Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feliz Año Nuevo

Baby S wishes everyone a Happy New Year.

It's 8:15 p.m. and Baby S just woke up from a very late nap. We are not sure that she will be up to having her picture taken with the Happy New Year party hat we got her. Sorry, but this picture of our little darling walking to the mailbox this afternoon will have to do. :)

Referrals are in and finally January and February 2006 LIDs (Log in Dates) have been referred. We were 01/16/2006 LID. It took the CCAA (Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs) ONE YEAR to refer two months. When we began this process, the CCAA referred one month of LIDs every month.

CONGRATULATIONS to those of you who have seen your child's face for the first time. We know how horrible the wait is and we are happy for all of you. In a few months, life pre your precious child will be a distant memory.

To those of you still waiting, our hearts and thoughts are with you. Just because Baby S is home does not mean that we do not keep up with referral dates and blogs. We are still disappointed about the slow pace and we are here, waiting with you.

If you are a relative or friend of someone who is waiting, PLEASE be kind. To us, our children are real and we hold them near our hearts at all times. This is coming from someone who has had a child develop in her womb and one develop in her heart. There is NO difference. A simple G00gle search should bring you up to date on International Adoption. Just ask, listen and be kind. No one wishes (or makes up) for this kind of hell.

The first half of 2008 was HELL for us, while the second half brought Baby S to us. The wait is WORTH EVERY SECOND.

If you are waiting and would like to contact us (or just for sh*t and giggles), we can be reached at:

Abuela & Abuelo's House

First, I feel really bad about this picture. I e-mailed it to P and to Abuela and it was taken on the day of our first try at the infamous Santa picture. After Baby S came through for us, I received a phone call from Abuela and she informed me that she liked the Santa outfit so much that she printed the picture and bought a frame for it. I felt worse when she told me that they intended to display it on their living room. Still, we so wanted to surprise everyone and I did not say anything. Reason 1,234,567 why we are not going to heaven.

See the red decorative plate on the entertainment center? It is a gift for Baby S. The designer is Baby S's namesake and my mother thought it would be a great gift for Baby S. Thanks Abuela and Abuelo, that was really sweet. I am now going to G00gle her name to make sure she does justice to our daughter's name.

Now look at their cool Christmas tree, then look at the picture below.

Upon looking at the picture above, P and I had the following exchange:

P: Baby, Baby S is grandchild #7 for them, right?
Me: After doing a quick count. Yes, she is lucky number seven.
P: By looking at that tree one would think they have no other grandchildren.

They actually used the 5x7 AND our Christmas card as ornaments. I could post pictures of their desktop (both the PC and the piece of furniture), but P calls it "Baby S's Shrine," so I'm going to hold back on that one for now. Just in case there is still a chance of us going to heaven.

All in jest, because we are not above snarking on Baby S's maternal grandparents.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Trying to get pictures published.

It used to be Funky Dog and Snoopy blanket. Now JJ/S's Ming Ming MUST be with Baby S AT. ALL. Times. She also added one of her Snoopy dolls to the mix for this nap.

We liked the static hair and know JJ will like this pic.

W0nder Pets Flying Boat ball pit, with Ming Ming FAVORITE doll.

Cool gift Grandpa! Mama and Baba would never find me.

What can I say, we have been derelict in our duties as parents. There goes that bad parent thing again. Here's a short video of Baby S playing with half her gift from Grandpa. The tubes connect a teepee and a tent together into a maze of fun. However, we do not have the space, nor the desire to have our daughter evade us all night long in hopes of putting off bedtime.

Abuela and Abuelo, we are going to leave your big present for Dia de Reyes (January 6). This year our tradition of celebrating DDR has come in very handy. Baby S still has a closet full of gifts from previous Christmas and we are going to wrap those up and give them to her as part of her Mama's PR tradition. Then add A&A's big gift and the girl gets to score loot twice. More important, we catch up on gift giving. Baby S has a b-day in March and we hope she's gone through all her Xmas loot by then.

P and I shared the video/still pics responsibilities again, but kept switching who did what. The sad result is that we ended up with an awful lot of video and not enough pictures. SIGH. Also, video over 2 minutes long is a witch to upload on You Tube. is it just us or does that happen to everyone? We do have so called high speed Internet.

Anyhoo, we do not have pictures of Baby S opening presents from Nana but we got video of the whole thing. and there is A LOT. I filmed and P neglected to pick up the camera. Baby S even gushed over the pretty clothing, but her heart is with the lights/music lion, giraffe and parrot(?) set and the quacking Musha Belly (SP?). The MB is just her size and she gets a kick out of the frantic quacking. Baby S still has to play with the tub toys and DVDs, she is kind of slow at this. Oh, she recognized Dora on the fuzzy slippers right away. I hope I addressed everything that was included. Baby S also loved the wrapping, and if her parents had a creative bone in their bodies they could turn it into a nice pillow, because she really liked the snow man. When we get the time we will burn a DVD and mail it with Baby S's pictures.

