Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blazing S.

Fun in the sun really takes a toll on the body. Today we had to contend with a stronger than usual wind, that made us work harder. My shoulders and arms were burning, something that should have happened and didn't last week.  P thinks that I was trying too hard, I don't recall overdoing it, but who knows.  Plus old age is one bitter b*tch.

SS had asked to try the playground at the beach, and today she got her wish. It is a pretty neat structure, and reminded me of the parks in China.  And for the second time this week SS finally sat on a swing. I only got her to try one without freaking out a few days ago. Today she asked for my help, but then became afraid in a few minutes. Such a paradox our girl, log ride is OK, wave pool OK, swings where she can control her speed, noooooo, that freaks her out.

SS had lunch at the table with the teens and once again had a great time.  We met another teen today, who was surprisingly willing to be around her parents. They are a nice group of kids.

We arrived home a little while ago, and are now having dinner. SS is having a feast day. She ate part of a breakfast sandwich on the drive home, then chased it with cheese and crackers. She announced she was full when we were only a few minutes from home. Not surprising, since she ate steadily the entire drive. Now she is having beef with broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, rice and noodles. Paddy and I are very grateful that he is home on Mondays, but more grateful for the 9 hours of comp time he is getting tomorrow, while lounging at home.

Michelle, praying for your aunt and of course, for you. We missed you guys today.

SS sporting her new hat and check out the attitude to go perfectly with it. SS's hat was a hit with the group, especially the teens;  they like her skulls and bones, super hero, there's no way I'll conform to gender stereotypes style.

Feed the girl, get a smile, pretty good deal.

M gave SS a Blazing Paddles t-shirts, and SS was so happy to wear one, just like the big girls. They really go out of their way to make the kids feel included. During warm up they are asked to do the counting, and are encouraged to help clean the boat after practice. This time we remembered SS's sand toys, and our little paddler happily helped, pouring water in the boat, with lots of help from her Baba.

Practicing her Kung Fu moves.

P was exhausted and ended up taking a well deserved, but short nap.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SS's first 100 piece puzzle.

P is browsing Am@zon right now looking for 200 piece puzzles. I told him a trip to the Dollar Store would do just fine. That is where most of her puzzles where purchased. I wish I had her spatial orientation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SS's first Soak City experience..

After In N Out we headed over to Soak City to provide SS with her first big water park experience. We could not wait to see her reaction to the long and wide Sunset River, and the wave pool, something totally foreign to SS. We arrived at 3:00 p.m. thinking we had three hours of aquatic fun. It was only the second day of the season, so they actually closed at 5:00. That turned out to be really good for us, because we were pooped by the time we arrived. SS took a cat nap on the way there, and was fully recharged and ready to roll.Although we used to drive/fly down for the Halloween Hunt pre SS, we never had the opportunity to visit the water park, since by October it was closed.

The park was not very crowded, another plus, and weird for a Sunday. SS did not need her wetsuit because the water was heated. That is a big change from our tiny water park up north. P and SS headed to Gremmie Lagoon first, where there is a cool submarine with a giant octopus on top. That area is for much younger children, but SS enjoyed herself, and she is quite petite, so she did not look out of place.  We then went to the Toyota Beach House, where SS and P had a blast with the water guns. Something cathartic about aiming a water gun and pelting a child on the head. SS could not use the slides, but that did not impede her fun, there was plenty for her to do. P and SS then sat to wait for the giant bucket to fill up and splash tons of water over them. 

We then moved to Sunset River, a third of a mile long and a giant figure eight. One thing that surprised us from other water parks is that SR has only one entrance and exit.  You better make sure you want in for a while.  From there we went on to try Tidal Wave Bay, where SS surprised us by not being scared of the waves. A huge improvement from Puerto Rico and Maui, seems that chlorinated water on her face is OK, unlike salty water. After doing a few wave cycles we returned to Gremmie Lagoon where we sat down and watched SS burn up more energy. SS was not ready to leave at closing time, but after a quick reminder that she will be returning at least once a week, SS relented.

SS is becoming very inpatient about her loose tooth. She wants that tooth out, and $5 under her pillow. She's been using her tongue to push on it, and makes one freaking funny face when hard at work. She talks to herself about her tooth, and a couple of times has wondered out loud if it's going to hurt. That tooth is as stubborn as its owner.

This is one cool kid area, unfortunately SS needs to grow two more inches before she is allowed to use the slides.

At least we got the most important face completely in the picture.

