Thursday, December 31, 2015

SS's Christmas reading loot.

SS scored a lot of books from Santa, and he was well aware of her love of Star Wars and Minecraft.

Santa also added a Darth Vader reading lamp with there extra books.

The cutest reader likes her new reading light.. 

How could anyone not immediately fall in love with this precious, beautiful inside and out, and innocent child?

Last day of 2015 and good riddance, as it was an awful year for us. It sucker punched us in the gut and kicked us when we were down. We are looking forward to a better year, and will start the healing process by treating SS to a little getaway.  Children are incredibly intuitive and no matter how much we want to insulate them from stress, hurt, pain, they just know when it's there.  SS has already articulated things we hoped she had not noticed. But she did and sadly she was right about her perceptions. I'll write about that later because I'm still trying to process it and I'm a freaking adult who has known all along. 

But not all is doom and gloom and we do not have the luxury to be fragile, we are SS's only source of comfort, strength and guidance. We have to suck it up and move on. When things settle some I will post about Halloween and our last Disneyland visit. I was also able to join a school field trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. That was fun and an incredible treat because they had the required chaperones, but the school made an exception in my case because of our annus horribilis, and the effect it had on SS.  We also made it to the school's harvest festival for the first time. As bad as things were, as distracted, as exhausted as we were, we tried our best to make sure SS got to be a kid.  

Shortly after the zoo outing SS requested to visit a museum, and said she'd never been to one. That is not factual, we had season passes to the Turtle Bay Museum, and we would visit after our morning walks Monday through Friday, and on many weekends with P. But SS was rather young and perhaps did not see it as a museum. SS stated she wanted to see extinct animals, prehistoric bones, and art. Okay, what eight year old makes such a request? P and I had quite a laugh thinking about when we were SS's age, and a museum visit were not on our radar. If things go as planned we should be able to fulfill the art  museum request next week. The Natural History Museum visit will have to wait for the end of next month or February. At least SS has intellectual curiosity and we want to encourage her to expand her horizons. 

And then there's P, my incredible shrinking man, who has lost thirty five pounds without dieting. Sadly I have gained every pound he lost since we are polar opposites coping with stress. I don't usually make new year's resolutions, but I do intend to get P back to a healthy weight.  And while I may not always agree with his coping mechanisms, that is what they are, his.  The only time I am vocal and downright pissy is when it affects my child, and well, it has affected my child. However, I will always love P unconditionally, and will always have his back, no matter if we are together or apart. We share two children and that is a lifetime commitment regardless of marital status.  P has busted his ass for twenty years providing for his family, taking on responsibilities that many would not even when it is actually their responsibility. P has an excellent work ethic, and has never resorted to whining to get out of significantly challenging rough spots. He goes out of his way to work holidays and extra shifts so we can treat SS here and there to something extra. Every little adventure, season pass, day pass, flight, activities, etc we have enjoyed have been paid by him (except our Maui condo). I do admire his dedication and his strength, taking time to feel sorry for himself has never been an option. We are ready for 2016, and let the good times roll! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Lego Tie Fighter

SS put together her Lego Star Wars Tie Fighter ( 517 pieces) in record time, as usual. She already assembled her Lego City Deep Exploration Vessel (717 pieces) and Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu (529) pieces sets. That is 1,763 extra Lego parts in our very small house. The odds of me twisting or fracturing an ankle again have increased exponentially.

I don't even want to think about the total cost of all her Legos. But they make SS so happy, and keep her entertained for hours. We have a very small set of three separate Lego Star Wars vehicles on hold for Dia de Reyes. We are going on a small trip and it will be good for SS to keep busy during the flight. And since we don't want Abuela to think we don't bathe SS, the previous picture was taken late last night and this picture was taken early this morning.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Playing Star Wars Battlefront on the Xbox One.

SS still loves Darth Vader, still thinks he's the coolest.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pizza with the Principal and more Tooth Fairy.

