Saturday, November 28, 2009

'Tis the Season

For sickness and holiday cheer.

As soon as we celebrated Thanksgiving, we put up our tree. On Monday, we opened up the Christmas box - Pop's (my grandfather) old army foot locker. We pulled out all the ornaments, Christmas books and stockings and started to spread it around the house.

We've had a bit of a rough week. Max's daycare called on Tuesday afternoon saying that he had a fever and he kept a fever through Thursday night. It hasn't returned, but he's now puked a couple of times and he does not feel well and it's been a bit rough around the house - lots of tears, cuddles and movies and we're trying to keep him hydrated and eating Saltines.

We made sugar cookie dough yesterday, when he seemed to be doing better so Max and I could make cookies today. He helped make them, but couldn't even finish one because he was feeling so bad today.
A true sign of a sick kid.Needless to say we won't be sharing this batch with our friends.

While he was sleeping today, I made fudge for a cookie exchange tonight.
One of my childhood favorites!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Two-For-One Day

If only every weekend was three days. Here's another quick post of our Thanksgiving Food Fest. We had a wonderful time with friends and kiddos. The kids didn't eat so well because all they wanted to do was run around and play, which actually allowed all the adults to sit down together and eat because the Fab Four decided to go romp around in Max's room.
Our collected leaves made pretty and au natural napkin "rings"

Max and I collected leaves for the kids' place cards

John carving the turkey

This is one of seven of trying to get all the kids. This is the only one Max is not a blur.

I'm getting really excited for Christmas this year. Max is at a fun age so we can start our family traditions. Last year we didn't even put up our tree because we were traveling and between Max and cat, the tree didn't stand a chance. I've already got plans for holiday activities and crafts. It's getting cold here too which is getting me in the holiday spirit. It seems like winter starts a little later here - the leaves are changing now and the air is getting brisk... which gave me this idea after Maximo's nap yesterday: HOT CHOCOLATE! He loved it and called it his coffee.

Giving Thanks

Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving. We have a long weekend this weekend due to a Japanese holiday, but we don't have Thanksgiving off later in the week. Since we have a small Japanese combo oven (convection oven and microwave in one), I had to bring a measuring tape to the grocery store so I didn't buy a turkey bigger than our oven. Hopefully it'll cook well and I won't dry it out.

This week we received a rather large box from Nana. It was supposed to be a Christmas present for Maximo, unfortunately, we had no space to store it until Christmas, so Maximo got it a little early. Here's his message to Nana:

So he really likes to sit in his chair...
but what he really likes is
to make everything into a jungle gym:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Parenting and Teachering

It's been a trying, I'm not sure that's the best word... emotionally draining (maybe?) week. We had parent conferences on Thursday afternoon and night and this morning. Since I've become a parent, I definitely have become better at my parent conferences and more confident with them since I feel we're both on the same team - Team Parents Rock! ha. I can now imagine what it will be like to be on the other side of that table and I think about what I am saying and think about the parents' perspective more and how it would sound if I was hearing someone say difficult things about Maximo.

So, parenting has made me a better teacher... and I originally thought that being a teacher would make me a better parent because I have had practice with discipline and am around kids all day. But now I'm thinking that may be true that teachers' kids are the worst. Are we just exhausted from being with kids all day that we don't have enough to keep giving to our kids? I think we give a lot to Maximo, even after those exhausting days at work, but I know my patience isn't always there.

Why am I getting all pensive and thinking so deeply about my parenting you may wonder? Well, because we got called in for a parent meeting at Maximo's daycare this week. We arranged for a translator (a fellow colleague) to come and we met, today, a mere two hours after I finished my own 17 parent-teacher conferences.

Frequently we pick up Max to find that he has been aggressive to other kids - he's still biting, and he has now scratched two kids - one being a baby. This is stressful and horrible and EMBARRASSING. It's like we walk around wearing the scarlet letter - BAD PARENTS or THEY'RE THE PARENTS OF THE KID THAT BITES. Anyways, I'm glad we needed a translator so I could think for a few days before our meeting, and I could let my emotions settle a bit.