SS was a champ in the wave pool. Our daughter is one with water, definitely part fish.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dragon boat race practice.

We survived our first dragon boat race practice, and that is quite a miracle since we are so freakishly out of shape. Although we are experienced kayakers, this type of paddling is different than anything we have done before, including white water rafting. It feels so awkward to hold the paddle, and even more awkward to take such quick and small strokes. Add the fact that I'm the most uncoordinated person ever, and you have the makings of failure. But, since they didn't throw me off the boat there's hope that I'll get better.

I had been awake since 2:00 a.m., and by 6:00 I was ready for bed. We needed to be at Mother's Beach in Long Beach by 10:00 a.m., and that meant leaving home by 8:30 a.m. I took a short nap, was about to fall into deep sleep when P shook me awake. It was really difficult not to tell him to buzz off and go back to sleep. But we made an eight week commitment to paddle, and to provide SS with the opportunity to be around other Chinese children, and families that are similar to hers. Spending time with Joe and Michelle, plus getting some exercise is icing on an already delicious cake.

After practice the group heads over to In N Out, to effectively negate any healthy effects gained from paddling by scarfing down burgers and fries.Thankfully Michelle had the presence of mind to warn us that it could be 2:00 p.m. before we got to In N Out. Since practice was from 11:00 to 12:30, we were kind of confused about what could take so long. The woman was not kidding, and we were glad to have cheese, crackers, fruit and chips for SS, along with water, juice, and sport drinks. 

I was paired with Michelle and P was paired with Joe. We paddled first, while Joe and P watched SS on the beach.  I felt bad about separating them, and hopefully they will get to paddle together in future dates. Some parents paddled on both sessions, and there's at least one parent on the beach watching the children. We are not comfortable enough to have both of us away from SS at this time. We trust Joe and Michelle, but other than that one of us needs to be with SS.  SS really surprised me by getting in the water almost waist deep. That water was very cold, so on top of her rash guard I put on her wetsuit (bumble bee like of course), and added her PFD just in case.  Maybe a bit of an overkill, but our girl has no baby fat to keep her warm.

Something funny happened when we were with SS. There was a man with his daughter, who appeared to be around eight years old.  They each were on a kayak, which by the way, they make kid kayaks, can't wait to get one for SS, and get her paddling.  The father was heavily tattooed, arms, shoulders, legs, and of course shirtless. We see SS looking him over and goes up to him, and talks to the guy (for which she was in major trouble with us, no talking to strangers). We thought she was asking about his tattoos, and I prepared myself to be embarrassed. Turns out the guy had pink nail polish on, yes, our child totally ignored the tattoos, but honed in on his pink nails. The guy was gracious, just told SS that he has a daughter, and she did his nails. 

At In N Out one of the group leaders came to our table to ask SS if she wanted to seat with the big girls. SS shared a table with a stunning sixteen year old girl, who is also very mild mannered. We were hoping some of her serenity would rub off on our loud mouth child. Maybe in the next seven weeks it will happen.  This particular teen started paddling when she was seven years old (now children must be eight to paddle), and this is her ninth year participating.

P talked to one of the fathers, who is a member of FCC. According to him the FCC families get together only about four times a year, so they actually prefer the interaction during the eight weeks of practice.

The area where we paddled was surprisingly tranquil, making even the coward in me comfortable.  We are going to bring our kayaks next week, to get some paddling done before practice, and during our time on the beach.  

We love this stroller, SS was initially less than thrilled about sharing her space with our cooler, and assorted beach needs. We did a good job of getting SS's rash guard, wetsuit, three PFDs, towels, and snacks. But we managed to leave SS's sand toys at home. It turned out OK, SS shared with the other girls at the beach, and had a good time.

All the little kids joined in the warm up exercises, but not SS. She quickly seized Michelle's cushion, and pretended it was Captain America's shield. For once, we were the parents of the wild child.

Poor Michelle and Joe were seated at the back of the boat due to our status as newbies.

SS and her friends went through the sour cream and chive potato chips rather quickly.

Our warmly layered daughter was much more daring this time, splashing around with her new friends.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Someone is getting ready for her first Tooth Fairy visit.

Enrolling SS in kindergarten was a sweet and sour milestone. I found myself looking back at old posts, missing Baby S very much. Now SS is reaching another milestone, the loss of her first baby tooth. The new tooth snuck by us, I couldn't believe it when I noticed it a few days ago. The baby tooth is very loose,  and SS is about to burst with excitement. SS is really looking forward to awaken to find $5 under her pillow, courtesy of the Tooth Fairy. Our baby is growing up too fast.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Taking a break.

