Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival

I have been excited for this for weeks.

It felt so Christmas-y last night, when my husband and I put our daughter to bed and tip-toed around the house, setting up a lantern-filled wonderland for ÀiShī to wake up to.

I have been thinking and planning about what round foods to buy, what poems to decorate our lanterns with, and what small present to get for ÀiShī. (We went for a small rubber Mulan doll with interchangeable clothes, and our kid spent a lot of the afternoon just biting her hand.)

 

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I finally found and heavily adapted a good recipe for our homemade Moon Cakes, since ÀiShī and I are allergic to the commercial ones. While delicious, mine seem rich enough to be a coronary Russian-roulette in every bite. They did a great job holding the design of the mold, though, so I give them 2 enthusiastic thumbs-up.

I could not wait to bring ÀiShī down the steps in the morning to see the dining room. She shouted “Me!” as soon as she saw the big red lion lantern we had gotten for her, and I knew we’d hit it out of the park.

ÀiShī helped us set up the honor table with the pomelo, clementines, grapes, tomatoes, Asian pear, pomegranate seeds, and rice cookies; she stuffed herself full of pomegranate the whole time. It was also her first real time drinking tea, which she LOVED, and we didn’t even regret it come nap time! 😀

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In the evening, we had a huuuuge dinner and then went out for a walk. ÀiShī had a great time parading around with her big Lion Dance lantern. When we came back, we wrote the Chinese poems we had chosen on our lanterns in metallic Sharpie. 

Right before her bedtime, we hung our lanterns out in our tree and read her Thanking the Moon book. 

Our next big thing next year will be staying up until the moon comes out so she can send a wish up to Chang-O! 

 

A very kuaile second Zhongqiu jie for ÀiShī and for us! ❤

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Preparing to Honor the Moon!

Zhongqiu jie (or Mid-Autumn Festival) is sneaking right up on us this year.

I had barely gotten our back to school planners, when I realized I should look up when the Mid-Autumn Festival was going to fall this year. Luckily it falls later, on October 4th. Which is still pretty soon.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival…or “Chinese Thanksgiving” as Ming likes to call it…is wonderful. From my understanding of it, it is a celebration of the moon, food and family, ancestors and round things.

I am completely taken with the tins the mooncakes come in at the local Asian Market…but all their mooncakes are cooked with nuts and/or peanut oil. As an allergy family, it really slows the rhythm of this holiday, if we can’t do one of the most cherished pieces of the event!

This year I’ve ordered a mooncake mold: This is the one I got, but there are tons of other choices on Amazon alone. (Ordered from there because of the 2-day shipping.) I plan to make our own version of mooncakes with cookie dough, or cupcake batter, and see how that works out this year. (Last year I bought mooncakes from the Asian Market and we all sat around just looking at them, which is pretty sad. …Then I ended up taking them to work so someone could eat them.)

We are pretty well stocked for the rest of the traditions:

We have a paper lantern for ÀiShī to parade around with, which is another of the big traditions of the day. Afterwards, we will write a good wish on each of our lanterns and hang our three lanterns in our tree to light up the yard.

We will make some time to call ÀiShī’s Tai Lao Lao and Tai Lao Ye through WeChat, give ÀiShī her little gift, and read her Mid-Autumn Festival book. (Thanking the Moon, Lin)

I am -so- pumped! I loved celebrating this festival for the first time last year. It will be a thousand times better with Ming home this year!


祝你的事业和生活像那中秋的圆月一样,亮亮堂堂,圆圆满满

“I wish you meaning and life like the moon on this Mid-Autumn Festival, full, dignified, and bright.”

Multilingual Baby Glossary

Our kid’s caregiver was really struggling to understand ÀiShī  when we started back up after the summer ended. ÀiShī  had added new Chin-glish phrases to her vocabulary, such as: “shou!” if she wants to hold my hand, or “nai!” if she’s pleading for milk.

At first, I was a little uncomfortable asking for special consideration be made for my kid–I know this type of thing only ads to the individual caregiver’s workload.

However, it was what was best for our daughter.

And, as it turns out, the caregiver has been thanking me ever since. It helps her help my kid stay happy and safe, which makes her job easier. She has also been loving learning some Chinese and some ÀiShī-ish along the way. 😉

 

Hapa School-Supply Desert Update!

I am not sure why I didn’t think about this before, but… we bought ÀiShī a Lion Dance keychain to go on her Elena backpack. It’s glittery and fabulous, and something Chinese that she absolutely loves. We are so pumped about this!

 

Also, we’ve found that you can sometimes find a cool backpack, pencil pouch, lunchbox, etc. on Amazon if you have something specific your kid wants to look for. We found a stellar TFBoys backpack that we got for her for in the future! Cannot wait to give it to her. 😀

Hapa School-Supply Desert

DSC_0587 School supplies have been really difficult for us this year. The Moana backpacks available were not really to our taste, and you can’t really have everything Moana. We have so many things that just feature animals, because the only character available is Cinderella or Belle, etc. This year we went with an Elena backpack, which I think is adorable. Elena is cool, and I know ÀiShī is thrilled.