Baby S is now taking a nap after having had a few rough days. She is simply off and teething. Does teething ever stop? Baby S has been teething since we met and she still only has the four molars she had when we arrived home! Come on, how about giving the poor thing a break? She is uncomfortable, drooling, wants to be on top of Mama. All. The. Time. Baby S also has very odorous (OK, they are TOXIC) bowel movements and is plain miserable. Teething med does not work and forget the alcohol advise. The last thing we need is to end up at the ER, have the staff smell alcohol on our 21-month old and pretend that we do not know better.

Baby S has added another member to her bed entourage. She is TOTALLY into the Ming Ming doll that JJ and S gave her. As it turns out, the talking MM doll was in the same package as the W0nder Pets Flying Boat. P is retracting all the cussing he spewed on Christmas morning. Sadly, the same doll that brought so much joy to our girl at the store, in the package, scares her stiff outside the package. We are banishing talking MM until Baby S stops the blood curling screams. JJ and S, you did end up saving our hides big time. Except that Baby S insists on "carrying" MM everywhere, including bed. Kind of difficult to do when the doll is nearly Baby S's size. Still she is cute when she tries and this is what it's all about, getting to see that happy look on her face. Between the drooling, kicking, and screaming.

Michelle, the bracelet is beautiful and Baby S loves it. We are surprised you got her wrist size almost right, because Baby S has the smallest wrists we have ever seen. I need to get a picture of her wearing the bracelet and will post it ASAP.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

From our home to yours.

As predicted, we were up at the crack of dawn. So early that Baby S did a face plant on the bed. As soon as we mentioned JJ she perked up. P was able to locate the Chipmunk Christmas song and after 12 Christmases we enjoyed it as a family of four. I won't post the video because I was crying for most of it and that is not cool. :)

JJ just left and we are glad that one of our presents to him was a car safety kit. When he placed Baby S on the sofa she cried. Is going to be difficult for her to comprehend that he can't be here all the time. Baby S still has a lot of presents to open but right now she is wiped out and cuddling with the Ming Ming doll that JJ and S gave her. They also gave her a lovely duck blankie that plays music, great for naps. Unknowingly, they saved our hides because the talking Ming Ming doll that we ordered from T@rget did not make it by Christmas, as promised. P was so upset that he was spewing obscenities at T@rget as soon as he woke up.

P got me a Webcam so Baby S and JJ can see each other frequently. Abuela, Abuelo and Grandpa, we should be Online later on today, so you can see Baby S on real time. She has a lot of presents to open but we are going to let her get some rest.

We just had our best Christmas ever and wish all of you the same. Peace.

***** After publishing this post I walked downstairs to find Baby S out. She is now in her crib and we expect her to sleep for a few hours.*****

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Merry Christmas to all...

... and to all, a good night.

Baby S and Mama spend two hours apart.

Last night, cracking herself up while using her brother as a pillow.

Today was the big day, when Baby S stayed home while Mama ran some errands. I intentionally left things to do today because if I hadn't, I know that when the time came to leave, I would have found a reason to stay.Meaning P and I had talked about the need for Baby S to be left home with someone other than one of us. Our friend D had agreed to baby-sit but for some reason P and I kept procrastinating. So we decided that JJ's visit was a great opportunity to bite the bullet.

I did not even leave detailed instructions for JJ, just told him "You know where everything is, feed her if she is hungry, change her if she needs it and call me if you need me." Yeah, I know, so not getting the Mother of the Year Award.

And that is the weird thing, that for all my over protectiveness of Baby S, I felt very comfortable leaving her with JJ. Other than P and I she could not do better than her big brother. I was very pleased ans surprised when JJ texted that Baby S fell asleep. I did not expect her to do this because sometimes when she is with P she would not sleep unless I'm there. Our daughter has an uncanny ability to fight sleep, especially when she is stressed out. She did not even cry when I left (sob) and did not cry herself to sleep. She whimpered, JJ gave her her blankie and FD and Baby S was out. The picture above, that's how I found her.

"Mama, you think placing me in my playpen is going to deter me from touching and causing chaos. Well, look what I have in my grubby little hands. HA!"

Outfit courtesy of Grandpa, who sent Baby S a lot of clothing recently including Hawaiian dresses and much awaited Maui T-shirts, like the one she is wearing.

Baby S is usually perched on her Baba, so I found it cute how she sat between P and JJ.

Making sure her brother does not enjoy a peaceful second.

Boxing P

This is P last night and as predicted he was very tired today. He was out by 9:30 p.m. and did not even open the one Christmas Eve present we usually open. P is also a bit stressed out and that usually sends him to sleep early. What is there to be be stressed about when JJ and Baby S are home? P called me this afternoon and wanted to know if JJ has snow chains. Yes, he does. He then wanted to know if JJ knows how to use them. I asked and JJ stated that he's looked Online. It turns out that it snowed today and he will need the chains tomorrow and apparently watching a video Online is not good enough for P. Not much we can do now but trust JJ's judgment and driving.