Someone told me a long time ago that our worst fears eventually become a reality. How true that is, even when the road there was allegedly paved with good intentions. My super hero and I are going to spend quality girl time, then see what's next. She's so worth whatever comes my way.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Avengers al fresco.

When we realized that there was a possibility of returning to Southern California, we both independently looked up a drive-in we frequented. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was not only still open, there was another drive-in a short distance away. Taking SS to a drive-on was on our bucket list and, we were looking forward to the experience. P decided to take our super hero obsessed daughter to see The Aveng*rs. Based on the previews, it seemed way too violent for SS, but I guess that is to be expected when an evil force is trying to destroy your planet.

Explaining the drive-in concept to SS proved to be quite interesting. Although we could show her pictures, it somehow baffled her that it was outdoors. I reminded her that it was like when we watched the movies at the park, very glad that SS had that experience to extrapolate from. Except that we had mentioned that we would be in the van while watching the movie.  For some reason that piece of information cooked her noodle, and she grilled me all day about her concerns. At times SS would give me that "I'm not buying this, but going along because there's something in it for me" look. Plus, there's was the promise of pepperoni pizza and popcorn. SS is very much our daughter, perfectly willing to sell out her deeply held convictions for the right price.

When we purchased the van I wanted a small SUV, probably a S@nta Fe, but P would not budge, he had decided on the van and would not compromise. Funny, since I was the one saddled with the payments. P did have a good point about the safety rating and air side air bags. Space was on my list of desirable qualities, but we could get that from a Suburban or Tahoe, and I would not be stuck with a Mom mobile. I eventually conceded defeat, and must admit that my albatross has come in handy a few times. We were able to get a full size air mattress in the back, and did not even have to remove SS's seat. The back seats fold into the floor, while the middle seats are removable.

One thing we should have kept in mind was how much of the movie was shot at night or in dark conditions. In this movie that was a lot, and made it difficult for SS to see. I usually familiarize myself with a movie before allowing SS access, just to be aware of any possible triggers to her fears. I erroneously thought the super hero department was P's domain. It turns out that in SS's mind, The Avengers would appear on screen immediately, and she would spend two hours feasting on her violent, yet to her benevolent friends. We learned that SS is not very patient with plot and character development, five year olds do not give a rat's a$$. SS was whining that she wanted to see her super heroes, especially C@ptain America.  Then although she had only had milk and water prior to the movie (as in no sugar laden drinks), she was all over the place, like a tiny meth head. We have never had a problem with SS's behavior in a theater, her attention span is actually creepy.

When SS was finally rewarded with a glimpse of her super heroes, almost at the end of the movie; it was worth all the annoyance endured. Her face lit up, she screamed, she cheered, she applauded, she gushed, she made Kung Fu moves. And although it seems that SS has a weakness for blonde/blue, her  
most ardent adulation was for... ready? SS LOVED Hulk, totally into him. Can't wait to see what kind of dates she's going to bring home.

The drive-in usually has double features, but due to the popularity of this movie, it was shown on its own.   P and I knew darn well what a mess it would be to exit, but we had food, drink, entertainment (people, especially drunk people, are good entertainment), and we were going to wait until the mad dash was over. Don't know if it was the anticipation, the setting, overall noise, but SS had a major meltdown.  The place was a traffic mess, but somehow I ended up driving through the middle, not the actual marked lanes, and made it out in surprisingly record time.  Nothing like having Mount SS erupting in your backseat to make you daring.

SS calmed down during the drive home, but fell apart once we arrived home, even getting in some kicks and punches at P.  A big NO NO around here, never acceptable, regardless of SS's issues. I could not console her, and neither could P. We let her cry it out, and wow, our girl has some serious stamina. Once she had the kicking and screaming out of her system I held her until exhaustion took over.  I was really upset that I could not get her to talk to us, to even use one word to give us a clue as to how she felt. When we talked this morning, SS said "there was traffic." We have no idea if that
was in any way the reason. Still, SS said she enjoyed herself and really liked sitting in the back of the van. That's all that matters now.

Who's the guy with the arrows? And why wasn't Green L@ntern in that movie? 

They just had to have popcorn, otherwise it's not really watching a movie.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Another funky quirk.

