June 2011

After Riley sent my mom flowers for her birthday last week, I asked Mr. W, “What if it’s a girl, and she finds all this ‘Riley’ stuff later on and gets all offended?”
He said, “You overestimate how much a kid would care about what you thought. They’re the center of their own universe, they don’t care to read your old blog posts or your old photo comments.” Hmm. And here I’d thought it’d be such a cute college present to print up selected blog posts about the kid in an album or book. Here’s a book about you, what we thought, how much we loved you, starting from before we’d even met you.

I scheduled my full screen ultrasound with radiology for today, my birthday. That way, I’d have the whole day off. What a great present to myself, I’d thought. Mr. W had to work it a little with his supervisors to get it off as well, and by a few minutes after 10am, we were in radiology with a doctor taking tons of photos of the baby’s head, hands, feet, heart, stomach, organs, spine. Everything checked out fine. At one point I saw a little knee raise just slightly, almost like a flinch. I felt it at the same time I saw it on the screen. It was surprising how little movement the baby needed to make for me to feel the twitch. This does not bode well for when the kid gets REALLY active later on when there’s less room. =P
“Do you want to know the gender?” the radiologist asked.
And she made us wait another 15 minutes while she silently took photos of other stuff. At one point she rested the ultrasound on the left of my abdomen, then turned to look at Mr. W. From my angle I couldn’t really see what he was looking at, I could just see movement and shades of gray, but I turned to look at Mr. W, too. His face spread into a charmed-looking smile. “That’s the baby’s face,” the radiologist explained.

Finally, toward the end, she turned the monitor toward me. “You want to know the gender, right?”
Mr. W said “Yes!”
I felt nervous. I tried to mentally prepare myself to be okay with both genders, reminding myself that I had always wanted a girl, but had gotten used to it being a Riley in the past 5 months of pregnancy, so really, that means I’m happy with either. Right?
We were shown this angle on the screen.

I saw the “hamburger buns.” (I’d done research previously on what boy and girl genitalia would look like on ultrasound.) The radiologist said, “To me it looks like a girl.” I was a little stunned. I couldn’t look at Mr. W, knowing that all along he’d wanted a boy. When I finally turned to look at him, he looked fine. Normal. Still happy.
“Now you won’t have to work hard to stay young enough to throw the baseball around with the kid all the time,” I said to him.
“How accurate is the gender reading?” he asked the radiologist, as I got ready to leave.
“It depends, I may be wrong. But to me it looks like a girl.” She then explained about the hamburger bun looking anatomy between the legs when viewed in from the feet (like the photo above).
Later, in the car, I asked him if he was disappointed. He said, “No, because like you said, now I won’t have to do all the coaching, and all the sports leagues all day long, and driving the kid to and from practice every day. Unless you want her to get involved in softball or something.”
“You’ll have to do a drop-off at piano lessons once a week.” He chuckled but seemed fine with that.

I texted college roommie Diana, who’d been following closely on my whole pregnancy thus far. “So far Rebecca’s accuracy is consistent…looks like an Allison.” I’d told Diana (who’d had a couple of sessions with Rebecca) that Rebecca’s accuracy is claimed to be 85%, although in my and friends’ experience, that’s far too modest. However, Rebecca had always warned us that her predictions of unborn children’s genders are something she’s least accurate at, despite the odds being a 50/50. “God’s sense of humor,” she’d laugh at the disclosure. Rebecca sees the person’s spirit and identity, not an anatomical gender, although in reading past lives she can see an physical image in her head so she was able to tell me that this child and I have had at least one past life together before where I was mom and he was son and took good care of me.
Diana replied immediately, “Wow! Really. Very cool. Congrats. Everything else good?”
“I feel all weird now. Like, what happened to Riley?”
“Haha. Remember, girls will take care of us. Guys will take care of their wives later.”
“Good point.”
Still, I almost cried as I thought about it. Where’d my boy go? It almost felt like a loss, which is ridiculous, and I had to remind myself that the “disconnect” I feel right now is an illusion — it’s still the same soul, same physical baby even, inside of this growing belly that it’s always been. And considering it’s a girl, WOW have I had a blessed, smooth pregnancy. And it’s a good thing that despite being set on “Riley” for a boy name, I still kept running girl names by Mr. W just in case. I liked Ally for awhile, and figured I’d make it Alice, for long, which Mr. W vetoed (along with Kayla, Lilah, Leila, just about every girl name I ran by him). But he was fine with Allison or Alison. I wasn’t as taken with Allison, though even Diana said Alice is an old-woman name and Allison is better. So I looked it up.
Alison – the light of the sun.
Allison – of noble birth.
Allie – The defender, or helper of mankind.
I can live with that. Although I can see confusion coming now — my cousin Diana’s adorable baby girl is Elizabeth Lynn. They call her Elle for short. For the older generation of Asian relatives, they’re going to think Elizabeth and Allison sound the same, and Elle and Ally (I may go with Allie) sound close, too. =P But I guess it was meant to be like that, cuz the name I’d always thought I’d have for my girl was Isabella, Belle for short (which I threw out the window, thanks to the raging success of the “Twilight” series).