We also would like to thank S for unselfishly and graciously giving up waking up Christmas morning with JJ so we could have him home with his sister. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. It is the best gift ever.

Baby S "plays" with the Wii


Cachetes (Cheeks)

This one is our favorite hands down. I did not expect the photo session to go as well and we are proud of Baby S rolling with whatever crazy idea her Mama had. We arrived without an appointment and they were booked solid. DUH, it's Christmas time. Then Baby S, who had been very quiet in her stroller said "Hi" to the lady behind the counter. She takes one look at Baby S and states, "there is no way I can't take her picture. Besides, the people with appointments are running late. Then next thing I know I have all three photographers in the room with me. It was quite surreal, I mean, how many photographers does a 20-month old needs?

One of the photographers actually took over assigned photographer's camera and snapped this shot. It was quite embarrassing because by this time the people with actual appointments had arrived. But there they were gushing over Baby S. I felt bad and called P for some moral support. He could not care less as he was pleased that we were getting portraits after five months home.

In their excitement the photographer's kept asking Baby S to look, move and do things that I knew were way beyond her comprehension. No one asked about her origins and I did not bother to share, but did feel bad for a clearly overwhelmed Baby S. Then on a whim I asked, "Baby S, where are your cachetes?" My girl did not disappoint and placed her hands on her cachetes, thus the picture above. I cut the session short because I felt we had plenty of pictures and to avoid a meltdown. It was a pretty cool experience given that Baby S never strays from my side for long (unless it involves P and JJ),

What an incredible gift.

In this one she was pointing at her image on the computer screen. Watching herself is still one of her favorite activities.

The Yunnan Ham

P's second favorite, because it's so Baby S, she is always sticking her tongue out. He actually had it added to one of the collages.

Baby S had a rough night and we think she reached her all time high number of time outs. The Wii controls proved to be our daughter's undoing. No amount of "NOs" and time outs eased her fervor. Add to that a long night out on the town (for a 21-month old) and not a single nap all day and her meltdown at close to midnight was inevitable, Poor thing had reached her melting point and when that happens she does not know what to do. Holding her does not help as she gets rather anxious and overactive. I just coax her into leaning on me and within minutes she is sound asleep.

Before her meltdown she had a blast cheering her Baba and her JJ while they played with the Wii. Since bad Mama would not allow her to hold the controls, she took matters in her own hands and used her Snoopy hair brush as a control. We have some cute video of her pretending to "play" along with P and JJ. Plus their controls do not do anything for their grooming. :)

P played some rounds of boxing and I know he is going to be sore today. He hardly ever makes it to midnight, so this was very unusual. I fell asleep much later and JJ even later. I got up early to post so Abuela could enjoy the post about her grandchildren (she is 3 hours ahead and SO over me). Now, at 6:25 a.m. I am going to try to get some shut eye before Baby S wakes up full of energy.

I'll post pictures later in the day and if we are lucky, the video of Baby S "playing" with the Wii. It sucks that P has to put in another 12 hours today and return Friday, but he burned all his vacation time and more in China. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hey, JJ is home!

Downtown tonight looking at Christmas lights. P and I have hardly held Baby S since the apple of her eye arrived.

Baby S, JJ and Mama. Notice Baby S's and JJ's eyes, almond shaped and oh so dark.

Baby S, JJ and Baba

Grandpa, I love Jack's.

J arrived around 3:00 p.m. and it took Baby S all of five minutes to pick up where they left off. He had only been home for 30 minutes when he realized that he had left something in his car. When he closed the front door behind him, Baby S yelled "JJ"! and began to cry. Poor baby, missing her brother so soon. She was back to her happy self when he returned.

J accompanied us to pick up Baby S's Christmas portraits. I was obviously drunk with the success of the Santa picture and took Baby S two days later to have portraits done. Then being true to my flaky self, did not pick them up last week. Oh well... 8x10s of the cutest pose will be mailed to the grandparents shortly.

We walked around the Mall for a while and OMG the line to see Santa was ridiculously long. No way would I stand in line for that long. The staff were also moving the kids through rather quickly. Glad to be done with that.

We went to Jack's for dinner but had to wait an hour for a table. We walked to see Christmas lights and increase our appetites. Baby S was very taken with the lights and very comfortable being carted around by her big brother. We really should have used the stroller. Man, we are REALLY bad parents. :)

J is now showing us the wonders of the Wii on HD. Baby S is fascinated by the darn thing and unable to keep herself out of time out by touching the controls. She has now taken over his lap and is very smug, knowing that it is way past her bedtime. We just don't have the heart to cut her time with J (or like she has renamed him, JJ) short. JJ picked Baby S's nickname so it is only fair that she returned the favor.

J is coming to town!

