Chinese Character for parental love = ache and rattan

Chinese has different characters for LOVE.  “Téng” is usually use to describe parental love means “ache” or “love dearly”. Its homophone means “RATTAN”.  Homophone is like “bat” for the animal and “bat” for baseball.

Chinese parents usually say,” Wo hen teng ni” which means I really love you dearly. The fact that the meaning says “love dearly” and ache can also means that parents LOVES their children so dearly that it hurts

teng_with numbers

What is interesting to me is the homophone for this character is “téng” for rattan! Hmmm no wonder Chinese parents often beat their kids with rattan! 🙂 I remember when I was little my maternal grandmother chased me and my cousins around her house with this rattan tool.  The tool was used to beat mattresses because she used to hang mattresses out in the sun to kill the germs 🙂


tepokan kasur

Since that was “teng” is the Chinese character for LOVE… Do we have different character to express children’s love to parents??

Sure we do…. but we don’t call it love! In Chinese children’s love to parents can be expressed in what is called “filial piety”. Children have the responsibilities to RESPECT their parents, care for them, make them proud and  carry the family honor!

Remember MULAN??  She didn’t say she went to war for her father because she loves her father… It’s to defend the family honor and of course SHE LOVES her father. That was how she expressed her love!

The character for is “xiào”.  It consists of 2 different characters.  Lao is for “old” or elderly and zi for son.  See the character is showing that the “son” is carrying the “old”

xiao_with numbers

So what about “Ai” the famous Chinese word for LOVE??  Well, that word is actually for romantic love. The first part is GRIP… to me that shows how 2 people hold hands as they walk into their marriage. GRIP to me means seriously holding on into something, taking marriage vows seriously as they walk together entering the “ROOF” representing the home…Inside or under the roof is the character for HEART! The center of it all is the LOVE from your HEART… and the foundation of it all is FRIENDSHIP! Isn’t it beautiful?

Ai with numbers





“Zero to Hero” Day 16: Confession..I am not a super mom!

Today challenge was taken from the Daily Prompt : 

Do you have a reputation? Well, many of my friends called me a SUPER MOM!

What is it, and where did it come from? I think they call me a SUPER MOM because I am in grad school, teaching and seems to have it together, plus all the extra fancy cookies and cakes I managed to make for my kiddos..

Is it accurate? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! I never feel that I am a super mom..In fact my reply is usually, ” I am NOT!” I am usually embarassed… and deep inside thinking, “If only they knew…. :-)”

What do you think about it?

Obviously I don’t think I am a super mom and this is the reason why: (The truths are in red)

1. I am not in a graduate program by choice.  I am in a graduate program because God told me so.. Since he owned me I better do what HE says. If you want to know why, read:  the path I didn’t choose

2. Making cookies like for Halloween does NOT make you a super mom… It just mean that you are a mom who like to bake…Some moms sew… some moms loves to clean and organized (NOT ME!) I like to bake 🙂


THE TRUTH: We had to bake that day because I HAD A SUPER BAD DAY at work!  If we didn’t bake, I would have cried ALL DAY!  So we baked to distract me… That way, my kids focused their creativity into something more productive than making messes at home that would drove me over the edge that day! Not to mention that they were practicing their fine motor skills and concentration! 🙂 


3. Throwing super cool birthday parties do NOT make you a super mom either 🙂 You know that I didn’t come up with those ideas… That’s why we all LOVE GOOGLE!! 🙂

Yes, there was smoke coming out of that chocolate cake volcano…


Yes, he actually able to SHOOT those little angry birds and knocked down the pigs on the wafer blocks


and little snow white party was a success…


THE TRUTH:  Most of the time the kids’ birthday parties were 2, 3 or even 5 weeks late because they had to be according to MY SCHEDULE!  We usually had a small family dinner on the day.  Then, when I don’t have anything due, I called friends (YES, it is usually the last minute :-). Lately, I got a great trick : I ordered the cake from the grocery store, then decorated it!  An example would be that snow white birthday cake 🙂

Why did I throw such parties?  Because my children are precious and they mean the world to me!  I often feel so GUILTY when they came to me and say ,” Mommy can we play or do you have homework?”  ” Mommy, are you staying home today?  I want to play with you…” So making their BIRTHDAY’s WISH come true is one way for me to let them know that their BIRTHDAY is very important and special to me!

