Friday, July 29, 2011

Highlight of my day

Evening twirling

Time: Evening
Soundtrack: The Weepies
Activity: "Look at me, Mama! I'm twirling. I'm twirling, Mama!"
Mood: Much in love

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here comes the sun

What do you get when you add a Dada who has successfully defended his dissertation (yay!!), long summer days (sunset at 9.30), and scorching hot temperatures?


Well, evenings at the swimming pool and picnic dinners after, of course!

Monday, July 25, 2011

No fun

For the third time in her life, Sophie got her blood drawn :( It was time for an updated allergy profile and the only way to get an accurate picture of that was to do a blood test. She had one done when she was 7 months old and then again about six months ago, neither of which were pleasant experiences, of course. Having your blood drawn is no fun, whether you're two or twenty... But according to Jude, Sophie was really brave this time. We had talked to her about it beforehand, telling her that she was going to see the doctor's and that she might get a little boo-boo. Apparently, she gamely offered her arm to the nurse when asked, didn't fuss when they prepped it for the syringe (swabbing, tying the rubber tubing, finding the vein, etc...), and really only cried when the needle poked skin. That didn't last long either and as a treat, Jude got her an entire bottle of orange juice just for her alone that he bedazzled with stickers the nurses had given her :)

We won't know the test results for a while, but we're hopeful that we'll see lower allergy indices. Her milk allergy index has been falling steadily since she was an infant which means she might eventually outgrow it altogether. Her egg allergy index was still fairly high the last time we checked though, and if it hasn't gone down now that she's almost two, it might be something she will have to live with for a while :( So far, it hasn't been too difficult keeping her diet dairy-free- she's never had dairy or egg and so she never asks for them (except for cheese, which I suspect she sees her friends in school eating, so it's something of a curiosity for her). She gets vegan baked goods (zucchini cake and cookies) once in a while, and Jude and I eat dairy-free whenever we can so she doesn't get exposed to it much at home. But still, we would like Sophie to eventually have as broad a palate as possible, and not being able to eat dairy or egg means there are so many things she may not get to enjoy (a classic thin-crust pizza, any Indian dishes made with ghee, all pastries, basically, and Grandma's delectable hae cho-- prawn rolls-- all come to mind...)

The upside-- for the day at least-- was that she got to bask in a Madeline moment when she went back to school after her allergy appointment brandishing a "scar"-- really, it was just a dot that has already healed-- she could show off to her friends ;) As her teachers wrote in her daily report:
Sophie had a terrific day. She showed off her "boo-boo" to her friends a little (and some of them were very envious), then let me remove the gauze to put sunscreen on. We did some water play and Sophie was in heaven! There was a big pool of water in the sand box and Sophie sat in it the WHOLE time. Smart girl!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Counting down two weeks

Dear world,
Let it be known that Sophie has some very definite ideas about how her birthday should be like:
Me: Sophie, what would you like for your birthday?
Sophie: Helmet.
Me: A helmet? Just a helmet?
Sophie: Ya, purple helmet.
Me: Alright, a helmet. Anything else?
Sophie: Helmet and the bicycle.
Me: Oh, you want a bicycle too?
Sophie: Yes, bicycle too. And scooter?
Me: No, you can't have both.
Sophie: Just the bicycle. And party, Mama?
Me: Yes, we'll have a party for Sophie.
Sophie: Sophie blow the candles all by self. Yay!!!! [blows imaginary candles] Mama sing. Sing "Happy birthday to Sophie."

I think we're going to be having this conversation everyday until August 8...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Narrative or complaint?

As part of data collection for research, I go into schools and ask young children to tell me stories. And I always tell them, "Remember, a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end." Basically, we want them to be able to create a narrative that has an introduction, an exposition, and a conclusion. Today, in the middle of bath, out of nowhere, Sophie said to us,

"What happening? Wesley hit Sophie toe. Sophie started to cry. Boo boo. Ice-pack."

