Dear Clarissa

You are officially five years old today!

What a wonderful age to be.

We celebrated your birthday with your teachers and friends in school yesterday.

Your request? A Paw Patrol cake with Skye on top.

When I asked you to pick a flavour, you were torn between having a chocolate cake with crunchy chocolate bits and a regular vanilla cream cake.

You eventually picked a vanilla strawberry cake when you told me how one of your best friends in school cannot eat chocolate.

Paw Patrol goodie bags for your friends, filled with a Paw Patrol puzzle and all your favourite snacks.

You helped with the packing, even though it got quite tedious for you.

Again you remembered your friend who cannot eat chocolates and we packed a different bag that had other snacks in place of chocolate.

Over the weekend, we also celebrated your birthday and Allie’s birthday with all your favorite people.

Your Yi-yis, Yi-zhang, Gor-gor, Gu-gus, Wai-po, Ah-gong, whom you’re always looking forward to meet.

You love to tease your Da Gu-gu and Xiao Gu-gu by deliberately greeting them the opposite way, because Da Gu-gu has a much smaller build as compared to Xiao Gu-gu.

You love going to Wai-po’s place and you love to ask me the full names of all your Yi-yis, like you’re trying to memorize all our names.

And you absolutely love the story of how Da-yi, San-yi and Mummy went to get our ears pierced as kids – with San-yi taking the lead – and you’d either ask me to tell you the story again or you’d recount the story to me in your own way.

Indeed, one of the biggest decisions you’ve been trying to make, is whether to get your ears pierced or not.

On one hand, you love the idea of wearing pretty earrings (“Like Mummy,” you’d say), yet on the other hand you are worried about the pain (“Is it just very hot, like what San-yi said? Is it as hot as hot water?” you’d ask).

And you would say you want to do it together with Allie, just like how Mummy did it together with my sisters.

I told you I’ll let you decide, and it looks like you’re ready for it.

It amazes me all the time, how much you’ve grown in a year, and over the years.

Four years old!
And now, five!

Some things haven’t changed.

Such as your love for biscuits.

And ice-cream.

And waffles, cookies, chicken rice, claypot chicken rice, fried rice, crunchy-crunchy and glass noodles.

You are the Number One Biscuit Ice-cream and Waffle Monster, according to yourself.

You’re a very loving sister to Allie.

Sometimes you can be quite bossy, telling her what to do and what not to do, where to go and where not to go.

But most of the time, you are very giving and protective.

You’d willingly give your toys or things to Allie in order to comfort her.

You’d always let Allie choose what programs to watch first, even though you’ve already watched “Bus” about 500 times already.

You always let Allie have the toy she wants, even if you took it first.

Sometimes you’d say, “It’s ok! I don’t need it already!”

Sometimes you’d make her repeat after you, word for word, “Jiejie, can I have the toy please?”

As if you’re also teaching her how to talk.

You’re the first person Allie looks for, whether it is for play or for comfort, and especially when she gets into trouble with the adults.

You love helping to feed Allie and would always give us that triumphant glance when you manage to sneak in a piece of vegetable under her rice, and she eats it without suspecting anything because she only wants Jiejie to feed her.

Thank you for being such a good sister to Allie.

I hope you know that you are the sister every girl (or boy) would wish to have.

And I hope both of you would always be best friends and best sisters.

I love having conversations with you.

From you repeating lines from commercials you’ve heard (from “Bonia the Italian inspiration” to the more recent “KFC CHICKEN 六块家乡鸡和马铃薯片只需99元!”) and cracking us up, to sharing what you’ve learned about pollution and protecting the environment and how you’d like to scoot to school instead of taking the car, to deep conversations like the relationship between love and getting scolded.

You once told me that you thought getting scolded meant you’re not loved, but I told you it’s in fact the opposite. We nag/scold because we care and because we worry, and all these stem from loving you.

I remember how you smiled sheepishly when you realized I might be right.

I love how you sometimes try to find loopholes in what I say, even though you are not trying to go against it.

We would agree on you watching two videos and once I pressed “play” you’d smile cheekily and say, “This is video number zero right? Then next is video number one, and then video number two, right?”

Knowing very well that when I said two videos, I meant two videos.

But I love this cheeky side of you, just as much as I love the sensible and thoughtful you.

You’ve grown so much in school, too.

Your love for learning, how you always do your best whether it is writing or drawing or speaking, your love for your school, teachers and friends, the way you speak and write Chinese, your love for reading, the way you prepare for your show-and-tells, and how much you enjoy Sportsball and Speech and Drama.

You make us very proud.

I have to admit, I laughed a lot and teared a little watching you dance on stage and saying your lines with such clarity and confidence, in Chinese no less.

Keep it up, I hope you’d always find joy in learning.

I love your appetite for traveling and adventures.

You love going on holidays, and it is not just for fun or luxury.

I have said this to you before and I’ll say it again here.

You are such a trooper and wonderful travel companion.

You walk on and on, as much as you can, despite being tired and you make good observations about the country you visit.

When we were in Japan, you asked me, “Do we always have to take off our shoes when we are in the houses in Japan?”

And you observed that “all houses in Japan have bathtubs” (based on your sample size of two Airbnbs) and “only some houses in Australia have bathtubs”.. and you’re probably not wrong. 😅

Indeed you love bathtubs so much (only with Allie in it with you) you asked me to take photos of you two in the bathtub on our last evening in Osaka, so “I can remember”.

And after showering, “Can you take a photo of me and Allie because this is our last night at the treehouse?”

I’m getting very long-winded, as usual, because I have so much I want to say to you, and so much I want to write about you.

Most importantly, I want you to know that you bring us so much joy and so much love everyday.

You make me want to be a better Mummy, wife, daughter, sister, friend and a better person.

Sometimes you’d wonder aloud to me, “Can I not get married? Can I stay with you forever?” Or “How do I know if I am marrying the right person?”

And you’ve very wisely decided that the safest person to marry, is your Daddy.

But.. my dearest girl, he is taken.

By me.

So, keep looking for what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Keep exploring, keep learning.

Keep your favorite big bow on.

Keep smiling.

Keep shining.

I hope all your wishes come true.

We love you, so, so, so much.

And can I just say, that you’re my best salon (and shopping) companion?



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