Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Gym

A couple of weeks ago Lachlan and I went to My Gym, a Gymboree-esque baby gym in Palo Alto, for its 45 minute Little Waddlers class.

We had an absolute blast. The best thing about the place is that all of it is child-friendly, of course. Lachlan was free to climb on and grab anything. This setting is ideal for toddlers who otherwise live in a world of 'no:' don't rip the pages out of Mommy's magazine, Mommy's glasses belong on her face, get out of the dishwasher, etc. Lachie was a bit hesitant at first, but he loves approaching other children and watching what they do.
Lachlan is in green looking away from the camera

The structured 45 minute play program is timed with music: when the song changes, it's time to move on to a new activity. Some of the song choices were more obvious, such as a babyish welcome/warm up song, whereas other tunes were geared for the parents and carers. We stretched our limbs to Madonna's "Lucky Star" and explored hula hoops while we grooved to "Word Up" by Cameo. Bizarre, I know. Maybe My Gym figures us parents get our fill of "Wheels on the Bus" in the car. We sure do.

Toward the end of the session is "separation time." It means the parents need to back off and let the kids explore while guided by the instructors. Because I was standing behind him, I raced to the other side of the room so that Lachlan could see me when he looked up during separation time. I didn't want him to wonder where I was. They brought out a ball pit, though, and he didn't look up at all.

I realize that separation time is much more important for the parent than it is for the child. And isn't that the way with so much that we do as parents? We agonize over decisions and how our child will feel about a certain change, but they just pick up and move on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Walkin' and Talkin'

** I intended to post a video of Tiny walking here, but the connection is just... too... slow **
He loves drinking water from his Superman cup

This little man is on the move. Our friend Shannon kindly let us borrow a sturdy wooden push walker that allows Lachlan to practice walking with support. At first he wasn't so keen on it and would ignore it unless we propped him up in front of it, but now he's much more eager. He likes to put things in the cart area and watch for our reactions when he walks.

His language skills are also coming around. Lachlan can say Mama, Dada, Nani, Wow, Gogo, Baby and now also Uh oh. He is just learning how to use each of these words. 'Mama' usually means me, but sometimes he's talking about eating a 'Mum Mum' (rice cracker) or sometimes he's just talking about eating in general.

There was a sweet moment yesterday when Mickey came home from work. Lachlan bolted for the front door when he heard Mickey's key in the lock. He crawled up to his feet and said, 'Da!' Usually, he's excited to see his Papa walk through the door, but he had yet to call him out by name.

Lachlan loves to say 'baby' when he sees a picture of himself or another baby. He'll also say 'baby' when he sees himself in the mirror. 'Uh oh' is really funny because he can usually just say 'uh' or 'oh', but not always both together.

Though it's not a word, Lachie can also make monkey noises, 'ooh ooh, aah aah.' He makes those noises and makes a game of prompting me to do the same. This morning I showed him youTube videos of monkeys, but I'm not sure that he made the connection.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time Flies

I was sure that spending two months in Hawaii, with 24 hour support from Mickey with Lachlan, would allow me to catch up on my favorite hobbies such as reading, blogging or cooking. Instead, we spent our time in Hawaii taking a true vacation and doing very little. We often didn't get dressed until 11am and the biggest decisions of the day were deciding between lounging on the beach or simply hanging out at our rental house. When we arrived here in Palo Alto and Mickey returned to work (and 'real life' was meant to begin), I became caught up in the search for a new home and put off updating my blog a bit longer.
Love this boy

Now we found a rental home in Mountain View and bought a lovely car, too so I have no more excuses. I need to get back to documenting this exciting time for our family. Lachlan grows and changes quickly; I find myself speedily scribbling notes in his baby book about his physical and linguistic development so that I won't forget the milestones.

Though we're settling down now, the first part of the year was marked by tons of travelling. We've been a family of nomads, indeed. When we left Australia, we wanted to make the rounds with family so that everyone could meet Lachlan. In fact, on his second day in the United States, Lachlan met forty new friends and family members at my mom's house and bore the changes as best as can be expected. In the bay area he met some more friends and in Virginia, Ohio and a cruise in the western Caribbean he met still more. By the time we got to Hawaii in mid January, we were sick and exhausted. Fortunately, the sunshine, sea breezes and spirit of aloha (plus some antibiotics for Tiny), cured our ailments and we returned to real life refreshed.

