Today marks the 3rd time Hannah volunteered to scrub the bathtub she used for showering. I actually had to curb her enthusiasm by reducing the frequency she does the scrubbing! Otherwise she would want to scrub it every night! Not sure where she got the inspiration but the 3.75 year-old started asking for a sponge to clean our windows. I thought it would be quite a messy job and so suggested the bathtub instead as the soapy water would go straight down the drainage pipe and she could shower herself clean immediately after that.

Here’s a video capture for keepsake :)

Since the start of nursery this year, Hannah has shown a greater willingness and interest in conversing and singing in Chinese. I’m ashamed to say mommy and daddy didn’t really do anything much to encourage her in that direction except for the occasional role modelling. I suspect her main motivation comes from her Chinese teacher at the nursery school. Her ye ye (paternal grandpa) and nai nai (paternal grandma) have also been a positive influence as well.

The rate that she’s picking up Chinese is also faster now. The video clip below shows her singing yet another new Chinese song taught in school.

Lyrics of the song for those who can read Chinese:

我是一个好宝宝, 天天上学校
看见老师有礼貌, 同学也要好
会做工作 会画图
唱歌游戏做体操
好宝宝 好宝宝
我要做一个好宝宝

A short video taken over the weekend using the Canon IXUS HS115 + WP-DC310L. I had some difficulty transcoding the original video file onto Flickr, hence the rather weird letterbox around the video below. Might work on it later again.

The camera captured a full 1920×1080 HD video at 24fps, but possibly in part because of the amount of water motion in the pool, the source bit rate was also extremely high. This Dell XPS 16 quadcore notebook struggled mightily to keep up during playback, though the desktop fared much better. Audio was in mono only though, but the case somehow allowed for sound pickups even underwater – nice.=)

Hannah was pretty excited in the pool – she’s going “I’m swimming!!” several times in the clip.

Hannah usually does her big business just before bedtime. She would sit on the toilet bowl to wait for the ‘moment’ to come. In the meantime, I would keep her company and do sing-a-long with her.

Her repertoire of children’s songs has increased a bit now. Below is a video capture of her doing her thing in the bathroom and pretty off-pitch too! :P

Be it pop or kiddy songs, I’m of the opinion that music makes learning Chinese (or any language I supposed?) pleasurable.

We have been quite surprised (and pleased, of course) that Hannah’s kindy has become a positive influence to her liking for Chinese children songs. Despite all the good advice I got from MIL, relatives and friends, I confess that I didn’t really make a conscious effort to converse with Hannah in Mandarin. The best attempts so far were haphazard phrases and naming of objects. The product? An angmo-sounding Chinese toddler. Well, mommy fails big time. *sigh*

Of late, Hannah would try to sing or hum those Chinese children songs she was taught at school. I still have a vague recollection of those childhood tunes but the lyrics were mostly forgotten. I went onto the Internet in hope to find the lyrics to a particular train song she was trying to sing for the past few nights but alas, I had little success. Arghh!!! I don’t even know the title but my guess is that there should be a train somewhere in it. Here I am trying to water the seeds sown by her teachers but I realise that I am a CMI case. I think I shall call her 老师 to find out la.

I wander whether anyone who reads this blog has a good recommendation for Chinese children songs on CD. I bought a couple of CDs a year ago but somehow the singing made me cringe.

It hasn’t been easy to catch Hannah in the mood for singing. Below is one of the rare video recordings where she tried to sing a Chinese New Year song taught at school. She sang off-key. See if you could make the song out LOL :D

…according to mommy and Hannah, of course :P

My recipe for chicken soup has certainly come a long way – erm, since Hannah was born. And I’m sure it would continue to evolve.

If anybody has tried using lentil for soups, then it is no surprise that the chicken soup recipe which I’m going to share here doesn’t require additional seasoning. The lentils make it SO good – it is that good.

Okay, here we go.

Ingredients

  • Skinless chicken thigh – 1 piece, fats trimmed with scissors
  • Fresh corn on cob – 1/2 cob, chop into 2 chunks
  • Carrot – 1 small stick, peeled, chop 1/2 of the stick into big chunks and the other 1/2 slice thinly (~2 mm)
  • Celery – 1 stick, chop 2/3 of the stick into big chunks and the other 1/3 slice thinly (~2 mm)
  • Ginger – 1 slice (~ 3 mm thick), peeled
  • Organic red lentils – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 250 ml

Method

1) Place all the ingredients into a small pot and bring to boil.

2) Cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer the soup for 45 mins – 1 hour.

The use of low heat (老火) to simmer the soup

3) Discard the ginger, big carrot and celery chunks.

4) Remove the chicken thigh and shred the meat with a fork. Remove the corn and slice off the kernels. Place the shredded chicken and corn kernels in a serving bowl and set aside.

