Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Week Off

President's Day starts a week off from work to enjoy a bit more family time. Here is some of what has been collected.

Ana wrote her name!!!!! This was a few days earlier than break and it happened at school. Tami brought it home for me to see. So cool!

Here is Enzo with a couple of other dancers on a stage in Fremont for a performance.

Okay, this was actually from vacation. Enzo was being a monkey after breakfast.

Then, we went for a drive. Tami went to work while me and the kids went for a drive and stopped at Pescadero Beach.

Big news around the house is that Enzo and Ana got scooters as presents from Tata and Hun. They have been the talk and the action ever since.

They inspired me and Tami as well. Tami and I both ended up on our bicycles and Tami even dusted off her roller blades for a skate. On Sunday, Nicole and Shea came over and rode bikes as the kids played on their scooters too.

 On Monday we had a much anticipated play date with Micah, Baby Alex, and Amber. Yes, we took the scooters too. We went to a park that we had never been to before. A lot of kids on scooters and bikes, as it turned out, and a nice park in general. We will go back.

After being at the park with friends, I took the kids to grab a bite to eat. There, Enzo showed me a new face he invented. Not the well known Scrunchy Face. A new face that he told me is called the Scrunchy Happy Face.

Ana tried it too.

I then asked Enzo to show me some other faces. This is him showing me a sad face.
Not very convincing.

The kids wanted to see one of my faces on the phone as I was showing them the pics I was taking of their various faces.
I showed them my happy face.

Ana kept looking at herself in the mirror and licking it when I wasn't looking. I told her to stop when I would catch her but then she would sneakily do it again. I decided I may as well get a picture of her playing with the mirror if I wasn't going to get my directives followed. May as well enjoy the entertainment.

We had so much fun we decided to try something crazy. Two parks in one day! Yeah, we went to Vasona and played with... you guessed it... scooters! And also the playground. Enzo made a new friend and played with him for a very long time. It started when Enzo noticed that the other kid, about Enzo's age, had the same hotwheel cars that Enzo has at home. Enzo told the boy as much and they started talking. Then they started playing and did so for a very long time. Nicole and Shea joined us at the park as well. It was a good time. And the kids were exhausted when we got home!

Here are a couple more pics of the kids with their scooters.
Enzo has two different color shoes on. It's not an accident. He has been doing this for over a week on purpose and chooses these shoes every day. I taught him the word mismatch a couple of days ago and now he tells me that he is putting on his mismatch shoes in the morning.

Gender Roles

While not always the case, the gender roles of the children seem to be quite traditional today. And those of the parents are exactly opposite today. Tami is at work. I have spent the last hour bare foot in the kitchen washing dishes. For that entire hour Enzo has been running around the house yelling "blast off!" and playing with space ships loudly as Ana has spent this same entire hour playing quietly with her baby doll. The doll has been put in and out of a blanket, in and out of a car seat, and been spoken to softly. As I type this I can hear that the baby must have just been hurt because Ana is soothing the baby with the magic words that Tami taught us all. Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanaras manana. (That was Spanish and I am not trying to find the correct spelling right now but that must be close. It means: Heal, heal, frog tale, if you are not healed today, you will be heeled tomorrow.)

So, now to pay some bills which is why I sat down at this desk in the first place. It's just amazing to notice the "traditional" gender rolls being modeled so clearly today. Usually they both play with the same toys though his attention is longer on the cars and planes and hers longer on the dance shoes.

And kids, when you read this some day, know that I am ok with any rolls you decided to play. Especially if, at least some times, you think of the world as a scientist would, well into your mature years, to appreciate, apply logic, analyze, hypothesize, test, and play with the universe around us.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anxiety; the Potential Legacy

One of the difficulties with being an anxious person, besides all of the anxiety, is the concern that I may have passed on this trait of being anxious to my children. Which of course feels uncomfortable as I love these kids so much and I certainly don't want to have caused them any additional harm in life. Life is challenging enough, I know; I've spent a lot of anxious moments being aware of this fact.

The rational part of me says that there would be no them without me and so they are certainly better off in being, even if they end up as anxious people, then if they did not exist at all. The experience of existence is certainly more interesting than the other option of non existence. My kids are who they are and I love them and they got what they got and will get what they will get. So, I'll be preparing them for life the best I can no matter what their qualities are. There is also the fact that I have no idea, no one does at the moment, how many important evolutionary qualities I am passing down through these children, preserved or prepared for further genetic mingling, possibly to advance and protect the species under some version in some circumstances. Who knows what we carry and who knows what our species will need. It could very well be that these genes contain, as part of anxiety or merely coincidentally in the total chromosomal package these kids posses, some beneficial quality that will matter greatly some day. Even more importantly, their is the importance of their existence right now in their lifetime and in the lifetimes of those who love them. For us who love them, their importance is immeasurable.

Their lives are worth it. I hope that... weather or not they suffer from anxiety or any other challenges in life, as they will suffer at times as surely as they will laugh, and weather or not they think about the unknown value that they may represent to the future, the certain value that they represent to the present, and the accomplishment their existence represents to the many generations that survived and reproduced in their ancestry,... I hope that they will agree that they are worth it. (That was quite a sentence… even after rereading it, I have decided it means exactly what I intended so I am leaving it as cumbersome as it is.)

