QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"You can't have any marshmallows until you finish that chocolate cake, young lady" - what Tiger Father actually caught himself saying to his daughter after dinner recently.


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"You can't have any scorpion until you've finished that seahorse, young lady" - what Tiger Father actually caught himself saying to his daughter on a stroll through Beijing's Wangfujing night food market recently.


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TF: "Lani, do you know about Napoleon?"
LANI: "Yes, of course."
TF: "Really? Did you read about him in a book?"
LANI: "No. Ishan's Napoleon."
TF: "Ishan? The boy in your class, Ishan?"
LANI: "Yes".
TF: "He's Napoleon? What, his name's Ishan Napoleon?!"
LANI: "No. He is Napoleon."
TF: "What do you mean?!"
LANI: "He's Napoleon. He's from Nepal."

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"Daddy - why are these things on your bike called 'spokes'? They can't even speak!" - Lani, aged 6.

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EVIE: Daddy, why did you buyed more mint sauce?
TF: Not 'buyed' Evie. The word is 'bought'.
EVIE: Oh. So why did you boughted more mint sauce?

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"DAAAAD!!! Don't just throw me over the handlebars! I'm not a sack of potatoes!"
Lani, 6, in one of those great father-daughter moments - a forerunner to being screamed at in a car in 10 years time - where I'm teaching her to ride a bike without training wheels. OK, I was on roller blades pushing her. She came to a sudden halt. I may have been trying to keep her up, or else use her as a counter-weight to keep myself up. The whole thing happened so fast. There may be better ways to teach this, I now admit. Especially if you're no good on roller blades. Still, what doesn't kill 'em, eh?

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Lani: "Dad, is it true that to make babies a man has to put his penis in a lady's vagina?"
TF: "Why yes, Lani. It is!"
Lani: "Oooh. How embarrassing."
TF: "You think so?"
Lani: "Yeeeeah! At the hospital, in front of all those people?!?!"

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Our friend KAI, aged 6: "Dad - who's this guy on the 10 RMB note?"
DAD: "That's Mao Zedong son. Former leader of China. See it says his name right there."
KAI: "Oh. And and then it says 1893-1976? That must be his phone number."


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When the train stopped at the station in Suzhou en route to Shanghai:
LANI: Daaad! When can we go to Suzhou again?
TF: That was a year ago and you still remember it?
LANI: Yeah of course!
TF: Why do you want to go back? The relaxed atmosphere? The canals? The parks?
LANI: The chocolate fountain at our hotel.

*   *   *

EVIE: I saw a movie about a penguin.
TF: That's nice. Where'd you see that?
EVIE: I downloaded it.
TF: You downloaded it?!
EVIE: Yeah.
TF: Err, Evie, you're only five. I'm not sure I want you downloading movies just yet. Where'd you download it - on the big computer? The iPad? Where?
EVIE: On my drink bottle.

*   *   *

LANI: Evie, you're a goofball.
EVIE: You're a goofball.
LANI: You're a goofball pie-face.
EVIE: You're a goofball pie-face.
LANI: You're a goofball pie-face doo-doo head.
EVIE: YOU'RE a goofball pie-face doo-doo head.
LANI: You're a goofball pie-face doo-doo nong-nong head.
EVIE: Then I'm not playing!

*   *   *


EVIE: Daddy, why don't I don't go on the back of your bike anymore?
TF: That's not quite the way you'd say that, Evie.
EVIE: Daddy ... why do I don't go on the back of your bike anymore?
TF: Still not quite right. Want to try again?
EVIE: DADDYYYYYUH!! Why does Lani always go on the back of your bike?

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EVIE (while listening to The Beach Boys): Daddy, what's he singing about?
TF: His Little Deuce Coupe.
EVIE: What's that?
TF: It's his car.
EVIE: Why's he singing about his car?
TF: Because he really loves it.
EVIE: Oh ... Does it have a mouth?
TF: A mouth? Like Lightning McQueen? No, it's just a normal car.
EVIE: Well how can he love it then?
TF: Huh?
EVIE: How can they talk and kiss?!

Three minutes later, another song ...

EVIE: Daddy ...
TF: Mmm?
EVIE: Why does he need help from Wanda?

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"Evie, I'm pretty sure there are no piranhas in the bath. Now can you please get in!" - The Tiger Father.

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"Evie - I said to lick your own chin, not Lani's chin!" - The Tiger Father, overseeing a bit of grooming.

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Evie: Daddy, what's this song called?
TF: Islands in the Stream.
Evie: And why is the man singing?
TF: Well he's singing because he's in love.

Evie: With a boy?

TF: Ah, no. They don't really make songs about that.



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TF: Now kids, here's a picture of a famous band. They're called the Beatles. Have you heard of them?

EVIE: No.

LANI: Yes.

TF: Really? You've heard of the Beatles?

LANI: Yes of course. That's what the Wiggles were called before they changed their name to the Wiggles.

TF: Ah no. That was the Cockroaches.



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TF: So Evie, how was ballet?

EVIE: Oh the teacher just kept telling me things all day. She was telling me to have no thumbs sticking out, to put your hands up here, wrong leg, wrong arm, don't stick your bottom out, all sorts of stuff. There was so much stuff and so many words going into my head that my head got really full and then I got a headache and I thought my head was going to explode!

TF: So overall did you enjoy it?

EVIE: Yeah it was great!



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TF: Evie! Just eat the jolly food!

Evie: You can't say 'jolly'!

