Thursday, December 31, 2009

We are SO glad to ring the end of this year...

So glad that we did not wait for midnight. We Skyped with P's family early in the evening and then just went to bed. P's sister Court, brother in-law Matt, niece Bel and nephew Holden were leaving Southern California early the next day (driving to Missouri). We really wanted the girls to see each other in real time. They did as well as any two year old would. SS was fascinated with her baby cousin. At times like that it reminds us that she spent 15 months constantly surrounded by many children. We have no idea how many were younger, but based on SS's reaction, we bet there were quite a few.

Obviously the highlight of 2009 was spending an entire year with our second born. We initially thought about doing a looking back post, then realized we would be pathetic blubbering messes at the end. We have been blessed with the opportunity to witness Baby S morph into (toddler) SS. We miss the baby parts gone, but cherish those moments. My surgery certainly affected our mood, energy level and put a damper on the celebrations. But through it all, even at the worst of it, we were constantly reminded that we are indeed blessed. We have JJ and SS and they are both healthy. Now let's move on to 2010 and the many more changes we will see our SS go through.

SS gladly took on the role of Baby 2010. It helps that she looks so darn cute in diapers.

Our little lady also modeled two of her pretty dresses. Too bad we did not attend P's company Christmas dinner.

Wishing everyone a 2010 filled with endless blessings and joy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

We did not wrap many gifts this year. This is what SS woke up to..

The easel was purchased a few years before she came home. Wish I could say we are done with purchased in advance gifts, but there are a few still around. :)

The Grandmothers sent SS a LOT of gifts and all of them were very much appreciated by SS. Our girl was very excited about having her own kitchen. SS also quickly proved that she is Mama's daughter. She placed an ice cream cone in the microwave and a slice of cheese (all fake food of course) on the stove top, THEN turned on the range. Gosh, she makes me so proud.

Look Mama, this is called a spatula. It is an item SS recognizes because she has a fondness for scrambled eggs.

We have always been aware of how observant SS is, but is the little things she did that cracked us up. When I am in a big hurry to get SS's hair done (and she has bad bed head), I forgo the spray bottle and just wet my hands under the kitchen faucet. I then comb my hands through her hair, enough to get a pony tail on. As soon as SS saw the faucet she pretended to get her hands wet, and insisted on combing our hair. Even buzzed cut P's hair.

Also from the Grandmothers, a shopping cart for SS to hone her shopping skills.

Told you pizza is nutritious. Otherwise why would they include it in a kid's toy? SS was really excited about the food boxes that came with the cart. It consisted of pizza, chocolate chip cookies, a Twinkies like item, popcorn, waffles, and pretzels. The last item was laundry detergent, to get all those stains out of her clothing.

Further proof that there is a grandmothers conspiracy. SS insisted that she needed a baby for her cart. UGH. Being Christmas and all I was obligated to get SS's "baby" (from the Abus) from its banishment, I mean secret location (the closet).

It seems that like her Mama, SS is destined to have an ethnic womb. Or we could claim it is simply recessive genes and her baby has her Grandfather P's eyes.

This horrific display of domesticity (just kidding) brought upon a tender moment for us. SS pulled her cart over to the kitchen and said "Here Baby, cooking." Just what we usually say to her when we pull her step stool up to the kitchen counter. It's a relief that she does not see it as child slavery but actual parenting.

Mickey D's food again from the Grandmothers. To make things easier, only the easel, three food baskets wrapped behind SS and the medical kit were from us.

SS is only familiar with sausage McMuff*ns ( I do not eat the sausage, SS loves the stuff by itself), and the French fries. SS can polish a large order without a problem. P has tried to introduce her to the nuggets (his guilty pleasure), but she does not like them. I think her first Happy Me@l is in her near future. SS is now fully aware of their menu.

Since SS has a penchant for coloring, albeit with a lack of talent, she received A LOT of coloring things. The best part is that the markers only work on special paper. No worries about stained clothing or spontaneous and unauthorized wall murals. SS was very excited and obviously felt like a big girl. *Sniff*

The kaleidoscope was a hoot. SS closed the eye she was using to look through it. It took her a while to get the hang of it.

