Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gong Hay Fat Choy!

Happy New Year!

BEIJING (AFP) - Lunar New Year started with a bang as China's 1.3 billion population ushered in the Year of the Pig with food, drink and massive firework displays. Huge explosions rocked Beijing overnight as residents set off a record number of firecrackers to scare away angry ghosts and welcome good fortune for the New Year.

Hospitals are expecting a baby boom in the year of the pig, considered one of the most auspicious in the Chinese zodiac. For Chinese people looking forward to a week off work, New Year's Eve on Saturday focused on family gatherings, temple visits and extravagant firework displays which continued into New Year's day...

To prepare, we went to Chinatown yesterday to buy Bambina her new year's outfit (it's purple! Yay!), some paper lanterns and of course candy. We went to the one remaining Chinese store on what should more accurately be called ChinaStreet Near the Verizon Center. There are still plenty of good hole-in-the-wall restaurants, signs written in English and Chinese, the big Chinatown gate, and a sizable Chinese/Chinese-American population, but the one store we went to is the one store that still sells anything Chinese. It is surrounded by Starbucks, Ann Taylor and other chain stores lacking anything remotely Chinese in nature, which is kind of sad.

Happily, however, Bambina was in rare form. We went into a favorite place to get noodles for lunch but she immediately wanted to leave because she didn't like the way the floor looked (the tile had black elements that she thought were dirt). It was close to nap time so I figured this was step one on the road to overtired drama, and we left with our food rather than eating there. On the way home I asked her again why she wanted to leave. She said something about how she didn't like the smell of the place. I asked her why she is so concerned with smells these days, why she is so concerned with identifying them. She said, "Mama, me have old nose. It knows stinky."

Then we got home and I was telling her how this was the Year of the Boar/Pig. I told her how she was born in the Year of the Monkey, and the description of a monkey child was:
The Monkey child will be captivating. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, she won't keep still for a moment. Mischievous, jovial and very competitive, she will steal her way into your heart. Skillful at flattery and extremely good at playing up to your weaknesses, the incorrigible Monkey will always get what she is after.

I hugged her, kissed her and told her how the "monkey child" description is very accurate. She looked at me very seriously and said, "Mama. Me not Monkey Accurate. Me ballerina!"

Which brings me to the last Bambina Bon Mot of the past year. She is loving a book called "A Day in the Life of a Dancer." It features photos of actual people with beginning reader-level narrative about what a dancer does, ie, "this is Lisa Torres. At 9am, she packs her bag with a leotard, tights, toe shoes..." She cannot get enough of this book, looking at the pretty tutus, the toe shoes, the pirouettes. What she also can't get enough of is naming all the people in a photo even if they are ancillary to the story. So Lisa Torres is flanked by three other dancers. "What her name? What his name?" Me: "I don't know. Dancer #2?" Her: "No. His name Hector. Her name Bar. Her name Bea." Whaaa? Now, I know I've never used the name Hector around her, nor have I ever referred to anyone as Bar or Bea. Somehow she has picked these names up and now wants to bestow them on every single person in every single story we read or movie we watch. It's totally cute, and yet totally annoying because you can't make it through a 9 page story without prepping yourself to have names ready for every single solitary human or animal on each page. Oh, I think the rabbit is named Doug. The ballet teacher is probably Franklin, and the school nurse is named Ming.
Oh, I'm sure it's a wonderful developmental stage proving my child's essential genius...

...or maybe Miz Bambina has simply figured out how to prolong her night-night story time, with the joke on Mama. Talk about Monkey Accurate...

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