Saturday, July 29, 2017

Farewell Shark Week 2017, until next year.

SS has been looking forward to Shark Week for a few months. I had to Google the start date to reassure her we had not missed the event of the summer. When P first began his indoctrination of SS on day one I just laughed. It was cute to hear him say sharks need love too, and talk about their unique characteristics. I was never part of the indoctrination because cults are not my thing. It's remarkable that at ten SS is as passionate about sharks as she was as a baby, toddler, and little girl.

She went through a Wonder Pets stage, then Toy Story was her main focus, followed by Cars, and ultimately super heroes of any universe. Oh goodness I almost forgot her Star Wars obsession when she was barely four years old. All that love for the good one, Darth Vader. Like any other child, SS has evolved in her likes and dislikes. The only constants have been Snoopy and sharks. P is going to be mad but while I get Snoopy, I'm still baffled about SS's loyalty to sharks.

During the week there were shark PJs to be worn, with the official SS Shark Week hat. 

Sometimes I'm jealous of SS's cool pajamas, too bad I can't buy a set. I'll never look as cool, but I'll wear them with pride. That is because I'm shameless.

SS reprised her role as shark interruptus and took over our bed.  That's pure concentration there, because watching sharks attack is SS's zen zone.

Check out that Hammerhead shark, but I think SS's shirt shark is more ferocious. SS is rather ferocious there, we can see her attacking under water.

Same Hammerhead.

SS looks beyond cute and innocent in this picture, especially that cute little smile. Because that is what we all do when we see a huge Mako shark lunge towards a person. The photographer was not in a cage when it happened. But it made SS happy so who are we to judge. She now starts the countdown to Shark Week 2018.

Friday, July 28, 2017

SS is not a fan of needles.

As much as SS was against a blood draw we needed to find out what made her break out in a rash twice.  One thing I forgot to mention is that I used Dreft (baby laundry detergent) for SS's clothes until an age most would think ridiculous.  After I stopped using Dreft SS's I have used the mildest laundry detergent available. SS has eczema and we are always mindful to be gentle with her skin. When asked about products SS used at urgent care, I was a bit embarrassed to report that SS still uses baby wash for bathing. The doctor did not see anything wrong with that due to SS's eczema. However it made it more difficult to pinpoint what could have brought on the sudden rash.

As usual SS milked her fear of needles and dragged her feet as long as she could to stall our departure. Our leverage was that SS was fasting, the sooner the blood was collected the sooner she could eat. Lousy parenting but sometimes we have to use what we have.

SS brought Mudzie along because the pink pig has a storage compartment where she stuffed DOG, and other friends.
Hang on to your pig but you will have to let go in a few minutes. DOG is between Mudzie and SS.

For real, I can't hide behind my friends while she draws my blood? And SS was indeed very scared because unlike her Mama, she has not been a human pin cushion since early childhood.

Luckily for us the phlebotomist was very nice and took her time to put SS at ease. As much as anyone can with our stubborn child. She made me feel very comfortable and that is no easy task when dealing with my child.

SS could not care less how wonderful Mrs. Phlebotomist was, as far as she was concerned the whole thing stank.

SS was disturbed by the amount of labels with her name, thinking there would be that many tubes of blood needed.

After all the drama, and claiming she could not move her arm, SS survived and was able to smile. She made it to swimming class and her arm had a miraculous recovery.

SS results are back and it seems she has a mild allergy to shrimp. The thing is she did not eat shrimp prior to either outbreak.  We were afraid about SS being allergic to seafood, because that is her reason for living. Everything else was within normal limits except for her cholesterol. Our ten year old daughter has high cholesterol. Causes usually are obesity, diet or heredity. We are not medical doctors but feel very certain SS is not obese. We are blessed that SS is not much of a junk food eater, eats plenty of vegetables, and can finish a gallon of milk in two days. The only thing we can guess is heredity. It does not make us feel any better.

She has not had another breakout and hopefully those two will be the only ones. If it happens again we will request allergy testing with a specialist. We are glad to have the blood draw drama behind us, and very happy SS is not allergic to seafood or milk.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The strange case of SS's possible allergy.

We have been fortunate regarding SS's health; a few colds, about three fevers, and that MRI that turned out to be normal. In early June SS came to me to show her waist because she was itching. I wondered what the rash was about, it had not happened before, and SS has no known allergies. I asked to bathe then come back to show me the area. I wanted her to be clean and ready to go in case we needed to take her to Urgent Care. SS stayed upstairs playing after her bath, and did not complain about itching again. That night she said she was not feeling well and asked to sleep with us. She did a lot of tossing and turning, scratched and said she was uncomfortable. SS then fell asleep but woke up around 1:30 a.m. crying, said her itching was now hurting.