Cutest thing I have ever seen in a smock.

SS is very hostile towards the poor individuals who are assigned to take my vitals. She is openly homicidal towards those assigned to take hers. We are hoping this eases her anxiety and is useful to prepare her for my upcoming (gulp) reversal surgery.

YES! It has a helicopter (with its helipad), an airplane (and runway), trucks, cars, a boat, and a train. Plus all the paraphernalia needed to get them all to work. P wants me to add that it has a crane to lift cargo, a tunnel for cars, two bridges, fire and police stations and a construction company building (with a tractor) and anything SS needs to drive us up the wall counting toys. The pieces can be stored under the table and it has a reversible top. That will become our table (Japanese style) if desperately needed.

We were freaking exhausted by the end of presents time. The scary part is that SS still has Grandpa's, the Abus' and the cousins' gifts. We cannot fit another toy in this tiny place.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Noche Buena

Our Christmas card. For those of you who received one, this version (and the photo below) is the handiwork of JJ. Thanks kiddo.

Now looking back at two visits and pictures with Santa:

Remember our Baby S last year?


Same outfit, same Mall, and once again we lucked out with a smile. We are both proud and a little sad seeing SS leaving the baby days behind. This year SS was not afraid of Santa, but she also was not in a mood to smile. We had to work our buns off for this smile. I think this time she was keenly aware of the many people watching her.

You want me to smile for yet another picture?

OK, just one more. This must firmly place me at the top of the Nice List.

Because P still complains that there are not enough pics of SS and Mama.

She's P's daughter alright.

We had to do quite a few takes before getting a decent picture of the three of us, and still did not get SS smiling. Just before this one, we had a laughing fit over one of my foot in mouth moments. I asked P to sit behind us and I would sit with SS between his legs. Poor guy's brain was fried from assembling SS's gift, and would repeatedly ask what I wanted. I would explain and he would respond that he did not understand. Equally exasperated from holding a hyper SS I blurted out "Just spread your legs wide open and I'll take care of the rest!"

We are hoping SS likes her big gift. She simply goes bananas every time we come across one.

Why we will keep eating at the kitchen counter.

Finally, whatever happened to going to bed early to get up early and open presents. This might be our last Santa year with SS. With the attachment stuff and now my health issues, we neglected to discuss if we are going to keep the myth going.

Grandpa's gift is going to wait for Dia de Reyes. They have been manufacturing that darn toy for 30 years. We know, we bought the 30th anniversary edition, and they have yet to refine the assembly. I went Online looking for comments from frustrated parents, and we tried what worked for them. Nope, not even our combined body weights would get those freaking parts in. Most parents recommended paying the $10 assembly fee at Toys R US. Well, we do not have a TRU here. Funny thing, P worked one Christmas season at TRU and darn it he never had to assemble this toy.

Still going strong at 11:38 p.m.

Are you?

P is at work now, because he needed pliers. I told him to leave the toy for Dia de Reyes, but P said "NO, she NEEDS it tomorrow." Really? I thought SS needed lots of love, guidance, structure, consistency, food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Auntie C, you failed me big time during SW training, as I had no idea that a toy is a need. In P's defense, it is Grandpa's gift, and P knows Grandpa would want her to have it tomorrow.

P tackled one of Nana and Grand Min's gifts first. I kept SS upstairs so she would not see Baba assembling her gift. It appears that had SS been downstairs, she would have learned a lot of colorful language. P said it's the most difficult and annoying thing he has ever assembled. Since P was a C-section birth, I'm sure Nana thought it was the most difficult and annoying thing she had done at the time. Karma might take its time, but it does get back each and every time.

Our big gift for SS was not as difficult to assemble as it initially appeared. Then again, I did not lift a finger, P did all the work. Wait, I take that back, I took pictures. We hope it is a hit, because SS was madly in love (or want) with it.

We celebrate an anniversary on Christmas Eve. Significant only to P and I, but a big deal to us. No matter what, we have always made time on the actual date. It was easy to do something alone pre SS, but do not see it happening for a long time. I even thought of a late dinner and champagne. Yeah right, take a look at the picture above.

