Sunday, June 28, 2009

I've created a clone

On our next to last day of "vacation" (which was anything but), we went to Lac Neuchatel on the boat. It was stormy in the mountains but the east side of the lake was stunning. Angelina loved going fast on the boat "Faster Papa! Faster!" and of course swimming. Fredo took us to his favourite places from his childhood and Angelina played in the water (in various states of undress, of course). One thing that became very clear in seeing my water bunny, is that she's a clone of Papa. There's no question. I wonder sometimes if I contributed any genes?

Riding the trains

Trying to have some holiday time amidst the vacation that turned out not to be a vacation at all, we took Angelina to Swiss Vapeur Parc> Friday (which also happened to be our 5th wedding anniversary). It's located waaaaay on the other end of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), just on the border with France, in a valley surrounded by Alps.

The scenery was of course stunning, and though it was cloudy and rainy in Vaud, this area was spectacularly sunny and beautiful that day. And very importantly, there were KIDS. Angelina NEEDS kids. Not a day goes by where she doesn't say "Mommy, I need to go to kids!"

Since it was towards the end of the school year, all the school kids were on assorted field trips. Didn't make it too hectic though, and Miss Social Butterfly made a new friend: a little American-Swiss girl, about to turn 7, was visiting with her American mom and started up a conversation. Soon Angelina wouldn't leave her side. Good thing the little girl was as enamored of Angelina as she was of her.

She had a blast on the trains. There's only two trains and one track, fairly long rides but after a few times the grownups get a bit tired. Not so the kids. She wanted to go over and over and over again. Her favourite thing is to go through the "caves." This is what she calls tunnels. She LOVES them, both with trains and in the car. More on caves/tunnels later. All in all, a great day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nasty, horrible bees

Last Sunday, Angelina stepped on (or at least, disturbed) a bee. The bee, of course, responded as it would and stung her in the ankle. With much terrorized screaming I quickly pulled the stinger out and flicked it away. Apparently not far enough because it landed on my arm and gave me a small reaction....

As for Angelina, some anti-itch stuff seemed to calm her down. We watched it for awhile. No problem.

Last night, Fredo noticed her foot looked swollen in the sock. Now, in the morning I put her socks on and her feet were fine. I did notice later in the day her crocs were tighter than normal, but just figured that was the thicker socks. Well, we took off the sock and see this

Knowing how badly we both react to stings, and given how small her body is, we didn't want to take any chances and took her to the ER. She's got an infection but it appears slight. However they gave her some cortisone cream and some oral antibiotics. These pictures were actually taken tonight, 24 hours later. It looks to have improved somewhat, but I'm not that happy about it....

She's fine. No more fever, and unless you touch her foot, you wouldn't know there was a problem. Which is part of the problem. She needs to keep it elevated to get the swelling down. Now how do you get a very active almost 3 yr old to stay still??? DVDs are working for a little while, but not long. Oh, and ice packs would be good. How does one get an ice pack on a squirming child????

Update: We're now on day 3 since the reaction started, 10 days after the sting. The hives and redness have decreased, but it's still really swollen and itchy and hot. Doesn't look like she has a reaction anywhere else on her body, which is a good sign, though the first day she had some spots on her trunk. Don't think those were hives and they're gone now. She woke today really cranky, which we can't tell if it's pain due to the sting/reaction or just general Angelina crankiness ;)

Update June 29: It's now been just over a week since this reaction started, 2 weeks since the sting. On Thursday it was looking worse: more swollen, more red, and she couldn't walk on it. So we went back to the Swiss first the nurse suggested she needed IV antibiotics, but I said no way. It wasn't infected, she had no fever, what she really needs is an antihistamine (not available OTC there). The doctor came in and agreed it wasn't likely an infection, just a severe allergic reaction. However she recommended a splint to prevent her from walking on it. It seemed counter-intuitive to me to wrap it up and put an extra weight there, but it did keep her off it for a couple of days, which seemed to help. We returned on Sat for a follow-up and by then it was looking better. Still not very nice, but the swelling had decreased substantially in the leg (still in the foot), and the hives were mostly gone: still red and itchy and blistery, but not so widespread. We returned today to the US, and though it doesn't look pretty, it does look mostly healed. Phew!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nurse Angelina

GranPapa was in the hospital for his birthday, so we took him a dessert, sang happy birthday and brought a festive atmosphere. Angelina of course, twirled around and sang.

