March 2014

Allie was completely back to her usual playful, cheerful, independent self by Day 7. Mr. W noted how much it sucked that she’s totally acclimated now and is over her illness and able to enjoy herself, and we’re leaving the next day. But she did recover in time for us to enjoy stuff we couldn’t when she was super-clingy and whiney. Water slides, for example. The Aulani has two that end up in different pools — one is a tunnel slide you go down individually, and the other is an innertube slide you can go down in a one-man or two-man innertube raft. Unfortunately, Allie only allowed us to take her down the slide once. Once she knew what it was, she told us it was “too scawy and too fast” so we just took turns playing with her while we each went down the two slides a few times on our own. Wanna live vicariously? Here is Allie’s first and only trip down the slide.

Wasn’t that fun? Don’t you want to go now?
Once we regrouped, Allie went into independent play in front of us which gave me the very rare opportunity to actually take a picture of the hubby and me without the kid. So here’s me in all my makeupless glory.

We dared take our eyes off the kidlet for a few seconds for this photo, and when we looked back, she was on a rock wall.

Another second later, she’d worked her way to a corner where there was a higher wall she couldn’t get on, and a drop-off on the other side. “I need help! I need help, mama! I’m stuck!”

Since we’d done everything (a couple of times) by this point, it was a free day to let Allie do whatever she wanted. She chose the beach.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the extent of my ability to assist her in sandcastle-building. Luckily, the hubby is a pro. See video below, which I made specially for this post. =)

That afternoon, we took a casual walk around the resort, finished up the special effects game, and took photos.

Allie got to practice her shakas some more, although it took tremendous concentration on her part.

Okay, so Allie’s doing more the “I Love You” gesture than the “hang loose” shaka gesture, but it’s also appropriate.

That evening, we booked a reservation and had a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant (“Ama Ama” at the resort) overlooking the beach, close to where we had our sunset pizzas.

It seemed an appropriate way to say goodbye to our last Hawaiian sunset for awhile.

The beach days left their influence on the little one. Day 8, the morning we were leaving, Allie told us that she made a sandcastle in her crib with her legs. What? So she took me to her crib and pointed it out. “It’s still there. The water didn’t take it, yet.”

It was shortly after this photo was taken that she discovered that the crib sheets provided by the hotel had cartoon images of Menehune (Hawaii’s version of sprites; I guess they’d be island nymphs) on them, and said happily, “Oh! Look! Menehune! Lots of dem!” Her little toddler voice pronouncing “Menehune” (men-nuh-HOO-nee) has become a favorite delight, much like her effortless pronunciation of words that Mr. W has trouble with, such as “Kombucha.”

You can read about our flight home in the first post of this Hawaiian trip series. 🙂

On Sunday, Allie and Dada decided to hit the beach but Allie wanted her sand toys, so I went back alone to our hotel room to grab them. I also decided I would go to the hotel’s gift shop to get another bottle of spray sunblock, since were had 3 more days left and maybe a quarter ounce of sunblock for it. It’s not often I get to run errands child-free, so I wanted to take advantage.

In line at the giftshop cash register, I overheard a male voice behind me saying, “Oh, look, they have small bottles of vodka there behind the counter.”
Female voice: “You wanna get one?”
Male: “Do you have any idea how much bottles like that would cost here? It would be three times the price of a big bottle at home.”
I instantly thought of the giant bottle of vodka we picked up the first day from Costco, of which we’d drunk very little due to the facts that I don’t drink much, and that hubby was too busy regurgitating everything he ate and drank the first night and hasn’t been in the mood to test his stomach thereafter. I turned and found myself facing an older couple, in their late 60s. “Are you guys going to be at this hotel for much longer? We have a really large bottle of vodka upstairs in our room, and we’re leaving Tuesday and won’t be able to drink it all.”
They were surprised, and we chatted a bit about when we were all leaving (they’re going home to the East Coast on Tuesday, as well) and how horrified the wife was at the price of food that morning for breakfast, and then it was my turn at the register. After I paid for my sunblock, I waited near the store exit for them. I think they thought I’d walk away, not serious about my vodka offer, and appeared pleasantly surprised to see me there. Their room was in the same tower as ours, just a floor down, so we went there first, chatting along the way. The trip was on their bucket list, he was recently retired from the aerospace industry, she’s on the brink of retirement herself, they had taken a cruise that stopped here and decided spontaneously to take up the option to disembark on Oahu, stay for a few days, and then fly back home from here. They were Disney Vacation Club timeshare holders and never quite thought they’d make it out to the Aulani, but this is a splurge they thought would be their last opportunity to do before they both retired and had a limited fixed income. They talked about how they discovered that as Vacation Club members, they had a 10% discount everywhere in the Aulani, but how outrageous prices still were. In exchange for the vodka, they offered me the use of their discount for anything in the hotel shop, and I confessed that I HAD been eyeing an Aulani signature cotton jersey. They were completely friendly and open, but as we approached their room, I had a brief thought of how easy it would be for them, once in their room, to rob me. We’ll call thoughts like those an occupational hazard. I reminded myself that this was my idea, not theirs.