The rash now covered her body from the waist up to her neck, as in all over. We took SS to urgent care where the intake clerk asked us in a very condescending manner if we thought about giving her Benadryl.. Well Mr. Judgy Pants,since it covered such a large part of her body, and it was a first, we silly parents wanted our child examined by a physician. SS received a prescription for steroids, a recommendation to use over the counter allergy medication for a week, and to have her pediatrician provide a referral to an allergy specialist.

SS's pediatrician (we are still desperately looking for a new one) did not think a referral was necessary, and ordered blood tests. He asked if this had happened before, and that was a big no. Also, SS had not tried any new foods, no new items, no new environments.

SS simply felt it was time to jolt us so we won't get too comfortable about this parenting thing. The steroids worked well.

Barely three days after her doctor appointment SS was sleeping on our bed again. It was Sunday morning when I entered our room to get something. SS was asleep but scratching, I lifted her top and guess what I found.

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

At least this time it did not cover her entire upper body.

A new concern this time, SS's swollen lip, and she wasn't happy. This time we felt comfortable giving her Benadryl and all was well again. As of today he rash has not returned and we hope it never returns.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Camp 2017

SS is enjoying her time at summer camp, and it turns out E, her best friend from kinder is also attending. E moved to her home school after kinder, and SS has missed her a lot. This picture was taken on her first day. Check her out pretending she is a big shot basketball player.

Every Tuesday the kids get to go out and do something fun. Actually spending time at summer camp is about fun. Let's say they kids get to do something even more fun. Imagine our surprise when we were told they would be going to the skate/bike/scooter park the next day. We are nervous about leaving our child under your care, and you tell us tomorrow you are taking her to a place where she can break every bone in her body. I was not even sure about letting SS go, I was really afraid she would get hurt.  

P was not concerned since he felt SS is very timid about doing things on land (water is no holds barred). He knew SS would not do anything risky, and he was right. I was very relieved to see an intact SS that afternoon. The poor girl really needs a new helmet and elbow/knee pads.

More fun to be had at Mulligans, where SS played Laser Tag, mini golf, and got soaked at the water slides (bathing suit top on, and bottoms under her shorts) . It was really difficult leaving SS again, but I'm now a pro at dropping her off at places I'd rather she only go with us.

E (SS's kinder bestie), M, and our girl. Still blows my mind E and SS are the same age. They had a blast.

CH splash pad, where E and SS frolicked in kinder while the parents had a meeting. I can't believe that was five years ago. I really need to look for a picture of the girls from that day.  SS told me that day that she felt like a teenager. Way to rub it in kid.

Yay they dedicated one week to super heroes and the kids were allowed to wear costumes one day. SS was very excited to wear her Spiderman costume.  She insisted on wearing boots and I warned her it would get hot. Mami said nadie aprende por cabeza ajena (no one learns through someone else's head), and she was right. I was packing SS's lunch when she told me she needed different clothes that would not be as bulky under the costume. When I saw SS next she was already suited, and off to camp we went.

As I predicted SS did get hot under the costume, and I was greeted by this garish sight. OMG this is what she wore under the costume. We have not received a visit from the CPS social worker, so I think while concerning, we are on the clear by now. Without the boots the outfit is almost passable, if you are color blind.

Oh goodie comic con week, and an opportunity for SS to dress up as Black Panther. I made sure she showed me what she was wearing before she put her costume on. SS really enjoys super hero dress up and role play. 

This was the day after we went to Disneyland, perhaps the retro hat is a shout out to Guardians of the Galaxy.  I have no idea where SS had stashed that fedora she wore when she was barely three years old. I do know I need to confiscate it and place it with her baby memories stash.  School starts in twenty one days, enjoy the last three weeks of summer SS.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Growing up, making progress, moving on.

It's been SS's summer ritual, four two week sessions of swimming lessons. It began in kindergarten and this is her last year. There are six Red Cross swim levels, and our city only offers one through four. SS has taken level IV classes the last two summers, and this one. Last summer we knew SS needed to move on. But there was so much going on we really did not look into alternatives. Actually we knew what would be next, a swim team. JJ was in a swim team at SS's age, and my three nieces and nephew were in teams since they were in first grade. Swim teams are great, but participation is also time consuming, including mandatory parent volunteering, and fundraisers. I'd rather give birth again without an epidural than engage in fundraising. Also, it is costly, probably why there are not many lower SES kids involved.