Here are a couple of highlights from the last half year:

Lachlan met two of his grandfathers for the first time: Grandpa Jim on the left and Grandpa Tom in the middle.

The Thanksmas tradition continued! This time everyone except our Aussie mate Tim gathered across the sea at Mike and Laura's lovely home in San Francisco.

Lachlan met the Rennies, including his beloved Uncle Nic! I think my relatives were pleased that we chose a strong Scottish name for our little lad. They said my grandfather Poppie who was born in Scotland would have been proud and I'd love to think that's true. Uncle Nic and Auntie Kat and the Blanches spoiled our little guy with tons of lovely presents prior to Christmas. They wanted to teach him to walk and gave entertaining demonstrations, but at that point he could only barely sit up alone.

Lachlan met the Katarias and the Banks family, including his four gorgeous cousins and Auntie Bava and Uncle Shaun. We had a white Christmas and enjoyed spending the holiday with the people it's meant for: children! Lachie's cousins showed tremendous restraint in waiting to open presents until everyone was up, ready and had eaten breakfast. I remember my brother and I being pretty much done opening gifts by 7am.

We maintained our tradition of celebrating New Year in a different location each year. Here we are on New Year's Day with Auntie Tina and Grandpa Tom on Roatan Island, Honduras. Taking a baby on a cruise ship wasn't super easy, but we still had a ton of fun. We found the cabin to be bigger than we anticipated and found it to be a great way to spend time with family members (17 of us in total). Family trivia was especially fun.

This hike to Kaena Point on the western tip of Oahu was one of our favorites. A group of whales were swimming along the coastline as we walked - simply gorgeous. Tiny was content on this walk and that added to the overall serenity of the day.

We LOVED Ko Olina, the resort complex in which we stayed for nearly two months and this picture shows why. It had four of these extremely calm lagoons, perfect for children and families to wade, splash, swim and snorkel. I'll never forget spotting a sea turtle (honu) here while snorkeling near the entrance to the ocean.

This was another incredibly scenic hike that we did with my dear friend Danielle, a lawyer who now lives in Honolulu and has the insider scoop on all things Oahu. It was wonderful to spend time with her there on the island and get her suggestions on the best beaches, hikes, restaurants, etc. Makapu'u was stunning and we had the best poke (raw tuna) of our trip that day.

It was a huge treat to have both Mom and Tom and Mickey's parents come out to Oahu for a visit. We were all able to enjoy the sunshine and little Lachie together. Mickey's parents stayed for two weeks and were as always, incredibly helpful: taking Tiny for walks while we slept, cooking and helping support us during some hectic sleep training nights. Here we are at the Dole Pineapple Plantation, a spot that I visited with Mickey nine years ago. The pineapple express is still lots of fun.

Our trip to Kauai was our vacation within a vacation. Because we were there for "only" eight days, we went sightseeing everyday and got a great sense of the diversity of the island. Here we are at Waimea Canyon, a place of indescribable beauty. The wildlife on Kauai was spectacular; we saw whales every time we went to the ocean, an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, more honu (sea turtles), nene (Hawaiian state bird) and lots of other sea birds.
Our friends Steph and Lee made it out to Hawaii, too. Here we are in front of Aoki's Shave Ice in historic Haleiwa town. Shave Ice is like a snow cone and is a Hawaiian favorite, but I hate to admit, but it's too sugary for me.

Our dear friends Jennie and Thor also made the trip to Hawaii, a favorite destination for them, too. Mickey took some great sunset photos here at Electric Beach one evening. It was wonderful to spend a whole week with Jennie there.

Once back on the mainland, we had some great playdates with our friend Sarah's children Juliet and Claire. Here's Lachie lunging at Claire. She's so adorable, who wouldn't want to kiss her?!

Now that we're back in the bay area, we can catch up with friends here. This was taken at the Jones' house during James' third birthday party.