Thursday, September 30, 2010

A very short school visit.

This morning we visited WR Preschool, and like SJ is very nice, very new and very gray. The first thing we noticed is that you can't see inside or see any of the playing areas from the outside. We had scheduled a 9:00 a.m. appointment with the director a week ago. The director was not there and there was no one available at the front. We eventually just walked in and found out the director was not in, but one of the staff members took us to the 2 year old room to meet Teacher H and Teacher We Don't Remember Her Name.

First impression came from P who noted a hint of diversity, well, a huge amount given what we have seen so far. There were 2 African American girls, a biracial child, and possibly a Hispanic boy. Not sure about that last one, because we are going on his name, and we never got a look a him, just the back of his head. Since I have an Arabic name, my son has a Hebrew middle name, and my daughter has a Spanish first name (why we are SO @nal about the pronunciation, it's not English, it's not German), we know better than to make assumptions based on names.

Second impression was that those are the biggest group of two year olds we have ever seen. OMG, those kids must be on steroids, and their parents must be planning to eat them on Thanksgiving Day. Wowza! Third impression is that we were asked if SS was potty trained three times, before we were ever asked her name.

Teacher H asked SS to join the class for circle time, and although Director T made such a freaking big deal about how her school is accredited and thus superior to daycare, their routine was the same as the one at MU, with one big, and to us unnecessary difference. Since they are focused on academics (snark time) they have a card with each child's name and they go over the spelling with each child. The problem is that they had 23 children there (we counted 25 labeled cubbies) and that is a long, drawn out process for that many children to sit through. The children were antsy, getting up, whining and although the teachers did their best, maybe if they cut that name spelling part, they could move on to another task faster, keeping the little ones attention. Or they could do this when the children are in smaller groups, 4-5 to a table. But what do we know, we do have education degrees. SS was jazzed up about spelling her name, then was very disappointed that they did not have a card already made for her. We worried so much about the separation between SS and I, but what is really going to be difficult is the rude awakening that the center of our universe is not the center of the actual universe.

I do not think we had spent 20 minutes there when we noticed that SS was disengaged and then obviously withdrawn. SS was clearly uncomfortable, something that did not happen at MU or SJ. We think it was the class size, too many kids for her comfort. There was also a little boy who had a terrible time saying goodbye to his mother and that really stressed out SS. Then the coup de grĂ¢ce occurred, SS said (yelled) that she was BL super hero and the maybe Hispanic little boy said he wanted to be BL too. P and I got ready to intervene because SS bore a hole through the kid with her death stare, then made a move to get up. She is going to have such a rude awakening on Halloween, when we expect her to see a lot of kids in BL costumes. The social adjustment is going to be brutal for SS.

We had decided to end the visit before that aforementioned incident. SS just looked miserable and we did not want to prolong her discomfort, especially when she did so well in the other two schools. Director T was not there when we left and never called, and that is fine with us. When I called to schedule the visit, she made some comments that really turned me off, and P felt the same way when I relayed them. For example, she had forgotten our conversation about why SS s not potty trained, and when that came up she said "Well, not even trying? What's up with that?" Definitely needs to work on her delivery. She was also upset when she wanted us to make a decision on enrollment right after the visit. Lady, this is not used car sells, this is about a child and her emotional well being. By the time we made it to the van SS was in need of Mama and Baba time, and made it clear she did not want to be in her carseat. Something clicked in her, and we gave her the time to regroup, gave plenty of hugs, kisses and kudos for doing well at the school.

P dropped by MU to pay the enrollment fee and pick up the enrollment packet. He was wearing his work shirt with the company's logo, and Director D immediately noticed and told him about talking to me, and that she was aware of our visit. It seems that for now it is best for SS to be a big fish in a little pond. We would definitely consider SJ for K if needed (as in SS not being accepted into the Mandarin program). We are planning to start SS on October 13, I need next week to get our late riser up at 6:30 a.m. I hope she does not maul me.

We are glad we took this picture before the visit. SS was in no mood for pictures on the way out. when she saw me uploading this picture to the blog she became upset and yelled "NO!NO!"

SS remembered her cell phone camera and had fun taking close up pictures. We actually like the blurry ones because it is so SS, no time to slow down, stand still and shoot. Love seeing things from her perspective.