The meeting went well today. We confirmed that we LOVE the daycare that Maximo is at and that we are on the same page with his senseis and their philosophies and I think they felt good about that too, since much is lost in translation on a daily basis with their basic English and my "iTranslate iPhone application" Japanese.

He has a bad temper on him and he's lashing out especially when he needs to share. It's really hard for us, because we see this a little when he's playing with a playmate, but we don't often have him out with a lot of kids and we don't know how to discipline him if we're not right there. We hope it's just the terrible twos and he'll grow out of it soon as his language is expanding daily in both English and Japanese. Even if he doesn't outgrow his anger, we can (in theory) give him the skills to deal with his frustrations, whereas now, there's really no reasoning with him. We put him in time out and talk with him, and have tried multiple other things, but none seem super effective.

SO... hopefully Maximo won't be his teachers' (current and future) worst nightmares. He's is a loving, sweet little boy MOST of the time. But, really, one chomp on a kids' arm can really ruin a whole day of good.

I've hopefully now purged this stress, anxiety, frustration, worry... out of my head after typing this with fervor and venting with some friends yesterday.

Seriously, I thought I was off the hook after making it through the first year with Maximo. He was not supposed to cause me any more stress. If only he could understand THAT.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Fine Fall Weekend

Seriously, if Max wasn't so funny in this video, I wouldn't have posted it, because I'm a bit embarrassed by my snorting and now I'm posting it for the world to see. One reason we love our apartment is the little backyard we have. Max can go out there on his own and likes to help water the plants, sort rocks or whatever else Daddy is doing.

He's into saying "Good job!" and tries to do a "thumbs up" but can't keep his thumb up while keeping his fist closed, so he has to manually close his fist with his other hand.

And this Basil Eating thing? He did it 4 times while we were out in the yard within about 15 minutes. I've never seen him do it before, I'm not sure if he's done it before and this is the first time we've seen him or if he was a bit hungry. I'm glad he chose the basil and not the bamboo or something else. But it's a bit weird.

The weather finally seems like it's turning and getting colder. We have a long weekend next weekend which will be well deserved after parent conferences the end of this week. I'm getting excited for the holidays with this cold weather!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Funny Picture(s) of the Week

Yes, I missed last week. I was going to post before we went on vacation then schedule it for Thursday, but it didn't happen. Sorry if you were just dying for last Thursday to roll around so you could see what funny thing I posted (ha). We'll see if I have enough material to keep this going. Unfortunately most funny things just happen and Max normally won't continue when I whip out the camera. I snuck in with the camera for this one. He's quite smitten with Flavius and wants to share things with him (food, his monkey, etc.) and boss him around all the time - like a big brother. Fortunately, Flavius continues to put up with A LOT.

Exhibit A: Maximo sucking his own nose to free himself of boogers:

Exhibit B: (With no prompting) Tries to suck boogers out of Flavius's nose:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

iPhone Dump

John and I got iPhones when we moved to Japan. While we were in Peru, we weren't much for using our cellphones. Until Max was born, we shared one, then we just got cheapos and purchases prepay cards.

Oh, but the iPhone... It's so much more than a phone. Neither of us like talking much on the phone, and this is probably the function we use the least on our iPhones. Oh, the things you can do with it!

I can send unobtrusive text messages, take photos and video, download recipes, play word games, and view documents. I have a Japanese translation application WITH audio, so it can just speak for me. We even have Zippo lighter applications which simulate a real lighter, just in case we're at a concert and hear an awesome ballad and we just want to sway with our lighters...

Okay, anyways, my point. Although it doesn't always take the best photos, it's nice to be able to take photos whenever, since I almost always have it with me. The problem is that I don't always remember to download them.

So, here's a dump of some photos I just downloaded from my iPhone (mostly taken within the past month):
A playdate at the park. He loved the water fountain, until he fell on his head.

Max running to me as I pick him up from daycare.
When they go outside, the kids all wear these pink hats. Pretty cute.

Travel days are fairly easy because he LOVES things that GO!

Big Boy

Leaving our bungalow and heading to airport shuttle.
The cart ride may have been the highlight of Maximo's trip!