On Friday December 4 we were out and about trying to unsuccessfully distract P's mind from his mother's viewing the next day.  We had decided to send SS to school to that week to keep some semblance of normalcy, and because we didn't want her to become upset by P's natural response of grieving.  SS's teacher was aware of Nana's passing and would call us if he felt SS was not emotionally able to remain at school.  We were at a store when I noticed P on the phone and thought he was talking to his sister or stepmother. He came  to me and informed me the school's health clerk called and stated SS's crown fell off, there was no blood involved, and how did we want to proceed. And by the way it happened while SS was having pizza with the principal which was news to us. The picture above was sent to our phones via the Class Dojo app, but we had yet to see it. Bad parents, and distracted parents.

P told the clerk that SS doesn't have a crown, then the clerk said, oh then her cap fell off. Again, SS does not have a tooth cap either.  We are astounded that SS has no cavities, given the poor condition she came to us. I had read SO many blog posts during our wait about babies with bottle rot who had root canals as early as two years old. YIKES.  Anyway, we decided to pick her up because it was close to dismissal, and given what was going on we wanted to make sure she was OK emotionally.

We did both say damn what is it with SS and losing teeth at this rate? If the Tooth Fairy has not made it to your home it's because our daughter apparently has her on retainer. She had lost a tooth on November 18 for Pete's sake. In the picture above, SS is proudly showing her new gap. Paddy doesn't have much memory about the rate at which he lost his baby teeth, but still feels SS's are really going fast.  

I was a cavity kid and had several extractions as a child. Weird, given how meticulous Mami and Abuela were about hygiene. Not only did I have several extractions, they were done without anesthetic, not even the local stuff to numb the area. I still remember the awful noise of the instrument yanking a tooth or molar off. Let's say I have done my best to forget about my baby teeth.

Then there's JJ and again I really have no memory about the pace at which his baby teeth bid adieu. A google search indicated wide variation, and as long as the teeth do not fall prematurely or by trauma SS should be OK.  The reason why the health clerk thought it was a crown or cap it's because the tooth was hollow and there was no blood. Then the clerk noticed SS's gummy gum and thought it was what was left of the actual tooth. She was rather disturbed when told it was not a crown/cap and said she had never seen a hollow tooth. We were worried as well, but after the last tooth Dr. L explained  it's genetics, not garden variety stuff, but nothing to worry about. Thankfully the Tooth Fairy pays no matter the condition of the tooth.  

And what is that thing on SS's head?

It's her monkey hat!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Another one bites the dust.

Or in SS's case another $5, and once again it happened on our bed. SS was blissfully watching Modern Family reruns when she nonchalantly announced "my tooth came out." I am beginning to suspect SS takes after her Baba. P told me when he got his first Tooth Fairy pay out (don't remember the amount) he seriously considered using pliers to get more teeth out, and thus more money. So sweet a girl taking after her father's penchant for cash brought by a mystical creature. To be clear, I think their love of Tooth Fairy money is freaking adorable. And this one did not leave a gummy gum, so no trauma, and SS gets her money tomorrow morning. Only because unlike her I don't carry cash I pay with my debit card for everything Baba, SS's Mama is old school and does carry a small amount of cash.

I need to check but this may be SS's last baby bottom tooth.  And if it is we need to schedule an orthodontic consult regarding SS's non existent adult tooth in the middle. SS will need a transplant before she begins the inevitable braces journey. P like Dr. Lee thinks it won't be an issue until adolescence. However, they do not realize how self conscious SS really is because they focus on her I damn well know I'm a girl, but I love super heroes, and I will wear super hero costumes, play super hero games, wear super hero clothes, know everything about super heroes, be offended when people assume I am or like princess shit, tough girl personality. SS is incredibly self conscious, as evidenced by her decision to take off her glasses for her school picture. Plus a lot of other stuff I have to properly think through before hitting my husband with a blunt object to make him realize his eight year old daughter is already self conscious.