In their room, we emptied out Gloria’s water bottle, Ron located his Disney Vacation Club Membership Card, and we headed back to our room. When there, I poured almost half our giant bottle of vodka into their water bottle (and would’ve poured more but Gloria stopped me and reminded me that they’re only staying a few more nights and can’t take it with them on the plane, despite the fact that Ron was saying, “Oh, I’ll finish it! I have a drink of Ketel One every night at home!”), and since they were hurting from the price of breakfast that morning, gave them 3 cartons of assorted Chobani Greek yogurt (we bought practically a palletful from Costco) and assorted sliced turkey and ham, as well, since they had English muffins in their room. Now I’d feel less guilty about having to leave all that food behind or throw it away, given that had really too much of everything thanks to the hubby and Allie’s lack of appetite the first few days.

Not knowing if we’d pass by each other again, Ron suggested we go down to the giftshop immediately to use their discount to buy that shirt I’d wanted, so we walked back to their room to drop off the vodka and food (and they returned a clean plate to me to replace the plate I’d used to put their luncheon meat on, just in case the resort counted the numbers of dishes, etc. in the fully stocked kitchen after the guests leave and would charge me incidentals for a missing bowl), then we all walked together to the giftshop. I learned that this cruise was a combination birthday and anniversary celebration. Ron was turning 70 and they were married something like 43 years. At the giftshop, I went to the clothing section while Gloria and Ron went to look at a different section, and soon Ron came to me and took the shirt out of my hand. “We’ve decided to buy this for you instead of just using our discount for you,” he said. A Disney t-shirt in Hawaii is very overpriced, and I protested. I told them this practically nullifies the free vodka they got; they may as well just have bought those bottles themselves, then (altho what I gave them was close to double those giftshop bottles). Gloria said that she doesn’t consider money spent on food/drink to be money well-spent as it’s just gone as soon as it appears, but money on a souvenir, she’s happy to spend. She said she’s been jaded and pessimistic about people in the world these days, but meeting me and being the subject of my spontaneous generosity toward strangers has restored some of her faith in “young people.” They both insisted that I take this gift from them, remember the story I can tell of the origin of this shirt in my wardrobe, and to “think of us whenever you wear it.”

We parted with a hug.

By the time I got back to the pool and found hubby and Allie, I was relieved they had passed the time well and weren’t angry I took so long, nor minded that I gave half our food away. I told them I had a story to tell by way of explanation about why I took so long. (By the time we checked out of the resort a few days later, we STILL had food left over in the fridge, and I had tried to get Gloria to take more when they were in our room, but she wouldn’t.)

I never did see Gloria and Ron again, but I hope Ron had a great birthday the following week.

Allie was still resistant to water and pools, but could be convinced to stay in if you keep things fun and lively every time she starts to whine about wanting to get out. One of the ways I did this was by bringing one of her favorite things into the water — throwing her about.

In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s a swimdress. Yes, the fabric does fine in the water and doesn’t weigh me down (much), probably because it’s designed by swim giant Speedo. And yes, I’m that self-conscious (but fashionable, cuz swimdresses are “in” right now!).

