August 2013

The stepkidlet took this video and sent this to me. It’s from last week. The speaking voice you hear is stepkidlet’s. Allie still doesn’t have the lyrics down, but the tune to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is getting better…as long as you ignore the fact that she drops a few bars in the middle and the end. 🙂

Earlier this week, they decided to try a collaboration. I was in the kitchen making Allie’s dinner, and I heard coming from the stepkidlet’s room, “Oh, oh, OH oh oh…”
“Play the guitar, Allie, good girl! Play the guitar!”
*strum strum strum strum*
“Oh oh OH oh oh!”
So I grabbed my phone, turned it to video record, and snuck in on them.

The stepkidlet calls Allie her “little harmonizer,” and says they’re going to be the “next Lennon and Maisy.” If you don’t know who they are (I didn’t, either), look them up on YouTube, where this single big and little sister duo got their early start on American pop radar.

Status Message tonight:

Cindy’s friend Dwaine had once said to her that you know you’re doing something right when you have haters. That still applies, right?
Dwaine: Even more so now. 😉
Cindy: I haven’t gotten this much, um, confirmation that I’m doing something right in years. YEARS.
Dwaine: You’re a victim of your own success. Congrats! 😀
Cindy: It’s disconcerting. But you always put such a happy spin on things. <3
Dwaine: You know who doesn’t have haters? …losers. Haters are just losers who don’t have the courage or conviction to follow your example. I love haters…as long as they watch their mouth around me. >:(

…I love that guy.
Women tend to either love me or hate me. I guess I can’t take personally that multiple stranger women whom I’ve never met have decided they’re threatened by my existence, especially when I haven’t done one negative thing to or toward them, all because men they’re apparently competing for (“competing” in THEIR perception) have initiated friendships with me, and these friendships developed hard and fast. Sometimes people just “click.” Doesn’t mean there’s anything going on. Maybe I’m more interesting than these women are to talk to. Maybe these women should work on their personalities. But it’s their issue, not mine. And my new guy friends have each told me privately that the women’s behaviors don’t matter to them and that they stand loyal to me. *eyeroll at these immature women, to whom I am NOT a threat if they could see past their own egos*

I’m excited Allie’s at the stage now where I can share kid stories. Both from today…

Earlier, in the car. I’m driving, Allie’s in the backseat with Mr. W.
Me: *looking in the rear-view mirror* Whoa, there’s an amazing sunset going on behind us!
Mr. W: Yup, and it’s going to get prettier, too. There’s some great clouds in the sky. Your mom and dad would love to be sitting in our backyard watching this tonight. [My parents stayed a week with us last week to take care of Allie, and their nightly ritual as I finished Allie’s bedtime routine was to sit outside and admire the sunset.]
Allie: Gong-gong, Po-po?
Me: How did she know that’s who we’re talking about?!

And then about an hour later, in Allie’s bathroom, Mr. W was holding her and I was flossing her teeth.
Allie: *reaching out with her little index finger and actually poking me in the EYE. Yes, she made contact with my EYEBALL.*
Me: Hey! You poked me in the EYE!
Allie: Mimi? Mimi?
Me: What? Mimi?
Allie: Mimi? Mimi? Eye.
Me: You poked Minnie in the eye?
Allie: Yeah!
Me: *confused*
Mr. W: Remember? At Disneyland yesterday? She poked Mickey in the eye?
Me: What?
Mr. W: We were taking a picture with Mickey and she poked him in the eye. And the photographer said, “Oh, no, Mickey, you’re gonna have to be a pirate now!”
Allie: *singing* Yo-ho, yo-ho!
Me: Whoa, she just sang the Pirates of the Caribbean song!
Allie: Boom! Boom!
(Because the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride does two drops in the beginning, which are her “boom”s. And then the “Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me…” starts playing.)

Okay, you had to be there. =P

BTW, the whole time we were at Disneyland Sunday morning, Allie kept saying, “Ewic. ‘Lexis. Di-ana.” Because the last time she was at Disneyland, she was there with them.

