our flight was supposed to leave at 6am this morning. we got to the airport at 5 but apparently that was not early enough. when we tried to check in the computer said we were too late to check baggage and, therefore, too late to get on the darn plane (which is where my father- and brother-in-law were waiting for us).
we got the typical run around from the airline, tried to find an alternate route to montana, and were not successful. when i broke the news to ian that we missed our flight and it looked like the next available flight wasn't until friday (the day we were supposed to come back) he started to cry. he was so disappointed and it crushed our hearts that because we didn't get to the airport early enough we had ruined christmas for our son.
my mom picked us up from the airport and drove us home. we lugged our heavy baggage back into the house and sat down on the couch completely deflated. rupert and i only got 2 hours of sleep because we spent hours packing and preparing for the trip after celebrating an early christmas with my folks. the family vacation we had planned for months was not going to happen; no skiing for ian, no first snow for maya, no walk in the snowy woods for me and rupert. rupert's aunt had also supplied us with wonderful ski jackets and pants, gloves, etc. and they were all for naught.
but rupert was determined to go somewhere cold and snowy. in the end we decided that he and ian would make the trip by flying into missoula (where rupert grew up) and then driving (in the snow) for four hours to big sky. not to be a party-pooper or anything, but i was just not willing to go through all of that with maya. so she and i will stay home.
frankly, it sucks that we won't be together for five days of this winter vacation, but there was no way we could disappoint ian by not delivering on what we had promised him: snow.
hopefully rupert will take some wonderful photos and video of them in montana. and hopefully maya won't drive me crazy for five days. it'll be quite the winter vacation, no?
[the one good thing that came out of this: the man who took one of our seats from the lax --> denver leg of our flight had been on stand-by since the 21st. at least he was able to get home for christmas.]
but we finally broke with our tradition and joined them for the seventh annual poop deck christmas eve. a couple of hours of child-free socializing was definitely something i could've used. needless to say, it was great to hang with friends -- merry christmas!
p.s. the three people on the left are our closest friends and they were super generous with their gifts for maya and ian: check out my flickr pics of the kids opening their presents. thanks guys!
now, i know this is his initial gut reaction to most things he perceives as negative. in fact, it's an area we're working on at school because he has the occasional teary breakdown in class. given time he usually gets over it and it'll cease to bother him. so i went on and on about his excellent report card, effort is what matters, there's always room for improvement, blah, blah, blah.
but what he said after my spiel made me cringe because it was like listening to my inner self 20+ years ago:
me: so why are you sad?
ian: because it wasn't perfect ...
i've gotten to the point where i really don't care what his grades are; i'm much more concerned about his emotional state. when he's 30 years old it won't matter one iota what his grades were in first grade. but you can't convince my 6-year old that grades aren't the most important thing in the world (much less that it's hardly that important at all), and that i want him to have other things in his life that bring him happiness.
needless to say, i was happy for all of the restaurants chris featured. how wonderful to be recognized and acknowledged in such a vast area like los angeles. i hadn't been to any of them, but all of them except for san pedro fish market are near stores i frequent so i'm excited to try them. and, in case you're wondering, here are my recommendations for similar fare: el gaucho market (corner of inglewood and manhattan beach boulevard) for carne asada (no taco stand, though); beach hut (just north of the corner of rosecrans and highland in manhattan beach) for hawaiian; valentino's pizza in manhattan beach and el segundo (you can order a heart-shaped pizza for your amore!).
- some of the many new foods she's had this month: broccoli, freeze dried fruit (apples, strawberries), osekihan (red sticky rice), persimmon, rice crispies, bean sprouts
- dislikes jarred baby food? she won't finish her pureed food anymore. loves loves loves yogurt (yobaby) and cheese (and the ice cream bar my mom let her lick), fish, rice. she's kinda picky about the texture of her food.
- will wear her booty shoes (i.e., soft-soled moccasin-like shoes).
- can almost take a few steps by herself. also, when she feels like it she'll grab on to our hands and take a few steps. took three steps at my parents' house (where they have carpet) on november 12.
- instead of calling everything "mama" she started saying "bebe?" (yes, with the questioning inflection), but that only lasted a few days. she's still not saying much but she somehow gets her point across very well. she definitely likes to communicate with rupert and ian ("bye da-ee" and "hi een").
- most days she only has one nap in the morning and then we try to put her down early in the evening. unfortunately, she gets hungry (or is conditioned to get hungry) and wakes up pretty darn early in the morning.
- finally starting to show some interest in books but will hardly sit still for a whole story. we're still at the point at pictures stage before she closes the book on your finger.
- learned to pillow fight watching her dad and brother.
- does a fake wail when she's not happy about something. it's not her usual ear-splitting cry and there are no tears so she's just expressing her discontent.
- she likes to identify and point at birds ("bir") and dogs ("run run" -- a hybrid of "wan wan," the japanese way dogs bark, and "ruff ruff").
tab: 7 gypsies
frame: impress rubber stamps
magnet word: nickelodeon ("wing")
word stickers: k&co
flower eyelet: ?
flower brad: making memories
flower stamp: kodomo no kao
circle clip: close to my heart
angel and wing stickers: ? (got it in japan)
letter stamps: inkadinkadoo ("takara"), hero arts ("treasure")
japanese letter stamps: shachihata
journaling: september 23, '05 blog post
letter stickers: making memories ("cute")
dome letter sticker: artoz ("m")
letter stamps: duncan enterprises ("oy vey"), hero arts (lowercase), all night media ("bad")
stamp: paper source ("registered no")
graphic rubon: american crafts
other: ribbon (michaels), tag punch (ek success), staples, photo corners, acrylic paint (delta), stamping ink, decorative scissors (fiskars)
so i've decided to take a little break from blogging. gather my thoughts. do some crafting and reading instead. probably take some more naps.
