Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sofas, Sinks, and floors, oh my!

To celebrate the start of the summer and the end to his potty training, Charlie and I took a trip to the aquarium.  We had some fun checking out fish and other aquatic creatures from around the world.  He seemed to really enjoy running around from exhibit to exhibit peering into each tank.  It's not often its just the two of us and we had the added bonus of it being a really quiet morning at the aquarium.  He made me super proud when he asked to go to the potty, fingers crossed, we haven't had any accidents!  After we finished with the fish, we walked past the Oriental Pearl Tower to the Super Brand Mall, 13 floors of shops and restaurants, to pick up Charlie's reward for potty training.  Unfortunately, the little man was coming down with a cold and became a bit of a zombie following me around, not even the least bit excited about his prize.  We headed home for lunch, which he actually passed on, asking instead to go to bed.  Luckily he was 100% in just a few days.

Having finally had it with my rock hard Chinese sofa, for the life of me I can not figure that one out, I have been looking around for replacements. Last week I took a trip to Macalline.  Wow, is the only way to describe it.  This is 8 floors of shops that have absolutely everything you need to finish a house once it's built.  It was mostly broken up by floors, lighting, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens, and different styles of furniture.  I thought to start at the top and work my way down, so I took the 7 story escalator up and wandered around.  I'm continually amazed that the Chinese seem to prefer to have shops of the same kind grouped together.  So, I walked past shop after shop of light fixtures on one floor, hardwood flooring and windows on another, even staircases.

There were also a lot of furniture stores, but most of them were very asian in style, or Donald Trump, with gaudy being the theme!  Past all the gaudy furnishing, I made it to the floor with traditional wood Chinese furniture, which is all hand carved and truly beautiful works of art.  Lucas and I hope to bring home a few pieces with us, but have no room for them in our apartment right now.  Finally, on the lowest level I found shops with leather sofas and some fabric ones in a more Western style.   Unfortunately, nothing really impressed me.  By this time I was so done walking around this monster furniture store.  Should I have found myself hungry I could have stopped in at the cafeteria or picked up a quick snack at the convenince store.  I just headed home instead to rest my feet!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Graduation Day!

After being pulled out of two schools for relocations, Lily was finally able to finish out an entire year at one school.  During her time at Children's Montessori Lily has learned so much and grown in confidence.  This past friday parents were invited to the school to watch the children sing and dance and demonstrate some of the things they'd learned at school.  We were treated to two songs in Chinese and a Chinese style dance.  Lily may not have much of an interest in learning to speak or understand Chinese but she does love to sing in Chinese, as we heard the songs constantly around the apartment.

After the kids finished their songs and dance we had some snacks and tea while we waited for the other class to join us for the graduation ceremony.  After receiving their diploma both classes sang a song (in English) about all the things they could do now that they are graduating.  Lily and her fellow graduates were all given a personalized album with a class picture, pictures of their time at the school, and a drawing from each of her classmates.  They were also given a hand carved stamp with her name in both English and Chinese.  Both wonderful mementos of her time at Children's Montessori.  There were lots of hugs and pictures with her teachers and friends, but luckily it's only good bye for the weekend as most of her classmates will spend the next three weeks at summer school with Lily.  And, no, I'm not the meanest mom ever.  Summer school is a lot more like camp than school.  She'll get to spend time with her friends and keep busy instead of being bored at home with me and will be taking trips to the pool twice a week!

Not to be outdone by his sister, Charlie managed to potty train in just a week!  We had a few accidents our first two days, but once he fully grasped the concept of using the potty he hasn't had an accident since.  I do have to thank a fellow potty training mom for her inspirational idea of using Hot Wheels to motivate.  Between stickers, candy, and Hot Wheels, it was actually easy.  I know they say boys are harder, but not only was Charlie much easier than Lily, he also potty trained earlier than she did.  We've done a few outings in undies and managed to use public potties too.  We may be completely out of diapers soon as he's also waking up dry in the morning and using the potty without help!  For the first time in over five and half years I will not have to worry about carrying diapers with me when we travel, wonder where I might change my child, or if I have enough wipes on me.  Do you know how much space diapers a week of diapers take up in a suit case?!  To say I am happy about Charlie learning to use the potty would be an understatement.  I am doing a no more diaper dance as I type!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Potty Training

It's that time!  Mothers everywhere love/hate this time.  While I am thrilled at the idea of no more diapers, I do not look forward to the accidents and arguments about the potty.  Up to this point Charlie has not shown a lot of interest in learning to potty train, but with school this fall it has become a necessity.  I'm hoping to give him plenty of time to potty train so that it is not a stressful experience.  So, after talking to another mom about ideas, I've posted a chart on the bathroom door.  Each time he uses the potty he gets a Skittle and a sticker for his chart.  When he gets seven stickers he gets a Matchbox car.  Once fully potty trained he gets a Matchbox car holder.  He really wants the cars, so I'm hoping once he gets a couple of stickers he'll be more motivated.  In the interest in keeping him on the potty I've put it in front of the TV.  Once I think he's got the hang of using the potty I'll move it back to the bathroom.  I would love to be able to not travel with diapers this summer!  Fingers crossed!

We made a trip to Puxi this weekend to check out the Avocado Lady.  A bit of a Shanghai legend, she has a small market, and I do mean small, in a tiny Puxi neighborhood.  Although I've seen most of her import goods at City Shop, a chain that specializes in import foods, her prices are very good.  Probably not good enough for me to go on a regular basis with gas prices, but certainly worth a stop when I'm in Puxi.  Many were surprised to hear we hadn't been to the Avocado Lady after being in Shanghai for over a year and I'm glad we finally made the trip.

After our stop at the Avocado Lady we went to Xintandi and had lunch at the Pauliner, a German restaurant.  This is my second time going and definitely the last.  The food was only okay and for the four of us it was $100, and that's with the kids sharing a meal!  The only thing they do that is worth the expense is the Bavarian style pretzels.  With literally thousands of restaurants in Shanghai its not worth out time or money.