We even got to float around the water in the long lazy river loop (“Waikalohe Stream,” pictured above). I’ve had more than a couple of people ask me whether the Aulani was overrun with kids and therefore not a great “adult” place to be. I had the same concern, which is why I never had interest in Disney cruises, despite others’ claims that Disney vacations are “first-class.” I just picture dirty sticky kid-worn facilities and screaming kids all over the place. However, in this experience, at least, everyone else was right. I think Disney has the money to keep the kids’ places fun, clean, and surprisingly technologically advanced, right next to the first-class adult facilities, and if you don’t want to hear kids and deal with kids, you don’t have to. For example, just a few steps away from the main pool, full of gleeful kids, is an adult-only oasis of a two-tiered infinity spa, where you can sit on the lower level in warm water, gaze out over the beach and the palm trees swaying in the setting sun, while a hot waterfall pours down over your back from the higher level, and you’d never see nor hear the kids from the main pool. If you know much about Disneyland’s design, this is the architectural illusionist magic that Disney is known for. (When you enter Disneyland and go under the Disneyland Railway bridge to step onto Main Street, USA, you are steps from the busy freeways and entryways, but when you look back, you’d see none of the “real life” city of Anaheim based on strategic placement of the railway bridge. You’re fully emerged in Disney’s land. And when you look forward toward the center of Dland from that spot, the iconic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is made to scale smaller to make it look as if it were far away in Fantasyland and give the illusion that Dland’s bigger than it is, but if you were to turn around and walk toward the exit as if leaving, the stores around you on Main Street are designed with a slight tilt and sizing increase to give the illusion that the exit is very near, so people would feel less in a rush to get out and feel like there’s enough time to linger and browse.)
Here’s a photo of me in the adult-only heated infinity spa I described above, taken from behind the waterfall, giving you the famous view of “The Backside of Water” (famous line from Disney’s “The Jungleboat Cruise” ride).

In much the same way as the layout of the hotel’s larger features, here is the hotel lobby’s restroom with the little keke sink (kids’ sink) juxtaposed with the adult sinks.

If you want to seek out kids’ stuff, of course they’re readily available, but not intrusive. After Allie’s nap on day 5, she walked out on our balcony and peeked down in the courtyard. Next thing I knew, “Oh! It’s Chip and Dale! I wanna go see Chip and Dale!” We rushed her shoes on, rushed down the elevator, rushed outside…just as Chip and Dale were leaving. Allie called out, “Don’t go, don’t go! Wait for meeee! Don’t go!” The two chipmunks stopped, and opened their arms to Allie, who flew into them. And that’s how we got this photo op.

At the same time, we saw a generic looking bear farther down the lawn. We were told this is Duffy, whom we’d never heard of. Duffy was very nice, and invited us in for a photo, as well.

We later learned that Duffy (hugely popular in Japan’s Disneyland) is a teddy bear that Minnie Mouse made of Mickey Mouse as a traveling companion for his tours around the world. A mouse making a bear as a gift for another mouse is just…funny to me. But with Disney Magic, I guess anything is possible. Anyhow, ever since then, Allie has spotted Duffy everywhere in Dland and would say in glee, “Duffy!”
Good night, Oahu, Day 5. Yes, that is Allie sitting there with her new friend, whom she still talks about. “I was sitting next to the little girl. I showed her the sunset! Little girl was in a towel.”

I ran through the sand so hard to get in place for the above shot, btw, that “Baywatch” flashed through my head.

Day 6 was a Sunday. I learned a little something about myself that day during the ample beach time we had…

…I learned that I SUCK at sandcastle architecture. I can’t even get the sand out of the bucket in one piece. It really didn’t look that hard — you mix sand with water to make a paste and then it should just stick to itself, right? I’ll just say it was very obvious that playing in the sand or going to the beach was not a big part of my childhood. However, it’s a pretty big part of Allie’s recreation and she did fine without me.

The resort rents out Nexus tablets to the kids (free) and on it is a scavenger hunt game, where you follow clues given out in video clips of a woman who needs your help around the resort to save baby turtles, find lost hikers, uncover magical artifacts. You learn a lot about Hawaiian culture and history, and as you find the areas around the resort, you can make special effects happen. We got a kick out of people stopping and staring when we made islands emerge from the koi pond, the volcano erupt with fire and lava, water spray at lazy river riders from a hidden nozzle in an overhanging tree. Here is Allie and Dada standing in front of one such scavenger hunt spot. The story behind this one is that a young lady’s video of her late mother’s aborigine dancing was lost and she wanted to know the rhythm of the native dance, and the map led us to these decorative-looking drums. Once we found it and activated it, the drums lit up and played the rhythm of the dance.

That afternoon, we followed through on hubby’s idea of walking to the food/shopping plaza across the street from the resort to a New York pizza joint (giant New York-style pizzas with a Hawaiian flare, with toppings such as Kahlua pork) and getting a pizza, garlic bread knots, and a salad to take back to the resort, so we could mix East Coast with a Western sunset. Here’s Allie dancing to a Taylor Swift song blasting through the speakers outside the pizza place after Dada kicked us out for being “too active.”

