I said “Hi”

28 05 2007

This weekend, I decided to paint our upstairs play/media room. It’s a holiday weekend, and I have an extra day before we head out on vacation, so I figured it would be enough time to get one room painted. As I was out of painting supplies from my last painting excursion (where I vowed never to paint again), I headed to my local Home Depot. While there, I was shopping for colors as well as supplies. In the color sampler aisle, Eliana was in the shopping cart, sitting in the seat, facing me. She was in a gleefully cheery mood, and was smiling and talking to me. Then, came someone, and she said “Hi” to them. Then quickly, another person came. “Hello”. And just as quick, someone with a small kid in the cart: “Hi”, and a wave. I was pretty amazed. Just as they all passed, Eliana looked at me and said “Apa, I said Hi”. I was quite pleased that Eliana could face up to her fears and talk to unknown people. This is definitely more than I can do. I patted her on the head and made sure she knew how happy I was that she said hi to everyone. 

The people who noticed that she had said hi responded with a quick hi themselves. Some either didn’t know she was talking to them, or just decided to ignore her. Eliana said “I said hi to them”, pointing to the unresponsive individual. I told her it was ok, and they just didn’t hear her.

But, in all, it was fun to see Eliana testing those barriers that have plagued me my whole life. I just hope that she will be safe, and know that not everyone is a friendly person. I guess that is the next lesson I must teach her, because I don’t know what I would do without her.

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Eliana’s Last Day of School

28 05 2007

Well, she will go to school when she’s older, last Friday was her last day at Day Care, which she knows as school. It’s been a strange roller coaster ride with the daycare Eliana was in as she initially had the best teachers there, and ended up with a new one almost every week. While things have stabilized, we felt that Eliana would have more fun and interest in doing other activities offered around town.

First, Eliana loves to swim. She was probably a fish in a previous life. So, we have re-enrolled her in swim classes. We managed to get her back with the swim teacher she really enjoyed, and I hope she has fun learning to swim again.

Next, her mom enrolled her in a ballet class. I’m not sure about this one yet, but I’ll see what happens. I’d like to think I was trying to avoid gender stereotypes when doing things with my girls, but sometimes it even feels to me that I am just doing things that I would do if my children were boys.  I don’t want them to not experience something because “that’s for boys”.  At the same time, I should probably let them experience things that are for girls only as well.

I think Eliana is also signed up for another class, but I’m not sure what it is. I think it has to do with the public library. If her mom reads this post, maybe she’ll put the activity in the comments.

So, after a fun run of getting up in the morning and Eliana and me heading out together, it will now just be me again. Her last day of school was oddly non-eventful. We arrived early, as we didn’t want to rush Eliana, but we still were to go to the gym afterwards. To me, it was a sad day because I know that Eliana enjoyed coming to school most days and she looked forward to playing with her friends. Thinking back on it now, this may not be one of our better decisions. After all, we are doing exactly the thing I didn’t want to do: take her out of a familiar environment and put her in a place full of new faces.

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Stitches

23 05 2007

Yesterday was a very long day for me. My wakeup call was about 4:30 am. As I got up, and started my normal routine, I realized that I had beaten the sun in rising. I haven’t done that for a couple of months.  I enjoy getting up before the sunrise…I haven’t quite figured out why. The reason I was up so early was so that I could catch a plane to Oregon.  My flight left at 6:15am, and I was glad that I didn’t have to go to PDX this time, so I was a bit more leisurely in my pre-planing. Another reason I was doing things as normal was that I was coming back the same day.

I arrived at work at 9:40am, and I had somewhat of a busy day as I was trying to cram all my person-to-person time into one day. It’s not the most effective way to work, but I’ll take what I can get. After a full day, it came time to go home. The flight left Oregon at 4pm. I arrived back in Chandler at 6:30pm. I was home by 7pm.

Coming home after such a non-normal day was quite surreal. I started my work day in Arizona, flew to Oregon and worked as if nothing was different, and flew back. No big deal. But the climate was different and the environment was different. It felt weird because normally it’s such a big deal to go so far, yet this trip was so quick and efficient that I was home only a few minutes after we touched down.

As soon as I arrived at home, I was greated by three excited girls. All were happy to see me, and as happened before, they had a hard time letting me put my bag down before they all started talking to me at once. I know they were excited to see me, so, I tried not to dampen their enthusiasm. After all, it’s quite nice to know that someone misses me.