I noticed recently that Allie has been pluralizing her plural nouns. “Ball.” “More balls.” “Birdie.” “Birdies.”

Just now, she confirmed she understands quantity. I was just pulling Allie out of her bath and drying her off in her towel when Allie pointed to some of the bath toys by her tub that she didn’t use tonight. “Duckie,” she said.
“You want a duckie?” I asked.
“Which one, the dada duckie or the baby duckie?”
“Dada duckie?” Mr. W reached for the larger duck “dressed” in men’s clothing.
“Little girl duckie?” Reaching for the smaller duckie in a tiara and “dress.”
“Then which one do you want?”
“Two. Two duckies.”
“Oh, you want both of them?”
I didn’t think anything of it, giving her both duckies to play with while I finished dressing her, but Mr. W said, “Two! She understands what ‘two’ means!”
And then it hit me. “Oh yeah, huh!” I said in surprise.
Allie laughed at me, then imitated me. “Two duckies. Oh yeah, huh?”

Very cool beans.

Happy 21st bday to Toddler-boo. Now that she’s got more command over her physical and spoken skills, a lot more personality is coming through.

For example, yesterday. We’re always barefoot at home. I was sitting in chair and Allie came running by to see what I was doing, and she accidentally stepped on my bare foot with her bare foot. “Yikes! Allie’s foot is COLD!” I yelped.
Allie responded, “Mama…foot…hot.”
It’s all a matter of perspective.

She also likes singing. Her current favorite song to sing is “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Rockabye Baby.” She doesn’t have all the lyrics down, though. Mr. W told me that earlier this week, he checked the babycam remotely from work and Allie was awake in her crib after her nap, rolling around, mouth moving up and down. So he turned on the sound, and he and his coworkers watched Allie sing, “Twinkle twinkle twinkle twinkle. *clapping for herself* Yaaay! *roll* Twinkle twinkle twinkle twinkle! *clapping* Yaaaay!” Her version of Rockabye Baby goes like this: “Rock baby. Rock baby. Rock baby.”

My parents have stayed with us this past week because the stepkidlet was still in Europe, and Jayne took off for the week to take her daughter to college on the East Coast. My parents did surprisingly well. They kept to Allie’s routine, and even made her fresh food for all Allie’s meals. AND, they had dinner ready for us when we got home. We don’t know how they did it, but we sure appreciated it. Allie’s been excited every day to spend it with “Gong-gong, po-po!” They’ve been teaching her Chinese, too. My mom sent me a bunch of videos yesterday.

To translate, my mom told Allie to say to her great-grandma, “Did not, did not, did not.” And then, “Did, did, did.” And then my dad had her count from 1 to 10 in Mandarin.

Allie had her first dance class (toddler ballet and jazz) last Saturday, and seemed to enjoy it, so we signed her up for a 10-week session. It’ll be every Saturday morning, and only lasts about 45 minutes. But she gets to play dress-up and run around with toddler girls her age and refine her physical skills.

The stepkidlet got back from Europe mid-week and is staying with her mom for the next few days, but came by to visit Allie and to give her some clothes she’d bought for Allie in Spain. Allie tried on the harem pants right away, and modeled them doing one of the moves she learned in dance class.

The toddler dance class itself was interesting. Trying to get 6 toddlers (all assisted by their moms) to do the same thing at the same time is like trying to corral and coordinate cats. They went through Disney songs and familiar songs pretty quickly, doing something different with each one, using lots of props like tiaras, star magic wands, hand streamers, flower, pom-poms, bubbles, colorful parachutes. It was a lot like Gymboree but dance-/movement-focused instead of toy-focused.

Allie’s broken teeth are doing well. She still doesn’t seem particularly sensitive to temperature or contact at the point of injury. She now bites carrots and other large pieces of food by moving the food to the side of her mouth, which is a little heart-breaking to watch, but she doesn’t have a problem with it. She’s adapted. I’m glad we didn’t put her under for root canals or extractions for nothing.