Okay, happy 35th birthday to me. A day off from work, AND the discovery of our little Allison with perfectly normal, working parts. Now when I walk by baby stores, I won’t have to point and say all resentfully, “See? Baby girl clothes are SO MUCH CUTER than baby boy clothes!”

I’d meant to post this email exchange from last week between me and my dad in honor of Father’s Day, cuz it’s cute. But I didn’t get a chance, so I’m posting it now (Tues, 6/21) and pre-dating the post to Father’s Day Sunday a few days ago. Yes, I’m cheating by controlling time. But at least I’m open about it.

Some quick background. My mom brings up on occasion that my dad doesn’t know when her birthday is, or didn’t do anything special for her on her birthday. My dad’s rebut is always the same — how is he supposed to keep track of all her birthdays when she goes by the lunar calendar, the solar (Western) calendar, AND there was an error Immigration made in her paperwork on her DOB that instead of correcting, my mom instead just went with to make things easier, so there’s an actual birthday and the erroneous birthday? (I didn’t even know that the “legal” birthday I’d always thought was her actual birthday wasn’t the correct day until adulthood.)
~ * ~
Me: Do you want to go to San Diego for that seafood buffet brunch on Sunday for Father’s Day? I can treat you and [Mr. W].

Dad: Is sunday your mom’s birthday ? And 29 is your birthday? So every body had some reason to happy ?

Me: Sunday’s not mom’s birthday! Her bday is next Wednesday. But we can do advance celebrations.
Also, the Service Dept at Lexus is not open on Sundays, so to save you a trip on Saturday, [Mr. W] and I will go over after work on Friday, I’ll leave mom my car and take hers, then I’ll get her car navigation reprogrammed at Lexus on Saturday, then on Sunday when you come over for the brunch, you’ll bring back my car and later drive mom’s car back home. (Confusing?)

Dad: Mon’s bday make more confusing, As I know grand mom said your mom’s bday is jun 22. And she said is jun 26 and you said is next Wednesday. and I know she was born May 01 at intercalary month that is the reason (excuse) not to know which day is her bday. haha
For Lexus it is much easy to understand you and [Mr. W] home Fri. Me and mon to your home Sun. see it is easy. One more thing the save beal on driver side need to fix too. It is face wrong side.

Me: mom said her bday is actually June 22 (next Wednesday) but that immigration made a mistake when doing her paperwork and wrote June 26. So her “legal” birthday is June 26, which is what I always thought it was until one day I found out it was a paperwork mistake. So now I ignore the mistake birthday and celebrate the “real” birthday. And now you say it’s May 1. So I have no idea. I want 3 birthdays, too.
Oh, that’s right about the safety belt. I’ll have them fix that, too.

Dad: you know what one day mom ask me to pick up Savon for her, The counter asking me what is your wife’s bday? and then every body lol because they understand been marryed for so many year(don’t remember how many years) old man alway can not know wife’s bday.

Me: Why would Sav-On need mom’s birthday, anyway? You should’ve explained that it was an unfair question for you, because you remember 3-4 different birthdays, so you should get more credit.

