Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The easiest way for me to show you how it works would be to, well, show you. I took this video of me and B practicing EC after he awoke from his morning nap.
As you can see, it does take a bit more effort and a lot more patience than simply changing a diaper. Still, I'd argue that wiping out a plastic potty is a heckuva lot easier than trying to clean a squirming, twisting, messy baby, and it's even easier the times B uses his Baby Bjorn toilet seat on the grown-up potty. The chances of having shalalalas inadvertently flung in my face are much slimmer, too!
Friday, December 26, 2008
When we found out we were pregnant, we made a vow that we would not spoil our children. They would receive sticks to play with and walk uphill through the snow both ways to go to school. Okay, maybe our vow wasn't quite so draconian, but we did swear to espouse a minimalist approach when it came to giving gifts. That is why we decided that Benjamin would receive only one paltry gift for his first Christmas: (cue Bob Barker voice) A NEW CAR! After reading hundreds of online reviews of a dozen different pedal cars, we settled on a spicy little number by Radio Flyer. Never one to leave well enough alone, I wasn't content to just give the car as-is to Benjamin. I spent the week before Christmas laboriously fitting the plastic tires with hand-sewn rubber treads. I can't claim full credit for this addition: I got this idea from our neighbor Shawn (Nolan's dad), another person incapable of leaving well enough alone. Back in November, he fitted Nolan's pedal car with rubber treads and showed me how I could do the same. In case you're interested, I've included the instructions at the bottom of this post.Benjamin was lovingly spoiled by his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. On Christmas Eve, we observed the Chan family tradition of eating won ton soup and opening gifts at Vince's parents' house. To everyone's amusement, several of us gave duplicate handmade gifts to one another. Vince's parents got two adorable custom-made wall calendars and two sets of personalized photo mugs, and both Adele and I gave large, framed photo collages and UCLA-themed items as gifts. As they say, great minds think alike!
That evening, we hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our home for our good friends Deb, George, and Mikey. Despite being instructed not to, Deb and George splurged on a their gift to Benjamin by buying him an animatronic rocking horse who whinnied and tossing his head. Benjamin's initial reaction to his new pet was less than enthusiastic, but by the next day, he was grabbing the horsie's mane and trying to climb on.
All in all, Benjamin had a wonderful first Christmas filled with the most important things in life: family, friends, and fancy cars. And on that note, here are those instructions for tricking out your very own pedal car tires. Much thanks goes to Shawn for helping me out with this project!
STEP 1: GET THE TIRES READY. Cut the beading off of each bike tire. The way I did this was by first cutting an opening into the tire with a box cutter and then using regular office shears to cut all the way around right next to the tread.
STEP 3: SEW THE TIRE ENDS. Using a needle and black thread, sew the two edges of the cut tire length together. I strongly suggest using a thimble for this step. If you don't have a thimble (and I didn't), your thumbs and fingers will pay dearly. When you're done, you should have four tire loop thingys.
STEP 5 (not pictured): MEDICATE YOURSELF. Take two aspirin for your aching, blistered hands. Pour a glass (or two) of wine if necessary. I'm not saying I did this. It's just a suggestion.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Did you see that? The two are in cahoots! As outraged as I sounded in that video, however, I have to admit that was a pretty impressed by what slick team they made.
Vince also demonstrated to me how clever he is. We were out shopping the sales when I found a great pair of yoga pants. I don't do yoga, but some of the positions I contort myself into trying to chase after Benjamin should count for something. In any case, I tried the pants on and asked Vince if he liked them. He looked up briefly from his iPhone and said, "Mm-hmmm." Inspecting my rear in the mirror, I expressed concern that they were too snug and asked him if they looked like pants or tights. He replied, "Are they supposed to be pants or tights?" Wow. Could I not get a straight answer out of this man? So finally, I asked, "If you saw another woman wearing these pants, would you try to turn around and look at her butt?" He paused, rolled his eyes, and then walked away. I realized then that I had inadvertently asked a question to which there was no good answer. Say "no,"and I'll take it to mean that the pants don't look good on me. Say "yes," and you're admitting to being a total slimeball. At that moment, I was filled with admiration: it takes a pretty smart man to know that he's being asked a trick question by his wife, even when she doesn't realize she's asking one!
And in case you're wondering, I bought the pants.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Several days of testing revealed that Boo would be needing a transfusion. Luckily, we have the best pediatrician in the world. When I was still a swollen, hormonal pregnant woman, I interviewed ("ruthlessly interrogated" is more like it) several pediatricians, and Dr. Sharon Kaminker was the only one who passed muster. As we got to know mommies and babies in the area, we found that Dr. K had fans in many places. The last time I saw her, I joked that we were going to start The Cult of Sharon Kaminker, which made her laugh. Somewhat uneasily, I think. Anyway, we checked into the peds ward of Santa Monica-UCLA Hospital where the wonderful nurses got him set up and Dr. K also came to check on him.
He took naps against a soundtrack of beeping and whirring machines.
He tore up a menu after he was told that his favorite meal of string cheese, yogurt, and pork sausage wasn't on it.