Pretty good for one with no assistance.

This one is our favorite, it has such a ghost quality.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kissing the diversisty dream goodbye.

Although the school district web page lists prices for preschool, all of their spots are reserved and taken by subsidized students. According to the enrollment person, they usually end up with one paying child in each classroom. All spots are filled for this school year and they have over a hundred children in their waiting lists. P and I are both terribly disappointed because exposure to diversity is important to us. SS is not the usual U.S. Chinese adoptee, who comes into a home with two Caucasian parents and sometimes Caucasian siblings. But we at least have other options, and that is something we would not have had in the area we used to live in (where JJ remains).

I remember my coworkers lamenting the lack of daycare spots available to paying parents. One of the juvenile court lawyers (County Counsel) was in the same boat as us. She is Caucasian (redhead, freckles and ivory skin), her husband is Peruvian (beautiful dark skin, eyes and hair), and they have the most beautiful little girl, a cafe au lait cutie. Like us, the parents wanted their daughter to be exposed to diversity, but all the daycare spots were taken. I recall her frustration at having to hire a nanny and she did not hide her displeasure at the situation (meaning that the girl could cuss/curse like a merchant marine). It wasn't about the money, it was about the opportunity her daughter was denied due to her parents' education and income.

The kicker is that although they were both educated they also had sizable student loans, law school is not cheap. And that is where P and I fall, we are not wealthy by any means. I worked some unbelievable overtime hours to save the funds to bring SS home. There was no baby shower, everything we had for SS was paid for by us. Abu is still upset because she wanted to buy SS's room furniture but we declined. We wanted to bring SS home with no strings attached, and right now can make difficult choices with a clean conscience. Even with only P working we are nowhere near qualifying for a subsidy. So SS gets stuck in the middle, and it is sometimes incredibly frustrating, especially when all you want to do is expose your child to diversity. P said that SS will be bringing diversity to her preschool. Not sure I am OK with that and it is yet another sign that this is not our permanent home. Two years and SS will be eligible for the K-5 Mandarin immersion program. I wonder if we will make it.

P and I were going over the application for the Mandarin program and had a good laugh. There is a disclaimer about how misrepresentations of the child's background will result in dismissal. WTF? What is there to lie about with a 5 year old? Since we are 12, P and I came up with several scenarios that would get SS in trouble. "At 3 1/2 years old, SS became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. We kept it quiet due to concerns about Child Protective Services intervention. We were also concerned about hurting the feelings of the 15 year old who thinks he is hot stuff and holds the current record. The locals wanted to keep SS as head Sherpa, an honor never before offered to an outsider. We declined because we missed the little bugger and wanted to bring her home." The sad part is that there are parents out there who would do crazy stuff to give their kids an edge. I learned a valuable lesson a long time ago. JJ's IQ is off the charts, yet he is not the slightest bit interested in academics. After that experience I would rather have a hard worker than a bright child. We won't be embellishing SS's accomplishments on her school application.

Saturday morning SS grabbed her broom, made it a mike and got down to sing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quickest eyeglass shopping we have ever done.

We have never settled on eyeglasses as quickly as we did this afternoon. I am horrible when it comes to choosing, but needing bifocals completely narrowed my choices. I had one pair chosen and it was quickly nixed by the optical manager. I then saw a pair of Calvin Klein's, tried them, OM approved them for progressive bifocals and I was done. P told me that a co worker's husband hated progressive lenses. However, I know myself and know that line would drive me bonkers, and make me cross eyed, so progressive it was. P was thanking his lucky stars that it was not the usual 2 hour odyssey. Last time I did this was pre SS, I now know that I have a very limited window of time before all hell breaks loose. P was easy, he narrowed it down to 2, and the issue was color. My very modest husband only wanted to know which pair made him look sexiest. Once he got my opinion he was done. P has been relentlessly making fun of my need for bifocals. I am being uncharacteristically good and have not mentioned that he should just get rid of his useless left eye (20/70), and wear an eye patch. Then I realized that an eye patch would look sexy as hell on him. Don't hate me because he is beautiful.

SS was very good once she found a mirror. I have been around many vain individuals but our daughter is over the top. The way she looks at her image, the way she smiles at her reflection is just too funny, and at times too concerning.

