Friday, April 30, 2010

Summer here I come.

We have had some rain, but the sun is back and we are beyond giddy about it. If the good weather holds,we should have a week in the high 70s to mid 80s. That is our kind of bliss, we love us some sun and we (SS and I, for P it is genetically impossible) are looking forward to tan our hides. P came home at 12:30 but he was pooped and succumbed to a nap for a few hours. He then went to run an errand, while SS and I played outside. Once Baba returned, SS was in full activity mode, showing off to her number one fan. Our girl chose her clothes today, and we think she did a good job. She does look good in board shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt. There is some yellow on her shorts, that are an 18 month size. SS's tiny hiney strikes again, and she has a diaper to help her fill them.

SS spent a few hours running around, playing with her cars and cracking us up. A few things SS said that were new to us, and other SS moments:

* "Stand back Baba (or Mama)", running away from us, while holding one hand up.
* "Wave Mama (or Baba)", whenever she climbed on her tiny play structure.
* "Baba I can't do it", referring to opening the door of her C0zy C0upe, while skillfully doing just that.
* She counted to seven, but only when she handed us stones to throw. Stone throwing is becoming a favorite hobby. We are hoping it is not something we are going to regret teaching her.
* When she handed P a stone she said "1, 2, 3, throw." When she handed me a stone, she said "1, 2, 3, tira." Baby steps.
* "Kiss it", said to P in a very demanding tone after scraping her knee. That one got her in trouble immediately. P has finally regrown a spine and is calling SS on her manners. I am relieved because I do not tolerate disrespect, and that made me the bad guy.

And just being SS, that is enough to keep us entertained. She is not the most coordinated child, and it is behind in some developmental milestones that are glaringly obvious to others. But only P, JJ and I know what she has overcome, and why it is such a rush to watch her running around, eating, drinking, with normal vision, normal hearing, free of upper respiratory problems, and spewing simple sentences only intelligible to us. We also realize that her bossy side, her demanding side, her stubbornness and determination are born from her fighting spirit. Only a fighter would emerge from her birth and first fifteen months of life circumstances, to travel to the other side of the world, become engulfed by two different languages, customs and multiple cultures, and be able to hold it together. SS is a fighter, just like JJ is a fighter, and it is because of that spirit that we have them both to love and enjoy today. They are truly remarkable creatures. Also, both have survived our parenting, an even bigger deal. Just think of all the oops we admit to in this blog. Now imagine the many, bigger ones we are too ashamed to share. Then they manage to trip on air or bump into a wall, and we wonder...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

UGH, she climbed out of her crib!

I had another appointment with Dr. JG today, and was hoping it was my last. Everything is as it should be almost one month post surgery. Well, Dr. JG thinks my recovery has been remarkable compared to his other patients. I sure hope so, since I am at least twenty years younger than his youngest patients. I do have to return in a month for him to look over a very minor complication, a protruding granuloma that P is going to gleefully try to burn off with silver nitrate. Dr. JG asked P if he wanted to do it, or if he preferred that I return for him to do it. P sure answered fast, anything to inflict pain on me. I can see myself twenty years from now, a doctor telling P that while I am in a coma, I have a 95 percent chance of recovery. I can see P saying those odds are not good enough and pulling the plug. The man lives for gory stuff. I neglected to mention that P has used the silver nitrate before with my open incision, or the big one, as Dr. JG refers to it.

We discussed some serious pain that I have been experiencing, but Dr. JG assured me that it is normal and will most likely remain for 60-90 days. There are two possibilities, the stitches (he said to think of it as twine binding my intestine), and that is pain that will bring a strong person to its knees. The second possibility is cramps due to my intestine residing lower after this surgery. I think that I am experiencing discomfort (OK, *&%$*&# pain) from the stitches. Now it is a waiting game, since the stitches will be completely dissolved three months after surgery.

We also discussed my fear of this happening again, especially after finding out that he removed more diverticula. Dr. JG explained that he is certain that it was left over after the first surgery. He stated that is not unusual to leave some knowing that it will be removed during the reversal surgery. Not sure I buy that, but the dude has been straightforward so far. Regarding my fear of ending up with a colostomy again, he pointed out the obvious (which I am a master at missing), it took forty something years for a rupture to occur. It is not likely to happen again, and he has only seen it happen once since 1986. He also noted that now that I know the consequences of not listening to my body when it is in that much pain, he is sure it won't come to that. Way to go Dr. JG, blame it on the innocent victim.

P is visibly relieved (meaning he won't shut up about it) that I have finally received and acknowledged the message my body sent last October. What he does not understand is that listening to one's body can be a drag, especially when your body is letting you know that you are aging, not gracefully, and that you are on your way out. Not a fun message to receive.

After lunch SS and I went shopping. She was in a good mood, even though we waited almost an hour at the doctor's office. This week P has started work at 4:30 a.m. and is home between 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. Except today, due to the appointment. That extra daytime Baba time has been really good for SS, and I think accounted for her good mood. What the heck, I do enjoy having him around as well.

Having fun spends energy and SS had a mini meltdown around 6:00 p.m. I held her until she cried herself to sleep. I placed her in her crib and went back to cooking dinner. An hour later I heard SS calling for P, he went upstairs then asked me where I laid SS down. Uh, there are only two possible places, our bed or her crib. He surely could not have lost her, I had just heard her call out to him. P was asking because he found our intrepid daughter at the top of the stairs. WHAT!!!!!! Yep, she climbed out of her crib, and I am sure it is the first time. We have never found her out of her crib and there is no way she could climb back inside.

Although about to soil our underwear over what this meant, we remained calm and asked SS to show us how she climbed out. We were both surprised we did not hear a big thud, so she made it out without incident. It took a while to coax her to repeat her stunt, and we are sure that she was shy because I was filming her. We reassured her that she was not in trouble, that we would not be mad, but SS was obviously not trusting us. She eventually replicated her escape from Alcatraz for us. Dude, we are sooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed, sorry, no way of softening that blow. If SS can clear the side of her crib (we did not think her legs were that long), she can easily clear a security gate. We have to come up with a solution because we can't have her wondering around at night, writing redrum on the walls. Man, we are really sweating this one.