The hotel was packed to 80-90% capacity, but you’d never know based on how easily seats were available at our favorite sunset spot, which is basically an outdoor lounge overlooking the beach.

New York Pizza + Hawaiian Sunset = bliss.

Our 3rd day there, pretty much everyone was over their various causes of pukiness (I had a small wave of cold sweat and sensation of nausea and thought, “Oh crap, it’s my turn now,” but it went away in about 15 minutes and didn’t return, thank goodness), so things were looking up. With a happy playful kid who was eating and sleeping well again, vacation became blissful.

After several failed attempts to take Allie on a kayak ride at our lake (she was too young to sit by herself in a kayak seat and I was not allowed to place her in my lap; another time or two we didn’t know kayak rentals closed early for the season), we were finally successful in making it happen. It just took thousands of dollars to get us to the right location for her first time.

She enjoyed kayaking so much that the next day at the beach, she wanted to go back in the “little boat.”
Me: We can’t go in the kayak.
Allie: Why can’t we go in the little boat? I wanna go in the little boat.
Me: It costs money.
Allie: Do you want to give them money?
Me: I don’t have any money.
*brief pause*
Allie: Daddy wants to give them money. *spotting Mr. W sunbathing in a lounge chair about 20 yards away* *running toward him yelling* Daddyyyyy! Do you have money? I need money!
And she’s not even a teenager.

Our active kid took advantage of the fact that my hands were full and climbed up here by herself. So of course I had to drop all the stuff so I could get a photo of how proud she was of herself.

Around this same time, Allie speech seemed to have suddenly broke into a whole new level. Although she was using plenty of words and full sentences before, speech became less of a communication tool and more of a skill with which she was weaving pictures conversing with ease. Now I wonder if she wasn’t just sick, but was having a Wonder Weeks moment (crying, fussing, clingyness, regression, poor sleep) before a brain leap. Example: We’d walked across the street from the resort to eat at Monkeypod restaurant, and Allie and I stayed to pay while Mr. W headed off to the ABC Store around the corner to grab some essentials. We were supposed to meet Mr. W there, but I couldn’t find it. Turning around, I started walking back to the restaurant, carrying Allie in my arms.
Allie asked, “Are you going to ask somebody where the store is, mommy?” (We’re mommy/mom and daddy/dad now, suddenly and out of nowhere.)
I said, “Yeah. I can’t find it.” Allie studying my face interrupted my feeling stupid.
She said, pointing at a store on the other side of me, “You found Hello Kitty, though!” I looked and sure enough, an entire Sanrio display in the window. Her consolation did make me feel better.
Here’s us at Monkeypod before I “found Hello Kitty.”

Second example: Allie started using regular drinking cups (instead of straws and sippys) while on this trip, and although she does fine when she sips carefully, sometimes she’ll swing her hand and knock the cup over. One such occasion caused Mr. W and I to literally fight over her spilt milk. When she thought her dad wasn’t paying attention to us, she said to me confidentially in a low voice, putting her little hand on my wrist, “Are you okay? Are you sad? Daddy scares me sometimes, too.” That’s my little ally.

One of the cool things about this place is that even if we don’t have the calendar of events to see where the photo ops are scheduled, we still do run into the characters just roaming the grounds. And they are GREAT about stopping to give unexpected attention to their little fans.

Mr. W paid $20 for access to the resort’s private lagoon for the duration of our stay ($15/day or $20/length of consecutive stay at the resort), which includes equipment rental. So Allie got to see a Dadafish. She was looking in the window of the lagoon and pointing at fish when he appeared.
Allie: Ooh, look! That one’s cute! It has a yellow face! Awww!
Me: Look, there’s Daddy!
Allie: *staring, then yelling into the glass* Daddy! Are you coming out soon?
Me: Is daddy a cute fish?
Allie: *studying Mr. W as he swam by waving at her* …no…Daddy’s a scary fish.

I got the latter part of the above exchange on video. Mr. W caught it on video, too, but from his side of the glass, all you see is Allie’s mouth moving. No idea as to the cleverness going on the dry side.

Another weird thing we discovered about Allie on this trip…she’s developed a pretty intense fear of water. Screaming. Even in the bathtub after refusing to get in. I noted this to ask Rebecca about later. She’d tolerate water up to the bottom of her ankles, but is terrified of going in farther than that. In the below photo, we took half an hour urging, pressuring, bribing, reasoning, until we got her to sit her butt on the first step. As soon as she got in so that we could take this photo, she went right back to sitting on the dry ledge with just her feet on the first step.

