Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ride Safely, Little One

There will be a trike-a-thon to raise money at Zahra's preschool on May 14. In order to participate, the student must bring in their own tricycle from home as well as wear their helmet. Since Zahra didn't own a helmet as of yesterday, Grandma Bessie went to buy her a brand-new Barbie one with butterflies on it and she brought it to Zahra this morning. (Thank you, Bessie!) Zahra was so excited to have some new bike equipment.

In the pictures she's riding the "big girl bike" with training wheels, but she'll be riding her little trike for the fundraiser. I thought I'd take a few pictures to share with you all so you could see what she looks like riding her bike down the street. Complacent Max sat quietly on the doorstep in his car seat as Zahra rode her bike back and forth. It was a very nice spring day out and perfect weather for Zahra to ride around in.
After riding on the street, we moved into a safer environment by putting the bike in our little patio area out back (which Zahra refers to as the "backyardigan" because of the Nickelodeon show of the same name). Since there wasn't much room for Zahra to ride around in, as it's really only a couple square feet, she decided to put on a "show" instead. So she brought out a lot of little chairs and things for her audience to sit on. She made up an audience of stuffed animals and other little toys. At one point, we put Max out in the audience (in his Bumbo chair), so he could watch, too. She performed mock races where she would "race" the few feet on the "big girl bike" and her competitor would "ride" the tricycle. A funny thing happened: Zahra won every time. She got a lot of "Congratulations!" from me and a few smiles from Max. (In her ever-cute developing vocabulary, the word of praise has currently been truncated to "gratulations.")

It doesn't seem like too long ago that she couldn't even reach the pedals on this bike. How true it is that they grow up so fast! She looks so happy here; I love to see her like this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Z-News Daily

On Sunday (April 26), we signed Zahra up for soccer. She’ll start this fall. Practices begin in August and the first game will be right after Labor Day. As soon as we have some pictures of her in her uniform, I’ll be sure to put them up here on the blog. Until practice starts, though, we don’t have much to report yet. Just wanted to keep you updated with a bit of news.

Today (April 28) I can report that Zahra has been telling a lot of knock-knock jokes lately. Except the ones she makes up herself don’t make that much sense yet. But that’s OK. Somehow they are still pretty funny. As in silly-funny. They are just non-sense that makes you laugh because she is trying to make you laugh. I checked out a book of knock-knock jokes from the library today so she could have some fun with them. Her favorite joke was the following:

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Justice who?”
“Justice I thought. No one is home.”
She cracked up at that one like it was the funniest thing she’s every heard. Little kid humor is pretty cute. If I can transcribe one or two of her original jokes, I'll try to include them here so you can see what I mean about the silly-funniness of them and how they don't really make sense but are still fun anyway.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Starry Night

Right after I turned the lights out last night, Zahra wanted to wish on a star.
(The last time she did this, the window was open because it was hot out that night and we were trying to let the cool breeze come in to cool off the upstairs bedroom. Only Zahra didn't realize the screen was dirty, so she put her nose to the screen and looked out, gazing upwards, where the stars should be. The soot got all over her nose and lips and we had to promptly run to the bathroom, rinse her mouth out and re-brush her teeth! It was pretty dirty and gross and I felt bad because she was just trying to do a little something cute.)
Granted, you cannot actually see the stars here in the city. What a treat it will be one day when Zahra sees her first inky black sky, complete with billions of tiny white dots, incomparable to a city sky. Like on the Big Island in Hawai'i, where there aren't enough bright lights to drown out the beautiful stars, or on a mountain top out in the California wilderness. But regardless of the star-viewing situation, she wanted to make a wish. She stood up, got up on a pillow, and opened the vertical blinds. She pushed her nose to the glass and began to wish.
"Star bright, star light," she said, getting the order mixed up and not completing the rest of the verse. "I wish for an ice cream truck in my town. It will have green ice cream all day long." And that was it. Green is her current favorite color. After she finished her wish, she closed the blinds, and got back down on the bed. Ten or fifteen restless minutes later, she finally settled down and fell asleep.

Monday, April 20, 2009

(Mostly) All About Max

My intentions are to make this particular post about Max.

(As I'm sure you all understand: It's a bit easier to write about Zahra these days since she's a little more, well, everything a 5-year-old is and a 4-month-old is not. However, that doesn't mean that Max doesn't have a life of his own, it's just a lot more subtle.)

Above is a picture taken a few weeks ago, when I first pulled the Bumbo seat out of the box. It seems to be just the thing Max enjoys these days, since he's not big enough to sit up on his own. When he's content, it's the perfect thing to keep him upright as I try to do other things like fold laundry or load the dishwasher.

Poor little guy had kind of a rough weekend. He was much more fussy than usual and I think it was due to the immunizations he got on Friday. He's never cried much and is usually pretty agreeable with everything. But this weekend, he didn't want to be put down and if you were lucky enough to get him to fall asleep in your arms, he wouldn't have it when you tried to lay him down on the couch or in his crib. It took forever to get him to fall asleep last night but then I finally turned off the bedroom lights and swaddled him up in a receiving blanket and he was miraculously happy. I read the last half of a Junie B. Jones chapter book to Zahra as Max slept peacefully in his crib. (It makes me quite proud that Big Sister is enjoying listening to chapter books at age 5. They have a few pictures but not many. I think it's great that she has such a wonderful attention span to listen to chapter books at her age.)

The other day, right after I'd changed Max's diaper, I discovered something new and incredibly addictive. Max's laughter. I started playing little piggies with his toes and started tickling him under the arms and near his neck. Not only did Max giggle, but he outright laughed uncontrollably. It was the cutest little thing to listen to, so I kept doing it over and over again so Willie and Zahra could hear. Then after a little while, the novelty had worn off, for Max anyway, because he didn't seem so enthusiastic any more. I certainly wasn't done listening to him laugh, but I realized that he wasn't enjoying it any more, so I stopped.

Max can hold his own weight on those chubby little legs of his now, if you hold his hands or torso to steady him. My mom says he looks like a little sumo, which, at this point in babyhood, he does. He also can lift his head up when he's given tummy time. He doesn't like being down on his tummy, the same way his big sister, didn't like it. He seems to take a little longer than she did before he gets upset that he's been put on the blanket on the floor. Zahra was immediately angry about being put in that position whereas Max seems to try to deal with it for a few minutes before he realizes it's not something he likes.

For the most part, you could say that Max sleeps through the night now. I just finished reading a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley ( She says that the medical definition of sleeping through the night is when babies sleep for at least 5 hours in a row, which Max does most nights. He's usually asleep by maybe 8:30, and usually doesn't wake up to nurse until about 3:30 or 4 AM.

In The No-Cry Sleep Solution, the author has many suggestions for getting babies to sleep through the night. I'd seen excerpts from the book and author quoted in many different articles in various parenting magazines and online sources -- and I happened to stumble upon the book itself while I was at the Huntington Beach Public Library the other day. I decided to check it out and it was a quick and interesting read. Although I'm not having trouble with Max, it was still interesting enough to hear her different suggestions. I'm even thinking about giving it as a shower gift to one of my friends who's having a baby this June.

One of the most interesting things I learned from the book was about sleep cycles and how it's normal for all of us to wake up repeatedly throughout the night. Whereas you and I don't realize we're waking up and falling right back asleep, babies might get more startled and wonder where they are when they briefly wake up. The author used this analogy: Imagine you fall asleep in your bed. You are comfortable with pillows and blankets. You awaken in the middle of the night only to find yourself on the cold, hard kitchen floor, lying there with no pillows or blankets. Babies are the same way when they fall asleep in your arms or at the breast. They awaken to find themselves in a crib, all alone, wondering, "What happened? I want to be right back where I was when I fell asleep, warm and cuddly in my mom's arms!" So I have been trying to be more sympathetic to Max's needs when he wakes up in the middle of the night. I have always been quick to respond to his stirrings and it is very rare that he actually has to cry to wake me up. Usually I'm able to awaken before he even cries (mother's intuition is quite fascinating and truly amazing to me). But I am extremely grateful that gone are those nights when he would wake up every hour or two to nurse!

Here is another picture of Max, sleeping soundly in his little Bumbo chair. (I left him there only long enough to take a picture because his neck looked so uncomfortable! But I think he actually liked it because he got very upset when I moved him to the couch to finish his nap.) Sleep tight, little guy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weights and Measures

Before I forget, I've got updates on sizes. Both kids had check-ups at Kaiser yesterday. Max is officially half the size of Zahra, at least in pounds, anyway. He's now 13 lbs. 6 oz. and Zahra has finally moved up on the scale to a total of 26 lbs. now. She's 37 inches tall, which is a whole inch taller than the last time we measured her. Max is almost 24 inches tall, so he's catching up with his big sister quickly. We're all wondering when Max will surpass his big sister in height (or even weight for that matter). Someone said something interesting regarding his gender. I think it might have been Auntie Sis. The person said something to the effect of, at least he's a boy, because that way it won't seem like such a big deal that he's going to be bigger than his older sister. It might have seemed like more of a competition, or a reason for Zahra to be sad, if the new baby had been a girl, a little sister that was bigger than her. I think I might not be making much sense right now, but Max has decided he's no longer content in the baby swing with the music playing. He's been quite fussy this morning; perhaps he's still kind of irritated from all the shots he got yesterday. Both kids got immunizations. Poor Zahra got 5 different shots, all in her skinny little triceps. But now she's all set for Kindergarten in the fall! That's the good news. And we went to Disneyland after the doctor's appointment, so hopefully that helped her forget about the traumatic morning. OK. Well, Max needs to be given a little bit of love. Bye for now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Architect

Some of you may have seen them in person, but most of you have not. Zahra's towns. That's what she calls them. Her towns. Shortly after Max was born, Zahra began to build. She has lined toys up in the past, but in the last few months, she has begun to create these elaborate and complex "towns."

While to the untrained eye, it may simply appear as a chaotic mess of toys, there really is an order to it, especially to Zahra. The picture above is a small example of a town, relatively speaking. Most of her towns can be much larger and complex, leaving the rest of us no room to walk or set anything down. At first, it drove me absolutely crazy because she wouldn't let me touch or move anything. Each little toy, lined up in its precise location, had a definite purpose. In the beginning, she would just build and build for the sake of building, as if driven by some voice telling her to do so. A little Mrs. Winchester. But lately, the towns seem to have taken on new meaning. They are the backdrop for her toys to play in, the setting for imaginative orchestrations, the towns for the little fairies to live in and thrive. It seems she builds them so that her toys have something to walk on, to swim in, to drive over, to hop on, to sleep in, whatever the case may be.
To maintain my own sanity, we've established a new rule in our house: no matter how much effort she puts into building the towns and how sacred they may be for most of the day, they must be broken down each night before bed. Each little toy has a home in one of the organizing bins. That way, each morning, we can walk down the stairs and begin each day with a clean living room. She can build over and over again, and she does... The day I first established the new rule, I thought I would meet some opposition, but I didn't. This was also the first day we had organized all her toys in the bins and had found a home for everything. I think she thought it was part of the whole process. New bins, new rules. I usually try to make a game out of it and see how quickly we can throw the toys in the bins.
I wonder what she thinks about as she builds. I wonder a lot about what goes on in her cute little head as she's creating these coordinated towns all over our living room floor. It took me awhile but I have begun to embrace the process, even if I still find it hard to navigate through the little city streets or can't find a place to lay her brother down for a few minutes on a blanket. The process itself is important for her and I have come to just let things be.

The Bearded Lady

The scene: Wednesday night, about 8:00 PM. Willie, Bessie (my mother-in-law), and I are watching TV. "Lost" Season 4 on DVD, the episode titled "Meet Kevin Johnson." Max is drifting in and out of sleep on Bessie's lap. Zahra has disappeared. She emerges a few minutes later, smiling just like she is in the picture, completely happy and proud of herself. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. "Look, Mom! Look! I grew a beard!" she yells. At once it is silly and cute and at the next moment, I'm wondering... how does one get marker off of a child's face? I tried a baby wipe and that got most of it off immediately after taking this picture, but there was still a lavender stain on her chin, even this morning, when she was out the door and on her way to preschool. Such is the life of a five year old. Not even worried a bit about her appearance. She's probably even looking forward to telling her friends at school about the nice little beard she grew last night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Where to begin the beginning? I guess mostly my desire for a blog these days stems from my little ones and wanting to share stories about their lives with you without having to pick and choose who I send emails to; this way, you can check in whenever you like and see if there's anything new. Not every day of our lives is interesting and I won't always be writing about the kids, but when there is something to share, I think this will be an interesting way to take note of it and share it with those who are interested. I also thought some of you enjoyed the blog I wrote from Zahra's perpective when she was a baby (, but I found that POV too difficult to maintain. Also, this is an easy way to share things without having to write all the HTML that Willie did when he made Zahra's website, which, sadly, no longer exists.

I've been reading a blog on the Runner's World website for over a year now ( and find myself looking forward to new posts all the time. This woman is a stranger, but yet, somehow I feel an interesting connection to her because I've been reading her thoughts for months and months. Hopefully this new blog will help you feel more connected to me and can entertain you the way Lisa's blog has done so for me.

Today I can report that things are going well with both little ones. Nothing terribly interesting, however. Zahra got praised at the end of her physical therapy session for being a good listener and following directions well. I'm happy that Zahra enjoys school so much and I hope that she will develop a lifelong affection for learning like her mama. Max, ever the calm and happy baby, has been marvelous at being his usual happy little baby self these days. Both kids have check-ups at Kaiser on Friday, but unfortunately for them, they're both due for immunizations. I have been honest with Zahra and told her to expect a shot, since I always feel bad when they spring one on her without her being made aware first. She's not looking forward to it and has been expressing much apprehension when we've talked about Friday coming up. But I try to keep reminding her that she didn't even cry when she got her flu shot a couple months ago! Plus we get to go to Disneyland afterward, so that should be something she can look forward to doing.

Well, that's probably all for today. Soon I will have new pictures to post here, I promise. Hope you are all doing well and look forward to hearing from you.