4. I have it all together, my kids are doing well in school and my life seems to be in order..

THE TRUTH: Not really!  My kids are doing well because we invested in them since they were little.. They read so well because we always find the time to read to them!

My house is clean and organized (if you announced your visit few days prior 🙂 )because my friend who happens to be my childcare provider/house manager is AMAZING!! I don’t know what I would do without her! Usually, if you didn’t let me know ahead of time.. it is MESSY because I didn’t have time to hide everything down in the basement 🙂

Laundry gets done and I can do my homework because my husband is AMAZING!!!

I am not a supermom… Do you know that I told people I turn into a mean witch by 10 pm because I am so tired and cranky 🙂  I have yelled at my kids.. I have lost it too… My best friends know what can happen when I am stressing out beyond my limit 🙂

I am still preserving my sanity right now because I have so many wonderful girlfriends that I can laugh with when I had a very bad day or week… Then come home to super sweet one of a kind family that love kisses and hugs…

So I AM NOT a super mom at all!! 

If I have to nominate someone to be a super mom, I would say that parents of children who have special challenges ARE SUPERMOMS!  If I have to pick one, I would have to pick Michael Phillips’ mom! Have you heard about him?

He is a 30+ years old man who is a “computer gamer” that has spinal muscular atrophy.  He can not move his muscles 😦  He used to communicate by typing with his thumb. Now he is typing with his eyebrows.  Watch him!! You will look at your life with a different perspective!

I work with children with severe challenges. Some as severe… some less severe… Regardless of what their challenges are, their moms are full of HOPE and they don’t give up… THESE MOMS deserve to be called SUPER MOMS… not me!

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂


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Hello friends…

A Disclaimer: No, I am NOT jumping into the bandwagon of people who say they hate common core. However, it is time to give my 2 cents…

I think common core is confusing ! Now, keep in mind that I am Chinese and grew up with this so called ‘Singapore Math’. I agree that math and science in Asia are more advanced. I grew up with it, so take my words for it 🙂

However, I think common core is build upon a lot of assumptions and it needs tons of revisions. Our school district use a specific math curriculum that supposedly provides authentic math curriculum.

Check out this homework page for a kindergarten student (aka my son).  Unfortunately, this is NOT the first confusing page that I have seen 😦

The success to give the correct answer is based on many assumptions!

1. They assumed that the children have the literacy skill and able to read the ‘ How many more flowers do we need’ in this 2nd qtr of the year in Kindergarten. WAY too advanced for a kindergartener to read!  My son can read that!  But he read and all he comprehend was the instruction on top says ‘ count and write’, he saw ‘ how many more flowers do you need and he counted the flowers and write the ANSWER 2!

2. They assumed that the children have the cognitive skill to make the abstract connection between the 2 sets of pictures (without any instruction to match)!

3. They assumed that all kids have the same cultural understanding that the straw goes with the cup! You may laugh at me and say that all kids know a straw go with a cup  (I would think like you last year). However,  I would say NO, now.  I have interacted with kindergarten children from different cultural backgrounds who are FIRST exposed to ENGLISH and AMERICAN way of living in Kindergarten.  Some of these kids may never drink from a straw… who knows, we don’t eat with FORK… We eat with spoon at home 🙂 If you asked some kids what are the two most important utensils you need to eat with?  They will probably say SPOON and chopsticks 🙂

4. They assumed that ALL parents can help with homework and explain it to their kids!  We all know that this is so not true.  Even I struggle with this! Again I have seen those kids who barely seen their parents….


I agree that we should give more challenging subjects to kids… but WE HAVE TO SET THEM UP FOR SUCCESS… not for failure!

The instructions should be made by those who understand language and cognitive development… NOT just math experts..

That page will be good if :

1. The boxes were numbered

2. Add the instruction, ‘MATCH the items in box 1 to box 2’

3. Now, see how many more…… do you need?

I worked with children who have many challenges to keep up with their peers.