and i'll be back. until then, i'll keep posting pictures on my flickr account so you can see what we've been up to.
her height hadn't changed much either. the nurse got a measurement of 26 inches, which put maya in the (yet again) negative third percentile. the doctor looked at the figure and insisted we measure again (this happened at our last appointment too). this time maya measured 27 inches, which is in the 5th percentile. every last bit helps, right? her height is proportionate to her head circumference, which is between the fifth and tenth percentile.
no surprise, the doctor predicted she was going to be a petite (i.e., short) girl even when she grows up (most likely thanks to her grandmothers' genes). rupert suggested we sign her up for gymnastics class ... or jockey school. (for some reason that reminded me of the simpsons episode when lisa enrolls in gymnastics and excels because her big head gives her perfect balance.)
i have whined and complained a great deal this past year (even more than usual). the adjustment from having a fairly self-sufficient, well-behaved boy to having a demanding, crazy baby girl was more than i could take on some days. i had doubts constantly about whether i made the right decision to expand our family.
but things must happen for a reason because, upon reflection, the past year has changed me in some ways ... hopefully for the better. i'm not necessarily a better parent by any means; i'm far less involved with my children than most parents are. and i'm not necessarily a better homemaker either; the chores still pile up and i don't accomplish much on most days. regardless of my lack of progress on these two fronts, however, i feel more balanced.
"find balance in your life" seems to be the mantra for the modern mom. it would be wonderful if we could achieve complete balance, but it's pretty darn close to being impossible. yet, modern moms try and try and try to achieve balance in everything they do, often at the expense of their own sanity. perhaps we try too hard and add more pressure, all in the name of "finding balance." at some point in the last year i gave that up. and you know what? i feel like i'm more balanced because in the back of my mind i don't constantly hear, "do this, do that, accomplish more, be more to more people, etc. etc." as a result, i'm not driving myself crazy when i don't finish everything on my to-do list, when i skip a day (or two or three) of cleaning, when i decide i'd rather read than make dinner. i'm happier, more rested, and more willing to do those chores when i find an extra minute or two. and, as often as i feel like i'm just going to lose it, i don't.
the last year has taught me to see the bigger picture. sure i have lots of bad days, but i just tell myself, "this too shall pass." and it does. i'm learning to see past the minutiae of every last gosh darn thing and embrace the imperfections of life. it's always been part of my personality to dwell on the negative of the past; minor, trivial things would haunt me forever. i was holding myself back from seeing the joy in today and the potential of tomorrow.
having maya in my life reminds me everyday that being a parent is the toughest job in the world. what could be more important, demanding, and agonizing than trying to raise a decent human being? are we making the right choices? what more can we do? but then i look at maya, and all she wants is to be loved; for us to smile at her, roll the ball around for her, feed her, take her outside for a walk, and sing to her. and is that difficult? nope. just doing those things will probably help her to become a decent human being more than teaching her the alphabet, moving to a neighborhood with a good school district, or signing her up for tons of classes. i realize those things could help her future, but the fundamental thing about being a good parent is to be there for your child(ren).
so, for the next year, and the many years that follow, that's what i'll try to do for maya and ian. it took me six years of being a parent to figure this out. and i honestly believe that i may not have realized this if i hadn't had a second child. for that, i'm grateful to my children: to ian for putting up with me (and my mistakes) for the last six years, and to maya for teaching me to be a better parent.
- she is an expert at peeling off labels, stickers and tags. this talent also extends to opening packages (for example, my friend gave her an unopened pack of gum to play with but she managed to rip it open in no time).
- she likes to go through the garbage.
- i resisted giving her balloons to play with (for safety reasons) but she definitely likes the ones she gets from trader joe's.
- standing with more confidence and balance; she can have things in her hands when she stands up from a sitting/squatting position. she can also take a few steps if you hold her hands (which we don't do because it's not rie).
- new foods: castella cake, non-jarred baby food yogurt, kiwi
- babbling all the time but not saying much ... i wonder if it's because she's "learning" two languages at home.
- she can distinguish between elmo, cookie monster, and big bird.
- kisses like a normal person, finally!
- will feed you food, especially if it's something she doesn't want to eat like peas.
- wields ian's plastic samurai sword like it's nobody's business. totally "kill bill"esque.
- she's definitely becoming a sesame street fan. there was an article about the new tickle me elmo doll in the newspaper, and when i showed it to her she laughed and came charging at me and ripped it out of my hands. she was also thrilled to find a cookie monster stuffie in her pile of toys; she's been carrying it around since.
- some new foods: fish, jarred chicken noodle dinner (she spit up afterwards ...), edamame
- when she plays with cars, she rolls them around while making car noises.
- she kisses people and things with her mouth wide open.
- her sense of humor is definitely starting to develop. last night while playing with the mail rupert warned her not to eat the envelope. so she pretends to rip off a piece and eat it, cracking up the whole time.
- if she needs a diaper change she'll crawl to her room and the changing table.
- i've mentioned before that she's starting to stand on her own more. this week she's been making more of an effort to stand unaided often for longer periods of time (usually while she's eating for some reason). when she does it she has such a huge smile on her face; she must be really proud.
- grocery shopping has become a hazardous activity because she likes to stand up in the cart, even while it's moving.
- on wednesday she decided to call everything and everyone "mama" (ex. the living room garbage can and rupert).
- her "monkey crawl" is super fast and she moves around the house in a flash. sometimes she's pushing herself around so quickly she flips over.