Last night P called J to find out when is he coming over and we are beyond excited because he is coming this afternoon. We are so freaking excited! P got up at 4:00 a.m. after hardly sleeping last night to get to work early and be here when J arrives at 3:00 p.m. Hopefully, because his workload is brutal right now. Still, I'm glad that he's willing to make an extra effort.

Baby S has a treat coming and she does not know about it. P also called our favorite steakhouse and since they are closed on Christmas Eve, it looks like Baby S will have her third dinner at Jack's Grill tonight. J has yet to try them and we are pretty sure he'll like their food. I am surprised we are returning because it is NOT a kid friendly place. It is a very small restaurant and the dining is pretty much done by candlelight. I wonder how much longer we are going to get away with bringing Baby S there. We'll keep it up as long as possible because the food is tasty, including their homemade salad dressing, garlic bread and baby S's favorite, baked potatoes.

I still have SO MUCH to do to get ready for Christmas. Yesterday I was feeling sick and Baby S had a terrible night. She actually took two long naps yesterday so when P headed upstairs at 9:30 p.m. I wasn't sure that Baby S was ready to go gentle into that goodnight sleep. However, P is rather stubborn so I decided to keep quiet (I did inform him about the naps) and watch the fireworks.

Baby S was so active that P actually placed her on her crib while awake. Big mistake. She whimpered, cried and ended up gasping for breath, not something I wanted to hear. Poor baby was OK during the day but full of phlegm last night. I gave her some med but she could not settle and kept headbutting me and kicking P. Baby S actually got a loud crack on the side of my face. Yikes, that really hurt. I finally left our room and rocked her to sleep. It's 5:30 a.m. and she is still in bed because she did not fall asleep until 2:30 a.m. Needless to say I did not sleep and I'm feeling really tired.

Still, J is coming home and we are going to have a blast. I have the feeling that our Christmas is going to turn out a bit different that expected. J's shift begins at noon on Christmas, so we will probable be up at the crack of dawn opening presents before he leaves. This means that while people are getting up and beginning their festivities chances are that P, Baby S and I will be upstairs catching up on very much needed sleep. So if you do not hear from us on Christmas day, do not take it personally, because we intend to give ourselves the gift of sleep. Other than J and Baby S, nothing else matters. We are not even getting gifts for each other. We got our present very early this year, July 7, and we have been enjoying every second since then.

We can finally post this.

Our Christmas card picture.

Baby S's Abuela received her Christmas card so we can now post the picture. I am not good at keeping secrets and we were very excited about getting Baby S to sit on Santa's lap. The picture was not taken on the day I posted about our failed first attempt. We actually have the Salvation Army volunteers to thank for this development.

Remember when I wrote about Baby S going gaga over Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers? As I left Wally Mart, I made a quick decision to take Baby S to the Mall and see how she reacted to Santa. We stood on Santa's line of sight and luckily it was another Santa. A more grandfather like looking Santa. He waved at Baby S and blew kisses to her. As with every time we passed by him, the staff was having technical difficulties, so Baby S got to play with Santa from a safe distance.

That night I told P that I was willing to give the darn picture another try, but early in the morning. Working with preschoolers I know to strike before 10:00 a.m., because they are pretty much useless after that. Why didn't I think of this when we took poor Baby S at 4:00 p.m. to meet up with Santa?

The next morning P went to work at 5:00 a.m. to get a head start on his duties. The plan was for me to call him once we were at the Mall and hope for the best. As soon as we arrived Baby S caught the attention of Santa and the photographer. Guess what? They were having technical difficulties again and this resulted in a 30+ minute window when Baby S became comfortable with the guy in the red suit.

We did not think she was going to pull it off, but Santa was patient and played peekaboo and patty cake with Baby S. We touched his hands and she eventually touched his hand also. At a point Baby S had quite the audience as Mall patrons would stop to look at the tiny girl in the red outfit. Then the photographer "lost" the pictures of the kid in front of us and had to do a retake. As soon as that kid was off his lap, Santa called for us to bring Baby S back to him. Then Baby S did the up sign just as the photographer became ready. Much to my surprise P took advantage of this (Baby S actually wanted Santa to get up, not to be held), picked up Baby S and placed her on his lap.

P then surprised me again by becoming a live Jack in the Box. I had no idea he had it in him, but he jumped behind the counter and would just spring up waving his arms wildly and making funny faces. I joined him so Baby S would not look for me off to the side. Then P did an amazing jump/wave/smile/funny face maneuver and Baby S, who looked like she was about to cry let out a laugh and... MONEY SHOT! We would have been as happy with a serious picture.

When we realized that the photographer captured the shot we lost all sense of decorum, high-fived each other and ran over to Baby S to let her know how proud we were of her. I think it's going to be a long time before we set foot in that place again. Say maybe until Easter?

Thank You Michelle!

Yesterday, Baby S received her first bloggy friend gift from Michelle. We actually got a look at it on Michelle's blog and P and I are really excited about it. When you have kids named like ours, you can't exactly go to the nearest store and pick up a personalized item for one of the thousands of kids with the same name. Again, thank you and I hope you and Joe have a blast with Gracie and Cameron. Maybe we could get together when you come up next. That way Baby S can thank you in person. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My ethnic womb.

