So the thing with the current infection.

I was brushing Allie’s teeth last Thursday night when I noticed a weird shadow cast over the front of her gums, right above the broken left front tooth. That was the worse break of the two, the one closest to the nerve, and the one in which Allie’s pediatric dentist observed, at Allie’s last checkup a couple of months ago, what appeared to be a pinhole opening from the back of the tooth into the nerve. Ever since we’d gone to Dr. Wu after Allie’s fall last year, he’d told us to watch for discoloration of the broken teeth, abscess on the gums, and something else that I can’t remember (probably pain or redness in the gums). I’d THOUGHT her front left tooth looked a little dark in the center on the inside for a few weeks, like it was slightly gray, but Mr. W said he didn’t think it was gray, so I’d let it go. And suddenly, that Friday, her gums abscessed. It was a huge bump. Like, almost the size of her remaining partial tooth huge. It cast its own shadow, for gosh sakes.

I’d never seen an abscess on gums before, and just that week, my judge told me a story about how HIS gums grew an abscess after a root canal had gotten infected, and that was the first I’d heard of anyone having a bump grow on the gum. Thanks to his description, I knew immediately what Allie’s giant bump was, and that it’s an internal infection at the tooth’s root, growing outward. Thankfully, we already had the next day (Friday) off for the stepkidlet’s graduation from college. I called that Friday morning on the drive to the graduation and got squeezed in for an appointment that afternoon. Meanwhile, Allie was her usual cheery self and still hasn’t complained about or seemed to even know about her infection, which I already knew was going to lead either to a baby root canal or a tooth extraction.

After Allie’s nap, we were off to the dentist. Allie was super-duper cooperative with the medical procedures, as she usually is at any doctor’s office, and even held her own x-ray “film” (in quotes because it’s all digital imaging these days).

Said x-ray revealed that the bump is not a random coincidental unrelated gum blister, as I’d been hoping for, but is indeed a pretty significant infection at the tooth’s root. One-third of the root was already missing, and the dentist, Dr. Wu, explained that the tooth was basically already dead. The infection has to go somewhere, so it’s pushing out from the side of her gum. He was surprised and impressed that she’d shown no signs of pain. He said that given the severity of the infection, a baby root canal’s efficacy isn’t great, so our best shot to prevent damage to her adult tooth sitting right above the infection site, and to properly clean out the infection and prevent its spread (so her system doesn’t become septic), is to have that tooth pulled. The consequences of losing a baby tooth this early is that for the next 5-6 years, she’ll be missing that tooth, so it’s likely that the other teeth would collapse inward without that space holder especially since she’s a thumb-sucker (at bedtimes). That would lead to insufficient room for her adult tooth/teeth to descend, so they may be pretty crooked, and that would likely lead to needing braces when she’s older.
All this from a FALL when she tripped over her baby gate threshold last year!
Dr. Wu said he could put in a “flipper” as a space holder for the tooth, but it would force Allie to sit still for much longer, going through the tooth molding and installment process, and it would only be cosmetic (and poorly so), anyway, as far as its effectiveness. He said if it were his daughter in Allie’s position, he’d unquestionably pull the tooth and kids tolerate this very well and are just fine. He’d dope her up a little with laughing gas, put a numbing gel on her gum, give her a shot of Novocain, then pull the tooth out, the entire process taking about 2 minutes, he explained. We agreed to the treatment plan.
He went on to say that in the realm of kid issues and medical concerns, this is a “nothing.” After it heals in a week she’d be as “normal” as can be and we’ll worry about crooked teeth way later. I know that’s more likely true than not, since I had both my front teeth knocked out as a preschooler and I have no memories of difficulties or trauma. It just WAS and I didn’t think or care much about the space in my gums. My permanent teeth grew in just fine and I had perfectly straight teeth. But then I wasn’t a thumb or pacifier sucker. Speaking of sucking, it’s one thing to keep Allie from using straws and sippys when she’s healing (sucking would pull out the blood clot from the gum hole), but quite another to keep her from sucking her thumb as she falls asleep. No idea how that’s going to work.