The simple solution, tying her to her crib is not an option. Most people would also see this a sign that it is time to convert the crib into a toddler bed. That is not a problem, it converts and we for once thought ahead and bought the bed rail when we bought the crib four years ago. The thing is that SS seems to need a crib, she needs to feel something all around her. That is why she enjoys falling asleep sandwiched between us, and makes sure to touch one or both of us. When she is in her crib, she gets very close to the sides, a bed rail is not going to give her that sense of security. On the other hand, chances are that her acrobatic precision might be affected by sleep or darkness and SS could hurt herself climbing out. UGH!

And why are we agonizing over something so freaking simple? I threw JJ on a twin size bed at 12 months, with a bed rail, but the kid had plenty of space to fall out. OMG, he was the easy one. Oh well, we have to figure out something and soon. Suggestions are certainly welcomed.

SS is getting good at the waiting game. Having her crayons, paper and board helps a lot. That is one lifesaver of a gift.

I got our drinks and returned to the table to find SS on a booster seat. P sure wants me to age faster than I am, because all I could think of was SS sliding down, hitting the concrete floor and cracking her head open.

SS was blissfully oblivious to the trip to the ER and subsequent ICU stay that was playing in my neurotic mind.

SS has developed a taste for crunchy cheap tacos. She ate one without her usual stalling. SS gave her taco a thumbs up. SS is really into her thumbs these days.

Just can't get over the cuteness.

Do not let that first picture of two very patient individuals waiting to get in the examination room fool you. They are grifters who have their hustle perfected. This is what happens when they get in the examination room. I have no idea why Dr. JG was disappointed when SS stayed home, because she really does a job in there. P does not help much, he actually encourages SS. When SS started going through the drawers during our first visit, P gave her sage advise. He told SS, "You need to learn to be quiet and not slam drawers when you are invading someone's privacy."

I took advantage that SS had a full tummy and had Baba time, and we went shopping. SS was in a good mood and this is pretty much what she did the entire time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rock stars have only one name.

A few months before SS's third birthday we began working on having her become accustomed to her full name. That is first, middle and both (hyphenated) last names, quite a mouthful with someone with limited language skills. Oh, and with lazy parents who waited way too late to take such an important step regarding information vital to her safety. Let's face it, we can't tag her indefinitely. Right?

We need to learn that our plans do not matter one bit to Ms. I Do What I Want. SS is absolutely repulsed by her full name and won't stand us uttering it in her presence. She reacted to it as adversely as she reacted to her first sight of a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch (that was really bad). She placed her hands out and said "NOOOOOOOOOOO, STOP IT! NO -insert a drunken like slurred version of her last names- seriously funny. I need to tape it one of these days, but won't be able to share it for obvious reasons.

We were a bit puzzled and waited a few days, we tried again with the same results. SS does not even want to hear her first and middle names together. The weird thing about that is that I use her middle name quite often, it is a sure way of getting her attention when she is very distracted. It seems that much to P's consternation, I do have the pronunciation down. HA! She would counter our efforts by yelling her nickname. Thanks JJ, we knew this would somehow come back to bite us in the a$$. ;) In our true cowardly fashion, we tried a few more times, but SS was very agitated and we just stopped. Come on, no one expected different from us lightweights.

SS has decided that rock stars go by only one name, and that is the path she has chosen. We wonder what will happen when the realization of her limited vocal ability hits her. We have resigned ourselves to tag her until she chooses a life partner. When P walks SS down the aisle, he will hand SS's partner her name tags, from then on it's up to that lucky individual to keep tabs on her. Maybe by then we will have a chip inserted in SS and keep tabs on her through our GPS and cell phones.

Here is our rock star happily rocking out an ear damaging tune. I took two short videos, but U Tube refuses to load them. I am going to ask P to try again, because I have reached my colorful language and groaning limit for the next three months. SS does look cute in her we are never going to let her take that path until she earns a real degree outfit. :)

We really dig the hair extensions. I have told P that next time we go to China Town (or when we return to China) I am going to have several strands on SS's hair dyed neon orange (most likely) or neon pink. Heck, I did it with JJ and it is a great contrast with dark hair, plus makes them easy to spot in a crowd. I might try it next Halloween, since I used to do the same to my hair every October. It was a lot of fun showing up to court (and testifying) dressed completely professionally, and with neon orange hair. P always got a kick out of it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Mama I watch movie"

Those were SS's last very groggy words before falling asleep last night. Our girl had a very big day. As you can see in the pictures below SS fell asleep while leaning on me. Another quirk of our daughter is that she does not have a consistent way of falling asleep. JJ fell asleep while riding in the car and on me if we were out past his bedtime. But at home, I simply placed him in his crib and he fell asleep. Silly, young, innocent me, I had no idea how good I had it then. The more time we spend with SS, the more we realize JJ was the easy one. Excuse us while we hurl and say YIKES!.

Anyhoo, consistency is way overrated in SS's world. To fall asleep in the same manner every night, a routine, that would be way too simple. Sometimes I rock (actually glide) her to sleep, sometimes she falls asleep in our arms, sometimes she asks to be placed in her crib and wants to be left alone, sometimes she lays next to P and buries her head in the crook of his armpit, and other times she leans on one of us until she dozes off. Just like she did last night. SS is like Forest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. And she is only three, we can't wait to see what other quirks she is going to develop. Of course we will deposit into her therapy fund accordingly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An unnecessary milestone, SS's first movie.

For the past few months P has been hinting that it is time for SS's first movie theater experience. For some reason I envisioned a cartoon movie, specifically a D*sney cartoon movie as the time to brave public humiliation with our daughter. But P, Sunshine, Mr. Fisheries Biology, lover of all things aquatic, the man who still remembers the scientific names of fishes (9 years after his B.S.) had something else in mind. SS's first movie venture? D*sney's Oceans, very fitting for this family. At least he got the D*sney part. And their movies are kid friendly in length, ninety minutes. We saw our last movie in late June 2008, Baby Mama. We were all scatter brained planning for our China trip and meeting our daughter, but P insisted we needed to see a movie. He knew there were not many things we would stop doing once SS came home, but he knew that we would not set foot in a movie theater for a while. Smart guy, great sense of what awaited us.

We just posted a few days ago about SS's less than stellar behavior during lunch at the Thai restaurant. Then why would we think that taking our increasingly ill mannered child to a strange place, dark, with a screen larger than she has ever seen before, and with deafening noise level would be a good idea? Ah, that is easily explained by our fly by the seat of our pants parenting philosophy. After picking up SS's van from the shop we introduced our second born to the world of over priced popcorn, soda and assorted snacks. That turned out to be a good move. The only time SS shut up was while sucking on her large cherry Icee (she finished three fourths of it, quite impressive), or when she was stuffing way too much popcorn in her precious little mouth. But since it was a D movie, she was not the only chatterbox there, and for the most, she was not ear drum shattering loud.