Babies are crazy-flexible. Allie will bend and do the downward dog position while announcing with a smile, “Yoga!” and her legs would be straight-kneed, and she’d have her head and elbows and forearms touching the ground in front of her. Crazy, given how long her legs are.

Oh, and she’s better with her colors now. She can tell you whether something is “red, yellow, blue, orange, green,” and hand over or point to objects of your expressed color.

Suddenly, however, she hates baths. I don’t know whether it’s because she hates bathing, or because it’s what tears her from her toys to bedtime. She still enjoys bedtime and naptime, tho, but she will pick up her legs crying, “No! No! No!” when Mr. W tries to put her into the bath. And her legs and toes will flare out and she’ll hang onto the edges of the tub to keep from going in.

We all went out for dinner mid-week when the stepkidlet visited. Allie ran into her old dancing partner*.

She’s going to outgrow him soon. She’s the baby in her dance class (everyone else is at least 2, or just a week from turning 2), and she’s taller than all of them.
Here’s another photo from after dinner, depicting one of those moments in great parenting.

(As with all my photos, rest mouse pointers over the photos for captions.)

* Allie’s old dancing partner. Here is a flashback.

So kind of funny… After writing the last 2 posts, I exchanged a couple of emails with the hestitant friend I’d mentioned in the earlier of the 2 posts, and he suddenly (instinctively, he said) let me into his inner circle. He’s going through some emotional reeling due to a romantic relationship issue, and that happens to be my specialty, so we’ve been chatting online about it nightly. He’s doing a lot better now so the chatter isn’t as involved as it was over the weekend, but we still touch base over it daily/nightly. It’s felt really, really nice to be able to help, to help someone feel better, help them move forward, be their sounding board…just like in the good ol’ days of youth. He’s lately my fitness guru, so it’s a reciprocating relationship. He truly feels he can get me “in the best shape of [my] life” by instructing me remotely. We’ll see.

In any case, I’m always happy to have a new quality friend.

I was notified this morning that my friend’s husband Rick had shot himself last night and was in ICU. Rick’s gun collection was something impressive, had I known enough about guns to be impressed, so I’d thought (hoped) that he was cleaning his guns or goofing off or something and accidentally shot himself in the foot. As more information came out, the people in the know told us this was intentional, and that a neurologist was going to examine him this morning. And then someone in the hospital with my friend said something about life support and the possibility of organ donations, so Ramon (the primary guy keeping me in the loop; he’s my former jujitsu sensei although he’s only a few years older than I am) and I were confused. If a doctor would use a donated organ on Rick, that means there’s a good chance of survival, right? But if a neurologist was examining him, doesn’t that mean there was head trauma? So where did he shoot himself? Did he spray himself with a shotgun somehow? I shared our confusion with Mr. W and he said that it sounds to him like Rick shot himself in the head and if the neurologist determined he was brain dead, they would keep him on life support to keep his body alive in order to donate Rick’s organs to someone else.

I texted my friend, because I didn’t want to bother her, but I also wanted her to know I was thinking of her with love and prayers. She texted back, “Thanks Cindy. Please send my love to [Mr. W]. We’ll let you guys know somehow where the memorial will be held.” So to her, Rick was already gone. I think Mr. W was right. I was later informed that Rick would be taken off life support tomorrow.

Ramon called me after he’d spoken to my friend (the wife) personally. We’d rarely seen or spoken to each other since we both got married, I had Allie and he now has 2 daughters, one turning 3 soon and another mere months old. Allie was napping, and Ramon’s wife had taken the baby for a short weekend trip to NorCal and his mother-in-law was at his house helping with his older daughter. It was a rare time that we were both free, and it was a rare occasion that made this phone contact necessary. We talked for 45 minutes, which he said was likely the longest phone conversation he’d ever had with anyone.