That being said it's completely understandable that P is avoiding the necessary tooth implant and braces (they are done in stages now, so SS could have her implant and bottom braces done). And I am certain it is not about the cost, which will be significant, given the mess that are our girl's teeth. I have no memory of losing baby teeth, but it seemed JJ's did not fall or come off as fast as SS's. It's about SS growing up and in a different way as most kids. SS was a preemie, small, slow to develop. I recall Nana saying SS had piano playing fingers when they first met. I really didn't get it, since SS was small for her age by US standards. Then Min astutely explained that while SS's hands were indeed small her fingers where long, thus piano playing fingers. Since Nana is Min's wife, and they gave SS a kitty keyboard I took Min's comment as spouse devotion. Guess what, the girl still has small hands, but her fingers are indeed long for her tiny hands. Although not in a freakish way, but an elegant way as Min described it at the time. And while Nana and Min could envision SS as a piano player, P and I were not ready to see her as anything more than our baby. An innocent, helpless baby that needed us, and how dare you think about her tiny fingers on piano keys. :)

SS is no longer a baby and P and I are dealing with the inevitable in different ways. We have posted about how we share the same values although our upbringings are so opposite. That has worked brilliantly co parenting JJ and SS. Here's the difference, we did not co parent JJ at this age. While we share the same values we do have different prisms and coping mechanisms. So here we are now, P thinking SS is not self conscious, and me, watching her be so self aware. 

The great thing is JJ taught us so much, and to whom we owe an apology. Me, it was me, the parenting mistakes were mine, are mine, and will be mine. Thus we will listen to SS and come to a decision that benefits her, not our preferences about what should be done.SS is growing up much faster than we ever envisioned. When she came home the plan was to bring a little brother home, and that is still what we pine for, but we must be realistic about how feasible it will be. Never thought we would be living this dream while grieving the loss of that dream. We should be grateful for SS and we ARE and will always be. Now we need to come to terms with our loss, our very real loss because we dreamed of him at the same time as we dreamed of SS. She would come home first, them him. He has clothes, toys, a name, and we know the furniture we want for his room, including decor and toys. He has clothes, toys and other things at home, just like SS. It does not seem right not to bring him home.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Waiting for the Pixar Play Parade

It's so funny that SS still has the Delta blanket she received during our red eye flight from LAX to Atlanta (then to PR) three years ago.

Finally, The Peanuts Movie.

SS has been impatiently waiting to go see The Peanuts Movie, known around here as The Snoopy Movie. She wanted to go on opening day, last Friday, but we had a small incident. As I have mentioned things around here are  a mess, emotionally speaking.  We are doing our best to insulate SS from the fallout, but kids are perceptive. 

So on Friday SS's class was brought to the gate really early. Now, SS is usually one of the last kids to exit, because she is slow, it's how she rolls. But by the time it was 1:55 I became concerned ( dismissal is 1:45 but they get out as early as 1:35) and asked one of the teachers if she had seen SS. No luck, but she wondered if SS went to the B&G Club van. 

I ran to the van and could see no kids there yet. I next checked the area where they make the kids sit down to wait for their lazy parents to pick them up like they are fast food fare. No SS, and by this time there were several teachers looking for SS. And I admit I was getting pretty antsy. One of her classmate's mother, who also works at the school told me they we're let out around 12:30  and SS was looking for me. Crud, I missed her by about three minutes. What the hell?

The mom apologized profusely and said she should have stayed with SS. But since we are always on time she did not worry. And then as almost all kids are gone, SS shows up behind me, what a relief, and I give her a big hug. Then SS begins to sob and can't get the words out. Turns out that she has never been dismissed so early, and well, the kid does not wear a watch. When she did not immediately see me she panicked, thinking I forgot to pick her up. She ran towards the office and I wasn't there, she then ran to the van and asked the driver if she had seen me. The driver told SS to return to the gate because she was not going on the van that day, the driver assured her I was picking her up.

We just missed each other and the many kids milling around made it difficult to find each other.  SS was a mess, and I just held her for a long time, just letting her cry it out, while reminding her P and I will never abandon her. A few of the teachers came by, as well as her classmate's mother to reassure SS I would never forget her. They also asked SS to go to them and let them know she is scared if she ever does not see one of us again.  SS's first grade teacher Mrs. S heard about the incident and came out to reassure SS we would never leave her. SIGH

Just when we think SS is secure something like this happens and it is plain disheartening. I'm sure similar things happened with JJ, but he knew I'd be there, and was able to speak up and ask for assistance. Not SS, she is a raw nerve and the past year has been so rough on her, making her more insecure. All we can do is hold her, love her, and keep on reassuring her.

We did a lot of cuddling, allowed way too much Netflix watching on her iPad, and watched Back to the Future II and III on Sunday. I didn't think SS was going to like III because of the old western aspect. Much to our surprise she loved it, especially the train space machine. How can a train beat that amazing DeLorean is beyond me. Funky kid.

