Saturday, August 31, 2013

SS's first fall extracurricular activity.

Let's face it, we do not have an illustrious parenting record. It started in China when SS toppled over from bed and almost hit the night stand. What did Super Mama do? I took a picture because she was wearing a  T-shirt emblazoned with I Do My Own Stunts. I also managed to catch her with my free hand, but understand the judging. We have lost count of our less than stellar moments because there have been so many. There's the one where SS slipped into P's sneakers, tried to walk, then almost did a face plant.  Again, I took a picture then caught her with my free hand.  At barely two years old we took SS to El Yunque (rain forest in Puerto Rico), where Abuela was convinced that SS would be abducted by aliens (actually a South American kidnap ring that sold at least one child in SA), or taken from our protective arms by the Chupacabra and eaten. We were not done in PR. In Maui we managed to vex Grandpa when we decided to visit the Nakalele Blowhole with a three year old SS. That after grandpa told us someone had been sucked into the hole to his death just two weeks earlier. We boldly proceeded to take a picture of our tiny daughter in front of said death hole, because it would look awesome on our customized calendar.  Sad to say that the mildest of our parenting transgressions has been taking SS on her first Seadoo ride on the Colorado River, at some not so safe speeds when she had five chin stitches.

Since our daughter hasn't been placed in enough danger, yesterday SS started six weeks of archery lessons.  I am rather biased because I took archery for a semester in grad school. My first experience was at the only summer part time camp I attended as a child. Swimming was the focus and I sucked big time.  Then on my first archery attempt I hit a bulls eye, it was wonderful. It was equally rewarding in grad school. And like SS did yesterday, I learned some interesting things about myself in my first archery lesson.  

SS being six was very excited about her first class. Also being six she had certain expectations that fell flat.  In SS's world she would be handed a bow and arrows (that she's never handled), and then go on her merry way to shoot.  In the real world she had to undergo thirty minutes of safety instructions. SS is not the listen and wait type, let alone be told that she is not perfect. 

Ready to take her first archery lesson.  

There were only three students in the beginners class.  

In my college class I learned that regarding archery I am left side and eye dominant.  We were amused to learn that our left handed daughter is right eye and arm dominant. SS is looking through a piece of construction paper to the target to determine her eye dominance.

More instruction about how she is to stand and carry her body.

SS is not one for taking direction and this is the least teed off picture during that half hour instruction.

Fully aware that a little knowledge is dangerous I remained behind the camera and let the coach do his thing. P just got in there and became coach P much to my amusement.

You want me to do what?  SS was not happy to have to practice with a silly rope before getting her bow.

P is sexy and he knows it, and was dropping it like it's hot.  

Coach's wife fitting SS's arm piece.

Our little girl with a quiver full, hah.

Her bow seems way too big, but the coaches have two grandchildren in the sport, so we backed down with unsolicited advice.  Their grandson started archery at 18 months and won a tournament at two years old.  In contrast, their granddaughter did not get the hang of a bow and arrow until she was eight.  They had three much smaller bows and we thought SS would get one, but they are the pros and we are going to shut up, sit down and listen.

SS's first shot, her arrows have orange bottoms.

Now SS is happy about the torture we have imposed upon her tiny self.

It's really nice that there were only three kids in the beginners class because SS received a lot of attention given her small size, lack of dexterity and inexperience. It is no secret that we are worried about SS's development lags and archery depends on fine motor skills.  As usual SS is the smallest in her class but this will also be a life long issue for her.  Our goal now is to try different activities and hopefully find a good fit for SS. She still contends that football and basketball are her bliss, but that is not going to happen any time soon. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Grade Open House

This afternoon we attended SS's school's open house, and that was actually very nice.  It immediately brought forth what a pain in the rear end it is to work until 5:30. But one of the reasons I did not fear such a big change for SS is that P is out by 4:30. By the time I found parking and walked to the classroom it was almost over.  As soon as I walked in I could tell that P was not in Dante's inferno like he was all of kindergarten. First, there's twenty children in the classroom, there's an aide, and one of the students has a one on one aide.

How different is it this year? The teacher handed out copies of the schedule and went over it with the parents. Ms. S (the teacher not our daughter) also explained homework, expectations, and basically how the classroom works. Unlike Mrs. VP, Ms. S provided her email address, and requested the parents' email address and phone number. SS finished her homework packet yesterday, much to our surprise. Also, she worked on it solely with P.  My husband the ham brought it with him, and he was grinning while he told me the teacher used it as an example. Why do I get the feeling P was the teachers' pet?  Then again who can resist that kilo watt smile and rosy cheeks. I was rather embarrassed for arriving late but proud that P hit the ground running.

