Saturday, January 30, 2010

My very active weekend

Just popping in to share some photos from my so far very active weekend. Yesterday I met up with my pal Ruby for our first ever Soccer Tots class. I've been practicing like crazy at home and Izabela has been taking me to play with some other kids so I was raring to go. This is me getting a bit of a warm up before the class started:

My dad reckons Ronaldo's got something to worry about but I prefer to think of myself as more like a mini-Giggsy although dad says Wales has to be third on my list of countries to play for. It was all pretty exciting, we got to dribble, score goals, stack cones and hit Erika with pool noodles (not quite sure what that had to do with football but figured I'd give it a go anyway). Here's me and Ruby in our smashing t-shirts during our 'water break'.
Do you like our new shoes? Very cute aren't we?

Today we both got taken to a gymnastics class in the Presidio. I waited patiently while mum and dad ate their breakfast in the car parked opposite the Golden Gate Bridge like a couple of old people and then got to join Ruby in this huge gym that was full of soft and bouncy things to climb over, under and through. It was fantastic!

Here's me crawling through a tunnel of lions doing my best ROOAAARRR face:
and ever since I got to have a go at hanging from a trapeze a few months ago I really enjoy hanging off things; usually it's the climbing frame in the playground but I particularly like the dining table at home and at Kylie's which freaks mum and dad out a lot. Here's me on the hoops:
Pretty impressive huh? We got to throw ourselves all over the place for 45 minutes while our parents hovered around us as always. Strangely enough all four of them were complaining about being tired afterwards when they didn't even do anything - apparently looking after us can be pretty exhausting. Ha! I wonder what they have planned for us tomorrow...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My lovely new bike

It's almost too exciting to write about. I've been looking at other kids in the playground with bikes and cars and I've tried very hard to be good and not push them off their toys so that I could have a go but it's been very very difficult.

Anyway, after 4 months of not very subtle hinting like screaming my head off whenever Mum or Dad forcibly remove me from one of these things I finally have my very own bike for me to play with all on my own.

It's red and blue and yellow, which by the way are all colours I can say now even if I sometimes get them mixed up, and I really really really love it. Apparently Mum and Dad have been hiding it in a cupboard for 5 days because it's been too rainy for me to go out on it but this is the moment they surprised me with it today. Check me out:
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh the joy of the 18 month doctors appointment.

We kicked off the day hanging out, or should I say tearing up, the Aquarium with Ruby this morning. Leah and Ruby chased each other around and around the tunnels under the sea completely ignoring the fish such was the delight of having such a long runway to hurtle up and down. During a brief rest as Ruby shouted 'ishies' to her hearts content I quietly mentioned to Erika 'Leah still hasn't said 'fish' yet, she still just makes the open and shut mouth noises' at which point Leah looked at me and said 'FISHIES!' and then didn't stop saying it the whole day. Oh my litle contrary one.

Leah spent lunchtime showing off to her Mamgu on Skype, handing over her shoes and bits of 'aahhjjuss' (orange) and taking turns with Mamgu to be tickled under the chin (I'd tickle Leah and then she pointed at the laptop screen and said 'tuhn') then it was off for a fairly decent nap before we had to head out to the doctors for her 18 month appointment - booooo! After playing in play house in the waiting room with a cool 2 year old girl who dealt with Leah's usual doorway sentry-guard stance that she has adopted at playgrounds around San Francisco by diving headfirst through one of the open windows - my kind of girl! we were summoned into one of the many individual consulting rooms where Paul and I took bets on just how long we'd be hanging out there (usually 60-90 minutes). For some reason Leah was spooked from the moment the clothes started coming off and was in full scream whilst clinging to me during the head measure which for those of you in the know is just the beginning. By the time we'd completed the "lying down on a plastic tray while the nurse straightens your legs to measure your length" (30.5 inches) followed by "sitting naked on a weighing scale and staying there until you're still enough to get a decent reading" (22lbs) she was really really pissed off and screaming her head off. I played the Russian roulette game of holding and comforting a distressed but butt naked toddler and luckily survived.

Back in the holding pen Paul and I managed to calm Leah down with games (new word - yellow!), books and freeze-dried banana and strawberry and we hung out there for quite some time. Then the lovely doctor came in to visit. Leah eyed her with great suspicion, grabbed onto me and began to line up her toddler-defense. The stethoscope came out and was swiftly dispatched with a double arm swipe, then the mouth exam which was blocked by a clamped mouth and rapid side-to-side head shake, the doctor fared slightly better with the belly exam and got a couple of prods in 'her belly's firm when she's shouting, that's good' before the roly-poly arms (think combine-harvester) dispatched her. The doctor looked at me and said 'I'd usually check the diaper area at this point but I'm just going to take your word that there are no problems in that department' and with that she was off to get her attending and to order the shots.

Here was the bit we'd been dreading and which we knew Leah would not be able to defend herself against. The nurse came in, I retreated to the other side of the room ready to be the night in shining armour, while poor Paul lay Leah down and held her legs straight while 3 needles (DTaP, chickenpox and H1N1) were poked into her little chubby thighs one after the other. I got to zoom in and 'rescue' her while the really lovely nurse repeatedly apologised to Leah whilst Leah look her full in the face and send out the most amazing amounts of venom from her teary eyes. Then she left and it was the 3 of us in the room, Paul and I trying to calm Leah down, wiping up the tears and snot and also of course trying to make her smile - I went for toes under the tap which did the trick fairly well - when our doctor plus her attending came back. Leah had had enough by this point and just started shouting. The attending backed out and came back in slowly with a present (bribe) for Leah subtly avoiding toddler eye contact the whole time while she talked to Paul about autism markers (no worries there) and general development stuff.

