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lundi 21 mars 2011

Toilet trained !

Baby Ben is potty trained save for a few accident and mishaps here and there. She did it before her second birthday and she is slightly en retard par rapport à sa grande soeur but she is the second as Baby Taz and Petit Suisse were almost a year her senior albeit three year olds before they were rid of their nappies.

Congrats Baby Ben, one milestone down !

dimanche 20 mars 2011

Happy 2nd birthday !

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Baby Benben, happy birthday to you !!!!

My baby girl turned two today. What a milestone...two years ago I gave birth to a healthy, relatively big (biggest of the four) baby girl who would turn out to be my baby girl forever because I intend to let you be the youngest : a special honour in your favour ! The thing is somebody has to be the eldest and somebody else the youngest and the middle. I love each and everyone of you uniquely because Petit Suisse : fils l'aîné, Lil Miss N : fille l'aînée, Baby Taz : middle child and youngest boy and you Baby Ben my youngest little girl and forever mummy's baby.

I remember clearly the labour pains and childbirth delivery still plays in my mind.

Your second birthday was celebrated with 'pho*?' a traditional and quintessential Vietnamese beef noodle soup that has swayed thousands of followers due to its simple, homey and balanced but flavoursome and utterly delicious and slurp-worthy soup.

The dessert was a cake made of agar-agar which is much lighter and less sickeningly sweet than the traditional gâteau. It was pretty grâce à la moule that I am grateful for.

I hope you will reminisce back into your second birthday celebration with fondness my little baby girl.

It is a souvenir well worth preserving.

It is the start of spring and your birth signalled a new beginning and how fitting that you should be born at the symbolic start of spring when flowers begin their blooming process and nature is at its glorious best.

Here's to many more a birthday celebrations to come.


Shrek's attempt at cooking pancakes has turned out just as I had predicted. He was given 'une épreuve de la dernière chance', c-a-d c'etait sa mission de prouver qu'il est capable de faire des pancakes à son façon. He copied and adjusted my recipe (which was foolproof til Shrek came along), he tweaked it and in the process ruined it.

He had sneakily set out his masterplan of elongating our wait hence heightening our hunger pangs thereby reducing our tastebuds' discerning abilities : who can truly judge how delicious something really is when you've just come out of an imposed hunger strike ? Unfortunately for Shrek his strategy did not succeed and hence he was left to languish in his sorrowing defeat.

His secret weapon (as he was persuaded that it would make all the difference in the world) was 'yeast' (levure de boulangère/naturale). He added a packed of this to two cups of white flour, two cups of milk, two eggs, several teaspoons of baking powder (he ommitted to measure the amount), pinch of salt, approximately one tablespoon of sugar and his secret weapon and let it rise for almost two hours. The final result speaks volumes for itself. I shall definitely not follow his recipe. The verdict from discerning and finicky judges such as Petit Suisse, Lil Miss N and Baby Ben was that it was edible but less than desirable on a scale of deliciousness or yummy.

His pancakes were doughy, bland and heavy not at all light, fluffy and airy like the pancakes one would expect a tried and tested recipe to produce. I do have to credit him for successfully managing to create holes (les trous) or crater faced pikelet-like in appearance oddly-shaped thingymagic. His pancakes as he claims are unique and resemble nothing I have ever seen. I have to congratulate him on originality but taste-wise it was universally PANNED !

Victoire declaré à celle qui merite le plus : tada MOI

Take that Shrekkie

Princess Fiona aka moi 1 Shrek 0

It was a knockout defeat !!!!!!!

I have to stress the importance of this victory because time and again I have proved Shrek wrong and yet he insists in his blinded borné ways : he is eccentric which can be a loveable trait only if he knows when to stop holding onto the shredded and frayed fragments of his methods and persuasions. He is a borné creature by nature and he still persists even if he knows deep down that it will lead him astray because he is stubborn and pig-headed like that, isn't that right Shrek ?

vendredi 11 mars 2011

Handsome stud !