SS and I entered the auditorium during the previews, while P was stuck at the concession stand. Things have certainly changed since JJ's first movie. I am ashamed to admit that he was only 5 months old, but did not utter a peep the entire movie. The booster seats came in handy, since SS's whopping 26 pounds are not enough to keep the seat down. When I sat SS down she was all smiles, mesmerized by the big screen, while taking quick glances around her. It was so interesting to see the world through the eyes of a three year old. After a few minutes SS held her hands together in front of her, looked at me and in a burst of unadulterated enthusiasm exclaimed "I WATCH MOVIE!!!!!" Close sweetie, you were watching movie previews, but exciting nonetheless.

A documentary, not even one with the D*sney seal, is not the best first movie experience for a toddler. But there is no way I would deny P that experience, the subject was a big deal to him. The worst that could happen would be a hasty exit with SS, and we have made a few of those already. SS's interest in aquatic creatures was a big help, although she lost steam by the one hour mark. That is a long time for someone her age and with a nonexistent attention span.

We found Pierce Brosnan's narration excruciatingly bland. I told P he would have done a bang up job narrating the film. He has a great voice, I could listen to the guy blab mindlessly or even read the phone book. That is the kind of voice P has, and I have the $600 phone bill when we were dating and on opposite ends of California to prove his pull. His grandmother says that he gets his sexy voice from his father (major eeeeewwwww factor there for me). Seriously D*sney people, have P narrate the darn movie and your female attendance will increase 1,000%. The bland narration did not help SS, but she did better than expected. The only stressful moment came when an army of newborn turtles emerged from the sand on the shore and tried to make it to the ocean, while mean birds flew down and picked them up for a snack. We feared that SS would have a flashback to that *&%@%*$ seagull stealing her corndog in San Francisco. If her mind went there it did not show.

Impressions of SS during the movie:
* Her record attention span, seriously blew us away.
* Her recognition of sea creatures and her fondness for dolphins, sharks and tugas (tortugas or turtles).
* When a circle of life moment was imminent (an animal eating or attacking another animal), the foreboding music would give it away. SS picked up on this and upon hearing the change in music would say "Ut oh." So freaking adorable.
* Her exuberant reaction upon seeing a clown fish. SS then proceeded to share her delight by yelling, really yelling "CLOWN FISH!!!!!!!"
* The perma smile on P's face whenever SS recognized an animal, or when she repeated the name of an animal. I probably did not watch much of the movie, because the actual entertainment for me was first watching my daughter, and second watching the pride P was oozing out of every pore.
* Our daughter making sure to touch either one of us, sometimes both, while she was in her own seat.
* Leaning her head against my arm at around the 45 minute mark and saying "Hold me."
* Spending half the the movie between my lap and P's.

Why was it an unnecessary milestone? SS is not going to remember her first movie or those to come for a few years. Did she need to see a movie? Of course not, it is one of those things that are more important to us as parents. Why would I ramble on this post about such a common occurrence? I have no idea exactly how many people watched a movie today worldwide, but I am sure that they number millions. Nothing earth shattering, news worthy about SS's experience, mundane at best. Heck, I bet only P and Abu will read the entire boring post (feel free to prove me wrong if you last this long). But it was a milestone for SS, for us, one of many more we look forward to enjoying. The little things that make us smile, that make our day, that memories are made of. The little things we dreamed about while we waited for three years, and wondered when we would bring our daughter home. The little things that make us forget the painful wait, make us forget when SS dumped baking soda all over the kitchen floor, stayed up all night, threw a three hour tantrum, had us worried sick about attachment and the consequences, bent and almost broke our glasses, and many other cute but not so endearing moments. We signed up for this eyes wide open, not only the good, and we got exactly what we wished for.

The key to a successful movie experience, an Icee and popcorn almost as big as your child.

Oh yeah, happy child.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A three year old with car trouble.

We woke up SS at 5:20 a.m., got her in her carseat, and again made the drive to the dealership. The van had been making a concerning noise that P and I feared could be the transmission. It worsened this week, necessitating another trek to the middle of nowhere. It is still under warranty (only 25,000 miles after three years), but it is still an inconvenience. For all of SS's high maintenance behavior, she is a good traveler. She is a pro at being taken from her crib half asleep, then placed in her carseat still in her PJs. We were hoping she would return to sleep but she was intrigued as to why we were traveling caravan style. When I managed to scald my tongue, palate and esophagus, my yelping sealed her fate; she was too startled to go back to sleep. I usually take my caffeine cold and there is a reason for that. Today I had coffee and it will be a long time before I make that mistake again. That is what happens when I am running on a whole hour of sleep. The stupid pain kept me awake, the two Percocet did not help.

Although we have had our share of used crappy cars (the sedan was our first new purchase), we are not mechanics and were happy to hear that the problem was a pulley, not the engine. Since P had a long week and little sleep, we opted to return tomorrow to retrieve SS's car. And that is what she calls it, she won't stand for us referring to it as Mama's car, or even the family car. It is SS's car, dang it. Oh to be three years old and suffer the inconvenience of car trouble.

As any couple, P and I have had those moments when we have been less than kind to each other. It is normal and usually a result of stress or sleep deprivation. So yeah, I have sometimes wondered how I ended up marrying the insensitive creature in front of me, then have children with said creature. I am also sure that P has those moments where he wonders the same about me, and far more frequently. Then there are days like yesterday, when the opposite happens. P made the appointment for the van during lunch, and was told to be at the dealership at 7:00 a.m. That meant a 5:00 a.m. wake up call for us. He told me, then apologized for inconveniencing us so early in the morning. That was so freaking cute, because he was sincere (that or an Oscar is in his future). The man only drives the van when he is with us, while SS and I pretty much live in it. He was the one who was going to drive three hours, then put in a ten hour day at work. SS and I were going along for the ride (I obviously drove one way), then return home to our beds (OK, SS would). I could have driven with SS and hang around until it was done, but P never considered that option. And believe me, the man hates that drive as much as I do.

SS was sad to give up the comfort of her van. We were worried about how long we would have to do without it.

SS was about to doze off when we rudely moved her from the van to the car. She was shot after that.

Look Mama, I am having a blast in Baba's old, cramped car, while sitting in this death trap of a carseat. I love living dangerously.