After dinner, I thought it would be good to spend time with the kids; after all, I was not there when they woke up in the morning. We went upstairs and started kid wrestling. We eventually moved into our bedroom where Annabelle surprised me again by climbing onto our bed. She and Eliana started playing around and bouncing on the bed. They were having a good time. Then Annabelle went to the foot of the bed, and tried to hold herself up on the baseboard, when her hand slipped or missed the board entirely, and she fell, hitting her head on the board. At first, I thought it was just your normal bump on the head and I grabbed her close and began to comfort her. Then I pulled her away to see this big red spot on her forehead. I took her to the bathroom and washed it off, and noticed the blood on my cheek. The cut was just below her eyebrow, but not on her eyelid, but I figured it was wide enough to require stitches.  After cleaning up the wound with water and putting some antibiotic ointment and a bandaid, I headed for the pediatric ER with Annabelle. It was almost 9pm by the time I left the house.

The ER was a little more comfortable to visit this time around since we had both spent the night their before. It took a little while to get a bed to be treated, but overall, it wasn’t the 4 or 5 hour (or more) wait some might expect.  As the nurse admitted us to our bed, I noticed a police officer standing next to some toys. He was talking to a nurse. As I walked by, I couldn’t help but think about the experience some family friends told us about what happened to them when their daughter was found to have a skull fracture, and the pain of having to deal with Child Protective Services. I knew that I had nothing to worry about because I have never and will never abuse my kids, but they don’t know that until they go through their process. It ended up that I didn’t even have to talk to him or any officer about how Annabelle got hurt.

After about an hour, the doctor was ready to get some stitches for Annabelle. But first, Annabelle needed to be given some medications so that she is easier to deal with and doesn’t feel the pain. She put a local agent to help numb the wound. It was like a big bandaid with some ointment underneath. Then, after a short break, it was time for the coup de gras, the local anesthetic. I was a little surprised to learn that she was to take this stuff in the nose. As the nurse tried to inject it, Annabelle obviously didn’t like it. She shook her head left and right in protest, but, eventually the nurse completed her task. Annabelle was quite angry, and let the nurse know it.

After about 5 minutes, it was pretty obvious that Annabelle was completely under the influence of this medication. Her eyes drooped a little, her speech was a little slurred, and the slightest things made her laugh. At one point, she tried to talk to me:


“Apa!”

“Annabelle…”

Drunken Baby Laugh

It was really funny to see Annabelle like this. All the nurses were laughing with her. All the nurses also commented that she is such a pretty baby. They should know because they see a lot of babies.

Shortly she came back with a needle and injected some skin expanding agent under the wound. The doctor was rather quick with the threading, but I could tell she was experienced in this procedure. She was careful when putting the needle through Annabelle’s skin.

After three stitches, Annabelle was taped up, and ready to go home and sleep. And so was I. After being up since 5am, it was 11:30pm by the time I finally returned home. It was a long day, but definitely a busy one.

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

20 05 2007

Eliana is 3 years old and talks to us with nearly complete sentences. We are able to communicate with her. We are able to teach her things by just telling her. But, as we progress through our lives together, we are finding that Annabelle is starting to have more things to say everyday.

As any normal 1 year old, Annabelle would just mouth some sounds that didn’t make much sense to us. I think she is still learning to use her mouth muscles to talk. Her most common words as of late have been “ohma” (mom), “ahpa” (dad) and “puppy”. She was given a little puppy for her birthday, and has taken it with her to bed every night since. 

But lately, we’ve been amazed at the rate of her increased vocabulary. Recently, I was telling her mom that she needed a diaper change, so I took her to her spot to change it. As most parents do, I was talking to Annabelle, and I asked her if she needed a new diaper. She actually replied “yeah”. Short, and concise, I wasn’t sure if she was in fact answering my question. Then she started to say something else. It wasn’t quite “diaper”, probably something like “die-pah”, but in her soft baby voice, it was still a little difficult to make out. But once I finally realized what she said, I repeated it to her, and then she repeated “die-pah” again to me. Cool.

Now, when I have the unfortunate task of changing Annabelle’s diaper, before I do so, I ask her “does Annabelle need a new diaper?” Most of the time she says “Yeah!”, a whole lot louder.

But, that’s not all she is saying. She has also said “sista”, “o-ni”, “ahm-ma”. She also answers all of our questions now. But the most we ever get out of her is “Yeah!”

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We Need a Vacation

14 05 2007

It turns out that adults aren’t the only ones who need vacations. Eliana has been in a little funk lately. She’s been a little more confrontational than normal, and has really seemed to want to do more things than we have time for.

