Max, You Are 17 Months Old Today!

My dear Max,

You’ve turned 17 months old today!  Another month has passed so quickly as mommy and daddy introduce you to new experiences and watch you thrive.

You began taking Parent and Me swimming lessons with daddy two weekends ago and both of you enjoyed them tremendously .  For half an hour each week, your daddy takes you into a heated pool with other daddies and their babies to practice all kinds of cool aquatic moves that mommy cannot name.  You surely showed your adventurous self, as you were not intimated at all with the new environment and happy to try new moves.  Besides, you need not worry, your daddy used to be a very good swimmer and is definitely more than capable of keeping you safe.  He couldn’t be prouder that you have taken interest in yet another activity he likes.

You are extremely competitive with your brother.  You want everything he has: his drink, his bike, his teddy bear…etc.  Sometimes you become so obsessed that you would drop everything you have in your hands to snatch your brother’s toy out of his hands!  This of course made your brother angry, but he’s as gentle as he could be and never fought back.  Sometimes he even shares his things with you, like half bottle of his favorite chocolate milk the other day.  Other times mommy and daddy would plead with him to let you play with his toy.  Apparently you both need to learn the meaning of sharing.  You more than him though.

You are one stubborn child.  You would make a dramatic scene every time you don’t get your way.  This includes crying, squeezing tears out of your eyes, arch your back in protest, and drop your lower jaw so that your lower teeth bite onto your upper lips.  Believe me, this is not pretty.  So mommy and daddy do what we thought is best, we ignore you till you’ve calmed down.

You got some new teeth coming out.  Mommy can see those two little pearly whites poking at your gum, though they are not out yet.  I am sure it is very painful for you.  That’s why mommy and daddy tolerate your stubbornness.  We assume that you were bothered by something you could not control, like teething pain.

You began to relentlessly practice scary moves that challenges you, like climbing onto the couch, over the back and slip all the way down on the other side.  The first time mommy saw this she was scared.  Your daddy quickly moved to make sure you don’t fall and bump your head (again!), but your feet landed on the floor like a cat.  We let out a long breath and found you began the cycle again.  That daredevil in you, is it from your daddy and mommy?  We are currently having a heated debate and will get back to you in a couple of decades.

You enjoyed visiting the Long Beach Aquarium.  Since we purchased the annual pass a month ago we have already made another trip back there.  To mommy and daddy’s surprise, you did not take any interest in the gigantic tanks or the curious creatures in them.  What you loved more than anything was the spaces to run, climb, and crawl.  It was certainly exciting to watch you run in front of the sea otter tank last weekend, zig-zagging through the crowd of visitors.  Your super human ability kept you a step ahead of mommy and daddy’s grasps, at the same time prevented you from being crushed by other on-lookers.  Sometimes you chase after your brother like a puppy, sometimes you climb over or under the handrail like a monkey, all the time laughing and running like there’s nothing in the world that would daunt you.  That’s when the magic happened.  For a brief moment, mommy and daddy had forgotten all the chaos surrounded us.  We both looked at you proudly, then knowingly at each other, and felt the warmth of happiness washed all over us.  In this life, we are so blessed with such beautiful babies like you and your brother.  There’s nothing more important in the world.

Love,

Mommy.

 

How to Get Ride of Fruit Flies

Several weeks ago we were hit by a cloud of fruit flies.  I must have left the door open and didn’t know there was a spoiled fruit somewhere.  These unwanted visitors came and wanted to stay, and I hated watching them buzzing around MY SPACE.  After couple of days of procrastination, I decided to try a little trap. 

My first generation of fruit fly trap involves drilling a small hole on the cap of a plastic drink bottle.  Then I left it out in the kitchen with several pieces of very ripped fruit.  The trick worked and attracked fruit flies in.  However, the flies were able to escape by crawl out of the hole.  Back to the drawing board.