There were some great kid sections with water splashing and spraying, but she would have nothing to do with it and when we carried her in our arms and walked through these water playgrounds with her, she’d panic and cry for a towel to wipe her face. Thankfully, there were plenty of things to do while dry, too.

Like lounge around on (or between!) these chairs.

What’s Hawaii without their native Disney resident?

Kind of an expensive hotel to be overrun by rodents, though…

I love how “regular” stores commonplace to me carry special merchandise only available at that particular location. Check out this cute Hawaii-themed Hello Kitty shirt I found on sale at an Oahu Target:

Allie loved this shirt and would chant to herself, “Pedal then paddle. Pedal then paddle.”

Across the street was a great little ice cream shop, where Allie got her own ice cream for the first time. She picked strawberry. She ate it all and couldn’t understand why it was not acceptable just to go back into the shop “and ask them for more.” She talked about ice cream for days after.
Allie: I want ice cream.
Me: You can’t have ice cream now.
Allie: But I LIKE it.
Me: I know, but if you eat ice cream now, you won’t be hungry enough to eat dinner.
Allie: But I WANT it. I NEED it.
Me: *changing the subject* I love you! Do you love me?
Allie: Uh-huh! And I love ice cream, too!
Me: *sigh*

The housekeeping service was amazing at the Aulani, too. Our room was at the end of the hallway, and the housekeeper doing our floor would usually hit our room right at Allie’s naptime. After the 2nd time of this happening, she started going to our room first, so she’d be done and out of there before we got back for her nap. This on top of keeping our room beautiful, our supplies stocked, and even doing our dishes once when we left in a hurry.

Yeah, I think we’d totally come back.

More days of photos to come.

The resort was amazing. First class. You definitely get what you pay for. Plus the weather was perfect every day, in the 80s with no rain, just a lot of wind in the late afternoon to evening.

We had rented a car from the airport upon our arrival, which we then drove to Costco and then Target, which we pass on our way from the airport to the Aulani resort. We had reserved a 1-bedroom villa, which is basically a condo. At Costco, we stocked up on Chobani Greek yogurt, luncheon meat, bread, a giant bottle of vodka for Mr. W, Mama Chia packets, sliced cheese variety pack, stuff that we could basically make an easy breakfast or lunch with. Then we had to buy a replacement baby monitor at Target cuz the travel one we had suddenly wouldn’t turn on its infrared, as we discovered at the LAX hotel. Good thing we didn’t discover this our first night at Aulani, because after driving to the resort, the valet service unpacked our groceries and luggage, and RETURNED THE RENTAL CAR FOR US. Uh-huh. Amazing, huh? They kept our food temperature-appropriate (refrigerated what had to be cold) in a back area while we checked in, and we learned that we were too early for rooms to be ready. We were upgraded to an ocean-view room (which is like a $200/night upgrade), but had to entertain ourselves around the grounds while we waited for it to be ready. Allie was already tired both from the time difference and from still being under the weather our first 2 nights, so she was clingy and whiney. Mr. W was exasperated, but how exasperated can you be waiting in a place like this?

After checking in and setting up our stuff that the hotel people brought to our room, we put the groceries away into the fully-stocked kitchen (which included a washer/dryer on one side) explored the beach area some more, and witnessed our first Hawaiian sunset.

Allie went to bed just fine in the living room, but unfortunately, her sickness had settled into bedtime coughing fits. She’d fall asleep, and then the post-nasal drip would wake her up coughing. She coughed so hard the first night that it triggered the gag reflex and she threw up. 🙁 After cleaning her up (thank goodness for the in-suite washer/dryer, AND the provided detergent!), she went back to bed and was fine. Mr. W, however, was up that entire night puking. We still don’t know what he had, but his stomach was sensitive for the next couple of days. I was lucky and escaped sickness, chugging 2 packets of Emergen-C a day. I think due to the humidity and warm air, however, Allie got over her coughing in 2 days. As it was she would only cough when she laid down and fell asleep.

In the middle of Day 2, she was still a bit sick, so she was antisocial, clingy on me, and her answer to every suggestion of things to do was, “Nooooo!” Mr. W was convinced she was going to spend this entire expensive vacation plastered to me, refusing to go into the water. He himself was still not well, so we had a low-key first couple of days. Suddenly, however, Allie decided to explore a kid fountain area, which she wasn’t dressed for. But it was the first time she wanted to leave my side to do something, so we let her. She got sopping wet.