At the end of our conversation, I told him about the topic of my last blog entry, written last night (altho I never said I had a blog). It was kind of like, ask and ye shall receive. But I never imagined something like this would be the catalyst to a rebond with a friend. He said he’d only spoken to Rick last weekend and everything seemed fine. This came out of nowhere. I’ve been obsessing about this all day. I don’t understand what happened. It would make more sense if this were an accident, and Rick, being the usual clown he always was, didn’t realize the gun was loaded and was playing around. His wife, my friend, was at home when it happened, but I’m scared to ask her anything. I just keep thinking whether I should’ve been more diligent as a friend so that I could’ve maybe picked up on something. And how he loved her so much, how could he leave her in this way? He’s got to know the kind of emotional, psychological, financial, practical, legal, etc. mess he’s leaving behind for her to deal with, alone. I don’t understand it at all. He didn’t seem depressed or psychologically compromised in any way; they were still social, since the reason Ramon talked to him last weekend was because Rick had called to see if Ramon & family wanted to go with them to the County Fair. (Ramon had to decline as they were out of town.)

I’m just at a loss, and I don’t know what to do or how to help.

One of my favorite things about my teenage and young adult friendships was the ability to spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing people, relationships, thoughts, dreams, and so on. We camped out on the phone for hours at a time, and come to think of it, most of those conversations weren’t about what HAPPENED, they were about what it meant, or may mean, that whatever happened happened.

I’m older now and the luxury of spending hours on the phone or hanging out in person has taken a back, back seat to things that need to get DONE. It’s become a new way of life, and none of my previous phone conversation savvy friends — at least, none that I’m still in contact with — do this with anyone anymore, at least not on a regular basis. We all prefer shorter, at-your-convenience types of communication that can be broken up throughout the day, over a number of days. Texting. Emailing. When the phone rings, we’re annoyed and usually perceive ourselves as too busy to pick it up. And who is so demanding as to dare place a phone call, as if requiring my attention NOW? Don’t I have anything to say about when I can or want to talk? Don’t they know it’s dinnertime/driving time/time I’m busy with the spouse/kid/work? The audacity!

So it was that I looked around mentally at my potential contacts tonight, then flipped through my mental Rolodex for someone I can talk to regarding a new friend I have who is fascinatingly puzzling, and about whom I may have suddenly had a psychological breakthrough analysis…and I find nobody I can have that kind of conversation with. Some of the people I used to talk to are still in my life, but they’re busy with their own lives with things that have more pressing urgency (i.e., young kids) than what I need them for. The irony is that this new friend could be the right person to have this kind of conversation with, provided I do it all over email, but I can’t very well talk to someone about themselves and how I think they may have a narcissist disorder and how/why I think that and what it may say about me given how I came to that possible conclusion.

And then I suddenly recall that weeks ago, I’d tried to recruit another new friend into that position (over email), and how it hadn’t gone anywhere, the friend bowing out of contributing to my theories and analyses by claiming insufficient expertise in the area to discuss such with me. I understood, but bummer.

I miss not being an island.

8-3-13: Allie’s first time in a pool. College roommie Diana and family invited us to hang out with them at their next-to-Disneyland hotel.

8-4-13: Allie’s first time in a kayak. It was supposed to be her first time in a launched kayak, kayaking, but after Allie sat there for 6 seconds, the Lake people stopped us and said since it’s a 2-man kayak, they can’t have Allie sit on either of our laps while another person sat in the second kayak seat, because then that’d be 3 people in a 2-person kayak. I wasn’t going to leave my baby in a kayak seat ALONE where I can’t get to her if she decided to get up or fall overboard, so we played in the swimming area at the Lake instead. Maybe next year.

8-4-13: Everybody’s first time meeting Rocker Brother’s new girlfriend, Karen. She’s fascinating. At my age, she’s an associate professor (teaching scientist stuff) in Xi’an, China (better known as the city where all those terra cotta warriors came from). She’s also a personal trainer for body builders, among lots of other stuff. We enjoyed hanging with them when they visited us this weekend from Vegas. (She was also responsible for Allie’s first sugar high, after feeding Allie 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream at the Cheesecake Factory after dinner.) Allie took to her almost immediately and so did we.

