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A 2 Year Old’s Chinese New Year: Tikki Tikki Tembo…

I had such plans. A Chinese lantern craft, some red envelopes with secret messages (instead of money ‘cuz she’s only 2)… And other really great and awesome and fabulous and fun stuff… 

No, really!

I had such plans. And they didn’t happen. Click on “Read More” to check out what DID happen during our Chinese New Year fun.

So we got kind of carried away with some other fun and well, all my grand plans just didn’t happen.

What DID happen:

We played with our friend, the fierce and fearless dragon we made here. Always a hit!

We talked about the significance of the animals in the culture and the 12 year lunar calendar – yeah, I’m not sure anything beyond the animals actually stuck, but hey you never know.

Oh and in case you didn’t know, it’s the year of the horse and those born during the horse years are perceived by those who believe to be good with money, quite cheerful, witty and are talented with their hands. Although Jeff missed the cutoff by a mere 5 days, he fits this to a ‘T!’ 

Little sister also is a horse… Hmmm, I’m surrounded by cheerful and witty souls who can build me stuff! Woo hoo! 

Me? Maybe those who know me might have guessed this one already, but I was ushered into this world under the year of the dragon. The fire dragon no less… Dragons are believed to be free spirits, confident, fearless in the face of a challenge and solitary at heart. Oh, bless my anti-social self! 

Elise is the year of the hare (rabbit). Some adjectives to describe these gentle souls are peacemakers, artists, well-cultured, and practical. Wanna know what careers are recommended for hares? Elise’s Papa (Grandpa) would be proud to hear: an attorney! :)

If you want to take a gander at yours and read more about this fun and amazing piece of Chinese culture, a suggestion would be to start here

Wow, that was a bit of a tangent, sorry. Back to our day…

We have a classic tale from the Chinese legends: Tikki Tikki Tembo. If you don’t know this book, you should read it because it’s just SO MUCH FUN to say this kid’s name over and over and over and over… 

It’s kind of hard to stop yourself, really. 


The legend is that Chinese parents used to give their first born son a great long name. Second sons “were given hardly any name at all.” 

First born son: Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. 

Second son: Chang.

The legend goes (and obviously, this is a summary of events here): 

  1. Chang fell into a well, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip per pembo fetched a man with a ladder, and Chang was saved. 
  2. There was a dragon festival – Elise’s favorite part of the book, aside from dancing to my sing-song voice when I croon the first born’s name. It couldn’t possibly be left it out of the summary because she loves it so. 
  3. Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the same well (that kid is back on the escalator again! – Mallrats, partner link). It took so darn long for Chang to get help because of big bro’s name that Tikki took quite a while to recover after he was extracted from the deep. 
  4. And from that day on, parents have thought it best to stick with shorter names. 
Here’s Elise having fun with this book: video 31 seconds. 
 
 

Beautiful artwork, a great two-page dragon festival spread, and the most sing-song name I’ve ever heard makes this such a great book. Older kids will definitely get a bit more out of it, so we have planned to revisit this book each year. You can get it for about $5 (Tikki Tikki Tembo on Amazon – partner link) with free shipping, so it’s something that is affordable and fun for the family. 

There’s always next year for lanterns, envelopes and a deeper dive into Chinese culture. 

Let us know in the comments section what you did to recognize this cultural holiday or just let us know you stopped by!

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