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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Random daycare daily report #25

I wish you could have seen the position Sophie fell asleep in at nap today (I tried to get a picture but she moved before I could get the camera). She was feeling a little nervous about the thunder, so she fell asleep on her side with her fingers in her ears. It was so cute :) Also, Sophie told me when Dada gets home, she's going to give him a smoochie woochie kiss. If that's not something to hurry home for, I don't know what is! :)

Dada is home!
Dada is home!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sophie post-stomach flu Day #3:
Energetic, happy, chatty, and with an appetite that is back with a vengeance- her dinner tonight included a huge bowl of udon noodles with soup, half a dozen strawberries, milk, and a handful of crackers, after which she starred into the empty dish and whined, "I have nothing left to eat... I'm still hungry, Mama." So I gave her a small serving of plain popcorn, which she obliterated in less than 5 minutes. Oh, and for breakfast this morning, she had two slices of toast (she usually only takes one). And then asked for more after.... Like I said, with a vengeance.

Serene post-stomach flu Day #1:
Slightly more energetic than yesterday, infinitely grateful for daycare so that she could stay home from work and sleep the day away, and with an appetite that hasn't quite come back yet- her dinner tonight included two slices of toast, some soup, one strawberry, and one errant popcorn that Sophie was barely willing to share. And for breakfast, one slice of toast less than her daughter. Like I said, not quite back yet.

Believe them when they say that the stomach flu bug is lethal.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sick bunny

What do you do when you catch some inexplicable bug that renders you listless and appetite-less? You're not your usual chatty happy self and when faced with your favorite banana chocolate-chip muffin for breakfast or miso soup for dinner, you only take a couple of bites. You've thrown up twice in the last 24 hours and haven't had an easy time in the pooping department, either.

So low energy from bug that she fell asleep at lunch

You fall asleep on the table at lunch, that's what :(

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't forget the lyrics!

Sophie loves music. She likes listening to it at dinner, as we're getting ready for bed, and most especially when we're in the car, which is a subject for a whole other post because she has basically hijacked our car stereo and subjected us to an infinite loop of The Muppets soundtrack and Gustafer Yellowgold ad nauseum. You try explaining to a two-year-old why Dada and Mama have as much right to listen to Goyte and R.E.M. as she does to Jason Segel and Kermit the Frog. I guarantee, you will lose.

The upside though, is listening to her sing along (or try to) when her favorite songs come on. It's particularly hysterical when she mangles the lyrics and insists on singing it her way even after we've corrected her a gazillion times. It's HILARIOUS...

"My Favorite Things", Julie Andrews
Original version: When the dog bites, when the bee stings...
Sophie's version: When the dog bites, when the bee sings

"1 2 3 4", Feist
Original version: 1 2 3 4, tell me that you love me more
Sophie's version: 1 2 3 4, tell me that you love me door

"Octopus Garden", The Beatles
Original version: I'd like to be under the sea, In an octopus' garden in the shade
Sophie's version: I'd like to be under the sea, In an octopus' garden in the spade

and my favorite:

"Rainbow Connection", Kermit the Frog
Original version: The lovers, the dreamers, and me... All of us, under its spell...
Sophie's version: The lovers, the dreamers, and me... All of us, under its smell...

Oh, and then there's her listening to The Muppets channel on Pandora last week when Rufus Wainwright's "Hallelujah" comes on. Sophie says, "Hey Mama, you really like this song!" which made me happy enough (although the Jeff Buckley version is my favorite, I'd listen to any version of the song, really). And then she follows that up with, "It's "Hallelulah"!" I don't know how she knew that but it made me almost a little teary... :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Attack of the killer tomatoes

1. Snuggling, 2. Sitting on the laundry basket and covering her ears, 3. Distracting her with pretend camping with our camping equipment

It was Sophie's first tornado (or in her words, "tomatoes", which she distinguishes specifically from the vegetable/fruit) warning. Things started when I picked her up from daycare- Ann Arbor was already under a tornado watch so adhering to standard practice, all the children were in their designated shelter areas within the building. Sophie and her classmates were in the babies' napping room and when she saw me, Sophie excitedly shouted, "We're having a tomato drill, Mama! Come join us!"

