Friday, January 30, 2009

Oriental babies

It's the 6th day of the year of the Cow and only now do I actually have the time to blog about the craziness that was the New Year. Those who read my other blog will now how much I hate New Year celebrations. But that hasn't stopped me from making it a big deal for my kids because they are not jaded and cynical and I recall how excited I got about the New Year, every year as a kid and I want them to have the same. I tried to do for that what I remembered about my childhood new years.

1. New pyjamas to wear to herald in the New Year.

I don't really remember the significance of it, but I'm guessing since it was important for one to wear new clothes on the first day of the New Year, it must be equally important to wake up in new clothes since by the time one awoke, a good 6 to 8 hours of the New Year had already passed.

2. Presenting oranges and wishes to the elders in the house.

For the past week, the twins had undergone rigourous orange presenting-hand shaking training. Each day, they were coaxed to put their hands together and offer good wishes "Gong xi gong xi". From there, they also graduated to presenting oranges to anyone who gave them time of day before offering them "gong xi" wishes. This was very effective in gaining the favour of the elders in the house. Evan had an especially endearing way of doing it where he would profer oranges, clasp his hands together, stick out his diapered bum a little, bend forward and shake his clasped hands while going backwards. That boy would have gained favour in the most unforgiving of Chinese Courts.

Hopefully, by next year, they'll be able to actually say the requisite generic "gong xi fa cai" or "xing nian kuai le" or the more traditional Teochew "xing jia ju yi" or Cantonese "gong hei fatt choy".

3. Play dress up ala Shanghai Tang.

It was much harder for me to do this with Evan because my Mom had stipulated in no uncertain terms that whatever sam fu we put Evan in, it should not have any dragons on it. And I'm sure it is lucky in Chinese lore for the boys to be adorned in dragon gear because I could find nary a suit that didn't bear dragons. Baby J, with her bangs and jet black hair and tiny eyes looked like a little doll, until she broke out in a run or hiked up her dress so that she could navigate steps. For the first time ever, she was also in decent white, buckle shoes instead of her fake Crocs or rubber shoes. Unfortunately, that was just for the cheong sam. I had no shoes to match her red sam fu, so she borrowed Evan's bright red Gap sneakers. The girl was extremely confused and kept gesturing that the shoes on her feet belonged to her brother, all of which, we blissfully ignored.

All in, they had a good time although they were quite exhausted. They were given their first taste of pineapple tart pastry and it was good. Next year, it'll be harder to stop them from scarfing down whole tarts and whatever else they get their little hands on.

At the end of all the visiting, we were left with one very exhausted Mommy who could only think about going to the spa or take a vacation that entailed nothing more than sitting on the beach and reading her book.

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