Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shots and Ice-Cream

Today, Daniel had his 4-year-old "well check" appointment. Anyone with young kids is aware of the controversy surrounding vaccinations and their potential relationship with autism, so these appointments cause ME a great deal of stress. (Daniel experienced stress too, when he realized a shot or two might be in the very near future).

It comes down to this: Even after researching for over a year, I am not educated enough either way to make an informed decision. I feel like the voices I am hearing could be from anywhere, from mis-informed but well-meaning parent all the way to government conspiracy looking to cover-up the trail of a corrupt pharmaceutical company. The guilt I'd experience would be overwhelming either way - to vaccinate and then deal with autistic symptoms - or to not vaccinate and then deal with deadly diseases (like is happening in the UK).

I recognize that I'm too young to really understand or remember how awful these diseases are, and why vaccinations happened to begin with. But I also have a healthy kiddo who has never reacted poorly to any of his shots up until now.

SO... we compromised. After making sure they only administer mercury/thimerosal-free shots, we divided the scheduled dose into two. Today he received two shots (DtaP and the chicken pox since he's more likely to be exposed to that soon) and next year when he's five, he'll get the MMR and IPV (polio) shots.

The appointment went well - the doctor was pleased with his development (42 pounds, 3 feet 6 inches... 80% and 87% percentiles, respectively). She said he looked great and that his teeth were in amazing condition. She also asked him some extremely basic academic questions (that seemed more appropriate for a 2 year old check-up, but that's another story).

Doctor: Can you please count from 1-10 please?
Daniel: (Confused, thinking about Spanish I think?)
Me: Daniel, baby, just count to ten in English.
Daniel: English? What about Chinese?

The doctor about fell out of her chair, and Daniel counted to 3 in Chinese (thank you Kai-Lan).

He cried harder when she shined a light down his throat (?!) than for the actual shots. His post-shot crying was a little pathetic though... quiet and not so quiet little sobs... until he noticed his bandaids. He said (between sobs), "Why (sob) are there (sob) superheroes (sob) on my bandages?"

We headed straight to Cold Stone for a little shot therapy and from the time the first bite was taken, the shots were forgotten. (Violet tagged along for the whole occasion so we could get her weighed officially before the next home study, and was perfectly happy to partake in the ice-cream celebration without having to have any shots herself.)

I'm so grateful for healthy kids. I can get overwhelmed with all the information out there - nutritionally, especially. But the bottom line is that both kids ARE smart, growing, happy and just thriving in general.

It's a blessing that I refuse to take for granted. Like Cold Stone ice cream.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba

Yo Gabba Gabba is a bizarre little TV show that Daniel enjoys in small doses. But there are a few pieces of the show that he has really latched onto - mostly a few songs.

One song, "Party in my Tummy", actually got him to eat green beans for the first time. (They were sad because they couldn't go to the party in his tummy... seems like I have blogged about this before.)

Lately, Daniel has really enjoyed listening to the music on the way to school. His favorite song now is called "Love My Family" and was recorded by The Roots (the world's coolest band - also the set band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon).

But I digress. Daniel has started singing a ton and learned the lyrics quickly. He tells us he wants to sing the first part, and we can sing on the chorus.

I keep meaning to record his sweet little voice singing these words... he just chills in his car seat, looking outside as the world passes by, and goes for it.

Sometimes when I am sitting by myself
Those quiet moments when not with no one else
I'm mesmerized by all the many good things in my life
I think about the time when I was younger
And the older that I get the more that I feel wiser
With the love of friends and family
Get stronger and it carries me on through

So I say lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely
lovely lovely lovely love, love my family.

It is physically impossible not to feel like the luckiest family in the world in moments like these.


That's all. Just a little flashback. I saw it the other day and it totally took my breath away. I so clearly remember this stage of Daniel's life and at the same time, it's already fuzzy. I know the Daniel of today. It's hard to remember what his personality was like, even a few years back.

After a minute of looking, I do remember that this was taken at Sea World, during a fabulous (and now infamous) San Diego trip. He's being passed from his Mema to his Papa somewhere inside the Arctic Exhibit.

