writing from home
Posted March 4, 2011on:
Berkeley, that is. May and I got here on Wednesday evening, after a pretty smooth 7.5hr flight. Originally I wanted a flight with connection because I thought the break would be good for May to roam around. Turns out, with the sort of non-plane change connection I booked, we didn’t get off the plane, we just landed, let passengers get off, new passengers got on, take off right away. But, it was great in another way. The first leg of the trip from BWI to DEN was completely full, so the two of us were stuck in one seat with no wiggle room. May napped for about 1.5 hours, and then was up for the remaining 2.5. Once we got to Denver, everyone got off, and even with the new passengers boarding, the plane was only 1/2 full, so we got the whole row to ourselves. That gave May plenty of room to stand up, climbing off/on the seats, look around, grabbing things… without bothering anyone. May got lots of praises from fellow passengers when we got off in Oakland for how well behaved she was. And she really did well, heeding my directions and suggestions most of the time. Even when she protested, I was able to offer her an alternative that she was content with. We got off the plane at 6:30pm local time, tired but in good mood. Had we gotten on a direct flight, which tend to be full most of the time, we would have been stuck in one seat for the whole 6 hours.
Compared to January, May has changed quite a bit this trip. She was fearful of flying during take off and landing (the strong wind and resulting turbulence didn’t help). Since she is capable of explaining herself now, she was able to tell me that she was fearful of falling down and fearful of the plane falling down with us in it. During take off, nursing worked wonderfully. During landing, I thought I should try something else, so instead of offering to nurse, I went over the story of May’s favorite Pocoyo episode, where Pocoyo was afraid of the giant slide, because he thought he would fall off. I reminded her of how Elly (elephant friend) held Pocoyo tight, and they went down the slide together, and Pocoyo loved it afterward, never afraid again. I told her I would be like Elly and hold her really tight, and she woudl be like Pocoyo, and the little stuffed bunny she had was another friend. Together, May held on tight to the bunny while I held on tight to her, and we would soon be on the ground safe and happy. While holding her, I asked her whether she thinks various people/characters would be afraid of falling off the airplane. May’s standard answer to these sort of questions is “no, not possible.” Would grandma afraid …? No, not possible. Would grandpa…? Would Elmo…? The repetition is soothing like a chant, the various familiar people/characters kind of comfort May further, and she enjoys saying no while shaking her head, so that’s a plus.
I used to think perhaps avoiding saying “no” to May at her age and steering her away from saying “no” around this age is the way to go. But as I adjusted to May’s temperament and getting to know her preferences/tendencies, I have sort of evolved into actively letting her fulfil the “no” quota of the day as a way to get her cooperation. It seems like throughout the day, if she get to say “no” and disagree and point out things she thinks is wrong often enough, then she’s fine with most of my requests. So I control her “no’s” by making them fun. I would recite her favorite poems or sing songs where I get the words/verses wrong, then ask her if that’s correct. Or I would do silly things to make her laugh, like putting a sock on my head and ask her if that’s hat. She would do these things back to me too, and I show her how to say “oh no, you got that wrong, try again” or “it’s a mistake, it should be _____ instead.” I try to stress that it’s ok to disagree, but it should be put nicely and pleasantly.
I do a lot of these things for my sake, because I know I’m very affected by words and verbal cues as well as tone of voice. If someone tell me things nicely, I can take a lot of crap from them. If they tell me a reasonable thing but in a rude tone or perceived as rude tone of voice, my blood immediately rise. So to save myself from regrets and May lots of frustrations, I try to teach her how to communicate with me so she can get her ways or at least not bring out the monster in me. Plus, it’ll help her later in life.
May’s already picking up English here at Helen’s house. Yesterday she wanted a yellow house magnet on Helen’s fridge, so she asked me to get it for her. I told her to ask Nana instead, and told her to say “Nana, may I have the yellow house please?” She turned to Helen and said, “NANA….YELLOW… may I… PLEASE!” It was so funny to see her mind turning. And, she did the exact thing I would have done if I were to learn a new language right now. She already knew “Nana” and “yellow,” and “please,” so she threw out familiar sounds she could immediately glean from the bunch of words I gave her, and then inserted what she could catch from the bunch of new words, then slapped on the “please” at the end.
This trip May’s truly sampling the great food my hometown has to offer. In previous trips, I still had to sort of cook May’s food separately and work with what she would/could/wouldn’t/couldn’t eat. Now that she has 4 (still growing) molars, her ability to chew has greatly increased, and her eating habits have also improved, so I can just simply feed her whatever Jim and Helen have. Last night we ate Matzo ball soup. Today we had risotto, avocado, and some left over soup for lunch, then mashed potato, and pot au feu with veggies and meats for dinner. No problem at all.
Thien has already visited us today and had dinner. May took immediate liking to Thien, and was 100% comfortable around her. She greeted Thien and let Thien pick her up within minutes after meeting her. I got a hold of Les this afternoon, and as of now, he’s already in Oakland somewhere. It’s just the matter of getting in touch again and set up a time for him to come see us. Helen got May the gigantic Melissa & Doug victorian doll house with all the furniture and doll. It took Helen a good 3 hours of labor yesterday, and then another good 2 hours with me helping out this morning to put the house together. While we were assembling the doll house, May kept on climbing all over me to get to the house, because she wanted to play with it. Finally, she was banished to the front of the TV, with 200+ channels of television, and she didn’t want any of it. LOL. And just last night, I was saying to Helen, “ha ha ha, we’ll play with this doll house while May watches TV tomorrow!” It came true.
Now the doll house is done. The pots and pan cooking set of toys is also opened, so May is a busy toddler. Oh, one hilarious thing is, after we first got the house set up with furniture and accessories, Helen came by and asked, “who’s that sleeping in the bed, is that the baby?” NO. It’s the dad, ha ha ha. And May put him there, all tucked in, saying “daddy goes to sleep.” I said, yup, that’s Son. The baby was on the potty, and the mommy was taking a bath, head-first, in the tub.
We did get out of the house today, beautiful mild spring day. Went produce shopping at the Farmer’s market near downtown. Bought tons of cookies for Son, his favorite flourless chewy chocolate cookies. Will ship them tomorrow. Tomorrow’s plan is: a walk to the post office, and then swinging by Career Center to see Donna. Chase some squirrels on the way back, have lunch somewhere, nap at home for May. Cheese-tasting at Cheeseboard for May in the afternoon when she wakes up, and then, maybe, dinner at Helen’s with Les. Saturday and Sunday will be spent going to various children’s museum with ma. Ti’m and the 2 kiddos. An (sister in law) might accompany us on Sunday and maybe we’ll hang out with her Sunday night. Possibly. Monday is also An’s day off, so maybe we’ll do something with her again. Will need to talk to her soon.