- nothing is safe in the house anymore: her reach is getting longer and longer, she's constantly on her tippy-toes and one of her legs always seems to be up in the air in an attempt to climb up a piece of furniture, and she manages to wedge herself into and through the smallest spaces to get where she wants to go (ex. the "barricade" i've made with the dining room chairs to keep her away from my books is totally useless now).
- she says "banana" very clearly but we're not sure if she knows what it means.
- she kicked her brother and her dad in the face (ian has a scratch on his cheek and rupert got it in the eye).
- although still wobbly, she is starting to stand on her own more often, albeit only for a second or two.
- she definitely knows who "artie" is (ian's stuffed animal penguin; his absolute favorite). not only does she take artie away from ian, but hides him too. the other day maya fished artie out of her hiding spot and then put him back in there. i asked, "artie wa?" ("where's artie?") and she went back to get him out of the hiding spot.
- she caught another cold. she had slept so long (probably the longest she's ever slept) that i was getting worried because it's so unlike her, and hopeful that it was something she would continue, but it was probably because of her cold. darn!
- instead of swallowing her water, she likes to spit it out. not just a dribble but a pretty good spit.
- she's starting to call rupert "da-ee" instead of just "dada." after i get off the phone with rupert she starts yelling "da-ee! da-ee!" as if she knows i've been talking to him.
- "ba-o" (bottle) is starting to become a regular part of her vocabulary.
patterned paper: kelly panacci (sandylion)
word stamps: magnetic poetry
letter stickers: ek success
letter rub-ons: making memories
flower eyelet: (can't remember)
other: photo corners, date stamp
"the hungry detective" is premiering tomorrow, tuesday, october 17 at 10:30pm on the food network! don't miss it: officer cognac says this episode (las vegas) is one of the best ones. on the food network site there are some video clips about the show, and officer cognac really is like that in real life. totally friendly, down to earth, and nuts about food.
when i emailed with him last week (after seeing him on iron chef america, flay vs. bull) officer cognac mentioned he would be working (his "real" job as a police officer) the night of the premiere. can you imagine? he has to work! but i will be glued to the tv to see officer cognac work his magic. (if you saw him on "feasting on asphalt" you know what i mean.)
please watch the show and let the food network executives know you like it. the more positive feedback they get, the more support officer cognac gets to continue the show.
- kisses objects like toys, windows, and stuffed animals but she won't kiss me very often.
- i've decided to stop breastfeeding because all she does is gnaw and bite me the whole time she's eating. it's gotten much too painful to deal with multiple times a day. the last day i breastfed her was on 10.11.2006 and i think i'm cutting her off cold turkey. so far she's been content with formula and baby food, although she does on occasion point to her boppy.
- she closes doors: whether it's the microwave door, refrigerator door or the screen door, if she sees it open she tries to close it.
- she's figured out that if she wants to get down from a slightly higher surface (usually stacked cushions), she needs to turn around and go down feet first on her tummy.
patterned paper: urban lily
acrylic paint: lil davis (pink), delta (cream)
date stamp: heidi swapp
rub-ons: heidi swapp (black cursive letters), making memories (phrase), doodlebug (white letters)
cardstock: via (i think it's hammermill)
patterned papers: hot off the press, colorbok, marcella by k, paper fever, die cuts with a view
date stamp: fontwerks
line stamp: fontwerks
letter stamps: psx
stamping ink: colorbox
word stickers: marcella by k
last night i got some time for myself to go to a "class and crop" with mary grace abuzman at scrapbook oasis in irvine. it was like scrapbooking heaven! totally worth the drive down there in friday evening traffic.
despite it being her first class (ever), mg was totally in her element -- friendly, casual, fun, way too creative, and oh so helpful. we made a layout using katie pertiet's new date stamp documenting important dates in our life. mg's model layout is a 12x12 that's supposed to feature a picture of yourself and dates highlighting certain milestones. no surprise, i didn't finish; not only because i'm slow, but because i was having trouble deciding what i wanted to do. i used a vertical picture of me and rupert from the belle and sebastian concert, so i highlighted dates from our life together (when we started dating, our wedding anniversary, the kids' birthdays). because of the photo choice i have to make some modifications to the layout. but since i don't do 12x12, now i'm debating whether to start over in 8.5x11 so i can either display it or put it in an album. hence, i have no complete project to show here ... for now.
anyway, back to the evening. what can i say? it made me giddy. it seems silly to get excited about scrapbooking "celebrities," but that's exactly what happened. not only was mg there but tara whitney and lisa mcgarvey were taking the class, and kah-mei smith of fontwerks was there supporting mg. tara and lisa complimented me on the cutout technique i used for a layout featuring my sister's high school senior portrait, and kah-mei liked the color combination for a layout i worked on during the crop. it was so cool to have seasoned, professional scrapbookers look at your work and appreciate something about it. they were very generous with their compliments about everyone's work, and it's inspiring to see how they're eager to learn new techniques.
it also turns out the lady i was sitting next to has a bit of a fan following too: angi b. creates some beautiful layouts and mini-books. she showed me her cigar box album she created for a making memories contest (she made it to the top 20) and a mini-album she did based on ali's aezine challenge. for a working mom of four, she's an awfully productive scrapbooker!
anyway, the whole night (6pm to midnight) oozed with creative energy. whether you were young or old(er), new or experienced, i think everyone came away with something from the class and crop. mg did an unbelievable thing where she drew names of people in the class and created layouts for them on the spot. she managed to make at least five; i think they took her like 15 minutes each and they still looked fabulous. unfortunately, my i-never-win-anything streak continued and i wasn't chosen, but just watching her work was eye-opening. she said she sketches ideas throughout the day because she has so little time to scrap, but she was able to come up with layouts in the blink of an eye that i would never be able to do. i'm guessing she has an intrinsic ability to "see" layouts in a certain way, and the creative synapse in her brain must be zipping with energy.
it's been four years since i last went to a scrapbooking class and i've never been to a crop at a store before. i can see how productive it can be -- you're surrounded by other creative women and you have a whole store at your disposal with products and tools. the only problem is that it can get a bit expensive. i ended up going back and forth between my work table and the store, looking for certain items for a layout, but walking away with other cool products. needless to say i came home with a lot of new stuff. sshhhhh, don't tell rupert! (just so you know, though, i have far less stuff than some of these other scrapbooking ladies ... that made me feel better. ;))
- while watching sesame street maya was concentrating on cookie monster and prairie dawn talking about the letter of the day, "m." they kept saying "mmmm" and words starting with "m." after awhile maya starting saying "mmmmm" too.