But, since she was finally having fun, I was happy…until a little toddler walked over to the fountain nozzle she was standing by and stepped on it, forcing the water to focus in one fire-hose stream right in Allie’s face. She ran over to me crying. She soon got over it and went back to the fountain. She would revisit and play in this fountain for the next several days.
When she toweled off, she got her first taste of a Hawaiian staple: shave ice. Complete with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. She claimed to like it, and I was happy to keep her hydrated, but she was soon over the sweetness and said she didn’t like it anymore. I was fine with her having less syrup, too.

Here’s a collage of some photos from the first 2 days when she was sick.

We’re back from Hawaii! What we ended up doing was booking a hotel room at Embassy Suites next to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) the day before we left, so we didn’t have to haul her out of bed at 4 in the morning for an 8:30 a.m. flight. We took our time getting to the hotel on Monday afternoon, checked into our suite, Allie was all excited and running around, slept well in the living room of the suite. Then in the morning, we caught the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to the airport, leaving our car in the hotel’s guarded underground parking for the week (at like $16/day). Then when we returned on our 9pm flight, we took the shuttle back to the hotel, where we spent another night, then took our time driving back home the next morning. It worked out well, albeit expensive. I’d do it that way again if we have to fly out of LAX, since the drive itself is almost 2 hours and more if hit rush hour traffic.

The plane ride was 5.5 hours there and 4.5 hours back.

Allie had her own headphones to watch her own in-flight TV in her seat, and the airline movie options were well stocked with Disney movies. She entertained herself and watched TV, dozed off and napped for an hour and a half (waking up precisely every half hour to cry for a bit, whimpering, “Mommy!” but then falling back to sleep within minutes).

After her nap, Allie pigged out on expensive cheese, nuts, crackers and fruit (domestic airlines no longer provide meals), and was just fine when we got to Hawaii. When we landed, she said excitedly, “I’m in HAWAII!”
The kid did better with cabin fever than I thought, although she was definitely eager to get out after we landed. I had to almost chase her down.

I had thought Allie’s unusual crying spells every half an hour was due to her still being under the weather the first couple of days of our vacation, but she did the exact same thing on the flight back. Fell asleep, woke up every half hour crying for me for a few minutes, then went back down, for 3 cycles, or 90 minutes. It may just be disorientation every REM cycle. Other than that, she was great on the flight. Less kicky than she was on the flight to Dallas. This is Allie after we arrived back at LAX. Happy to be back in California!

Allie got her first haircut last weekend (aside from the one bang trim her Dada did). $20 for snipping baby hair seems a bit steep to me, but it was a nice experience. Allie was very cooperative, and did look cute afterwards. The straggly bottom now looks more uniform.

College roommie Diana, along with her hubby Eric and their daughter Alexis came to town in the past week. Diana attended some work-related functions and seminars while Eric and Alexis went to Disneyland. Allie and I joined the three of them at Disneyland one morning. Allie got to meet Buzz Lightyear, something she’d never done before, because we’d never looked into where he makes his appearances. Since Alexis is a fan, Allie went along for the ride, so to speak.

I didn’t even realize we didn’t have a photo with Diana until I came home and reviewed the photos. =/
Allie was rather quiet there, not her usual adventurous spritely self, but I figured it may have been because she and I were by ourselves and she wasn’t overly familiar with Diana & family. Also unusual, though, on our drive home, she fell asleep. She didn’t sleep well or long, but it’s not like her to be so exhausted that she actually completely falls asleep in the car. Normally she holds out for her crib.

Unfortunately, the nap ended with two waterfalls of vomit. 🙁 She ate her scrambled eggs and waffle fairly well for breakfast because I told her we weren’t leaving for Disneyland until she was done, but had little appetite for her lunch, which was mainly fingerfoods she ate as we sat in the shade of a tree near the Disney gate. What came out was everything she had for lunch, and a lot of the egg she had for breakfast. She didn’t digest much of anything the entire morning. And then Allie cried because “I got it all over everything. I got it on my pretty dress. It’s everywhere.” She was definitely sitting in a vomit lake. We were blocks from home, fortunately, so I was able to get her in, cleaned up, and while she napped, I took the carseat apart and washed everything. That night she had a fever of 102, as well as the entire weekend.
Over the weekend, she vomited another time after complaining “my tummy hurt, rub it, rub it!” and when her fever rose to 103, we took her in to Kaiser. I was mainly worried because that entire day she hadn’t peed much and I wasn’t successful in getting much nutrition or fluids into her.