After everyone else had left and we were about to go, he got sick. Probably too much sweet stuff. We didn't manage to get anything to catch it fast enough, so Fredo and I both grabbed a bunch of paper towels and started cleaning him up while we waited for the nurse. Angelina, not missing a beat, went to the bathroom, got more paper towels, brought them over to GranPapa and started helping.

She didn't hesitate, she didn't say "ewwww!" she didn't run scared from the room. Nope, she said "Granpapa's not feeling well. Here's some towels." We finally had to tell her that was enough towels :)

I am rather proud of her. She can be incredibly sympathetic when she wants to be :)

and silly too. She's been having fun dressing up in Granpapa's clothes.

And playing with cousins

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun with Cousins

Super Nina!

Mommy says "You're my big girl!"

Angelina responds: " I'm not big gril. I'm SUPERNINA Mundie Pie!"

I guess it's from watching superhero cartoons at daycare, but sometime back she started calling herself "Super Nina!" raising her arms and cheering.

About Mundie Pie: One day we were playing and she decides we'll role play. I'd be her and she'd be me. So she keeps saying something about "mundie pie." "Come here mundie pie! Let's play mundie pie!" I thought it was some sort of game. Finally I realized: Mundie Pie = Honey Pie, which I call her often. I didn't think I called her it that much, but apparently I do, as it's stuck in her head.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer Days

Swimsuits Optional
She is clothed here, but that was only after I insisted....

Angelina has a fondness for nakedness.....

A common weekend occurrence: She's outside playing. She sees Wiley and Felice. They decide they're hot and want to get into the kiddie pool. While Wiley and Felice get their swimsuits on, Angelina rips off whatever she is wearing and climbs in.

Mostly I don't care, except for the potential for sunburn (and poop - she's not quite potty trained, almost but not there yet, so I insist on a swim diaper).

I do wonder if she'll ever develop a sense of modesty or will just prefer to run around with as little on as possible. At least she's having fun in the pool!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Her friends

Every night we have a ritual, or at least it seems that way. Angelina lays down in bed. Then the following conversation ensues:

"Mommy, where's Mouse?"

I go get mouse.

"Mommy, I need Tiger."
I go get tiger.

"Mommy, where's Baby Jaguar?"
I go get baby jaguar.

"Mommy, I need Teddy Bear."

I go get Teddy Bear (which by the way, happens to be mine from c. 1975)

By now I've wizened up, and get Buggy Bug too.

Only now she decides she wants another "friend" she normally doesn't ask for - cow, or rabbit, or something that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

You may ask why don't I always just keep these in bed with her? Well, I do. At least I try to. But there are the mornings she says "Here Mommy, take my friends to the kitchen for me. Please." and hence I dump them in the basket. But sometimes they must sit at the table. Sometimes they sit on the couch. Sometimes they're in odd places. I do try to remember to take them before we get into bed, but I seem to forget too often.

This, from the kid who for the first 1.5 years of her life could care less about any of the gazillion stuffed animals people gave her. Now she has a whole zoo.

And now for the Bad Mommy Confession:

I always swore I would never be one of those parents who park the kid in front of the TV for a babysitter. And for close to two years it wouldn't have worked anyway, as she wasn't at all interested. Well, one day I bought some DVDs (we don't actually have broadcast or cable TV anyway, we just have DVDs). And, well, I confess now to occasionally parking her in front of the TV so I can make dinner, take a shower, have a moment's peace. I do actually do all these things with her much of the time, but there are some times when it doesn't work and I turn to Dora (tho now, she doesn't care about Dora, it's Tasha and Tyrone, the Backyardigans, or Monsters or Calliou).

And for my even bigger confession: we are both really insistent on family meals. Meals are spent at the table. No TV. Well, except when Frederic is out of town or out playing volleyball. See, that's when I usually resort to the TV babysitter to make the dinner. And then, well.......I get lazy. AND she EATS EVERY SINGLE THING (which is a rarity at the table). Now, I've only let her eat in front of the TV a handful of times. This is not a common occurrence, so I'm not that bad of a mommy, right?

Sometimes you do what you have to do....

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The World

I try to keep this blog about Angelina, or our family, but sometimes the real world enters in and can’t be ignored.