Meanwhile, Allie is on a week’s worth of liquid Amoxicillin antibiotics to clear her abscess/infection before the dentist goes in to mess with it and create an open wound. I was nervous about medicating her, since college roommie’s daughter Alexis so loathed her antibiotics that she would run and hide behind furniture when she saw the medication being taken out, and just that week, I read this status message posted by a jujitsu friend who has a <1 year old daughter and a 4 year old daughter:

Anybody know how to get antibiotics into very small children without them being vomited right back up? The pharmacist said don’t mix them with anything, but so far, both girls have gagged and spit up at least one dose, and I’m sort of dreading 10 days of being covered in white, chalky, crud that smells like fake strawberries and quite clearly tastes awful.

Allie’s dentist said kids tend to like the antiobiotic liquid (Sandoz brand) he’s prescribing and it’s pink and tastes like strawberries. So I started prepping Allie ASAP. Leaving the dentist, we drove to Kaiser to fill her prescription, and in the car, I told her she’s getting her very own medicine, and it’s her favorite color of pink, and it’s yummy. She badly wanted her very own medicine. After receiving it from the pharmacist, Allie desperately wanted to hold the bottle, so we let her, and she was delighted to see that it is, indeed, pink. “Can I twy it? Can I taste it?” she asked. We told her not yet, and the entire car ride home she was begging, demanding, asking to “twy” the medicine, “dwink” the medicine, she wants it “now, not later.” “I want my medicine. Can I have my medicine? I just wanna hold it. Can I have it? I wanna drink it. Can I taste it?” At home, we filled the dispenser syringe with 5ml (1 tsp) of the pink stuff, I told her this is going to be really fun because she can suck on the syringe as we push the meds in her mouth, and she sucked it all up (we tried it with water first so she knew what to expect) and demanded more. She has SO taken to this medicine that we’re now using it as a bribe for her to finish her dinner. Just tonight…
Allie: I don’t wanna eat the gween thing.
Me: That’s spinach. You like spinach.
Allie: No, I don’t want it.
Me: Do you want medicine?
Allie: *face lighting up* Yeah!
Me: You have to finish the spinach to get to the medicine.
She ate all her dinner, including all her spinach, and she got her dose of medicine very happily. I don’t know what I’m gonna do after we’re done with the bottle. Guess I’ll have to go back to bribing her with multivitamins.

Tonight, after 6 days of antibiotic treatment, the abscess bump finally looks smaller, altho still present. Allie’s appointment for the tooth pull is on Monday. I keep thinking about how I should be taking photos like crazy of her adorable smile now, because after Monday, all her smiles will be with a crooked gap for the next 6-7 years. And after that, who knows what her adult tooth would look like coming in to a possibly crooked environment. But I am, however, comforted by the fact that we did wait about a year before having to do any medical intervention on the broken tooth, so that Allie doesn’t have to be put completely under for a procedure, like the first dentist wanted to do. And having found this 2nd dentist whom we love, we also got to save Allie’s other broken tooth, because even now, not one word was ever said about baby root canals or tooth extractions on the other broken tooth which is still asymptomatic. I think I’m pretty well-adjusted about the situation now, but I was seriously, seriously bummed on Friday after the return from the dentist. I’d posted then on the social networking site:

Cindy has never in her life cited scripture, much less purchased scripture jewelry, but this morning at Mariner’s Church for [the stepkidlet’s] graduation from Vanguard University, I happened across inscribed rings at the gift shop as I walked from the restroom to meet Allie and hubby at the campus cafe. Uncharacteristically, I bought two rings because they spoke to me (although almost all of the 30+ designs were beautifully done with a wide variety of touching scripture). This was before Allie’s dental appointment and the heavy feeling I now have knowing what she would soon endure. With all the healthy kids around me, I feel sad that Allie has to endure patching daily for many years until she has eye surgery, and has to endure the same number of years of being without a front tooth which would obviously affect her eating, her bedtime thumb-sucking (until the extraction wound heals), the ability for her adult teeth to come in easily, and both may get her made fun of in school when she starts attending. Why her? I wondered sadly. What lesson or purpose will reveal itself later?
I’d almost forgotten about the rings. I just pulled them out of my purse, and read the two inscriptions.
“I know the plans I have for you.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 41:10
I was pre-fortified, and wasn’t aware of it. This status message was created with fingers dressed in His earlier and daily message to me. I hear You, and am grateful.