- she sings to herself (not words, of course, but sounds) and dances along to her songs.
- it's getting more difficult to change her diaper because she likes to get up after every step (after i unbutton her, after i take off the old diaper, after i wipe her ...).
- she picks up little bits of paper or lint off the floor and gives them to you, but she also picks up imaginary items and insists on placing them in your hand. at least it gives her a chance to practice her fine-motor skills.
- i taught her how to "play" basketball. i'll make a hoop with my arms and she puts the ball through, kind of in a dunking fashion.
- she's almost able to go down the baby slide at the park by herself. most of the time she holds onto my finger, but she can keep herself upright while going down.
being seven years her senior it was always so hard to relate to her. being completely different people didn't help to bridge the gap we felt; we just didn't understand each other. but as we've gotten older i think that's changing. i'm really looking forward to getting to know her better as a person, to stop looking at her as a "baby," and to stop acting like her third parent. but i think in some ways my sister appreciates the nagging that comes from me -- no matter how old you are, you always take advice and concern from your parents with a grain of salt. but coming from a sister, i think it's different.
in any case, i miss her being so far away. i wish she lived closer so the kids could be with their nene. i can't wait for her to graduate and come home.
happy birthday, A!
patterned paper: anna griffin (green), scrapworks (aqua)
letter epoxy stickers: k&co
letter & number stickers (black): ek success (rebecca sower)
number stickers ("5.5"): american crafts, ki memories
oval sticker: target
punches: carla craft
letter stamps: psx, image tree (ek success)
date stamp: provo craft
number stamp: cavallini
dotted circle stamp: hero arts
stamping ink: close to my heart, color box
acrylic paint: delta
index card: office depot
i haven't scrapbooked in awhile, and (as usual) this layout took awhile to complete. i've been intrigued by the "freestyle" movement in scrapbooking lately because it looks so freeflowing, creative, and expressive. but for an anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive like myself it's an extremely difficult method of creativity. i always use a ruler and my body and mind are accustomed to right angles and a linear look. i have an extremely hard time just "going with the flow" and putting things down on paper, layering, and embracing the "imperfections" of this style. although aesthetically pleasing to my eye, i can't actually accomplish the look myself. therefore, this layout turned out only "half way there" in my opinion. it's stuck in limbo between my usual look and freestyle. i feel like it's too empty ... i may have to sleep on this one awhile longer and tackle the embellishing later on.
anyway, the layout is about ian's half birthday and what kind of life he had at that age. i just loved this picture of him shooting a squirt bottle at me from behind a window.
- she has been an eating (and pooping) machine lately. she eats all day long ... after all that eating you'd think she would gain some weight, but she still feels the same to me. i'll have to weigh her to find out.
- she loves to dance to upbeat music. she moves her hands around, bounces, and smiles when she hears a song she likes.
- sesame street is once again becoming a part of our life. she likes elmo (which i'm totally okay with) and watches the tv when the muppets are on.
- she's such a daddy's girl: not only does she rush to greet him when he comes home ("hi dada!"), but she insists on being held by rupert all the time, she calls for him from her crib, and just unleashes a barrage of "dadadadadadadadada" quite frequently.
- she doesn't really talk yet, but she tries to say things. when rupert gives her an option between food or a bottle, she can make sounds like "foo" or "ba" to indicate her choice.
- she caught a cold and her runny nose is bothering her. but she does like having the snot sucked out with a bulb syringe. i'm concerned, however, that she thinks it's like a bottle because she keeps opening her mouth while i'm sucking out the snot. when she got a hold of the bulb syringe she tried to put it in her mouth. grody!
- she can "tell" you if she needs a diaper change. after fussing for a bit (or refusing to sit down) i'll pick her up and she points her way to the changing table.
it's taken me forever and a day to post this ... about 10 days ago officer chris cognac (aka the culinary detective, soon to be known as the food network's food detective) dropped by to say hi. needless to say i was thrilled that he came by to chat about traffic and food; it was literally the highlight of my week.
officer cognac is incredibly friendly and generous with news about the realities of making a food show. he holds down a full-time job as a police officer and uses his days off to travel around the country filming his upcoming show, "the food detective." if you watch the food network, i'm sure you've already seen commercials for the show, which premieres october 17 at 10:30pm on the food network. be sure to watch it so the food network will give him more money and freedom to make more shows!
there's a whole bunch of stuff officer cognac told me but i'm not going to share just yet because i don't know how much is supposed to be "public knowledge." but it was neat to hear about AB, what we didn't see on the last episode of "feasting on asphalt," and what it's like to be a judge on "iron chef america" (the episode officer cognac judged on will be aired in october, i think). geeky as this sounds, i was totally giddy to hear the inside scoop on food television, which is totally different than the restaurant and general foodie worlds.
rupert was excited for me that i got to meet officer cognac, and even more excited to hear that we might get invited to be extras in one of the los angeles segments of his show.
p.s. officer cognac told me about egullet.com, which is supposed to be a great resource. so i'm off to investigate!
