Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swimming class.

On Friday I placed the camera in the trunk of the car, because I wanted to make sure to take pictures of SS in class. The first few weeks of class were difficult because SS was scared of being in the water. It didn't help that it was her first time in the water without us. Taking last summer off from swimming really did a number on our girl. We are not the type of parents to force activities on SS, and so far what she does is because she asks. But in the same manner that we will never allow her to do gymnastics or be a cheerleader, we do require that she learns to swim. It is non negotiable. We are not saying that she needs to join a team, or be crazy about the activity, but she will learn to swim.   SS being the stubborn child that she is did put up a good fight, but is now enjoying getting in the pool. 

SS's size and the remnants of her SWI life have really been a major impediment.  We had an appointment with her pediatrician to discuss our concerns, but he basically blew us off as over eager parents. We will be looking for another pediatrician because SS certainly needs a throughout evaluation. Her little legs and arms only have so much strength, and something as simple as swimming takes a lot out of her. It is obvious in the videos below that she is struggling, but at least she keeps trying.  We also requested a referral for speech therapy, but Dr. B said that it can only be done through the school district. I talked to her teacher about our concerns, but she blew me off as well. Sorry but SS does need speech therapy, it is painfully obvious. As soon as my Fridays off begin I will be looking into a new pediatrician and to get referrals for SS. 

I think we are liking swimming class more than SS. It does have an effect on her appetite. Thursday evening we had to run an errand after her class.  We went out to eat, and it was late, about 7:30, but so worth it. SS ate two heaping plates of food, not sure where she packed all that food in. Initially I was not pleased when I arrived at the table to find SS happily sucking on an icee, I thought it was going to ruin her appetite. It did not slow her down one bit.  I'm hoping that next month we can get to Soak City a few times, I miss our water time way too much. Thanks P for taking one for the team and sticking with the swim classes, even though sitting under 100 degree sun is the last thing you want to do right after your work day.

Here's our baby swimming freestyle.

Her backstroke is much better.

They always end the class with two big jumps in the pool.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yet another lapse in posting.

I obviously was not kidding when I said this transition has come along with a lot of growing pains.  In two weeks I'll be working very close to home permanently, and just like that our summer is gone.  We are still doing some major reassuring to ease SS's anxiety, but she would just like things to be the way they used to be. Because if there is one thing our high maintenance girl can't stand is a decrease in attention. The novelty of attending big girl summer camp has worn off, and now it is just like going to school. On a good day this is the last glimpse I get of SS.

If you look in front of them you will see a puddle, caused every other day by the sprinklers. It is beneath SS to navigate such a hazard, and Baba comes to the rescue by carrying her to the van. The truly shameful part is that this is how she gets to the van on the days the sprinklers do not go off.  No wonder the little stinker is smiling. Like all of us, SS has good days...

She has so so days...

And she makes sure we all suffer on her bad days...

How bad does it get on SS's bad days? We take team work to an incredibly ridiculous level. One of us holds her in the shower, while the other one bathes her. Don't judge us, it gets us out of the house in time with the least tears, kicking and screaming.

We are very grateful for the help we have received from E's Mama, Ms. D. On Wednesdays she picks up SS from camp around 10:30, then they go to E's swimming lessons. Ms. D makes sure that SS eats all her lunch, and SS really enjoys having a picnic with her while E swims.  The girls get to play after swimming, then Ms. D then drives the girls to tutoring. Since class is over at 4:00 p.m. P did not want Ms. D to have to wait for him.  On Wednesdays he takes half an hour personal time off and is there to meet SS at the end of her class.

OK, their day is not over because there's a little break then it is off to swimming. I have just a few pictures of SS, mainly taken with my phone as I arrive. I have been asking P to take the good camera, but by that time of the day he is exhausted, the heat is getting to him, and he could not care less about looking for the damn camera. SS's teachers asked us for a picture on the last day of her second session. They change teachers every session, and thankfully SS is still enjoying swimming. 