What do you mean I am not supposed to grab my baby by the arm? Oh, Auntie C said so? Well, she also said that an ankle tracking device was a good idea...


Apparently, my ethnic womb is capable of creating children of different ethnicity. Dude, I am so NOT kidding about this. Now, to understand why this just puzzles and cracks us up at the same time, we have to start with first born J. When I was a teenager people always thought I was older. That is, until I became a teenage mother. Then all of a sudden, people did not believe that I was my son’s mother. At 18, I was not equipped to deal with said assumption and it was a painful thorn on my side. I eventually learned to live with it as I aged, but it would rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient times.

When J was 8 we were crossing the border from Juarez, Mexico into Texas. While we were on a car trip from California to Tennessee, it never crossed my mind to bring his birth certificate. We were stopped at the border because the US Custom agent did not believe that J was my child. I was rather pasty at the time (had been ill and out of the So Cal sun) and J was a beautiful shade of light brown with sandy brown hair. Straight hair. The agent looked at my lighter skin and (naturally) curly hair and could not wrap his underdeveloped brain about him being my biological child. I guess he had never heard of a perm?

During my first exam in grad school, P pulled me out of the classroom to show me a hive covered J. J had only had one previous incident in PR (three years earlier), none in So Cal. Great! Welcome to the pits of Northern Cal. We took him to Urgent Care and the doctor nicely told me he would treat him even though I was not his mother. WTF? I calmly informed him that I was his biological mother; he laughed and said, “I buy sister, not mother.” NO, it was NOT flattering, nor funny.

When J was fifteen, a beautiful mole he had on his ear since birth changed size and shape. In my ignorance I had assumed that his darker skin color would give him an advantage in terms of his exposure to the sun. The surgeon felt that the mole needed to be removed immediately, but grilled me about whether I had the right to consent to the surgery. As in, are you the real mother? Whatever the hell “real” means.

But the icing on the cake came in June 2005, when P called me to tell me that J collapsed in the bathroom, an ambulance was on the way, and to meet him at the ER. I actually made it to the ER before they did (I was 10 minutes away at work, we live 3 minutes from the hospital). The receptionist had me fill out paperwork while I waited and I rushed to the receiving bay when the ambulance arrived. The ambulance doors opened, and I saw my child. The receptionist came to me, touched my arm and said, “Ma’am, please step away, this is not your child.” WTF? Yes, this is my son. She began to pull me and stated, “I know you are upset but he is not your child.” Look, I know I come across as dense, but I KNOW my children, OK? The worse part was that whenever I asked for help for J, the nurses would go to the nurse’s station and say, “His girlfriend or his sister said that…” Again, NOT flattering, no matter how old I am or look.

While we waited for Baby S, we had plenty of time to reminisce about those incidents. We are not naïve and have always known and expected to attract attention. I was honest with P and did express that given my previous experiences with J, I would probably be hypersensitive about repeating that experience with Baby S. P, as usual, had more faith in me than I do and would tell me that I would just roll with whatever came my way.

Let’s forget China, because that is an obvious, what-the-heck-are-you-doing-with-a-Chinese-baby experience. BTW, although we got so much attention, including touching, pictures and filming, we did not feel as uncomfortable as we had anticipated. On the flight home, the flight crew referred to Baby S as our daughter, and we chalked it up to their experience with International adoption.

Then one week after we arrived home, I was at Wally Mart with Baby S and we happened to see a mother and son (7 years old) that were part of our travel group (they did not adopt from the same province). The boy recognized Baby S and I immediately and that led to us getting in line behind them. The mother and I talked, while aware that the cashier could not keep her eyes off us and was eavesdropping (as evidenced by her mistakes and snail pace). Let’s just say that China came up frequently during our exchange.

Mother and son leave, and it is our turn. The cashier begins to gush about Baby S and I say my usual thank you and wish she would hurry the heck up. She asks Baby S’s age (16 months), comments on how small she is and tells me her son is 10 months and 28 lbs. I smile and say, “Well, Caucasian babies develop different than…,” and she smiles at me, a “knowing” smile and states, “yes, they develop different than Hispanic babies.” OMG, did she really say that? I was speechless and just smiled. Did she really think Baby S was Hispanic? Like, NO WAY! I called P as soon as I left the store and he had a good laugh about it. He asked me, “Did you correct her?” No, I did not as I did not see the value in doing so. The clerk was not malicious, just mistaken and while amused, I let it go. Could it be because of my previous experiences with J?

Since then, for every person that assumes Baby is adopted, we get someone who assumes she is my biological child. This tends to happen more when Baby S and I are without P. The white dude adds that International Adoption touch to us.

