The Fanclub

The kid attracts attention. Ever since he was very tiny, people wanted to say hi to him everywhere we went. I figured it was because he was a newborn baby, and supposed babies and puppies always receive smiles and compliments automatically. But 3.5 years later, he still keeps getting random high fives and pounds in the streets. People want to have conversations with him. He even receives gifts.

Completely unlike me, he is super social and loves attention. Although he seems to be developing a bit of shyness at last (I was beginning to worry he was too easy to kidnap), he’s generally a very happy child with bright smiles. I can see how he might be a cheerful sight on the bus or in a drugstore or whatever.

The fact that he looks unique has also helped leave a strong impression on those who might see him regularly. Bus drivers, coffee shop workers, custodians, restaurant servers, panhandlers, supermarket cashers and baggers, the list of his “fans” goes on…

Just today, he received one Reese’s cup from one person and a box of Lunchables (we don’t eat the brand and I tried my best to decline, but the gentleman insisted) from another, and had lovely conversations with construction workers, a Walgreens employee and crossfit gym trainers.

If it were just me going to work, walking to the train station, I would likely end up talking to zero person. I sure would collect no candy. No one would ask to make sure I ate lunch so I’d stay healthy and strong. I know it would be puzzling if a random man digging a hole in the road was to tell me how he’s always wanted hair like mine.

But walking with the kid, that is the norm. And I still have a hard time getting used to it. I’m socially awkward, I can’t help myself. I let him do all the talking. I hide behind him while he waves, high fives, gives hugs and tells people about his cardboard saxophone or washing machines jumping up and down (his interests are, how should we say, quirky).

Sometimes, his fans spot me without the kid and ask about him. That is when I get extra super duper awkward. “Where’s the Muscle Boy? (he is known as the Muscle Boy at the gym)” “He’s gone home for the day, heh heh (<— awkward laughter sound effect).” You want my autograph instead?

It is truly a natural gift to be able to connect with people like how he does. I was shy as a child, and am awkward as an adult. I’m curious how he carries on being a “people person” as he grows up. He might keep up his extroversion, or end up joining the team introverts. Who knows? Either way, for now, I just really enjoy how he introduces me to complete strangers like, “This is my friend, Momo.” and hope he never changes.

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7 Minutes of Darkness with a Tiny Little Lightbulb – Memory from the Womb

Many children under 3 are said to have memories of being in the wombs.

I had tried asking the kid about “being in mama’s tummy” before, but because his vocabulary was lacking enough words to tell anything more than “going swimming” inside.

He has turned 3 years and 5 months at this point. He has many words (including some bad ones) now. He does not stop talking, all day long. (Help us…)

This morning, I can’t remember what we were talking about originally, but he began telling me things he remembers from pre-birth and being born.

“It was dark but there was a tiny little lightbulb.”

“Lightbulb was next to, next to the wall.”

“I heard sound, phshhhhhhhhoooo.”

“There’s no door from your tummy.”

“It’s difficult to get out. I’m trapped.”

“I’m trapped in there, and no one is there.”

“I was sad. Very difficult to get out.”

(Me: “How long were you inside?”) “Long time. 7 minutes. Um, 100 minutes.”

“I slept a lot. Then I woke up.”

I have always imagined the birth to be traumatic and dramatic more to the baby than the mother. The mother knows what is happening and what to expect in giving birth whereas the baby is probably more clueless having to evacuate with a short notice.

Can you imagine having to stay in a very small room for such a long time? No book to read. No Netflix. Not even a Rubik’s Cube to play with.

I suppose the feeling of bored and the concept of boredom itself are learned after we take our first breath.

(Me: “What did you eat when you were in my tummy?”) “Bacon!”

Hmmmmm.

Greetings! ~Toddler’s Greetings

I’m mortified on the train. It is 8:30 am. The train is packed. But none of that stops the kid from being himself.

No, I’m not mortified because he is so chatty. I’m not mortified because he talks to everybody. I get uncomfortable because this is how the conversation goes:

Kid: “Hi!”

Female Stranger: “Oh hi!”

Kid: “How old are you?”

