Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honolua Bay

Our first trip to Honolua Bay eight years ago was a complete disaster. We arrived at around 2:00 p.m., the water was choppy, cold and murky. P insisted that if we went further out, it would get better. I was naturally scared out of my mind, and even though P held my hand the entire time I was freaking out. It was such a relief when we turned around. Looking back, the fact that we were the only ones there should have been a big hint. We returned a few days later, much earlier, but I was still apprehensive. The visibility was amazing and we saw so many beautiful fish, it was a great way to get over that first try. We were really looking forward to taking JJ to that same spot for his first snorkeling experience.

But nothing is ever easy with my kids or myself for that matter. JJ had some problems with his mask, and P swapped masks with him. Ours are pretty good (as in expensive even back then) and that made it better for JJ, but it took him a while to find the right fit. Understandable since our masks were fitted to us, so we might have to fork over good money for a better mask.

We have often extolled JJ's and SS's ability to really keep their cool during extraordinary situations, that P and I know would devastate us. We stand by our shameless gushing about their strength. When it comes to the scary, the traumatizing, the unknown, JJ and SS are pros. Then there is the small stuff, the stuff ordinary people would never think about twice, and that is the stuff that makes them flip their lids. In this case, it took JJ quite a while to live with the fact that if you stick your face in salty water, guess what, you are going to get salt in your mouth, eyes, and it won't feel good. I was afraid that he would give up altogether.

Initially P wanted me to go out with JJ and of course I balked at his suggestion. The neurotic in me wondered what I would do if JJ drowned. This is laughable because JJ was a very good swimmer by age 3. Since I was conditioned to fear water, I swore my kids would never be treated that way, and for once I kept my promise. Here is an embarrassing fact about me, except for JJ's bio father, all the men I dated were lifeguards. I swear, I had no clue about this until after I dated them, but it is a rather funny coincidence. P came in the water with us and had no choice but to bring SS in as well. There is no beach at Honolua, just rocks. Much to our surprise, our usually whinny, temperamental daughter decided that swimming was just fine. She is still not a fan of placing her head underwater when the ocean is involved. It is not fear, she keeps her head underwater at the pool so long it scares us, it is the salt that bothers her. Did I mention that we have freakishly weird kids?

Anyhoo, P held my hand until I came to my senses and realized no one was going to drown, loosened up and enjoyed the ride. SS picked up on the attitude change and although not fond of snorkeling yet, she was more than OK with riding on Baba's back. She then moved on to JJ and eventually became my personal barnacle. I usually cannot handle SS on my back in a pool, not even when she is wearing her PFD, but it worked really well today. I now understand why P likes it. For one, we knew exactly where she was, and second, it is about trust. What better way to work on building trust. Thanks to SS all four of us were together in the water. More important, we got to share an amazing experience with both JJ and SS.

I neglected to mention that my initial attitude (AKA dumb a$ fear) was perhaps influenced by an earlier blunder. We stopped at a place where P thought was the snorkeling area, although I was highly doubtful. We left SS and JJ in the car and walked over to look, and stupidly climbed over the railing at the vista point. Don't bother telling us how stupid that is, Grandpa already covered that. We saw a steep hike to our left and I did not recall such a thing, but what do I know. P decided to hike down to explore and I was going to return to the car. I was not looking when I lifted my right leg over the railing, and the next thing I felt was unbelievable pain and simultaneously heard a loud thump. I know it was loud because a woman standing a few feet away looked at me cringing. Classy lady that I am, a F*** flew out of my mouth, followed by me bending over holding my knee. My caring husband made the mistake of asking a very inopportune question, "Are you OK?" Never, ever ask someone bending over in pain that question. Once again my classy lady side came out in full force and I growled "NO, of course I'm NOT OK, thus the F*** part!" I later apologized profusely to P, and he sheepishly admitted that the sound was loud and scared him, so he had no idea what made him ask. I do know, we were both scared that I had really messed up my knee. I have had two surgeries on my left knee, my right one is all I got now. I mess that one up and it won't be pretty. By the time we made it to the water my knee was rather swollen and it did hurt. But although I am a world class coward, the one thing I do well is pain (but must be left alone), so off to use that stupid knee I went. It is still swollen and it still hurts like a sucker, but it will be OK. No vacation is ever complete without me hurting.