After that we went shopping and I shared a concern about SJ with P I did not post about. Teacher W was able to quickly go over their morning routine (we are focusing on mornings for at least a month), and she is the 2 year old teacher. Teacher D and Teacher C were unable to give us a coherent answer. Teacher D started then asked teacher C to tell us. HUH? A routine is just that, the script you follow everyday. We know that there has to be some flexibility, they are dealing with 3 year olds, very unpredictable creatures. But there is a routine, one they have followed for years. What is so difficult about that? When P and I compared notes, we were both concerned that they never went through the routine. Teacher C went off track about how it changes, and related the day one child found an acorn and that led to a talk about acorns and worms, She then told us that she worked with the public school system for 20 years before coming to SJ. Bottom line is that we left without an understanding of the morning routine. It is not rocket science, it is a freaking routine.

I was relieved that P was as concerned as me, and know I should have said something yesterday. Maybe I did not want him to think that I was biased against the Catholic school (as if). These are the moments when being an interfaith couple bite you in the rear end. I should also give P more credit, because the reason I chose to co-parent with him was because I knew that we could both get past our different ethnicity, religion, and overall upbringing. Our big concern is that SS would get lost between cracks due to the miscommunication we witnessed. Once we expressed our concerns, we were on the same page. Maybe we are naive about our expectations, but we know what SS is capable of, and at this time academics is not our focus. P and I are firm believers in being proactive parents, we will always supplement SSs' learning at home, that is our responsibility. Right now we are more concerned about her emotional and social development.

In contrast, Teacher S at MU had no clue we were visiting that day. The director asked me to drop by whenever we wanted, but gave me the hours that would give us a better opportunity to have SS participate with the class. Teacher S quickly incorporated SS into the class and explained the morning and afternoon routines. It is a very small school, the equipment is not top notch, and SS will be the only Asian child enrolled. But we both feel that she won't get lost in the shuffle. That is very important to us. It looks like SJ is out.

SS admiring the stunning creature reflected in the mirror. It is still SS's favorite pastime, looking at herself. Heck, if we looked that good, we would do the same thing all day long.

SS was pleased that she looked equally stunning on the other side of the mirror.

She really had a blast looking at herself.

A very confident SS picked up two bottles of wine at Trader J0e's and hoped no one questioned her ID. Why would they? All legit drivers licenses have Buzz Lightyear stickers.

Look what our school obsessed daughter happened to find.

She is so ready to go to school. We hope that the reality of spending 4 hours without Mama does not sour her on school.

Friday, September 24, 2010

P threw a monkey wrench on our school search.

We toured SJ Preschool this morning. That school is huge and has everything one could think of, including a wooden ship in the 2-3 year olds playground. SS quickly hopped on, took over the wheel and proclaimed it was her ship. The best way to describe the difference between the schools is to say poor school and rich school. I was disappointed by the lack of communication between the director and the staff. We were greeted by the office administrator and she assumed that SS would be placed in the 2 year old class because she is not potty trained. I explained that Director L wanted SS with the three year olds, because she is 6 months away from being 4. Off we went to find the director and she told the administrator that SS is a special case and that they would talk later. The admin introduced us to Teacher W and it wasn't until half way through her spiel that we realized she teaches the 2 year old class. No idea why the admin did that. We then met Teacher D and Teacher C, and the three year olds. By that point SS had an orange construction hat on, and was happily hammering away at a construction table, surrounded by the two year olds. Funky kid.

We toured most of the school, including the infant room. For the second time this week I felt grateful that we did not have to place SS in day care at such an early age. I am also aware that if there is a #3, that is exactly where he would end up. Another reason why I am content with just two. The classrooms have two lofts each, not sure why, but they look awfully cute. The library is large and something MU does not offer. But SJ is accredited, so they basically have to offer that. The playground equipment, classroom furnishings, computers, etc. look new and top notch. We talked with the teachers during outside time (the sand box is huge) and did not get the opportunity to observe classroom time.

