Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy (birthday) surprises

Snow ball fight on Hokkaido's snowy slope.
(A proud analogue moment, taken with my Diana f+, 38mm super-wide angle lens, Lomography XPro Slide 200 120 film.)

Dear Kai,

I apologize for not updating our blog as often as I should. I might not have recorded all of your (and Kit's) milestones over the past months, but I certainly remember spending many precious moments with my boys.

You are seven years old now, the year where you start your formal school years. Everyday, I struggle with giving you a balanced childhood. There is a lot of pressure to hothouse children at a young age. Many of your classmates/schoolmates' after-school schedule is filled back-to-back with tuition and enrichment classes. I only sign you up for activities which are absolutely necessary -- Orton-Gillingham (OG) classes, Chinese tuition, and swimming. Basic life skills. Tennis on Saturday? OK, that's because daddy wants to play tennis with you.

What I do, if you can remember when you finally read this, is to make sure you read an English book and Chinese short passage every day. There'd be days where I'd spend half-an-hour forcing you to speak in Mandarin to me. Occasionally, I make sure you understand the Math concepts taught in school. Then for the rest of the day, you are free to do what you like. Play computer games, watch TV, swim, horse around with Kit, draw, play with your Lego bricks. Whatever.

You grumble all the time when I say it's time for revision. But you always do it. You tell me you do it because you love me; I always tell you in return, that you will not know it now, but you're doing it for your own future.

Your achievements surprise me. Now you can recognize frequently-used Chinese characters with ease. You are able to read Chinese passages with confidence while last time you'd falter. You finish age-appropriate novels in two/three days. Your Math grades? Some times great, some times not so great. Some parents would think this is no big deal. But hey, I know you always try your best. I know you always do better, each time you try.

We spent your 7yo birthday in Japan. With amazement and a huge amount of pride, I saw you climb steep snowy slopes, sat your butt down on the cold and wet snow, and slide down the slopes again and again. This is an achievement for a boy who's afraid of roller coaster rides, sad movie/cartoon endings, and the deep end of the pool.

Happy seven-year-old birthday, my sweet boy. Continue to surprise me.

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