Me: (Oh no…)

FS: “I’m 31 years old!”

Kid: “Ooooh. My name is Fufu! I’m 3 years old!”

FS: “I’m Hilary! Nice to meet you!”

Kid: “Nice to meet you, too!”

Me: (whispering) “Fufu, I need to talk to you…”

I proceed to remind him that asking how old they are is not a popular way to start a conversation.

I previously wrote about how a toddler follows patterns they know. This is no exception. Whenever a stranger starts talking to him, they almost always start by asking how old he is.

I’d say starting a conversation like that is only appropriate and makes sense if they are under 5 years old.

The other day, I was highly puzzled when the kid excitedly started a conversation with his best friend by going, “Hi Nola! Look at my new shoes!”

His shoes are not new. I was puzzled and even worried for a bit; why is he making up a story/ lie just so he could start a conversation?

Then it hit me. Grownups tend to greet him by making comments about his clothes. “Hi Fufu! Is that a new shirt?” “I love your boots!” He sees them saying nice things about hair, dress and so on.

Talking about the appearance is the grownup way of greeting each other, according to him.

I am so very thankful that so many of his accidental victims are willing to entertain this little chatterbox early in the morning. Dear strangers, I apologize a whole car full of people now know your name and age. Please feel free to fake your name and age. In fact, saying your name is Peppa Pig will definitely amuse him. Also he says I’m 2 years old.

In the meantime, I will have another conversation with him on the appropriate subjects for conversation.

He Only Knows What He Knows – Pooping & Social Cues

Our 3-year-old surprises us with how much he is capable of comprehending, that I tend to forget how much he doesn’t know.

We forget that he only knows what he knows.

We forget that many times a day he is getting by with his best guesses.

In his potty training, he had a hard time “letting it go”. He would hold it in until he just couldn’t. His pediatrician said we needed to give him diarrhea and put him back in diapers. I disagreed (secretly). It was not about his diet or stool consistency. I knew it was all in his head. He was making conscious decisions not to go.


I had discussions about this with my friend and a dog trainer/ behaviorist. She brought up an interesting perspective on the matter.

In the first chapter of the training, she analyzed, his challenge was to hold it. He had to learn how to hold it. Now, after having learned to hold it, the next chapter involved controlling his body to let it go. If you stop, step back and look at the situation for a second, you’d see, that basically you are dealing with a person with a limited communication skills who has just learned to hold it, being asked to do the opposite. He once only knew “it” as something to hold in, now “it” is to be let out. I can see how this could be confusing both in his mind and muscle control.

Some kids are able to get it with a little effort, and some require extra effort. But it’s likely they master it at their own speed at the end. Poop and pee, potty and us, we become good friends at the end.


“Sharing” is another life skill we learn at young age. In this lesson, we learn to think of others around you, to get along with one another, and to communicate in peaceful manners.

Learning to share has not been the easiest for our only-child, but being in school has definitely helped. At school, everything’s not theirs and everything must be shared. Except food, and snot.

While he is encouraged to share at school, things are quite different at playground. The rules from school don’t necessarily apply to how you roll amongst others in the wild.

One day, he might be invited to join and share balls and scooters by friendly families, next day, he may get a firm no and “It’s mine!” It can definitely be confusing as he tries to apply the patterns he knows from school and fails at times.

As a highly social and extroverted child, he desperately and often too eagerly engages the other patrons (the young AND old). Sometimes he feels he’s in the right because “those kids won’t share” ‘their’ toys. Especially when he sees the same toys from school being used by random children on the playground, the kids are not being nice for not sharing the toys, according to him.

Some people want to play with you, and some don’t. Some people don’t mind sharing toys with you, and some do. Not all adults like talkative toddlers on the train, but some enjoy them. Not all Walgreens clerks want to see your dance moves, but a few might.

Not all politicians are good. Not all police officers are bad. Not all adults have good intentions but how do you tell which ones are good or bad?

Learning to pick up social cues can be tough. Learning about the world around you can take time. After all, life is quite complicated and we are all learning for the rest of our lives.

