JD's been in tears as I've left him at school each morning this week. Not sure what has brought this on (we haven't had crying for a year or more before this) but it may be the new morning exercise regime in the Kindergarten or possibly me having been away for 3 days last weekend?
JD and I have been enjoying a free flight simulator app on the iPad for a couple of weeks now. You can earn in-game money by completing ever more difficult missions and then spend your accumulated wealth on larger and more complex aircraft. We started with a Cessna, began to make real progress once we earned a Lear Jet and then progressed through glider, spitfire, military jet, stealth bomber and Boeing 747. I actually managed to land the 747 on an aircraft carrier this other day - technically impossible (due to the high approach speed, short runway and wide wingspan) but after about 50 attempts I finally did it. Little things...!
A nice shot of JD from our recent trip to the Astronomy Centre, waiting for his turn to look at solar flares. Behind the telescope are Kaiya and Zaden, two American friends of his who we spend a lot of time with.
Zaden (the boy, largely hidden behind the telescope) is exactly a year older than JD. He visited our house today, in fact, to play with JD's Chinese New Year present - a huge military plane complete with soldiers, jeep and a lot of weaponry! JD originally chose a "logging truck" but, after the crane snapped off as we took it out of the box, we had to go back to the shop to complain and he upgraded to a monster plane!
Having been evaluated one-to-one last week [see above] and found to have good enough rhythm and body control, JD joined his first 1½ dance class the other day [in green, below]. To his surprise, his American friend Zayden also came along [left of JD, below] and together they learned the dance moves quickly. JD loved the experience and can't wait to return on Sunday evening.
A couple of firsts for JD this week. His first game of Monopoly (we played with a fake set Jiajia had bought off the internet - a mixture of French streets, Chinglish chance cards and American money!) JD won. Then an afternoon at a KTV (Karaoke singing) organised by JD's favourite Kindergarten teacher for him and 5 of his classmates. After a shy start, he was soon blasting out various Chinese songs he'd learned at school, while I was pressured into a version of "You are my Sunshine"! And later this week, JD is going to try out for a Dance Class!
Parents were invited to sit in on the last after-school Art lesson of the term, last week. So I sat next to JD as the teacher showed them step-by-step how to make an "Autumn Starry Night" picture. We originally booked JD into these twice-weekly classes because there was one day each week when I had to teach late at my University and wouldn't have been able to pick JD up at the normal time. However, we've been surprised at just how well-prepared and enjoyable the class have been, and JD is always excited to stay behind for his class. JD's finished picture is below...
JD's Kindergarten teachers often post photos of the class doing various activities on the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. Jiajia and I were rather thrown to see this one recently though, with the class seemingly praying (in an enthusiastically atheist country, no less!). We asked JD about it later and he said he couldn't really remember but he thought it was about asking Buddha for something!?
We celebrated Christmas a day earlier than most, since Monday is a normal working day here and JD will be at school. On Saturday, Jiajia attempted her first Christmas dinner and, despite limited ingredients and a tiny oven, we had a fantastic roast chicken with all the trimmings [see above]. That evening, JD made sure to leave out a stocking, biscuits, milk and a carrot for Santa and his crew [below left] before heading to bed. We were amazed he managed to stay awake until 8.00am this morning at which point the present-opening began. JD and I then enjoyed a day of making Lego models [bottom right], as well as various more festive activities. There's nothing like a kid around to make for a great Christmas atmosphere.
JD is getting increasingly excited about the prospect of Christmas, as the pile of presents slowly grows and the advent calendar chocolates get eaten up. We are planning to have Christmas lunch (or our limited version of it) on Saturday and hang up JD's stocking that evening. Then Sunday can be our Christmas Day (JD is at school on Monday) with the present opening and a hotpot with friends in the evening. At least the bitterly cold weather here gives things a Christmassy feel!
We had fun last weekend, visiting a countryside village with JD's Kindergarten friends. First, we spent a few hours fishing. I only caught a minnow and JD only caught a couple of dead fish floating on the water! But the other parents had better luck and we finished with three large fish which were cooked up for lunch.
After lunch, we went to a small bakery and had a go at making and decorating our own biscuits. JD had watched a film called, "How the Grinch stole Christmas" last week and, when the biscuits came out of the oven, we were shocked to see that one of them looked spookily like the Grinch! See what you think...
JD and I went to the circus again last weekend, this time with Jiajia and Ma-in-law in tow. At one point in the performance JD blew a kiss to one of the East European dancers and was rewarded with a big kiss blown back, After the show ended, he insisted on running over to get a hug from "his blue lady"! She seemed happy to oblige. What a flirt!
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