The cost was not the issue since we only have one child to provide for at this time. The time commitment and our doubts as to SS's readiness were the issues. We are referring to willingness to do the work involved, not SS's ability. Swim classes are fun and short. Twenty five minutes go by fast, and the teachers always do something fun the last five minutes. Who can make the biggest splash diving in, who can jump the farthest, diving for rings, and many other contests. Then the teachers do not have the kids constantly swimming those twenty minutes. There is a lot of individual swim to me then swim back. The kids get plenty of rest during that time. Twenty five minutes of swim team is a workout. I know because when JJ was swimming the parents were given the opportunity of doing masters swimming. I was there waiting for JJ anyway and stupidly joined in. That was some serious hard work, and I was in decent shape then, an runner, biker, and hiker.

SS is one lazy child who as of two years ago sat in a huge bike trailer stroller when visiting Knott's Berry Farm , Soak City, and Disneyland. We realize we only have ourselves to blame, but it was very convenient to store our belongings in the Hummer (P named the stroller). While watching SS swim these past few weeks we knew it would not be fair to have SS return to level IV for a fourth year. SS also expressed a desire to do more, she is obviously done with this part of her life. Then we go back to SS's laziness. It's going to be a one hour drive round trip, at least three times a week. No big deal, but it is also at 6:00p.m. Get home, eat and hit the road. We decided to wait until SS is done with day camp and swim lessons to have her try out for the swim team. SS's last swim lesson is next Thursday.

SS began her last session Monday, and like with every other first day we needed to sign in with the director. The staff know SS because, how could they miss the kid who has done every session for five years. The director greeted SS and off she went to find her teacher, while I signed her in. He told me how much they enjoy having SS in the classes, but wanted to let me know that SS should be at level VI now. Yes we know this, at least one of us watches her swim every class. The director suggested we look into a swim team to make sure SS refines her strokes, works on speed, and stamina. Wait, was SS gently nudged out of the program? That is exactly what happened, and he was very gentle about it. I informed the director of our plans and he seemed very pleased for SS. But seriously, was SS nicely told to move on? Quite funny.

What is SS doing?

Cheeky Monkey
SS requested a haircut, and great timing because it would be a pain to get all this hair inside a swim cap. She has requested haircuts before, then once on the chair cries and says only a trim. P was on board with cutting at least four inches, then told me he wasn't sure he was ready to let her long hair go. Spoken like a man who won't be the one helping SS put on her swim cap. We will see what happens when SS and the stylist's scissors meet next week. 

Alien shot.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer of Heroes

Summer of Heroes, SS's Mecca, one of the reasons why we still have season passes. We try to avoid Disneyland during summer, but we really needed fun family time. We woke up SS earlier than she would ever allow, but she was all smiles. She would gladly forgo some beauty sleep in a Sunday if super heroes are involved. Our must do list was simple, sign up SS for the interactive show, wait for Black Widow to make an appearance, and the Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Off. SS loves to bust a move, and we knew she'd be joining the crowd.Yesterday was going to be an easy day.

We arrived at the Hollywood back lot at California Adventure, ready to sign up SS to participate in one of the Avenger Training Initiative show. She followed the instructions the cast member gave her, and was able to perform the moves required. SS met the age requirement, 6-12 years old. The last question was if she would be OK on stage for approximately twenty minutes, with her parents mere yards away from her. SS FROZE, she could not answer. Are you kidding me? P made a face plant Friday and Saturday afternoon after arriving home from work. He's been working way too hard, and giving up days off. But he wanted to make Sunday special for SS. And this is when our super hero obsessed daughter decides to draw the line?

SS said she was scared, and to be honest P and I were not exactly immediately understanding.  SS has met so many super hero characters and has interacted with them, hammed it up, and had a blast. What was so different about this experience? The tears began to flow, and we did not want to suck the joy out of a Disney visit. We were both just flabbergasted. At the end of the day if we are right by her SS is just fine. The thought of being on stage while we were very close in the audience (later we realized mere feet away) was too much for her to handle.
SS then went to some station where she was asked questions to determine her "personality," and what super hero it matched. SS was a match with Iron Man, and any other day she would have been ecstatic. Not so yesterday, because yesterday she felt Black Panther was her personality soul mate. SIGH

SS put her disappointment aside and gladly posed for a picture.