P always makes fun of my habit as a passenger of propping my feet on the dashboard. A lot of the time is only one. SS does the same, P thinks it is a girl thing, as he claims he has never seen a guy do this.

The face of a child who has been strapped to carseats for almost three hours. We thankfully made it home half an hour later and SS returned to her crib, where she slipped to dreamland. We did not have SS in P's car from home because there is no way SS would remain calm if separated from he Mama. Also, while her second carseat has the same safety rating as her Br*tax, the over $150 price difference is for a reason. It is not as comfortable and more important, it does not fit the same. When SS falls asleep in this carseat her head bobs around, unlike her B. And yes, the carseat is installed properly, P is a pro at proper carseat procedure. We do not like SS in this carseat unless absolutely necessary.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another day, another appointment.

SS is having difficulty with sleep lately, it's been a rough four days for us. She falls asleep around 7:30 and there is no way to postpone it. SS then wakes up anywhere from midnight to 2:00 a.m., and it is party hardy time. I usually fall asleep between 3-5 a.m., but now must stand guard because SS no longer just stays between us in bed. Our curious toddler is making us regret our lackadaisical attitude towards baby proofing. SS was unexpectedly good at staying away from things she was told not to touch, that was all it took, a verbal warning. Well, she is all toddler and she is roaring. The girl is into everything, closets, under the sinks, under the beds, the oven, you get the idea. I made the mistake of dozing off once, she climbed down from our bed and made quite a mess in record time. We are hoping to apply some tough love and two team SS this weekend and get her back in a sleeping schedule. I hope it works, because the lack of sleep is really affecting both of us.

I had another appointment with Dr. JG, who is very pleased with my recovery. The infection has run its course, although the larger incision is still draining right above my navel. All I need now is a big Band Aid and Neosporin. I am feeling stronger, but as usual there is something new. The area of my former stoma is hurting big time. It began yesterday morning, and it feels like the inside is being twisted constantly. Just carrying SS from the car to the doctor's office (we parked across the street and the office is only on the second floor) left me in a really bad place. Dr. JG reminded me again that I had major surgery (that answer is getting old), and that things will hurt for quite some time. Good thing that I do pain well, because it is not about to move on anytime soon. P blew me away when he told Dr. JG that I was being very good and taking care of myself. The man has never uttered those words before, the words stubborn, like a child and driving him crazy are what I usually hear from him, in between colorful words and mumbling.

We asked SS what she wanted for lunch and she excitedly let everyone at the office know that she wanted "NOO NOOS!" Saps that we are, we headed to SS's favorite Thai restaurant to indulge SS with Pad Thai. That is when she decided that our rice was a lot more appealing than the noodles she claimed to want so much. That meant that P and I relinquished quite a bit of our rice to please Her Highness, who was quite smug about it all. A creature of habit, SS always ends up eating massive amounts of Pad Thai in mid afternoon. Next time we are just going to get her noodles to go, and an order of rice to eat in.

It looks like our days of enjoying a meal with our exceptionally (in a creepy way) well behaved toddler are over. SS is becoming vocal, hyper and incredibly demanding when we dine out. She has recently decided that she is too good for bibs. She threw a a royal fit when we tried to put her bib on, and we folded to avoid ruining everyone else's lunch. I do regret my cowardly moment of weakness (the pain was a factor), because SS is not in charge, and she needs to get on board soon. Then again, the moment we engage in a battle of wills with a child, we have lost right there. It dawned on us that we have been to that restaurant quite a few times, and we are always seated at the same table. It must be the brat table.

SS and I did some shopping after lunch, since I needed a distraction from the pain. An expensive distraction, but it helped. When we got home SS and I cleaned the van, meaning that SS used the van as her personal playground, getting into everything, and "helping" to the point of madness. It was fun though, she at least tries and we know she won't when she is actually capable of helping in the future. My extended time at home is not how we planned things when we brought SS home, but I must admit that this little person has really made our previously boring existence into an adventure. We never know what she is going to throw our way on any particular day, but we sure look forward to whatever it is, no matter how sleep deprived, or in pain we are. P commented last night that having my income would certainly make life easier on us. We could take our very much missed frequent little trips and indulge in other fun things. But this time with SS is more valuable than my lost income. Watching our little girl blossom from that fifteen month old who was not eating solids, could not walk and was gaunt, into a healthy toddler, developmentally on track, with cheeks, a cute belly and a million watt smile is priceless. I never expected to have that opportunity, and although it is lonely and I do crave the intellectual stimulation, I would not trade it for anything. This front row seat to the miracle that is SS is a blessing, an unexpected gift.

SS can hardly contain her excitement of yet another visit to Dr. JG's office.

Sexy Baba.

SS is getting a lot of use out of this Christmas present. We just keep it in the van now, good for keeping SS busy during appointments and lunches.

It was good to get back to our once a week lunch out with Baba routine.

Helping Mama clean the van.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rainy day baking.

Chef SS insists on several taste tests. She probably ruined her appetite after all that chocolate. Oh well, it's OK to splurge every now and then. SS is becoming a serious chocoholic. The girl can spot chocolate a mile away, and can eat more than most adults. It will hopefully come in handy as a bribe in the future. After baking with Mama, SS moved on to make fajitas for dinner with Baba. Oh, SS made ultimate fudge brownies for dessert. Delicious, decadent and not what P and I need.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Not large but in charge.

We had another laid back day. P and I are finally caught up with Flashforward. It's really going to suck having to wait a week in between episodes. We made grilled chicken with basil sauce for dinner and chocolate chip muffins for dessert. I found the recipes (and others) in a blog I discovered recently. SS helped with the muffins, but no pictures, did not feel like picking up a camera. Weird, huh? I'm wimping out in my old age because I am still feeling the effects of Friday. But I am listening to P, taking it easy, as difficult as it is.


July 9, 2008

P's reaction to the pictures, "Holy crapola, look at the difference!" Twenty-one months do make a difference. We are so blessed that of all the children in China, we were chosen to care for and love the most amazing one. We could not have done better biologically, not even close, no freaking way.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

She who celebrates too early gets slapped back into reality.

