Friday, May 29, 2009


I just stole these off of Katie's Facebook page because they're just so darn cute. This was from last weekend, at Victoria's 2nd birthday party. She was the first of many Roosevelt babies in 2007.I need to go out and buy paints.
He loved painting and screamed when I took him away.

Playing in the ballpit/bouncy house
- with a stroke of red paint accentuating his pensive stare.

It was a quiet Thursday Night

When I heard a commotion out the window.

Please don't wake my baby up! Immediately jumped into my head and out of my mouth (minus the expletives)

Then, I thought - this is why we're doing this. This is why we're living overseas. I sure as hell never saw a band followed by little girls dressed as angels and another hundred or so people in procession as six dedicated men carried a large Virgin Mary down the street growing up in Pawcatuck .

I'm not sure if there's a Catholic holiday today OR if it's just an event from one of the schools around the corner OR even if they're just blessing a new ground breaking for a new apartment building down the street.

Since I'm posting "videos from our living room window", I'll also post this:

I filmed this a couple of months ago and wasn't sure what exactly I was going to say about it, but this woman's voice is something that I will definitely take with me when we leave Peru. The sounds of a new place are always interesting and different. Every day in the summer (well, I think everyday, we just hear it everyday, since we are at home in the summer) she walks through the neighborhood selling tamales and I love her voice. I also love the whistle of the knife sharpener who also walks through the neighborhood during the day, but I haven't been able to capture that on film.

I wonder what the sights, sounds and smells of Peru we'll miss the most. I wonder what sounds will intrigue us when we move to Japan.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If Only... (sigh)

We had the week off...

I had already planned the week last Friday as I excitedly bound off campus with hopes of a week off.

We were going to:
Play with Max
Make at least 4 new dishes
Play with Max
Pack some boxes
Play with Max
Chuck/Donate clothes
Play with Max
Have a date night
Play with Max
Go to the movies
Paint with Max

Unfortunately (okay, probably fortunately) no one at my school contracted Swine Flu so school was not canceled. Seven schools in the city were canceled for the week. But I worked every day (so far, I have a sliver of hope left) this week. The kids speculated every day that we wouldn't have school the next day. They were trying to get their classmates to "take one for the team" by licking various public railings or hanging out with the girl that contracted it from the Dominican Republic (not from FDR).

But, here we are... no unexpected "Fall" break. And really, there's only 5 more weeks to go; I think I can make it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Balloons and Barney

Two things I hated.
Not sure why the balloons, but I had such contempt for the people seemingly around me daily - at the bank, at the grocery store, at the hair salon - EVERYWHERE - who would give Max a balloon.
Maybe it was because it started when he was about six months old and I was afraid he'd pop it and suffocate on it.
Maybe it was because I was constantly bonked in the head with the balloon while trying to hold him and leave a store with my bags.
Maybe it was because he quickly NEEDED them and could spot one from across the store and would holler if we left without one...

Barney - really. A large purple singing dinosaur. The awful voice. The horrible song. The strange kids who dressed too neatly and spoke like they were adults.

I'm eating my words. "Max will never..."
When will I learn to stop saying this phrase?

We now get balloons at least once a week while running our errands. Really, they are free EVERYWHERE.

And... Max loves Barney in all of his horrible purpleness. He sways when he hears the song being sung by kids in the neighborhood or when the doll at the doctor's office plays the "I love you" song and he even sings the second line "Tu a mi"...

Okay, I can live with these two... But he'll NEVER...

I have a few more, but I'll keep those NEVERs to myself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Because We Don't Want to Forget

Mother's Day at La Canta Rana enjoying cancha,
calamari and a nice lunch with my boys!

I'm sure by now you're tired of hearing about Max's words... It's just amazing how much more vocal he's gotten in the past three weeks or so and there are things we don't want to forget him saying. This blog is as much for us as it is for you... let's just say he doesn't have much of a baby book, so we really cherish the details about his life from this blog and Lo Maximo.

"Yes" - means shoes, duh, obviously. A really clear, enunciated "yes" ... don't know why.
He's in LOVE with shoes right now - he'll wear ours, he'll insist we wear a certain pair, like my high black boots on a Sunday family walk (I distracted him and did NOT wear them out of the house) or he'll insist on choosing which ones he wants to wear and now since it's colder - with socks.

"Lalalo" - La luna - the moon. He loves it when John cradles him and holds him near our bedroom window so he can stare at it before bedtime.

"Mo-mo" - more - for more food, to be scared more, for us to keep repeating the same song, book, etc.

"Avion" - he LOVES planes right now. Problem being we can hear them while playing in the park, but we can't see them because of the fog.

"Cah" - Car with a Bostonian accent. Somehow he sounds like his Uncle Tim.