He Only Knows What He Knows – Pooping & Social Cues

Our 3-year-old surprises us with how much he is capable of comprehending, that I tend to forget how much he doesn’t know.

We forget that he only knows what he knows.

We forget that many times a day he is getting by with his best guesses.

In his potty training, he had a hard time “letting it go”. He would hold it in until he just couldn’t. His pediatrician said we needed to give him diarrhea and put him back in diapers. I disagreed (secretly). It was not about his diet or stool consistency. I knew it was all in his head. He was making conscious decisions not to go.


I had discussions about this with my friend and a dog trainer/ behaviorist. She brought up an interesting perspective on the matter.

In the first chapter of the training, she analyzed, his challenge was to hold it. He had to learn how to hold it. Now, after having learned to hold it, the next chapter involved controlling his body to let it go. If you stop, step back and look at the situation for a second, you’d see, that basically you are dealing with a person with a limited communication skills who has just learned to hold it, being asked to do the opposite. He once only knew “it” as something to hold in, now “it” is to be let out. I can see how this could be confusing both in his mind and muscle control.

Some kids are able to get it with a little effort, and some require extra effort. But it’s likely they master it at their own speed at the end. Poop and pee, potty and us, we become good friends at the end.


“Sharing” is another life skill we learn at young age. In this lesson, we learn to think of others around you, to get along with one another, and to communicate in peaceful manners.

Learning to share has not been the easiest for our only-child, but being in school has definitely helped. At school, everything’s not theirs and everything must be shared. Except food, and snot.

While he is encouraged to share at school, things are quite different at playground. The rules from school don’t necessarily apply to how you roll amongst others in the wild.

One day, he might be invited to join and share balls and scooters by friendly families, next day, he may get a firm no and “It’s mine!” It can definitely be confusing as he tries to apply the patterns he knows from school and fails at times.

As a highly social and extroverted child, he desperately and often too eagerly engages the other patrons (the young AND old). Sometimes he feels he’s in the right because “those kids won’t share” ‘their’ toys. Especially when he sees the same toys from school being used by random children on the playground, the kids are not being nice for not sharing the toys, according to him.

Some people want to play with you, and some don’t. Some people don’t mind sharing toys with you, and some do. Not all adults like talkative toddlers on the train, but some enjoy them. Not all Walgreens clerks want to see your dance moves, but a few might.

Not all politicians are good. Not all police officers are bad. Not all adults have good intentions but how do you tell which ones are good or bad?

Learning to pick up social cues can be tough. Learning about the world around you can take time. After all, life is quite complicated and we are all learning for the rest of our lives.

In Tune with His Interests

Once in a while, I have enough excitement in me to write product reviews on retail websites, like Amazon. Often times, I come across negative reviews by those who were disappointed in the same products I purchased and am curious to know what they had to say.

I’m writing about how much my kid is into this toy next to someone whose son showed zero interest in the same exact toy. “I bought this toy for my 3-year-old who showed very little interest in it. I’m disappointed and think they need to change the age to 4 & up.”

When I buy a toy for my kid, I am almost 85% sure he would enjoy it. I am a geek and obsessively pay attention to what gets him excited at daily basis. The data I collect, I use it to decide what toys to buy.

When he seemed excited about gears, I researched and found a set of toy gears. When he was really into screws, I found him a box of construction pieces that included screws and nuts. When his teacher mentioned that he enjoyed Play-Doh at school, I got a few pots of it at home. These toys turned out to be the bullseye spot on choices.

Then there have been others that were off on the timing. Like the magnetic drawing board I got from Japan (drawing board – this is not the same one). When I first gave it to him, he didn’t quite get it and immediately destroyed a few pixels by stabbing the surface with the pen. After more than a year, he has developed more understanding and appreciation for it and now enjoys drawing “chicken pox” people on it (his new thing is chicken pox everything).

All the stuffed animals have also been noticed recently. He carries certain animals and even introduces them to random strangers on the buses and trains. Penny the penguin and Amingo (NOT Amigo) the turkey got to meet some nice people visiting from France just yesterday.