The doctor’s visit was horrific for me and Mr. W. After not being able to get into her regular nearby Kaiser, we took an available appointment at a farther office in Anaheim and was seen by, coincidentally, the head of pediatrics from our hospital who was there for the day at that hospital. He was not happy to learn that we could not be seen at the regular hospital and wanted names and exact wording told to us, etc. I wasn’t of any mind to file a complaint, I was just glad she was getting seen. Anyway, he felt her abdomen and ruled out bowel obstruction, but wanted to run some tests on her. They involved drawing a lot of blood. (He also wanted a urine sample, but Allie had no pee, altho she’d sucked up 2.5 glasses of her favorite grape-flavored Pedialyte by then that Mr. W picked up in the hospital lobby.) So I told Allie as we sat down at the phlebotomist that she was going to put out her arm, and the nurse was going to put a little needle in, and she’ll feel a little prick, and she needs to stay still. Allie was SO GOOD. The nurse had a hard time finding a vein and felt around inside both of Allie’s elbows. I thought, “Oh, no.” Then she tied up one arm, instructed Allie to pump her hand on a cardboard tube (which Allie did), then they went in…and not a drop came out. The nurse wiggled the needle around inside Allie’s arm and I of course could not watch and tried to distract Allie as she sat unmoving in my lap. And then she tried it again on Allie’s left arm. Fruitless. Allie was still cooperative and really, really good. Another nurse came by an offered to try, and did the same thing on Allie’s right arm again, wiggling and pushing the needle. Finally, Allie whimpered, staying still, “It hurts, it hurts.” Then little tears rolled out. We stopped that attempt immediately. The lab called the doctor for the update and we returned. As soon as Allie was safely in the privacy of the small doctor’s office, she let go and sobbed. It was so sad. The doctor reluctantly let us take her home with instructions to bring her back if the vomiting continues (she’d only vomited once since the 2 times in the car) or if her fever goes higher. She didn’t vomit again and her behavior wasn’t too different that weekend, although her fever made me very nervous as it hovered near 103. But she was drinking a lot, peeing, and eating in bits and pieces, so we just monitored her. Mr. W just wanted her well before we left for Hawaii the following Tuesday.
This is Allie the next morning after the doctor’s visit, sipping on more Pedialyte while she hung out on our bed.

We were concerned that this experience would now traumatize her from her happy doctor visits, but Allie still says she likes the doctor and would like to go back. She did get a slew of Hello Kitty stickers from the traumatic visit. Allie’s fever broke after the 3rd day, much to our relief, altho other little symptoms set in. A phlegmy cough, a runny nose after coughing fits. Nothing that slowed her down, though.

In January this year, Allie had started making very deliberate efforts to do things she didn’t want to do, in order to be “nice.” She still does much of her thinking aloud, so this decision would sound something like: When an older girl grabs a publicly accessible toy or playground equipment that Allie was on, Allie would say “I wait. I be nice.” When I tell her to put something down that she really want to hold there is a visible struggle on her face and then it suddenly resolves and she does what she’s told, announcing, “I be nice.” I’d like to think that the “nice” part wins out more often than the resistant part of her. She does volunteer encouragement, such as when I successfully complete a move on one of her learning apps on her iPad, she’d say, “Good job, mama!” And I enjoy the arbitrary compliments of “Mama’s putty” (pretty) and “Dada’s handy” (handsome). As a matter of fact, every female is “putty” and every male is “handy.”

In February and now March, she’s a little more into testing her will. She’ll refuse something not because she dislikes it or truly doesn’t want it, but just to see if she’ll get her way. She may want to go to the park, but she’ll say, “No, I wanna stay home,” just because she wants to be contrary. Unfortunately, she commits to the decision that she’s made without much true opinion behind the commitment. It still works if we just lets her have her protest and then tell her when she’s done, she can let us know, and she’ll get over it in a minute and tell us, “I’m ready now.” Sometimes distraction works. Sometimes reasoning works. But we generally stand firm on not letting her have her way simply because she’s insisting on it. “I’m sorry, Allie, you can’t have more than 2 vitamins a day. You already had two vitamins today. You can have more tomorrow.” “NOOOO, not TOMORROW, want another vitamin NOW!” Meh, it could be worse. She could be insisting on chocolate, which she actually quite dislikes, along with pizza, salty foods, cakes.