- her language skills are developing. she definitely understands more words and phrases: when i ask her, "motto?" ("more?") during feedings she either gets excited for more or pushes the spoon away. she also knows "oshime" when i ask her if she needs a diaper change, and one of her favorite words is, "bottle." ironically, one of the few words she actually says, and understands, is a cross between "night-night" and "nenne" ("go to sleep"); funny coming from a girl who resists sleep!
- she is, for the most part, sleeping through the night!
- climbing is one of her most favorite activities; yesterday i found she had climbed into her carseat that i was using as a barrier, and was about to climb out the other side. another activity she enjoys is pulling down my books from the shelf, flipping through the pages, and taking the paper covers off of them.
- she is a hit at ian's school. i have to take her often because i volunteer for the pta and she is very popular with staff and teachers. it's getting her ready for school!
- she can stand on her own for a split-second. she's great at cruising, too, but if she has far to go she's figured out that it's easier and faster to just get down and crawl.
- i tried giving her tofu but she didn't like it very much. so i mushed it up and mixed it with her jarred baby food, which she ate just fine.
- she points with her hand in the direction that she wants you to carry her.
- she goes straight for my mom's purse because she knows there's usually snacks in there.
i feel like i've been preparing for this day for what seems like years. my brief experience in the first grade classroom prepared me to drill ian with the skills he needs to be "successful." he's considered bright, and although he's not a genius by any means, he's pretty darn close to being gifted. i'm sure first grade will be a breeze for him, and on a superficial level that's what i wanted for him.
and then what should i come across, but the cover story in a recent newsweek: the new first grade: too much too soon? i am totally guilty of being one of those parents who pushes and pushes to make sure their child can read, has impeccable penmanship, and can do math ... all before starting first grade. i don't know about you, but i remember (albeit hazily) kindergarten and first grade being fun. we weren't tested all the time, we didn't forgo hands-on fun activities in favor of phonics. and, yet, i am subjecting my child to pressures he shouldn't have to experience already. i'm torn because ian is capable of learning many things some of his peers are not ready to learn; his brain can process, understand and apply much of what i teach him. he's ready. when he asks me a question, i dispense information - as much as i know - and i let him pick and choose what he wants to remember.
but why do i do this? does he need to know all this stuff before he's taught it in school? i fear the day he becomes a wise-ass (he's already on his way) and alienates himself from his classmates. in kindergarten his friends thought it was great he knew so much; they were actually proud of him. but how long does that last before it turns into resentment and exasperation? how long before his classmates' eyes roll every time he opens his mouth?
more importantly, will knowing all this stuff make his life better? all of sudden i'm confused. i used to think with 100% conviction that the more we crammed into his brain, the more we were enriching his life. that's why i've always surrounded him with books, encouraged him to read, and demonstrated the importance of reading by doing a lot of it myself. after all, knowledge is power. right? i was reminded of this at the school library just today when i saw a poster: the more you read, the more you know. the more you know, the smarter you grow. the smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making a choice! my ultimate goal has always been to give him the tools so he can make the right decisions for himself. that's empowerment, in my book. that is wisdom.
and, yet, at the same time, i felt huge self-satisfaction when others acknowledged ian's brightness. it was more than just being proud of my son. upon reflection i think i really, honestly thought it was a personal reflection on me. and that was horrifying to me. it made me realize how vain i am. it's not about me at all, and yet i was making it about me. i was using ian as a tool to make myself look and feel better. do i even know how ian really feels about his own achievement?
all these years, was i really pushing him to learn his numbers and alphabet, drilling him with math questions and phonics rules, and smothering him with trivia for his benefit or my benefit? i am beginning to seriously doubt my motives in educating my son. what is it exactly that i want for him? not me. him.
as i read a book review on sunday, a couple of paragraphs caught my attention and held it all day and night. the reviewer is describing the relationship between two characters, a mother and son, and i couldn't help but see the overlap with my relationship with ian:
Meredith builds her son up and rips him down with equal gusto, telling him at one point: "You're not an artist, Michael…. How are you going to compete with people who have genuine talent?" She herself is an artist of the highest order — one who, along with her estranged writer-adventurer husband, set a standard that Michael could never live up to. His response to this is one of the central questions of the novel: Is a life worth living if it's not destined for greatness? For him, the answer is no.i do want greatness for ian. but what is greatness and how do we measure it? can it be achieved by school alone? does ian even want greatness? all these questions raced through my mind as i watched him playing soccer in the backyard. what does being smart in first grade have to do with achieving greatness in your lifetime? do most people achieve greatness? or is greatness to the average joe being able to hold down a job, provide for your family, and share love and laughs with people who are important to you? what would be wrong with that?
and, so, for the last two nights, instead of the usual worries about school (packing lunch, getting him to school on time) my mind has been completely bombarded with fear, doubt, and concern over the rest of ian's life. my control freak tendencies are, for lack of a better phrase, getting out of control. this also frustrates me. i know ian's life is not my life. rationally it makes sense. but realistically? not so much.
i've rambled on for so long that i'm not sure where i'm going with this. all i know is that ian's schooling weighs heavily on my mind. more than i ever imagined.
- she climbed up stairs by herself. we don't have stairs in our house so we didn't know she was capable of doing this. we were at her grandparents' house and, of course, she made a bee-line for the stairs and started expertly climbing up them. and not just on her knees; she was actually lifting her leg high enough so that she was pushing up to the next step with her foot.
- rupert has become quite good at getting her to sleep at night without a fuss. she takes a bottle and goes to bed. earlier in the week she would wake up around midnight but rupert and i have been so worn out that we didn't have the energy to get up. the first night this happened she cried for a long time before falling asleep, but ever since, she's been able to get her self back to sleep more quickly, or not wake up at all.
