Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be Happy

Be happy, elated, thrilled that Marcos is at Scout camp in Virginia for the week, and took along our camera.  Because if he hadn't, I might, just very well might, have taken a photo of the beautiful poo poo Gigi made in her new child's potty tonight.  I would have probably even shared the photo with you, it was that awesome.

WHAT?  I know, didn't I just get done begging you to tell me that my child is going to change and not be a challenge my entire life?  Well, today we are looking up.  After I spent a lot of time last night looking up "potty training readiness" websites and reading all the advice, I took the comment "do not try potty training if your child is in a generally oppositional stage" to heart, and decided to wait another few months to really give it a go.  And then, miraculously, I caught her in fluffing mode tonight, asked if she wanted to try to go poo poo on the potty, she responded "Not Papai's potty, my potty", we went downstairs, and after a few minutes of patient fluffing on her little potty, there it was.  Just like that.  I scrambled for the button on her throne potty that plays the trumpet song and shouts, "Yay!", she danced to the music, and then we had three chocolate chips and lots of hugs and kisses.  It was amazing.

I am still not going to actively try to potty train her just quite yet, but if it happens all smooth and natural on the side, I could definitely be on board.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Interview at Two

Metta: What are you going to do for a job when you are bigger?
Gigi: I play and I paint and I help and I share.

Metta: What is your favorite color?
Gigi: Blue. (The other hundreds of times we have talked about this, the answer was always pink).

Metta: How old are you?
Gigi: I'm two.

Metta: What should we name your baby brother?
Gigi: Gouda cheese!  His name is Gouda cheese!

Metta: What is your favorite food?
Gigi: Mexico. Candy or watermelon or pretty things.

Metta: What do you like to buy at the store?
Gigi: Some lollypops. Shall we sing the lollypop song?

I had an idea from a friend a few years ago to do mini-interviews with my kiddos in order to take a little snapshot in time, but with this first attempt I noticed that it's a little too early to start.  Asking questions put Gigi on the spot, and most of them totally flopped when she responded with her silly made up words and broke into giggles.  It is her way of coping when she doesn't fully understand what is expected of her.

But in the normal context of life, she is really quite good at communicating with the world.  Some of the things I want to remember about Gigi right now are how she wakes up in the morning and sings songs until I go and get her out of her crib (usually "I am a Child of God", or "I love Mommy, she loves me").  I want to remember that she said that she wants to marry Leonardo da Vinci, that she is obsessed with ballet, and I want to remember how she says my new favorite phrase, "...or something like dat".  If we are planning lunch she might chime in with a little shrug, "Shall we eat sandwiches, or bananas... or something like dat?"  It is my favorite thing that she says, because it's is jolting to hear such adult nonchalance coming out of the mouth of a little girl.

I also want to remember how resourceful she is.  Walking through the airport a month ago on our way to Utah, I could barely keep up with her as she raced from one stranger with snacks to another.  What do people do in the terminal?  They eat.  And here was Gigi in their face with cupped hands asking eagerly, "May I please have some?".  Nobody said no to her.  At every one of her snack breaks I had to jog up and say loudly, "Gigi, I have a lot of snacks packed for you in our bag!" so that strangers wouldn't think I had starved her.  A bit mortifying as a parent, and yet I'm a little in awe of her courage.

And then there are a few things I might want to remember in the future, but only so that I can contrast the before and after and say, "Wow, look how far we've come".  Because I am hoping, and praying, and hoping, and crossing my fingers that we can channel some new developments into character traits that will add beautifully to the girl that she can become.  In the past few weeks I have had to remind myself frequently that she was born with some powerful qualities that will serve her well in the future, as long as we are diligent now to help her channel those qualities into their most positive expression. I will not miss her self-reports each week after church ("I was naughty at nursery today!"), I will not miss these power struggles, I will not miss the "Go away!" and "That's MINE!" and "Don't DO that!" and her acts of rebellion.  Marcos reminds me that this won't last forever, and although logically I know that it's true, sometimes I just have a hard time feeling that it's true. Can someone with a willful child please promise me that this too shall pass? This is just a developmental thing.... right? The majority of the time she is sweet and mild mannered and endearing and witty, but my hours of struggling with her are starting to eclipse the peaceful impression I have of her.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Surprise Trip to Utah

A few months ago I was talking to my friend/sister Lindsay, and she was telling me about her exciting plans to move out to Hawaii indefinitely, and the big circus party she was going to throw as a sort of farewell party and birthday party for her and her 3-year old son. 

Part of me was so happy that Lindsay is going to live the dream and actually move back to Hawaii to raise her kids for the next few years, but part of me was so sad that they were moving so far away.  After our Hawaii trip over the holidays we were reminded how much it takes to get there.  So after a lot of back and forth, Marcos and I decided that it was a very worthy venture for Miss Gigi and me to head out to Utah on a surprise trip for a few days at the end of May, to soak up the Utah chapter of the Gibson/Fetzer/Helding family, and get in our family time before their big move.  Plus, how could we miss the circus party? 

The surprise arrival was hilarious and I loved being put to work with the party planning.  Carol and Dan were nice enough to let us stay at their place, making persons #12 and #13 staying at the house, plus two dogs.  There was a lot of love in the home, and Gigi was in Heaven enjoying her cousins, the doggies, the trampoline and the yard.  Apparently the outdoors felt very liberating in Utah, because this is how we found her running around in the backyard one day.

When we were in Utah Lindsay celebrated her birthday, and while her husband Keli'i took her out for breakfast, Gigi and I had the chance to spend a few hours together on BYU campus, doing some errands and enjoying the peacefulness of BYU during the summer.  We stopped by the candy counter at the BYU bookstore, of course, and Gigi chose chocolate covered raspberry sticks.  We walked around campus and ate our treats. 