Look for that nugget of wisdom inside your next fortune cookie. It is sadly, oh so true. I had an awful day yesterday, excruciating pain, cramps and vomiting until 9:30 p.m. By 2:00 p.m. my energy was depleted and I could not even put up a happy front for SS. I called P and told him to get ready for a pity party, and I just vented for about three minutes. I was mad, mad as hell, and feeling very sorry for myself. I did not just get slapped back into reality, I got b*tch slapped back into reality. Since I was puking I could not take pain meds and I did not see an end to the pain. Then at 9:30 p.m. it was like a switch was turned off, that is how quickly it stopped, it was bizarre. I wanted to take a shower, but knew I could not stand up long enough and did not want to risk having an I fell and can't get up moment. Once I felt better I hightailed it to the shower, to get some sense of normalcy and wash the yuckiness (I know, not a word) away.

P and I are in the middle of a Flashforward marathon. That show about the whole planet blacking out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds on October 6, 2009. People had a flashforward to April 29, 2010, had a vision of where they would be. We watched the first episode last October but for some reason I did not get into it. Maybe because of the ban on TV I did not want to commit. We talked about it with JJ last week and now I'm hooked. How cool would it be to see where you are going to be six months from now? That is, unless you are going to be dead, then I don't think it would be nearly as neat. The best part about this brain atrophy marathon is that it is commercial free.

We have had a very lazy Saturday. Last night P stated that he wanted to sleep in this morning. And he did, until 7:30 a.m. His internal clock does him in during the weekends. Although he was up, he was still tired, chugging along. We spent the morning watching Flashforward, then P ran some errands. We had lunch and fatigue caught up with Sunshine, he slept for almost four hours. SS and I went outside to play and it felt so good. The plan was to take SS to the park but we did not have it in us. P wants to go to the river trail tomorrow for a very slow walk. I really need to get off my rear end and get moving.

SS is doing well considering what she is up against. She is not happy about her Baba fussing over her Mama and is being very vocal about it. I do feel sorry for Ms. Center of the Universe, it has to sting. Last night she napped late and we allowed her, but she woke up from a bad dream and she was uncontrollable. SS's limbs were all over the place, we have never seen her so aggressive after a nightmare. P could not control her and I could not even try, I did not have the strength. All she said was "No, oh no Baba, oh NO!" It was really painful to watch her so upset and not have a clue as to what was bothering her young mind.

After his nap P stayed outside with SS so I could post. Now back to Flashforward.

We had a lot of rain earlier in the week and we forgot to return SS's car to the garage. SS was brokenhearted about her car getting wet and set out to dry it off.

SS finally got the hang of using her feet to move the car. The girl is lazy and was relying on us to push her around. Today I used my sick card and refused to push her. That did the trick and SS learned to power her car on her own.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Definitely on the mend.

Tuesday I had another appointment with Dr. JG. SS was decked out in full Dr. SS gear, and Dr. JG was happy to see her again. He looked at the infected areas but decided to wait two days before draining. We have no idea why he chose to wait, dude is kind of weird. But since it was postponing slicing into my skin and more pain, I was happy to procrastinate. After my last surgery, the emergency, really big one, I did not have an appointment with Dr. Pudge Boy until a month after and the man was no help. Completely different experience now.

We were at the doctor's office at 9:30 a.m. this morning. Like Tuesday, I dressed SS while she slept, and that is no easy task, because it included her shoes. Waking up SS before her time can get you killed, so we do crazy things to avoid her wrath. On Tuesday, I secured her in her carseat and she did not wake up until we left the driveway.

Dr. JG came in, said hi to P and I, turned to SS and said in a formal tone "Hello doctor." Dude has a pleasant bedside manner, in addition to five kids, and the youngest is only two. The middle of my large incision is still draining and the doctor seemed pleased at the mess that is my infection. He wanted to cut and drain without numbing and I said heck no. I do have a high threshold for pain, but the heck if I want more right now. He obliged and I did not mind all the twisting and blood, because I was not feeling a thing. Dr. JG asked P to "milk" the infected areas frequently. Sunshine loves blood, guts and gory stuff, as long as it is not him. The doctor's request made Sunshine grin like a fat kid in a candy store.

I have an appointment in a week. Dr. JG is confident that this is the last hurdle I will encounter. The man obviously does not know me and the dark cloud that follows me everywhere. When the local anesthetic wore off I was hurting something awful. The Percocet did not help much, all that twisting he did I felt. It was difficult to keep a happy face for SS, but I am really good at that.

Although the pain is there daily, I am really doing so much better. It was worth taking a chance and closing the incisions, even though it became infected. Bottom line is that I was not doing this well fourteen days after my previous surgery. I can pick up SS, she is not constantly reminded about Mama's surgery by the wound vac. I know this because we have to remind her that Mama's incisions still hurt. SS forgets and gets really rough in her play, which makes me feel good. Her guard is not up, she is not hypervigilant. We also know that JJ's time with SS has a lot to do with this.

It is going to take months before I am back to whatever normal is. But for now I am really grateful for how I am feeling, and more important, I am grateful that SS fared better emotionally this time.

SS was seating in bed next to me while P was draining and cleaning my incision. P used a saline solution at the end and I complained because it felt cold. SS was frowning and mumbling something at P. Thinking that she was mad at P for hurting me, we quickly reassured her that Mama was not in pain, just startled. SS then showed us her arm and said "No, it got me!" Ha! So much for my daughter coming to my rescue. She was teed off that some of the solution got on her delicate arm. A while later, I placed my hand on my chest, close to the dressing that P was securing. SS said, "No touching Mama," and quickly removed my hand and held it on her lap. When P was done he asked SS if she wanted to touch the dressing. The girl had the gall to say yes, and did touch it, while still keeping my hand away. At least she always delivers a good laugh.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Feeling much better.

* I am a horrible slacker, no excuses. Just have been doing much of nothing, healing and hanging out with my shadow. Backtracking a little here to last week.*

Had an appointment with Dr. JG, who was disappointed that SS was not with us. We reassured him that it was not over the comment he made about wanting to steal her. SS was safe and sound asleep at home. Dr. JG confirmed that the incision was infected and should pop soon. He requested that we meet him at the ER during weekend to have it drained.

I asked what changed his mind about the open wound and wound vac. The doctor surprised us by saying, "I just took a chance. There was a 50-50 chance of infection and I went with the least restrictive option for you." We do appreciate that he was honest and that it did not take him months after the surgery to come clean about it. I am also grateful that I am not schlepping a wound vac around.

SS playing with the laptop P's aunt V gave her last summer. SS has a laptop from Abu and this one was in the downstairs closet all this time. It was a bit above SS's abilities then.

JJ made us another garlic chicken pizza for lunch and it was tastier than yesterday's. The sauce is made of ranch dressing and garlic, so yummy. Even SS liked it.