- i don't know why i didn't realize this before, but the sound of the vacuum helps her take her nap. she's always resisted sleep, even if she's tired, but i just turn the vacuum on, get some cleaning done, and she's asleep by the time i finish.
- we tried giving her cheerios again. the first couple of times she had no trouble, but last night she spit it all up. i noticed that the cheerios are only bitten in half, so she's not chewing them enough to keep them down, i guess.
- rupert has "conditioned" her to nod her head "yes" when he asks her, "do you want a bottle?"
- she hands you her sippy cup when she's thirsty. she doesn't quite have the head/cup tilt thing down to get the water into the spout.
- she can climb up the back cushion of the couch by herself. we have an old, low entertainment center up against the back of the couch with the fish tank on top of it. maya was determined to get to the fish tank. she climbed up the back of the couch and was basically standing up on the back so she could try to get into the fish tank.
- no doubt about it, she loves the pool! we went to our friends' house and she was practically throwing herself into the water.
- for some reason she likes to rub rupert's and ian's socks on her face. eew!
- she got her bangs trimmed for the first time.
- at meals she insists on eating with everyone else; if she sees us eating she has to be fed too.
- for a few nights last week she was sleeping through the night, but now she's back to waking up at 3am for a feeding.
- she can vibrate her voice "indian style" (sorry, that's not very politically correct) by saying "ahhh" and hitting her mouth with her palm.
- rupert noticed that after he gets home from work and he's changing into his lounging-around clothes, maya will grab and hand him his pj pants.
- shakes her head side-to-side when she doesn't want something/someone.
anyway, officer chris somehow found his way to my blog, and even read the post i wrote on the concerns i have about the intersection in front of my house. he was kind enough to suggest that i call him so he could look into it for me. how nice is that? it was one of the highlights of my day to read his comment.
i'll update once i find out more about officer chris's show ...
- has a really goofy smile lately. it looks like a toothy grin/grimace so we're never sure if she's happy or upset.
- really getting great at mimicing us, especially when it comes to play time. we found an old japanese toy cellphone that belonged to ian, and after i put it to my ear and said, "moshi moshi" (japanese for "hello" on the telephone) she picked it up and put it up to the side of her head. she also hagu-hagus (gives hugs) to stuffed animals, zoom-zooms toy cars, throws balls, and turns pages in books.
- unlike last week when she liked to pull her hand away, she will now actually hand you items as if to say, "here, you play with it."
- seems kinda obvious, but she knows her way around the house. if she hears ian she will expertly crawl out of her room and head directly to his room down the hall.
- says something akin to "papa"/"dada".
- she is getting much better at crouching/squatting down from a standing position. her knees bend and she slowly lowers herself down.
- as i've posted before, she likes to rip up paper items like newspapers. she also likes to tear apart any paper napkins she can get her hands on. the other day, i was trying to get her to relinquish part of a napkin when she proceeded to rub the front of her body with it ... just like how i wipe all of the spit-up off her shirt everyday.
the last two accidents were both apparently caused by cars that ran a red light (can't say for sure as i haven't seen the police reports). about two weeks ago a kid on a skateboard was hit by a car. rupert happened to be in the frontyard at the time talking to our neighbor. they had their backs turned to the street so they didn't see the impact but they heard it. when rupert turned around he saw the kid flying through the air and land in the street. the impact from this weekend's accident caused one of the cars to go crashing onto the sidewalk between a utility box and a wall. luckily, there was no one on the sidewalk. there was, however, a family with two kids on the sidewalk across the street. if the car had swerved the other way who knows what could've happened to that family.
every time this happens, and there have been at least four of five accidents that we've been around for since we moved in, i get scared to death that a car is going to come crashing into our house one of these days. it's also frightening to think that everytime we cross the street -- and it's often because we walk to school every day and walk to the park and the library about once a week, if not more often -- i'm putting my children in danger's way. i have to trust that people in cars are paying attention, following the rules of the road, and not speeding. since i cross the street so often i forget that there are thoughtless drivers who think nothing of speeding when there are children around; and i get careless and cross on a green light, assuming that cross traffic has stopped.
so there's another thing to put on my list of "wants" when (actually, more like "if") we start thinking about moving: a house on a quiet street with very little traffic.
- when she's in a sitting position she likes to topple over on purpose. but, smart girl that she is, she only does it when she's on a soft surface.
- besides cheerios, baby food with oatmeal in it also makes her spit up. i wonder if she isn't digesting oat very well??
- she says, "mama" when she wants solids or wants me.
- she enjoys trips to the local wading pool at the park. she splashes and (no surprise) scoops water into her mouth, and also crawls towards the deeper part of the pool.
- this has continued from day one, but the girl just doesn't like to sleep.
- she tries to play catch: i roll her a ball, she picks it up and throws it. not necessarily to me, but she throws it nonetheless.
- she pretends to hand you stuff but then she pulls her hand back. psych!
- she's cruising around the couch and coffee table.
- she likes to bang her head on stuff.
- her poop is harder ... and stinkier! it appears she may not be getting enough water.
