Sunday, July 14, 2013

Enzo Dancing at Newark's Summerfest

Enzo and two friends from class dancing at Newark's Summerfest today.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Household

Here is something about everyone in the house.

(Playing in the doctor's office waiting room.)

Today, Ana got her last 2 year old shots. We spaced them out a bit but we still wanted them in a little while before Tami, the kids, and my in laws head off to Puerto Rico. No more shots for a few years. Ana did very well again. There were three and she didn't start to look too annoyed until part way through the second. When the third stopped, she recovered quickly from a few vocal complaints. Before all that, while in the waiting room, Tami was reminding Ana that she would get her vaccine shots today, it would hurt briefly, it is ok to cry, and that Mami would give her lots of kisses after. Then I chimed in that I would give her kisses. Then Enzo chimed in that he would give her kisses! This made Ana smile. And it made my heart warm. Seconds after the shots, the kisses started. As promised, we all started giving her a bunch of little kisses and all of us were smiling and laughing. Awesome.

I continue to be amazed by Ana. She is physically confident, has a happy disposition, likes to sit next to me when I sit, is adding words to her vocabulary quickly and beyond her mouths ability to pronounce words, and continues to be a gorgeous smiling child.

Two and a half weeks ago, just a few days after returning from San Diego, I was amazed. I don't know the words to describe it technically but it was clear that, seemingly over night, Enzo matured to a new level. His pronunciation hit a new level of clarity, his sentence structures became increasingly complex, he was taller. Dramatically changed one day to the next, as it appeared to me. Remarkable. A couple days later Tami came home to tell me that his teacher commented on how Enzo was using many more connecting words in his sentences like "and." A week later my mom commented on how much he talks now. He does. He talks all the time.

One of his games now, and one that my mom and dad witnessed on our drive to Santa Cruz, is that Enzo will make up a song/story and then have each person in the car sing a song or tell a story in turns. His songs are long, funny, include several things that we can trace to recent events, and also contain his favorite themes. Themes include fireworks (which he thinks are too loud), trains, and Lightning McQueen (the main character in the animated Cars movie- which Enzo calls Talking Cars). When it's my turn, I usually sing a song but will sometimes make up a story like he does. Ana and Tami generally sing songs. Ana likes to go with Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star. Enzo pretty much always goes with a song version of a made up story, each different even if he gets four turns on a drive.

A few days back, I was trying to negotiate some driving situation requiring much focus and Enzo was telling me something long and complex and then asking me something. I told him "Son, I am having trouble hearing you right now while driving..." Enzo yells from the back of the car "PAPI! I SAID........." then proceeds to tell me the whole thing again in a very loud voice! Haaa! Even typing this out I am laughing again. Tami and I were definitely laughing in the car when that happened.

So much of what I learn pertaining to kids is as a result of looking something up on the internet as Enzo grows up. I guess that is an advantage for Ana, we already know a lot before she gets to a phase of development. A couple of months ago Enzo started stuttering a bit. Mostly when he was tired or excited. Looking into this I have learned that "Disfluency," which is basically a temporary child form of stuttering, is common with kids and usually goes away by itself. Disfluency usually occurs between 1.5 and 5 years old, last days to 6 months, and can come and go several times. It's part of language development. But for some it can be a little different and become stuttering. Which is also fine and basically means that the child goes to speech therapy at some point and then learns strategies to get over stuttering. Based on what I have been reading it sounded to me like Enzo was experiencing some disfluency and some genuine stuttering. What I have learned about dealing with kids going through a phase of disfluency or stuttering is that people are NOT to say to the kid "slow down" or "think before you speak" or interrupt the child. The adult IS supposed to be completely patient and let the kid get through the stutter and finish the thought with the adults full attention. There is also advice that the adult can slow down their own speaking, but not annoyingly slow, and can pause between talking and responding to the child. So, I have been trying to practice being a good and patient listener which has been good for me. The last couple of days Enzo's stuttering has gone down dramatically, at least as I have heard. It's still too early to know if this is a short term thing for him or something that will require speech therapy. But it has been interesting learning yet another thing about human development which continues to amaze me. What I am now wondering, is if there is a connection between this stuttering which started about two months ago and is now receding and the new complexity in Enzo's sentences. I don't know but it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Either way, the disfluency or stuttering does not seem to be bothering Enzo when he does experience it (which would be my primary concern if it did bother him) and I have been getting better at giving my full attention when he and others speak.

Probably the thing that makes Enzo happiest right now are his new Converse shoes that Grandma and Grandpa got him. He loved his last pair. But now that he has new ones, he is even more excited. He loves to run in them and talk about his super fast new Converse. He will usually go out to the front yard barefeet, and even mentions "Papi, you and me have bare-shoes." Ha! But now, he insists on putting on his new Converse first. Ana, then gets excited and puts on her new Converse. You can actually see them both wearing their new Converse shoes in the picture at top. Funny kiddos.

The Kid continues to impress me with his ability to hit a ball with a bat, to kick a ball, to love his sister, and to be beautiful.