Baby Taz khong co moche translated to Baby Taz is not ugly

Baby Taz dep trai translated to Baby Taz is handsome

Baby Taz khong co hu*: Baby Taz is not naughty

Baby Taz ngoan: Baby Taz is good

Basically according to Baby Taz he is a well-behaved and utterly handsome boy. I have no idea as to where his vanité appartient. He insists adamantly that he is indeed handsome and sage. My only feasable explanation Tel père, tel fils ! One cannot escape ones own gene pool or ones' parents influence.

Whose fault ?

When pointing at a stain on the wall (one of the many in our apartment) and inquisitively demanding Baby Ben

'Who did this ?'

Quick as a flash and without the slightest hint of hesitation her reply echoed back

'Baby Taz did it.'

Our family consists of finger pointing and it begins at the tender young age of not yet two.

This in fact applies to a myriad of faults, whatever the fault or damage is Baby Ben will be quick to point out that it is her brother Baby Taz (who is by no means innocent) who had dunnit. Baby Taz in turn blames her for every other offence.

On the same token Lil Miss N complained that Baby Ben was bothering her and had headbutted her which resulted in pain and loose teeth. She went on to poutily declare that

'It is Bo's (Shrek) fault as it was his idea of wanting a family of four kids at least resulting in effectively four kids and consequences of having a younger brother and sister implies that I cannot have peace and quiet anymore'

When will the finger pointing stop ? In fact it never really will because human nature dictates that before navel gazing and figuring out our own faults we will blame others, nature, goverments, parents and anyone or anything other than ourselves before we finally realise that 'We are responsible for our own mistakes, faux pas and must own up to it or it will catch up with us eventually.'

jeudi 3 mars 2011


I have recently come across a controversial article published by Wallstreet Journal entitled 'Why Chinese mothers are superior'. The article spoke of a subject very dear to my heart and discussed parenting which whether I want to or not is my number one preoccupation as it is difficult to escape the fact that I am now a mother of four.

The author Amy Chua proposes some questionable tactics and I do not condone or fully approve of her opinions but she does have many points which I concur with : namely that the lax parenting of Western parents lead their kids astray and that the bullshit about discipline ruining kids image of themselves and their self-esteem is merely illusionary. Kids who respect their parents are not neccessarily obedient robots with no individuality or independent thought to their credit, they simply are cultured enough to understand that without their parents they would not be where they are : parents leave lasting imprints onto kids and influence greatly their psyches.

I espouse the school of thought that my kids will be disciplined but not to the point of severe strict suffocation and over-protectiveness. Kids need to experience and experiment but they need clear, clean-cut guidelines without which they will lose themselves.

I believe in filial piety and duty. My mum sacrificed her whole life and more to the good of her children, she was a sort of tiger mum as prescribed by the above mentioned author and in some respects and aspects was a little misguided but I believe that ultimately she had her childrens best interest at heart even if she was over-protective and thus in being so ruined my brother's independence.

I want my children to respect their parents and moreover to forever feel that I support and love them but that they at the very least owe a filial obedience and duty because of all the sacrifices that were made by their parents and foreparents.

I want them to understand that if I push them to the limits it is because I care for their well-being and their future. They can disagree but they have a duty to honour me and their dad. I do think that if I ever say things like 'you are stupid' because in that particular instance I do think that but not overall just a momentary and instantaneous thing that that will not damage their self-esteem or self-worth. It is worse when Western parents who do not ever freely and openly discuss their dissapointment and yet the child feels that all the same: they feel more shame than if it was said and later forgiven and forgotten.

Self-esteem and self-image and worth are complex entities and concepts. I have never felt belittled by my mum eventhough I remember clearly being scolded, yelled at and 'in the eyes of a Westerner' abused mentally or otherwise. It is to me much worse to be told that one is great and yet deep down know that that greatness is just fabricated. The American way is to honour mediocrity, it works in American society because they emphasise so much on 'encouragements and positive criticism or lack thereof'.

I could write an essay on self-esteem and all the associated press but I leave that for another time.