- unlike her brother, she is not really bothered by the vacuum cleaner.
a trip to the supermarket today made me realize -- yet again -- how blessed i am to be ian's mom: from about four aisles away i could hear a child's hysterical crying and an adult yelling. a little boy was sitting in the shopping cart clearly unhappy, and a very well dressed older woman was yelling at him, "do you want to go to jail?!" over and over again. it was actually quite distressing to continue hearing this little boy screaming for the next 10 minutes. at the checkout line the grandmother was yelling at the boy to "sit your butt down!" and the boy responding, "granny, you're stupid!" and such. just listening to the two of them stressed me out.
and when i looked next to me, there was ian, calm as ever having a conversation with me. i couldn't help but say a little thank you to whatever powers (beit a god, genes, or just plain ol' luck) allowed me to have ian for a son. he has never, and i mean never, thrown a crying fit, either at home or in public. sure, he's been pouty and shed a few silent tears when he hasn't gotten his way, but he tries so hard to understand why rupert or i had to say "no" to him.
sometimes he appears to be much older than he is. i oftentimes expect him to think and act like an adult, and i get frustrated and upset when he acts like a five-year-old. i actually forget that he's just a kid. i have to remember to let ian be himself, to give him the time and space to enjoy his childhood, and to let him know how lucky i am that he calls me "mama."
i am seriously in love with him. why? i'm not 100% sure, but he sort of reminds me of rupert, because he's kinda cheesy and he has stubble (at least on "feasting on asphalt"). but even better, he cooks! and he knows food.
last saturday was the final episode of "feasting on asphalt". right before the commercial breaks they show several photos from that part of the trip. one of the photos was of alton wincing in pain from an accident he got into, and it set my heart aflutter. dare i say it? it was even sexy. ack! i actually said it. and then, when he discovered the lunch box stove that truckers use, he got so excited. it was totally adorable! swoon!
and the best part is, before the end of his cross-country trip, he stopped in the town where i live. rupert and i were like, "oh my god! oh my god! alton was in hawthorne!!" needless to say, we were very excited and now we're eager to try the eateries he went to in our humble little
if they ever come out with a dvd of this series, it will be added to our collection so i can ogle alton whenever i want!
(here's a link to a post about this particular episode at the fan site's message board: the cop in the episode is "ccognac" and writes a bit about the episode. he's also filming his own show for the food network to be aired this fall. if you're local, you may be interested in his website: the culinary detective.)
also, from left to right, it's cute to see that they're lined up in order of pudginess too. :)
[@ baby T's house for an impromptu playdate after a wwam lunch]
- if you ask her "oishii?" (does it taste good?) she sort of nods her head.
- she is learning how to sit down more gently from a standing position. instead of just letting go, she bends her knees while still holding on and lowers herself before letting go.
- when she has stuff in her hands that i don't want her to have, i've found that if i ask her nicely "choudai" (please give it to me) she complies without a fuss ... usually.
- she loves to climb on to things, like boxes, suitcases, and people. some of her current favorite playthings are empty cardboard boxes, bongos, shakey things (like maracas), and newspapers.
- she likes mangoes.
- we've had to move things on the coffee table towards the center because she pulls stuff down.
- she rushes (i.e., crawls super-fast) towards the kitchen when she hears rupert come home from work.
- finally, she's showing some interest in looking at books, instead of eating them. part of her bedtime ritual includes a book (good night moon read by rupert or a japanese book read by me).
- she's learning to sit herself down from a standing position. basically, she's not afraid to let go anymore and falls on her butt (without toppling over). she's also gotten more courageous about letting go. she easily stands while holding on with just one hand and, although she's not cruising yet (thank goodness!), if she's standing between the couch and the coffee table she can start off by facing the couch but steady herself well enough to turn around and face the coffee table.
- eating tofu, bananas, sweet potatoes
- cheerios made her throw up.
- when i'm undressing her she helps me. she pulls her arms out when i hold her sleeves and then she tries to pull the shirt off over her head.
- nothing new, but she loves loves loves to rip up paper.
- i'm trying to (once again) wean her off the midnight feeding. giving her water and calmly, and repeatedly, lying her down in her crib is starting to work ... sort of.
- don't know where she learned it but she strums her lips in that "bluh bluh bluh" way.
- if you make exaggerated kissy noises she'll copy you, and sometimes will try to blow kisses. well, not really blow an actual kiss but she puts her hand on her mouth and waves it out.
a year ago i was obsessed with decluttering and trying to get the house ready before the baby (i.e., maya) was born. i said:
so, the unoriginal idea for now is to write a sbing (i.e., scrapbooking) and i'm-pregnant-and-i-have-a-soon-to-be-kindergartener blog with an emphasis on half-ass parenting & housekeeping.i think i've pretty much stuck to my original plan, but for some reason i feel like i'm veering towards "boring blog." i'm not sure why anyone would be interested in reading about my kids and looking at the occasional scrapbook layout i make. i'm torn between finding the balance of writing for myself and writing for outside readers. reading back on entries from last fall i'm really glad i documented the milestones and the everyday happenings of our family. i've actually forgotten quite a bit already. at the same time i don't know if i've improved my writing style or found my voice.
i have to keep writing. there's still so much to say, so much to share, so much to realize. i'm happy i took the plunge into the blogosphere. now that i've passed the one-year mark i feel like this isn't just a passing obsession, but a real part of my life. another aspect of my creative side. something to be nurtured and worked on.
so, bear with my folks. i'm gonna keep writing. whether it'll be good or bad, i can't say (hopefully good). all i know is that my grammar is getting poorer, my writing more choppy, and my mind increasingly all over the place. but that's just who i am, and the longer i write the more of my inner self will be reveiled.
weight 15 pounds (+ 9 oz) :: third percentile
height 25.5 inches (+ 0 in) :: fifth percentile
head circumference 42 cm (+ 0.5 cm) :: fifth percentile
ian was much the same in size and weight at this age (as far as i can recall), so i guess our kids are just small. at least they can wear their clothes for a long time!