And while Wednesdays are still SS's long days, the picture below was taken on a Thursday. It's been a long time since SS has fallen asleep at the table.

P relaxing with two of his Baba's Day gifts.

P really liked one of SS's Valentine's Day pictures, so I gave him a personalized cell phone cover.  Now he can look at it anytime he pleases. Yes, the hammock was also a gift, although SS begs to differ.

I woke up last Saturday to this, and let me tell you it was scary.  SS just loves doing this to me. AFter she was done laughing she wanted me to take a picture.  I was not amused, however, I tried the picture on my desktop at work and loved it.

I don't blame SS for wanting her old life back , I miss my baby so much.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Back to the cubicle life.

There's a very good reason why SS is going to camp, and we have not done very much this month.  I returned to work six days before SS completed kindergarten. Unlike my previous job as a social worker, my new job classification has no leeway. Translation, I could not defer my starting date, because I am in a class of 95 students. Either show up for training or don't accept the job. Nice reality check early in the process. Summer camp did not start until the day after school ended. Between his Monday and Tuesday off, along with a few vacation days, P was able to fill in that gap. We did not think it would have been wise to have SS under someone's care for a week, then have another big change when she started camp.

Once I graduate in August I will be working 1.4 miles from our house. My husband is not to be outdone, so he is constantly reminding me that he drives 1.5 to work. Oh the hardship he must endure to place food on the table and a roof over our heads.  Things are going well given that all three of us are experiencing growing pains. SS goes to summer camp not just to have fun, but because her Mama is no longer available full time.  I am dealing with being away from my child, and feeling like a rotten mother. P has had lunch at home since SS came home, but now comes home to eat alone.  A big transition for all involved. By the time we get our routine down SS will be returning to school, and we will devise and adjust to a complete new routine.

Our biggest struggle is just finding time. The little things we took for granted are becoming a huge pain in the rear end now.  Barely a few days after I began work P told me he had no idea how much I did. I initially though he was being facetious but the man was serious. On the surface being a SAHM looks like the easy life. It can be, unless you take the mothering thing seriously. Spending that much time with a child (can't fathom more than one) is enough to make a person suicidal. Add school, homework, tutoring, karate, soccer and just life, and it gets hectic.  P is voluntarily taking the brunt of parental duties for the summer (or until he becomes suicidal). Even though it's out of my way I offered to drop SS off a few days, but P said no thanks. He misses his baby and maybe they both need this time to be just the two of them.

I posted about how P had to work on Father's Day, and how it led to us canceling a dinner invitation. He was out by six that evening, and I had spent the day in serious pain from a medical issue that could not be resolved before I started work. Neither one of us had any business behind the wheel that evening.  Then P and SS had received an invitation from P's mother to spend the day at Knott's with his mother, Grand Min, Aunt C and family.  It was P's day off and he ended up spending it in style. How did P spend his only "day off?" Our cars needed to be serviced and both vehicles became divas. The van's front lights were out, and changing the bulbs did not work.  After a few hours at the shop a part was ordered and P needed to wait until his next "day off" to take the van in for service.  I'm now driving P's car and it was having some issues depending on when we tried to start the car. More for him to do. P woke up on his "day off" around 4:30 a.m., his usual.  We spent time together before it was time for me to leave, he had quality time with SS and ran some errands.  P took SS to tutoring, then off to the repair shop.  He made it back in time to feed SS, get her into her bathing suit and high tail it to swimming class.  I don't know about you, but that does not sound like a pleasant "day off." I would have gladly taken the van for repairs Saturday, but they were not open. And there's still the car to get ready.

And that has been our last month, wash, rinse and repeat. On Mondays I am at my future office and get the pleasure to have lunch with my babies. I also get to make it to SS's swimming class.  P gets major kudos for coming home tired from work, only to hop in the van for some after school activity. He never missed a practice, so the least I can do is show up when I'm in town. By the time we get home from swimming it's six in the evening, time for dinner, cuddle time and showers.   SS has a very early start and she is a beast in the mornings, so we try our best to get her in bed early. And before we know it our time with SS is gone. Just like that.  By that time P's day has caught up with him and he usually goes to bed when SS does, if not earlier. Later on that same week we had to pass on a get together with Aunt C and family. The truth is that June sucked big time, it was the worse possible month for anyone other than SS to want to see us, or just see P and SS. 

