Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swim, Little Fish

Here is Zahra, walking up the ramp, on her way to swimming lessons. She loves going up and down this ramp, even though there is a normal walkway right next to this. If she looks a little upset here, it's because she didn't want me to take her picture before she got in the pool. When she saw me taking this picture (I was trying to take it without her noticing, but she turned around), she said, "Mom! I'm not in the pool yet!"

For the past two weeks, Zahra has been going to swimming lessons at Golden West College (where I work at the bookstore and go to school). She's in the preschool group (ages 3, 4, and 5), which, when taken through the City, is called Tiny Tots. She's been taking swimming lessons every summer since she was 3. This is the first time she's been to the pool at Golden West. Usually we go through the City of Huntington Beach and have been to the pools at two high schools (Edison and Marina) and last summer went to the indoor pool at the City Gym. The pool at Golden West was recently remodeled and just re-opened this year. We're doing two sessions of swimming lessons, this first two week session at Golden West and then the next two weeks we'll go through the City again and go to the indoor pool there.
Here's Zahra in front of the "big" pool, before any of the kids got in. I guess her class at 9:30 is the first one of the day.

Today was "Safety Day" so the kids got to wear life jackets -- this one is almost as big as she is! The instructors had the kids go in the "deep" end (4 or 5 feet) of the little shallow pool and float around and try to kick and swim with the jackets on. In years past, Zahra has been uncooperative at times and has refused to participate in whatever the instructor is trying to have the kids do (e.g. kicking, floating, blowing bubbles in the water, anything). This year, it seems Zahra has been much more interested in following directions. She seems to really enjoy her time in the pool and look forward to each morning so that we can go to the lessons.

Her expression says it all here, but the dialogue that took place here is as follows -- Me: "What's wrong, Zahra? What's that look for?" Her: "I look funny in this thing." I had to admit to her that she did look a little silly, but still cute as ever.

Zahra lined up on the edge of the pool with the other kids. And no, that kind in the blue shirt is not falling in. Just outside the frame is an instructor who is helping him. I promise.

Zahra with her swim teacher, who seems to get a real kick out of Zahra's little personality. She always has to pull Zahra out of the pool at the end of each lesson. Part of that is due to the fact that the pool is warm and Zahra likes the temperature in there (because she's so cold and shivering when she gets out), but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she's really having a good time in class.

Zahra wrapped up "like a burrito" and not too happy that class is over for the day. And another shot of her, walking barefoot back to the car.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sleeping Siblings

Last week, for three days, I had to be at work at 7:30 in the morning because we were doing inventory. As you can tell from these pictures, Zahra and Max weren't awake yet. I don't know why I like watching them sleep, but I do. I thought I would share the pictures so you could see what these two are like when they are just quiet and peaceful. They are both good little kids when they're awake, but only in sleep are they ever this still and relaxed.


(My apologies for not posting anything sooner. Things have been happening but I just haven't had a chance to write much down. Plus, I tried to upload some pictures and the computer wouldn't cooperate!)
On June 20, we took Zahra to the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. She'd been to another children's museum before, in Stockton, with my mom (who Zahra refers to as "nana-mommy"). Since Willie and I were at Steve's wedding that day, just based on the pictures, it seemed that the Stockton Children's Museum had more activities than Kidspace. Overall, I think Zahra had a great time and just enjoys being around other little kids in general. Here are some more pictures from that day.
Above is a picture from the enterance. (Yes, that's Max's head peeking out from behind Willie's arm. He was in the baby carrier while Zahra was being lifted up to touch the screen.)

There's Zahra, doing one of her silly poses for the camera. The enterance had really neat tile work.

I was so happy that Max smiled for this picture. He always seems to be content being carried around in the "baby backpack" with his Dad.

We signed Zahra up for a special class about making rockets. The website made the class sound a little more hands-on than it actually turned out to be, but Zahra seemed to enjoy it anyway. Here she is, getting ready to push her button to launch a rocket that had been set up. The teacher explained in detail about how this particular rocket was propelled. He was telling the kids, who were all around Zahra's age, about how there was water in this little container and how water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen and how there was a chemical process that occured that separated the molecules and as a result, the contraption was able to capture the energy and then something ignited a spark which then somehow turned into the energy that was used to propel the rockets into the sky. The explanation was way over their heads and all the kids seemed to care about was when they could push the button to send their own little rocket shooting upwards. The rockets launched so high when you looked up in the sky, you couldn't see them because they got lost in the clouds.

Here's a closer shot of what the rockets looked like before they were set up and the kids got to press the launch buttons.

Looking at some butterflies...

Here is Zahra, running next to the little fountain of water that would intermittently shoot up little streams of water. It was a rainy day and pretty overcast and cool out, so we didn't want Zahra to get wet. One time she did run directly over the water and she got her pants wet, but it didn't seem to bother her a bit.

Zahra pushing up the little pins. I remember in the 80s or maybe it was the early 90s when you could buy smaller versions of these and everyone thought they were really cool. It was kind of fun to play with a very big one (as you can see my hand next to hers).

I'm not sure what this exhibit is about or where that silly smile came from... but she was having fun. (No, her arm and hand are not dirty. She had temporary tattoos on. An octopus and a pirate, respectively.)
Well, that's about it for Kidspace. They also had tricycles and a little path to ride on. They had a class where you could make a tie-dye tie for Dad's since it was Father's Day weekend. Zahra got to touch a little box turtle and make ginger ale. We think they got the ginger ale recipe a little off, though, because when we took the plastic bottle home, we forgot about it until the next day (which, we weren't supposed to touch it until the next day anyway). So when we looked at the bottle, you could see that it had expanded from all the pressure inside and I made Willie open it up because I was scared it would explode. So, sure enough, as he's opening it over the kitchen sink, I'm in the living room and I hear this really loud boom. He barely twisted off the cap and the contents just came exploding out all over the sink. We refridgerated the remains of what was left in the bottle and let Zahra taste it later. It was pretty ginger-y.
All in all, though, it was a fun day to take Zahra somewhere new where she could interact and participate in different events.