Category Archives: 3~6 months

Trip to Xiamen – Part III: A few things about Gulangyu

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gulangyu (鼓浪屿) is the island in Xiamen (厦门), we stayed exclusively on the island even though the city of Xiamen is a much better place for sightseeing. You will need to take a ferry in and out of Gulangyu. We visited 菽庄花园,a once privately owned residence on the ocean front. There’s also a pretty famous piano museum in the garden that houses dozens of antique pianos. Michael and I found some very interesting snacks on our stroll. One old guy made a tiger out of liquid candy, it brought back my memory from almost 25 years ago (isn’t that scary???) when I was in elementary school, vendors sold things like that in Shanghai, not any more though. So we asked him to make a tiger (because Lin and Li are tigers) and had a lot of fun taking pictures of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months

Trip to Xiamen – Part II: Babies On The Go

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At five and half months, Lin and Li are big enough to rid of their Ergo infant insert, this is especially nice because we didn’t need to carry 2 extra pieces of luggage. They seemed to be always curious about the world around them. It was really not too different for them as far as their routines go – eating every four hours, stay awake for 2 hours and sleep for an hour or two during the day; once the clock hits 9pm, they still went to sleep and  wake up around 6:30 or 7 in the morning. The hotel provided a nice crib for us, and we switched Lin and Li every night in there, and they did just fine. The only thing we found that’s different is when we carried them outside they were better than staying inside, they checked things around. Lin still struggled for usually a few minutes just before falling asleep, we called him Mr. Siren going through town. This trip they had their first train ride, and saw the beach for the first time.

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months

Trip to Xiamen – Part I: Traveling with 6-months old

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We took the one week vacation time Michael has right after Christmas to Xiamen by the high speed train CRH. The distance is about 1000KM (621 miles) and it takes 7 and half hours. We got second class seats (at around USD 50 /p) for the outbound trip, and first class seats (USD 60 /p) for the inbound trip. We don’t really like flying especially now the weather is cold (around freezing point). All the high speed trains now depart from the new Hongqian Railway Station, from our apartment metro line 10 station is only 5 minute walk, and it takes us right to the station (or Hongqiao Airport), so my aunt went to the station with us, taking our coast back and picked us up at the station again. Boys were great on the train, for the most part. For feeding, I was able to comfortably feed one at a time, on the return trip, there’s a nice room I was able to use to feed them and a change station in the bathroom. I am glad that I had the nursing cover, which allowed me to feed them in public. Although now I have to hold Lin and Li’s hand because they are so strong they can easily uncover the cover 😉 On the way out, they were pretty fussy, so Michael and I walked them in the isles before they fell asleep and then sat them with them still in the carriers. On the way back, they were so wonderful, there were many other infants on the train as well so the whole way we were talking to people and sharing the parenting stories. The couple sitting behind us live in France, the husband is from Xiamen so we really enjoyed talking to them as well. The wife speaks Chinese very well and their son speaks Chinese and French so it was really fun to talk to them.

Thanks to our Ergo carriers, we had no trouble walking around Gulangyu, the island is not small but there’s no public transportation, nor bicycles, the only vehicles allowed is the electric shuttle for tourists, it was a little hard to walk the hills sometimes but we really enjoyed the trees, beach, and the gorgeous buildings built in the early 1900s. We weren’t too happy about the food here, apparently it’s so built up and most people in the business district are tourists, other than some local specialties, most food in Gulangyu is expensive and not so tasty. I tried some exotic fruit one day just before bed and I woke up from severe stomachache and threw up at 2:30am, thankfully after resting all morning in bed (which translates to Michael caring 2 babies the whole morning) I was able to get up and walk around again. We did enjoy our days there since it’s a very nice place to walk around, see the ocean (and vaguely the mountains that are between Taiwan and Xiamen), and get so much attention from people. One afternoon, we went to the park and the second we put Lin and Li on the blanket we threw on the grass, a circle of people showed up checking them out. At almost six months, Michael and I are really used to people approaching us and asking us if we have twins. Chinese people are funny in a way, that they are not shy about commenting the babies in front of you. They are not shy about trying to touch the babies, neither telling us they need to wear more clothes (it’s guaranteed someone will tell us that every single time we go out). I really don’t know what the point is to keep kids too warm. We are talking about in the train, air-conditioned to 22 degrees (around 72 degrees), some babies were wearing three sets of pants (the outside pant is a snow suit), and layers and layers of clothing, the baby’s face is like a Fuji apple, then you look at Lin and Li in their onesies!!! I guess they have been doing really well, they traveled with us from -2 to 20 degrees (28 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and didn’t get sick at all.  Although we were told that once they get past 6 months, they will have fever – we shall see.

Gulangyu is a place with a lot of European influence, the hotel we stayed in is a mansion under renovation, the rooms are well-appointed, ceiling was extremely high and we upgraded ourselves to a much bigger room the last night and they have a twin bath tub 🙂 It’s nice to know that we survived Dec 27~31 all on our own, traveling all the way to the south point of China!

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months

Welcoming the new year

During Christmas weather was really cold. We went with my high school friends for a big French dinner at IFC in Pudong. John was in Shanghai and joined us for the dinner and he also came over and took some pictures for Lin and Li as well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2 Comments

Filed under 3~6 months

Super Baby Food

John is in town after his cross country (China) trip with his students, I can’t wait to see all his pictures from the trip and I am so happy he brought the book I wanted – Super Baby Food (by Ruth Yaron). Michael and I have been thinking about this important topic for a while: when to start solids, what first foods we should give to our babies, etc.