Dad: As you know Sav-On when you pick up some times asking zip. or tel last 4 # or…to see it they give you the right medicinal. never had any one asking for bday but because I pick up for my wife so they think the other way to have fun (I guess),
When I drop prescription the old man (druggist) see the prescription is for shawling and try to verify I told him “Jun 26 1951” he lol and said “close enough I been marry so long and still had problem to remember my wife bday” then when drug ready the lady asking the same question and said it is not the corrct should be Jun 22. How would I know which day mom use for different place ? and how to explain one people had 6 different bday?
1. May 1
2. May 1 lunar year.
3. Jun 22
4. Jun 22 lunar year
5. Jun 26
6. Jun 26 lunar year
And your mom actually bday is lunar calendar Intercalary month May 1 so in Solar calendar is Jun 22…… How you think I may use my poor english to explain to some one don’t know lunar calendar ?? To make thing’s easy just laugh on it. right ? ha ha did I make it clear ??
~ * ~
Did you guys understand that? Do I need to translate? 🙂 Longest emails my dad had ever written me. Usually his emails are stuff like “CINDY: GOT EML. WL TALK TO MOM RPLY. THKS”

I was out having a late lunch with Mr. W, his newly graduated son (B.S. in Bio), and his daughter on Friday when I got a text from an old district attorney pal that I hadn’t had contact with in awhile.
DA Joe: Are you at Open Sesame right now?
me: No, at Ruth’s Chris in Irvine. Do I have a doppelganger?
DA Joe: There is a woman who looks like you but eyesight is not what it used to be
DA Joe: You do, I should take a picture
me: Take a picture! 😀 If she’s hideous I’ll have to hunt you down and kick you.
(I was thinking about this.)
DA Joe: No she is hot
me: Whew! Really, take a pic!
DA Joe: Kind of afraid to take a picture
DA Joe: If I can do it subtly I will
DA Joe: I think my lunch companions would trip
me: “Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you, but I thought you were a friend of mine until I just texted her & found out she’s not here. She wants a picture, do you mind if we take one together? My name’s Joe, I’m harmless, I promise.”
(I figured that’d help him hook up, too, if that’s what he wants.)
DA Joe: Too late she just left
me: Gah! What a tease you are.

Where the heck is Open Sesame? Has anyone seen “me” there? Send me a picture!

Yesterday I posted about my grandma’s little adventure with the emergency room, which came into existence because she was going to have a foot surgery today and was too stubborn to miss out on an overly competitive ping pong match on Sunday, knowing she’d be out of commission post-surgery.

I just spoke to my mom. She and my dad dropped off my grandma for her 8am surgery and my two parents are now hanging out at a park across the street from the hospital. I knew my mom was nervous about driving to the hospital, because it was in a city she’d never been to, and despite her insistence that we all go out and look at cars on Saturday so she could buy the luxury SUV she’d had her eye on, and the fact that she immediately made the decision she wanted that car and bought it on Saturday, she is too scared to drive it. She was lamenting the bad timing of having to drive to this hospital with a new car. I told her it was PERFECT timing, as the new car has a navigation system to help her. But she is totally intimidated by the car. So apparently she made my dad take the day off and drive.
“So where did grandma go yesterday?” I asked.
“Oh! She went to the senior citizen center! Her FRIEND had a BIRTHDAY PARTY! It wasn’t her birthday but she wanted to go.”
“Did she drive, or did someone else take her?”
“She drove! She got a long scolding from me.” Of course my grandma had to go. She’s a socialite and she LOVES cake. She loves sugar. We watched her pour a tablespoon of white sugar into a half bowl of porridge on Saturday for lunch. She uses 4-5 packets of sugar per teacup of coffee. “Your grandma is awesome, man,” my bridesmaid Sandy had remarked upon seeing the coffee thing at our wedding rehearsal dinner. We certainly don’t have the courage to spike our insulin like that, but grandma is fit and her blood test results are consistently better than just about everyone else’s.
“She’s just like a kid,” my mom went on. “My supervisor told me that after her foot surgery, I should take her car keys away and hide them.”
“She’d be mad…”
“Yeah,” my mom sighed. Doesn’t sound like my mom’s going to be mean like that, but she does seem resigned to be chasing around her mother now as if she’d gained a second child.