Then there is the fact that it is a Catholic school and although I did not have a problem with it, the more they talked about prayer, the more I thought it might not be the place for SS. Nothing against prayer, that is what I do whenever I get in trouble. OK, just kidding. Although I am headed to hell, Mami's brain washing worked and I still pray. Then there's the whole hypocrite thing because I attended Catholic school. But since I was raised as a SDA, they made an exception with me, and had the option to spend mass time at the library (I attended many masses just to be with my friends). That was heaven for me, I had the library to myself. And even though I still had to take religion class, my exams were different. I doubt that SS will have that freedom, and we never considered raising her Catholic (or SDA). I believe in exposing my children to religion, but in a non denominational setting. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

P thought of something I did not consider, and looked up the public school system. Who knew that they had preschool too? He e-mailed me two links and now we are even more confused than when we began this process. First, they are the worst deal financially, we have to provide or pay extra for lunch, and they do not offer snacks. The thought of having to make lunches for SS gives me a headache. Yes I feed her lunch at home, but I do not have to worry about what travels well. The public school system offers something that no other preschool can offer, exposure to children from various SES. At MU, SS was the only minority. OUCH. At SJ, a teacher mentioned that they have a boy with Spanish as a first language, and I saw a 3 year old that could be Hispanic. Teacher W told me that if SS enrolls she would be the second Chinese child to ever attend the school. As I was driving home I was wondering where do the minority children attend school. Little did I know that P was about to answer that question.

The public preschools also offer music and Spanish classes twice a week. Those are big pluses on our books. We have often posted about SS's love for music, and it would be nice to have help with teaching Spanish to SS. A negative is that school starts at 8:30 a.m., even though they open at 7:00 a.m. Those ninety minutes are considered day care, so we would have to pay extra. I called the enrollment office but they are closed on Fridays. By the time we add lunch and daycare, we might end up paying more than at the fancy pants school we visited this morning. But they offer subsidies to low income families, and that translates into diversity. I sometimes hate how resourceful my husband can be. Sigh.

SS completely out Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. That little MU tour zapped her energy.

What were you doing Thursday at 12:30 a.m.? This is what SS was up to until 4:00 a.m.

SS absolutely loves her Brittle Blocks, and we love watching her use her imagination.

I was so glad when SS finally fell asleep at almost 4:00 a.m. Love the little hand thing, P frequently falls asleep in that same manner.

SS would not look at the camera. She was upset that this is the second time we take her to school, then make her leave when she is in the middle of some serious fun.

P likes to look into SS's eyes, then in a deep voice say, "SS I'm your father." Aunt Court's gift came in handy at 1:50 a.m. Thursday morning when SS wanted to do her version of that Star Wars moment.

Free Falling was playing on the radio on our drive home. SS was singing along with all her might. The song must have stuck to her brain because she spent the afternoon "singing."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Done with this clunker until next year.

I am officially done with my annual physical suffering. P had been nagging reminding me to make an appointment since May. I just wanted to enjoy my summer without worrying and promised I would get to it after Maui. Not a surprise that after the last year the thought of a physical, blood draw, eye exam, and mammogram repulses me. Now that I am done with preventive measures to keep this wreck I call my body ticking, I must admit that it was not that bad. No way I'm telling P that though.

Yesterday Dr. H (eye doc) cracked me up. When he greeted me he said "Sooooo, you are the one with the really cool name." He wanted to make sure that he was pronouncing it properly. I am used to people always commenting on my name, it is a given, just like people comment on SS's cuteness. But Dr. H went a step further, asked me if it would be OK for him to say my name as much as possible during the exam. Huh? Whatever floats your boat doc. He said that I have one of those names that are meant to be repeated as much as possible because it is sooooo cool (there's that silly word again) Dude was not kidding, I have never heard my name uttered so many times in a half and hour span. It was K this, K that, as you know K, K what do you think about, K on your left eye, K, on your right eye... You get the idea. Dr. H has 5 children and I hope he is not planning on more, because I would hate for him to use my name. Still, it was kind of funny. His receptionist had a similar reaction, and asked me for SS's name and middle name. She seemed disappointed when I told her. She said she expected me to give my daughter a name similar to mine. I explained that we chose to keep her Chinese name and that messed up my plans for a kick @ss name(and I had plenty chosen). What I did not tell her is that I am seriously considering changing SS's first name when we readopt her later this year. I don't want SS to absorb the stress and bad feelings.