It was midnight when the proverbial hell broke loose. Since I am a puking champ, what is the big deal? Well, I did not have green eggs and ham, so why was my vomit forest green? It was yucky, dense bile. Like I said, the pain from the incision did not help, and I was at a point that I could not take a deep breath. It felt like I was chocking and that was rather uncomfortable. Worst bout of vomiting ever.

SS had an appointment for her 3 year well child check up at 10:00 a.m. The plan was for JJ and I to take her, since P has taken so much time off from work. I was in no condition to leave the house, so P to the rescue again. JJ could have taken SS, but a parent should be there. Then P became unnecessarily over protective and did not want to leave me home alone. We were waiting for a call from Dr. JG and P wanted to have JJ ready to high tail it to the ER if needed. Again, I did not see a problem waiting for him to come home. I had been throwing up for 10 hours, what's a few more? SS is developmentally on track, and at the bottom of the US growth charts. P mentioned that SS was weighed and measured at urgent care recently and they skipped that. I was annoyed because I wanted her weighed and measured at her doctor's office, for continuity. Then the man that bites my head off if I do not recall every single aspect of SS's check up did not bother to write anything else down. Translation, I will have to make another appointment to get it done right. SIGH

I spent the afternoon in bed and that was very difficult. SS did not cry out for me once, but I felt so guilty about just passing her off to her brother. P kept texting me, reminding me to keep my a$$ in bed. I ventured downstairs for a while, then the inconvenient puking returned. JJ nicely pointed out that it was not good for SS to see me hurling, that it was scaring her. He was right, it was really upsetting my daughter, so I returned to my cave.

P came home from work bearing fruity gifts, pineapple, strawberries and bananas. He came upstairs with a big bowl of pineapple and I went to town. It was the first thing I kept down all day. We spent about fifteen minutes in bed watching something on Y0u Tube. I got up and noticed a puddle on my shirt. Initially I thought it was pineapple juice and was rather annoyed at my messiness. Upon closer observation we realized that my incision popped, puss and blood, a real mess. That is one trip to the ER we didn't have to make.

I was up since 2:00 a.m., just could not sleep. I was waiting for 6:00 a.m to do a little shopping. I had planned on cooking a few dishes with JJ over the week, and freezing them to send home with him. But the stupid surgery got in the way. I still really wanted to do that but he only had one day left home. Just my luck, Mr. Sleeps A Lot woke up every time I moved. My plan was to sneak out to go shopping, but not only was Sunshine awake, he was in a talking mood. UGH!

With no choice I fessed up, and P insisted on going with me shopping. There we were at 6:00 a.m. grocery shopping and without SS. I told P how weird it was and he agreed. Then I told him that I felt guilty. Now, P is healthier than I am in that aspect, he quickly said "I don't, we hardly ever have alone time, and SS is where she needs to be, in bed and safe." He's right, but I can't let that guilt go.

By the time the snoozing twins woke up at 10:30 a.m. I had made a huge batch of chili and pasta with carbonara sauce. We also had the ingredients for chicken Marsala, but we needed to go over the dish with JJ, since he has not made it before. By the time we were done with all three dishes the kitchen was full and a mess. I don't think I have ever cooked so much in one day. We both felt better sending JJ back with ready to eat food.

We went to dinner at our favorite steak joint. I asked P to just go with JJ and SS because I was not feeling well, but he would not budge. Since we really wanted JJ to try it, I sucked it up and went along. It was a big mistake, because I felt worse by the time we arrived. I was unable to eat, because all I wanted to do was hurl. Sunshine really needs to learn to listen to me sometimes. Then he was upset because I was not eating. Seriously P? Try feeling like your stomach is being pumped full of gas and about to explode. Would you like to eat? I tried my best to puke, but it does not happen on command.

SS did not have a good time either. I went to the bathroom as we came in, and when I made it to our table SS was in a booster seat, across and to the right from where I was seating. P said "Well, the hostess suggested a booster seat." Well Sunshine, the hostess is not SS's mother and I could not care less what she suggested. SS ALWAYS seats in a high chair between us. If she is not able to sit between us, she sits next to ME. This nerve wracking post op period is NOT the time to try new things with SS. Big coward that I am, and not wanting to pick a fight to ruin our evening, I let it go. I was in too much pain to put up a fight. But SS was miserable, did not eat and was a royal pain the rear end. It could have been avoided by seating her in a high chair, between us, as SS expected. P meant well, I know he wanted SS as far away from me as possible, to force me to focus on me and not fuss over SS. And he IS perfectly capable of looking after his daughter. But SS is fragile now, and I had pretty much dumped her on her brother, she needed her Mama.

Despite my wishy washiness, JJ enjoyed his meal. As soon as we got to the parking lot the pukearama began. I so hoped to make it home, but no. After a few rounds I said to P, "This is not the advertisement they need, their food is really good." P said"Are you kidding, half the place is a humongous bar. They are used to seeing people bent over puking out here." Ah, I can always count on Sunshine to make me smile. After a while, I opened the front door to sit down and there was a country song playing on the radio. That cracked me up, Saturday night, bent over puking on a bar parking lot, listening to country music, with my kids in the back of the van. My gosh, how trashy is that?

SS playing with her new Aquadoodle. The pen holds water and that is the "ink". It has a two sided board that dries rather fast. Another one of those toys we bought for SS years before she came home.

All good things must come to an end, and it was time for JJ to return to work. Needless to say P, SS and I were bummed out. JJ made this post op time so easy on all of us. Hate to harp on it, but it was so different than last year. JJ did not ask once what to do, he just did. Never once asked what SS needed, he met her needs. SS did not make it easy on JJ, she rode him hard. Bath time was the absolute worst, she screamed like she was being skinned alive. JJ did not loose his cool once (unlike me), did not ask me to help her calm down once. Like P, JJ had almost no experience with little people prior to SS, but like P, he's done an amazing job.

During this visit I noticed how much P has rubbed off on JJ. Their way of dealing with SS is identical, it's creepy. I know that laid back, easy breezy side was not there before P became a part of our lives. Heck, the way they both deal with me is identical as well. My children have my temperament, much to my displeasure. I take full responsibility for JJ's, but SS? How the heck did that happen? It's good that they have P to balance the Evil Incarnate and Forces from Hell they have inherited from me.

P came through for us when it was time to say goodbye. We feared a meltdown, but P started singing the Goodbye Song from Y0 G@bba G@bba. SS joined him right away and we avoided a Three Mile Island incident. JJ, thank you kiddo, we love you and miss you.

