandarin it is called a biscuit chart, one kind of foods as well.
The French loves cheese, and cheese is also a kind of foods.

 I'm enjoying the learning process.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Camping in Noirmoutier

The winter seems to last forever that I have forgotten how nice to be outdoor on a sunny day in Spring. Last weekend, the weather forecast showed a promising Sunday. We decided to head South joining my in laws in Noirmoitier. We left under a gloomy sky, arrived under a shower, dined in the tiny caravan. I considered ourself lucky as it didn't rain during the night. Woke up to the windy but blue blue sky.
Aelig discovering camping and sleeping inside a tent.

She was excited to ride on a bike as well.

It was a very pleasant experience. Riding while enjoying the sceneries, the villages, the people, the houses and the coast. I have to consider myself a newbie in bicycle as I just discovered that I need to change gear on a bike. Never done that as the bicycles I rode on had only one speed.

Noirmoutier is famous for its production on salt. We passed by hectare and hectare of salt evaporation ponds. We also got some scrumptious oysters.

Ok, they have hectares of potatoes too. I don't know why their potatoes are so famous. I paid 8€ a kilo one day just for the sake of trying, but didn't find them better compared to the ordinary one. Overall a good place for a weekend outing / camping.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Voting date in Malaysia and in Paris

Most of you must have known, that the election date in Malaysia is schedule on the 5th of May.

As for the postal application, EC has made an announcement in their website:

Postal voters will be able to vote in their respective Embassy / Consulate on 28th April 2013. Voters can check if their application is being approved on this website starting from 19th April 2013:

Just check the train ticket, it is going to cost me 156€. The announcement is made too late, I could only know if I can vote the earliest on 19th April. I don't think there will be any promotion on train since it will be during school holidays.

So should I go should I not?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Finally the parliment is dissolved

Photo source here

The PM has finally dissolved the parliment.
The Malaysia 2013 general election will be held within 60 days.
I sent in my application last Saturday to be a postal voter, and I got a message from the Election Commission that it is being processed.

Figures crossed that it will be approved on time.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

French tolerance 1 : The traveling people

After living several years in France, I have started to accept a lot of things. I share, approve, and sometimes agree with what is happening in this country. However, there are times I got so angry and frustrated with certain situations. When discussed with some friends here, all I get as an answer was simply "c'est comme ça" (it's like that).

One day while having our weekly meeting, a coworker announced that some new neighbors just moved into our neighborhood. Looking out the window, we saw a group of camping cars squatting around office buildings. My coworkers explained to me that these are called "traveling people". Usually the government provides some lands for them to settle down but some of them prefer to move around and "invade" certain areas. It has been 3 weeks, and they are still there.

What struck me was that they use the fire hydrant for water supply. The pipe connecting to it was leaking non stop. All these are paid by, the taxes payers?

It is a choice to live in a camping car and move around. But, does it mean they don't have to respect laws compare to the ordinary citizens? I kept asking everyone why they tolerate these. If I squat there I would commit a crime of "trespassing", but these people, they could just use the private properties like their owns. "It is complicated", everyone was telling me.

Well, it is hard for me to understand too. The French complain, demonstrate, strike for many things. And for this, their lips are sealed.