This morning I had my blood work and my precious shadow went with me. P wanted to meet us there, but he was going to be at the mammogram in the afternoon, and I did not want him taking too much time off. Just as she is about to start, the phlebotomist tells SS, "I'm going to give your mommy an ouchie now." WTF? Who says that to a child? I was even more upset because the phlebotomist was talking about her daughter, who happens to be SS's exact age. I asked her to please not scare my child that way. She was really surprised and said "Well, that is how I explain it to my daughter." I told her that we handled things different at home and proceeded to remind SS about what we talked about, how a needle would go in Mama's arm, but that it would not hurt Mama, and how blood would be taken and sent to Dr. S, so she can make sure that Mama is healthy.

Why do people feel the need to talk down to children? Intellectually, children are miniature adults, they are not stupid, and most children SS's age have more common sense than me. We do some baby talk with SS, mainly cute things that she says, but how is she going to learn if we talk down to her? Also, I wonder what would happen if the phlebotomist's daughter needs blood drawn? She has already been conditioned to think of it in a negative light. Thankfully SS trusted my explanation and bought the smile I flashed as my arm was butchered. Just kidding, she is no Rhodes scholar, but she hit the vein on the first time, a rarity.

Before meeting P at the imaging center, SS and I went over what was going to happen while she was in the waiting room with Baba. We discussed how a person was going to take pictures of the inside of Mama's breasts. I emphasized the inside part, because the last thing we need is for SS to say that someone took pictures of Mama's breasts. That could be oh so embarrassing. SS mulled it over for a few seconds, the summed it up "take pictures of Mama's nipples!" Before I could correct her SS was in a fit of giggles, and that turned into belly laughs, while repeating "pictures of Mama's nipples, hee, hee, hee." She was acting like a teen boy. I sometimes wonder if that girl has a Y chromosome because of her obsession with breasts. Maybe I am giving children way too much credit.

SS is getting really good at pronouncing my name. I am so used to people butchering it, like today, both the phlebotomist and the receptionist at the imaging center manged to add an n to my name. Weird. As I was helping the receptionist with the pronunciation, SS jumped right in helping with Mama's name. Nothing like having a 3 1/2 year old show you off. On another positive note, P refrained from telling the receptionist that he wanted to order an 8x10, a 5x7 , and 1 wallet size.

To say that they placed my breasts in a vise is not an exaggeration. I think being a sadist is a job requirement. I am also learning to share more of my medical history. Until this year I have conveniently omitted to mention that I had a lumpectomy when I was 21. I have never seen the use in disclosing, since the lump while big (I asked to see it as soon as it was removed, because I am gory that way) was benign. Besides, my aunt was not afflicted with breast cancer until she was 79, if my defective genes are going to catch up with me it will hopefully be equally late in life. I am glad that this is over until next year.

For the past few days SS has been anxious. It is normal for her to ask "Dog (her lovey) come," or "(insert toy or object name) come too?" We try to limit what she takes in the car or what she takes out of the car when we are out and about. But all of a sudden she is asking "I come?" or "I come too?" She is not only anxious when she asks, but has dissolved in tears before we open our mouths to answer. SS has been with at least one of us daily since we met, and attached at my hip. Maybe as excited as she is about going to school and being a big girl, she is naturally scared. This saddens me because I thought that by now she would know that we will never leave her behind. SS has been without both P and I only a handful of times. I also know that it is not unusual for three year olds to become clingy even if previously independent. Hopefully it is a very short phase.

Check out where Ms. Cool places her sunglasses.

SS loves the fish tank at the imaging center (sadly she has been there a few times) and quickly sets out to find Nemo (they have a clown fish).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When did she grow up?

This morning we visited MU, and SS was more than ready. When I walked in her room this morning the first thing she said to me was "Jammies come too?" She was wearing her BL PJs and wanted to show them off. Sorry SS, we have to pretend that we dress you normally, so no PJs. Teacher S gave us the tour and SS joined the sophomore class for outside play time, snack, and structured time (singing, going over the day of the week, date, letter of the day and reading). SS was very impressed with the kid size sinks, toilets and water fountain. P and I had never seen such a tiny water fountain. Before we left, SS asked to use the toilet. Maybe this potty training thing won't be too difficult.