Our daughter just told us a story.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tartine


Tartine Bread
Originally uploaded by ghetto of our mind
It's been a little over a year since our summer-long sojourn in the Bay Area, and till today, we talk about our time there fondly and longingly. And one of the reasons for this was just simply some of the most wonderfully interesting and just downright delicious food we've ever had the privilege to try. From ramen to ice-cream, oysters to sausages, nothing we ate in that three months disappointed us. But one of the things that lingers most vividly in our memories is Tartine Bakery. Oh yes, the Tartine of luscious pastries and earthy breads- how I miss you...

So Jude came back from a short trip to the Bay Area on Friday, and boy did he come back bearing sweet gifts for both Sophie and I. For the little one, he bought a fairy garland dress-up set from Paxton Gate in the Mission District (the moment Sophie puts it on, she starts pretending to fly- it's quite delightful...) But while it's really adorable and Sophie does love her gift a whole lot, I think I'm the one who's more spoiled by my gifts- Tartine Bread and four pastries lovingly smuggled in his suitcase across 2000 miles. Like I told Jude as a bit into the Frangipane and Berry Tart, nothing that has traveled that distance should still taste this good... And don't even get me started on the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart.

But it's the book that has gotten my heart all aflutter. It's not a recipe book- it's a bread bible, a Tartine bible if you will. You will not find exact formulae in here- but what you will find is a love story written by a man about how he came about making the perfect loaf of bread. It's about the most elemental and visceral aspects of making bread- the yeast cultures, fermentation, the kneading, etc. There's nothing frou-frou or pretty about breadmaking per se, but the black and white photos-- all taken while flooded in natural light-- make it seem like the most alluring process in the whole world. Reading through the book, I can almost imagine the smells of the bread wafting right through to me (yes, "smells", plural- if you get good bread, the croute, in French-- or crust-- smells different from the inside-- the soft mie or crumb).

I've been slowly savoring the book- reading about the painstaking journey towards that perfect baguette or that country loaf, and am looking forward to the later chapters of the book that features a few recipes for sandwiches and other uses for bread (croutons, bread soups, involtini, etc.). I will probably never make every single thing-- bread or otherwise-- or even a quarter of the things highlighted in this book, but for now, I'm loving the memories it's bringing back and the love it's reviving in me for a simple, soulful loaf of Tartine bread.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is your tummy noisy?

Sophie only took a 15 minute nap at daycare yesterday. Yes, you read that right, 15 minutes. When she usually takes a solid 2 hours... She's not ill (maybe a bit of a sniffly nose) so no one knows why she just refused to sleep. She was in a great mood when I picked her up though, so I don't think anything's wrong with her. But a minuscule nap meant I had to give her dinner the moment we got home so we could start her bedtime routine early and bundle her into bed before she would lose it and go all Tasmanian Devil on me. We usually do dinner between 6.30 and 7.00 but she scarfed down her porridge at 5.45, was in the bath-tub by 6.15, and in her jammies, on our bed with a sippy cup of milk and Corduroy by 6.30.

As expected, she was really sleepy and was starting to get cranky. And because of that, she actually had a hard time falling asleep (I know, it's counter-intuitive, but many children fall asleep better and faster when they're not overtired)- I had to read How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight twice and sing "You Are My Sunshine" on loop for at least 20 minutes before she fell asleep soundly.

And Sophie slept right through- 12 hours straight. Not a squeak from her till 7.30 this morning when she woke up howling, "Water! I want water!" When I went in with her sippy cup of milk, she looked up at me, patted her stomach, and said,
Sophie: Tummy noisy, Mama. Tummy, tummy...
Me: Are you hungry, Sophie?
Sophie: Yes. Cheerios? I want the Cheerios. I want the crackers too. Please, Mama?