A now very experienced Baba rider.

This is one of my fondest memories of our second snorkeling attempt here back then, what we dubbed the fish wall. All we had then was a disposable underwater camera and the pictures we took did not do it justice. This picture does not convey its beauty either, but it is a hell of an improvement.

Here's a real treat, the four of us in the water at the same time. We love SS's look, it's like she is thinking "they mean well, somebody's got to love them."

This is why it is great to have only three readers. Pictures like this could really give the wrong impression about our parenting skills and judgment.

Wish I got piggyback rides too.

Cool puffer fish.

None other than the famous Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

Although I began our adventure whining like a toddler, by the end I was comfortable enough that I did not need P or JJ to be right next to us.

The reason why P is now hurting more than JJ and I. Although we spent only 90 minutes snorkeling, that is an eternity for a 3-year old. When she started whining we made a hasty retreat, and SS decided she wanted to swim back on Baba's front, because riding on a person's back was boring.

This is why for our family this beach is from now on known as Chicken Beach. SS was intrigued by the chickens and decided Honolua Bay just did not sound as good, so she changed the name.


Brenda said...

Well I think "Chicken" is a good name. I would rather stick needles in my eyes than snorkel. And I LOVE Hawaii. Snorkeling - no....

Does SS start Pre-K this year? I'm not sure what your plan is..I don't even know what most people do about pre-K. You can sure tell I don't have kids, can't you?

2china4S said...


You do not like parades, and now you do not like snorkeling. We are going to have to teach you how to have fun.

We have been waiting for the right time to start SS in preschool. She is very attached to me and we wanted to find the right place and make sure it is the right fit. We decided to wait after these two trips before making such a big change in SS's life.

We found a preschool a mere block from P's job and it got the best reviews from those in our area. The plan is to have P drop by during breaks and lunch, and I will take a backseat. We are hoping our plan works, because SS can't get through just a few hours without me.

Can you believe than in a mere 18 months SS will be eligible for kindergarten? She just came home the other day and will start K in the the Fall of 2012. Another thing on our list when we get back is to arrange a tour and interview with a school that has a Mandarin immersion program. Half day taught in English, half in Mandarin. We are hoping SS gets in. And yes, that will be 3 languages SS will have to deal with daily. Just because the poor thing is not confused enough as it is. :)

Brenda said...

You forgot one, K. You couldn't PAY me to get into a community water situation. Too many cooties and bad stuff. But hey - I love noodles and Kaanapali Beach and Lahaina.

2china4S said...


We have to talk, seriously have to talk. Are you going to tell me that you would not go to a water park, one of the greatest joys in life? My bio mother is the biggest germophobe in the world and I still made it a point to allow my children the enjoy the experience. And this comes from the neurotic mess that is me.

The noodles are great here and SS is in noodle and rice heaven. We might be loosing JJ to paradise. We can't stand the fact that he lives 3 hours away, and now we are facing to be separated by an ocean. But that is what parenting is about, letting go. We would rather have him here with his grandfather than in the wasteland where he lives.

Brenda said...

I thought Grandpa was P's father? Do I have that all wrong?? And hey - Paradise is probably a wonderful place for JJ.Yep - water parks are a no-no for me. I'm not a germaphobe at all, but I don't trust what all those male creatures are doing in that water under the surface....

2china4S said...

Grandpa is P's father, but he has also been JJ's grandfather since they met. It is why we are all here and JJ was not with us in Chicago. Grandpa and Grandma (P's maternal grandmother)are the only ones who have looked past the DNA thing when it comes to JJ. Great, because it applies to SS as well.