This status message garnered a lot of support, comforting anecdotes, reassurances from friends, for which I am also very grateful. Keeping fingers crossed for next Monday.

The weekend after our return from the Hawaii vacation, Mr. W changed Allie’s convertible crib to a toddler bed. The mattress is dropped closer to the ground, and the front rail is changed out and replaced with a half-rail. We’d talked to Allie about getting a “big girl bed” that big girls can climb in and out of on their own, and she wanted one. She was very excited after the conversion and wanted to go into her room to hang out on her bed during arbitrary times in the day.
We first explained that although she can climb in and out on her own, she is not to get in and out after she’s gone to bed. She ran around the room, pointing at various things, and said, “Can I touch this lamp? What about this cord? Can I touch this chair? How about this clock?” No, no, no. Only after her nap or in the morning after bedtime can she get out when we come get her.
She did well and only slipped a couple of times. One time in the first week, Jayne caught her in the camera, after crawling into bed for her nap, across the room reaching up on her dresser. Jayne opened the door, stuck her head in, and (according to Jayne) Allie froze mid-action with the horrified “I’ve been caught” look on her face. “Alliiiie,” Jayne said, “Are you supposed to be out of bed?” Allie’s chin and lower lip trembled as she shook her head. “Wanna come close the door and get back into bed?” Allie walked over, guilt-ridden look on her near-tearful face, and gently closed the door. Jayne watched her on camera climb right back into bed and stay there for the duration of her nap. In the mornings or after nap, when we see she’s been awake for awhile (10-15 mins), hanging out on her bed and playing with Mr. Bear or singing or whatever, we knock, and we watch her excitedly climb off her bed and run for the door and open it for us.
This is Allie’s first nap in the toddler bed. It went well and uneventfully.

This is Allie’s first night in the toddler bed. It also went well…sort of. But rest assured, she was asleep in these photos. And she did eventually get back on the bed on her own to finish out the night.

Notice all the padding on the floor. I was afraid she’d fall out. She didn’t like all the stuff under the opening, as I guess it hinders her ease of getting in and out (during permitted travel times). I finally agreed, after many uneventful weeks, to remove her safety padding as she’d always asked me to do. A few nights later, she fell out of bed. I went in to comfort the terrified sobbing girl, and from that moment on, she never again protested my putting the padding back under the opening. She fell out one other time (I think, as I didn’t see it, only heard 2 thumps and then the crying afterward), and that was luckily padded. The reason I wasn’t sure if she fell out, or if she may have gotten out on her own and tripped, is because I’ve seen her come out of bed briefly just to get back in facing the other way, or to go to sleep half-standing and half laying on her mattress thru the opening, and one time she did this:

Only this week, she started doing something new. She started opening the door on her own after I’ve put her to bed, asking for an extra drink of water, or another hug and kiss, or to bring up that we forgot to wash her face after dinner, or forgot to give her a vitamin. These requests are made in tears prior to her falling asleep, and I have no idea what’s wrong as she’s sometimes crying so hard she’s hiccupping her words. So far I’ve quickly obliged, mostly to calm her down, then she goes back to bed, insists on pushing the door closed like she does every night from inside the bed (standing against the rail closest to the door), then she lays down and the sobs subside and she goes to sleep. But in the morning, or post-nap, same thing. She awakens early and suddenly in tears, runs to the door and opens it, stands at the baby gate we put just outside her door so she doesn’t wander out in the middle of the night, calls tearfully, “Mommy! Daddy! I’m awake! I’m awake!” I’m hopeful this is just a phase. Or maybe it’s because she’s not feeling well, since she’s fighting an infection she’s never hinted at having any discomfort about. I’ll write about that next.