I am so afraid for these kiddos because I think common core will WIDEN the gap between them and their typical developing peers…

Friends… IT is our responsibility as ADULTS to help them succeed…


BREAK it down… reach for their hands and bring them up!

Don’t set children  to FAIL!

By the way… My son erased and gave the correct answer after I explained the problem to him!  I am blessed that I understand English!


“Zero to Hero” Day 6: Snow days’ effect

The kids were out of school for too long! We had 2 snow days this week and I was about to lose my minds.

Winter break was nice because I am off as well, so I focused my attention to them and played with them. That was not the case this week because I am teaching an online class that started on Monday and a bunch of my students had email problems and issues I needed to attend to….

So my kids made a mess all over the house… They were playing “pretend restaurant”


and built pretend forts and tunnels down in the basement 😦

and played “camping”

So I decided to have a “CLEANING DAY” That only last about 2 hours 🙂

She painted on the wall the other day… so they had to clean it up…

Sorted and organized their book shelves!

While I cooked and made chicken soup

Since it only lasted for 2 hours…

I called friends to come over…

At one point there were 10 kids at my house… Which I LOVE and I prefer…. My kids are occupied and I can do other things…


Needless to say, by the end of the day, my girlfriends and I were searching for a SPA resort for a weekend getaway 🙂

No more snow days please… I salute those moms who LOVE snow day and spending time with their kids…. I LOVE spending time with them too… But it is hard to enjoy when I still have to work from home. My kids are so much like me. They love their friends and they can’t sit down and do an activity for a long period of time, which I don’t expect any children in their age to do… I love their creativity when I am not the one that has to clean it up..

Argggghhh this might be a good prelude to a post “FINDING EQUILLIBRIUM”…. Note: I don’t like to use the word balance 🙂


“Zero to Hero” Challenge Day 3: The path I didn’t choose

This is my family… We are on a rocky path, not a paved road… A journey that we chose to commit few years ago. It is rough and rocky but we are finding the joy with every step. A path that I didn’t choose but find joy walking it together with my family.


When people ask me,” Why are you back in school?”  Often my answer was simply,” It’s a long story or I am having a midlife crisis too soon…”  I am afraid that sharing the whole reason will make others judge me…. Well, I guess, not sharing the whole truth made people judge me as well.  I am not back because I want to.  I don’t need another degree… I already have a job.  So why did I?

It started way back 10 years ago, not long after I started my kindermusik studio.  I didn’t know about speech language pathology until I became a service provider for the county’s Help Me Grow program. Several parents told me,” Music made such a difference in their language and social development, you should go back to school and become an SLP!” It was God’s whispering!

I shrugged my shoulder and said,” Are you kidding me??  English is not my native language”.

Fast forward to about 8 years ago, one of my best friends has a special need child.  It took few years to get a diagnosis.  Through my journey with her, I found out these facts

  1. Indonesia, the 4th most populous country in the world has roughly 300 speech therapists then!
  2. Back 8 years ago (when I did my research)…. NOONE has a degree beyond bachelor!
  3. That bachelor degree is actually in education.
  4. There are only 2 SMALL schools that train “speech therapists” and the actual degree is an ASSOCIATE (ahli madya) degree, 2 yrs after high school then you are done!  You can go on and get a bachelor in Education
  5. NO language tests or assessment available for ANY INDONESIAN children that were made for Indonesian children.


What did I do?? NOTHING! It was sad, but it is so NOT my problem. My business was thriving! We lived a blessed life! Money was good… Why do I need to work or go to school..

Then 4.5 years ago. I almost died after my daughter was born.  One of my very best friend gave me an “OPRAH moment ”  when she asked me,” If you died, what is the 1 thing you regret from your life?”  I started sobbing as it was GOD was YELLING at me.  My answer was,” 1 regret only, whether I could have make a difference if I answered GOD”s call… What would happen if I go back to school.”

