Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Light at the End of the Toilet

So this last week LittleSpeak has started showing interest in using the toilet. Not really just interest, but actually using it. It started w/just before bed; after bath Daddy would ask her if she wanted to go. One night she said yes, not necessarily unusual, but this time she was actually able to go. That was unusual. She's never been consistent w/it, so it's not that it hasn't happened before, but somehow this felt much more intentional. The next night she did it again. And the night after that. Hmmmm..... (No the picture doesn't relate to the story, but it's the only recent one I had & really she is pretty yummy if you ask me. ;-)

Then we started w/the mornings, when she first got up. And she was going then. Not only that, but she's been staying dry all night, something her 5YO sister doesn't even do consistently. Occasionally she was able to do it during the day too now. I mentioned it to her preschool on last Thursday & they asked if I wanted her to start pottytraining there. "Well, lets see how she does this weekend." The thing about LittleSpeak is that if she isn't on board for something like this, there's no point in putting any effort toward it till she is.

So this weekend she was game. And she was excited about it. Hey, she gets a gummy whenever she goes, what's not to be excited about? She was still having accidents so I never really committed to the underware only, (once, for a couple hours and then she wet herself and wasn't interested in it). When I got in today I packed for training, (4 outfits & underware) but I also packed for not (pull-ups/diapers). I didn't expect much, and I took her in her pull up to start. She did start out the morning using the potty though. They were game and took her right away to put on her underware.

When I picked her up tonight: NO ACCIDENTS! Not even one! I'm floored. I guess I shouldn't be, I've said all along when she decides she's ready then she'll do it and that will be that. I guess I just wasn't entirely sure I wasn't giving her too much credit. What can I say, I know my kid. Don't worry, I know we are really just on the beginning of the path of running for the bathroom & forgetting to go, etc...time to pull that diaper bag out again; gonna need to carry multiple changes of clothes & plastic bags. But I do know from past experience that this really is the beginning of the end. While many of the "baby" things they give up are bittersweet, this is one milestone no parent is sad about, trust me.

Sigh, no more babies living in my house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gong hei fat choi!!!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Does your family do anything to celebrate?
Sorry, did I confuse you? Yes, I'm wonder bread (White) over here. Actually, the side of the family I feel the most influence from is the beans & rice (Mexican/Spanish) but no, no Chinese in my background. I'll explain:

I grew up in a predominantly "Asian" area; Philippine, Vietnamese, Chinese & Japanese. I guess it might be more accurate to say I grew up in a very diverse area, but the Asian cultures were quite dominate in my schools. This was a big holiday growing up for us. We usually celebrated w/a traditional lion dance or dragon parade at school. But the best part was the food!!! We always had lumpia (Philippine egg rolls), pork baus (sweet bread stuffed w/sweet & sour pork) and pho (Vietnamese soup). YUM!!!

Night before last hubby took the girls to pick up Chinese take out. Big Speak comes home yakking away about the outing; "We went this store that had a waving cat in the window." (Funny, the things they note. I don't even notice those anymore.) "And then I told the lady Happy New Year in Chinese, and she started to talk to me in Chinese." I asked her if she understood her and she said no, but I wouldn't be surprised if Littlespeak did. (Those toddlers get so much from our non verbals it's like they speak all languages.) I then explained to her about Mandarin language and Cantonese and that they're both Chinese, but most likely the lady spoke to her in Mandarin. She thought that was cool, "how come we don't have two languages?" They're having a big "Chinese New Year" parade & celebration at her school on Thursday, so she's been preparing for this week. I explained to her that it's really Lunar New Year and why (the moon cycle, and not just the Chinese celebrate it. I've actually been in Korea during it. Trust me, they celebrate.) And she got really excited about that. She's super happy to go "tell" her teacher something new. Then I promised to get some Chinese food, as well as Vietnamese, Koren, and Philippine to celebrate (looks like I'll be making a trip to the Ranch 99 this week).

So again; does your family celebrate? How?
Do you celebrate some not so common (for America) holidays? How?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Look Out....the soap box is out!

I know, I never write and now that I do I'm going to pull out more politics???? OK, well since I'm still in recovery I've been watching a lot of TV. Seriously, I am bored. So part of the problem is that I've heard this same story over and over and now I'm frustrated by it. So let me get it off my chest and I'll get back to my regular bitch-fest as planned.