Penny also gets to eat a lot of fishy dishes whener the kid wants to pretend-cook yummy food for her. Roleplaying to me is very important in child’s development and I love that he is learning to take care of someone and ask what others want (instead of being all about him and what he wants). I often make Penny sound younger than him on purpose, hoping it would help encourage him to learn how to play nicely with littler children.

Sometimes you just have to wait and see. See how your child is developing and revisit or reintroduce the tools from the past.

The other item that had sat untouched for months is a poster of Hiragana (Japanese writing system). It is one of those waterproof posters that you can stick on your bathroom wall. He did not show any interest in it until a few weeks ago. Suddenly, he got super excited about Japanese writing and letters.

I jumped on this opportunity to finally start teaching him Hiragana. For the last few weeks, we made it our evening routine to read the poster together. First we brush our teeth and wash our faces together. When that part’s done, only then we get to do our Hiragana Time.

I’ve heard from somewhere that adding rhythm and certain amount of speed can help with memorizing. So we read the letters rhythmically and increase our speed as we repeat. After 3 repeats (50 letters total), we do the last round at the normal speed again. He gets very excited to read and his enthusiasm is definitely helping him. He can almost say all the letters all by himself now.

I am now starting to quizz him on which letter is which. I know some people might smell a tiger mom right about now. Even my parents make comments like, don’t push him or take it slow. But I swear, I’m keeping up with his pace. I am following his interests and lead. He tells me what he likes and what excites him. I believe this is called Emergent Curriculum in the education field.

So this has been a follow up/ redundant post of my previous post Interested in His Interests. At his age, it is becoming easier to be and stay in tune with his thoughts and ideas. And it is so much fun to explore what interests him and to learn together. In fact, I’m currently re-learning basic biology and planetary science in order to correctly answer the questions I receive from the kid. I’ve got to be ready for his “What’s that?” and “Why?”

Anticipation, Prediction & Expectation – Level Up!

I have written a blog about Parenting while Being Short before. As the kid gets older and grows bigger and I get older but still stay short, the struggles become realer as the youth might say.

However, I am observing some new development. The kid seems to have learned to anticipate and predict the expectations.

What I mean is this. If he fell asleep on the big people’s bed, I or my husband would have to move him to his own bed. He’s asleep, floppy, like a wet duvet. I take extra caution not to throw my back out or let my arms fall off whenever I get stuck doing it. Anyway, this used to be something I avoided as much as possible by pretending to be asleep myself because it was hard.

Lately, I am seeing a difference. When I try to gather his limbs and pick him up, the kid gets his body situated in anticipation for the predicted pickup. It’s an automated action based on his learnt experiences.

He tenses his body and curls up so I can pick him up more easily. This, I think, is only possible because he has accumulated enough life experience points thus far. Like, he has reached the next level in the game.

At 3, he still asks to be picked up and carried frequently. But this newly developed skill makes this short parent’s life so much easier. He knows my expectations, and understands my requests. I can ask him to put his arms around my neck or head on my shoulder. Now, it is a real teamwork!

I’m still talking to him about how he’s getting to be too big for me to carry. I don’t want to be carrying a 50 lb. or 80 lb. sleeping person on and off a bus in the future. I love my baby but let’s be realistic for my joints’ sake. Realistic expectations!

I remember thinking that the 3-month-old baby was very heavy. And I thought my arms would fall off any minute a numerous times. In fact, for the longest time, I had carpal tunnel syndrome in my arms. But along with my parentally developed muscles and the kid’s newly acquired anticipation power, we anoint ourselves the team of superheroes. Together, we keep peace in the bedroom at 11:30 pm! Together, we run past the scary construction! Together, we get in and out of bucket seat swings without losing shoes!

Interested in His Interests

My mom always talks about how little she read to my younger brother. And how much that affected his interest in academics.

She then goes on to reminiscent how much reading she did with me, the firstborn. She believes my interest in writing and languages was nurtured by all the books I read as a baby.

I don’t know if she’s right. What I’m learning as a parent though, is that every child is different, and each child develops interest in different things at different speeds. That in writing seems silly as it should be very obvious.