And that is why, if you had walked into our bedroom at 7.30 this morning, you'd have found Sophie and I sitting on the bed in our pajamas, not having brushed our teeth or washed our faces, listening to the Sesame Street station on Pandora, with Sophie plowing through half a dozen crackers and a pile of Cheerios...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Backseat driver

It's been tricky business driving with Sophie in the car these days. Don't get me wrong, she's the model passenger- she never makes "helpful" comments about my driving skills, she doesn't tell me which route she prefers to take, and she always keeps her hands inside the moving vehicle (being strapped into a car seat helps..). What makes driving difficult with her around is how hard she's been making me laugh with the things she says. It's not that they're particularly funny, but taken in the context of when and how she's saying them, plus the realization that she's picking up so much language just from listening to us, it's just been sheer delight!

[To everyone whizzing by us in their bike, whether or not they're wearing a helmet] Where's your helmet?!!

Firetruck, you hungry? Want some bunny crackers? It's tasty!

It's windy, Mama. Trees waving at Sophie.

Where's sun hiding? There he is! Hiding the clouds.

This our car. Our car is good.

Mama no criss-cross applesauce. Mama is driving.


[To joggers she happens to see along the sidewalk] Have a good jogging!

And my favorite thus far:
[As we turned into our parking lot and I told her we had arrived home] Good job, Mama! Good job!

Of course, in 12 years (or less) when she's burning through her college tuition in phone bills (or whatever form of communication her father and I are going to have to pay for), someone reading this right now will surely remind me that there once was a time when I was proud of and celebrated her chattiness...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What $25 buys

8 cups of Tall iced vanilla latte at Starbucks

2 movie tickets (weekend) and a medium Coke

1 (yes, one, as in half a pair) Toms Red Classics

This skirt

A hunk of fancy cheese and some organic strawberries at Whole Foods

The complete second (and best) season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

2 priceless hours of fun at the Ann Arbor Summer Carnival where your daughter-- you may call her Sophie the Fearless-- went on several rides by herself, including one which involved being in an elevated "helicopter" the whole time. Did I mention that she took that ride THREE times? By herself? Alone? You could not find a happier kid at the carnival that day :)


1. Yes, it went up that high..., 2. She was so excited to be riding by herself, 3. Jumping Jumbos, 4. First ride by herself

Friday, July 08, 2011

What happens in 23 months

Sophie turns 2 in a month.

For some perspective, here's the first video we ever took of her, barely a week after she was born:



And here, countless photos and videos later, is Sophie last week, dancing at Top of the Park:



How did that happen??

Monday, July 04, 2011

Thankfully, not too hair-rowing

After almost 23 months, Sophie has gotten her first haircut. Even though she was born with a full head of hair (see here), by the time she was 3 months old or so, she had barely much to speak of (see here). Even after she turned one, we put hair clips in her hair more as an accessory than for any real functional purpose. So for a long time, we've never had to think about cutting her hair. Until lately that is. In the last month or so, Sophie's hair has really been in a perpetual state of "look-I-just-rolled-out-of-bed" (and you should see her when she really just rolled out of bed...)- sticking out every which way, long at all the wrong places, and wisps getting in her eye even with a hair clip holding her side bangs aside. And with the weather getting increasingly warmer, the long-ish ends at her nape were starting to annoy her.

And so, armed with a glowing recommendation from our dear friend, Amy, we headed off to Larry at A2 O'Hair for Sophie's first hair cut. He was WONDERFUL. He's been cutting kids' hair for years and knows exactly how to deal with squirmy little ones. Even though I was holding Sophie in my lap, she didn't quite always keep her head still. But Larry was like a ninja (or a really light-footed boxer), skipping around and snipping skillfully and effortlessly. At the end of it, even though it wasn't like he took a lot off, he did enough in all the right places. The huge plus: he refused to charge us for the hair cut! Because it was Sophie's first :) Such a sweet, sweet man!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Watch out world...

Sophie wants a bicycle for her birthday. Actually, she's more interested in the helmet and just mentions the bicycle because she figures they come together.

Trying on helmets and bikes at REI
[Trying on bikes and helmets at REI]

She would have rode out onto the street if she could actually move with the bike on her own....