My second generation of fruit fly trap is simply a plastic drink bottle without the cap and ripped fruits on the bottom.  I set it up at night and left it out till the morning when I capped it and found at least three dozen of fruit flies inside.  I then set up another bottle the second night and caught about two dozen, then another bottle and another bottle.  By the fifth trap there were barely any fruit flies left.

My fruit fly trap full of fruit flies.

Nothing can be easier.  Leave the bottle out with fruits, then cap it and toss it away.  Done, no more fruit flies.  Now I can afford to leave the door open.

-Flo.

Weekend Adventures of August 31th, 2012

The boys had Friday off from school prior to the Labor Day Monday, which made last weekend a long four day weekend.  Mario and I felt courageous since last weekend’s success, so we planned to do something fun for each day.

Friday, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium.

Mario and the boys with the “shark”

Saturday was a off day since Ravi fell asleep as soon as we drove out.  Knowing his sleeping habits, we weren’t going to be able to wake him for hours.  So we drove around randomly for a while and visited the Indian Sweets and Spices store where Max enjoyed lots of Indian candies.

Sunday we went back to the zoo. 

Boys tried to “escape” into an elephant exhibit.

Monday we went for a walk on UCLA campus.  We parked our car outside campus, got great pastries from our favorite bakery, then walked all the way to the Sculpture Garden on north campus.  For those not familiar with the area, that is a long walk!  Mario and I took turns to push the stroller.  It was a great workout.  We rewarded ourselves with delicious cream puffs and Florentines.

Ravi tried to escape from daddy’s embrace.

I can’t believe we pulled this weekend off so well.  I thought at least one time during the weekend, one kid (or both) will have a melt down of some magnitude to spoiled the entire experience.  But nothing unpleasant happened.  The kids genuinely enjoyed their time out and didn’t cause any trouble.  Mario and I had a relatively easy time handling them and enjoyed ourselves as well.  It was a great weekend!

-Flo.

Ravi, You Are 42 Months Old Today!

My dear Ravi,

You turn three and a half today!  You have grown so much since you were three, mommy and daddy are so proud of you.  You have grown so tall and big and no one will mistake you for a toddler any more.  You are a full fledged pre-schooler, so capable and on your way to becoming self sufficient.  There have been so many changes in you, some are good and some are still hard for mommy and daddy to handle.

We love you, but to be honest, we much rather carry your brother Max around than you.  One of the top reasons is because he is still in the pudgy baby stage.  Even at low 25 percentile weight category, he’s got a soft and cuddly body to hold and cute little cheeks to kiss.  Most importantly, he stays still when we carry him.  You on the other hand, have grown these long skinny limbs that just won’t rest.  You wave them around all day long like they’ve got an energy source of their own.  You kick and throw things around to make a mess and you kick and push when we change your clothes.  You don’t tolerate being held when you are not hurt or just woken up from sleep.  Whenever we call you baby, you always correct us that you are now a big boy.   I am sad to say, yes you are, and I miss that little boy in you.

Do you remember the nights when mommy slept with you and you always gave mommy kisses before you fell asleep?  Those were our own precious moments and when we were both the happiest.  It was still like that maybe five months ago, but you don’t kiss mommy anymore.  I guess time exists completely different for each of us.  For you time travels at lightning speed.  You practically turned into a new boy in a few months, whereas mommy stayed the same, including her desire to kiss you every night before you fall asleep.  In these past few months, you have become a big boy and those sweet little moments of a little boy are now far behind you, forgotten.  Mommy even tried harassing and threatening you (I know, bad mommy), but still no kisses.  So mommies out there beware: kiss your little boys as much as you can before those intimate moments fade away.