This is going to make people cringe, please do not shoot the messenger. Apropos of the previous paragraph, P has a nickname (one of oh so many) for SS. Here it goes... coitus interruptus. P actually asked me to post about it. It looks like this letter to SS is going to be one she won't be able to read until she is an adult. I can't wait for SS to repeat Baba's words to her classmates. I am an admitted coward and will provide the irate parents with printed business cards with P's contact information.

The gifts from the Abus are reserved for Dia de Reyes. I am aware of how lousy I am at passing on Puerto Rican traditions to my children. That is why the PR Club head honchos revoked my "she tans easily" privilege. However, DdR is no longer about PR traditions, but our family tradition. JJ has been lobbying for years to add Hanukkah to our celebrations. In a few years he's going to have a lobbying partner.

I just sneezed and received a loud "SALUD" from SS. She honed her "salud" delivery during JJ's visit. She's been doing it for a while, because I remember Abu cracking up about it when she was here last time. But right now SS has her delivery down, and enjoys the heck out of people sneezing so she can wish them "health." We are so going to have one confused daughter.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"JJ no house his car"

That is something that will stay with me for a long time. SS went to bed late last night. JJ needed to leave by at least 8:30 a.m. to make sure he was on time for work at noon. I went to bed very late, but was up early, to make sure JJ did not oversleep. JJ obviously does fine without my help, but you know, that mother thing that never goes away. That is, if you have that mother thing to begin with. Not a judgment thing, because sometimes I wish I could let the mother thing go. Not only with JJ, even with SS.

I should know better, but that human thing gets in the way. I usually wake up SS, or have JJ hug and kiss her, and put her back in bed. Not today, no, I wanted SS to rest and did not listen to my gut. Frankly, is not my fault, my gut has gone through some significant changes in the last two months. So for all I know maybe it is defective.

What my tired, old brain did not factor was that SS would not only miss JJ but P. SS has had "moments" of missing P, but so far we can make it better with a quick phone call, video from P, or P just coming home. That does not work when JJ is on his way to work, and no way can we see him. SS woke up, we cuddled, she went looking for her brother, and when she made sure he was not hiding in every place she looked, she broke down. I wish it was the whinny routine, or the you will feel my wrath routine. SS was devastated and wept. Crap, am I ever going to get this mother thing? "JJ no house his car" means, "No, JJ did not go to his house in his car." There's that car thing again.

I hate those really hurtful tears. I can deal with snippy, whinny, manipulative and even full out aggression. Hurt? I thought my job was to take the hurt away, to just kiss it and make it better. I better look for another job.

I had another appointment with Dr. S and thought we'd meet P at the office. And because it came up recently, I am PERFECTLY CAPABLE of going to appointments (mine and SS's) on my own. It is P's sole decision and issue (there has to be one) about being there (and appreciated). He surprised me by coming home early. That helped SS's mood, but she was hypersensitive the rest of the day. What makes matters worse is that the staff at the office are enamored with SS and she can do no wrong. So P and I try to keep her from destroying the examination room, while they allow her to touch everything. Not a good combination.

Dr. S informed us that the compound pharmacist is confident that he can combine the steroid with the hypoallergenic adhesive paste. Insurance does not cover compounds (nor hypoallergenic paste), and he has no idea how much it would cost (first for him). Before I could respond (yes, I do have that capacity as well), P cut me off and told Dr. S to just get it done. BTW, that is exactly what I was going to say. Snort!

Dr. S is pleased with the improvement on my skin from the steroids. She got major brownie points by stating that she was trying to get me off them ASAP, because she knew what they did to me, and how I felt about those side effects. The thing is that my skin still burns like a mother sucker, but she knows what she sees.

We dropped off my only tube of hypoallergenic paste to the compound wizard and now wait for his phone call. Good thing that Nurse V is coming tomorrow. I return to see Dr. S on January 4. I am in my version of hell, medical care (albeit competent) up my a$$. Poor SS is so freaking comfortable in Dr. S's office, has a rapport with the staff, and knows how a stethoscope, thermometer and blood pressure cuff work. That is in addition to knowing what a C-bag, stoma, wound and incisions are. Wrong, oh so wrong.