"Keen up - Keen up" - I taught Max the "Clean Up" song. He loves it! He throws things around, then twists from side to side with his arms swaying, singing the song while I clean up!

"WOW!" said with enthusiasm and held for about 3 seconds... meaning, "crane". Why not? A crane is definitely WOW worthy. There's some construction down the street so he gets to see the "WOW" daily.

"Mmmmmmmmmmm" whenever he sees something delicioso.

"Nee nor, Nee nor" This is the sound of the firetruck from one of his books, but it now the sound of any car. Now that he's playing more with cars and trucks, he pushes them around saying "nee nor, nee nor". Cute.

"Dodudat" - First we thought tortuga, but now, "Don't do that", maybe?, but we don't know where he picked it up.

He is speaking quite a bit of Spanish too. But, understandably we get more of the English. His cute Spanish lately is "Alli" - there and "Asi" - like this.

And holding at our favorites: "I love you", "Peas and Tan to", of course his sing-song "Mommy and Daddy" and "Flavio" - the Spanish version of our cat's name, Flavius.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Peas & Dhan Dou

Since Max is talking quite a bit, we decided to start early with the important words...

Please and Thank You!

After only a couple of days of reinforcing it, he says "please" without being prompted. He now knows to say it whenever he wants something. Unfortunately it also makes it harder to say "no" to him. "Thank yous" occur more randomly or when he repeats after us.

The funniest "pleases" in the past two weeks were:
After an hour or two of playing in the park and the dirt, our little monkey sees a woman passing by eating a bag of Lay's potato chips. He beelines for her, sticks his grubby little hand out and says, "Peas". His nasty little fingers made him look like he was straight off of a Lima intersection, and I was a bit embarrassed that my little gringo boy was begging for food from a poor (literally) passerby.

Sunday, we were playing in the park, after a not-so-hot day of napping when his friend Malina arrived. Usually she and Hania drag Max around like a rag doll, but he loves it. He kept trying to grab for her hand, and repeatedly said, "Peas... Peas... Peas?" Malina was a bit tired herself and didn't want to hold Max's hand (at least right then, later, she started dragging him around the playground). Maximo's first rejection from a girl. Her dad and I couldn't stop giggling.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Cliche

I think it's true that you appreciate your mother more once you've become one yourself. I've always had a good relationship with my mother (okay, except for maybe grade 7 and 8, when I was a hormonal tween who pushed the limits - like when I lied and went to Jackie Kupka's house without finishing the dishes to watch Pet Semetary, but paid for it with nightmares for months!). Even though we haven't lived close since I was 17, we still talk at least a couple times per week.

I've only been a mother for 20 months and I have a love for Maximo that I can't even put into words. I can't imagine what that love will be like after watching him grow and getting to know him over the next twenty, forty, sixty (maybe?!) years.

I'm sure my mom feels for me and Pete, Tim and Carrie, the same way I feel for Maximo, but when you are growing up, you just don't realize it. You know your mom loves you, but you don't really KNOW.

I'm not quite sure where I am going with this cliche (and blog entry), but I do want to maybe just send a thank you to my mom for all the bazillion things that she's done for me (and P, T and C). You are an amazing mom. I don't know how you did what I am doing times 4, especially after Dad died. I love sharing my experiences of being a mother with you as I shamelessly brag about Maximo.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
(And Mama (Georgia, aka Gigi) too, because you raised a pretty fantastic son, too!)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Only in Peru

Does the grocery store hand deliver a present to your door for Mother's Day.

A monogrammed towel wrap with head band.

I'm not sure how they even know I'm a mom... I signed up for my Vivanda card way before we had Max... maybe they're tracking our purchases... the diapers, wipes and gallons of milk we purchase definitely indicate there's a wee one living in our house.

It was a nice surprise... and may have saved John's ass by reminding him it is Mother's Day on Sunday.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Word World

First, I know you're shocked that I am even posting a third time in one weekend. There's just much to say about our chaotic lives right now - Max's development, having fun family time, and starting the transition from Peru to Japan.

In the past two weeks, Max's language has BOOMED! He'll repeat almost anything and now says many things on his own unprompted. Here's a little video of Max this morning...

First, of him successfully (okay, crudely) eating grits (like a good Southern boy) with a spoon.
Then, of Max talking (yes, I'm obnoxiously prompting him, but his voice is tres cute!)

I love how he refers to himself as "Ma'mo". He usually thumps his chest too! And how he says cheese whenever he sees a camera... And... And... And...

And the second being a message to his grandparents.... Sorry Grandpa Jim and Grandpa John, he can't get Grandpa down... we'll be coaching him every day until we arrive home in July.

