A sweet essay about a young child doing something nice for her mother.

Beginner Chinese Vocabulary and Simplified Reading MaterialsThis story has two proper nouns in it, which I should probably explain. The words 《大宅门》, which is the title of a TV show called “Grand Gate Mansion”. This is a real Chinese TV soap / drama. If you want to watch it, here’s a full video episode of Grand Gate Mansion. Another interesting thing about that is the punctuation 《 and 》, marks that don’t exist in English. In English, when we refer to the name of a book or movie, we often put the name in quotes, for example, “Cinderella” or “Gone with the Wind”. These 《》 punctuation marks are the equivalent of quotes in English, but while we use quotes for lots of purposes, the Chinese only ever use these to describe the name of a play, book, movie or show.

The other proper noun is 明明, a young girl’s name.

One of the things I really like about this is also the juxtaposition between the three words 小心, 放心 and 开心, which mean “to be careful or cautious”, “to stop worrying”, and “to be happy / to have fun”, respectively. You’ll notice these words all end in 心, “heart”, and these words could literally be translated as “small heart”, “to let go of your heart”, and “open heart”. When you’re being careful, doesn’t it feel like your heart is small? And when you stop worrying about something, isn’t it just like “putting your heart down”? And when you’re having fun, isn’t it just like you have an “open heart”?

The Chinese title of this little narrative is 我为妈妈做点儿事.

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津津有味 – jīn jīn yǒu wèi – To do sth. with great interest
动画片 – dòng huà piān – Cartoons [lit: moving drawing slides]
屏幕 – píng mù – Screen [for TV, computer, etc.]
片名 – piān míng – Show or movie title
辛苦 – xīn kǔ – Hard or exhausting work
围裙 – wéi qún – Apron
小心 – xiǎo xīn – Be careful
放心 – fàng xīn – Don’t worry
开心 – kāi xīn – Happy, fun


过了一会儿,动画片演完了,电视屏幕上出现了大宅门的片名。明明知道妈妈最喜欢看《大宅门》了,明明想妈妈要做事,要洗碗,很辛苦,一定要让妈妈看会儿《大宅门》,她边想边向厨房跑去。明明拉着妈妈的围裙说: “妈妈,您最喜欢看的《大宅门》开始了,您快去看吧,我来洗碗。”妈妈高兴地说: “好呀,你洗碗的时候一定要小心啊。”明明说: “妈妈您放心吧!”


After dinner was done, mother was in the kitchen washing dishes, and Ming Ming was on the big sofa, watching her favorite cartoons with great interest.

After a while, the cartoons were over, and the TV show title “Grand Gate Mansion” appeared on the screen. Ming Ming thought about how her mother had things to do, she had to wash the dishes, which is very tiring work, so [Ming Ming] should certainly let mother watch Grand Gate Mansion for a while, and thinking this, she ran into the kitchen. Ming Ming pulled on her mother’s apron and said, “Mama, your favorite show ‘Grand Gate Mansion’ is starting, quick, go and watch it, I’ll wash the dishes.” Mother happily said, “Great, just be careful as you’re washing the dishes.” Ming Ming said, “Mama, don’t worry!”

Mother sat on the comfortable sofa and watched television, and Ming Ming was in the kitchen diligently washing dishes – that night those two had a great time!

One comment to "I Did Something for Mom"

  1. great story! thanks

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