You don’t like the idea of going to sleep, though you love sleeping!  We would have confused ourselves too if we didn’t have to deal with your sleeping habits daily.  Whenever we ask you to go to sleep, you always refuse like it is the worst punishment of all.  This is particularly bad during nap time, when we physically drag you down to your bed against your will, you would stay awake and wistfully play in your bed for hours.  So eventually we gave up on napping, but found you falling asleep during afternoon car rides or early evening TV shows.  So now we are going back to napping.  It will be a testament of will, but believe me, mommy and daddy will  triumph over yours!  The funny thing is, once we get past the initial resistance, you are a great napper.  You could nap for three hours straight, and if we don’t wake you up, you could probably sleep till sun down.  At school, you are always the one to fall asleep first and the last to wake up.  No one would ever guess that you were a very bad sleeper as an infant!  Oh the sleepless nights your mommy and daddy went through that left permanent lines on our faces.

You first came to this school a week after you turned two.  You had some really good teachers who loved you wholeheartedly and you love in return.  Nevertheless, you weren’t happy and felt self conscious.  You’ve cried when we drop you off and eager to go home at the end of the day.  When you had a choice, you never wanted to go to school.  A couple of months later, you stopped crying but still didn’t quite fit in.  I asked your teachers and they told me you didn’t have any close friends and played alone most of time.  I read up on books and understood that’s what toddlers do before they are able to communicate, yet still my heart ached when I couldn’t help you. This continued for over a year.  You have finally transitioned into the three’s class this July and I am happy to say you have made some good friends.  More importantly, you’ve got a buddy (best friend)!  A shock to me was that your buddy is a girl, and the cutest girl in the world too!  These days you enjoy your time at shcool and no longer watch out for mommy to pick you up anymore.  So often mommy comes in and watch you play for a few minutes before you realize that she was there.

All of mommy’s and daddy’s talk of dieting and saying no to food must have subconsciously filtered into your tiny brain and lodged itself there, because neither one of us can get you to eat. We ask if you want dinner, lunch, or breakfast and we always get be the exact same response; “No way!” It doesn’t matter what is being offered for the meal, you know it is anathema to your existence and a despicable act you have to tolerate so that mommy and daddy will let you watch TV.

In addition to TV being off limits without a meal, you are also not allowed cookies or ice cream or snacks until you have a couple of bites. And that is something new we’ve had to deal with.  We now have to negotiate with you over how many bites you ‘need’ to eat before you get “rewards”. When we first started you’d hold up your fingers and say ‘only three’ bites to us, which we found terribly funny since we started by only offering you to have to eat two bites! It seems in six months though you’ve started to understand the raw deal you’ve been giving yourself (or learned to count down, one of the two) since now you are a much more masterful negotiator starting at one and working your way upwards while daddy counts down. See! Learning how to do new things will help you in life. You can now eat less at meal times and save more room for desserts now that you know how to negotiate.

You have a new favorite show- the Transformers Rescue Bots. We originally started with the original Transformers show, but you quickly found the later seasons to be too scary (after Optimus Prime dies and Rodimus Prime leads them back to Cybertron). In watching the shows with you, I have to agree the series did ‘grow up’ after the movie and it really is aimed at an older audience. The new Rescue Bot show though is just right for your age. There are no guns and very rarely are there even bad guys and action. The series is a lot of fun; we just wish you would stop watching it 24/7 on the weekends. I mean really, must we watch the same 5 or 7 episodes every day and multiple times on the weekends? You love the show so much (and Optimus Prime) that we’ve bought you an Optimus Prime transformer and an Optimus Prime T-shirt which you love wearing.

There is one good thing that is coming out of your incessant obsession with Transformers; mom and dad now have a very strong incentive to plan our weekends these days! Since we don’t want to spend the day watching the same epidsos of Rescue Bots, we now have season tickets to the zoo and the aquarium and over the past Labor Day weekend we took you to both and to the sculpture garden at UCLA. This means that mommy and daddy will be spending a lot of the weekends doing something just to avoid watching TV. Since you’re working so hard to help mommy and daddy get their lazy butts off the sofa, we think it’s only natural to say Thank You! You’re really helping us exercise and diet!

 Love,

 Mommy and Daddy.