I already started reading the book and it’s quite good. I was surprised to find out that Ruth had twin boys as well and she gave a lot of great information on many questions we had previously. We know we should not start solids early, at least till they complete six months of age (for six reasons that I totally agree with such as diminishing milk supply, and damaging digestive system from lacking enzymes that helps with digesting complex carbohydrates, triggering allergies, etc.) but it looks like it’s not too good to wait too long either, even though some parents feel very strongly about not giving their children solids until they had their first birthdays. The negative impact of waiting past 8 months to give them solids is that lack of certain vitamins may delay their growth. So it looks like the magic time to start solids is at 7th month, so we will start after our trip to Xiamen, which is the beginning of 2011.

Regarding the choices of first foods, we will probably start with millet porridge, avocado, and raw vegetables, of course over a period of time, each first food should be introduced separately and then we will follow a four-day rule to see if they have any allergic reaction to it. We are a bit concerned of giving them rice cereal, even though rice is easy to digest but it does raise the sugar level and we want to be very cautious about carbohydrates. Also fruits like mashed banana is a concern for us that it may give them a “sweet tooth”, as Ruth stated, “Bland is the Best”, which I agree, no sugary or salty foods, at least at the very beginning. Everything we need we already have them in the organic form, however, avocado is the exception, and it is an excellent choice, it doesn’t need to be cooked (cooking greatly decreases the nutritional value of foods), and it has ton of fatty acids that helps with the brain development and it’s easy to digest. The trick is to find organic avocado since it’s not a common food in China. I’ve tried making mashed spinach already, using a blender to puree raw leafy vegetables works but I want to start with bok choy (leafy parts only) first since it’s a easier choice for their tender stomach and it’s nutritionally more valuable.

We found out that our boys do have a minor allergic reaction to dairy products, once I stopped taking yoghurt, even though it is the best thing for them, the rashes on their faces were gone. The bacteria in yoghurt cleanse the intestines and promotes the growth of many beneficial enzymes, therefore improving one’s immunity in general. I can get the organic milk and organic pure yoghurt (no sugar added), but usually the optimum time to consume yoghurt is within 3 days, which means the commercially made yoghurt lost most of its live cultures already when they reach us, so I bought a yoghurt maker (for only 7 US dollars, hooray!!!), because the cow milk based yoghurt will still be a problem for its protein and salt content, I am thinking about using breast milk to get home-made yoghurt. This way, I will be able to maintain my milk supply as well once we start supplementing solids. My aunt and I tried making yoghurt yesterday with regular milk, it was so easy –  all we need to do is to add 5% volume of tyoghurt into the milk, then place it in the machine, add some water, plug it in and leave it for 5~8 hours, take it out let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge.

4 Comments

Filed under 3~6 months

Lin and Li got their high chairs!

We were going to buy the IKEA high chair until we saw these on taobao. And I negotiated over IM with the seller – we got 30 RMB discount for two high chairs and a jumper. So the high chair costs 350 RMB (about 50 USD) and it’s fabulous, removable tray, six adjustable heights, a basket, and real easy-to-use wheels (indoor stroller really).

Lin’s pretty happy in his 🙂

Daddy’s turned the chairs into a choo choo train:

 

1 Comment

Filed under 3~6 months

Li does not like the wooden bucket

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months

Feeding Li for the First Time

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months

The Great Firewall of China

Since Lin, Li and Michael are all sleeping and there’s no dirty dishes to wash, I am going to write down the “secret” of getting around the Great Firewall of China since I’ve got questions from more than one person now how we get on facebook – and the secret is TO PAY $5 A MONTH – that’s right, that’s all you need to do: using the VPN service so as though you are accessing from a US server. An added benefit of this is that we can use our Skype with domestic rate rather than international rates.

By the way, we are loving the Chinese sites, a few selected ones are:

http://www.pptv.com (this is the encyclopedia of TV series, movies, games and more, and from every continent)

http://www.youku.com (just gone IPO at NYSE, not sure why NYSE would agree to have this site go public since its all bootleg, but we love the Korean soap opera there)

http://www.amazon.cn (well instead of having Free Super Saver Shipping, here everything is delivered the next day for free on Amazon)

http://www.taobao.com (probably the largest shopping site in China, you pay for the delivery but the prices are really sweet and I like their payment system very secure,  I buy diapers and all kinds of stuff from there)

http://www.360buy.com or http://www.icson.com (electronics, computer stuff, this is a great site, sometimes same-day delivery for everything)

We buy our organic veggies from Tesco, and an organic chain grocer called Haikele (free delivery for purchase over RMB 100/USD 15), who is also the sole seller of  organic sugar-free yoghurt. City Shop is our favorite for imported goods and bread (free delivery for purchase over RMB 200/USD 30) even though a lot of the imports are way overpriced, I am just happy they have the whole line of Seventh Generation, from baby wipes to detergent.

After all, we are talking about China, where everything is made these days. Things are cheap here, if you are not talking about real estate. And the blocking of Facebook, Meetup, YouTube, etc. like I said, costs $5 a month to get around…

2 Comments

Filed under 3~6 months

Happy Baby Pose

Happy Baby Pose is once of the relaxing poses in Yoga practice, and here you have a perfectly happy baby doing a perfect happy baby pose!

Leave a comment

Filed under 3~6 months