Talk about laid back eating. See? We knew she'd be eating on her own before high school. We don't get the right hand thing though.

I asked P to check on SS because I thought I heard toilet paper. P was too into his video game (hate, HATE those things) to pay attention. He then resorted to making me feel like I was crazy, because how could I hear toilet paper when he was making so much noise with his stupid game? I asked SS what she was doing and got a nervous "nothing Mama!" Yeah, there is no way I could hear her messing with the toilet paper.

Not much going on, feeling better and bored to death. But I'm keeping my promise to be good, whatever that means.

JJ always leaves something when he visits. P says that is because he really wants to move here with us. Dream on Sunshine. :) This time he outdid himself. So far we found his jacket, three pairs of socks, two T-shirts and his shaving cream. Maybe Sunshine is on to something.

P went to bed at 6:00 p.m., although that is not a record for him. The guy came in from work, laid down in bed and was out in no time. SS fell asleep on the sofa at 10:30 p.m. and I was hoping he would get up to help me get her to her crib. SS is restless so sleeping on the sofa won't do tonight. I am going to wait a while, but it looks like I am going to have to carry her upstairs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Two steps back.

Although I am doing relatively well, there are two issues that are kicking my butt. The incision was indeed infected and it popped in a gory mess. JJ said that my shirt looked like I had been the victim of a shotgun blast.

The bowel G0ds are mad at me and letting me know. Friday I had a 12 hour bout of vomiting, serious, like I have never experienced before vomiting. That is big, because I am a puking champ. Add that to the pain from an infected wound, and it's not good. I have very little energy left. I am really stunned at how wiped out I am. I am still vomiting, but at least not as much, not a half hour period went by without projectile vomiting. We contacted Dr. JG and P is pi$$ed because he was not very impressed with the vomiting. It's expected with an impacted bowel, and I just have to quit being a wimp and suck it up.

JJ is leaving in a few hours and P and I are already wondering how we are going to cope. What happened to that sullen teenager? The one who could not wait for a sister, so he could save her from our questionable parenting? OK, our parenting is questionable. What we have seen these past few days has truly humbled us, but also made us very proud. JJ is going to be a great daddy if that is the path he chooses. We are hoping he has not scheduled a vasectomy after a mega dose of SS. He has been SS's everything since Monday. P has been consumed taking care of me and JJ is on SS duty 24/7. I last changed a diaper Monday, have not even bathed my daughter, and am ashamed to say I have not prepared a sippy cup or a meal for her. What a difference from last year, when I was hobbling around with an open wound, a wound vac, and picking up my child out of necessity.

How good has he been for SS? She has slept in her crib every single night, and not one incident of waking up crying or whimpering. We predict she'll be in bed between us tonight. The expected and understandable meltdowns never happened. She had several in the hospital, but not a single one since JJ came home. That is amazing since I have had very little cuddle time with SS, and P's attention is not focused on her constantly. She has awoken next to her brother every morning and not once called out for me in a panic. When we are downstairs hanging out and watching TV, she acknowledges us, but her place is right next to her brother. It's so cute when she walks up to him, gives him a hug and rubs his back. She simply adores him. More than anything, we are grateful for the stability JJ has provided SS during such an uncertain situation.

I might post later today, depends on how I feel. P is so wiped out, I really feel sorry for him. Just yesterday he was telling me that he does not have the energy to even get through a phone call. P knows he has quite a few to make, but is too tired right now. He goes to work between 4-5 a.m., takes time off throughout the workday to deal with whatever mess I have created, comes home, deals some more then crashes. Now his rock is leaving and P is feeling uncertain. He knows no one can fill JJ's shoes when it comes to meeting SS's emotional needs. Regular daily living tasks are not the issue, it's adequately filling SS's emotional tank that is vital.

But, we managed last year and things were really bad. I just have to suck it up and own up to my responsibilities. Come Monday, we will do fine, we have done this before.

JJ thank you so much for everything you have done for us. We know how demanding SS can be and you have been a champ.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Subliminal indoctrination of our Chinese children through Ni Ha0 K@i L@n.

A few months ago, I came across an interesting thread at an international adoption website. The poster was at a loss for a comeback over something a friend said. The mother had just returned from China and was discussing the trip with her friend. The friend suddenly turned serious and wanted to make sure that the mother knew that her Chinese daughter had been "brainwashed" to eventually become an agent against the U.S. Stupid people are such a gift at times, the gift of laughter. I was surprised at the replies to that post. Completely taken aback by how many parents of Chinese children have been told the same. The messenger is always very serious about this, and sadly, most often a relative. Let's hear it for the good ole flesh and blood myth again.

I told P about it and wondered what his response would be. P was actually excited, and wished it would happen sooner rather than later. Huh? I would not be looking forward to hearing such rubbish, what's with the dude? P happily explained that he would undertake the same serious demeanor and respond, "We know, we knew before going to China and we prepared. As soon as we came home we reprogrammed SS. When the Chinese government activates her, SS will engage in counterespionage. SS is going to be a double agent." The thing is that I can see P doing just that, and with a straight face. He is a firm believer that stupid people have whatever is coming to them. And P is the guy to humor their ridiculous sense of paranoia, which they mistake for patriotism. Would love to be there if it happens.

This morning, JJ was for the first time paying attention to Nick Jr., and having a WTF fest. Where are D0ra's and Dieg0's parents? Is it wise to teach preschoolers that they can walk up to a wild animal and play like it was a stuffed toy? Why are the animals on these shows always getting into messes brought upon by stupidity? And on, and on. I had a great time watching him, remembering when he was hooked on senseless cartoon crap. How easy we forget. One of JJ's favorites was DTV Hits, where they made music videos, using snippets fro D*sney films and specials. JJ's favorite video was Bad Moon Rising. Always got a kick out of barely 4 year old JJ walking around singing, "Don't go around tonight, well it's bound to take your life, there's a bad moon on the rise." Half-way through Ni Ha0 K@i L@n JJ had an epiphany. He said, "Mom, the Chinese are using this show to indoctrinate the children until they are activated." It is a sad day when I come across as the rational one in this family. P thought JJ's accidental discovery was "awesome." I honestly pity the stupid person who encounters these two.

