Happy Birthday to Yifan

Happy Birthday to my little Yifan. He is 5 years old today!

We first went to the Century Park, Yifan’s favorite.

Then had dinner at Kerry Center.


Birthday Party

At home, we had the birthday cake, and Yifan invited his best friend Xuanxuan to join us.







Yifan’s Hair Cut

Yifan grows up, and he is not afraid of hair cut. He is cooperative tonight when I brought him for haircut. He acted as grown-ups. Look at the photos:

It is just one week away from Yifan’s 5 year birthday. His mom said, I lost another job – to hold Yifan to have him haircut. I said: we are going to lose more and more functions that Yifan really needs you in the days to come.

Sunday Dinner with Yifan

We had Italian dinner at Coolzey Pizza at Huashan Road. The benefit of living in Shanghai, despite of high living cost, is access to all kinds of food, if you want to explorer.


We are away from the downtown Shanghai for too long, and since Wendy is driving, I can take some photos of the skyscrapers.



P.S. In the afternoon, Yifan met with his other classmates, and they played football for long enough – to be hungry.



Yifan’s New Drawing of Owl

We basically didn’t send Yifan to any pre-school education other than his kindergarten, to give him enough time to explorer what he loves at home. He showed great interest in drawing, go, singing, and making stuff using paper and Lego. So we started to bring him to drawing class and see if he loves it.


Yifan has a Visitor

Yifan’s best friend at kindergarten is Xuanxuan, our neighbor. He had Xuanxuan visited us tonight. The two kids spent great time together drawing trains, and building trains using Lego. Two kids can talk and can share happiness, and can understand things that only makes sense in their world. China really need to think about changing its one child policy. I don’t know how this half century recorded in history.

Their drawing of the Shanghai Metro is not bad.



Yifan Loves Taking Photos

When Yifang got a chance to take photos with iPhone, he will carefully point to any object that got his attention and take photos of it. Everyday, he generate a lot of “garbage pictures” on my iPhone.

However, I decided not to delete them. I am going to keep them forever, at least to safely transfer the photos to Yifan when he grows up, and he can make the decisions later. I created a folder called “Yifan’s World” in my laptop, and drag all the pictures he took there. Here are some samples of what he took.

Yifan is 4 Years Old

Haha! Yifan is 4 years today! The family celebrated the birthday for the young man.

Happy Birthday, Yifan!


In the last four years, Yifan brought so much joy to the family. I just realized that it is the children that the parents owe a lot, not the other way around. Thanks for being the source of happy (and angry, and trouble some time) for us.

Yifan got a small strawberry birthday cake, four balloons (which he loves a lot), and a lot of food he likes. He also got red bag from grandparents. When he saw the 100 RMB note from the envelop, he was very happy and screamed:

Look at the change I got!

Yifan’s Drawing of Dad and Him

Yifan pick up a chalk and drew the following drawing on the floor at home.

I assume the left bigger one is Dad (me) and the right one is Yifan himself. I don’t know where he got the inspiration from. From kindergarden or from some of my drawings?

I just cannot keep it on floor for too long so I take the photo and save it digitally.

Yifan was very happy today because we took him to a Japanese restaurant downstairs to eat the “all-you-can-eat” package. Wendy and I paid for our parts and Yifan is free of charge because he is not o110 cm in height yet. Obviously that was a bad rule since Yifan actually ate more than I did. He was so happy with the food and kept singing for an hour after dinner.

Yifan, we love you.

Yifan Love to Land Aircrafts

Yifan enjoys the game FlightControl very much. When there is a chance, he will grab the iPad and play with it, and my role is to make sure he hand it back to me within few minutes, so he is not too obsessed to computer games.

Look at how happy he is when he got the iPad!


Yifan Loves iPhone

I continued to be amazed by how user friendly iPhone is. Yifan loves to play withy iPhone. His current favorite is to long press the icons on the home screen and rearrange it.

If turned our that everyday, when I want toake a phone call or send an SMS, i found the icons are rearranged so I need to solve a small puzzle to find it either in another screen or hidden in another folder.

That always put a smile on my face.

Injected the Measles Vaccine

Following up the question: Shall I Sign for Measles Vaccine, here is the update. We finally signed the letter, and had Yifan injected the Measles Vaccine.

Few days before, immediately after Beijing reassured everyone that it is voluntary, the kindergarten Yifan attended posted a poster and said, it is mandatory. Although they offered a form of two choices, they said any claim not to inject will be invalid, and should be chose again…. The kindergarten closed at 12:00 at noon in Friday, and ask parents to bring their kids to do the injection.

So, based on the information I collected, although not 100% sure, we feel OK to have it. Hope everything is fine. If anything happens, it is about 100 million kids that we are talking about.

Yifan’s Happy First Day in Kindergarten

Yifan’s first day in kindergarten was great. He was very happy when we sent him to the kindergarten. He was singing a song when we stepped into the gate. He went straight to the LEGO in his room.