Next plan if this continues: I’ll stop indulging in her requests so she doesn’t think, “This works, I’ll keep doing it for attention or to stall my bedtime.” I’ll simply pick her up, tell her it’s bedtime baby, place her back into bed, give her a kiss goodnight, and leave, closing the door behind me. She gets up again, same thing but this time sans words, sans kiss. Just business, so she knows it’s ineffective. This should stop her if she’s doing it out of habit. I’m humoring her for now just in case it’s illness-related, because this is so uncharacteristic of her to wake up crying and needy.

Allie had her pediatric ophthalmology appointment today, as a follow-up to her diverging eye issue. Ever since out-of-network vision therapy failed as a viable option (Allie being too young to meaningfully participate) and Allie’s first follow-up with her pediatric ophthalmologist showed her not getting better, we had all been faithfully following the patching prescription. 6 days a week, an eye is patched for 2 hours, one eye on one day, the other eye on the next day, and so on. Allie is an amazingly good sport about it. She has occasional special requests, such as “I want Daisy Duck!”, which we try to oblige.

But generally, she picks out a patch that matches what she’s wearing for the day from 2 boxes of adorable pre-printed colorful designs, she closes her eyes as the patch is applied, and she goes about her day. 2 hours later, the patch is removed, and she goes about her day again. She went thru a brief bout in which she refused to have the patch removed because she said it would hurt. (The adhesive on the Master-Aid brand designer patches was much stronger than on the flesh-toned Nexcare patches.) We resolved that problem by sticking the fancy patch on our forearm lightly two times before affixing it to her eye, to weaken the glue a bit. Now she can remove the patch herself when time’s up.
Her eyes seem to both focus well, and the turnout is much less common, only when she’s tired. She even stopped turning out when she was spaced out and daydreaming. And it was easier to bring her eyes back to center. I was hoping that she’d be out of her patches by the time the next follow-up happened, but she was still having occasional turn-outs, so I knew she’d likely have to wear the patch just a bit longer. Another 2 months, maybe. I anticipated the pediatric ophthalmologist giving me the good news of her progress.
Instead, I got the shock of my life. He was really happy, it seemed, because she hasn’t gotten worse. What? You mean she’s gotten so much BETTER, right? No, he said the degree outturn measured the same, and there’s no cure and improvement at a “30” outturn is rare. If she had “10” outturn (degrees, maybe?), there may be the possibility for a return back to normal, but not “30.” No, this patching thing is just to prevent her from getting worse until she could get corrective eye surgery. WHAT?! Yes. And if she got worse in the meantime, we’d switch to over-under glasses to force her eyes to work harder to see, and if that doesn’t help, then early surgery. WHAT?! What’s meant by “early?!” Kids’ eyes, muscle growth, control and coordination are still changing and developing until about age 8, so to do any surgery before that would be akin to putting braces on a 6 year-old. So we’re looking at closer to 7, 8 for surgery.
Eff, eff, eff. Wait. Does that mean we’re going to keep PATCHING DAILY for the NEXT 5-6 YEARS?!
Apparently so. Unless she gets worse, in which case, glasses is Plan B, earlier surgery is Plan C.
Eff. I am going to re-enroll her in vision therapy when she’s a little older as a last-ditch effort to avoid cutting her eyeball muscles.
My poor baby.

This Easter, Allie had 2 egg hunts…the one in the backyard with just us and my parents, like last year, followed by her cracking and eating an egg or two for a snack, and one in a park with a bunch of the moms/nannies/kids that Jayne became friends with, cuz the kids apparently all hang out in our neighborhood park.
She also got to meet and get her photos with the Easter Bunny.

Where does the time go?

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. 🙂

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.

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