Update about Yifan

Haha. This is some update from my cute son – Yifan. Yifan is already 14 months old, and he brought enormous happiness to use, along with many pleasant troubles.

Yifan Starts to Walk Now

Yifan starts to be able to walk several steps by himself. If I grasp his hand, he can walk around for half an hour. The only problem for me is, his walk is very random – completely flows with what he feels interested.

Once he followed a white cat from one side of the residential area to the other, and I followed him.

He loves to walk now, and he especially love to take stairs – up and down.

Yifan has never fall hardly to the ground so far with our perfect protection. Thee consequence is, he is so brave that his walk sometimes can only be possible on the moon. We have to remove out hands from him to keep him independent from us.

“Fixing” Yifan

Yifan’s temper has been worse and worse these two months. He has learned to use some tactics to get what he wanted. Mark said is very well: Kids of this age is expert of observation, and a quick learner.

At the very beginning, he cries to get what he wants. If that does not work, he cries loud…

Finally, cry does not work, since for many dangerous stuff like electricity or sharp things, we won’t allow him to touch no matter how hard he cries. And now, he invented something that is amazingly working so far – he started to knock his head to the floor! No one taught him, but I believe it is just by accident that he found out we care about this most – more than his cry. He also knock his head hard with his hand. OMG!

Recently, we have decided to “fix” his habit, and started to be tough to him. I am the person in the family to implement it. If he is not reasonable (crossing the line too much), I just hold him and bring him outside the room, and let him cry for 5 minutes. When I bring him back, he is much better.

However, I worry a lot that what I did seems to be right, but how hard it is to look at this darling to cry like the poorest kid in the world. I even wonder whether Yifan will hate me for doing that. One thing is for sure, if he has a choice, he prefer to stay with his more better than me….

It seems I need some serious advice about how to deal with kid of 1 year old.

19 thoughts on “Update about Yifan

  1. My mother said I had temper tantrums when I was very little and would bang my head against the floor. She was so upset that she ran out of the room. Apparently that worked, because I soon stopped crying when there was no audience. So whenever I did that, she just walked away and soon I stopped having those tantrums. But we know a 15 year old (who is Chinese, I am not) who still has those tantrums. I think it happens when kids are treated so well by their parents that they expect to get everything they want. At some point even their loving parents cannot give them everything, and they can’t stand it. I was treated too well by my mother (in the beginning) and the 15 year old (boy) is still over-indulged. I think it is very hard for parents who naturally want to give their children everything.

  2. It’s better than beating a child. Not what us asian kids are used to from our parents’ generation! But it’s very important to establish a sense of authority and respect without the children fearing you.

  3. teaching kids could be so hard…i dislike kid who tries to overpower us adult…and i m also clueless on how to control them..

  4. @zjmei, good point. Kids are doing many things like being a performer, and they need audience. This is what I think (maybe completely wrong, since I am just a new father): When they did something really good, we need to be the audience and tell him we love it and he is doing great. When he does something unreasonable, we need to tell them also. When he cries just to get what he wants, to disappear (with the right safety protection) may be the best solution.

  5. No answer is more confusing than that from a Chinese kid when one asks about his/her age.

    According to the fifth great Chinese invention, when a kid was born, he/she was 1 year old. Then after each lunar new year day, his/her age is increased by 1. One non-sensical example, Chinese women’s gymnast “He Kexin” was actually born on Jan 1, 1994. According to Western or international standard, she is 14 year old and ineligible for the Beijing Olympics because of 16-year-old Olympic age limit for gymnastics. But according to the fifth great Chinesse invention, she is 16 year old now.

    Then Western media starts to cry foul. How could clever Chinese explain their fifth great invention to the dumb Westerners?

    Well, China produced her passport that claimed she was born Jan. 1, 1992, making her old enough to perform a brilliant uneven bar routine and push China to the women’s all around gold medal. The implicit explanation: either you dumbass figure out a kid’s age based on our rule or GET THE F*** OUT!

    Anyone dares to guess the age of the blogger’s kid:

    (A) 1

    (B) 2

    (C) 3

    (D) too early to tell

  6. My two cents:

    1. Try to explain the reason to the child that why this is not reasonable and not allowed.

    2. If it is not worked, try to find something may interest the child to shift his/her attention.

    3. If it is still not worked, try to let he/she to bear part of the result by himself/herself on the premise that it’s safe.

    A new born baby is like a blank sheet. The parents are just like painters.

  7. What a lovely little boy. Congratulations! Just let him run, so at the next 奥运会 he will win the 100 meter race.

    Best regards from Switzerland


  8. Hey WJS, I have a question, do Wendy and you teach him English as well?

    I heard many Chinese people who speak themselves another language, started to teach them not only their local dialects and Putonghua but also English or French or whatever other they commanded.

    What do you think about this’

    Thanks for sharing again!!!

  9. Jianshuo, my daughter is 1mon younger than yifan, and she is in the same stage:-). sometime i am amazed by how much she can understand the adults and then figure out how to deal with us.

    if she cris for something unreasonable, we will “ignore” her request. As long as the parents are persistant, the baby can figure that out. Of course, she will try her best to cross the line the next time, so the parents (or all family members) need to be consistant. My wife is more disciplined and does better job than me.

    over the past month we have been successfully built her habit of holding her milk-bottom by herself. at the begining, she kept crying and tried to push back by giving up eating, and we just let her take the concequence of not having the milk to drink. WHen she wanted to end the tension, she would try to find a step down by offering either being cooperative, or trying to please the parents:-). You thought she learned that and is cute; but remember, the next time she will do the same thing again, untill she beats you down, or until she builds the good habit!

