Sunday, May 31, 2015

Back in AZ

The days leading up to my trip to Arizona weren't exactly smooth sailing.  Bennett came down with pink eye (it was going around his classroom) and then he became generally fussy. I felt really bad leaving Michael home with both kids, but it wasn't like I could cancel my work trip. 

I visited my office in Phoenix for four days. It was so nice since I haven't been there in months and there are a lot of people who work there now who didn't last time I was there in person. Every time I visit the office I'm reminded how nice it is to be able to pop into someone's office for a quick word. I'm also reminded how nice it is to be able to sit cross-legged all day like I do at home. (I hate getting caught sitting this way at my desk, and yet it always happens over and over.) (Am I doing permanent damage to my joints by sitting this way so much? Probably. I can't stop.)

I had a couple big meetings, one nearly day-long offsite one, and got to go out to lunch with the leadership team on Friday, which was a nice send-off. 

I especially loved how I got to spend my time after work! On the first night I got to see JP, Alison and Kai. We ate dinner, talked nonstop about our upcoming trip and headed over to the bookstore for some new books for Kai. I am so excited to announce that June has started enjoying chapter books (we read them to her) and I thought she might be ready for the Junie B. Jones series, which I swear was a nickname we used for her before even knowing about the book series. I found a Junie B. Jones book where the Junie goes on a Hawaiian vacation and about died of happiness at the prospect of brining it home for June.

The next night, I unexpectedly got to have dinner just with JP! I can't remember the last time we've hung out just the two of us without significant others or kids. It was so nice to catch up - plus we went to a really cool spot in Tempe - Culinary Dropout.

On my last night in town I drove up to Scottsdale to see my good friend Lyndsey. I got to see Lyndsey's husband Fabricio and their son Matteo, plus their new baby girl Caiohme! We hung out for a while, I tried my hardest to stop baby-talking while staring into Caiohme's eyes, and then we girls went out for a Girl's Night Out. (Fabricio was so great to take both kids so we could catch up.) Such a good night out of recalling old memories, relating over current circumstances and getting excited for the future. Lyndsey and her family are moving to Italy this summer, so I'm not sure when I'll see her again. Maybe when I go live with her for months and months on end? (Kidding. Maybe.)

It was nice to get away for a bit, and sleep through the night and have nice meals out and catch up. But shoot, I practically ran through the airport to get back to my family on Friday evening. Getting hugs from June and seeing Bennett run as fast as his little body could go was just about the greatest thing ever. 

Haircuts at Home

Bennett's hair had been getting pretty poofy lately. The only time his hair has been cut was when I'd try to sneak up behind him while he was being still and trimming his little mullet. Well, the mullet reached such epic proportions that we thought it was time to bring in a professional. 

Here are the 'before' pics:

I had heard about a woman who comes to your house and cuts your kids' hair there, so I decided to give it a try. It was great! We were all comfortable at home, the kids could do their own thing while the other was getting their hair cut, and I didn't even need to put on real pants!

I did have to keep Bennett distracted with a bowl of strawberries and blueberries, but in general he did great.

And the 'after' pics:

We saved a little lock of his hair and said goodbye to his mullet.

He looks so cute!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Swimming Bootcamp

As I'm sure I've mentioned 100 times, we have a trip to Hawaii planned with my family this summer! (Things haven't been so great health-wise in our house lately, and picturing our Hawaiian vacation is the only thing that got me through the day.)

Michael and I decided that we wanted to get June back in swim classes before we went, if only to get her more comfortable around the water. I took the recommendation of a bunch of Sacramento moms and went to a woman referred to as "the Swim Nazi." She was a delightful woman and wasn't super strict, so I think the moniker just comes from her...results?

I spoke with the woman on the phone and, just like the moms had stated, she said that her 3-4 year olds are usually swimming across the pool by the end of one of her bootcamps. Each session lasts for 7 business days, 30 minutes each and then you're done. (Much different than the 3x a week situation that lasted all last summer.) I was so excited and encouraged - maybe June would learn to swim so well that she and Kai can play in the pool together in Hawaii! Maybe I can take her out on a paddle board with me!

There were six kids in class with her. They were all so cute lined up in their swim suits and goggles together. We parents weren't allowed to stay and watch, but we were usually called in to watch the last few minutes to see what our kids had accomplished that day. 

I was a little nervous after the first day. June told me that she hadn't wanted to put her face under water, but that all the other kids had. But by day two she was going under, and on day 3 I watched her jump into the pool on her own and kick over to the swim teacher!

I was impressed and excited, praised June and just about called to make my paddle board reservations. 

And then day 4 happened. 

I'm not sure exactly what happened (since I wasn't there), but there was an incident of June choking on some water and from that she was quite traumatized.

I remember when we went down to San Diego to celebrate the wedding of some friends last summer. June had LOVED the ocean and loved playing in it...until one wave hit her the wrong way, some water got in her nose and from that moment on she wouldn't come within twenty yards of the water. I remember going through this gauntlet of persuasion techniques (and range of emotions) while we were on a family walk down the beach. The rest of us were walking down by the water because walking on wet sand is much easier than walking on dry. June wouldn't even come down to where the sand was just damp but the water wasn't close. At first I felt sorry for her, went through a long time of cajoling and convincing and bargaining and promising, and eventually I was just frustrated and said, "Okay, fine, you can walk up there where the sand is dry."