SS was playing with her classmates and their siblings when I arrived and did not even notice my embarrassing yet fashionably late entrance. Hard to take since I walked past her to get to P.  They were playing with cars, and since SS loves cars I can see why she failed to notice.  Once SS realized I was in the room she went in full ham mode and showed me around. The teacher would like volunteers between 10-11, when they break into reading groups.  I am really hoping that P volunteers, and I intend to renew my volunteer badge, because I would like to be there at least once a month. Plus there are the field trips and I would feel much better if P can be there to keep an eye on our tiny girl.

We did not decide until the last minute to have SS return to the same school, and we are still looking at our options.  The classroom size really eased a lot of our concerns, since last year she was really lost in the shuffle.  But we still have to deal with her long days and the busing.  If we can find a school where SS can have before and after school care we would gladly make a change.  But since SS had it rough leaving preschool and then being thrown into the vortex that was the worst managed kinder classroom ever, we are being cautious. Wherever she goes next we want her to remain until middle school.

Proudly showing her orange owl.  What a cute little girl.

PSYCH! There's still the Y chromosome monster within.

Back to prim and proper. We should be worried about her chameleon abilities.

They still don't get the fact that SS has a hyphenated last name. I resisted the urge to grab a Sharpie and take care of the situation.

A very nice self portrait.

Another self portrait. SS wrote "My name is SS. I'm 6 years old.  I have brown eyes.  I have black hair.  I am in first grade!" If her teacher only knew what we go through to get her out the door.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SS is letting us know what she wants for Christmas.

SS has wanted a set of drums since she was two years old. Probably before then, but she did not have the skills to let us know what she really wanted.  She has also begged for drum lessons for almost as long. We agreed an equally long time ago that if she took guitar or piano first, then we would reward her with drum lessons.  I have resisted the urge to get her a small drum set, because once SS gets going with the noise she is unstoppable.  Our tiny run away train.

P and I have been discussing what fall activities we would allow SS to take.  The girl will sign up for everything (football and basketball are at the top of her list) on the catalog if permitted. Must be nice to be six and not have a worry about cost.  We have settled on three, and drum lessons are not among them.  Never to be deterred, SS decided to show us how good it would be if she took lessons, because the girl really sucks at playing drums. Sorry, maybe in four to five years. We must admit that the appeal of drums we can turn off is very alluring.  We should throw in the piano for P and SS to make some extra money. They really make a cute duo.

Monday, August 19, 2013


This is what happens when you trip over your kid's toys, I will be going to work today wearing a very cool shoe.

I'm not looking forward to using the crutches, but at least it was only a severe sprain, not a fracture. Being at work means no pain meds, and right now the pain is rather significant. Getting there using crutches and carrying a satchel is going to be a challenge.

Since laughter is the best medicine we went to see Monsters University yesterday. SS was upset at the ER, and really we can't blame her.  She has spent more time in hospitals than a child her age should.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh well it had to happen sometime.

We always knew that at some point we would be challenged as to our parentage of SS. I think I have shared how it happened quite a bit with JJ, even being stopped at the border on the way back from Mexico because he did not look like me. When we traveled with SS for the first time we brought her passport just in case. But after flights to NY, PR and back home we relaxed. We have not taken anything with us since. Last summer when SS got her stitches the nurse asked me if I was her mother, I said yes, and that was the end of it. Well today that changed, and it was mighty embarrassing.  I guess my first Friday off will be a memorable one.

Just as I arrived at school SS was being herded towards where she waits for the Boys and Girls Club van. The teacher was doing this and I called out to SS, when a very nicely dressed woman I had never seen before stepped in between us and asked me who I was. Uh, her mother, duh.  She introduced herself as B, a representative from the B&GC. B explained that her job is to wait with the children until the van arrives, and that it was her understanding that SS was to be on the bus. She asked me for my ID, and I was not upset, I would be upset if they would allow my daughter to go with anyone. But then it got interesting. Mind you this is happening at dismissal in front of a crowd, because since there is no school busing lots of parents are there.

