Category Archives: kids

Hit the hay 最近几年住过的酒店

十几年前我回国在上海一般就住一个如家或锦江之星,挑一个离地铁比较近的酒店,这样上班办事都比较方便。那时候没有小孩,旅馆主要就是睡个觉,干净清爽就可以了。快进几年,有了两个小孩,住的酒店要求也稍有提高。托酒店信用卡促销的福,攒了些点数或是free nights, 我也升级了住的旅馆。在上海常住的旅馆有,徐家汇的万丽酒店(courtyard Shanghai xujiahui), 她家所在的楼叫西藏大厦,出租车司机如不清楚可提这个名字。另一家是浦东的喜来登福朋酒店(four points by Sheraton, Shanghai pudong, 又叫由由酒店,楼的名字),注意她家旁边有喜来登酒店(Sheraton Shanghai pudong, 5 star vs four points 4 star), 不要搞错。这两家的房间起价大概是800人民币左右。

最近一次有幸住了回陆家嘴的柏悦酒店(park hyatt),这个标价是大概300多美金,我用的是hyatt卡的开卡free nights. 看了下用chase ultimate rewards points 的话是2万点一晚。小孩很喜欢,因为有一些没见过的features. 我的头被淋浴喷头砸了一下。Uncle Major 进大观园。:-)

在美国最近住Hampton inn 比较多。还是觉得Hampton inn 接地气一些。这家Hilton 系列的中档酒店设计简单,实用,且包早餐。一般我这样小兵级别的人出差就住它家。对有小孩的家庭包早餐是一个挺有用的feature. Other hotels have similar feature include Hilton garden inn, holiday inn express and clarion. Last but not least, hhonors is the Hilton hotels reward program. Hampton inn usually costs 20,000 points (roughly $100).

Last but not least, tips. I know it’s a sensitive topic, but typically I gave $2 tip for the maid at Hampton (or equivalent hotels), put the note stating “for the maid” on the top of the bill so there is no confusion. Interestingly, in China I noticed the tipping culture is popular in Shanghai foreign brand hotels (4 star or above), I do give tips for people who handle my luggages (roughly $1 for a piece, which is similar to US standard). But in less developed areas, there is no such things as tip. People will laugh it off and give back the money.

Under the wing 旅途点滴

上面这个照片是我在最近一次的去中国的航班上照的。来美国有快二十年,坐过很多次飞跃太平洋的航班,坐的最多可能是美联航的航班。从芝加哥到上海的直航也就13,14个小时,加上从圣村到芝城的一个小时再加上几个小时的lay over, 总共的旅行时间比我当年从宁波到武汉上学的时间(大概是37,38小时,包括两次中转的时间)还短些。当然还比当年的火车舒服些。飞机坐多了,难免会有这样那样的事。最吓人的一回是2004年夏天从旧金山走,说是飞机起飞时发现翅膀发动机有火花。飞机在海上把满箱的油放掉后返航。当时乘务员给大家出了一个题,多少油,多少钱一加仑航空油。我算了一下大概是30多万美元。随着航空公司这两年越来越追求利润,不知道现在还会不会这样做?

还有一次是冬天,圣村到凤城的航班因雪晚点。等我赶到去上海的登机口,飞机已起飞。求工作人员能否让我standby 还没走的北京航班。也许是被我的诚意打动,工作人员给我改签了到北京的standby。飞北京的航班也已快结束登机,这一次还有一个空位。工作人员把已关闭的登机口再打开(我是第一回碰到这种情况),登机不久,飞机就离开登机口了。