Monte is still a crazy dog. He went for a run(away) one recent evening and thankfully was found by a local dog owner who called us at midnight so I could pick him up. Crazy dog. He still has more energy than any 10 dogs need. And despite running away when he found a gate left open, he is getting much better at listening to directions. And most importantly, he continues to let the kids roll all over him and hug him and play with him. Monte is a good dog.

Tami, my hot wife. I got a call two days ago from Tami while I was working. She called excitedly to tell me that a guy had just pulled up to her car at a stop and motioned for her to roll down her window. She thought he would want directions. Instead he told her that she is beautiful. Good thing cell phones have free long distance because she called me right after and I think that the guy's compliment sent her to the moon. She is still walking around floating about a foot off of the ground.

And me? Loving my family, enjoying summer, and doing my best to not get too stressed while working on a big time-sensitive project. Also, it's kind of cool that I get to ride a motorcycle to high school now, even if it is about 20 years after I graduated.

(Riding my motorcycle to high school.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July and Family Time

Parade time. We went to the 4th of July parade in Fremont, CA as we usually do. Parades are just good times. I have to admit, I don't get into them on TV though I was brought up in a household, and married into a household, that play the holiday parades on TV. But in person, I think they are great.

This is Traci, my sister in law. Several people, people actually walking and driving in the parade, complimented her on her 4th of July head piece. So, what does she do between parade passersby? She adds more holiday color to her nails.

The kids and Traci holding hands after the parade on the way back to the car.

Going to work with fresh flowers from my kiddos. This just makes me happy.

My kids sometimes, along with Tami, come out and wave to me as I drive off to work. I love it. It also means extra good bye kisses. When Nana O died the kids picked flowers from our yard and took them to her service. Since then, they will sometimes still pick flowers and declare "For Nana O" and then we place the flowers on our little family alter. Another cool thing is that the kids will pick them for me, or themselves, or others. Lately, when the kids are outside to wave bye to me, Enzo has often yelled out "Wait Papi, you have to wait right there, I'm gonna get you flowers!" Then he runs to pick flowers, Ana yells out "Me, too!" and picks flowers for me as well. Then they run up to me and give me flowers to take in the car along with extra kisses. I love it all. It's so cool that they do this on their own.

Not sure why I didn't take more pics but my parents took us to see Sesame Street Live. The kids are still playing with the light up Sesame Street toys Grandma and Grandpa bought for them.

Here the kids are excited to ride the train at Vasona park in Los Gatos, CA. Tami was at work so me and the kids went to breakfast and then the park. It was a week day. On summer week days the Bobcat Railroad is open and runs diesel trains. We hadn't ridden in a while so while buying tickets I went ahead and bought enough for us to run twice. Only $2 each ticket and Ana is still free. What can you do for only $2 these days? Ride a train!

After riding twice and getting excited about the bridge and how fast we were going and seeing the playground and dogs walking with people, we headed off to one of the playgrounds to run around. For the majority of that time Ana was swinging and Enzo was driving the train. Every few minutes he would get off of the train and yell out "All aboarrrrrrrrd!" I should mention that this would have been cute no matter what but was extra cute because it was in the middle of a very crowded playground with lots of kiddos running around. Enzo even made a friend who seemed about as passionate about trains as Enzo. The two of them fixed the train, discussed the condition of the track, and went on who knows how many imaginary adventures.

After a very long play time it was time for us to head home. We started heading back towards the car. Enzo asked if we could go on the train one more time as we neared the train station on our way to the car. I had just finished telling him no as we had already ridden twice today and it was time to go home when I saw a surprise. As we were coming up on the train station I saw that they had pulled out their classic steam train! The steam train! An "up and down train", as Enzo said.They usually only run it on weekends. So I quickly asked the kids if they wanted one more ride, which they quickly agreed to, and we parked the stroller and ran for the station. $4 over the counter and we were off to line up. I mentioned to one of the staff my surprise that the steam train was out and she said that she was too as no one told her it was coming out and she didn't know how long it would be out. Which concerned me as I noticed that they hadn't actually put away the green diesel engine and I wasn't sure we were close enough in line to make it on this run. I got the impression they were doing a test run after doing some maintenance by the way engine staff were looking the steam engine over. And then, the line moved and we actually got on that run, thankfully.

Something about that chug-a-chug-a and the steam and the whistle that make steam trains extra cool. We were very lucky. In fact, after our run around the track we watched them fill the train with water and send it back to the train garage. The next people to ride were hooked up to the diesel engine. We were lucky indeed to catch that ride and it was a nice little bonus to our day.

Sprinkler play has been pretty regular lately as the weather has been warm by our standards.

Sunday we went to the flea market with my parents and then we all six of us headed over to Natural Bridges beach for a picnic lunch. The kids were primarily interested in the shallow pool of water on the beach filled by the stream.

Yesterday we went to dinner with my family. It was the first time my Grandma, Nana Vera, has gone out in weeks since being in a physical therapy care home. And somehow all the stars lined up so that, for this special event, for the first time ever, Tami was able to get both kids to wear one of their matching outfits at the same time. Naturally, many photos had to be taken.

A Family dinner is just what I needed. I forget how easy it is to let time go by without spending time with loved ones and how important the time together is for my happiness. The time is good for my spirit.