I remember that we kept bibs on him all the time (severely hindering his sense of fashion, I'm sure!). I remember that his hair was always patchy and comb-over-y. I remember that he had croup during that trip, so we kept him in the only warm clothes we had brought with us, ugly flannels and pjs.

But I don't remember if he was crawling or walking yet... I don't remember what kinds of words or sounds he was making... I don't remember what kinds of foods he wanted to eat.

Maybe that's why I'm addicted to photography and blogging about the kiddos... I know that my memory cannot be trusted, and time must be preserved another way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March Via Facebook...

Just a few of the latest posts from facebook this Month, in no particular order. A quick glimpse into the "daily funnies" around here.

On the way home from the park... Daniel: "Mommy, I beat you, I beat you!! I beat you!!" Fernando: "Daniel, it's not nice to say 'I beat you' over and over." Daniel: "Ok... Mommy, I won! I won!!"

On the way to the park, Daniel casually mentions, "Mommy, I learned that God made us out of dirt. And then he took one of my ribs and made you and Violet."

The downside of green smoothies: Green smoothie spills on beige carpet. (Compliments of Daniel!)

Just ran three errands with both kids... they were angels. It's SO FUN to be out and about when everyone is in good moods :) It's like the world is a (free) field trip.

Smelled something weird from the dryer. Opened the door and a MILLION feathers burst out... our down comforter finally exploded in the dryer. I have never laughed so hard. Fernando just had to vacuum ME. And it's still snowing feather in our kitchen. Daniel is having a ball.

Daniel's "stamp prize" from the weekend services is showing up all over the house... the latest location of the mystery pink butterfly stamp is INSIDE the toilet seat lid.

On the way to Raquel and Chris' big day! The car is loaded with flowers, fancy clothes and bribery snacks to keep the kiddos quiet during the reception. :)

Daniel learned the fruits of the spirit at church this weekend - so cool to hear him recite them. Except he says "jungleness" instead of "gentleness". It might be my favorite thing EVER.

8 hours of sleep later... a little better, actually. Still "down for the count" in a big way, but definitely not worse than yesterday. Daniel has it too - we are home sick together. Still in our PJs. Drinking our body weights in hot tea. And on our second showing of Larry Boy and the Bad Apple.

Had a spectacular nap with Daniel today. Spectacular.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

These Days

Just a few of the impromptu iPhone images that seem to capture life lately. Daniel's adventures are many - too many to capture each in photographs. But here is a glimpse into his sweet, charmed life.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy 7th To Us!

Daniel, this is technically your blog, but sometimes I feel the need to post things that aren't really about you so that someday you'll learn from them. (And I'm the author, so you really don't have a choice in the matter.)

This is one of those posts.

Today your father and I celebrated SEVEN years of happy marriage. You will meet a lot of people in your life who don't stay married, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for silly reasons. As you get older, you'll realize that every year in a happy marriage is a huge gift from God.

But I also want you to realize how great of a husband your father is... he really is the best. It's easy to have such a great marriage with a guy like him. With all my heart, I hope you watch him carefully and learn because if you can be like him, you'll make some girl the happiest wife in the world.

One of the areas your father excels in is romantic surprises... and tonight was perfect. He took me to a surprise destination for dinner (Cafe Lalibela's, an Ethiopian place we've been wanting to try) and then to another surprise destination for dessert (Yogurtini... so fun!). It was an amazing, thoughtful evening, just talking together and being able to eat our food without having to feed or entertain you and Violet (sorry!).

Here's the lesson: Stay romantic, Keep surprises in the relationship, Make time for each other.

Happy 7th to us!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tia Quito & Uncle Chris

At the ripe old age of four, Daniel was honored with the position of ringbearer for Raquel & Chris' wedding.

He fulfilled all the requirements: 1) Look good in a tiny suit and bow tie, and 2) Walk down the aisle. Well... almost. He got cold feet at the last minute and Keila (the main of honor) had to escort him down the aisle.

He then spent the rest of the ceremony sweating it out in that suit in the direct sun, being fed candy by Daddy who had the role of "keeping the kids quiet" while Mommy got sunburned as a bridesmaid.