I don't think she had any clue what a tornado was then and just knew it was something for which they'd occasionally have a drill to prepare. I bundled her into the car and by then, it had already started to rain and the sky was darkening threateningly. In the car, I explained to Sophie that tornadoes are huge funnels of wind that can sweep things away and that when we get home, we have to go down into the basement for a while just in case a tornado came by the house. She got really quiet and just watched the rain come down outside. By the time we reached our parking lot, the city-wide tornado sirens were already going off and bits of hail started pelting down on us. That was when Sophie started getting a little scared and shouted, "Tomato sirens, Mama! Tomatoes are coming! We have to go to the basement! Hurry! Hurry! Protect me!" I had to laugh as visions of projectile cherry tomatoes came to mind...

We got home and I managed to grab some milk and crackers for Sophie and my phone before heading down into the basement. By then it was about 6.00pm and the National Weather Service's statement was that the tornado warning would only be till 6.30pm. We sat as far as we could from the basement window as Sophie clung tightly to me. Between the tornado sirens, the rattling of the windows, thunder, and the pounding wind and hail, she was petrified. We listened to a bunch of Jack Johnson and The Beatles on my phone just to drown out the weather sounds and I think that made her feel better for a while. She was still clingy and scared though and kept her fingers in her ears for most the hour that we were downstairs. She would try to be brave and say, "I'm not scared. Mama and the basement protect me." But then she'd hear a rumble of thunder and bolt into my arms again. Poor baby...

I kept checking the local newspaper reports and found out that not only was the tornado warning extended to 7.15pm, a tornado had actually made land in Dexter, a town about 20-minutes from us (click here for images of the destruction it caused). Funnels were also being spotted all across the county. To make things worse, Jude was at that time, sitting in a plane in Minneapolis, not being able to take off to come back because of the bad weather here. We texted back and forth to keep him posted and he even took a photo of himself making a funny face to make Sophie feel better. It worked :) He also suggested that I take out some of our camping equipment and do some pretend camping to distract the poor girl. So out came the sleeping bags and a couple lanterns. They worked like a charm and before I knew it, mischievous, giggly Sophie was back as she rolled around the sleeping bag, playing peek-a-boo and pitching a pretend tent.

It was finally 7.15pm and I checked to make sure that the warning had really expired before bringing Sophie upstairs. I looked outside and while it was still raining, there were no signs that a tornado had hit any where near us. Sophie was fine by now and it seemed like she had almost forgot how scared she was just barely an hour ago. Thank god.

So there-- our first near-tornado experience. It got quite nerve-wrecking there for a bit and I really was half-expecting a tornado to make land closer to us. And while I'm relieved that none did, I do feel for the folks out in Dexter. News reports say that there are no deaths or serious injuries there from the tornado but I can only imagine how hard it must be to see your home in ruins like that. Our warmest thoughts go out to the folks out there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random daycare daily report #24

Walking to Olson Park from Gretchen's House
Walking hand in hand with her friends to Olson Park
Sophie had a blast at Olson Park today. We walked there and right as we were approaching the park, Sophie said, "Oh, I am so tired. We have walked so far!" Once she saw the park though, she regained her energy and had a great time!

Sophie doing a Cirque de Soleil
Doing a Cirque du Soleil despite being "so tired"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I think Spring is here

There is just something so viscerally irresistible about piles of crunchy crackling leaves. It's like they're calling out to you, "Jump in us! Throw our leaves! Have fun!"

And so Sophie did :)

Leaf pile!

Leaf pile!

