Little Tokyo and San Juan Cap. Picking Strawberries

 

It was family day.  Every museum was free for families.  We ended up at the Japanese American National Museum and the Go For Broke Education Center.

 

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It was sorta “dark” place to take Ellis at least at her age to learn about internment camps.  She’d not understand why people were rounded up and displaced and how that would affect her citizenry.  She did enjoy some of the interactive displays.  But, it is a very heavy subject for kids her age.

 

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Similar to those “a day without a mexican” or “a day without a woman” protests, Ellis might understand internment camps better if it is explained to her all the agriculture that could be gone in California if not for Japanese American farmers.  Ok, this might be a pathetic way to change topic to us going to pick strawberries the next day.  But, maybe I am onto something.

 

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We had purchased a magic kit a few nights ago.  And, Ellis started practicing after we got home from Little Tokyo.  Here’s her first trick.

 

 

People who’s seen this video has commented how advanced Ellis’ Chinese is for someone her age.  Not to toot her or my own horn, but she’s damn smart.  Currently, she’s a sponge.  She hardly forgets a single thing.  And, I hope she continues to be this way for as long as possible.

 

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Ellis recently explained that she doesn’t know why but when she is with mom she doesn’t miss me and when she is with me then she doesn’t miss mom.  I was already aware of this phenomenon but it didn’t hit met straight away that there are other things going on that might be related.  Ellis would often tell me that she doesn’t want to go to mom’s house, but I never took her at face value.  Part of me thought Ellis really liked going to mom’s house but didn’t want me to know.  Part of me thought Ellis didn’t really have a preference but wanted to appear to have preference.  And, the preference shifted in order to show the parent how much she preferred the parent who had her that week.

I figured it’s a survival technique she picked up.  Or, it’s an ass kissing technique.  Either way, I am not too keen of this technique.  But, if it’s something that helps her cope with the weekly exchanges, then it’s something she has to do at least for the time being.  And this led me to believe that perhaps she just didn’t like doing exchanges despite her usual cheerful disposition during exchange.  And, rather, she’d like to stay longer with the same parent no matter which parent it is (this obviously goes against childhood development tenets where the courts are convinced children this age prefer to see the other parents every other day).  However, today, Ellis broke pattern.  She did something she hasn’t done in a long time which is crying during today’s exchange time.  The last time this occurred was when she first started preschool which was about 10 months ago.

Previous to Ellis starting school, she’d always cry when she had to go to mom’s house but not when she had to go to mine.  But, after she started going to preschool, she stopped crying when going to mom’s.  I thought, at the time, the reason was because she didn’t have to go to school while she was with mom.  So, not having to go to school while with mom was a negative reinforcement that balanced out how much she liked more staying with me than with mom.  However, this evening, she cried when I told Ellis her mom has arrived.  And, it took us about 10 minutes to coax her to come out of the house.  She wouldn’t put her shoes and jacket on which is kind of necessary as it was very windy and slightly wet outside.  She finally stopped crying after we put her in mom’s car.

Due to this change in Ellis behavior, I felt maybe Gloria had Ellis starting school which explains why Ellis is crying as this means her negative reinforcement from not going to school while with mom is removed hence causing Ellis to cry during exchanges just like 10 months when Ellis started going to school while she is with me.

Ellis had just got promoted to the 4 – 5 year old pre-kindergarten class from her preschool class.  Ellis now cries whenever I dropped her off at school.  She clung to me like a monkey on a tree.  Teacher had to pry her off me.  But, once we say her goodbyes, her tears would subside (or so I am told).  I told this to Mia, and she asked Ellis why she cries every morning though Ellis claims to like her new class and teacher a lot.  That is when Ellis mentioned to Mia that she cries at class when she’s with mom too.

So, this was one of the first clue  that Ellis has started going to school while with mom.  But, she said something similar during Christmas time a few months back and turned out Ellis was telling me what she thought we wanted to hear instead of what really went on.  Thus, I learned to discount what Ellis says about what happens while she is with her mom.  Actually, she often doesn’t tell me what happens when she is with her mom, and, instead, changes the topic whenever the topic turned to what happens to her when she is with mom.

Some other things that could contribute to Ellis’ changing mood.  Gloria’s brother recently had a new born named Cory nicknamed Pipi.  He’s a boy which only matters for me to mention because Gloria’s family is traditionally Chinese which means they favor boys over girls.  So, I could only imagine Gloria receiving less attention than before after Pipi’s birth.  I extrapolate this because I know Gloria expressed the same feelings before that part of how she  resulted with low self-esteem was resulting from her the favoritism her parents gave her brother.

And, in my opinion, Gloria’s family is prone to bias to the extent of having selective memory as to who’s been good or bad.  I know this first hand.  When they like you, they remember only the good things about you.  When they dislike you, they only remember the bad.  And, if Ellis has to play second fiddle to Pipi now, she will undoubtedly feel something is different even if she is not cognizant of it.  Sometimes, it’s hard to notice how the one you’re closest to is treating you differently.   Lastly, I hope Ellis doesn’t internalize this behavior.

As for Ellis new class and teacher, the timing is really good for Ellis’ transition.  Ms. Faye, Ellis’ new teacher, sides with structure and emotional control.  And, Ellis needs to better cope with her emotional and boundaries pushing control.  Ms. Faye also emphasizes more on second language as well as visual language.  She’s teaching a bit of Spanish as well as using flashcards to get the language learning down.  However, I am instructed to help Ellis do some catch up at home as she’s behind other kids at the moment as she just transferred in.