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Archive for December, 2008

wanchai_streetmarket_phot0226Yesterday my 3-yo and I went to the Wan Chai market to do some shopping. Once we got there she wanted to walk so I was pushing the stroller and we browsed. We needed to get several items, one being tights to match her dress for her upcoming school holiday concert. In a rare moment of preparedness I put her dress in my pocketbook to see if the tights matched. Well, we weren’t there ten minutes when we found some red tights. My purse kept slipping down my arm so I absent-mindedly put it on top of the stroller (in the fold of the hood). I turned for 3-seconds to look at the tights, turned back to get the dress from my purse, and it was gone. I worriedly said “my pocketbook!” and with that F proceeded to FREAK out. I mean she was hysterical. It was disturbing how upset she was. I picked her up, told her it was okay, and at the same time was looking around for any sign of someone running off with my purse. A woman working the stall called the police for me and F and I waited, she very upset, confused, and scared and I trying to comfort her and at the same time not be too upset myself. My only real concern was the loss of HK ID card, bank card, credit card, membership cards, and US drivers license. The mere thought of the hassle of canceling all of those items and the time to reissue them was overwhelming me.

After 5-10 minutes the police officer arrived and asked me all sorts of questions, which proceeded to scare me more as he was concerned about my keys and if I had my address in there and the chance of burglary at my home. I hadn’t even thought of that, and now, in addition to all the calls I would need to make, I would have to change the locks….

Well after a few minutes someone yelled and the police officer excused himself and ran over (all of this was in Cantonese so I have no idea what was said). Needless to say, the purse was found – minus my mobile phone, cash, F’s dress, and her snacks. Intact were my wallet with all cards, my keys, and other miscellaneous items.  Not sure why they took her dress, but after having her relatively calm for a while a whole new round of tears came on when I had to tell her the dress was gone. I told her we’d go straight away and find her a new dress, which we thankfully were able to do. We then went home and made cookies for the party after her concert – what a way to make you feel better after a terrible day!

The one thing I keep asking myself is how could I be so casual? We came from New York City, I’ve never been robbed before, and think of myself as fairly street-smart. The one thing I keep going back to is in someways I’m out of practice. I know there are signs throughout HK about theft, but honestly, I feel very safe here. Yes, I do frequent pretty safe places – Victoria Park, the library, I ride the MTR – but regardless of where I am I usually don’t have that “haunches up,” suspicious feeling I did in New York.  I guess I learned my lesson – I just wish F weren’t there when I learned it. I tried, on some small level, to use it as a teaching moment and we talked afterwards about stealing and how we felt after having our things taken and it’s never ok to take something from someone else. We also talked about being scared and that it’s okay to feel that way. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what else to do with our experience.  Randomly and unusually she woke up last night hysterically asking for blueberries and it took a while to settle her down – I’m only guessing this was some sort of reaction to the stress and fear she felt earlier in the day. Then today when I mentioned going to the Wan Chai post office to pick up some packages she got wildly scared and started to wimper – “Mommy don’t take your pocketbook! We can’t lose things again!” Unfortunately I think she’ll be afraid to go to Wan Chai for sometime….

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Thank you Seth and Amy

poehler_meyersSo lately when disciplining my 3 year-old I’ve taken to using the “Really?!” line from Saturday Night Live’s Weekend update with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. When F starts to tantrum or do ridiculous things to try and get her way I just look at her and say “Really?! Do you Really think by hitting the lamp and then yourself I’m going to give you chocolate? Really?! Or do you think you’re going to get in trouble and have a time out and no chocolate?” The amazing thing is it totally stops her from going wild and makes her laugh. She quickly and amusingly says,  “No, I’ll get a timeout” and then, oddly, the situation is diffused. It’s been about a week now and I’m having a lot of success. Can you believe it – Really!?

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