TF: Yes I can.

Evie: No you can't, it's a bad word.
TF: No it's not! It's one of those words we parents use instead of a bad word.
Evie: Really?
TF: Yes.
Evie: Oh crap!

*  *  *

Lani: Mummy, what's a motto?

Mum: It's a little phrase which is like a guide to how you should do things.

Lani: Like what?

Mum: Well, schools have mottos. My old school's motto was Ad Altiora, which means "Towards higher things".

Lani: Oh.

Mum: Does your school have a motto?

Lani: Yes of course it does.

Mum: What is it?

Lani: No hat - no play.



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Pre-school bully to my friend Tom, aged 4 (and I can only assume bully heard this taunt about one's manliness from a grown-up): Hey Beck! You sit down to go to the toilet!

Tom: Well ... It's very hard to do a poo standing up.



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TF: Evie, what's your favourite Olympic sport?

Evie: Boxing.

TF: Yikes! Why?

Evie: Because you get to sit down and they feed you.

TF: Err, that's his mouthguard they're putting in.



*  *  *

Mrs Tiger Father: So Christmas is coming up.
Evie/Lani: Yaaaay!
MTF: But there are many people in many different countries of the world who don't even celebrate Christmas. Who can answer this: Which people in the world celebrate Christmas?
Evie: ME!!
MTF: Right, well I don't mean name every one of them. I mean, which groups of people celebrate Christmas.
Evie/Lani: Aaahm ...
MTF: Think about the very word itself. Which people celebrate Christ-mas? It's people who believe iiiin ...
Lani: SANTA!!

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Lani: Daddy puts all kinds of junk food in my snack box for school.
Mrs Tiger Father: Oh really? Why do you think that is?
Lani: It's so he can make more room for beer in the fridge.

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TF: What US presidents do you know?
Evie: Abraham Lincoln!
TF: Good. What do we know about him?
Lani: His head is on a coin.
Evie: What? He's got some money stuck to his face?
Lani: No. A picture of his head is on the American one cent coin.
TF: What else?
Evie: He's named after a log.
TF: Huh?
Evie: Lincoln Logs. I saw them on TV.
Lani: That's a kids' toy. And I think they were named after him.

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TF: Evie, how did you go in your spelling test?
Evie: Great! I got 10 out of 10!
TF: Oh well done. What was the hardest word?
Evie: Aaaah - windmill.
TF: Why was that hard?
Evie: 'Coz I put 'mile' instead of 'mill'.
TF: Oh - so you didn't get 10 out of 10?
Evie: Oh. No. I got 10 out of nine!

*  *  *

TF: Who knows about the hidden meaning of nursery rhymes?
LANI: Oh yeah. Like 'Ring a ring of roses'. That was all about the plague.
TF: Yes. Any others?
EVIE: I know I know!
TF: What?
EVIE: The cow jumped over the moon.
TF: OK. And what was the meaning of that one?
EVIE: Well, there was this cow, and it jumped over the moon ...

*  *  *

EVIE: Daddy - I hate Chinese class.
TF: Oh. Why?
EVIE: Because they're always trying to teach me stuff I don't know!

*  *  *

EVIE: Daddy, there's this game where you have a cat and a lot of mouses, and ...
TF: Nuh-uh.
EVIE: What?
TF: You have one mouse, but more than one mouse is ... ?
EVIE: A rat?

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EVIE: Daddy! I can count in nines!
TF: Ooh. Not bad for a five-year-old. Go!
EVIE: Ninety one, ninety two, ninety three, ninety four ...

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TF: And a special angel came down to look after Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. And does anyone know what the angel was called?
LANI: 'Hark'?

*  *  *

PARENTING

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."

- Calvin Trillin. American author.

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"Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own."

- Doug Larson. American writer.

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"The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is because they have a common enemy"
- Ben Bergor, US author

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"Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going."
- Phyllis Diller.

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"Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners."
- Anonymous.

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"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance."
- Franklin P. Jones. US humourist.

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"Even when freshly washed and relieved of all obvious confections, children tend to be sticky."
- Fran Lebowitz. US author.

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EVIE (aged 5): Daddy, I think all that lovey dove stuff is yucky.
TF: Really? But being in love is so nice.
EVIE: Yuk.
TF: Cuddling ...
EVIE: Eww!
TF: Kissing ...
EVIE: EWWW!
TF: But Mummy and I are in love. We kiss and cuddle.
EVIE: Dad-dyyyyyy! You and Mummy aren't in love.
TF: We're not?
EVIE: Nooo! You're married!

*  *  *

EVIE: Aaaagh I don't like this scary space movie! Who's Creepio?

TF: Who?

EVIE: He just said he'd go and see Creepio.

TF: Think it was THREE-P.O. ... Short for C3PO.



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"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry."

- Bill Cosby.

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EVIE (6): Daddy, I wish you hadn't sent me to the British School of Beijing. Why did you and Mummy do that?
TF: Oh, err, well, we thought it was a good school, one of the best international schools in Beijing, with fine teachers, strong values and a good moral code. Why? What's wrong? Please tell me?
EVIE: You should have sent me to the Jedi Temple.

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"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
- James Baldwin.

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Watching baseball ...

TF: And then if the batter hits it over the fence, he gets one run.
LANI: Oh really?
TF: Yes, that's a really good thing.
LANI: Oh. I thought he'd be punished for losing the other team's property.

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"You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they're going."
- P.J. O'Rourke