90 minutes after we arrived it was all over. Leah strode out through the corridors in jeans and t-shirt but minus her shoes and socks smiling at everyone and shouting 'BYE-BYE'. We got her into the car where AaahhggPeesh (Bagpuss) was waiting with a big cuddle just for her and got her home for some dinner followed by naked toddler olympics before it was milk and PJs time and off to bed.

We've taken her there at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 and now 18 months each time for measurements and shots. Thank goodness that's it until 24 months although for that appointment they did mention the possibility of a hep A shot plus, and I'm not sure I can take it, a blood draw.

For my mum....who went through far far worse with me when I was a baby, often on her own and at only 26. I don't know how you did it and I love and admire you all the more now that I'm a mum too...oh yes and sorry for embarrassing you with this in public xxx.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A rainy bank holiday in San Francisco

Being British we are of course no strangers to the rainy bank holiday. But this was our first one in January, and with a toddler. After 2 days of on/off rain bank holiday Monday felt very British indeed, the heavens opened and it hammered it down for most of the morning.

Paul and I tried to work out where on earth we could take Leah that wouldn't also be filled with other desperate parents with their crazed children. Most indoor play areas that we are aware of involve pricey membership fees, everything else is a museum which have great facilities for children but just don't bear thinking about on day 3 of a rainy bank holiday.

We were itching to take Leah out in the rain for a splash in some puddles but our attempts to do that the previous day had resulted in two soaking wet feet because the only wellies (or rain boots) that we had managed to find that fit Leah's tiny feet were actually for a 6-12 month old and came complete with velcro sides. So we decided to hit the shops and get her some proper boots.

I'd been looking for boots since our trip back to the UK last September but there appears nowhere on earth that sells wellies for a size 4 toddler (size 3 in the UK). Nowhere that is except Children's Place. We couldn't bear the thought of shopping in the city so we looked online and found a store / shop in San Mateo which is south of San Francisco. So we packed up Leah into the car and headed out in the torrential rain.

Within moments of entering the mall I saw the sight that is usually reserved for playgrounds and that fills me with dread. A toddler sitting in a little red plastic car being pushed by his dad. This usually fills me with dread because Leah loves, and I mean really really loves, these little plastic cars and ever since the onset of toddlerdom there's never a good outcome. Even on the rare occasion when she actually gets a go in one of these cars there are tears when we have to take her out. On Sunday we watched her pursue a little boy round and round the playground until his Dad finally took the hint and decided to make his poor little boy 'share' his car with Leah. Still we had tears when we left.

Anyway, I digress. I spotted that this car was stamped with the name of the shopping mall and even better came with a space to hold your shopping, and of course cup holders. I was about to accost the father pushing the car when I saw another one emerge from a little room called 'Customer Services'. I could barely contain my excitement. I handed over my credit card for security, not thinking and not caring if there was any cost involved. I trundled it around the corner and saw Leah's face light up as she saw me and broke out into a run. She beamed at her little yellow taxi, lifted her arms up high and shouted 'UP, UP, UP' whilst doing her excited toddler stamp. She spent the next 90 minutes being pushed around the mall grinning from ear to ear whilst holding the steering wheel and alternating between 'brrrm brrrm' and 'beep beep'. We had no grumbling, no tantrums and no tears during the whole time we were in the mall. We were both able to do a bit of shopping and neither of us felt any increase in blood pressure. It was bliss!!! Which of course leads me to wonder why all malls don't have this, and more importantly, is this common practice in the UK yet???

Unfortunately we didn't have our camera with us to take a photo of Leah in her taxi. Instead I thought I'd show you some photos of her in her new boots which were of course the reason for the trip:
Now the keener eyed amongst you will notice that our girl appears to not just be wearing new boots but a whole new rain ensemble, oh the power of marketing and the even stronger power of a toddler. Children's Place had various themed boots/mac/umbrella combinations. Of course there was the obligatory pink number which I immediately steered Leah away from, this blue outfit and a nice rainbow striped option but which unfortunately was only for bigger girls. I really wanted something in red or green and thought I'd see what the boys section had to offer just in case. I spotted some very cool red dragon boots complete with eyes on the toes and spines up the back, but there was no matching anorak and definitely no umbrella. The only anorak they had was a nasty black mac with comic strip characters on it. I could've just bought the boots and be done with it but the mac looked so practical and a girl's boots have to match her coat no matter what those boots look like. So I went with the girly blue:
The umbrella was the cherry on the cake. I knew as soon as I saw it that Leah would kill for it and I was right. The toddler excited stamp started along with shouts of 'raining, raining' and 'open open open' so we were sold and bought the lot. Yes I know it'll probably all get used precisely once and yes I know it doesn't rain that much here but bloody hell my girl was going to stamp in some puddles like a true British toddler!!
So we got her suited and booted and took her out to splash in puddles. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera when we were at Coyote Point Park where she really went to town with the puddles but we did manage to get a few shots of Leah in the rain in San Francisco. The umbrella spent the majority of it's time being dragged across the floor and Leah absolutely would not let us carry it for her (more tantrums than I care to count) so we don't think it will have a very long life and in fact will spend most of its time confined to a cupboard if today was anything to go by but I'm sure you'll agree...she looks pretty damn cute doesn't she?

Leah's Alphabet

There comes a point where it's been so long since you last blogged, when even a major event like Xmas wasn't enough for you to get your blogging boots on, where there's nothing you can do to recover. You can't retrospectively log a Xmas blog nearly a month later so you have to just brazen your way through it and pretend that nothing's out of the ordinary and just pick up where you left off.

So here you go, it's been a month since I put the finishing touches on this and Leah has probably doubled her vocabulary in the meantime but Paul's been nagging me to post it up here so here it is.

Sorry it took me so long!

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