SS is not fond of her wake up time and always find a a way to let us know how much therapy she is going to need in the future due to our callous behavior.  We are not thrilled that she is spending long days at camp, but such is life. At least she gets to stay home with P six days a month, just the two of them.  Shortly after I graduate I will be working 7:30 - 5:30 (8-5 now), and every other Friday off.  Once SS returns to school she will have eight days a month when one of us can take her, drop her off, and spend quality time.

Where it gets difficult is with our family time. P will continue to work Saturdays, and I will be working Monday through Friday. SS and I will have our girls day on Saturdays, but the only day we will spend as a family is Sunday.  That royally sucks, especially during the summer, but we will adapt.  Another up side to getting SS in bed early is that we get some much needed alone time, and we have made a routine of watching the previous day Daily Show and Colbert Report. Not only do we get to unwind with some serious laughter, but we get our cuddle time without a very adept intruder making sure we do not touch each other.

Before P received the call on Saturday night to come in on Sunday, we were chilling in the back yard talking about our new adventure. P sincerely told me that he felt the transition was going very well. We then talked about how this was supposed to happen.  The initial plan was for me to work 36 miles from home, we then laughed our butts off at how naive that was on our part. P owned up to it, "Oops, I really didn't think that one out." Neither did I P, I'm glad it is not happening. We both also admitted that it was going well (as in SS did not cry all day, have night terrors, or wet her pants at camp due to stress) due to one reason, we are only looking after one child.  P is very frugal with his days off, and it always pays off. We did not have to scramble to get SS daycare for a week, Even if I was not working, SS would have attended camp, just part time. We were prepared for that expense and just had to add more to her summer camp bill.  It still takes both of us to get SS out the door in the mornings.  We have talked a lot about how we would not want to do this with one more child at home.  For us, right now, this is working, we are actually enjoying this crazy ride, and adding another child would just result in chaos. Granted we are not strangers to chaos, but at least it is organized chaos. Maybe July will be easier and we will be able to do a few things on Sundays. Needless to say I had not posted because I just didn't have it in me. Maybe I'll do better now...

My new messenger bag or satchel.  This is the first time that P got me a non leather bag for work. I am ashamed to admit that I am as bad as SS is at taking care of the cool things he's bought me for work over the years.  There are a quite a few leather bags, brief cases and backpacks in our garage.  This time he bought smart, chose Lands End once he realized they will replace the bag once I do what it is inevitable I will do. That was very sweet of my guy.

SS on her first week in swimming, she graduated level one and has moved on to level two. After taking the summer off from swimming last year due to her injury and Dragon Boat, SS became afraid of swimming. That is simply unacceptable and it is why she is taking lessons. She has come a long way in a month, and just yesterday was jumping in the deep end (into her instructor's arms). SS also retrieved an underwater ring. She will be back to her fish self by the end of classes.

SS and Baba came to my training site to take me out to lunch. SS is sitting at a restaurant where her brother and I sat almost thirty years ago, Same building, different type of food, but still all good.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Something pretty awesome happened yesterday.

We always look forward to summer and try to get in as much fun as we can. But this year we have not been good the summer season that has always been so good to us.  There's a good reason for our lack of summer frolicking, but we still felt like we were slacking off big time. Seriously, we had not set foot in Knott's since Easter! Never mind that we were all itching to get back to Soak City. There were just more important things for us to do first.

But yesterday was it, there was no way P was going to let June go without a visit to our parks. The plan was to spend the afternoon at Soak, then move on to Knott's to catch the 7:00 p.m. (last of the day) Snoopy Unleashed ice skating performance. From there we were going to catch the night lights show, then cap our evening with the goodness that is Mrs. Knott's fried chicken dinner.