8-10-13: Allie’s first hairdo (not including goofing off with soap for a few mins in the bathtub). Grandma Po-po did this. Allie still doesn’t have a lot of hair so regular hair accessories don’t stay on. Mr. W, however, found a box of tiny ouchless plastic rubber bands that came 200 to the box, and those work like magic.

8-11-13: Allie’s first time on a horse. We were bike riding through Irvine Park and passed by a very nice family loading their horses into their trailer as we were on the way to our car. We pointed out the “horsey” to Allie, and the man called out, “Hey, you guys got a camera? Would you like to put her on a horse and take a picture? This one’s very mellow.” This horse was indeed very sweet, although she may have also been tired out from the riding the family had just completed.

Today: Allie’s first time noticing/pointing out a negative. I don’t have a photo of this, so I’ll have to write a thousand words to make up for the missing photo. When we got back from work today, Allie pulled us to the computer and pointed to the monitor, saying, “Allie pick-ter, Allie pick-ter.”
I clarified, “You want to see pictures of Allie?”
I went through a folder of old baby pictures (“Baby Allie, Baby Allie!”), and played a video in it in which the footage swept the living room. Allie pointed at the monitor and said with a furrowed brow, “Allie house? No Allie house.” She did this twice in 2 different videos, pointing out that the princess playhouse tent she got for her first birthday from her big bro and big sis were missing from the video of the living room. I’m sure this is what she means, because the second time she did this, she pointed to her tent in the living room while she said, “No Allie house.”
Also funny: On a photo of my dad holding her, with just a corner of Mr. W’s hair and forehead showing in the background behind my dad, I asked Allie, “Who’s this?”
She said, “Gong-gong.”
“Who else?”
I pointed to the little triangle with a piece of forehead and a small tuft of hair. “Who’s that?”
“Dada.” Hilarious.

(As with all my photos, rest mouse pointer over the photo for a caption.)

College roommie Diana and her family had a wedding to attend in SoCal last weekend, so they decided to come down from NorCal a few days early and make a 2-year dream come true. We’d been talking about taking our daughters together to Disneyland since they were infants, but the distance, and the girls’ younger napping needs, made any prior planning very impractical. Now both girls are 20 months old (Alexis is exactly 2 weeks younger than Allie) and are both down to one midday nap, and are lively, enjoy running around and watching new things and people, and Diana’s threesome were attending a wedding in Temecula anyway. They booked a hotel across the street from Disneyland property for a couple of days.

Allie and Alexis were meeting each other for the second time (altho they had FaceTimed once last year). The first was very briefly for a dinner at a Thai food restaurant when the two were about 5 months old when Mr. W, Allie and I made a road trip to NorCal in April last year. That dinner was late and both girls were young and crabby from needing to be put to bed, so it was more a stressful whirlwind and nobody was able to take photos. 🙁 It’s okay; they don’t remember any of it, anyway. THIS, they will remember.

We met up with each other right outside the main entrance between Disneyland and California Adventure.

The girls were a bit shy at first and observed each other, but didn’t play together. We let the dadas carry them into Disneyland.

Very appropriate that this is the first character we ran into.
'Look, mama.  Mimi!' - Allie
And then it was off to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Fantasyland.
Dadas carrying their princesses to the magical castle
Funny thing about the photo above — I didn’t know this until after I’d posted this photo on Diana’s and Eric’s social networking page and saw the subsequent commentary between Diana and their friends, but apparently, Eric and Diana have an ongoing thing about Eric walking quickly ahead of Diana when they’re out…EXACTLY LIKE MY SITUATION WITH MR. W! At least this day, I had some company. And it gave Alexis someone to wave to.
Dada and daughters in front of the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!

Mamas and our very excited, very thrilled-looking princesses! =P

Hey, at least they’re both looking forward and not running away.
Our first ride is the first time that both girls rode on Peter Pan’s Flight. Actually, this was Alexis and Diana’s first trip to Disneyland, ever, so that makes 3 newbies on this ride. We let the girls get to know each other at their own pace as they stood in line.