He hung out in the children's playroom where he fiddled with toys, drew on a pad of paper (and on himself), and read a book.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I wanted to liven up Benjamin's Clubhouse with some decorations, so on Friday, I went on a hunt for mistletoe with my buds Deb and George. I failed to find any, but Uncle George was more than happy to give his favorite little mohawked dude some Christmas love anyway. In case you're wondering why there are two seemingly identical pictures of George holding Benjamin, it's because George insisted that I take a second picture because he wasn't flexing enough in the first one. I'm not joking.By Saturday, Benjamin seemed to be doing much better, so we took a stroll to the neighborhood library. He played with the trucks in the kids' area and even did some coloring. Ok, I use the term "coloring" very loosely; "stabbing of paper with crayons" is probably more apt.
Unfortunately, Benjamin took a turn for the worse Sunday afternoon when his fever returned with a vengeance. At his pediatrician's urging, we went to the UCLA-Santa Monica emergency room. Let me tell you that if you ever have to go to an ER, this is the one to go to. It's new, the staff are very friendly, and they're quick. We were out of there in less than two hours! Anyway, Benjamin checked out fine. The doctor told us that he was probably just fighting "viral crud." So basically, we'd taken our baby to the ER for a cold. Novice mistake.
I did get to bring a little something home with me from the hospital, though. While waiting for our discharge paperwork, I fashioned this Koons-esque sculpture out of an inflated latex glove:
I call it Pregnant Woman Surrendering Her Sanity to Motherhood.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The beauty of Benjamin's clubhouse is that a substatial amount of our baby detritus is now contained. Now when you approach his playroom, instead of a messy landscape of blocks, dolls, books, and toys, you're greeted by the far neater sight of a single igloo-- I mean, clubhouse.The one thing that will stay out of the clubhouse is Benjamin's potty. As the saying goes, one shouldn't um... poop where one eats.
Of course, a clubhouse wouldn't be complete without a trusty guard dog. If Oliver looks less than enthralled with his new job, it's because even though he's welcome to stand sentry outside of the clubhouse, there's an understand that's he's not allowed to go in.
Before you start feeling sorry for the pug, know this: along with the igloo, I also purchased a new baby gate to use during Oliver's mealtimes. So even though Benjamin may have his own clubhouse, the pug now has his own dining room - as well as the smug satisfaction of knowing that his nemesis is barred from entering.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Now that the bottoms of his tender little feet are seeing more action, Benjamin's shoes must serve more than just an aesthetic purpose: they must also protect and support his delicate tooties. The three pairs shown above are the ones he wears most frequently now, and they were all chosen because of their superior design and comfort. Ok, I'll admit that the fuzzy slippers (previously worn by his cousins and generously given to him by his Aunt Adele) are for my enjoyment only.
Even though Benjamin has his pick of his own stylish footwear, he seems to be more drawn to mine. He's especially fond of my Ugg boots, a birthday gift from my husband and a staple of moms in Los Angeles. It seems that if you're an LA mom, these hideous-yet-fashionable boots are de rigeur. My friends laugh at me for wearing them in our warm climate, but I maintain that until they see me tucking Juicy velours into them while zipping up a matching Juicy velour hoodie, I'm beyond ridicule. Now excuse me while I go finish my non-fat, half-caf, soy caramel macchiato.
Monday, December 1, 2008
We spent the day before Thanksgiving enjoying what has become something of a family tradition: Rock Band. Maybe Benjamin will actually be able to play one of the instruments the next time we all get together!
Later in the evening, Vince's parents, his sisters, and his nephews arrived for the feast. Vince's Dad and Umbo made quick work of slicing up the turkey.
We were anxious to see what our resident food critic thought of Leon's turkey. After puzzling over its unfamiliar taste and texture for just a moment, he gave it one thumb and one chubby pinky up.
Still full from our Thanksgiving feast the night before, we decided to enjoy a light breakfast of Portugese sausage, fried spam and eggs, corned beef hash, french toast, and pancakes at Rutt's Cafe on Friday morning. Never one to miss an opportunity to make new friends, Benjamin spent the entire meal staring at a group of policemen seated in the booth behind us until they agreed to take a picture with him.
The friendly cops at Rutt's weren't the only new pals that Benjamin made this weekend. On Saturday, Umbo's college friend Andreas (whom he hadn't seen in 15 years) and his fiancee Jennifer joined us for lunch. In the evening, Claire's college roommate Grace and her fiance Armand came by for dinner. We capped off the weekend by meeting up with our cousins Mike and Jason and their loved ones. Mike, his wife Wendy, and their baby girl Audrey were in town from Raleigh, NC to visit Wendy's sister in Irvine. Wendy's brother-in-law Ivan joined the reunion. Jason was in Cerritos with his girlfriend Hanie. Ever the Ladies' Man, Benjamin spent the visit showing off his standing skills to the younger Audrey.
And if the weekend weren't exciting enough, Benjamin took his first steps! Ok, I'm totally exaggerating. He didn't really take his first steps, but he did start doing this bizarre half-crawling/half-crabwalking thing in which he crawls on his hands and knees and then takes a step left foot. Surely, that counts for something. Right?
Even if it doesn't, that's ok. I enjoyed a wonderful weekend was filled with food, family, and friends, and that's more than enough to give thanks for!