Helium Balloons, Skateboards, and Mandarin

Cameron hiding under an overturned kiddie pool while playing hide and go seek with the older daycare kids. Only he wasn’t hidden. The helium balloon tied to his beltloop didn’t make it under the pool, and waved in the breeze telling tales.

Cameron counting while playing hide and go seek. “One, two, three, four, five, nine, ten, two, thirty eight! Ready! Not!”

Cameron (just a wee bit Cameron-centric tonight) wriggling and bobbing with unrestrained excitement as he stood on a skateboard.

I’d stormed away from him while he sat on the toilet after ten minutes of bedtime delay; each time I’d tried to get his PJs back on him he’d cried and screamed. He wound up peeing on the floor, because unsupervised he squishes his bits and doesn’t aim. I dunked his lower half in the tub, which I hadn’t drained yet, dried him off, then into PJs and into bed with hugs and an attempt at our usual bedtime routine. But he had none of it, was babbling, trying to talk ‘over’ me, frantically trying to get me to talk about his nightlights, kicking off his blankets until I finally gave up. “Good NIGHT Cameron. See you in the morning. Love you.” Doesn’t sound like a happiness to you? Not five minutes later, silence. I gave him another five, then crept in. Snoring. I felt bad, and kissed him gently. Here’s the lovely experience-the-moment happiness: I got a sleepy “Love you mommy,” and kisses. He fell back to sleep holding my hand in his, against his cheek.

The happy expressions and excitement in the lab as word has clearly spread that I’m willing to learn Mandarin. I had to curb their enthusiasm a bit – there’s no way I can remember two phrases per person per day. So today I think I will be able to retain “You’re welcome,” (informal version), “Yes,” “No,” and maybe “Goodbye.” It’s making a WORLD of difference at work. I’m still having troubles with names – darnit, I need them to stick with either their Chinese name or their anglicized name, I can’t flip back and forth easily. But instead of blank looks, or just shy curiosity, now I’m getting smiles and chatter.

We met two girls, cousins, and their mother/aunt at the bus stop. Both girls were between grades three and four, and were seriously sweet on Cameron. One of the girls was just visiting here from Taiwan, and they were delighted that I could at least say hello in their language. Pretty cool. They then grilled me, wanting to know what else I knew how to say, trying to teach Cameron.

Watching Nimoo play with the ribbon dangling – tantalizingly just out of reach when she ‘stands’ – from the balloon Cameron brought home from Ethan’s birthday party. She tries and tries, mrrrrrrrrrs and rawrs, then retreats to somewhere out of sight. Just when I think she’s lost interest she explodes across the livingroom, leaps, twists and spins in mid air to tangle her legs in the shiny ribbon. She’s successful for just a moment, dragging the balloon down a bit from the ceiling. But she isn’t fast enough and it escapes. I’ll have to tuck it in a closet, as it will surely lose helium and sink over the night, and Nimoo has a bad habit of eating long ribbons whole.


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