Friday night, at P’s office Christmas party, we did not think that Baby S’s origin would be in question. P took two weeks off to travel to China, while working there for only nine months. In his very small company, you get only one week vacation a year, and rarely at once. We assumed that at least Jim, the owner, was aware of Baby S’s adoption. Meaning why P was off for two weeks, right? During dinner, our tablemates repeatedly offered to hold Baby S to “allow” us to eat. P and I commented that we spent two weeks feeding Baby S out of her carrier or on our laps and we were OK. Then Sandy told us that she was an expert on getting babies to sleep and I jokingly asked, “Where were you for the past five months?” Guess what? We had to explain those statements. They knew Baby S is 21-months old, so why was sleep a problem just the past five months? I took that one and explained that she had just been home for five months? HUH? What do you mean five months? Then Jim (the owner) asked why we were in China with a baby for two weeks.

I was SO willing to leave that one up to P, really. Seriously, they were clueless about Baby S being Chinese. That is NOT a positive for us, because we (P, J and I) are VERY proud that Baby S was born in China and we are equally proud about her cultural heritage. Jim then asked P about the process (while marveling, “She is really from China?”), the wait and was very inquisitive about our journey.

This evening, I could not help but ask P what has been on my mind since last night. I told P that I respect everyone at our table, but must ask, “Where did they think Baby S came from?” P stated, “From your ethnic womb. Baby, you are not Puerto Rican to most white folks. You are ethnic, and your ethnic status entails the ability to produce children from every ethnic background there is. I hate to admit it, but they look and see ethnic facial features, dark hair, and dark eyes. That is P’s daughter with K”

We know J will read this post and we also know that he will take it as intended. He’s lived this and we know the role reversal will really make him chuckle. We know he is thinking that he could at least deny us, while Baby S has less options.

Why do we know this? Because of something J told us when he was in high school. Although he went to a rather liberal HS, teens will be teens. One morning, after P and I dropped him off at school, some smart a$$ kid said to him, “J, isn’t there something weird about your Mom and Dad?” J responded, “Yes, there is. I take after my father’s Irish side, but please don’t tell my Mom.” Heh

Baby S, do take after your brother.

Baby S attends her first Christmas party.

Once again, Baby S made a great impression in a difficult situation and liars out of her parents. P has shared with coworkers tales of Baby S's spirited nature and great lung capacity. But last night, our daughter played the saint role to the hilt and no one believes that she is capable of mischief. Sorry, but getting the three of us dressed and out the door was a close call, so we did not have time to take pictures. The above picture was taken last week and that is the dress Baby S wore to Baba's office Christmas party. She was supposed to wear a really cute little black dress but a last minute wardrobe malfunction necessitated a plan B. Let's face it, no one cares what P and I wore. :)

We began on the wrong foot by arriving late, because P thought dinner began at 7:30 p.m., so we were half an our late. When we arrived the only two chairs available were on a table that happened to have three grandparent couples. They were itching to get their hands on Baby S and P and I were initially uncomfortable because we know how skittish she is about strangers. The lady to my right right away asked to hold her and I smiled apologetically and stated that Baby S is slow to warm up to people. I also had made a last minute decision to bring Funky Dog with us and it turned out to be a blessing because Baby S was clutching him tightly. She was obviously overwhelmed by the crowd (about 50 people) but as expected she kept close to us and said hi to EVERYONE. Even our server got several his and she was oh so taken with our little girl.

I was not too sure about attending because although I adore my baby girl, I attended the party last year and there was only one child, eleven months old, and it was not well received. The poor little guy is as active as Baby S and ended up spilling his father's water all over the table (some landed on me, but I am so over kiddie mishaps, it just does not bother me). However, P informed me that his employers requested that we bring Baby S. P works for a family owned business, and the couple's five children all work in various capacities at the lab. So I decided to suck it up and planned on making a hasty exit if her Taz Devil/Linda Blair's Exorcist self made a guest appearance. Hah! Baby S was awesome and now has a lot of grandparents as part of her fan club.

I did not realize that the gentleman sitting to P's left was the owner of the lab (I did recognize his wife and that should have clued me in) and I'm glad because I'm incredibly socially inept and I'm sure had I realized this the evening would not have ended well. The owner, Jim, really took a liking to Baby S and spent his time trying to coax her onto his lap. As a veteran grandpa, he took his time, talking and playing with Baby S. I told Baby S that he was safe and that it was OK to talk and play with him. Then out of the blue, Baby S walked over to him, he picked her up and she allowed him to hold her. P and I were stunned. Now why does she not listen to me when I say no?

I must disclose that this breakthrough occurred during the White Elephant gift part of the evening. You know, everyone takes a number, picks a gift from the tree, then others are allowed to steal your gift. Of course, the tackier the gift the better. We brought a replica of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story (P LOVES that movie and I HATE it), and it was a hit. Jim first got the lamp, it was stolen and he got an iPod. Well, Baby S went for the iPod and he just let her have it. Instant love connection for Baby S. Then after his iPod was stolen, he got an atrocious Halloween wooden doll. Our table mates were afraid that it would scare Baby S and asked him to put it away, but before he could, Baby S walked over to him, did the sign for up, then made baby noises and smiled at the ugly doll. She even pointed to Jim's nose, yikes, she willingly touched him!