This morning, I took Eliana to school, and she was just sitting in the car. I then told her that we were going on vacation, but she needed to go to school first. Her face lit up and she was very happy after that. I was rather surprised, but then, maybe I shouldn’t have been. I think rewards are natural, and making this little trip seem like a reward is just what she needs.

But, it’s not just Eliana that is excited; her grandfather called me saying he was looking forward and ready for the trip. Eliana’s mom has mentioned to me on numerous occasions that she is ready for a break. I guess I am too. However, my point of view is that I will be the one coordinating the trip and doing all the leg work. I may get a few minutes here and there, but I think i will end up busier than a normal vacation.  I guess that will be ok, as long as everyone else has fun.

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Parent’s Night Out

13 05 2007

This weekend, we had some house guests in town to catch the action at the AVP Volleyball Tournament in Glendale. So, after the games were done yesterday, they came back to the camp and we left the kids with them for the evening. We had the opportunity to get a night by ourselves for the first time in a long time.

It’s always an odd feeling when my wife and I get these moments alone; with no screaming in the back seat we start off by just enjoying the quiet time in the car. I even turned off the radio. Now, I usually do get time alone in the car, but I try to make it constructive time by listening to podcasts. But, my wife and I never just sit in the car alone together; it just feels like something is missing.

We had originally thought we were going to see a movie and grab some dinner, but I wanted to try a place that was a little more unique, so I took her to Rustler’s Rooste in Tempe. It was an hour before we got to eat, but once we finally had our gigantic meal, we were definitely pleased with the food. We still have some ribs, a chicken, and some potatoes in the fridge.

Needless to say, by the time dinner was done, it was only about 9:30 or so, we were tired. This was our normal bed time. We used to be total night owls. I remember staying out til 1 or 2 just doing whatever there was to do. Now, we could have gone somewhere else after dinner, but I didn’t know what to do, and I don’t think I was going to stay awake that long.

Things have definitely changed since we’ve become parents.  I can see how some people get trapped in the kid world and bring that over to their adult world. I hope we can get more chances to get out. It was nice to escape from kid world for one night.  Although we did have to listen to other parents try to deal with their kids, it was nice to know that we didn’t have to chance after ours for just one night.

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She Misses Daddy

13 05 2007

I recently went on a business trip to Oregon for an entire week. It was nice for me to be in the green space and cloudy weather. I enjoy the sunny days too, but 330 of them per year, and they get old pretty fast too.

Being away from home for a week presented many challenges to our daily lifestyle. Just taking Eliana to school everyday was a challenge for her mom. But it also did not allow her to exercise, or even just relax.  Having two kids all by herself, my wife was being stressed to the limit, and I think the kids knew. They knew which buttons to push. As far as I could tell from my hotel room in Oregon, it was a mad house of screaming girls the whole time. They would call me to talk, which is good, but it sounded like they were complaining about each other. Sometimes they just wanted to say random things to me (my wife included).

Before this trip, I never realized how much I hold our whole family unit together. I never really did anything extra special. Sometimes, I hate to say, I’m just there doing my thing, and letting them do theirs. But I think it’s just my mere presence that keeps things in line. I’m there, so if they do something wrong, they will ultimately answer to me. And, it’s not that I am not kind hearted and easy-going with my kids. In fact, I have lots of fun with them on a daily basis. But, I do get upset when they don’t listen, or follow the general rule of order. But, luckily that doesn’t happen too much when I’m here.  When I leave, I guess it’s a different story.

So, when I returned from my trip, I had not seen my family for a whole week. Not a long time in the grand scheme of long times, but it was long enough. I was happy to come home to see my three girls, but I was sure they were even more happy that I was coming home. I took the late flight out of Portland, and arrived in Phoenix arounnd 11pm. It was another hour and a half before I finally arrived hope. By then, everyone was asleep.

I entered the house after my wife unlocked the door. I made my way to my bed, and found Eliana asleep there. It was then that her mom told me that she was waiting for me.  She didn’t want to sleep in her her because she knew I was coming home, so her mom let her wait for me in our bed. I was kind of sad when I heard about this; I guess I had been gone too long.

I always knew my kids loved me, but with the everyday hustle and bustle of real life being the only time you interact, it can be challenging to know how much they care.  It is easy to forget the times that bring everyone together, this trip was one of those times. While I can’t guarantee that I won’t forget in the future, I will make a more concerted effort not to forget next time.

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