Lately, especially in the last couple of weeks, Allie seems very concerned with her affect on others emotionally. She’ll eat something simply to make me happy (which I admit I use to my advantage), so although she may initially refuse a food, she’ll suddenly change her mind and then after she eats it, she’ll announce, “I eat this and make Mama happy!” Or sometimes she’ll simply ask earnestly, “Mama, are you happy? I finished it!” Just within the past week, she has taken to asking on occasion, “Dada, are you happy?” “Mama, are you happy?” She will tilt her head and look us right in the eyes and evaluate our expressions as we answer this question. I’ve decided this is best answered “Yes, I’m very happy,” especially when she’s happy and well-behaved, so that she responds, “I’m happy, too!”, instead of treating it like an existential question. The other day I caught her watching “Mrs. Spider’s Tea Party” on her iPad, a story about a misunderstood spider that all the other insects avoided because they didn’t realize she’s a vegetarian spider until the end of the story, and Allie was repeating parts of the story and saying mournfully, “Awww, she’s sad! Come back, come back! [to the insects running away from the spider] Awww, she’s sad, she’s sad!” and hugging the iPad to comfort the lonely Mrs. Spider.
A bailiff I’m social-networking friends with said about Allie’s displays of empathy, “Well, you know she’s not a psychopath. Or autistic or have Aspberger’s.” Hmm. Never thought of it that way. Mostly I just think about how Rebecca had told me prior to Allie’s birth that she’s “a wonderful person” and she “loves people” and “wants to help.”

Daylight Savings begins a month earlier this year. Did you know that? So that means this Sunday, we are to turn our clocks 1 hour forward. Losing an hour sucks for us, because what’s 7am is now 8am, so we need to leave the house an hour earlier to get to work “on time.” What sucks more, is that we have to make this adjustment a week and a half before we leave to go to Hawaii for a week. Hawaii, which does not observe Daylight Savings adjustments because it’s so close to the equator that daylight doesn’t change much for them seasonally to bother with clock shifts. Which means we have to adjust Allie 1 hour ahead for 1.5 weeks only to adjust her back THREE HOURS in Hawaii for a week before we have to move her 3 hours ahead again when we come home. My fear is that she’ll be crabby and overtired in the evenings and then have a hard time falling asleep at 7pm (10p at home), then she’ll wake up at her usual time of 7am, which would be 4am in Hawaii. And then she’ll miss her nap entirely because it’s at a total wrong time for her body.

On a related and yet unrelated note, online travel booking company CheapAir analyzed over 4 million flights in 2013 and came up with Magic Booking Windows for the cheapest flights. You know how people argue about when’s the best time to get the lowest plane fares, and someone always argues it’s 2-3 days before departure, and others say it’s 2 weeks before departure, etc? Here’s actual statistical results:

On average, domestic flights are THE MOST EXPENSIVE 1 day before departure; 2nd most expensive 2 days before departure, 3rd most expensive 3 days before departure, and so on until the relation plateaus at 13 days before departure. So basically, DO NOT wait until 2 weeks before to book your flight. But you’ve always done that believing it’s cheapest? Well, so do 36% of travelers who book through
Okay, fine, so when SHOULD I book? Is there, like, a magical number? YES! It’s 54. Book FIFTY-FOUR days before your planned departure for the cheapest that flight will ever be. But I have an appointment to get head-to-toe laser hair removal done that day followed by liposuction to look good for my trip, and I won’t have internet access! When else should I book to get decent prices? Second-best choice for prices that are within $10 of the lowest it could ever be, book between 29 days to 104 days before your trip. That’s a pretty big window, so if you blow it, maybe you can save the difference by not checking any baggage. Can you believe baggage fees these days?! Great, I’ll book now for Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale! No wait, hold on. Popular destinations like that do not follow this rule, because the demand for flights there will be so strong that airlines won’t have to lower prices to sell out. So for high-demand destinations like Florida, Cancun, and something we’d run into issues with, little airports in little cities with limited flights (so there’s little airline competition), book early.

Here’s a summary of typical magic booking windows:
Domestic flights: 54 days prior
European destination: 151 days prior
Asian destination: 129 days prior
Caribbean destination: 101 days prior
Mexican destination: 89 days prior
Latin American destination: 80 days prior

Start planning, and stop waiting for that 2-week window.