edited: allison asked about cheerios, which i forgot to mention in this post. i was elated when the doctor gave the go-ahead for cheerios. maya's fine motor skills are pretty good and she can pick up small objects with her thumb and index finger. she also has a pretty good appetite and has been adding some plain table food to her diet (thanks to my mom), like tofu and non-jarred fruit. when rupert gave her some cheerios she started stuffing her face with them; fist-fulls of cheerios were aimed at her mouth but only a few managed to actually get consumed. we thought, "hey, this is great!" but then she proceeded to vomit it all up. not spit up the cheerios, throw it up! we took the cheerios away but she found a few more on the floor, which she ate and proceeded to throw up as well. it's really weird; she's never had this kind of reaction to any food. i'm afraid to try again ... is it possible she's allergic to oats? it also is possible that she swallowed the cheerios without chewing/gumming them. maybe that bothered her stomach?
one of my favorite children's authors/illustrators is jarrett j krosoczka; i adore his illustrations and use of paints. he has a great website where i got the iron ons for these shirts i made for me and rupert. the front of rupert's shirt has little pics of the animals from the book.
viva punk farm!
and since we're a family that does everything together, i made maya a giddy up, cowgirl! onesie, which is still a bit too large for her to wear.
ian is a walking advertisement for jarrett's new book, my buddy, slug, which comes out in september. be sure to buy it!
rupert: wanna bet maya'll start walking before she's one?
ian: i think she'll start walking when she's 15 months. okay, let's make this interesting. if i win, the whole family gets to go to a donut place.
rupert: and if i win?
ian: you get a spa and nails (manicure)!
one of those events is the surf festival, a whole weekend of beach sports activities. we finally went this past weekend because our friend MZ was on a 6-man volleyball team with his brother. although it can be a pretty fierce and serious tournament (there are former olympians, pro beach vball players, and college players who participate), it also has a distinctly beach/crazy vibe to it. most of the teams dress up and there's a lot of drinking before, during and after the tournament. MZ's team was dressed up like the cleveland braves from the movie "major league." we saw superheroes, cereal characters, guys in girl scout uniforms, and girls in '70s bikini getups. the event is extremely popular; sign-ups fill up quick and there are thousands of people who come to see it. there are at least 32 courts set up from the manhattan beach pier (where the above picture was taken) for four blocks.
but because we're not much for crowds, we left after about 10 minutes. we walked to rupert's parents' beach house and let the grandparents take the kids. rupert and i went down to the water alone for the first time in years to enjoy a nap and a quick swim. it was heavenly!
- went to her first wedding in los gatos.
- ate peach for the first time; she bit it right off the actual fruit.
- long car rides give her diaper rash. bad diaper rash.
- likes the gap commercial for their line of jeans. she'll even dance to the music.
- can't get enough of standing up ... it would help, though, if she knew how to sit herself back down! she still has to hold on to something when she stands up, but she lets go of one hand and even lifts up one leg. why? i don't know.
i read helen kirwan-taylor's column, and although i don't agree with some of her choice of words, i totally understand what she's saying. as if you couldn't tell, i'm not one of those moms who is child-centric. far from it, in fact. case in point, as i'm writing this the kids are playing by themselves. (yesterday, when i started this post, ian was doing geography work on his own and maya was crying in her crib.)
sometimes i feel horribly guilty that i'm not a super-mom and my children are not always the center of my universe. when i go to mommy-and-me class with maya i see the other moms dote on their offspring, and talk about their days' activities as if they do nothing but play/feed/bathe/read/talk to their child. and then i think about my children who spend a great deal of time on their own and i feel bad.
why in the world did i have children if i can't devote myself to them?
then i come to my senses and wonder: why should i second-guess myself? moms in general have it rough already. there's no reason i should put myself down as a mother; i do my best, i try hard, and i'm constantly thinking about how to raise my children to be good human beings. regardless of what others think or what other moms do, this is my parenting style. i don't love my children any less than other parents. ian and maya know that i love them, and i know they love me. doesn't that mean i'm doing my job?
what the columnist said in the usa today article really caught my eye ... because it's as if i said it:
"i'm not a bad mother. i call myself a 'good enough' mother. i feed them. i'm nice to them. i cuddle them. i love them."however unpopular this opinion may be, i think over-parenting and being child-centric does have an impact on what kind of person a child grows up to be. it also takes a toll on the mother. i may be their mama, but ian and maya need to know that i'm also a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister, and my own person. having these roles means that i can't always be hovering around them. sometimes i'll have to miss a soccer game. a lot of times they'll have to play by themselves. sometimes they won't get to go out to dinner with me and rupert. and that's okay. they'll survive. not only will they survive, but if i've raised them right, they'll thrive when i'm not around.
i'll never win "mother of the year" but i'm not ashamed of the parent i am. and as i sit here typing away, doing my own thing, i look over and see my kids being content individuals, i know i'm doing a fairly decent job being a good enough mother.
since the wedding was on sunday evening, we spent saturday with some other friends who live in the bay area, visiting stanford and having dinner in los gatos.
[left: rupert, ian & maya @ stanford]
[right: ian & maya with our friends J+J @ los gatos town square]
on sunday morning we went to the farmers market in town and had a picnic at vasona lake county park. this park is really great (although you have to pay to park in their lots; there's still some free street parking around the park) -- there's a carousel, a train, a lake with geese, and plenty of playgrounds and picnic areas.
the wedding was held at the historic opera house in downtown los gatos. it was a beautiful wedding and reception, blending the couple's japanese and vietnamese heritages. it was especially poignant because the bride's mother passed away last year, and it was very evident how much she is missed.
we had a great time at the reception, even though maya was cranky or asleep in my arms for a good portion of the evening. but she was a sweetie when our friend A babysat her while rupert and i ate our dinner. i took the kids back to the hotel a bit early so rupert could have some time catching up with our college friends, and then he relieved me of babysitting duties so i could go back and shake my groove thang in the horrible way that i do.
congrats to t+g, the happy bride and groom!