As I hand her my driver's license I say that she she needs to look at my middle name since I never use my first name, the club does not have it. B was dialing the club to ask if I was indeed approved to take my own child home. At this point M, the mom of one of SS's friends walks over to say hi, totally amused at my situation. B hands me back my license and proceeds to butcher my first name since she obviously did not listen to my warning.  Whomever answered at the club said no, that is not her mother, and that got B on the defensive. I calmly explained that she had to look at my middle name, and handed back my license.  By now the club person wants more than my name, wants a description. Funny because my name is rather unique, I'm not being pretentious, it really is. I have yet to come across someone with that name and I have looked. The club person remembered my very curly hair and asked B. It just gets better because my hair was pulled back in a pony tail.

Now people are really staring, and M can't stop smirking because this is a lot of fun for her. The woman needs to get out more. She said to B that I am indeed the mother, that I do have very curly hair, and that she's seen me numerous times with my child. What was SS doing? She had her head buried on my side, and was hanging on for dear life to my leg. B apologized for the inconvenience and we start to walk when the school principal notices, and using her bull horn says, "Wait, SS is supposed to go to the B&GC her father said so." Now B is looking suspiciously at me again, and I'm wondering how the hell did the principal, with whom I have had many conversations last year, forgot what I look like over the summer. B asks me if I have custody of SS. Really? Did you just ask me that? Come on where's the camera because I must be getting punked. Ever helpful M asks if P and I separated. No, we are still married, what the hell is wrong with people today. 

Now I'm getting pissy and a pissy me is a mouthy, dangerous me. I was concerned about SS, and was getting tired of being a freaking sideshow, by just picking up my daughter from school. I reeled it in and calmly explained that I was going to take my daughter home, and that they should check the schedule at the clubhouse to see what days we have paid for in advance.  B realized I had had it and apologized profusely.  She then went on to explain that it is about safety, and I get that. That was followed by some serious gushing about SS, how beautiful she is, and how everyone at the club is just in love with her beauty and her excellent behavior (my kid, really?). B then said that maybe they are a little more protective of her for those reasons. Wait, so if my daughter was ugly or a brat they would just hand her over to anyone? Yikes. I gave her my standard response that I had nothing to do with her looks. And this is the unexpected part, because I actually came home chuckling about the whole situation. B says, she obviously takes after your husband's looks, but you gave birth to her, that is the important part, that is having a lot to do with it. M piped in, "Oh yeah she totally takes after her father,"and laughing at the whole thing.

The thing is that SS does take after her father, because as I type this she is buck naked on the floor playing with her Legos.  P would live in a nudist community and even go to work naked if allowed.  SS likes to feel the cool tile against her skin, especially after spending time outside in 97 degree weather. Now that I'm indoors, enjoying the gift that is a cool house, I am less offended.  We always knew it would happen, I just wish it had not been this way, but that is precisely what we signed on for when we follow our hearts and brought SS home. By the time I was done texting P about my saga he had printed a calendar for the reminder of the month and September, with the days SS will be going to the club. He is going to take it to school Monday, to avoid more misunderstandings.  And I'm glad he is taking it, because he was there yesterday without any hassles. Apparently a Caucasian man is perfectly viable as the father of a Chinese girl, but a Hispanic woman? Come on, that's just crazy talk.
P took this one yesterday morning.

I reciprocated with this one this morning.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

SS delivers.

Tuesday night we celebrated my birthday, and SS's return to school by having sushi for dinner.  P and I have enjoyed trying whatever crazy roll the two places we prefer have on their menu. We usually get SS a kid's meal because she is not big on sushi, unless it's rice, crab, and lots of avocado.  We ordered the bento box, which SS had never had at this place (it was solely our thing for lunch without her), and were surprised at the amount of food. No biggie, SS would be having most of it for lunch the next day at school.  As you can see in the picture below SS tucked in with enthusiasm.  We looked at each other knowing most of it would be going home. SS stunned the heck out of us, and talk about a great birthday present for me. Her plate consisted of miso soup, five goyza. chicken terriyaki, rice, salad, and an orange slice. She ate all her food, skipped the salad (a first), and took the orange slice for the ride home. Usually the soup alone would stuff her. Last week we had Chinese and SS loved the egg drop soup. She loves soup, Asian soup. 

But wait, there's more, SS asked to try our rolls, and had some, not a bite, but the entire piece of the roll. Some we never thought SS would try as they were a first for us, but she kept on eating.  Best birthday present I have had in a while. And even better, P finally got his wish.  We all dream about things we want to do with our kids. Those wishes often involve celebrating holidays, amusement parks, playing sports, keeping up a family tradition, visiting places of old. It's well known that a swimming baby was high on P's list. But my husband being his usual self, he looked forward to a sushi eating girl. He was not happy when I ruled out raw fish for our sixteen month old daughter. And once I felt it was safe, SS was only into California rolls. Let's hope it was not a fluke and that P has years ahead of sharing his love of sushi with his baby. Oh yeah, I was there as well. JK. 