SS met Black Widow but I have no idea what they were discussing. Most likely top secret, super hero collusion.

She's small, she's delicate, she's beautiful, but she can make a face that will make your blood curdle.

We then went on Soarin' because it never gets old. Along with The Little Mermaid it's my favorite ride at California Adventure. This is our first selfie on this ride.

We went through the trouble of bringing a dry backpack, and a wet backpack, in case SS wanted to play in the splash pad at Bug's Land. After Soarin' P suggested going on the Grizzly Bear Run. Our SS is indeed a grizzly bear when uncomfortable, so we had her change into her bathing suit and flip flops. We had two towels in case she ended up soaked. P and I roughed it with what we were wearing. The people on our opposite side took the brunt of the rapids, they were soaked, wearing jeans and sneakers. Our daughter came out with a few drops of water on her bathing suit. I bet if we were not prepared, that would have been us.

 On our way to The Little Mermaid SS ran into The Incredibles and was able to get a hi, and a picture.

I was last on the Hollywood Tower of Terror in 2005, and have not cared to try again. It is now Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's the same darn ride.  I do know P likes the ride, so I asked him to go on the single rider line, while I stayed with SS under the shade. We found a bench by the ride, shaded, and one towel became SS's pillow, while the other was under her. Sadly the ride does not have a single rider line, and P did not want to wait over an hour for the pleasure of vomiting his lunch.  We researched to find where the dance off was taking place, next on our agenda. Darn lucky us, it was a few feet from our bench. We talked, SS rested, and we reached the front just in time for the show to begin.

That is when SS surprised us for the second time in one day. She did not want to go to the front and dance with all the other kids. SS has been dancing since the day we met her. We will never forget her stamina at P's cousin's wedding. Our three year old out danced everyone at the reception. Nope, her situational shyness returned. P said he would go up and dance when they asked others to join. We kept urging SS to go up and dance without succeeding. Just as I asked P to give me the camera so he could go and show his moves, a cast member held my hands and pull me up front. Ut oh, is this what SS was fearing? Because I love dancing at home, in public is not so comfortable.  Talking about dancing a mile in somebody else's shoes.

It is not fair to encourage SS to be adventurous if we are not willing to do the same. So I sucked it up and danced like no one was watching. Except there were SO MANY PEOPLE WATCHING, and filming with their cell phones. I am sure there a many videos up on YouTube right now of that fat, old lady trying to dance. Oh well, it was fun. The young man dancing his heart out is the cast member who pulled me to dance. That guy has moves, they should put him in one of their stage shows.

Once the dance off was over SS found her dancing spirit, and danced to the last of the music. That girl is one funky chicken. The video is at the end of the post.

Then SS met Groot! She was really in awe of him, not only because of his height, but because of the selfless thing he did in Guardians of the Galaxy.

We could not resist and joined SS in the Groot love fest.

We only had one more item on our must do list, the Avenger Training Initiative. Although SS declined to be on stage, she still wanted to watch the show. Even after resting her bones before the dance off, SS was rather tired. P came to the rescue with shave ice so sweet it was certain to hype SS into the next day.

SS had her own shave ice, ate the whole thing, and still fell asleep while waiting for the show to begin. The picture is blurry but the best I could do with one hand.

Once SS saw how close we would have been to her, and all the cool stuff on stage, she wished she had done it. The Summer of Heroes runs until mid September, maybe Baba will feel like going through all of it again.

Before we departed SS made sure to pose at various Summer of Heroes landmarks.

I like this picture because of P's reflection on the poster, he truly indulges his girl.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant to pick up our dinner, SS was out in her carseat. She napped for a while, recharged, ate, and watched Shark Week, then the Spartan finals. The girl went to bed at 11;00 p.m., a big no no here, when she has so much to do the next day.

SS had one more surprise for us this morning, because while she was very unhappy to be awaken, she did AMAZING at swimming class. her strokes have improved, and she is stronger. SS did not swim like a kid who had done the amount of walking she did yesterday, or showed the effect of standing under the sun, and going to sleep late. 

We have had a series of setbacks during the past eighteen months that have really tested us as a family. Being an island of three is not easy, and there have been times when the pain is just too much, we have felt like drowning is not only imminent, but a welcomed relief. Yesterday reminded us that we have each other, so what if no else cares? Yes it hurts, especially when it comes to SS, it cuts deep. But we are slowly coming out of the fog, and pray that if there is indeed a higher power, that it looks kindly upon our daughter. We are blessed to have SS, to watch her grow, to have her love.