Wrong, but I still take her picture whenever I can. If she grows up to hate medical settings, I have evidence why. Same if she loves it and makes it a career. Win win for me.

At the pharmacy. Some middle age dude was cracking up over the tiny girl in love with the train table. Dude, she is going to grow up to like what she likes, no gender stereotypes to keep her down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

These pre-celebrations are not bad at all.

Thanksgiving was our first real try out, we liked it, so we did it again today. We exchanged Christmas gifts with JJ this evening, and we had our usual prime rib Christmas dinner. It is so much less stressful that we might write off all Holidays from now on, it's better to get them out of the way on our terms. Part of getting older is getting needs instead of wants. P and I added to JJ's wardrobe, just practical stuff. Evil parents that we are, we left his good gift for last. :) Now all three of us have the same Netbook, and JJ is not tied to his desktop at his place.

The best gift for us was JJ's presence. I am still feeling poorly and JJ once again came through for us. I was afforded the opportunity to neglect my second born, knowing my first born was taking very good care of her. Ha, take that conventional people. ;) Just kidding, don't flame us. JJ picked up after his sister, entertained her when Mama was in serious pain, and thankfully kept her from that first ER visit (SS has discovered somersaults). Dude even cleaned the refrigerator.

P went to work literally before the crack of dawn. When he told me yesterday that he had to work today I was clearly disappointed. P told me that he would be going in early and home as soon as he could. That usually means 4:30-5:00 a.m. When he kissed me goodbye it was still dark outside. No big deal, with DST. I recall the kiss, and going right back to sleep (another rarity unless I'm ill). I woke up later and it was still dark, looked at the time and it was 3:30 a.m. I thought the cable box was off (only numbers I can see without glasses), so I looked at my phone, same time. I was confused and opened my netbook (we do not have a bedside clock, only to see the same early time. P was at work by 3:00 a.m., so he could make it home by 11:00 a.m.

Somehow JJ knew that we would not get around to get a tree. Like he said, "Seriously Mom, where were you planning to fit a tree? This place is all toys." Hey, I never claimed to be spatially savvy. Anyway, JJ brought us a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. We were still pretending to make an effort until we saw that tree. P said, "Problem solved, it's a classic. You are not feeling well, and I am not in the mood to drag a tree in here. We had a tree last year, SS's first Christmas home" Notice the lack of awareness on P's part about the glaring lack of space. Maybe SS will take after her brother.

Although the visit was too brief for us, we were together, we shared and we laughed. That is what Christmas is about, and we hope SS remembers that always.

SS picked up the first gift she saw and decided it was hers. She managed to rip a piece of the wrapping.

Best present evah.

It's versatile, practical, good for every occasion, and goes with everything.

Finally, why did JJ get to open his first?

SS's new favorite towel.

When P saw this he stated, "Good job JJ, your Mom has been hinting about a good set of salad bowls for a couple of years." The man obviously listens, what the heck happens when he makes it to the store or is looking Online? Since it was Sn00py wrapping paper, SS claimed it as her own.

Here Baba, I'll let you share my gift. SS got her grubby little hands on every gift.

Yeah, more violent video games!

OK JJ, since you have not been 2-years old in a while, you need a refresher course. You are supposed to share, especially with your adorable little sister. Rumor has it that I will also be your only sister, even more reason to share.

This is the exact spot where our tree was supposed to be placed. You will see in a few days why it needed to remain bare. We did not know that JJ was also a head tilt(er).

JJ has been drawing cartoons since he was in first grade. He stopped for a while and is now back into refining a previous comic strip he created. He draws, scans, then enhances digitally. Part of this gift was pure selfishness on our part. Now JJ can bring his work with him.

As much as the attachment precautions were and are still necessary, we are happy that SS has someone other than Mama and Baba to be this close to.

I'm keeping JJ, he is the most comfortable chair I've ever had.

Hey guys, I can't see!