Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out and About

Another weekend has flown by, and we tried to be outside as much as possible. A quick recap of the highlights:

Elmo was pretty popular in our house for a while, and then he was forgotten for some time. He is now back in fashion and is a constant companion, even on our bike ride.The discovery of a new-to-us playground in the area. We renamed it the "dangerous metal playground" and won't be going back. Shocking how quickly we can analyze a playground for danger/edges/fun factor. I'm thinking metal pieces jutting out is never a good thing. Sojo's shoe obsession continues, although just in the last 24 hours, she insisted on wearing the SAME color of Crocs. This weekend, she discovered a pair of flip-flops on our playground and shuffled around in them happily for quite a while. This is sad news to Dale, who despises flip-flops, while I would wear them each and every day if I could. Perhaps a small pair under the Christmas tree...come on, Baba, please?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Couldn't Resist

It's been a few weeks now that the weather here in normally sweaty Bangkok has morphed into something dangerously close to glorious. Riding my bike tonight, it was so breezy and gorgeous that I could have used a light jacket. Even the swimming pool at teacher housing is not crawling with kids anymore, and it's because the outside temp. is only 82 degrees F--only, HA!. I know, I can hardly believe myself how lame that is, but it's all relative. If Sojo suggests swimming now, sometimes we try to convince her to go to the playground instead because the water is pretty cold. Ok, really most of the time we try to convince her.

Even though our 'swimming season' is on a short hiatus, I couldn't resist posting a pic of that little butt that was very visible at the pool until recently.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Protest in the Air

It's not always horses and muffins and sunshine here. There are days lately when the sweetpea tries to push every single button possible to get what she wants. And we are fully in the stage of some serious crying when things don't go her way or when she is frustrated. Take, for example, when we were downtown the other day. Bangkok has some pretty snazzy taxis that are hot pink or orange, so we waited in line and wound up getting an orange taxi totally by chance. Well, Sojo really likes the pink taxis and it got that she was crying so hard in the taxi that her head was in her hands sobbing. Seriously, the drama was both alarming and hilarious at the same time. My friend Kimbra once said, "Just love her through it," and it stuck with me as the perfect parenting mantra.That being said, I hope it doesn't make me too evil to have caught her in full-protest mode last night. Those tears! A random sidenote that I find fascinating is that Asian eyes are shaped in such a way that tears tend to float around in there a while and then almost pop out like a cartoon character.

Speaking of other people protesting, we are fine while the protests are going on here in Bangkok because we live out in the suburbs. This one is a bit more dramatic than the others since the protestors have taken over the international airport. We have friends from Singapore that are supposed to arrive tomorrow night for a weekend with us, but I'm thinking that might not happen. Hopefully it will work itself out soon. Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and this feels so out of sync to have such upheaval.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Fun

Just a short bike ride away from our house, there is a small horse farm, so we headed out there this weekend for a mini-adventure. A teacher at school owns it, so it was no problem to wander aimlessly through the stable area checking things out. Sojo was fascinated by the horses, especially the ones who wouldn't pay attention to us. One poor anti-social fellow named Piper got many extra hellos from Sojo because she wouldn't take the hint. Highlights of the 'venture' were touching a horse's nose, the blowing he did on her hand, and seeing horse poop for the first time. We've been told that when we come back next, a pony ride is in order. Yippee!
On a botanical note, I've been coveting a neighbor's purple orchid for some time now and found one for myself recently at a weekend market. Just the perfect splash of color outside the window to make me smile every day. Look at those roots!Preschool update: Rather hard to get an answer to "How was your day?" with a 2 year old. The day we saw the elephant, the only thing we heard was that she ate crackers. Today we got that she and a boy named Noah climbed (?) high on the playground and it was 'a little spooky.' Spooky is one of our favorite words from Sojo. She usually uses it when she enters a dark room, but when she said it today, it makes me think it's when she's feeling a bit scared. I love how she is becoming more able to articulate her emotions.

Friday, November 21, 2008

From the Archives


There are so many times lately we look at her and are astounded at how grown-up she is. Funny how we never get tired of looking at her.

November 2007
November 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Real-Life Horton Sighting

When we arrived home from school yesterday, I couldn't find Sojo and Momo, so I decided to head to the corner store right outside our gate to buy juice. When I got to the gate, what did I see on the other side but a crowd of kids around an elephant--with Sojo front and center feeding her sugar cane like this happens every day of her life. This practice of random elephants and their owners roaming neighborhoods is a bit controversial in Thailand, but it's hard to refuse feeding a very pregnant elephant, and no way could we refuse a kid who loves elephants like Sojo does.Sojo was in elephant heaven, and it makes for a great first day of preschool story for years to come. We will always remember the 'tail' light as she walked away.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Day of School

Waiting for the bus
The blur that was Sojo when she arrived at preschool
What a big day! I had first period free, so I got to ride the bus with Sojo and drop her off at her first day of preschool. A quick rundown of the morning...writing snippets will prevent me from writing a short novel about the morning.