Swim classes on days 5, 6 and 7 felt a lot like that walk down the beach. 

They weren't great days. I was really trying to be supportive, understanding and encouraging when, to  be honest, I was pretty frustrated. I was already taking an hour off work to go to daycare, change her into her bathing suit, put on sunscreen, drive to swim class, wait for it to be over, and repeat back on the way down. And to have the teacher call us parents in, and to see June sitting on the edge of the pool while the other kids were swimming, legit swimming, was disheartening. 

I didn't know where to draw the line. What did June need? Did she need someone to be stern and tell her she needs to not give up? Did she need unconditional support and unwavering patience? I still don't know. I do know that June is strong and sensitive, and that when she gets something in her head, she's like a bulldog and won't let it go. 

Some friends knew we were going to the Swim Nazi and asked me how it went, waiting for the verdict before signing their own kids up. I told them the truth - that it did appear that the teacher was gifted at what she does. I watched all the other kids go from just kicking their feet on the edge of the pool to all-out swimming in seven days. June was the only one who didn't, so I didn't want that one case to speak against the teacher's general ability.

We'll try again.  We'll probably try one-on-one swimming lessons next. And I'm sure we'll come up against some of the same issues, and June will once again be out of her comfort zone, and I will once again find myself questioning if I'm parenting correctly.

For now, I guess it's good that I didn't make those paddle board reservations. Maybe for the next family vacation?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bennett's Words at 15 Months

Or...nearly 15 months, anyway.

At Bennett's one-year doctor appointment I asked the doctor if I should be concerned that Bennett only really said three words, and only one of them consistently. She said not to worry because 2 words was the threshold of 'normal,' and that I should hope/expect to have him say 7-8 words by 18 months.

Well I was thinking about all of his 'words' today and thought, hey! That's something for the baby book! And since I sometimes think of this blog as an extended version of a baby book, here it goes!

"Doo" - June
Nana - Banana
Wawa - Water
Mih - Milk
Moh? - More?
Dah - Dog
Ca-cah - Cracker
Cah - Car
Bah - Ball

Animal Sounds:
"Baa Baa" - Sheep
"Moo" - Cow
"Wuf" - Dog
"ppphhhhh" - Elephant (it's like the sound of air being pressed out of your tightly pressed lips)
"Sssss" - Snake

All Done
Thank You

He nods and shakes his head. This makes me laugh, especially because he usually nods with this little grin on his face. Like if I say, "Bennett, would you like some more apple?" He'll first get this little mischievous grin, then nod his head quickly. Or I'll say, "Bennett, do you want to go get June?" And he nods his head fervently.

He also puts his finger in his mouth whenever I tell him it's time to "go brush teeth." (He also walks in the direction of the bathroom.)

He rubs his hands together when I tell him we need to wash his hands.

He points to his nose, and will sometimes point to his ears and mouth.

He'll give kisses when he feels like it, but if you ask for one and he doesn't feel like it, he'll shake his head while grinning. "No?!" I exclaim, "What do you mean 'no'!?" And he laughs and laughs.

There's this show that we sometimes put on for June while we do her hair in the morning, it's on PBS and it's called Wild Kratts. It's a really good show about two brothers who are super into animals. Anyway, Bennett gets really into their theme song, which goes, "Gonna go wild, Wild Kratts, gonna go wild, wild, Wild Kratts!" And Bennett will sing "WILE, WILE, WILE!"

He's also now capable of blowing pretty terrific raspberries on peoples' stomachs. Which some of us can tolerate a little more than others. June is very ticklish and, like her dad, has some pretty strong reflexes to buck whoever is trying to zerbert her. Bennett knows he has a safe approach with me because I just love watching him smile triumphantly after a great zerbert, so I'll put up with anything.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Around Here Lately

Playing with the bowls. Always playing with the bowls...

June learning how to turn the iPhone camera on without unlocking my phone, resulting in me discovering a collection of selfies:

Going to THEE coolest painting party. This one was private, so it was just our group. It was also super low-key, we brought our own sushi in, brought three bottles of wine and just chilled all night. So fun!

We were also encouraged to personalize any way we wanted. I ended up spelling out June's name in the wing detail. This is now hanging in June's room! (Strategically placed in a spot so those big bug eyes can't freak her out in the middle of the night.)

Taking June to get her nails painted for the first time!

Michael bought us gift certificates for a special treat (my birthday?) and we finally managed to go. I got a full manicure but June just got her nails painted (only $5!). She was so tickled to have it done, and I was so tickled to listen to her talk to her technician. "Are you speaking Spanish? I can't understand what you're saying." "My friend Beatrice has blue nails. She's in the Butterfly classroom." 

The woman asked June if she wanted flowers painted on her nails, which, OF COURSE, so she got them done. Apparently June told her technician to "Be careful because bees might think they are real flowers and try to get the nectar."

Hanging out around the house. Bennett being the snuggliest little guy ever.

Morning pile-ons.

Everything's great...except for the pink eye I got. PINK EYE. Gross. It'll be a miracle if I can prevent the rest of the family from getting it.