I'm sure you've heard that President Obama is currently in the process of trying to pass through his version of a stimulus package. A $825 billion, yes with a capital B, plan that is supposed to infuse the economy with cash; boost/create programs/infrastructure/jobs, stymie/stop the housing crunch from the homeowner perspective, etc.... Now, I am not a financial guru, and I agree that is one big hunk of money. It's debt that we will be saddling our children with if we don't make good on it. Let me be clear that giving our kids that much more debt does not sit right w/me.
BUT, (and it's a big but) I voted for this guy. I believe he (and the people he is surrounding himself with) are smart enough to know the right thing to do in this situation. I don't think I'm alone in saying that the majority of the country is supporting him right now. AND the current strategies (from this last administration) don't seem to be doing all that much to help. So, I do support this strategy. Until President Obama & his administration give me a reason not to trust their judgement I'm on board.

So here's my gripe:

There's this clip I keep seeing on TV that is driving me nuts. This clip shows House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio basically saying that they want more tax cuts and less money going into programs and that the amount is too large....yada, yada, yada. I couldn't find the exact quote on the web, sorry, but that's the gist of it. He keeps being shown saying, "If Americans are taxed less they'll have that money in their paychecks to save, invest and spend to help boost the economy." I'm paraphrasing here, cut me some slack. I've seen him saying this so many times now that I'm pretty much at the point of throwing things at the TV and yelling at him when it come on. Yes, it's gotten that bad.

Correct me if I'm wrong, aren't a huge number of people currently unemployed???
If people don't have jobs, they aren't earning paychecks and aren't getting those tax breaks, right???
So how do those tax breaks help those people????
This is the point at which I start throwing stuff at the TV because it seems like my kindergartner would be able to put this together.
These programs are supposed to create jobs for those out of work people so then they will have a paycheck providing them with the money to then help get the economy going again.

I think that Senator Boehner missed a day in his economics class is all I'm saying...

I'll move on now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Day--A Moment in History

I saw a commercial about the coverage Oprah will be having during the inauguration festivities last night. Something she said really caught my attention,

"You can feel the whole nation quivering w/excitement."

She right you can.

You can't listen/watch the news or read an article w/out it somehow referencing this upcoming event.
And there's a huge amount of irony associated w/this; we are currently in the worst economic shape since the depression; and predictions are that it's going to get worse before it gets better, but still there is this huge sense of hope that you can feel. Yeah, I know it's not the second coming, but it does feel a lot like a birth, or maybe a rebirth is a better word.

I mentioned in my last post that my 5YO doesn't understand the significance of this event. In the world she lives in, everyone is treated equal, why wouldn't they be. When does that change for us? When do we start treating people differently? I know why it happens, mostly because it's taught. But when do you start to notice it? Because she hasn't yet, and I would like to extend that for as long as possible.

I'm doing my best to do some things that I hope will give my girls memories of this day. We have our "Obama Girl" shirts and the weather is cooperating here in California so we won't have to cover them w/jackets. I'm taping everything and tonight her and I talked about it some more. She did mention that she's noticed that one of the boys in her class has darker skin then everyone else, I pointed out some of the other kids as well. I also pointed out that my skin is much darker than hers and her Uncle's skin puts us all to shame. She asked why and I told her that, that's how God made us unique & beautiful. I explained to her that a long time ago not everyone thought that different was good, and because of that someone like Barrack Obama could not have been president. That during that time people w/darker skin had to go to different schools and churches. She thought about it for a minute and said,
"Those people weren't very smart, were they?"

"No baby, they weren't. We know better know, but it took a long time for enough people to understand that so that some one like him could not only vote but be the person for which we're voting." "Now we really believe anyone can be president. Even you."

"I don't want to be president."

"Me neither baby. Too much responsibility. But we think he's really smart and that he'll do a really good job and we're excited that he does want to be. We think he's going to do the best he can, and that's all you can really ask from someone."

I was 8 months pregnant with her when we went to war in Iraq. I wrote her a letter at that time so that regardless of what history held of that event, she understood where her father and I stood. History might show that it was the right thing, but that we felt it was for the wrong reasons. I felt so desperate when I wrote that letter, what kind of a world was I bring this child into?"

That was five years ago. Now with inauguration happening in a second here, I feel hope.

