Sunday, September 30, 2012

Soaking in Palm Srpings.

We wanted to get in one more visit to a water park, and what better place than Palm Springs, where there's a Soak City, and we could use our season passes. P and I had last visited the park (separately) when it was Oasis, and were curious about the changes we would find. We arrived at around noon, and it was already 100 degrees, with a predicted high of 109. As we departed four hours later, it was only 106 degrees. That meant that SS did not need her rash guard, let alone either wetsuit. It was the perfect way to bid adieu to summer. Technically it is fall, but come on, with such beautiful weather it was still summer to us.

I was looking forward to SS's first look at the windmills, I knew she would be impressed, but was not prepared to the extent. She was in awe of their size and numbers, and just kept gasping and exclaiming "they are GINORMOUS, and the biggest ever!" That moment alone made the entire drive worthwhile.  

I had read Online that they had a Gremmie Lagoon, and I was confused upon entering why I could not find it. Easy, instead of a yellow submarine with a giant octopus on top, this Gremmie Lagoon consisted of all of two slides. SS tried each slide and would have remained there much longer, but P and I were scorching and needed some water relief. 

Happy girl in the lazy river.

Ah the life, lounging on Baba or Mama. I recall a time when it was just us on a double inner tube. Grateful for that us time, but it just wasn't as much fun. SS is such a water kid, ever since that first dip in the very cold pool at the Bank Hotel in Kunming, just days after we met. I was too big a coward to brave the cold water, but my baby happily splashed with P, and had her first swimming lesson.

The wave pool was lots of fun, and we indulged SS by playing shark. Simply us chasing her. P is Baba shark and I am Mama shark. SS has such an effervescent, contagious laughter, that just makes you enjoy the simplest things. 

I told SS that up until her arrival, I only entered a wave pool with P, and would hang on for dear life.
Yep, definitely, those days are long gone.

Our last lazy river stint this year. Bye summer, can't wait for next year. This is the first water park season where P and I have not tried a single big person slide. It's been kiddie stuff each and every visit.

On the way to the park we drove by the Palm Springs Air Museum, and SS squealed with delight. Although tired and ready to head home, there is no way SS would let us just drive by. We allowed her to get her jet fix, because even though our daughter moonlights as a super hero, she understands the wisdom of saving her energy, and using the metal birds to get around.

SS seriously informed us that this is The Avengers jet, a super hero pose a must.

SS has been reminding us since we arrived home that she is not tired.  Too bad, because as soon as I publish this post SS is having a quick bath, then it is off to bed. Tonight is The Amazing Race premiere, and P and I are watching, in bed, just the two of us.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Team Dynamo

What happens when you have six kids, ages four to six, most have never played soccer, and had only one practice two days before? You get complete, absolute, laugh your butt off chaos.  SS participated in her first soccer game today. Games are on Saturdays, and that means that P won't be able to attend. I was glad that SS woke up before P left for work, a rarity. P got her out of bed, brought her to our room, and we had ten minutes of cuddle time. SS had her first practice last Thursday, and I was not sure that she would want to play after the first game. As usual she is the smallest, and terribly uncoordinated. Halfway through practice I noticed that SS was beyond frustrated about her inability to get to the ball. We talked to her about the importance of tenacity, that as long as she tried, we could not care less if her foot ever hit the ball, we just want her to keep trying. During the drive to the park I told SS that her small size was an advantage. She looked at me skeptically and asked why. I told her that her size allows for greater speed, and that she can sneak into positions the larger kids can't. I then crossed my fingers I prayed that it would help.

When we arrived at the field, Coach K's wife (and team mom) said "You must be SS. My husband made me set aside a small shirt, and told me not to give it to anyone but SS. He said she was tiny." Yep, been there, done that, hear that all the time. Still, it was very thoughtful of him to make sure SS did not end up with a medium shirt that would drag mid lower leg.

Only six kids showed up, and that meant that every child played for the 40-45 minutes, under Southern California sun. I was surprised that SS did not walk off the field. I was nervous when Coach K chose SS to kick off the game. I was thinking, dude, weren't you at practice barely two days ago? I was nervous for SS, and even more nervous about my daughter being stampeded by much larger kids. I am glad that SS is with Coach K. He really seems to be the type that is coaching because he enjoys the chaos that kids bring. And although his son is the best player on the team, he praises every effort every child makes. The opposing team had hard core coaches, and even more hard core, wanna be athlete parents. Don't recall when was the last time I witnessed so many wanna be athletes in one place.

SS managed to connect a few times with the ball, albeit briefly. The majority of the time she was aimlessly running around, making Super Hero faces and poses, and all around a space cadet. I was a tad embarrassed at her lack focus. Then Coach K came up to me and said, "I am so enjoying SS. Every time she chases after the ball she laughs. It's so cute, she's just precious." HUH? You talking about my kid?  That made me appreciate him even more. Then again, the man has two sons.