Author's Note: This is officially my favorite age (to date).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bembos Birthday Bash

Let me set the stage for those of you who have never been to Peru or a child’s birthday party in Peru. First of all, I think most of the Peruvian mothers in our neighborhood think I’m cruel because we didn’t throw Max a party last year. Parties here are HUGE for little kids. Maximo went to a party today for one of his neighborhood friends, Santiago. This is only the second birthday party I’ve gone with Max – not counting teacher’s kids, but those are different, because we know everyone there, English is the main language spoken, and it’s usually just a cookout or pizza party at someone’s house…
The setting: Bembos – a proud Peruvian fast food chain – an equivalent to McDonalds.
After forcing myself not to leave the house before 11:00 – the invitation stated the party started at 11:00 am, we were about the fifth people to arrive at 11:15. There was a large play area with ball pit and “soft play” area so Max said hello to Santiago, then was off playing.
Max happily played and was thrilled when Bembo’s workers started passing around “hors d’oeuvres” - different platters of chicken nuggets, onion rings, fried yucca, and fried cheese sticks.
Then, the crazy American woman (ME), sees drinks being passed and the mother of the birthday boy asks if we’d like a drink. “Si” I reply. The waiter comes to us, but is only serving Coca Cola and Inca Cola. Mind you, there are probably 25 kids under 4 at this party with just as many adults.
“Do you have water or juice or only sodas?” I ask the waiter, in Spanish, I’m not that crazy.
“No, only sodas.”
“No thank you.” I reply.
A few minutes later the mother returns concerned we don’t have a drink. “No, we’re fine,” I reply. “Maximo doesn’t drink soda.” She starts to fuss over us a bit, and I tell her not to worry, I have water for Max (which I do in the car, down the block – along with diapers. Let’ s just say I’m not always the most prepared mother in the world.)
After continuing to nibble on the fried delicacies, Max and I both become thirsty, so I walk downstairs to the order counter with a kid screaming, “Agua, agua, agua!”
My twenty soles bill is counterfeit, so they won’t take it and thankfully I have another bill in my pocket. The cashier also begins to think I’m crazy when I ask for the same cup, lid and straw the soda is being served in upstairs, so Max doesn’t have to look crazy with his crazy mom. I pour in the bottled water… Max stops yelling “Agua!”
Soon, the show starts…

Here’s a bit from it:
Max is enthralled. I’ve never seen him sit so still and be so engaged! If his teachers use puppets when he’s in school, he’s sure to pass.
Afterwards the Bembo’s Girls start dancing. Max is disinterested because it’s not Rap, Cumbia or Reggaeton, so he goes back into the ballpit.
He misses the piƱata and the throwing of “cheap little plastic Made in China” toys around the room. Fine by me.
Lunch is served. It’s the equivalent of a Happy Meal – French fries, which he devours, and chicken nuggets. He sits like a big boy next to his friend Jimena because there’s just no room for adults at the table. He looks like such a big boy! The table was at about eye level for him, but he sat there very well and ate his lunch. I wonder where my little baby has gone.
He then returns to the play area in which I’m happy to report, he plays quite well with many kids and bites no one! Yipee!
We say our goodbyes, gather sopresas (like a giftbag), two boxed pieces of cake, give kisses all around, then head back home so Max (and Mommy and Daddy) could take an afternoon nap.

Movin' On Up

We visited the doctor on Thursday for Max's second to last visit with Dr. Zegarra for a quick check up and his MMR booster. After waiting 20 minutes (the longest we've had to wait in two years - yes I know I can never return to US health care) because of the sea of parents panicked that their kids sniffle or cough was in fact ... dum, dum, dum... Swine Flu.

Max does surprisingly well at these visits, as long as he can play with the singing Barney and spin the Minnie Mouse that hangs from the ceiling. He endured his shot quite well and then we sat down for what always was the anxious talk - the summary of his growth chart (even he was even on the chart).

Even though Max's eating has become a bit sporatic lately - from eating everything in sight including some of our meals to barely touching his food regardless of the fifty things we offer him, he has grown quite a bit in the past month in a half since we saw the doctor last.

He is now measuring:
11.630 kg =25 lbs, 10 oz.
84 cm in length = 33 inches

I know, all kids grow, but really, starting off at 3 lbs. 13 oz. makes you think about food and weight a little differently.

He's 35% for his weight and a whopping 50% for his height (per US growth charts) for a 20 month old.

WOW! We went to celebrate the results and the beginning of a three-day weekend at Chili's for beer and an assortment of crappy American food.

Then, yesterday, we spent a cold day at the beach for May Day because it was Labor Day here in Peru and we had the day off of school. There weren't any crowds. We ate chicharron mixto (fried fish, squid, octopus, shrimp and yucca) on the beach which we washed down with a cold beer and Max was happy as a clam playing in the sand and venturing in the cold water. Here's a few pics.