    In short, he/she knows what he/she is doing even when crazily unreasonable. You just need to let him/her know your attitude persistently and consistently.

  10. Whenever Yifan bangs his head on the floor or hurt himself to get his way, you need look right into his eyes and tell him: this behavior is not acceptable, it is wrong, and then warn him if he does it again, he will get a time out (like sit him at a coner with no toys). you need to tell him very firmly, and always look into his eyes when you say it. I am a mother of a nine-year-old, and I have helped many friends out with the tactic.

  11. I agree with Bill Ng, being firm and consequent is very important. Tactics are good, but no tactic suits all cases. Trust your subconscious. You, as the parents, know Yifan the best.

    There is a good program I would like to recommand,


    It is very practical as you can download the past program in mp3 and listen to them on your way to work.

  12. Hi Jian Shuo… how time flies!! It is such a joy watching our babies grow up… Jaime is now also starting to walk (while holding my hand of course), but can stand on his own without any assistance for very long periods of time.

    I couldn’t resist the opportunity also to let you know that tomorrow is Jaime’s 1st Birthday!!

    Jaime Zheng Jiayang Breitkreutz – Born 27th August, 2007!!!

    Blessings to you all… :p

  13. Hi Jian Shuo – from Aussie Pete’s blog entry for Jaime’s birthday:

    Jaime’s First Birthday And ZhuaZhou

    27th August, 2008 saw our baby turn one year old. We celebrated in a mix of Chinese and Western cultures and ‘old and new’ traditions. I also took the opportunity to take a well-deserved vacation day away from the office.


    – Visit to the Singapore Zoo

    – Opening Birthday Presents

    – ZhuaZhou Ceremony – 抓周

    – Birthday Party

    ZHUAZHOU (抓周)

    The articles we chose and meanings we associated with them (some traditional, others are own interpretation):

    Shoes – represents a Traveller

    Paint Brush – represents an Artist or Writer

    Spring Onion – represents a Lawyer (or someone clever and adept in speaking)

    Orange – represents someone with Good Luck – or getting things with little effort

    Software CD – represents Computers (eg. programming, computer engineering, etc)

    Book – represents a Scholar or Teacher

    Chopsticks – represents Epicure and also the Food or Restaurant Industry

    Calculator – represents a Scientist or Engineer

    Money – represents an Entrepenaur or Stock Broker

    Rubber Stamp – represents a Politician or association with the Government

    Mobile Phone – represents the Telecommunications industry or an Electrical Engineer

    Pocket Knife – represents a Strong Body (eg. Sportsman, the Army or Police Force)

    Tape Measure – represents an Architect

    BP Monitor – represents a Doctor or Medical related field

    Sunglasses – represents a Movie Star or Celebrity

    We found that Jaime was probably more interested at first in the video camera recording him – maybe this represents the film industry?? Anway, after a little coercian, he made it clear which items he was not interested in, by throwing them away.

    The article/s he showed most interest in, were first and foremost the money, then perhaps the orange and finally the shoes (near the end of the selection). From this, we deduced that his future path may be something like this:

    “A successful entrepenaur who will have much luck and assitance in creating his own business/es, and his dealings will lead to (or include) much global travel.”

    You can see the video here


    Kind regards, Pete…

  14. Hi Jian Shuo, I have been reading your blog for three years, since before I came to Shanghai. You have helped me to learn a lot about Shanghai and China. I have enjoyed every entry about Yifan too — thank you so much for updates on his growth and on your experience (and Wendy’s) as a parent. It is such an exciting and challenging job, as my own son taught me.

    You already have some good ideas about the crying and head banging. I see more good ideas in the other comments too. Here’s something else to remember: Yifan does not have words yet to express his frustrations, so crying is the default method of communication for now. I agree with Bill Ng: You can try to guess what is bothering him and, when you pick him up, calmly say the words for him: “Yifan, I see that you are very angry because you cannot play with the electric plug. But it is dangerous!” And then remove him from the area. This idea of talking a lot to a toddler (even if he doesn’t understand what you are saying) is a Western approach (I’m from the USA) so I wonder how it sounds to Chinese parents?

    As for the head banging, I’m curious to learn what happens if you ignore it, as suggested above.

    P.S. He won’t hate you — we all had to learn how to handle frustrations, didn’t we? How fortunate he is to have such loving parents to teach him!

  15. Hi JJ, thanks a lot for sharing the tips with me. Parents are parents – we always care about our kids so sincerely that we want to try to be a better father/mother… To talk more with my son is a good idea – I will try to improve in the future. It seems important to keep talking with the little boy although he does not understand everything, I believe he will understand more percentage of our words.

    For the head banging, I didn’t have him really hit the ground – not even once. It may be a problem actually, because he never felt the pain of doing it and may try harder the next time, which is even more dangerous than just hitting the ground for the first time, and then learn not to do it.

    Keep sharing more tips with Wendy and me. I’d love to learn more…

    Again, JJ, welcome to this blog. BTW, do you know we have a meetup tomorrow in Pudong?

  16. @AussiePB, congratulations! One day we really need to have the kids gather together and meet each other. They are similar in age, and will love to play together. In the future, when they grow up, we will still have this blog recording what their parents are doing and talking, in the early years of the 21st century.

  17. Thanks Jian Shuo… just today back from Chicago… yes, I spoke to Sammi and we think that would be a great idea. Let’s talk offline and aim at a meetup (perhaps dinner) when we’re back in Shanghai next CNY… :D

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