P's car would not start this morning, and now JJ is SS's, mine and P's chauffeur. The guy gets more responsibilities and zero pay. We went shopping in the afternoon, the weather was glorious, 75 degrees. SS wore her new glow in the dark Reef sandals and was in open toe heaven. It was weird not schlepping SS around. We do so much shopping together that it is second nature to get her in and out of shopping carts. But I am being very good, and know regardless of the up to 40 pounds allowance, I will not be picking up SS anytime soon.

SS proved again why she is not big sister material. She would kill a younger sibling, heck she's been trying to off her older brother since she came home. I bought a large order of fries to munch while we shopped. JJ absentmindedly grabbed one, only to feel a tug. He looked just in time to see SS snatch 3/4 of his fry away. JJ got to keep what was between his thumb and index finger. The best part was SS's killer face. We have to give SS credit for going against someone stronger, bigger and taller than her.

JJ made an excellent garlic chicken pizza for dinner. I helped with the prep, but he did the real work. We are going to have to make another one.

I only had one incident of fever today, a very mild one. But since the fun that is me never stops, I am now dealing with a swollen, numb area. Dr. JG had used a permanent pen to draw circles on certain areas. Those areas are now inflamed and red, can't wait to see what good news he will deliver tomorrow.

I only took one picture today, the bunny picture below was snapped by JJ. One would think that I would be in full paparazzo from hell mode. Nah, not feeling it. Instead, we are taking in how quiet it is around here. JJ is not on the phone 24/7 screaming, crying and making us miserable. He has yet to insult us by saying that his sister is well trained, practically a Sea World seal and can change her own damn diapers. I am ashamed to say that he has done all the care taking. SS did need Mama cuddle time this morning, and sat on my lap for over an hour. Poor JJ cringed every time his hyper sister moved or stuck her elbow on my incisions, or head butted my stomach. It's what SS does when she is excited, she loses whatever little control she had over her body. But she was not malicious and I am pretty good at deflecting.

Last night P went to bed around 10:00 p.m. Nothing unusual there, except that SS was wide awake downstairs. Had JJ not been here, P would have needed to stick around until her highness slept, and then place her in her crib. It's those seemingly little things that we are so grateful we do not have to worry about. When P comes home, he does not have to worry about what drama has transpired during his absence, or in what emotional state he is going to find SS and I. He does wonder what stupid move I made, and if I managed to hurt myself. But that is a daily occurrence with me. We love having JJ here, we might kidnap him for good.

SS's bunny ears a big on her, and once they fell off on Sunday, I could not get her to wear them again. I so wanted a picture of her with her bunny ears, but SS would not cooperate. Enter JJ, who just places the ears on her, and the child does not protest.

SS with her big girl game.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

JJ is in charge, SS refuses to read the memo.

JJ arrived yesterday afternoon, and SS promptly ignored him as punishment for taking his time driving safe through snow (just at the beginning). SS is one tough customer. When he arrived, JJ noticed that I had some ingredients out, asked where I was in the recipe and wanted to take over. But since he had a long drive I just wanted him to spend time with his cruel sister. Everything was going well until I got a chill. My temperature was barely 100.8, and I made the terrible mistake of telling P. He wanted me to call the doctor's office, and for once I listened. By the time I was done talking to Dr. JG my temperature was up to 102.5, and I felt lousy. It appears that Dr. JG's partner was supposed to send me home with antibiotics. Dr. JG was not happy about the omission (his mumbling was amusing). Some Tylenol took care of the fever last night.

I had a 9:00 a.m. appointment with Dr. JG, and it felt so weird not to have SS there with us. The incision area is a bit infected and I need to return Thursday (I also got antibiotics). Dr. JG assured us that it is rare to have another surgery. Worst case scenario is an abscess that he would wait to drain 10 days post-op. He also let us know that he removed more diverticula, so that scan was not accurate. Not concerned, I have a lot more intestine there.

With the pesky fever situation out of the way, Dr. JG moved on to the sermon part of the appointment. He reminded me that I had major surgery (well aware here), and said that most people spend one week in the hospital. Dr. JG went on to say that after discharge, most people do not do "anything" for at least one month. Sermon ended with "no one tries to get back to life so quickly." My question was how the heck did he know or felt knowledgeable that I was trying to get back to life. P noted that I was walking the day after surgery. Well, from the moment I opened my eyes in recovery, I was repeatedly told that the sooner I walked the better. Maybe they should get their expectations together before passing them on to the patients. Also, what have I done since Thursday? That's right, n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Later in the day I was discussing this with JJ, who kindly interrupted me to say, "But Mom that IS exactly what you are doing, trying to get back to life." Again, why did I have him? Work with me JJ, work with me. At least SS is on my side, for now.

When I returned home from my appointment JJ and SS were still asleep. Somehow I was sure that JJ heard me come in and walk upstairs. I took my meds and dozed off. I awoke to the sound of JJ doing dishes, and SS watching TV. SS was not wailing, always a good sign. My first instinct was to get out of bed and cuddle with SS. I do not like pawning her off when I am nearby, but fatigue got the best of me and I stayed a while longer. JJ was surprised to see me when I made it downstairs, since he thought I was still at the doctor's office. SS had a clean diaper on, her milk sippy and Cheerios, and no desire to be with Mama other than to say hi.

After lunch JJ took SS to the basketball court in her Cozy Coupe, to use their birthday snappers. We neglected to get them out in Monterey. I stayed inside on the recliner and out of trouble. When they returned, JJ came in to ask me for bubbles. I showed him the machine and was going to step outside for a moment when SS stopped me. She placed both hands in front of her, "No Mama no outside. SS and JJ outside. STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP." I am yesterday's news, SS has moved on. SS and JJ played with bubbles and listened to 80's music, while I remained banished indoors. It was really good to have alone time, since the pain was pretty nasty.

As happy as SS is to have JJ all to herself, she is not happy about being disciplined. She loves to bully her brother and when everything is OK he allows her to become a tiny tyrant. Instinctively JJ knew that this is not one of those times, and SS could not stop attempting to be in charge. JJ did a great job redirecting her and keeping her entertained. I am going to do my best to let go and not interfere. I did promise P that I would work hard at recuperating, because next week is just SS and I.

After dinner we watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad, a series on A&E. P turned to me during a break and said "it's great to see them together you know." Yes P, it is, it is really great.

SS scored a cook duck and a ninja duck from JJ. Her collection is growing.

Come on JJ, we can both fit easily.

Guess whose life must now revolve around the mail.

SS tried her best to snap one but I could not hear it. That did not stop her from declaring herself the winner.

Just realized she plays air guitar left handed.