Then Jim's 17-year old son, Andrew (a really nice young man), was on the prowl for a gift to steal. Baby S was on P's lap laughing along with everyone, when Andrew scooped her up, stated "I'm taking this one," and walked away with Baby S, to some serious loud laughter from the crowd. UGH, we quickly noticed Baby S's discomfort, and P quickly retrieved her (while smiling) as Baby S was reaching out to him, and reassured her that it was OK. Before P sat down Baby S was reaching out to me. I held her and reassured her that it was a game and that Andrew was safe. Poor baby, she just held me so tight. I went to the restroom and upon my return, Andrew was with P and Baby S making amends. We reiterated that Andrew was safe and Baby S held his hand and played with him while on the safety of Baba's lap. We did pay for this later at home as she would freak whenever I was out of her sight. Overall, we think that she did a great job in a situation that is not kid friendly. The banquet room did not even have high chairs and our two weeks in China feeding Baby S while on the Ergo came in very handy. She did not get a single morsel of food on her pretty dress, but I managed to ruin my blouse with raspberry sauce.

By the end of the evening, Sandy (the wife of P's coworker) could not stand it anymore and just asked to please hold Baby S. We tried it, and Baby S was able to remain in her arms for a few minutes. But Jim was her overall favorite much to Sandy's chagrin. Way to go Baby S, suck up to the owner. :) Oh, I stole Barbara's Nutcracker for Baby S and she loved the ugly thing. It is now sitting on the fireplace mantel for Baby S's viewing pleasure.

This morning we finally mailed Christmas presents. P made two trips to the post office because we needed to get the two most important ones out early (Abuela/Abuelo & Grandpa), due to the distance involved. While P stood in a hellacious line, I got the remainder ready. P returned to the post office without complaining and everyone should have their gifts before Christmas. I am SO glad to have that out of the way. We can now concentrate on J and Baby S. I have yet to do any wrapping for them and Baby S has a a lot of gifts from Christmas past.

All the pictures posted are from my phone, as I just got around to transferring them to my desktop.

Baby S finally allowed me to dress her in the pretty sailor jacket that her Nana sent. How did I manage to get in on her without the screeching, like you are pouring acid on my skin? I first said the magic words, "Want to go bye-bye with Mama?" And when Baby S hears those words, she immediately squeals, applauds and does her happy dance, and obviously her brain does not register as quickly during this time. I took advantage of the lapse and got her bundled up. Anyone that knows me realizes that the matching hair bow and sippy cup are a mere coincidence because I am incapable of coordinating an outfit.

Baby S thrilled when Jack (Jack's Big Music Show) appeared on screen.

Because my mother complains that she never sees me in pictures on the blog and because P says that Baby S is going to wonder who the heck raised her (that was mean). I do exist, but I am the behind the scenes type.

Her wheels are always turning, trying to find the stunt that will raise her Mama's heart rate. Upon seeing this picture, her Auntie C suggested a tracking device on her ankle. We believe it is allowed because Auntie C works protecting children (and was responsible for Mama's detour into said field), so if she suggested it... ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mr. Potato Head: 1 Baby S: 0

The shiner.

The culprit.

This one was taken this morning at 5:00 a.m. Had to post it to cleanse the palate and to suck up to my mother after damaging her precious granddaughter's cover girl face. :)

Good thing that I have been documenting lately how active and daring Baby S can be. This morning I was addressing cards while Baby S was playing in her room. She would occasionally come into our bedroom to check on me but was doing well playing on her own. Oh yeah, this is a recent development and we are very proud of her for venturing a few feet away from us. :) All of a sudden I heard a crash coming from P's side of the bed, that as luck would have it was covered from my view.

Before I could get up, Baby S appeared crying and saying OUUUUUU, OUUUUUUU! I held her, kissed her and once she calmed down I checked her thoroughly and did not see any damage. By now I was curious about the sound because we did not have anything that could have made that noise (our nightstand lamps were intact). Then I saw the culprit, a rather smug Mr. Potato Head.

We purchased two huge Mr. Potato Heads almost two years ago. One was intended as a gift for Baby S's bud in waiting, my Seti Seth Seth. P decided to get one for Baby S so they could eventually play together. Mr. Tater has remained unwrapped in her room because I do not think she is ready for him. Baby S has been curious about him but only notices him occasionally, pats him on the head, or kicks him around (depending on her mood) then forgets about him. This morning she thought it would be a great idea to bring him into our bedroom and now you see how my daughter ended up going a few rounds with the mustachioed spud.