I was taking notes as we talked because I do not trust my aging brain to keep information on the three schools straight. Teacher S has worked there for 11 years, and the person with the shortest tenure has been there for four years. It is a small school, we are pretty sure that it is the smallest of the three by far. They keep the teacher to student ratio way below state requirements. I did worry that there were no hitting/biting/pushing/shoving/screaming/drama incidents during the hour we were there. Not because I am pro violence, but because it concerned me that SS would be the loudest, and perhaps least well behaved there.

Everything was OK until SS joined the class for structured learning time. Teacher S, P and I were standing in the back. SS was sitting on the front row, because she is shy that way. I had a sudden flashback to SS's journey so far, and it overwhelmed me. The first thought that hit me was reading the report about when SS was found, the condition she was in, and the thought of what would have happened if she was found only minutes later. Then the image of when we first saw her in Kunming came to mind. Our little girl, who was not walking, but not for lack of trying, but because her legs were too weak and would not support her weight. That was followed by the moment when a beaming P placed SS on U.S. soil in front of La Taqueria in San Francisco. P had a mega kilowatt smile, so proud to finally have our daughter home. Then right there in front of me was SS, not Baby S, but Big Girl S; healthy, beautiful and no different than the children around her (other than her ethnicity).

And that is when I messed things up because the tears began to flow. They were happy tears, but embarrassing nonetheless. Who the heck cries over everyday stuff like that? But it wasn't only happiness that I felt, it was also pride and gratitude. I was so proud of SS, of how her fighting spirit got her to where she is now. I was so proud that she calls me Mama, and that no matter what happens in my life, she will always be my daughter. I was also grateful for whatever higher power and CCAA employee that collaborated to bring such am amazing child into our family forever. I was so grateful that I was a part of that journey for two years, every day and every night. To have all that hit you in a matter of seconds is quite an experience. Teacher S jokingly said that if I cried I was going to make everyone cry, and went to get a box of tissues. When I turned to grab one I noticed that she was crying. Great, way to go drama queen. Then I looked at one of the two teachers in front and she was teary eyed. UGH! I felt so stupid, and all I could say to explain was that I was so proud of my big girl.

SS and I went shopping after the visit, then met P for lunch and eye exams at C0$tco. It made sense to have the exams there because one of us could walk around with SS while the other was being examined. We need to return and pick frames at another time. I need bifocals and not happy about it. My near vision has decreased a lot in a short time. Dr. H told me that it should have happened six years ago, so I should be happy that I held on to it this long. Sorry dude, that does not make me feel any better. Aging absolutely sucks.

Our little ham quickly posed for her before visit picture.

Proof that SS spent an hour there and the building is still standing.

Grandparents do not freak out, SS does not need glasses. She was just having fun trying on frames.

Last Saturday SS also scored a BL backpack. We thought it was on clearance for $6.98, but when we got home realized it was only $2.48. P returned to the store Sunday and now SS has a spare in the garage.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake girl.

SS is into cupcakes, loved those things before she ever had one. She will often ask for a cupcake out of the blue. About two weeks ago I was surfing channels and SS said "Stop Mama, cupcakes." It was a show, DC Cupcakes (I think), about two sisters who run a cupcake shop in Georgetown. SS was mesmerized by the show. She sat on my lap, completely still (a rarity) and watched with such reverence. She would look at me like she could not believe her eyes, and would say "look, it's a pink one, "or whatever else she thought I missed. After watching two episodes she announced "I want to eat my cupcake now." Yeah, because we keep cupcakes around in the event she gets a craving.

P was already in bed that night but SS made sure to inform him of her cupcake epiphany the next day. We made a mental note to let SS go crazy baking cupcakes soon. On Sunday P wanted to see what Halloween merchandise was already out there. That window shopping excursion resulted in SS coming home with two H PJs, pumpkin shaped silicone molds (suckers are expensive), orange frosting, black icing, H cups and pumpkin straws. SS has been walking around with her "pumpkin patch molds" since, asking when are we going to bake cupcakes. She is unaware of or ignoring the fact that we do not bake.

Since it is beginning to look like Halloween here, this evening was a good time to let SS bake. Why so soon? Because last year we planned on baking H cookies or cupcakes with SS on October 31st, and then have her hand out candy. Then I managed to ruin that plan with the worst timed hospital stay ever. Mindful that planning does not guarantee jack, there was no good reason to wait until next month.