It was actually a very lovely day, aside from the heat. Daniel tore it up on the dance floor, and crashed as soon as we put him in the car seat. He slept all the way to Mema & Papa's house, where we ended the evening in style with pizza and movies.

Family weddings are fun... and a great excuse for a "dressy" family photo.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Puppy, Jack. Or Rainbow.

Holy Imagination Explosion. I'm not even kidding... forget every other time before that I said his imagination was incredible. THIS time it's insane.

He is constantly in another world mentally, fighting bad guys and imagining himself to be a super hero. Conveniently, he can transform into whatever super hero would be most beneficial at the moment. Currently, he is favoring Larry Boy with his Super Suction Ears, but also becomes Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Astro Boy, Flash, and sometimes Iron Man. He allowed us to create our own super heroes, and sometimes I'm Lavender Lassie and Fernando is the Eloquent Elephant. Violet almost always gets stuck with Cat Woman.

If he is not a super hero, he is putting on his backpack and asking us to join him "on an adventure". We hike mountains, swim through lakes and run away from swamp monsters. We usually save something from someone at some point, and take lots of breaks for pretend snacks.

Occasionally, he transforms into one of his two puppy alter egos. One is Jack, a big dog who runs fast and does lots of tricks. But usually he is Rainbow, a little puppy who likes lots of affection, pretend dog treats and loves to fetch an invisible ball. (I didn't make any of this up, by the way. It's all Daniel.)

We went through a two weeks phase where he wanted to 1) decorate and then 2) fly his rocket/airplane into outer space. He would enlist our help to paint the rocket, but then only he could sit in the pilot's chair. We had to sit back in the far back of the plane.

The bad side of his imagination continues to be his bad dreams. Whatever he plays/pretends/watches on TV shows up in his nightmares. One night after watching Horton Hears a Hoo and playing a few minutes of Angry Birds on his iPod, he dreamt that angry purple monkeys put him in jail and wouldn't let him out, and that he was crying until two of the nice angry birds came and took him back to his bed in his house. No kidding.

Anyway. I have a good feeling we aren't anywhere near close to the end of this particular adventure. I love that he gets complimented on his imagination. I love that sometimes you don't know if you are talking to Daniel or to a character he is playing.

And I love that he very clearly knows the difference between pretending and reality, and can make a decision which he'd like to participate in at that particular moment. (When our friend was visiting in town, he put on his dinosaur slippers for her. She proceeded to pretend that he was a dinosaur. But he said, "No Miss Stephanie, I am not a dinosaur. I am Daniel, I just have dinosaur feet on."

Love this kid.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Daniel is a budding photographer. He'll grab anything that looks remotely like a camera (usually a pair of toy binoculars) and get into photographer mode.

He'll say, "Mommy and Violet, get together and hug each other. I'm going to take a picture of you! Ready? Smile!" and then he makes a click noise, looks at his pretend LCD screen, and turn the camera around to show you what he just took (with the biggest smile on his face).

Wonder where he gets that? :)

For his birthday, we gave him a real camera - the kind in the kid-friendly case that can actually be uploaded on a computer. It takes AWFUL photos but it's so fun for him to have his own camera. He takes pictures of absolutely everything and took it into his class "show and share" last week.

And last night, when I asked him what was special about him, he told me "I'm special because I take great pictures!"

I'm kind of loving this current phase. :)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Behavior Crisis

So, Daddy went to Mozambique for a week. We had a lovely time, just me and the kids, but it was evident in a lot of ways that they were really missing him. (And so was I.)

Daniel had a crazy meltdown at preschool the day after Fernando left and it resulted in a full on tantrum (flailing limbs and all). Teachers were hit in the process, and the proverbial smack was laid down once we got home.

We spent the evening writing apology notes. After we had done a few for his teachers, I asked if there was anyone else he needed to apologize to. He thought for a minute and said, "Yes. You, Mommy."

He is 1) the sweetest child alive, 2) a master manipulator, or 3) just very, very lucky.

I still have his "I'm sorry" note... I'm thinking I'll keep that one forever.