I have always had a problem with the whole Spring forward, Fall back change. I spent 18 years in Puerto Rico and we do not do the time change thing there. Whenever that hour change happens I spend the next month thinking what time it should be rather than the time it is. Although I have now lived in California longer than I lived in P.R. the time change is still a problem, and we suspect it will remain that way. So the last month has been unsurprisingly difficult for me. Every hour spent in Chicago/Iowa and now here has been difficult. The kicker is that the fifteen hour difference between CA and China was not a problem. Then again, I was not there on a vacation, I was there to meet my daughter, get to know her, her birth country and culture the best I could in the limited time there, then to finally bring her home. Let's give my very screwed up psyche a hand for that leap of faith.
As exhausted as we were upon arrival we had a few things to do. Grandpa arranged for his cleaning woman, the very cheerful and kind K to pick us up at the airport. I knew Grandpa owns a Cadillac, I was also aware of the model. That did not stop me from being surprised at the freakishly small backseat. We again broke a safety rule (yes, we seem to do that a lot lately), I kept SS in the Ergo during the 15 minute drive from the airport. We were tired, sweaty and cranky. Why put P through the whole installing the carseat bit and expose poor K to our dark sides? It turned out to be a good decision because Grandpa, rightfully as the bachelor he is, never pulled out the latches for a carseat. It took P quite a while to get them out. Once that was out of the way the carseat installation was easy breezy, but we know it would not have gone as well at the airport loading and unloading zone only. If SS was still rear facing it would have taken P a long time to install that thing.
When we got to Grandpa's his friend M was there to meet us. Grandpa called him when when we landed and asked him to show us where the light switches were located and some other stuff I did not pay attention to. Not because I did not care, but because I still had SS in the Ergo and I was sweaty, cranky, sleepy, hungry and about to loose it. P is right, between hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, and hell hath no fury as when K (and now SS) is hungry, he would always choose to face the scorned woman. His wife and daughter are far more scary than that harpy old adage.
Grandpa relayed a message that he would call two hours after we landed and wanted one of us to answer his house phone. That meant that as hungry as we were we needed to wait for his call. Grandpa left plenty of food in the fridge/freezer, but the thought of even microwaving was not an option at that point. Once he called we thanked him for his kindness and hospitality and quickly asked for dining suggestions. We did not want fast food but we also did not want fancy. We were a frightful mess, and we are sure the stench was there as well. We ended up at a noodle place at the Mall, a wonderful in between fast food and fancy. We were surprised by the portion sizes. We had stir fried noodles and chicken katsu over rice with curry. It was happy hour, so we got 8 goyza (dumplings) as well. We had enough leftover for dinner later, and we did not manage to finish the noodles. Definitely going there again when JJ comes next week.
We walked around the Mall for a while, then went to W@lly M@rt to fulfill our promise to SS of sand toys. I know we shamelessly gush over our child as though we are the first parents to ever grace the face of this planet. That being said, SS again amazed us with her poise. Dude, P and I wish we had an ounce of what she is made off. The girl takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Still, just because she can handle adversity, it does not give us a license to abuse her. We could not control flight departure times, but we can and do control what we do once SS has undergone a lot of stress. We make it a point of rewarding her good (actually amazing) behavior rather than bribing her to behave. By the way, we wish we could boast about our parenting skills, but the rewarding rather than bribing just recently dawned on us. You got it, we did not even have the wits to come up with that ourselves. Of course $4 worth of sand toys is obviously an inadequate reward. We'll correct that cheap oversight tomorrow.
When we returned to Grandpa's we sat in the backyard and tried to get SS tired by allowing her to blow and chase bubbles. SS did not go to bed until almost midnight.
Purely gratituos shot to show off SS's new kicks. These Chucks are neon pink (not sure the picture conveys how loud they really are), with a double tongue, one pink, the other neon green. She got compliments on her shoes and they go so well with her outfit. BTW, SS's feet have experienced their greatest growth since we met. She managed to outgrow her red Chucks just before we departed, and the Reef sandals the Abus got her for her birthday, which we thought would have been big all summer, now fit just right.
We were so relieved when SS dozed off only ten minutes after takeoff. We were obviously so happy that we broke our rule of having her safely buckled up in the CARES. Safety lapse aside, if you have a child within the height/weight requirements, please do spend the money on this device. Remember, flight attendants refer to lap children as "missiles" for a darn good reason. Yeah, do as we say, not as we do. How's that for hypocrisy?
When SS woke up we used every trick in our combined books to get her to eat her fruit, cheese and cracker plate without success.
We will never again complain about shelling out $13 for stickers. Do you know what those $13 buy you on a flight? That money gets you a happy, easy breezy although exhausted child. Sure, we could have had a drink each or a glass of wine, but it does not compare. Happiness is a good traveler, no matter how much those stickers cost.The ones she is using here are not from a sticker book.
We were treated to complimentary Mai Tais before landing. Nothing like having a plane full of people drinking on an empty stomach. SS was not a happy camper about being left out. She really regretted leaving her fake ID at home. SS renamed the Mai Tais Baba Tais. I guess we know who she prefers, that is, until JJ arrives and then both P and I will be chopped liver to her.
After lunch (but really dinner because I am still tripping out about the time thing) we walked around the mall and SS was in ocean creature heaven. They had dolphins, a shark (they are our friends and need love too, next time you see a shark spread the love), a manta ray, a sea serpent an octopus and a HUGE sea tortuga that SS had to love upon. We foresee many return trips to this little piece of sea heaven.
SS had a tight grip on her under $4 sand toys. We want to get her a few more but this is all W@lly M@rt had and we did not feel like going elsewhere. But we did promise SS sand toys when we arrived at Grandpa's, and no matter how tired we were we wanted to keep our promise. That and we make it a point of bribing the daylights out of her when she manages to hold it together even though we put her in some pretty impossible situations.
P finally got to do the only thing he wanted to do here, nothing. It was good to see him relaxing, and then the too good to be true moment abruptly ended. Ten minutes after taking this picture (dude had not even managed to get a grass stain on his clothes) P informed me that we were taking SS to the beach early tomorrow, does not want us to wake up later than 7:00 a.m., which is 4:00 a.m. CA time. See what I mean about time change?
Recently there was a fire in the area and P knew about this. However, he was not aware how close it was to Grandpa's house.