He cried briefly when his mom left, but basically enjoyed the day. The teacher reported that he ate well, and slept well this noon. Great!

Yifan as Apple Fan

Wendy bought an iPad, and Yifan naturally can play with it. Kudos to Apple Inc. to make it so usable. We bought an Apple T-shirt in Apple Company Store at Apple headerquarter, and dressed him up with the new T-shirt. The front reads: “Hello. I am a Mac”, and at the back is an Apple logo.

Here are some photos of Yifan with his new Apple T-shirt.

Does T-Shirt Matters?

Interestingly, the little boy has already have many T-shirts with hi-tech logos. Before he was born, we already had some Microsoft baby T-shirt. He wore Microsoft T-shirt from 6 month to 1 year. Then he started to wear eBay T-shirt (with a “Future PowerSeller” in the front). Now, he is wearing Apple, with a Google T-shirt in his bag to kindergarten, in case he need to change.

Parents influence the kids in many small ways. The T-shirt they wear may one day influence their interests… This is my hope.

Cost Structure of the Kindergarten

Yesterday, I posted about the new kindergarten near my home. In the comment section, people are very interested in the low tuition – 180 RMB per month per person. That is just the tuition. The meal per day is 6 RMB, which is about 120 RMB, plus some minor fees. In total, it is not expensive at all. Why?

The Public School Sponsored by Developer

It is a public school. Most private school charges much higher than that. Before, Yifan attended a pre-kindergarten care. That charges about 1600 RMB per month – a pretty normal one. The better private day care charges about 300 RMB per day, which is basically 6000 RMB per month, which I didn’t choose.

Public schools are typically cheaper.

The Developer – Dahua

This particular kindergarten is not 100% government school. The land was sponsored by the developer, and the developer built the building – a very nice one.

By developer, I mean the Dahua Real Estate Development Company (their actual translation may vary). They built the building for free and gave it to the government. Why?

The whole Dahua residential area was developed by a single developer. They got huge piece of land in the middle of Pudong. They are going to build 3 million square meter of commercial building in more than 10 years. Yes. I didn’t made a mistake here. It is 3 million square meter! Altogether, 100 – 200 thousand people will be living in the building they developed. That means, it is bigger than most cities in the States by its own.

The tricky part of the story is, when Dahua got the huge piece of land about 10 years ago, the house price per square meter was 3000 RMB. I moved here in 2004. The house price was about 6000 RMB. Now, the newly built house is priced at 20-30K per square meter. The land price didn’t change. Think about it. If they can make a profit at 3000 RMB, what the profit it will be at 10x of the original price.

To support the high house price of the area, the developer also need some basic infrastructure. So they want the best kindergarten, and school to move it. Compared to the huge profit they are making, the building of kindergarten is even smaller than a rounding error.

The Government

According to the president of the kindergarten, besides the developer Dahua, the local district government also put 2 million RMB per year into the school. Since it is in the public school system, it is the routine.

The Kindergarten

Finally, when the building is ready, and the money is ready, then there comes the kindergarten. With the urbanization process, it is easier to build the building, to have the land, and the money ready, it is harder to get the right process. So they invited the Oriental Kindergarten staff to run this newly built kindergarten.

Finally, the three parts were put together to make this one possible.

Yifan’s Kindergarten

I cannot believe it. In three days, Yifan will officially start his kindergarten life. This will be a great milestone for him. The kindergarten starts from Sept 1, 2010 – the official school date for almost all schools, and kindergartens in China. I attended the first parents’ meeting yesterday.

Don’t get confused with Yifan’s current kindergarten. Yifan was in another kindergarten for two months:

Yifan Started His Kindergarten Life

Yifan’s Second Day in Kindergarten

That was pre-kindergarten child care. From Sept 1, he will be officially enrolled.

Yifan’s Kindergarten – Shanghai Oriental Jinxiu Kindergarten

With the rapid urbanization in Shanghai, there are new kindergartens being built every few years. Yifan’s kindergarten was just finished – barely finished with the workers still busy moving the building materials out of the campus. Yifan will be the first batch of kids attending the school. Interestingly, with 23 classes, it will be the largest kindergarten in Pudong area.

The Building

When I started the blog, I wanted to share events around me with my readers, so people can “virtually” experience the life of Shanghai. I am happy to share the new kindergarten.

I am very satisfied with this one. It is within walking distance from where we live – just one block away. Yifan can walk there easily.

The building was designed by an American architect – that is the typical way for an organization to show off the “quality” of their building.

This is a corner of the building. The building is a three-story closed building formed the shape of a square with courtyard in the middle.

This is the entrance:

The big hall full of toys. With the recent kindergarten accidents in China, they obviously strengthened the security. Parents cannot enter the kindergarten after 8:30, and the local police sent policeman every day.

