My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Friday, January 13, 2017

One Smart Cookie

A quick preamble describing the year so far:

Skimming through the Pinterest links in my email, I was stopped in my tracks by a graphic with the quote, "I am not an early bird or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon." I  chuckled and saved the graphic to my laptop before continuing,  musing about how sad it was that I could relate so strongly to that quote. A few seconds later I burst into relieved laughter and saved another (equally accurate) graphic quote to my laptop and got back to doing what I was supposed to be doing. The quote? "You are going to be fine. You come from a strong line of lunatics."

Anyway, on to the real post...

The Pipsqueak is one smart lil' cookie... and she knows her Grandma well. One prime example of just how well is to be found in the following story (bear with me, I do eventually get to the point).

The Pipsqueak's most special (and most anticipated, since she knew about it in advance) Hanukkah gift was an iPad Mini 2 (covered with a pink camo design case that's built like a battleship) [1]. Based on conversations with AJ and Mom, I loaded a nice selection of math apps onto the iDevice (along with, of course, a LOT of others plus the entire contents of her obsolete iPod). Since I also made the rather nasty tactical error of loading  the Disney TV app, it was an uphill battle to get the Pipsqueak to use any other apps for a couple of days, but she finally did try out -- and enjoy! -- the various academic apps... the most important being math, the subject she currently needs the most help with.

The Pipsqueak's Grandma played a major role in the math apps being used, alternately suggesting, cajoling, requesting, commanding, and/or begging Miri to at least give them all a try. She's also spoken with Miri about math, helped her with homework and the logic of numbers and aaaaalllllll kinds of related stuff.  (The Pipsqueak's actually not that bad with math; she just isn't overly fond of the subject so she tries shortcuts, guessing answers, putting it off until tomorrow, etc. etc. etc.)

In any case, Grandma now has a well-established reputation for worrying about the Pipsqueak practicing her math skills daily.

This past Tuesday  (Dude, you're actually making a current post! Hooray for you!) the phone rang late in the evening and I was surprised to find myself talking to my niece, who had decided she wanted to wish her uncle a good night. Asked if she'd done anything interesting in school, she replied they'd begun studying money... which led to, "Did you know that if you look at a penny really close, you can see..." which led to a discussion about how you can "see germs with a microscope" and a whole long give-and-take about microscopes, germs, things too tiny to see, and a whole lotta really good science stuff. (My favorite moment was, "If viruses are that tiny, how many can you fit into an ant's leg?") The conversation went on for a good 15 minutes before an incoming call interrupted us: Mom, calling to tell me about a phone conversation she'd just had with the Pipsqueak.

I told Mom I'd call her back, flashed back to Miri, and we talked about tiny things for a couple of minutes more before I got the usual, "I'll put you on Mommy now, don't hang up!"  When I did hang up, it was with a case of warm fuzzies about how interested the Pipsqueak is in learning about science, and how she determined that we would use my microscope to look at all kinds of tiny things the next time she's over at my house. (I actually do own a very good microscope, bought for me when I was a little younger than my niece is now and guarded carefully & lovingly over the subsequent decades.)

I called Mom back and told her about my call from the Pipsqueak -- and the more I described our conversation, the more Mom laughed.  She finally explained to me that she had been on the phone with Miri about five minutes before I was, and asked the same question about school. Just as in her call to me, the Pipsqueak told her Grandma that "we started to study money today" but didn't say anything after that. Mom asked Miri if she had done anything else interesting in school or on her iPad, and the Pipsqueak ended the call thusly:

"Yes, we studied math. And I had fun with my math apps. Bye!"

Yep, the Pipsqueak knows her Grandma... and her Grandma's priorities.  :-)

[1] The iPad was an excellent Black Friday buy. After all the "best price notification" services I 'd subscribed to stated all the inexpensive iPad Mini 2s were completely sold out in a 500-mile radius, I remembered shopping online years ago at MacMall -- where, lo and behold, I found one of the absolute best prices on the iPad that every. single. one. of the Black Friday "best price" services had missed.

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