THAT fall 2009, I enrolled full time!  I was still stubborn!! I asked for signs.  Dear hubby and I both prayed for signs, that would be fulfilled within 1 year or else I would stop! They were all fulfilled within 1 quarter!  From wonderful babysitters to full scholarships. I was only going for the master degree.. but GOD said Ph.D!  Seriously, there were several miracles to my acceptance!  one, was the GRE score. Mine is 990!  Usually accepted score is 1000.  GOD wanted me to know that HE alone put me here!

So when things are really hard at school, I do go crazy!  Partly, because I am human.. partly because I didn’t choose to be on this PATH!  GOD chose it for me.

There are many days that I would cry… and asked my dear husband “WHY ME?”  There must have been other more competent Indonesians out there, whose English is so much better than mine!”  Then he would said,” why NOT you?”  We saw how GOD has prepared me for this even since I was a little girl!  I was so blessed to LOVE books! My Dad loves book and I probably grew up reading MORE books than other Indonesian kids in the 70s! Those here on fb from my elementary years probably remember that by 5th grade I opened a LIBRARY, convenient since my house is right in front of the school… I charged money for friends to borrow my books and gave fines if they brought them back late.  The idea my dad gave me because he could only buy me 1 book a week… If I want more, I would have to buy by myself!.

So I am simply enduring this journey because GOD owns me, my heart and my life! HE paid the full price when HE died for me! So if this is what HE wants me to do. Then, I will do it. What am I going to do after I graduate, I DON”T KNOW!  It is GOD who holds my future.

Some days I am so tired that I want to quit. Little things make me feel guilty, such as when my son asked me,” Mommy, do you have homework?” If not can you play with me?” Sometimes, I came home, and my patience has run dry!  My children, husband and best friends have seen me in my worst moments.  I am human… I got stressed out! How could you not?  I am tired of writing in a language that is not my own! I am tired of speaking correctly…. I am tired of constantly monitoring whether I say “teeth” or “tit”, “she” or “see”…

However,  I have to say, I LOVE LOVE all the kids in my case loads, most of my classes… and this profession. I have seen what a difference can EARLY intervention do to these children….

Thus said, I hope you understand… Going to school is NOT my choice… for that reason alone, I can not quit.  Though I want to quit so badly sometimes… Dear hubby and I believe that our children are fine… Personally I think they are awesome!  When I am NOT home, someone who LOVES them dearly are with them… Do I feel guilty?  YES I DO!! Al the time.. Heck, I was a stay home mom before! But we try to make every moment count….and when I need to get my stress out… Please allow me…. Thank you so much for so many of you who have loved me through this tough journey! I can’t do this without my dear sweet husband and most of all to so many wonderful girlfriends I have here in town!! It sure does takes a village to get me through school.

It’s long… I don’t know if anyone would read this but if you get to this point, THANK YOU!!!

I hope sharing my experiences in my crazy life will help other mommies out there who are juggling graduate schools and family… Especially other immigrants mommies …. It’s hard but it’s possible… You just have to take it one day at a time 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: BEGINNING

I am participating in the WordPress photo challenge… This week the challenge is “BEGINNING”

We decided to go out to the North Market for brunch….

My 6 years old came down the stairs and dressed like this! YES!! He picked up that fortune magazine because he is going to be the next Elon Musk! 🙂  How does he know about Elon Musk? His daddy talks about TESLA motor all the time 🙂  So he saw the magazine and decided to read it in the car 🙂

YES, he loves to wear a clip on tie and dress up nowdays 🙂 (after he got ties for Christmas 🙂 )

No I didn’t ask him to read the magazine nor dress up that way… He is a boy with his own mind who choose his own outfit everyday! 🙂


He read the magazine in the car 🙂

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He is my inventor! I was cleaning last week and found this broken wood frame.  He asked for it and this is what he did…. He drew a picture of him and his sister and hang it on his bedroom’s door!  Isn’t he so sweet….


He LOVES lego… and  wants to work for LEGO someday while developing his own fast car… which he already has a brand for it and in the process of designing the logo 🙂


So for this challenge…. These pictures suit as “BEGINNING!” Who knows that this is the BEGINNING of something that God has in store for this super sweet little boy!  Who knows …… you might be looking at the NEXT …. ELON MUSK or STEVE JOBS 🙂