Team Dynamo lost 3-0, but what really mattered was how SS felt. I don't think she had a clue that they lost. She was very excited about playing her first soccer game, and asked me if I took "many and many and many" pictures and videos for her Baba. She's very proud of herself, as she should be. Because between all the worries about SS's safety, and among the laughter about watching twelve kids stumbling and bungling things, I had a few moments to contemplate how blessed we are.  Given SS's origins, her state when we met, it was such an amazing thrill to watch her running around and just trying. Given what I know, it's just unbelievable that she was simply there, and more unbelievable that she kept up. But in the same way that JJ did not know about his heart murmur until he was old enough to process the information, we won't be bringing SS down with that information for now. We are just going to enjoy each and every thing she was not supposed to be able to do.

Pre-game practice.

And she kicks off the first game.

SS loves sport drinks, and Gat0rade happens to be her favorite.

SS's idea of guarding the goal area.  In her defense, she thought was that if the ball came really low, she would be in a good position to intercept.

Do you see SS way back there? She stopped to look at I have no idea what on her elbow.

Super Hero pose.

Her Super Hero running stance.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


SS had her first karate class today, and much to her delight K's parents also signed him up.  K is having a difficult time in the classroom, academically he is on track, but he did not attend preschool. He is really struggling with the basics of seating down, remaining quiet, waiting his turn, and refraining from karate chopping his classmates. His parents are hoping that martial arts will help him with discipline, and all those other pesky social niceties. P and I are equally focused on discipline, but outside the classroom. One thing sixteen months in a SWI surely breeds is compliance in large groups. Home is another matter, the girl needs to chill out, before she gets another set of stitches.  We are pleased that the Sensei focuses on the self defense aspect (they will be disciplined if they go around karate chopping, or kicking people for fun), something that SS desperately needs.  Being so small, other kids end up hurting her, even if unintentionally. We don't want her to go around whopping a$$, but want her to send a clear, and painful message when someone hurts her.  Last but not least, we want SS to be aware of stranger danger, something we have not been successful getting through to her.

Both SS and K were on hyper mode waiting for the class to start. They are two peas in a pod, and we might have to separate them starting next class. As much as we enjoy the fact that they are such good buddies, the idea of class is to pay attention and learn.  SS was, as usual, less coordinated than her peers. But we admire the fact that she tries, and as long as she keeps trying, we know she will eventually improve. We did not buy her a uniform today, because we wanted to make sure that she really wanted to return. Since she drove us nuts talking about class, practicing, and shouting kiai until bedtime, we are getting her the uniform next week. 

C, SS and K. Baby S was in her stroller chilling.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moon Festival Banquet

A few weeks ago we received an e-mail from a Blazing Paddles member about the Families
with Children from China (FCC) Moon Festival banquet.  We have never celebrated the Moon Festival, but in our household the more holidays the better. We purchased tickets and eagerly waited to attend. We did not know if we were going to see many of our BP mates, since a lot of them used to belong to FCC, but there was a fall out. Six BP families made it, including us.  The funny thing is that SS saw those faces for several weeks, but only recognized the teens, J and G, without their workout clothes.  There were plans for a party in October to celebrate the paddling season, but it has been cancelled due to lack of interest. So it was good that we attended and got to see a few familiar faces.

Upon arrival we were asked to play a dice game, and I usually keep away from games. But thinking of increasing SS's odds of winning something, I gave it a try. Having Sula blow on the dice was wise, because I rolled four fours. The lady that organizes the banquet said she's never seen someone roll four fours.  SS ended up taking home the grand prize, a big stuffed monkey.

A asked SS her age, and SS answered "cinco años." A then said "Yo tengo nueve años."  Turned out that A (fourth grade) and her brother J (second) are enrolled in a Spanish immersion program. Both kids enjoy learning a new language, and are proud to be part of the program. Their school starts 90-10 on K and first grade, like SS's school.  It was neat to get a glimpse of SS's future.

SS had a blast, she danced, she sang, she played, and felt like a big girl, since the other kids at our table were older than her.  Our girl had been fighting a cold, and we made sure to medicate her before dinner. It did not slow her down one bit, and she fussed big time when it was time to go home.

SS was thrilled to see J & G again. The only people from the group she recognized out of their practice attire.

The kids at our table (from left), J (7), M (10), A (9), and SS.

Men and their toys.

The rest of our table.

Yummy moon pie.

After dinner it was time to get down and show her mad dancing skills.

Among the madness, the otherwise very well behaved children at our table engaged in a rowdy game of tag. It was so rowdy that people would stop to look at them, among all the crazy that was going on.

M repeatedly beat J at arm wrestling.

The girls ganged up on poor J and made him the center of their giggly circle.

Waiting for the entertainment to begin.

I could not believe that I won! SS had no problem helping me collect the prize.

Every child received a present, and SS received panda candy. This led me to stick next to her the remainder of the night.

When the young lady finished her drum performance, she asked if any kids wanted to come up and learn to play the drum. We thought SS was going to be on her feet and at the head of the line. When she did not move I asked if she wanted to play the drum. A very sober SS said no... HUH? Her three older table mates did not go, and SS was emulating them.

How did we get a picture of the cutest dragon ever? J was first in line to be the dragon head. Guess that made it OK for SS. Dear child of ours, please keep beating to the sound of your own drum. It has served you well so far, and it won't let you down. 

SS was upset because it was time to go home. She really had a good time reconnecting with her Dragon Boat crew.

The best shot we could get of the group.