Leaf pile!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Random daycare daily report #23

Painting at daycare
Pretending to cook at daycare
Sophie is my kind of chef. This morning, she was pretending to make everyone hotdogs. She brought me mine and I asked her what was on my hotdog. Without hesitation, she said, "Gummi bears and all sorts of things, ok?" :) I do love hotdogs and gummi bears. I'd just never considered them together!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nothing to fear but fear itself

This evening, as we were reading one of our favorite books, Bear Feels Scared, this conversation transpires:

Sophie: Sometimes, I feel scared also.
Me: When do you feel scared, sweetheart?
Sophie: (nonchalantly) On Thursdays.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Savor life

Mini-cupcake treat

It was a rare 60F (15C) March evening here in Ann Arbor and we couldn't bear to squander it by being indoors. So Jude suggested that we take Sophie for a sorbet treat after school. Unfortunately, the only sorbet flavor at Zingerman's yesterday was raspberry with chocolate chips and I didn't want to risk Sophie's dairy allergy with the milk that might be in it, dark chocolate or not.

Instead we got her a mini vegan cupcake with rainbow sprinkles. And honestly, I think she loved it more than she would have loved a scoop of sorbet. You should have seen her savor the thing- first slowly picking each individual sprinkle and licking it off her chubby fingers, then tentatively tasting the frosting, nibbling around the edges initially. It was like she wanted it to go on forever :) But the moment she took a first bite though, the mini-cupcake didn't stand a chance. It was gone in a blink. Kinda like this:

Monday, March 05, 2012

Growing up

When people who haven't seen Sophie in a while tell me how much she's grown, I always say I can't tell. Because I really can't. I guess it's hard when you're caught up in the everyday minutiae of parenting to be conscious of how much growing your child is actually doing- how much taller, stronger, how many more words, new skills and abilities. In fact, until a couple of days ago when Sophie was laughing so hard that I could actually see into the insides of her mouth, I hadn't realized that her last molars have almost completely popped out.

Then last night, I happened upon a photo taken of Sophie in January of 2011 and I was struck by what I saw.

Sophie 2011

Sophie 2012

In the photo on the top, Sophie still had her soft, short, untouched baby hair. In fact, it wouldn't be for another five months before she would get her hair cut for the first time. And even though she already had most of her front teeth, her incisors were still growing out.

Of course, in the photo on the bottom, which was taken just last weekend, I see such a different girl. There is a new maturity and strength behind her eyes, and her features are looking more and more like the features of an adult. You can almost see how she'd look like as a grown-up. Her fast growing hair needs to be brushed every morning and held back with either a hair clip or a rubber band.

You've done so much good growing this last year Sophie- Mama and Dada can't wait to see how much more you'll do come the rest of your life...

Friday, March 02, 2012

In lieu of a hug

As someone who's been in school for close to 23 years, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about taking exams, and surviving them. And throughout my entire academic career, I've always considered the 'A' levels to be the hardest thing I ever had to do, the Ph.D. included. Writing the dissertation was a breeze compared to the months of studying, the excruciating build-up, and finally the grueling weeks of the actual 'A' levels exams themselves. It is not an experience I'd ever want to go through again and something I would never wish on even my worse enemy.

But having said that, it is (unfortunately) a critical aspect of many young Singaporeans' life, my baby sister non exempt. And yesterday, she demonstrated what it means to not just rock the exam, but how to take it to town and show it who's boss. She experienced one of the hardest things a Singaporean student has to undergo and did it with grit, gumption, and grace, and emerged with grades that surpassed even her own expectations of herself. Everyone in the family would have been proud of her regardless of how she did, but her stellar performance (and more importantly, what it represents-- all the hard work, sacrifices, and prayers) is just what she needs right now as she stands on the cusp of the rest of her life. So many more doors are now open with so many more possibilities, and all those hypothetical "maybe"s now replaced by attainable "whether"s.

Sam- you are AWESOME. And we are so very very very proud! This is your moment- embrace it. Own it.

I've missed Sam so much!!
Sam and I sharing a moment when the family visited in Christmas 2010