And now that SS is doing better (we pray and hope) we treated her to the Peanuts movie in 3D. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and it was so awesome to share something we enjoy so much with SS. Now we need to look in those still unpacked boxes for my extensive collection of Peanuts books. Some are really old, bought used, back when Snoopy looked nothing like the Snoopy she's always known.  We can't wait for her to read them, and hopefully laugh as much as we did so many years ago.

We then had dinner and SS had her first calzone, filled with pepperoni. SS loves ricotta cheese, so she was in cheese and pepperoni heaven. As usual, SS doesn't eat from the children's menu. Darn P and getting her used to order whatever she wants (as long as she eats it).

SS managed to eat half of her calzone, not bad for such a little one.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from Ant Man and Yellow Jacket.

P not only dressed up this year but is trick or treating with SS.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The tale of wiggly tooth and gummy gum.

SS lost another tooth, and it was a long time coming, because she was driving us nuts complaining about the wiggly tooth. It was wiggly way before she lost the bottom tooth on the right side of her mouth (left side on the pic). Even though she said she was not doing intentionally the girl was constantly messing with that tooth during her waking hours. She was actually almost asleep when she nonchalantly spit it out, then told me how it just happened to fall. I was thankful she didn't swallow the thing altogether. But you know, Tooth Fairy money is too good to let that happen.

The the gum was rather swollen, we are convinced as a direct result of all the so called accidental tongue pushing, and finger wiggling SS had done for so long. She was really upset about the protruding gum, and it looked like she was headed to a miserable meltdown. Those are never welcomed, but are really horrific at bedtime. The up side was that we reminded SS the Tooth Fairy only leaves money on the child's bed, and only if the child is sleeping on said bed. It was good to get her out of our room without pouting or complaining. That girl jetted out of our bed and room in record time.

But the next morning the whining resumed with constant reminders of how awful the gum looked. P tried to ease her mind saying that was the adult tooth coming out. I was highly skeptical but kept my mouth shut hoping it did the trick. Nope, SS inherited Mami's ability about not letting go of a thought/subject. The tooth "fell out" Wednesday night, full blown obsessing over the gum started on Thursday morning, and SS had an already scheduled dental appointment for a teeth cleaning Monday after school. Lord have mercy, we were going to suffer through her obsession for five days. Yes five, because Monday morning counted, and the afternoon ride to the dentist's office counted as well. 

What made it more frustrating is that SS did not buy it was her tooth coming through, but would not allow us to touch her gum, and now all of a sudden, would not touch her gum to feel if the imaginary tooth was coming through.  After messing so much with that wiggly tooth, the gum was off limits. We are never going to figure out how that child's brain works. But it does work in mysterious ways. And the mysterious way this time was that she refused to believe the swelling would go down, because how would we know about such complicated matters that keep her up at night?

Finally, the much anticipated appointment. And once again SS was afraid of going, and we went through the whole, Oh I am so scared routine. Then once at the office she sat on that chair for X-rays on her own, I actually took that picture from quite far, thus the poor quality. 

Happy girl, because Dr. Lee explained all that wiggling of the tooth, and the time it took for that stubborn tooth to "fall out" on its "own", gave SS what is called in medical terminology as a "gummy gum." And that was that, because SS is a tough customer, and since we do not have MD or DDS next to our names she would not settle for our slack jawed yokel opinions. Dr. Lee recommended she massage the gum with her clean fingers or her tongue. But threw in that if it is still swollen in two months to make an appointment.

SS's gummy gum is significantly less swollen, problem almost solved. Now on to her next crisis. Behold the woes of an eight year old. I just can't help but wince at our future orthodontic bills whenever I look at SS's teeth. And of course the implant for the missing adult tooth.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

San Diego Safari Park

A week ago we were surprised to receive an email from Mr. H. He lost his composure due to two kids misbehaving more than usual. Mr. H has the bulk of the rowdy boys this year, and a bad situation escalated to worse, with Mr. H raising his voice.  He apologized not only to parents via email, but to each child individually, explained he was not perfect, would strive to be a better role model, and asked for their forgiveness. We do appreciate his remorse and understand how difficult it is to keep 27 children on task, and behaving appropriately. If this happened with JJ (when he was SS's age), it would only be a matter of talking to him, allow him to process what he witnessed, and move on.