They have a nice playing field – the toys, and equipments are still under installation.

I heard they have swimming for the kids. It is not finished yet.

Yifan visited the kindergarten after the parents’ meeting. He obviously enjoyed the cars, and toys here.

They have cute chairs, and tables. I checked our their class room – there are four rooms in it.

One is living room – where they play and have classes. The other equally big one are their bed room with about 20 small beds in it. They will sleep between 12 to 14:30 in the noon.

The third room is the entrance where they place a lot of equipment there.

The forth is their restroom.

This is the courtyard in the middle of the building.


This is a public kindergarten, so the cost is very low. Because it is a newly built one, and they haven’t evaluated and given it a grade yet, it is charging by a lower standard.

The cost will be 180 RMB / month (that is about 25 USD). Cheap, isn’t it? For this particular case, I am satisfied with the public service of Shanghai, although in most cases, I feel desperate because of the lack of resources – med care, for example.

This is the scene of the parents meeting. They have about 20 students for the 3-year old class – junior class. For each class, there are two teachers, and an Ayi.

Hopefully, Yifan will love his new kindergarten and start his new life smoothly.

Yifan’s Kindergarten v.s. Mine and my middle school

Yifan’s kindergarten is very nice. The facility is much better than my middle school, not to mention primary school in Luoyang.

This reflected the change in both cities, and time. It is a new kindergarten built 20 years from my age, and it is in Shanghai, one of the most advanced cities in education, and Luoyang is one of the underdeveloped city.

Another change is, 30 years ago, I was not able to attend a kindergarten because of I didn’t have a Luoyang city Hukou (residential permit). The result is, I never attended a kindergarten. But fortunately, I spent extremely happy time along the rivers, and neighborhood, with a home key hung on my neck.

Now, kids at the age of Yifan can attend the kindergarten even without Shanghai residence, as long as they are in the school district. (Well, the Shanghai local residence are given priority in enrollment though). That is the change in the last 30 years.

Yifan is Three Years Old

Happy birthday to Yifan. Little Yifan is 3 years old today, officially.

We celebrated his birthday with his favorite cake, and brought him to his favorite playground. He really had a great day.

Yifan already grew up to be a big kid. He has his own principle, and his own rules already. Yifan loves to sing songs, and we are so lucky that we have a good singer in the house every day.

Yifan’s Story about Kindergarten

Yifan has been in Kindergarten for few weeks. Here are two stories about his Kinderkarten life. I promise they are interesting stories.

“Exactly Like Kindergarten”

One day we went to a restaurant with Yifan. Yifan has a big dish of food in front of him.

He played all the time when everyone finished the meal. Yifan didn’t ate too much.

One hour later, we decided to leave. We paid the bill, and the waiter began to clean up the table, and removed his dish.

Yifan yelled to the waiter: “I haven’t finished yet! I haven’t finished yet!”

When the waiter smiled and apologized and returned his dish, he said this to his mom:

“I haven’t finished. They took my dish away. Exactly like kindergarten!”

Hey! Wait…. Everyone started to know a little bit about Yifan’s poor kindergarten life. We laughed for quite some time. Poor kid, although we all agree that the kindergarten is doing the right thing – discipline about time.

“I Waited!”

The other day, I asked Yifan about his kindergarten life. Here is the conversation (Y for Yifan, and D for dad).

D: How’s your day in kindergarten.

Y: I played.

D: Did you played seesaw?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: Why?

Y: They didn’t allow me to play.

D: Did you wait in line?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: You cannot cut into line. You need to wait.

Y: I waited!

D: Then did they allowed you to play?

Y: Yes. They did.

D: Then did you enjoyed the seesaw?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: How come?

Y: Both of them left. Only me!


Then I took the golden opportunity to teach Yifan the importance of a good friend.

Yifan’s Song – Night of Military Port

Yifan loves to sing. In kindergarten, he will routinely sing a song for the class before everyone goes to bed at noon.

Here is his newest song – night of military port 军港之夜.

I know, you must be saying: Yifan grows up so fast. I feel so too. Yifan can learn a song in one night, and sing it in an accurate way – much better than his father. Another interesting thing about Yifan’s learning behavior is, he tend to listen to the same song again and again without ever giving it a try. The first time he sings it, he always sings from the beginning to the end corrected. That always surprises everyone.

Yifan’s Second Day in Kindergarten

Yifan’s second day is not as sweet as the first one.

The day started with Yifan’s cry.

The teacher called in the middle, and told Wendy that Yifan kept crying. He even took the photo of other kid’s mother, and watched for a long time. He gave a big hug to a calendar showing three-person family, and told the teacher that is his mother.

When Wendy picked him up, he sit on the beach, leaning his head to a toy phone. The teacher told Wendy that Yifan has been calling his mom for a long time.

I asked Yifan whether he called mom. He said, “yes. I called, and you see, Mom comes”.