这几年回国免不了坐动车高铁,速度快,不拥挤。还有味道不错的快餐。

我在大学时的火车可没这么好:慢,在春运时非常拥挤。第一年春节回校,在杭州转车。记得那天天气很好,中午到杭州后晚上再坐车,就跑到西湖边来晃晃。印象中杭州的女孩身材不错,穿着也比内地女孩稍时髦些,很有特点(妩媚又很得体)。有一次在南昌转车,好像是南昌到北京的车(经过武汉)。不光没位置,而且连站的地方都没有。火车还在株洲还是武昌附近弄了很长时间的临时停车。记得当时一个武大还是华工科英的88级的女生给削了一个苹果,印象很深。在火车上基本上不想吃东西,也不怎么喝水。当时火车挤到什么程度?不知道80后,90后的同学有否体会?一个厕所里站了7个人,有个女孩想用洗手间,叫里面的男生出来一下,女生背对。结果没人响应,只能再挤一节车厢。另一次我记得我的一个宁波老乡在火车上说到家洗个热水澡,再抽根烟那是最美的事了。还有一个老乡,他家的条件好一些,就坐飞机去武汉,是运七飞机,螺旋桨的。我相信这些都是过去式了。

还有一些旅行的轶事和碰到的好心人,下回再说吧

Timing

Serenity has 2 birthday party invitation today. Because we already agreed going to the first one, we cannot back out although serenity told us she wanted going to the second. She even says she likes gymnastics now. When did that happen? Last I recall I had to drag her to the gymnastics class, not literally, but her fear on the beam was real. 

Things change as time goes though. That fear on gymnastics was 2 years ago. She may have overcome this now. Another example is I saw from kids math test. I volunteered at this program called math facts scholars. One thing I noticed, is 1st grade kid usually does the addition/ subtraction more proficient than kindtergardeners. It’s not across board, as I saw some K kids do very well too. But I can sense as kids progress in school, they just feel more confident on math and numbers. Again timing is important. Sometimes I was thinking is it worth to make K kids struggle while if we wait 6 month or 1 year, she/he will do it with ease? How about learning piano? Or ice skate? Or swim? I am just thinking out loud. 

Went to kindergarten roundup at Yoyo’s new new school

To be precise, it’s Spoede Elementary, about 5 mins drive from my condo. When I bought the condo 10 years ago, I was single and had no kids. But I knew Ladue is a good school district. That’s one reason I bought condo here. If things does not work out, I can rent out the condo to someone else who will like this location. Back to school.

We met the school principle, the 4 kindergarten teachers, one counselor, and one idea lab teacher (outside classroom?), a lot of parents from diverse background. The teachers gave a lot tips about transition kids to kindergarten, and I like what the principle said at last: we will treat your kids like our own. That is indeed what I felt at some of the school Yoyo already attended. And this is largely true in the post Newtown world. I recall some of the teachers lost lives trying to save the kids. Maybe a bit harsh but I think we need to think about gun violence and do something about it.

Back to school, we are really excited to see Serenity growing up, and we also like the ROCKS principle (Respect, Ownership, Cooperation, Kindness and Safety) of the school.

Happen to stop by old school today

We happened to stop by Serenity’s “old school” today, as we were playing at the millennium park this afternoon. Her “old school” was right next to the park. As we saw some kids were playing soccer there, Serenity walked over and took a look. The door (fence) of big playground (back playground) was open, and she just walked in. I know I know, I’ve been in the US for almost 18 years and legally speaking this is trespassing. In the US, private property is respected. But she is just a 5 year old kid. I just don’t want to hurt her feeling and say “no”. And in about 5 to 10 minutes, she seems found all the good memories. Really words can not describe her feelings there: it’s just right at home, she had been there for 1.5 years until last Nov. Here are some of the pictures.

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Yoyo told this story a while ago

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sawyer and serenity going for special walk. serenity pick leaves. sawyer picked up egg and put in nest. sawyer pet chick to sleep. serenity bake some cookies.

serenity is happy. sawyer is happy. sawyer goes for medium one, serenity feeds the chick. Sawyer and serenity go to the park. goes to school in the morning.

plays ring around the rosie. there is one teacher her name is miss rachel. now it’s christmas, now serenity and sawyer at home opening the presents. serenity

got teddy bear, sawyer got tennis shoes. now serenity go meet princess (aurora sleeping beauty), sawyer go meets ninja turtle. sawyer serenity save their

presents. the end.

to be continued…

it’s 3 little bears. once upon a time, there lived 3 little bears, there is a daddy bear, mommy bear, and baby bear. bear are out side for a walk. the end.
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Couple deals : Charmin bath tissue and Huggies diaper

Charmin and Bounty at Target
$4.50 off regular price for 30 double rolls, $5 eGiftcard when one buy 2 (can mix and match). Here is the link to get to Charmin. Use Target Redcard to get 5% off and free shipping.