I did not notice her bruise until I was on the phone with P a few hours later and it looked really bad. When P came home for lunch the first thing he did was look at her face and exclaimed, "Baby, Oh my G-d is bad. Tomorrow is my work Christmas party!" You got it, his first thought was about the inability to parade his daughter around his coworkers sans the evidence of her brawl. Never mind that our precious daughter got an ouchie, never mind that I was almost in tears over my inability to protect our daughter and never mind that the SW visit is SO going to happen now. No, what really matters is that the party is tomorrow. Heh

P then tells me, "Baby, I have never had a black eye in my life. My kid's a bruiser." Said with a huge grin. We are now taking bets on how soon Baby S is going to grace the gurney at the ER. Although we have three Nemo ice packs, Baby S won't allow us to ice it, but we hope that it looks better by tomorrow.

Just another day in paradise.


Baby S is all about "helping" and she will lend a helping hand whether you like/need it or not. Here she is Wednesday evening, "helping" P with the delicate task of placing tinsel on the Christmas tree. Notice the traditional Halloween bucket.

OK Baba, listen carefully, you have to do a good job with my first Christmas tree, OK?

A little to the left, that's perfect.

P decided to upgrade to LED lights this year. I'm pretty sure that I am the only person unable to discern the difference, but it made him happy.

Napping yesterday after a strenuous shopping outing to C0$tco. She slept for an hour then I heard her whimper. I found her still laying down and she did not reach out for me. I asked if she wanted to be held and I did not get a response, she just laid there. Then I caressed her tummy and in less than three minutes she was asleep. She napped for another hour. This is the first time that she has done this. It seems that she likes her crib and feels safe that we are not going to leave her. Baby steps, baby steps. I know that it seems that I am fixated on taking pictures of her in the crib, but after waiting five months (plus the two years we have had the crib set up in three different houses) it just feels good to see her in it.

Another area where Baby S is eager to help is in buckling herself in her carseat. This means that now it takes me twice as long to get her secured because of her "help." And G-d forbid that I dare buckle her up before turning on her musical mirror because everyone within a five mile radius is going to hear her protest such a transgression.

Last night P and Baby S were on the bed and I was on the floor working on our Christmas project (because this family is all about procrastinating), when I heard a loud thump. Just as I'm asking P if she fell off the bed (and dreading an ER trip and subsequent SW visit), I see Baby S running towards me applauding and with a huge smile on her face. Yeah, giggly with delight at her stunt. Our bed was the last safe place for Baby S. Ever since we came home she has been perfectly content just being on the bed and while she eventually got the courage to get up and walk on it, she has never attempted to get off the bed. That is, until last night. Our bed is 30" from the floor (I just measured) and that seemed like an overwhelming height to our daughter. Why, oh why did she have to dare get off and then land on her feet therefore making it all the more appealing? We are in so much trouble.

P and I just talked and he informed me that it is 27 degrees. What the heck is with that? This is California, I demand sunshine! Anyway, this concerns us because we are eagerly awaiting J's visit next week and we are hoping the only route here is not snowed in. J called Tuesday to confirm that he is coming to visit and he is looking forward to his first Christmas with his baby sister. We have only waited 12 years to have J and his baby sister together, so you can imagine how anxious we are feeling. Send positive thoughts our way for mild Christmas weather.

OK, off to address Christmas cards I go.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby S The Explorer Is 21 Months Old

Playing with the PC at the tire center.

Want to see what I want for my Sweet 16?

BaBa said I could have it.

We will not be entrusting Baby S's driver's ed to them.

Recharging batteries to face yet another day. Look at her sleeves, she pulls them up herself and gets pretty annoyed when we pull them down. Check out that wild hair, that is going to result in some serious bed head tomorrow morning.

Last month Baby S celebrated her 20 months on earth by waking up at 4:00 a.m. and starting her own party. This month she decided to kick the fun up a notch and find out how much could her Mama's heart take before giving out. Baby S La Exploradora managed to open the doors to her bathroom, her closet, our bedroom and our bathroom in record time. We had no idea that someone so short could reach the door handles.

We had an appointment to get the van tires rotated, balanced and aligned. According to P I was supposed to have that done a while back and he was not happy about my memory lapse. He made an appointment and reminded me how important it was in terms of our safety. I think he mumbled something about untimely death, losing his wife and daughter or something like that. So kind soul that I am, I took Baby S out in the freezing cold (34 degrees is freezing to us Californians) and waited for over an hour in the name of safety. Baby S did a great job even though she was bored out of her skull and only managed to damage one of the tires on display. She befriended a 7-year old girl that was equally bored and they played for quite a while. The girl is learning Spanish and was counting from 1-5 when Baby S decided to up the ante and said "cachete." That floored the little girl and her mother. My daughter the show off.

P joined us after work and then we purchased latches for our doors in order to keep Baby S from trashing the house and diving into the toilets. It appears that Baby S has made the transition to her crib without the drama that we have come to expect from out diminutive drama queen. On to the next battle.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SNOW! (Sorta)

Baby S only spent approximately FIVE minutes outside.