Yet, I can’t remember how many people have told me to make sure I read to the baby everyday because reading would be super duper good for him. Reading books to a baby is the thing you must do or he would end up being stupid. One source even informed me that reading newspapers to the unborn child had helped him become successful in school later. Hmmmmmm.

Being a first time mom full of worries and nervousness, I kept feeling this overwhelming pressure to read to my child daily. I simply couldn’t figure out exactly when to read books however. There was always so much to do and I didn’t have the capacity to spare the time to read anything that had more than 3 sentences per page.

Also, the kid has never needed much help going to sleep at night. We put him down in the crib and he would just go to sleep. So what I see in movies, on TV or basically everywhere else; a child begging the parent to read a book or two for them before going to sleep, doesn’t happen here.

This doesn’t mean that I never read to him at bedtime. He used to love Goodnight Moon. I never understood the creepy pictures in that book, but he enjoyed it so much, I memorized it. I would hold the book up for him to see while reciting it. I would even recite the book in darkness.

I felt bad that I wasn’t reading him books everyday. I constantly thought I was ruining his brain. The mom who doesn’t read to her child is a bad mom…

The few hours I spend with him at home on a week day is spent feeding him, clothing him, cleaning him, keeping him occupied while doing chores, and playing the bunny character in the dance party or playing a horse or playing a wizard referee in basketball games. And after all those things happen, he’s ready to sleep. Where do I squeeze the reading time?

At certain age, he was more able to sit long enough for a short book. Then he started liking repeats. We would read Thomas books, Seuss, books in Japanese, books about colors, shapes and numbers. Sometimes twice, three times in a row. Long stories are too long, but the short ones become looong for mom when repeated over and over.

Now he even pretends to read them on his own, just like I used to. He seems to like books even though I didn’t read to him most of the time. I’m not even a book reader myself. Once I was stressing so much over the possibility of ruining his brain, now I’m starting to think it could just be the individual interest.

Yes, books are full of inspiration, information and imagination. But I’m sure some babies prefer moving visuals over turning pages up until certain age. Discovery of books might come early for some, and later for some. My kid might keep picking up books for a while or he might find kicking a ball outside more exciting, or both.

I had noticed early on that he seemed interested in numbers. He learned 0-12 fairly quickly, so I just kept adding more, 0-20, 0-30. We have counted up to 100 at this point, so I decided to start addition. I don’t consider myself a tiger mom but as long as he’s excited about learning more, I would like to keep providing the opportunity to do so.

Because he was interested in numbers, I quickly thought maybe he was the math/ science type. Well, he seems equally interested in letters and words. What does this mean??

It probably doesn’t mean anything, at least in the way I thought a person developed. There are many different interests, especially in a small person whose brain is developing at the lightning speed. We as parents are to provide as much information as we can so the kid can pick and choose. I don’t think we necessarily have to guide and lead, just yet.

Unless, you absolutely believe that your kid will be happy and successful in the future if he became a football player. (I may have to shove a sidewalk chalk in someone’s mouth if I hear “Ooh, you should have him play football or basketball!” one more time.) Talk about ruining a brain…

My brother who said he wanted to be a scientist at 5 years old, has become a successful chef and speaks two languages. Maybe my mom should stop talking about him and books.

All Songs are Better with Added Butts

The kid likes to sing. He sings while he walks. He sings while on train. He sings just to sing.

He also likes the word “butt”. This day was to come, we knew. “Butt” is funny. Everything is funny when there’s a “butt” involved.

So, it is a natural progression that we are now singing our songs with added “butt”s.

Enjoy these classic songs improved with added “butt”s!

Clean up! Clean up! Everybody, every “butt”!

Old McDonald had a “butt”. E-I-E-I-O!

Baby shark “butt”, doo doo doo doo doo! Baby shark “butt” doo doo doo doo doo!

Wheels on the “butt” goes round and round, round and round, round and round!

Five little monkey “butts” jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped his “butt”.

Twinkle, twinkle, little “butt”, how I wonder what you are!

Jingle “butt”, jingle “butt”, jingle all the “butt”!

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