I had forgotten how nice people are at BYU.  I work at the UNC School of Social Work, and a place like that attracts a great deal of very good people, but at BYU we had so much help from people opening doors for us as I was navigating the little one, and lots of hellos and smiles from perfect strangers.  It was just a noticeably pleasant place to be.

For Lindsay's birthday dinner the night before the big party, we had a special treat - dinner at Tucano's, a Brazilian churrascaria in Provo.  Lindsay's oldest, Maika, kept asking her if he could go to that place where they come around with different meats and you have a thing with a green end and a red end to let the waiters know if you want more meat or not.  It was a great night out, and we all ate enough for a few days, of course.

And then came the Gibson Family Circus!  All of the photos of the party were taken on another camera so I don't have access to them at the mo (another post in the future?), but it was so much fun.  I'll just summarize the party by saying: bounce house, clown noses, photo stand, hot dog stand and amazing potluck foods, caramel apples and cupcakes, a clown who did face painting and brought balloon animals, cotton candy machine, circus games, buckets of popcorn and boiled peanuts, a rainbow lollypop stand, and cracker jacks and animal circus cookies to take home at the end of the night.  The kiddos ran and played while the adults enjoyed the tables in the middle of the room, eating, chatting and watching the mayhem.  Gigi was in heaven: I told her that at the party she could have treats, and she took it to heart.  I caught her throughout the evening with two cupcakes, two caramel apples, and at the end of the night when I thought we were finished, I caught her palming the last two chocolate chip cookies, one giant cookie in each hand.  Luckily, with cupcakes she just licks off the frosting and the caramel apples she couldn't even begin to tackle, so I'm hoping her sugar intake wasn't as atrocious as it appeared.

Our last night in Provo, after a really great Sunday at church (the last week for Lindsay and her family), we had an amazing meal prepared by Carol and Dan.  I realized that I hadn't taken any photos just of the family being family, so I grabbed my camera to take some impromptu captures.  The kids at the top, being kids, the amazing meal, Carol and Amanda, Lindsay and Maika, and then the rest of the clan.  What a super, super visit with our beloved family friends who will be making Hawaii their home this summer!  Thanks for always welcoming us in like family, and best of luck in a new place.  Hawaii no ka oi!

And then, to top off a great trip, we spent Memorial day up in Roy, Utah with Marcos' brother, sister in law Marie, their beautiful girls and Mamãe!  I had forgotten my camera in Provo, so we don't have many photos, but Marie got a couple on hers and I especially love this one of Mamãe and three of her four granddaughters (another granddaughter and grandson are on the way)!  Gigi loved playing with the family, and especially coloring with her cousin Kaitlyn and her Vovó.  We were spoiled that day, with a family picnic at the park, and a Memorial Day bar-b-que with Marie's family.  It was a perfect end to our trip, and we are so glad that we had a day to spend with family up in Roy.

Spending time with family and friends is a highlight for us in life.  The trip was fabulous - we got in all of the playing and bonding time that we wanted, and we were able to help out with the Circus party.  However, I think I'll bring Marcos along next time.  Gigi didn't sleep super well in our new places, and without Marcos there to tagteam, sometimes it was really exhausting trying to keep an eye on the girl in a new setting, and my patience kept running thin.  On the flip side, we had two late night flights on the way there and back, and Gigi did surprisingly well during the commute.  She just stayed up until she was ready to sleep, and then took her blanket and curled up on the floor beneath the seat in front of her.  Nastiest place on the plane, second to the toilets, but if that's where she was going to sleep peacefully, I wasn't going to fight it.

So farewell Utah - you're a lovely place to visit!  Next time we'll do a longer trip and plan in time for more of our friends.  Until next time...

Monday, June 11, 2012


It's 10pm, and outside in the darkness there is a royal orchestra of frog musicians tuning up.  That's summer in our new place, with all of this greenery.  Other sure signs of summer are the kids out in the street playing kickball (at this new place we scored a cul-de-sac - yes!), and "pop-a-scles", getting soaked in the hose with Papai, and a lot of watermelon.

Summer is also about teaching Gigi how to recycle.

And of course, the swimming pool at Tutu's house.  She never even minds it when the water is cold.  I especially love when she sports her sunglasses, which is usually a thirteen second thrill.

But summer also brings with it a bit of dread.  Lately Gigi and I have been having fabulous power struggles as she asserts her independence, and sometimes it only takes three hours before we're pretty much done with each other (and I'm only home half time with her!  Imagine how I'm starting to feel about being home full time starting in October when the baby comes...).  But I feel like planning is going to be my best ammunition.  I just have this feeling that Gigi and I will spiral downward into the heat unless I make some goals for the summer that keep us moving forward with our time.  I'm not an over-scheduler, but I'm thinking that planning a regular day to the library, parks and pools, getting a year's pass to the fabulous local museum, and coming up with some fun yet educational activities to do at home might just save us - not really from the summer, but from ourselves.  

Monday, June 4, 2012


We got our wish this time around again!  The ultrasound tech scanned the little bits multiple times because I wasn't sure it was all that conclusive, but I think I'm convinced.  Scroll down for our very happy news...

Hooray for a little boy!  We can't wait to meet him around Halloween!

Friday, June 1, 2012

6 Months Ago Today

Six months ago today we lost Marcos' dad, and we miss him all the time.  Although we lived a hemisphere apart for so many years, technology made it possible for his voice and face to be a common presence in our home.  We miss his laughter and his counsel, and his ability to see good in people and for the glue he was in keeping families and communities together.  He was never a wealthy man in worldly possessions, but everyone who knew him felt so much the richer for it.  

Thank you for everything, Papai!