Yesterday morning, I got news that my maternal grandma had fallen while playing ping pong at the senior living apartments where she lives. She plays ping pong regularly with the people there, and is reigning champion. I guess what had happened was that she fell mid-game, hit the back of her head on the ground, and then another person fell on top of her. She experienced dizziness and trouble standing/walking, but refused to let them call for an ambulance. So my mom was contacted early Sunday morning, she and my dad rushed over, and THEY called 911. By the time I found out about this, mom, grandma, and a family friend were already at the ER.

Grandma was released later the same day — no concussion, no evidence of blood clot/stroke/aneurism, but she did sustain a minor lower back fracture. There’s no way to put a cast on that, so she was given painkillers and told to take it easy. I called my grandma to check on her soon after my parents took her back to her apartment. “It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden in an ambulance!” she told me with almost child-like glee. She explained that there was nothing else wrong with her except for the small fracture, and that she considered the event an opportunity to get her entire body checked, and came out clean. Such a well-adjusted tough old bird. “Your mom was soooo mad at me,” she said discreetly.
“Why would she be mad?!” I asked. Grandma didn’t get into it, but soon got off the phone to take her usual afternoon nap. I figured she misunderstood my mom’s concern.

I talked to my mom today, and mom mentioned that grandma had been really happy I’d called her. I said, “She said you were mad at her!”
“I was sooooooo mad at her!” my mom corroborated.
“You were? Why?”
“She’s a 91-year-old woman, she was already scheduled to have foot surgery on Tuesday, and I TOLD her to stop doing stupid things like playing ping pong! She doesn’t listen! She’s like a child! And you know when she plays sports, she’s aggressive and competitive, she won’t just play casually. This isn’t even the first time she fell. And the person she plays with! They’re always fighting for the ball and pushing and shoving each other. I told her to take it easy and not play but she said she won’t be able to play after her foot surgery so she wanted to get this last game in!” I could picture my grandma (who taught me my killer unreturnable serve, but whom I’ve NEVER been able to beat at either ping pong or tennis despite being 1/3 her age), crouching low at her end of the ping pong table, eagle eyes keen on the ball, about to slice some poor ball invisible before it whacks the opponent on an unsuspecting body part.
“Is she still going to do the foot surgery tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I’m taking her tomorrow. She’ll have to rest completely for a month or so after the surgery, and I told her to take it easy NOW and not go out, because if her driving is impaired by her back fracture and she gets into an accident, she’ll cause more damage to herself AND to someone else. But when I called her earlier, she DIDN’T PICK UP THE PHONE! So she didn’t listen to me AGAIN and SHE WENT OUT! I’m SO MAD!!”
“You don’t know that, maybe she was napping and didn’t hear the phone.”
“She didn’t call me back and I left a message!”
“Did you try her cell phone?”
“No, because I know her — if she’s driving and her cell phone rings, she’ll pick it up! So I never call her when she may be driving.” My mom’s unsaid I-told-her-not-to-drive-and-talk-but-she-doesn’t-listen hung in the air.
“So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to wait until closer to her nap time and then call her again. She’s just like a kid!” Someone’s gonna get yelled at. Poor grandma.

Mr. W found this whole thing to be HILARIOUS. Not grandma’s fall and injury, of course, but the whole dynamic between my mother and her mother. “Let her live and have fun!” he said.
“Not if it’s causing her injury and risking her life,” I said. I agree with my mom on that point. But mom and I are more conservative than Mr. W and, apparently, grandma.
“I wish I hung out bars where people play ping pong and stuff so I can actually say to people, ‘You call that playing ping pong? My grandma could beat you!’ ”
“Um, people don’t play ping pong at bars.” Maybe in Chicago, where he’s from. But that is a pretty cool concept. We’d tell some cocky table tennis player that my grandma could whip your ass at this thing, and then we’d go to the car and bring out nonegenarian grandma, and she’d proceed to whip his ass with lightning ball blurs. King’s Court was never fun with Grandma, cuz she’d beat me and every one of my friends in succession, then gawk at us when we’re too tired to keep playing her.

If she recovers soon and defies my mom again to play ping pong with the same ridiculous competitive pro attitude, I’m gonna try to video her and post it on YouTube.