They may even benefit from being anxious if they happen to turn out to be so in their later years. The book I just finished called My Age of Anxiety, by Scott Stossel, pointed out, among other fascinating things, that clinical anxiety is quite common and often associated with some certain impressive qualities in the person dealing with anxiety. There may be a reason evolution selected, as opposed to accidentally allowed, the genetic qualities that make one predisposed to suffer from some overly active anxiety in modern circumstances. And so a trick may be that those who do suffer their anxiety will enjoy some benefits if they manage to, well, manage to manage their anxiety below a level that is debilitating.

So, there is that potential silver lining in the grey cloud. And even grey clouds have their place.

While I am recognizing my desire for my children to live meaningfully fulfilling lives free of unnecessary suffering, I hope they learn to take advantage of any gifts they have, to accept any hardships they need to experience, and that they have the opportunity and make the choice to view all that they have and have to experience as valuable in making them all that they are. Or at least these qualities and experiences do not truly harm who they are even when they are not a benefit. I hope that they consider that what they are is so absolutely worth it all. I hope so.

Projecting back now, just in case my mom or others may be thinking similar hopes for me, I do in fact believe that this overall experience of mine is worth it.

Another Quick Thought

Sometimes I don't post because the effort and time needed to put together a post of the quality I feel is necessary seems too much for the time and effort I have available for the moment. Somehow, titling a post "Quick Thought" took away the self inflicted limitations and let me throw out a quick thought without putting much time into it, finding a photo, or being overly concerned about editing.

Even now with this post, I am testing this hypothesis. Will I post this even though it does not meet my minimum expectations for a submitted post? Well, I did include the words "Quick Thought."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Quick Thought

If either of these kids were my only kid, that kid would be my
absolute favorite child in the world... And for good reason; they are
each so superbly awesomly lovely absolutely admirably perfectly
wonderfully the best kid ever.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Couple of Milestones

We hit a couple of important milestones recently.

One, Ana, for the first time that I know of, told me (on 1/27/14) what she wants to be when she grows up. This was unprompted. Ana said that when she grows up she will be a fire fighter. Cool. I don't have any knowledge of what inspired this. I can't think of any recent conversation while I was present that would have led to this. However, I will not at all be surprised if Ana as I know her now grows up to be a firefighter. Actually, I will not be surprised if the Ana I know now grows up to be in any field that I could possibly imagine.

Two, on a drive, Enzo innocently achieved a major cliche milestone in growing up. He called out "Are we there yet?" Excellent. Another right of passage achieved.
 We hung up the alphabet train poster that they got for Christmas. They really liked it and spent a lot of time talking about it together and pointing things out. We have gone back to it a few times since. This, I think, was a good purchase. Enzo, in front of the poster or otherwise, is talking with more and more complex thoughts. I get the feeling that his mind is beyond the vocabulary that we are providing for him. I try to add new words to our conversations and none of them trip him up. I need to up the level, I think. For the same reason, I recently purchased two documentaries on Apple TV. I bought a nature documentary by Disney called Earth and the documentary Babies. They both have enjoyed them very much and their attention is fully focused on their entirety just as if it was the animated Cars. Also, they bring up questions and new thoughts during and after the documentaries are over. Their minds are expending and I need to keep up because I am clearly falling behind.

The kiddos got sick a couple of weeks ago. As in up all night puking sick. One day I felt a little sick so I stayed home from work which was good because that was after being up all night with a throwing up kid and I was pretty tired. The next day, a Saturday, Tami stayed home with the kids as they recovered and I got to get a morning ride in. I am so glad I got that in. For one, I rode a motorcycle. And that is awesome even after all these years. I went up to Alice's Restaurant riding the Norton. It has no mufflers right now. It ran superbly, by the way. A great ride. Another reason I am so happy I got that ride in is because it occurred during a very narrow window of time when that ride was actually possible. Soon after I got home, everything changed for both me and Tami. We suddenly found ourselves in decidedly bad shape.... quite pathetic, really. We even had to call off Sunday breakfast and call in Phyllis, my mother in law, to watch the kids while Tami and I rolled around in the back of the house being horribly uncomfortable and ill. Phyllis, the most impressive person in the universe at that moment in my life, made us soup and brought crackers and medicine and totally took care of our children. An angel, really. I am pretty sure I can not show my gratitude enough for that reprieve from responsibility. Come Monday, Tami managed to go to work, the kids went to school as well, and I still had to stay home another day recovering. When I did finally get back to work, I learned that this had run through the office and many people were sick at least one of the two work days that I missed in addition to the weekend. But me, at least I had an excellent ride to remember and be grateful for.

In less miserable news....

Ana is an incredibly confident climber. It's not that I didn't know that already but I am always impressed. Tami, me and the kids went to Baylands Park in Sunnyvale this last weekend. It was a good time. I love this family of mine.

 We all walked around, played in the playground, played on the swings, and played with ladybugs. There were so many ladybugs by the car that we played with them for a while and the kids each took turns asking me to place one on their hand and enjoying them one after the other until one would choose to fly off. I love days like that. I am a very fortunate man.

Speaking of fortunate, one of my favorite things happened this morning while I was getting ready for work. I could overhear my two kiddos outside my room laughing together up a storm! Loved it! It just makes me happy.