They both enjoyed climbing on the corrals and watching the pirate ships “fly” past. I could feel the hate as parents of older kids behind us had to order their kids to get down and stop climbing, as we just took pictures of how cute we thought our little girls were climbing around and peering in awe at the rides.

Next we rode a flying elephant. There are more photos of the girls gawking through the railings and sticking their feet through the openings, but I’ll spare you those. Both girls enjoyed Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride and posed for a shot on stationary Dumbo on our way out.

The girls did pretty well on the Mad Tea Party’s spinning teacup ride. It’s one of Allie’s favorite rides and she immediately readied herself to spin the wheel.

The girls looking, yet again, wild with excitement and joy.

“It’s a Small World” is Allie’s favorite ride, so we had to take Alexis on it to see how she would react. Allie and Alexis sat in the front row of the gondola with Eric to their right, just the 3 of them, and were perfectly well-behaved. Mr. W, me and Diana sat in the second row behind them. Allie looked around at all the familiar “babies” dancing and sing, and she imitated some of the movements of the Small World characters. Alexis wriggled and danced her way through the ride. She is quite the little dancer. Diana noted that the ride is practically overstimulation with something to see in every direction, music going non-stop, and lasting 15 minutes. After exiting the ride, Eric cautiously picked up both kids. To his surprise, Allie didn’t fight him, and Alexis didn’t fight for exclusivity rights over her daddy. “Hurry up, take a picture, take a picture!” hissed the madly grinning Eric.

It helped that we disembarked while the Small World clock was doing one of its quarter-hour doll parades, which was what a distracted Allie was pointing at.
We were right next to Mickey’s Toontown, so we thought we’d visit an old friend and introduce him to some new ones.

I was hoping for some good photos to choose from, but the Disneyland photographer stationed there only took 1 photo with my camera (this one), and took the rest on their camera, likely so that we have to pay money to get it from them. Well, I guess it was nice of them to give us a freebie on my camera anyway; they didn’t have to.
On the way out of Mickey’s house and barnyard studio, we stopped by Minnie’s backyard (apparently the two are next door neighbors, so he and she really ARE the boy/girl next door) and the girls had a mini tea party.

Then while Diana, Eric and Alexis stood in line to meet Goofy, Allie crashed Goofy’s car into his mailbox. Oops.

“Mama, that mailbox just popped out of nowhere in front of the car.”
I thought their punishment for property damage at Goofy’s house was a little extreme. :/ Good thing Alexis is strong and broke them out of there.

We split up a little after 11am. I drove us home while Mr. W fed Allie lunch in the backseat. Allie took a nice nap in her crib, like our usual Disneyland day routine. Alexis, Diana and Eric went back to their hotel to put Alexis down for her nap as well. After Alexis woke up, they went out for lunch, then walked back to Disneyland and into California Adventure. After Allie woke up, we joined them at California Adventure, where Eric informed us that he’d gotten 2 FastPass tickets for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which is my favorite ride at California Adventure. It was a very anti-Diana ride, and she wanted nothing to do with it, so she and Mr. W took the kids to the Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party (like a dance club for kids, where they can dance with lots of Disney characters) and Eric and I went on and skipped most of the line with the FastPass. I was happy. 😀 I think Eric enjoyed the ride, as well.
Then our two families split up again, Diana and Eric taking Alexis back to their hotel since she had a very short nap and was getting tired, while we stayed at California Adventure to watch their parade for the first time. Diana promised us it was good, and Allie enjoyed it. I did not expect to get sprayed with water by the parade characters — repeatedly. But it was a hot day afternoon, we’d even changed to into cooler clothes before going back after Allie’s nap, so we dried off quickly.

After the parade we went to their hotel and joined them for their happy hour, where the girls played interactively with each other, following each other around, climbing on the lounge’s furniture, sharing the complimentary food. They also enjoyed the lobby, and their running around and climbing on various (thankfully unoccupied) pieces of furniture pooped them out.

Allie learned three new words that day: Di-Ana, ‘Lexis, and Ewic. <3

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