SS's second day of school took a toll on her,  She was in tears after dinner, I held her, and finally got to the bottom of her mood. Big time Mama guilt, and also thankful it's only three long days a week.  SS is a very young six year old, smaller than all her classmates, and emotionally young as well. I held her until she stopped crying. We reassured her that we are very proud of her, and that she is still a big girl in our eyes, we are proud of her, and we know it will take time to adjust to her long days.  SS went to bed at 6:30 p.m., her bed, her wish, and was out instantly. I'm very unhappy about her long days, guilt is heavy. I had someone waiting for me after school until I was sixteen, and as big a mess as I am, I know that had a positive impact on my life. P reminds me that this is the way it is for most families. Still, it really sucks not to be there for SS.

First day of first grade.

And just like that summer is over and off to school she goes. Another big change for SS is that she is going to be bussed to school. Our school district eliminated all busing last year and this continues. It's fine with us because first SS does not attend her home school, transportation then is up to us. But on a more positive note, SS won't have to ride a big bus. SS returns to the same place where she attended summer camp, for one hour before school care and for after school school care. They also will be transporting, and at least she will be in a full size van.

In a rare act of sensible planning I took time off yesterday morning, and P took most of the day off. SS was a bear in the morning, professing her hatred of school, acting as though we were pouring acid on her when we bathed her, and trying her best to make us feel guilty about being cowards by going along with compulsory education. It's a miracle we got a good morning picture, and only after I reminded her of an upcoming treat.

We drove SS to the clubhouse and waited to meet Ms. F, her driver for this school year. We then drove to school and waited for SS to arrive. Most parents skip busing the first day of school, but this is a big step for SS and we wanted to be there to gage her comfort level. SS thought the van ride was OK, but the van was too big. Imagine if she was in that big yellow bus. SS was told where to wait for Ms. F when school was dismissed. Not only by Ms. F several times, but repeatedly by us while we waited for SS to go into her classroom.

Good thing we know our child well, because she did not make it, as expected. In her defense, last year the K kids were herded to and from the classroom. Now there are a few hundred jkids leaving at the same time. P sheepishly told me that he could not see SS at dismissal, not surprising given her size. He asked SS's teacher for help locating her. I don't even want to think about SS's state of mind had P not been there. SS made it to her bus, and P allowed her some time at the club house before driving her home.

When P asked me to request tomorrow as my first Friday off he had a good reason. To me it was a day off, I didn't care what week it was. But due to his every other Tuesday and my every other Friday off, SS will only need transportation three days a week. The cost is the same. Which is almost as much as we paid for a month of preschool. All that money for her to attend a crappy school at an even crappier school district. Oh yeah, this school district sucks donkey balls, and there are no private schools. Next on the agenda is looking for our next home, and home school is going to be at the top of the list. Because we have so much time to engage in house hunting now. Still, one can't place a price on peace of mind and we feel better knowing that SS will be bussed three days instead of five. And that is two days a week she gets one on one time with us. Because even though SS is a major crank a$$ at times, we really miss our baby. And our baby keeps reminding us why it is a good thing we only have her at home.

Friday, August 02, 2013

We are SO proud of our little girl.

Yesterday SS took her last swimming lesson, and she finished with a bang. I arrived to notice that there were two kids at the opposite side of the pool with the instructor. That had not happened before. The instructor had them swim the width of the pool.

I sat down and was chatting with P when I suddenly looked up and SS was more than halfway across the pool. We didn't think the instructor was going to have SS do it given how difficult it has been for SS to make it to the halfway point. But our little engine that could gave it her all and made it to the other side.

SS made so much progress in the past eight weeks. The first week she was afraid and whiny, and yesterday our decision to get her in the water paid off. During the first two weeks SS was afraid of jumping in the pool. Her then instructor decided to skip her. That didn't go well with P who simply walked over and just picked up SS and threw her in the pool. Needless to say in a gentle but firm manner. One parent sitting behind us said "now that's how it's done!"

When SS began this last session she was so behind the other kids, that we thought she would be sent back to level one. Even though this was her second level 2 two week session. The kids in this class were a different group and more advanced. We were worried about SS taking a major blow to her self esteem. But K hung on with our girl, was patient and very encouraging.

SS you are an amazing little creature.

SS with K, her swimming instructor.  We hope to see her again next summer.