I feel hope for the future and the world that my children will be living in. I feel good about some of the decisions our government will be making, for the right reasons. I know it's going to be hard. I'm ok with that. By having children I made a promise to try to give them a better place than I had. The whole "we're just borrowing the earth from our children" thing.

I am finally hopeful that I may be able to fulfill that promise to them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Email to my daughter's kindergarden class

You know, I live in Silicon Valley. So, of course, it goes without saying that my daughter's kindergarten class has a groups site to coorispond w/each other and the teacher. Below is an email I shot off yesterday to her teacher and the other parents in her class. I work in the classroom & know the teacher pretty well, so thus the tone of it being a little less then formal. I thought you might enjoy it as well. If you have younger kids you can think of it as my personal PSA to you.

Mrs. B,

I was wondering if anything was happening in regard to the inauguration in class on Tuesday. While our kids may not really get the importance of this event. I'm trying to do a few small things personally in hopes that they may have some memories in it's regard;i.e.--"I didn't really get that it was that big of a deal, but I do remember my parents talking about it and watching it on TV, etc..."kind of thing. If it weren't such a historic event I wouldn't be asking, but considering it is such a historic time I thought it might be covered to some degree. I will duck now from the shoe you are throwing at me for suggesting additional stuff to your day. Bye!


FYI--Other Parents, so that you don't end up in the same situation I did let me give you a warning:

I tried explain to BigSpeak why it was a really, really big deal who our new president was going to be, in an effort to try and give her some memories of this event I've bought both my girls t-shirts (we're Obama girls ;-) and we talk about him and his family. (Even if you don't
like/didn't vote for him, this is a pretty historic event.) Since BigSpeak hasn't seemed to encounter racial biases yet, she didn't understand what the heck her Mama was saying.

That's nice to know.

However, what I did do, was open a huge jar of worms about racial (and gender) bias; and that not everyone is treated equally everywhere, so my warning to any other parents who haven't dealt w/this subject and have a question asker..."Be Prepared!" It's not that it won't come up
for you at some point, if you have a question asker, like mine, you may want to think hard about how to answer the questions so that you don't end up in a 3 hour conversation about it or so that you do, but have the answers that are appropriate for a 5/6YO.

If you have a question asker, you know exactly what I mean and are laughing at me for opening my mouth in the first place.

I can hardly wait for the conversation when she figures out what being "gay" means and realizes she has a close relative who is.

Good Times
is all I'm saying...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Barbie......and self-image

Mike wrote a smackdown article over at Babble. Which is very, good and I apparently had something to say about. While writing my comment, I realized it was really more of a blog post. Rather than hijack his comments, I copied what I posted there and finished my them here:

You know, my philosophy on all of this kind of stuff is; "they covet what they can't have, so anything in moderation."
We'll see how I feel about "moderation in all things" when my girls want to do drugs or underage drinking. But I think a lot has to do with how big of a deal you make of things. If you make a big deal about it (either way/good or bad) your kid will pick up on it & then go from there..some will try to please you & some will do the exact opposite of what you want, cause that's human nature.

In regard to self-image;

Typically, the biggest influence in a girls' life is her mother, not the measurements of their Barbie doll. Kids don't miss much so if you put yourself down, even if you don't think they know, they pick up on it. Our neighbors daughter, 6, informed her the other week that she wanted to go on a diet cause she was looking fat. If we women could get over the idealizations that the media is selling us, then our kids might be able to too. Until we do, it's probably unrealistic to think they will. Sure, I wish I had my 20YO body back, I certainly didn't appreciate it then. I thought I was fat. I'm 5' 7" and I felt myself at a size 6 was FAT. Yeah, I know, but you couldn't have told me different then.

Here's the kicker, my most comfortable time in my life, body image wise, was when I was pregnant. I think that is very telling.

When I weighed the most and wore my largest dress size I was the absolute happiest with my body. To say I LOVED my pregnant self doesn't begin to convey how much I loved the way I looked at that time. Given a choice, I would be pregnant 100% of the time. Ok, I'd like to take holidays and weekends off (so I could drink lots of mulled wine & sangrias, not that I do, but I like to think I could if wanted to.) I happily wore a bikini in the summer and form fitting t-shirts and blouses. If it showed off my "bump" I wanted it. I realized when I was pregnant my body was doing exactly what it was made to do and I loved every minute of it. Talk about confident! I understood the irony of this situation. Normally I'd be wearing a bathing suit that covered much more and would be pulling in all the areas I thought I probably needed more coverage. Now a much larger me was all don the bikkini: "Check me out, I am woman (with child) hear me roar." Well, see me roar.