Suggestion to make this chicken soup into a one-dish meal: Soba Noodles in Chicken Soup

5) Add dry soba noodles, sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms and green leafy vegetables (e.g. xiao bai cai, cai xin) into the chicken soup and bring it to boil. Lower the heat a little and let it boil gently for 5 minutes.

6) Empty all the contents of the pot into the serving bowl containing the shredded chicken and corn kernels. Use a pair of clean scissors to cut the noodles into short strands for easy consumption with a spoon.

Hannah's latest fave! :)

Yup, absolutely no salt required. This soup is very flavourful on its own. Below is a video clip of Hannah enjoying the dish :)

Hannah is fast growing away from her budding cuteness as a junior tot.  She is taller now and not easy to carry her in our arms for too long. And that simple innocence in her round eyes and pure happy delight in her giggles – I’d miss them when she is past that stage. *Emo-ing*

But we have a consolation. A good video camera to capture those precious moments so that we could enjoy her little-ness anytime. Below is a small selection of these moments we managed to save.

1) Hannah trying her first popsicle (alas, it was too sour for her!). I love her tender ‘bye-bye’ at the end of it.

2) Hannah at her favourite playground. She always asked to watch this video clip. :) And she always laughed at herself when watching it.

3) Hannah upgraded to using adult spoon one of the dining-out occasions.

4) Hannah enjoying herself in front of the video camera. :)

Aside from the daily battles with mosquites, her encounter with other creatures include our resident load of pet fish, urbanised birds, domesticated dogs from neighbours, stray cats, ants and millipedes. Yeah, millipedes.

Hmmm, millipedes?

Story goes like this. We happened upon them on our way home from the nanny’s on a fine sunny afternoon. I saw one stray millipede on the pavement we took and stopped to point it out to Hannah. Unguarded and full of curiosity, she just stared and followed its trail. Soon enough, it crawled back to its homeground – a patch of soil fertile with its kind. Suddenly, we were all too conscious of their presence. Undulating little worm-like bodies weaving in and out of the leaf litter and amongst the industrious big red ants.

Hannah was drawn to these fascinating little bugs while most of us folks prefer to cast them just yonder creepy crawlies. Since the discovery of their habitat, Hannah has been paying regular ‘visits’ to spot these guys. I just played along to encourage her at nature appreciation. There was a recent episode where another toddler (and much older) came along to watch these little critters with Hannah. She called them centipedes and to my surprise Hannah told her, “no, it’s millipedes, millipedes”. The toddler’s maid rescued her from embarrassment by saying that she has not seen a millipede before. The older toddler girl quickly identified another critter on the grounds to show off her side of knowledge. :) Yoda speaks “Outdo one another, people will.”

The combination of our girl with nature is too tempting to pass up and so I whipped out our video camera to capture a snippet of it for memory’s sake :)

There’s something about a stack of picture cards that our girl can’t resist getting her hands on. The thing about giving Hannah these not-too-thick rectangular pieces of paper for play is that she might fold, tear or crush them altogether. I’m sure many parents would feel ‘heart-pain’ when our kids damage brand-new items. But I also want Hannah to learn about herself and her environment and these cards (given by parents in-laws) serve that function.

In her early days, Hannah enjoyed walking around the house with one or two cards stuck to her soles. She found the experience amusing. Yang did a great job at helping her recognise the picture on each card by reading their names aloud to her. I was pleasantly surprised by the rate she picked up new words from these cards alone. It is true then when researchers say that the brain power of children is higher than the average adult. I remember reading that the brain of an infant is the densest, i.e. it has many more neurones (nerve cells) than say an adolescent or an adult. If any neurone does not receive enough stimuli over time, it gets trimmed off (exterminated, that is). Hmm, now I wonder whether we are in any way limiting the brain development of our girl.

Parents gave us about 4-5 stacks of such cards and Hannah is through with 2 stacks. It’s time to introduce another new stack to her collection. In the process of using these cards for learning, we discovered a fun element. These cards are not just for passive reading, they can be activity-based. Words such as ‘walking’, ‘kick’ and ‘jump’ would prompt Hannah to do the very actions. And she enjoys these little activities. If a card says ‘window’, she would start walking towards the various windows around the house, touch them, and come back to us to find out what the next card says. :)

Below is a snippet of a video clip taken recently for the sake of ‘capturing the moment’ of her growing years. :)

We bought Hannah a small tube with eight colored hairpins the other week, and our little girl has been having a ball of a time playing with them. Ling has been doing up her hair with the pins – though it usually lasts for about half an hour before Hannah starts removing them – and it’s made for great photo opportunities too.:)

blog-2011-hannah-OLYP6143-hair-do-flickrblog-2011-hannah-OLYP6144-hair-do-flickrblog-2011-hannah-OLYP6153-hair-do-flickr

We’re also surprised to see how much she resembles her cousin Natasha when her hair’s done up this way. Also, video taken during the weekend brunch at Swensen’s, and at her most delightful; just watch her play with utensils, call Daddy and wave.:)