Saturday, February 26, 2011

Children Beware

posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Someone once told me that during baby raising time, the years go by fast but the days go by slow. Since it's true that the days are pretty long, id assume that soon the months will turn into years and Janie will be reading and watching and listening to all types of child-friendly entertainment. We've already collected a decent amount of material in preparation and have been previewing some of it. Maybe my decades of living in this morally corrupt world has robbed me of my innocent way of appreciating things, but I had a few issues with some of what I saw.

Let's start with a classic Disney tale of love, lobsters and red hair. I already can hear some of your reactions. "i LOVE the Little Mermaid!" I'm sure you do, but I doubt she loves you back. She doesn't even love HERSELF! The heroine of this fairy tale is a beautiful princess who is obsessed with changing her body so that she could be with a boy. Sorry to dump on your favorite movie, but what message is this sending to our little girls??? Why couldn't she remain a mermaid and demand that he love her for who she is? The happy ending came when she finally got what she wanted and magically became something that she wasn't born to be. In today's world, we don't have magic, we have plastic surgery and Ariel wouldn't have a movie, she'd have a reality show on VH1.

If this is Janie in 15 years, we did something wrong.

Next on the chopping block is a book that we received as a gift. Daisy actually pointed this one out as she was reading it to Janie. Yes, I see the sweet, intended message of the story, but it's still odd. I'll let you decide for yourself:

Starts off innocent. A mother loves her baby and rocks him to sleep. When he's 2 years old, she sneaks into his room and if he's asleep, she picks him up and rocks him as well.

But then, when he's a teenager, she crawls into his room and if he's asleep and doesn't know it, she rocks that "great big boy back and forth." Then after he grows up and moves out on "dark nights, she got in a car and drove across town."

"If the lights were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor and if he was really asleep, she rocked that great big man back and forth." In the end, the son rocked his mother back and forth. Funny, no mention of a wife.

Forgive the cynicism of this post. In today's age of psychological instability, image problems, sexual predators and political correctness overload, maybe some things just don't translate as well over time. Shoot, have you ever seen the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany's? If you have, I don't even have to explain what parts of that movie would cause race riots today. Nevertheless, to make up for my sometimes overly-analytic mind, Janie has Daisy, who can enjoy just about anything that she watches or reads. I guess I'll just take her outside to play.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Happy Chinese New Year! As most of you know, the Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us and we're now in the Year of the Rabbit. Back at home, it's a time where the family meets in Chinatown for dinner, exchanges red envelopes and Google changes their logo for a day. But here in the Middle Kingdom, this holiday takes on a whole new meaning. Think Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday Shopping combined... plus 700 million people. CNY holiday travelling has been unofficially recognized as the largest human migration in the world. The country shuts down for a week, as people travel to wherever their families are to make dumplings, eat a feast, watch the CCTV CNY variety show marathon and light fireworks at midnight.

We've heard stories about what it's like in Shanghai. Mainly about the fireworks. "Good luck sleeping" was the general message we got. We were just hoping it wouldn't bother Janie.

CNY morning was actually quite pleasant. The weather was an uncharacteristic 55 degrees and sunny. I organized a game of football on New Years morning for those of us not travelling. Shanghai was a ghost town. After football, we packed up and headed over the river to Pudong to a friends place where we played games and had dinner. We came home about an hour before midnight, where the streets were still quiet and empty. After feeding and changing Janie, it was close to twelve... and then it began.

Shanghai Fireworks from our apartment

The residents of Shanghai seemed to spill out from wherever they were holed up during the day into the streets and simultaneously light the sky on fire. The entire city seemed to be lit up with fireworks for a good hour straight. Very impressive. Janie actually LOVED watching the fireworks. Day 4 of the holiday week is supposed to be an even bigger night for fireworks, so we're looking forward to that for sure.

Janie mesmerized by fireworks

Here are some random pictures:
Yunan Bug Restaurant

Homemade Daisy PIzza

And more of Miss Janie: