Chinese New Year - The year of the Dragon

Today Big celebrated with his whole school the Chinese New Year. I volunteered to help do the kids face paint. Big was very adamant to clarify it was not make up, it was paint. Like soldiers, or costumes at Halloween.

It was fun to be at his school. I haven't had much opportunity to volunteer there, and that is guilt that I am trying to let go of. Being in his school is always so eye opening because of how little understand. Everything around me is written and spoken in Chinese. It's almost like we put our kid on a different playing field completely that we can't relate to. Really great parenting right?! (He is thriving and loves teaching us all sorts of Chinese, but today it was very apparent how different his life is than one I understand.)

So there I am with the other moms setting up our stations to transform these young one for their big performance that evening. I love going and having the kids say, "Big is that your mom?" I wonder, do they ask cause they love my outfit, (it was great today, one of my favorite actually, hoping Big would be proud of his mama) or do they say it because they wonder who the crazy lady is. (Paul would vote for this option, always.) I love seeing my kids face light up when I show up. He is the light of my life, so I love that the feeling is mutual.

Somehow, in the event of splitting up the painting responsibilities, I got glitter duty.

Oh yeah, that's right, I got to brighten the world today by sprinkling glitter on all the kids faces. That way, when they took the stage and the lights hit them, they would have a little extra something to make them shine.

Here's Big before being painted.

Here's Big with his dragon painting covered in glitter.

I also had dust glitter and a compact with me, so all the girls wanted to be turned into pixie dust fairies and see themselves in the mirror. All the boys wanted red glitter on the flames on their face so that it would be scary. Ha, I love boys and girls.

Here is the class waiting to for the last few kids to get painted.

After the two little ones and I couldn't find any parking and walked half a mile down a main street without a sidewalk in the freezing cold, we made it inside just in time. (can you tell how I feel about that?) When the dragon hit the stage, Little was sitting in her chair and she looked at me and said, "puppy? no no. puppy? no no. all done. bye bye. all done." I took her comment to mean, "I don't like this. Please make that large dog go away." While I appreciate her commentary, all I kept thinking was, "come on girl, that isn't a dog, its a dragon! Who's teaching you the proper animals? Oh crap, that was supposed to me." Needless to say, she was not a fan.

The Yinghua New Year performance allowed each class to feature a song or dance, putting them in the spotlight for their moment in time.

Here are some of the highlights.

Here is a class doing the dragon dance, you know, because its the year of the dragon.

This class reenacted a song/story about a farmer who went out to pick his vegetables. What was really funny about this was the kids dressed up like animals pulling big stuffed felt carrots off the other kids heads. Weird? Yes. And my kids sat there a little confused the whole time.

At this point Little was not sure about any of this. She just kept looking at me and saying, "all done. all done. no no no no. all done" with a look of fear on her face. I wasn't sure if she was against bright colors, fans, little kids, singing, dancing, Chinese people or China in general, bright lights, glitter, the stage, or the costumes. These kind of sound like all things that would get her movin and grovin' but she was having none of it.

She eventually settled into the rhythm of the event and at least got to sporting a bored face instead of scared.

Then she discovered the stairs, her freedom, and she started mimicking all the moves and language. I'm pretty sure she thought she was speaking Chinese. So what did we learn? That my daughter's strong opinion can easily be bought with persuasion and glitter. That it might just take her awhile to warm up to new things, but then once on board, she is your strongest supporter. Or she just felt trapped and gave up and enjoyed the show.

This was one of my favorites. These boys were flirting with the girls, trying to get them to come over to their side of the stage. The girls below were being shy and coy and telling the boys to go away. I like the principles of this school.

Here is Big and his class. They did a very fun dance with paper towel tubes that they decorated, a head band that they braided, and their uniforms. Big wasn't afraid at all, did all the moves and singing and even threw in a few extra hip moves. Oh man, that kid likes to dance, mostly to the tune in his head.

Now a few mom thoughts:

I couldn't believe how big my son felt to me tonight. He was so grown up and I couldn't help it, I cried feeling all those things that mom's feel when their baby is growing up so fast. I am so thankful he is still a snuggler. I would then look over to my other two kids and think, Middle you are going to school next year and you will be up with Big in one year. Man how did that happen?

I was so proud of my son. So, so proud of him. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He was strong, great, silly, goofy, and seriously kept throwing his hips around like he couldn't help it.

When it was all done, I got to throw my arms around and look him in the eye and tell him how great he did. We drove back to the hotel where I had his favorite dinner waiting. After reading stories and brushing teeth, he asked me to pray over him when he was tucked in.

I guess my baby isn't a grown up yet. Thank you Lord.