It was during this time that I decided that I was going to do my best to try and love my body what ever the shape and size even after I was pregnant. It became clear to me that my body image had too much to do with others not myself. My husband has always declared that he loved the way I looked and had never done or said anything for me to doubt him. Then why did I want to "have a flatter stomach, or lose 10 lbs" all the time? Because I was constantly bombarded w/images that told me I should, that's why.

I want more for my daughters. I want them to feel the way I did when I was pregnant, all the time. The only way they would learn is by example. Right now, as young children they are not self-concious at all. After bath time we often have trouble getting them to don pjs. They love to run around the house "nekkid and when we catch up with them, they shake thier booties at us." Guess I should stop encouraging that one, huh? They like it cause it gets a reaction from us. How to you bottle that self-confidence? I wish I knew. But I do think I know how to help prevent it from slipping away entirely, by example.

So now that I've had a couple of kids, and turned 40 (OMG! I'm still reeling from that number a bit, it's only been a month after all,) my body has changed even more. Yes, I do still long for the 20-something days when everything fit, my stomach was flat and gravity hadn't started to have an effect. When I had the body that gravity and time hadn't taken it's toll on and that I never appreciated until it did. But I don't dwell on it. I don't stand in front of the mirror checking out my nekkid self (I said I'm trying I didn't say I was 100% successful yet,) but I don't critisize myself either any more. (I was pretty notorious for this before.) I've been watching some shows like, "How to Look Good Naked", and how I should dress to draw your eye to my "best features" and I've gotten rid of clothes that are to "hide" my flaws. Irronically, I lost 17 lbs this summer. I wasn't trying it just came off. Am I thrilled w/the result? I like that a whole bunch of old clothes (pre-pregnancy) are fitting again, but otherwise, I'm too busy to really care too much.

After all, my daughter will only want to play Barbies with me for so long. Playing Barbies doesn't matter if you're a size 6 or a size 16, just that you can sit on the floor and pull the doll clothes on and off. I've got that part down.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Opps! Happy New Year!

I guess that probably wasn't so good. I announce I'm going in for back surgery, and then just sort of drop off the face of the Earth for a couple weeks. Opps! Sorry about that. I'm fine. In fact, I'm probably better than fine, so no worries. Like I was told: lots of time laying down or standing up, not so much on the sitting. I end up spending all my computer time on email & Facebook & then not getting on here to post. Not entirely true. I have a video I tried to post on the first of the year, unsuccessfully. It's cute, and I've made several attempts, but it probably isn't worth amount of time I've given it at this point. I think it might be too large for bloger, but it doesn't come back & say that to me, so I'm not positive.

So I'm totally walking around & stuff. Not even shuffling, which was really more of what I expected. I have pain, but it's more from bending, twisting and reaching for things. And a little side note here; you would be amazed at just how much of your movement involves bending, twisting and reaching. Pretty much everything! It's hard to avoid, so my pain pills have been getting their work out for sure. I haven't picked up anything beyond a piece of paper, but I hear if I go over 10lbs I'll find that I regret that movement as well. I went & bought one of those "reacher/grabber" things since I imagine my ability to bend is going to return slowly. Much cooler than the walker I originally pictured myself with when weighing my options in relation to this surgery. Although if I did end up w/a walker you can bet I would totally pimp it out. The grabber has great potential for much fun, as you might imagine, but so far all we've done with it is take it away from the kids. Oh, and LittleSpeak managed to smack me in the face w/it tonight.
Sadly, that's really about it at the house of Speak right now. Daddy has been home all week to help take care of me and the girls. Since I'm not totally incapacitated I imagine he's a bit bored. It has been really nice to have him home during our regular schedule. He worked in BigSpeak's class room this week and has been taking LittleSpeak to and from school. Little things that aren't that big of a deal, but it's a big deal to the girls that their daddy is doing these things right now. I'm sure he'll be glad to get back to work next week and away from my requests for Starbuck runs.