Twenty years ago I was a 19 year old college student studying International Relations, watching world events unfold everywhere, but particularly in China. At the time I had no great fascination with China, but it could hardly be ignored. Chinese students, my generation, kids the same age as me, were doing what is often done in a free country: demonstrating; performing civil disobedience as a means to protest. College students around the world offered our solidarity. But little else.

On June 4 what all feared but still seemed like a total shock, armed troops opened fire on Tiananmen Square. On the morning of June 5, I sat with 2 friends at Café Roma in Isla Vista, drinking my Giant Cappuccino, eating my baguette (as I did nearly every Sunday morning in college….) reading every single page of the New York Times discussing the events. We talked about it for weeks. And then…..we had finals. And we moved on.

What I don’t think I realized then, and has taken me 20 years and a lot of international travel to fully appreciate, is that I could sit in that café, freely discussing the events, I could protest if I wanted and most likely not have to fear for my life, while my Chinese counterparts were losing theirs.

I wonder now if faced with such a situation 20 years ago, could I have had the courage to stand up? And it wasn’t just students, as this article points out, Rickshaw drivers, bus drivers, the poor, they too had the courage to stand. I know I could not today, being a mother, I’ve made a commitment to my child to never do anything to put myself in harm’s way, unless it’s entirely to protect her. But could I have then? I doubt it.

Do I want to think Angelina will have such courage? No. I want to think such courage will never again be necessary for anyone in the world.

Unfortunately, though, as we already saw two years ago in Burma, and today there as well, such events are likely to happen again and again. And as we see in China today, it didn't make much difference.

So instead, what I hope for Angelina is the ability to make a difference. Not by putting herself in harm’s way, but by always seeking to understand what is happening in the world. And then to act in an appropriate and useful manner. I hope we can teach that to her by our own example.

The NYT has been running a number of stories, including reflections on the famous tank photo, which yielded another fascinating story.

On a more personal note, June 1989 also marked a tragedy for my family: our brother Albert died later that month. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 20 years since that he’s been gone. He left a legacy of sorts. One I hope provides valuable lessons to our next generation.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dora? Who's Dora? Give me Monsters!

Angelina has a love affair with Monsters. Well, it's mostly love with occasional fear. Papa and she always play at being Monsters, which usually involves a towel over their heads and stomping around the house saying "I Am The Monster!" Of course when Mommy does it, she says "No, Mommy. Not like thaaaat!"

Apparently I'm not a very good monster.

Since she likes playing monsters so much, Frédéric wanted to get her the film, Monsters, Inc. He put it on, she settled into her favourite chair, I sat down not really paying attention. Note, I've never seen the film.

Suddenly I hear this bloodcurdling scream like I've never heard before. She was shaking, terrified, her heart was racing. I ranted about "What Papa buys this movie for a 2 yr old?!" He assures me it's funny. Really. Puts it on again (against my judgement) but sits with her.

The result? She loves it. In fact, she loves it so much we've watched it 1,294,865 times. Ok, not really, but if she had her way she'd watch it that much. I limit it to no more than 2x/weekend (and usually not during the week). And that's pretty much all she watches.

She could care less about Dora and Diego now. Who needs them when you can have the big blue monster Sully?

The downside is that though she's not really afraid of monsters, now she thinks about them all the time and goes to bed dreaming of monsters...

Funny Girl

This morning Angelia woke up in a panic, running to me calling "Mommy! Mommy!" like the world was about to end. I ask her what's wrong and she's too upset to say. Instead she leads me slowly to her bedroom. The door is slightly ajar. I wonder if Chakapu is behind it (who sometimes scares her) or a monster (she has this love/fear relationship with monsters now).

I slowly open the door wider.

She points to the floor almost in tears she's so nervous.

It's her sippy cup. Must have fallen off the bed, startled her awake and scared her.

So I pick it up, tell her it's her sippy cup. It's all ok.

She handles it gingerly. "Sippy Cup! There you are!" (I wish you could hear her voice of wonder and amazement)

She crawls back into bed, but I say it's time to get up and have breakfast. So she puts her sippy cup on the ledge, crawls out of bed, and says "Bye bye Sippy Cup! I'll be back soon." in her most endearing-I'm-sad-to-leave-you-alone voice.

eXTReMe Tracker