But I also would love for her to have the option to have a backpack or a pencil with someone of her races on it. I was able to have all kinds of things with characters splashed across them, doing amazing things, and looking exactly like me. It was something awesome about childhood, and I think there was something about looking like the characters I loved that enabled me to imagine myself in their adventures.

I hope to do a better job with this next time, or maybe we’ll take a break and have an animal-themed supply year, while I gather better ideas for personalized things for our kid.

Baby Haven

When decorating our toddler’s new room, we felt it important to give her a sort of sanctuary from everything else going on outside our door. (Not unlike how we had set up our own bedroom.) The world is an exciting and wonderful place, but it can be busy, and sometimes, scary. We wanted to make sure she has a place to feel grounded. Someplace where she knows exactly who she is.

So, we made sure to give her spots around the room dedicated to her favorite things: reading, legos, dolls, and llamas, at the moment…

(When she picked up the llama lamp in the store, I could barely get her to stop kissing it.)

We have taken serious consideration to include both of our (Ming’s and mine) heritage cultures in her decorations, often combining them when we can. We printed women in dresses featuring Chinese and Welsh designs, and a word each in Welsh and Chinese of characteristics we hope for her to embody.

Her bookshelf wall is stocked with books on all different subjects. There are books of Chinese culture, books for her Baba to read to her in Chinese, a couple Welsh stories, many mainstream American books, and some books in French (which I speak). We set up the reading corner with a big comfy beanbag chair and a couple of reading buddies–Tiana and Mulan, for the moment.

The decorations will change with her tastes and interests, but I really hope that we can keep the grounded feeling of her little space in the world.

 

 

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New Shoe Review

DSC_0811Sometimes Ming and I go out of our way to get things that are big in China for ÀiShī. Not for a cultural lesson, or for some explicit enrichment. Just for fun.

Wrangling this wonderful kid got easier with these squeaky shoes. She loves them, although when she wears them to school, I’ll put tape over the squeaker so that I can remain on speaking terms with her teachers.

 

The TFBoys

She’s only a toddler, but our kid is already fangirling hard for China’s TFBoys. She has us playing their songs on repeat and shouts the words she knows.

It’s pretty dope.

I’m already really impressed by how she’s picking up words from these songs–they’re too fast for me, but I’m also not a native speaker.

It’s pretty cool that we have Youtube for our kids, because we have so much control over what they watch. I can make sure that our daughter sees about equal representation of her races, while still acknowledging the difference in mainstream screen-time. I really hope that this will help give our kid the esteem boost, that science tells us white males get when watching tv. (Read more about that here.)

TF Boys Video

Another video: 寵愛舞蹈版

Read more about the TFBoys

Note: There is occasional underlying communist propaganda, which is part of how they were able to become so big in China amid strict government censorship.
It’s also worth nothing that these kids are the first Chinese boy-band to ever get this big in China. Usually the ultra-popular pop songs in China are from Korea or Japan. Pretty exciting! 😀
Photo courtesy of VCG/VCG via Getty Images

 

White Privilege Ends With Me

It has taken more than 20 years, plus hours of thought, to try to understand what being pale has given me…for no other reason than the amount of melanin I was born with.

Trying to understand white privilege was a totally different journey than the process of understanding that my kids won’t have that same privilege.

I am not sad for my kid. My baby is exactly who she is supposed to be. She’s an intelligent and capable little person. But you can be certain I don’t want to be blindsided by how the world treats my kids…which means I needed to understand more about how the world treats me.


What is white privilege?

I have seen it expressed a lot of different ways. I like to explain it to my students like this: Imagine someone in a wheelchair. The wheelchair has no bearing on their character; the person in the wheelchair could be your soulmate, or a total jerk. But their situation does force them to take special consideration when entering buildings, for example. It could cause them to be less likely to be accepted for jobs or certain positions.

…Being white, I have a certain given advantage. Not because I am a perfect person. Just because of my color. I am less likely to be pulled over, more likely to be given a loan, more likely to be given an apartment when applying for one, more likely to be accepted to a university, as compared to someone of color with my same qualifications.

What can I expect if my kids do not have white privilege?

  • I can expect different pricing for dolls and action figures for “ethnic” dolls as compared to white/blonde dolls. (Charging more and less both suck. Just charge the same price for both…) And I can expect availability to be a problem. For example: In 2014, American Girl retired Ivy, the only Asian American doll they made.
  • I can expect people to occasionally say something racist when meeting my child or husband for the first time.
  • Packing lunch is a notoriously uncomfortable time for many Asian-Americans, who are interrogated about the look and smell of their food. My kid might ask me not to pack some of her favorite foods for school.
  • I can expect to search for politicians, actors, astronauts, etc. who look like them.
  • I can expect to be nervous when my kids discuss Chinese-American relations in current events or history class, and wonder if they will have a teacher who is sensitive to our kids’ perspectives.
  • I will worry about my childrens’ aptitude in math, and the unwanted comments that they will get whether they are good at math or bad.
  • I have to expect that different thought and work will be needed to ensure that my daughter grows up with a healthy self-identity and a proud view of her heritage.

Suggested Reading:

Privilege, Power and Difference, by Allan Johnson

Understanding White Privilege, byFrancie Kendall

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh