Mark, May 2014
Mark, May 2014

“Yes, I support child labour,” I said proudly as Mark was putting the groceries on the cash register belt.

People around gave me a strange look.

What? I slave for Mark, he can help out a bit!

Fortunately, Mark loves helping out. Putting his dirty diapers in the garbage bag, putting my empty cup of coffee in the garbage can, crying if we walk in front of a garbage can and we have nothing to throw in it (note to self: always carry some garbage with me), putting his toys and his pacifier away before we leave the room, sorting out the laundry, throwing the groceries into the cart (and I mean throwing—note to self, put the eggs away myself!)… It’s actually nice to see him trying to help out and please us. He is very proud when we praise him.

Every month, I read one of these “your kid’s big milestones this month” article online. And every month, I’m split between “oh… they all do that? Toddler dragon isn’t a special and unique snowflake?” and “phew, so they ALL do that!”

This month, Mark discovered the bus. He seemed to be fascinated by OCTranspo’s big red and white buses, so for his 18-month-old birthday, I took him on a short bus trip from downtown to home. He sat there, fascinated. We rode the bus several times together ever since. I taught him to say “goodbye!” to the driver (and to the bus) when we stop and last time, he just stood there waving for a good five minutes… and since the bus was stuck in the traffic, all the passengers were waving back. It was pretty funny to see.

Mark is also fascinated by trucks, backhoes, big cars and planes. Walking past a construction site means enduring fifteen minutes of pointing and naming. And birds. See, birds are smart: when they hear Mark coming (and trust me, everyone does), they fly away. Duh. Escalators and elevators are also very fun, as well as handicap buttons to open doors.

We spend half of our time trying to figure out what language Mark is using. “Bye-bye!” in English, “maman” in French, and we recently realized that “yīyi” and “wàwa” were respectively “yīfú” (clothes in Chinese) and “Wàzi” (“socks” in Chinese). He also says “mei”, which I believe is short for “meiyou”, “none, no, no more” etc. in Mandarin. If a store is “mei” it is closed. If something is “mei” it’s hiding somewhere or there is no more of it (cookies, for instance).

Unfortunately for us, Mark is fairly smart. For instance, if he spots a cookie, good luck trying to give him a healthy apple snack. If he sees toys or a playground, good luck trying to pretend it doesn’t exist. He also likes to hide to do forbidden stuff. For instance, if I say “Mark, do not play with the laundry basket”, he will drag the basket into the walk-in closet, close the door and two seconds later I will hear the basket being emptied and rolled around. Dude, I wasn’t born yesterday. I can’t see you but I can hear you.

Food-wise, I ditched the baby cereal bars because Mark was getting addicted to them and he was eating way too fast. I switched to rye bread sandwiches. At first, I used honey, a couple of times I spread Nutella as a messy treat but now we are set on peanut butter. I hate the taste of it but Mark, a true Canadian seems to like it. Honestly, we have yet to find a food he doesn’t like. He has phases—for instance, he loved eggs and then stopped eating them—but he has never really shown any strong dislike. He doesn’t seem to have any allergies either.

The stroller is still parked in the hallway—we haven’t used it this month either. Mark can walk for about an hour and when he is tired, he finds somewhere to sit down. I really enjoy walking with him, he is very good at holding my hand. Sure, we are slower and we must check out interesting landmarks such as doors, garbage cans or stairs, but Mark doesn’t complain much about walking and seems to be happy to explore the world this way. Honestly, I can’t picture him sitting quietly in his stroller to be pushed around. Even at the grocery store, he likes to help out and grab the products I show him.

The downsides… well, Mark is still a huge pain in the butt when he doesn’t have someone’s full attention. If Feng and I are both busy doing something (cooking, for instance) he acts up. He still throws his food to the floor to catch our attention—which is very annoying because the rest of the time, he is very good at giving me whatever he doesn’t want (“thank you, honey, for your half-chewed piece of bread!”). He is starting to throw tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants. The other day, we went to Walmart and somehow, he thought I was taking him to Mcdonald’s (there is one inside Walmart—not that I ever take him there… seriously!). When he realized I just needed to buy some celery, he was not very happy. Oh, and I’d love him to learn to be more gentle. It must be his Asian side—he is not into cuddling or blowing kisses. To show some love, he sits on me. Great. My ribs do not always appreciate it (I heard a loud crack the other day and I’ve been in pain ever since).

Other than that, everything is normal… I think?

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  1. Klaus May 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Tee hee… a little mix-up between the languages sounds funny sometimes. You can’t really deny your French heritage if you “close” the light or the computer.

    1. Zhu May 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Oh, he is definitely a bit French! His whining, especially 😆

  2. I Say Oui May 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I love the image of everyone on the bus waving at you guys.

    That picture of him with the cookies made me go “Awwww!” out loud.

    1. Zhu May 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      It does that to me when I eat cookies too 😆

  3. Martin Penwald May 12, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    I am curious to know which languages you teach him (mandarin, english, french ? ) and how he manages that. I remember reading a story from a guy who spoke only klingon to his son, when his wife spoke english, and it happens that the child become bilinguist english/klingon. I don´t remember how old he was, but he was able to differentiate the 2 languages.
    Whatever the languages, it a big asset to start learning from birth.

    1. Zhu May 13, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Feng and I speak English to each other’s, with some phrases/expressions in Mandarin. If I’m alone with Mark, I speak English or French to him (ahem, sometime in the same sentence as in “Mark, va jouer elsewhere!” :lol:). Feng’s parents talk to him in Mandarin. He clearly understands both French and English, and knows some basic Mandarin.

      Damn, should have started on Klingon earlier…!

  4. Dennation May 13, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I can’t help but notice that it looks like you took that photo of Mark in Best Buy. It got me thinking to how much that area has changed since I was a child. Did you know that before Best Buy there was nothing there but a shack vegetable store? I’m talking about circa 1990. I remember going there often with my parents. It was full of nothing (almost) but vegetables, and the floors were of unfinished concrete. I even remember the name – Slippey’s. Around the shack was nothing but a parking lot and… well nothing as far as I can remember. Can you believe that?

    1. Zhu May 13, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Yep, Food Basic on Merivale 🙂

      I remember when we first came here in 2002, there was only a Loblaws… then came Food Basic, then Walmart!

  5. Dennation May 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

    No, actually it isn’t Best Buy, I’m confused. I meant to say Food Basics. I had to look up that name, can you believe it? Well, really that isn’t too surprising since neither Best Buy or Food Basics were in Ottawa (as far as I know) at the time I left. I have no memories of either, but I remember Slippey’s.

    1. Zhu May 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Never heard of Slippey’s, this was before my time here I guess! The name sounds funny though.

  6. Gail at Large May 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Yup, sounds normal to me! We’re hosting a Belgian couchsurfer and her two-year old child at our place, and I’ve assigned Paulo play duty to keep the toddler entertained. She has a lot of energy!

  7. petite yaye May 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    It sounds like if we have the same dragon kind !!!! I’m always fascinated about michoco’s smartness and happy to see that he is just simply like other kids too !!

    1. Zhu May 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      That’s why I love reading your adventures 🙂


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