SS now has her vowels in Spanish down. In English we have the alphabet song, and in Spanish such a thing does not exist. If it does, I will be receiving an e-mail from Abuela, but I am not aware of an ABC song. There is a vowels, or vocales song in Spanish, but what annoys me is that the intro is too darn long. SS does not have the intro down yet, but does her vowels just fine. The Spanish alphabet also has three extra letters, and for the life of me, I consistently leave them out, I have to really make an effort to get through the whole darn thing without skipping. After the letter C we have CH, after L there's LL, and of course after N, there's Ñ. That last sound is a witch and one of P's pet peeves, when people say jalapeno instead of jalapeño. Thankfully for him, SS got that sound down right away.

And this is where SS's quirk comes into play. Last week SS was singing along with me in Spanish, and P noted how well she pronounces her words. P then stated "you know, her Mandarin pronunciation is as good." OK, the limited words she knows and repeats from TV.  I asked P, hey what are you trying to say? My husband does not mince words, he said he was not trying, he was merely stating that SS's English pronunciation sucks. So it is kind of funny that Spanish/Mandarin, which are more complex, do not seem to be a problem. Oh well, two out of three is not bad.

Today I was looking for words in Spanish and English that begin with the same letter, and have the same meaning. For example avion/airplane, bola/ball, carro/car. I was stumped on D and P quickly came up with diablo/devil. I was very impressed. So far I still need I, J, K, N, Ñ, O, Q, U, W, Y and Z. It did seem like a good idea at the time. As I was writing the words I groaned when I recognized another pain in the neck aspect of the Spanish language, accents. Call me a sell out, but there's such freedom in typing when accents are not involved. Hand writing is not too bad, since it just comes natural, but typing is a witch. SS, when you are mumbling about why on earth do you have to learn another language, please remember it was your Baba's idea.You know, the monolingual one. :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Errand day.

Today SS and I had our twice a month extra day with P. We had to run some errands, and since the weather was overcast, we did not feel bad not going out to have fun. Our first stop was the library, where SS applied for and received her first library card. Boy was she excited, and kept cracking up the woman who was processing our information. SS's best moment came when she repeated something a commenter said quite a while back, she was mute and cute, and now she is loud and proud. Love the wit of the person who came up with that one.

We then headed to Boot Barn, to get work boots for P. One good thing about his job is that they provide him with uniforms, and take care of the maintenance. The downside is that P needs to change before and after work, but he does not have a problem doing so. No longer will he be coming home with holes in his clothes from acid, and whatever the heck else he messes around with in his lab. His employer also provides a yearly allowance for steel toed boots. He purchased a nice pair and was nowhere near the limit. SS was in boot heaven, that girl loves shoes, this is going to become a problem when she is older. SS tried on a ten gallon hat, then chose a child hat and boots to try on. Sadly, she is unable or unwilling to understand that trying on does not equate purchase. SS left with a huge frown on her face and an even uglier attitude.

After picking up a few items for dinner, we went to a nearby mall to walk around. We went into the D*sney Store, and SS did not notice any of the D*sney characters merchandise, instead she went straight to The Av*ngers display. She claims that Captain Americ@ is her favorite, but we know how quickly she changes her mind. We are planning to take her to see the movie in a setting she has never experienced. That is, if said setting cooperates by showing the movie.

Perhaps boosted by the library card cementing her big girl status, SS proceeded to "picK" her car. SS's godmother already commented that she needs better taste in terms of color. The only reason she liked the color is that she is into the Tr@nsformers character Bumble Bee, and obviously those are his colors. The funny thing is that years ago P went through a yellow and black stage. I bought him a messenger bag and CD case in those colors, since I could not afford the yellow and black Xterra he coveted. The thought of SS driving scares the daylights out of us. I feel really bad for P, because by the time SS is sixteen, either Alzheirmer's or dementia will keep me blissfully ignorant of my surroundings. P is going to enjoy the whole show of sound mind and body.

Right behind SS's future wheels we found the cutest playground with a car theme. SS was in car bliss, and quickly made a friend, then many friends, all male. The thought of SS driving gives us the heebie jeebies, watching SS sitting in a convertible with a boy, wow, no freaking way.

OK, much better, alone in a convertible we can certainly handle. There's also hope that she would want to become a nun. Never mind that we are not Catholic (as in practicing in P's case), it is a perfectly reasonable hope to harbor.

This is a slide, no steps, SS had to climb on the hood, then slide down the back. She LOVED it. Here she is "driving" the truck, and making one her many weird faces.

And the Oscar goes to...