I just want to state that I agree in part with Amy Chua in that if I ever get caught screaming at my kids and pushing them to study or to practise to be the best they can be without cowering down and giving up I am doing my kids a service and they in turn will not see that as child abuse.

I do sincerely hope my kids will get to read my memoirs in the form of this blog and realise that all along I wanted the best for them with their best interests at heart but that they better not put me in a nursing home. (my tongue firmly in my cheek)

They do owe me at the very least years of wiping my butt, spoon-feeding me and humouring me with their presence but most of all RESPECT.

mercredi 2 mars 2011

Coup de Marketing

A genius coup de marketing has been forged by the Orange Giant Migros which incidentally is the number one supermarket chain in Switzerland. First there was a collection of tropical animals stickers followed by Oceanmania : a similar sticker collection of oceanic creatures. Now comes Nanomania : futile little colourful capsules which serve no purpose other than completing the cutesy collection. It encourages parents via pressure from their kids to spend as much as they can in order to gain nanos so that their kids collections can be completed... For every 20 Swiss Francs spent one nano is obtained- thus The nanos do not come cheaply. The supernano requires three times the price of a normal nano albeit 60 Frans au lieu de 20 Francs.

Needless to say that my kids are also swept by nanomania but so far I have been successful in evading it because we have elderly citizens who pass their nanos onto us.

mardi 1 mars 2011


Mummy 1, Baby Ben 0

The final score on the subject of weaning is that I have finally won the battle after a long and drawn out fight which lasted 3 weeks and wherein I began to wonder if I could really resist the urge to just give up and give in already and give the girl what she craves. She behaved like an addict with withdrawal symptoms but I am happy to report that I have now succeeded in limiting her daily breastfeeding feast to once daily and uniquely at night to l'endormir.

I call that a victory !

Mister Catalyseur

A very costly lesson was learned today by our family.

Heavy crystal glasses + unstable and fragile wooden planche = accident waiting to happen and disastrous colossal consequential breakage free falling and shattering into a million glass shards with the ability to injure membranes and limbs.

We were getting ready to eat and the raclette warmers had to be cleared from the table. Its place was in the vitrine which was burgeoning with precious crystal glasses and carafes and porcelain plates. The fragility of the vitrine was weighed down with such poids lourd and when Shrek opened the glass door with a thud it was like lightning had struck and all the crystals came crashing down. I saw the cocooned, prized and treasured babies' downfall and had a slight pique as some 500 Francs worth of cherished glassware had fallen to pieces but I immediately came to my senses and realised that what is 500 Francs worth of material stuff when more importantly we were left unharmed.

I do however shed a little tear for my beloved crystals and glassware. Even little Baby Taz knew of my distress and came to give me a much needed hug. He can be sensitive and has a heightened sense of when tenderness and hugs are needed. He also comforted me by saying 'It's going to be alright mummy.'

I do lament the fact that the glasses and porcelain had endured and survived transportation from Sydney Australia: a mere two continents away, numerous moves and va-et-vient and shake-ups and our rambunctious kids and countless clinks and dinks and yet within a second of Shrek's steely force it all came tumbling down to an abrupt end. Gravity has no mercy and the higher the fall and the heavier the object the more merciless, disgraceful, damaging and severe the fall to the point of no return or saving grace.

Lesson learnt as I will not be weighing my vitrine down with any more heavy and cumbersome objects. The vitrine is purely and solely reserved for decorative objects of light stature and should not be burdened with heavyweights.

It was defitnitely not Shrek's night as soon after Baby Taz spilled his dinner on himself and Shrek later spilled red wine on our sofa which luckily for us is dark brown in colour which means that it goes unnoticed.

I was supposedly the clumsy klutz but after tonight's epic episode Shrek is definitely the more accident prone one in our relationship. Take that Shrekkie ;)

This reminds me of the time he left a bottle of bubbly in the freezer and totally forgot about having left it there resulting in an explosion which luckily left us unharmed.

We start anew tomorrow.