Huggies Snug and Dry Plus at Costco
$6 off large box (was $38.99 for size 3), here is the link to size 3. I ordered one box a week ago, and it arrived today. So far it seems work for my younger daughter. I recall we used mostly this diaper from Costco for our elder daughter. This promotion runs till Jan 25. Limit 2 boxes per order. Costco offers free shipping for this.

    Diapers, diapers, diapers

    Baby Sophia is almost 5 months old, and she is on size 3 diaper (16 to 28 lbs). I recall she was born at 7 lbs and 3 oz, quickly reach 10 lbs which also outgrew new born size diaper. Similar thing happened to size 1 diaper, she reached 14 lbs at 2 month mark, and now we have both new born and size 1 surplus diapers :-)

    Things slowed a bit since 2 month, she was about 15.5 lbs at 4 month checkup. Nonetheless we used all size 2 diapers (12 to 18 lbs), and started size 3 (16 to 28 lbs).

    As to diaper brands and type, we used huggies natural new born, pampers swaddler new born, huggies snug and dry size 1, a store brand size 1, huggies little smuggler size 2, and pampers swaddler size 3.

    Thinking switch to huggies snug and dry size 3 in the future, that’s what our elder daughter had most of time, and it sells for $39 per 210 at Costco. A bit cheaper than pampers swaddler.

    Chinese kids

    Saw this discussion at mittbbs.com (发信人: waluzz78 (哇鲁庄镇), 信区: Parenting). I think I agree.

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    最近跟国内来的访问学者或旅游的家庭往,感觉国内的孩子很活泼自信,跟大人打交道
    也很自然。跟他们相比,我们周围在美国长大的10岁左右的小孩,包括我们自己的孩子
    ,显得更木讷,尤其不擅长跟大人打交道。我琢磨了一下,觉得原因是孩子在美国长大
    ,只想用英文说话,而在家里父母用中文跟他们交流,他们虽然能听懂,但不愿用中文
    回答,久而久之,跟大人的交流也变少了,而中国父母跟美国家庭的来往有限,孩子们
    也缺乏跟美国大人的来往,结果既没学会中国人待人接物的方法,也没学会美国人的方
    式,基本上只会跟同龄人打交道,在成人面前就显得很木讷。想起夏天一个孩子班上搞
    得跟老师告别的party上,美国孩子即兴侃侃而谈表达对老师的感激之情,几个中国孩
    子唯唯诺诺的回避发言,当时以为是性格所至,现在看应该是生长环境造成的。国内长
    大的孩子普遍就大方多了。现在很想亡羊补牢,改善一下孩子的社交能力,我能想到的
    就是多带孩子参加活动,尤其是美国人为主的活动,因为让孩子学中国人待人处事已经
    不切合实际了,只好人他们学习美国人的方式,自己也只好step out of the comfort
    zone了.也许加入country club是个办法。以前觉得那里中国人太少了,加入是受罪.不
    知大家有什么好建议。
    ======

    Made same mistake again: stocked up too much new born and size 1 diapers

    When we were expecting the second baby, we vaguely recall the baby quickly grew out of the “new born” size diaper, so we did not stock up this time. When the baby came home with us, we already had a box of 88 pieces of Huggies natural, and being a person like to stock up things, I bought two 88 pieces Pampers new born. In about a month, our baby grew to 10 lbs, which is the upper limit of new born, and we still had about 40 pieces left.

    Now baby is about 2 months old, and approaching 14 lbs (13 lbs 6 oz as of 2 month check-up), we still have a box of 92 pieces unopened. We bought a box (192 pieces) of Huggies little snugglers size 1 from Sams’ club before the baby was born. And a friend brought in 92 pieces Huggies, another friend gave us the “diaper cake” which probably had 50 pieces.

    So here is our mistake again: stocked up too much new born and size 1 diapers. The good thing is we can always give it to friends who are expecting new baby :-)