When we left the temperature at home was 106, but by the time we arrived at Buena Park it was only 81. Then the sun decided that it was not going to grace us with its presence.  That is significant because at that temperature the sun is a must. It was not to be, and SS did not last two hours in the water. We never made it to the lazy river, and even with her wetsuit SS was done in about two hours.  There will be more blistering hot days, so we made our way to Knott's to catch the 5:00 p.m. show.

We usually either take our dinner home, have it in the car, or eat outside.  I was surprised when P walked in the direction of the restaurant. We had time, and he wanted to have a sit down meal before returning to the park. I was really done for the evening, and would have loved to get take out and skip the return to the park. It was a good thing I was too tired to protest, because our plans being completely derailed lead to the most awesome thing shortly after.

We had barely started on our dinners when we heard a man say "I know who you are. I have seen you somewhere before." Neither of us recognized the voice, and turned around to see what the nut was up to, and were greeted by a smiling B.  Last time we saw him, his wife J, and their daughter, Baby J, was August 17, 2008, in Guangzhou, at our travel group's goodbye brunch.

P and I have always lamented that we had never been able to get together with the other families. Some lived in the Bay area, one in Florida (in Colorado as of last year), and the rest in Southern California. We still exchange Christmas cards and it has been a thrill to watch SS's sisters and brothers grow and thrive. We were stunned to see B, and in a very uncharacteristic move for me, I had no qualms about letting a man who is not my husband hug me. SS was a bit lost about what was going on, but realized that she had not seen us this excited over seeing anyone ever before.

Mama J, Big Girl J, and her Baby Sister J (home from China about a year ago) were on the other side of the restaurant.  We gladly abandoned our meals and walked over for a long overdue reunion. I had asked P to bring our camera inside because I did not feel comfortable leaving it in the stroller. I'm glad that he listened, because we were able to capture the girls' reunion. I'm sure we made fools out of ourselves, four grown adults hugging and teary eyed in such a crowded place. But we did not care, it was so good to have that moment.

Now to the unexpected part, Big Girl J (BGJ) and SS hit it off instantly. SS is a friendly person, but we have never seen another child just click with her at first sight with such intensity.  And if our encounter wasn't enough of an OMG moment, both girls are beautiful, long haired, brown skinned tomboys.  BGJ was wearing a Ninjago shirt, and SS was wearing her Avengers shirt. They gave P the opportunity to take one look at us after five years picture, then went into full ham mode. Poor Baby J did not know what to make out of her crazy sister, and the other equally crazy tomboy causing a scene.  It was such a beautiful sight to behold. And just like that we were thankful that our day did not go as planned.

We didn't get to talk much but exchanged information. BGJ went through a major change about a year ago. The family had just arrived from China with two year old Baby J, then their son was born six weeks later via surrogate. You got it, an International adoption and surrogate birth within six weeks.   Mama J was honest that it has been a very difficult transition, it's hard work, but they are making it happen. Their exhaustion was obvious, and once again that quality of life thing was right in front of us to ponder.  We almost lost our dinners last night because the waitress thought we had skipped and started clearing our table and uneaten food. The couple at the table next to us explained that we ran into someone we knew, and that is how our dinner was saved. Both of our families departed for China on July 4th, and at this time of the year tend to do a lot of reminiscing about that time. Who knew we were going to run into each other? B & J and us, we just clicked in China, they were our favorite couple hands down, And they both had an immediate soft spot for SS. It was good to see them again.

Cutest tomboys there, hands down. BGJ is eight months younger than SS, and as you can tell, taller. It was weird to see SS place her arm around her. It's usually other kids placing their arms on SS. That is Baby J (3) behind them.  Their younger brother was at home with his grandma.

Then all heck broke loose.

And here they are, our girls, such a long time ago, on the Pearl River dinner cruise. B and then Baby J are on the right. The guy on the left is our guide, Martin. Crazy dude grabbed the baby he was holding (they were doing I'm holding a baby shots) from the very unamused mother behind our table (she was part of our travel group, just humorless).