SS is a very sensitive child, the smallest things truly upset her. When she was in preschool we had a similar incident, so we knew to be worried. SS had been moved from the toddler class to the preschool group. That was a big change for her in both positive and negative ways. The toddler teachers coddled SS, something that did not help SS with the transition. One morning she said she did not want to go to preschool, which was surprising, SS loved preschool. When I asked why she said the teacher was mad at her, then the tears began to flow. I reassured her her teacher liked her, and was not mad at her. When I talked to the teacher she was upset that SS thought she was mad. As it turns out the previous day a few kids in SS's class were not listening. SS was not a part of the group. The teacher admonished the rowdy group and said "You guys I'm not happy." That was it, and SS internalized that admonishment and was hurt. The teacher had a talk with SS, praised her behavior and apologized for the misunderstanding. I wish we could say SS has come a long way in that regard, but she is still hypersensitive.

Now we have SS scared of her teacher, although she still likes him.  SS was really looking forward to the field trip to the Safari Park, but was hesitant to go. Mr. H talked to SS again but our daughter was still fearful of him. The school district determines how many parents are permitted as chaperones for field trips. The two chaperones had already been selected, no room at the inn for a third. Thankfully the teacher and the principal came up with a solution for SS to participate. I have a purple volunteer badge, that means that I can be around the kids unsupervised. SS is required to ride the school bus for the field trip. I will be allowed to join them but must drive on my own, and of course pay for my admission. Not a problem on either requirement. It was a good thing I was there, because one of the mothers was a no show.

SS gets her first glimpse of me as they arrive. She had been looking for me during the drive to San Diego, did not see the van and was becoming anxious. I arrived at the park way ahead of the bus, lead foot that I am.

Front and center, loud and proud.

The deer were a hit with the kids, especially the one standing on its hind legs.

The okapi was hands down our favorite animal. 

Lions laying around enjoying the sun.

SS loves tigers.


I am not a fan of bats, they are rather creepy but SS loves them. I don't know if it is about Batman, but she really likes bats. I had to suck it up for my baby girl and look at the yucky creatures.

Beautiful creatures.

Our beautiful creature.

The kids were allowed to spend five minutes at the splash pad.

SS looks like a world class runner on this action shot.

Another one of those moments when you have to suck it up and allow your child to do things that were taboo for you. Abuela was big on germs, cleanliness, and that translated into a strict animals are filthy and are not to be touched  rule. At least they had brushes for the kids to use. I'm still uncomfortable with petting zoos, but I realize it's just conditioning. I don't want SS to miss out because of my hang ups.

I am glad I was able to join SS on the field trip. Initially the principal decided an appropriate punishment for the rowdy boys was they could not go on the field trip. I don't know why, but she changed her mind. They were there, and there was only one chaperone. It took me about twenty minutes to figure out the three boys identities. I asked SS and she confirmed my suspicions. Those boys are very high maintenance. And this is coming from the mother of a very high maintenance boy.

Mr. H is a very nice person, but very inconsistent, I could see how the kids get out of control.  He is naturally loud and comes across as yelling, so I wonder how much louder he was when he lost his cool. One minute he is the kids best friend, the next minute he is stern. I wondered if it was situational, but SS told me that is how he is at school. Again I can understand how the kids take liberties when he is on I'm your friend mode. The important thing is that SS was able to participate, and had me by her side amid all the madness.  It was quite a crazy day, I found myself texting P about how freaking LUCKY we are with SS. Sure she is a hellion at home, and sometimes makes us want to bang our heads against a concrete wall until they crack.  But she is such a well behaved child at school and wherever else we go. The most remarkable part is that she is so good despite our fly by the seat of your pants parenting. Yup, lucky indeed.  

This one cracks me up because it's classic SS. Everyone around her is going wild and rolling downhill. I told SS she could join them but she declined. There she is watching it all, and when she decides to join in the mayhem, she does it her way. She tentatively walks around, then walks backwards. That was a big rebel move on her part. SS is not comfortable with chaos, or what Abuela calls bullicio (I think).