I had also been feeling guilty about not including SS more when I'm in the kitchen. In Maui, SS did not once ask to help in the kitchen. Maybe because we spent so little time in it. SS was always busy in the yard, torturing Fergie, exploring and causing mayhem. When we returned home I went along as if she was no longer interested, and it hurt her feelings. I must admit that it felt good to do things at a much quicker pace and I behaved selfishly (what else is new). Then I remembered how patient Mami always was with me and I was ashamed of myself. I know how much I slowed down Mami, but she never complained. She patiently allowed me to make mistakes, to learn, to feel like I was contributing, because she wanted me to feel a sense of accomplishment. Time for me to slow down and allow SS the same opportunity.

The perfect outfit for Halloween themed baking.

Adding the funfetti part (candy) to the mix.

Quality control.

This was supposed to be a SS and Mama project, but somehow Baba managed to take over.

Look at her expression over realizing that her parents are absolutely talentless.

Beautiful, toothy grin, because she is such a good sport.

SS about to deliver a cupcake to Baba, who quickly abandoned the kitchen without a second look at the mess left behind.

This is as far as SS got with the cupcake. P did not ice the sides of the cupcakes and I finished them thinking it was an oversight. It wasn't, the man was trying to avoid what ended up occurring. SS would not touch the cupcakes because she has this thing about getting her hands messy. We have worked so hard to get her to relax about getting her hands messy, but have not done well.

At least I had a less messy option for our OC child, but she still would not touch it.

A closer look at the ugliest cupcake in the world.

SS having fun with her first pair of glow in the dark PJs of this Halloween season.

Our painfully shy daughter doing her version of the hula.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SS does the hula in California.

P's coworker invited us to attend a wine and beer festival today, and P thought it would be a nice,non SS centric thing for us to do. However, the only person other than JJ that we trust to care for SS was not available, because she was celebrating a very important milestone (Happy anniversary D and B!). Two days ago P asked me if I wanted to attend a luau and concert he happened to stumbled upon. Of course, after all it has been a whole 14 days since we attended one of the most awesome luaus in all of Hawaii. P reasoned that since SS liked Hawaiian music and hula girls so much, it would be a good we are kicking you gently easing you out of the nest treat.

The food was definitely not Old Lahaina Luau, but it was good. SS had obviously had her fill of fish and would not even try it. She did like the sweet and sour meatballs, rice and fruit salad. The coconut pudding was a no for SS and I. This was great news for P who loves old folks desserts. The Ke Aloha Polynesian Ohana dance ensemble provided entertainment during dinner. The three keiki were just adorable, but I did not take pictures. I do have video that needs to be uploaded, where SS was getting down with her hula girl self. It appears that SS's rule that live music is to be appreciated while perfectly still does not apply to Hawaiian music. Sometimes it is difficult to understand our girl's logic. SS danced and again wanted to rush the stage.

When it was dark, an older gentleman gave the kids a light stick necklace. That is when I remembered the glow sticks we had at home. P remembered that we had some glow sticks in the back pocket of the driver seat in the van (I had no idea they were there). By then SS was playing with a little girl a few years older, a whole head taller than her. P split the glow sticks between them and they had a great time. We have no idea how SS lasted until after ten, because she should have been out cold before nine. We left about 15 minutes before the concert ended, to avoid traffic. SS was out about 10 minutes after we left. We had changed her into an overnight diaper just before we left and changed her into a sleeping shirt. P had the forethought of keeping leftovers and had stuffed SS's little face before we departed. It worked, and P was able to get SS from the van to her crib without her waking up. We had a really nice time.

SS had a blast with the music statues.

And loved the blue sand.

I bought this bucket of Bristle Blocks (a deal, $18 at Costco) about a year ago, placed them in the garage and forgot about them. We thought they would keep SS entertained while we waited for the concert to begin and they did not disappoint.

Back in the Hummer with her Bucket of Bliss. This stroller is one of the best birthday presents I have ever received. Thanks Abu.

Our very shy SS doing her thing.

Weldon Kekauoha Trio

This young lady performed with the Polynesian dancers. According to the singer, she approached them, confidently introduced herself and told them she would like to dance to one of their songs. They invited her to join them onstage and she did an awesome job. It struck us that this would be such an SS thing to do, no fear of being front and center. Something her Baba and I cannot comprehend.
Cypril Pahinui (left)