1. We made sure to get the shoe color combo ready early so as not to make us late at the last minute

2. She insisted on wearing the Horton t-shirt (thanks, Paree and Josiah!) and then proclaimed, "I cute!" Seems her self-esteem was intact for the first day

3. The bus arrived late, but finally it arrived. Sojo LOVES riding on busses. It's actually just a mini-van, but still, in her mind, it's a bus.

4. I was way at the front and Sojo was way at the back, so I got to listen to her ramble on and on to herself. Once she yelled out, "I riding on a bus, mommy!"

5. And, being the free spirit that she is, she ran off the bus and onto the playground with all the other kids. Did her own thing, climbed the highest point she could on the playground, and managed to give me a high five and a smooch before I took off. I had visions of her asking for her own apartment at 12 due to her hyper-independence.

6. Report from teacher Amy was that the day was good. She did well with food (this was a worry b/c she can't eat some of the provided snacks, but she was a champ and is really starting to just accept what she can't eat), cried just a bit every now and then, but overall did well.

7. Only worry from teacher Amy is the scratching that Sojo does with her eczema. We notice that when she is a bit stressed, she scratches more, and there was some scratching done today. We recommended having her hold something in each hand as she loves that. At the end of the first day of preschool, we guess it's better for her to scratch herself than to scratch someone else.

8. Of course we wondered what Sojo's opinion of the day was, but something else kind of overshadowed the coolness of preschool, and we never got a straight answer. This is what we came upon when we found Sojo after school.

You certainly don't see this everyday. More details coming tomorrow...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Random Sweetness


Sojo is in love with polka dots these days and is very much into picking our her own clothes. Let's not even talk about how long it takes her to decide what two-color combination of Crocs she's going to wear each day. She sits there and tries on about 4 different combos before making a decision. As I look at this picture, it's somewhat shocking that she actually has on matching shoes.

p.s. Who knew? It was like turning on a switch, but Bangkok weather just turned breezy, somewhat cooler, and oh-so-pleasant this week. Rumor has it that it's like this for about two months. A nice reprieve from the humidity.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Caught on Tape

This little rascal does not like to be on camera, so we had to think of a devious way to get her new song, "twinkle, twinkle," on video. Note Dale's camera angle as it was hidden near his dinner plate. I also will own up and say that I offered a carrot muffin if she sang the song (you can hear her asking for it at the end).

Funny how when it's your kid, the words sound so clear and exactly like the song. Let's just say it takes a few times of listening to get the whole thing, but it seriously melted our hearts. video

Thursday, November 13, 2008

40!






These are the soul's changes. I don't believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.

--Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong, a special Thai holiday, takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th lunar month, which happens to be tomorrow. It is a way to give thanks to the river goddess, apologize to her for polluting the rivers, and also to let go of things in our life by sending them down the river in a krathong. I bought our three krathongs today at school, and they are made of banana leaves, bamboo, orchids and marigolds. Stuck in the top is a candle and a few incense sticks. They are gorgeous.

Lucky for us, our neighborhood is on a lake, so we can take a short walk to light our candles and incense and send our krathongs out to join the many others that will float in the water tomorrow night.
Even luckier for me personally is that tomorrow is the eve of my 40th birthday. I so love the beginning of a decade--it feels so full of promise, and 40 just sounds so strong and cool to my ears. Having Loy Krathong fall on this special day is icing on the birthday cake.

As always, a dose of sweetness.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Sojo Fun Peeschool"

We are so fortunate to have a wonderful preschool near our house, and it follows the Reggio Emilia philosophy of learning. Although Sojo just turned two, it's for early learners and centered around art and exploration, not academics, so we went to check it out on Friday as they have an opening. Sojo loved it--from the play structure and beach sand outside to the play kitchen and the huge basket of little animals inside.

On the way back home on our bikes, Sojo announced, "Sojo fun peeschool," so we knew it was a hit. She'll go two mornings a week starting in a few weeks. We could tell she was ready when she took her Curious George lunchbox and headed off on another of her "trips" around the dining room table--this time she told us she was going to preschool.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

2 Year Checkup

Sojo at the doctor's office. Yup, in a cool slide. More on that in a minute.Heading down to Bumrungrad Hospital today for Sojo's 2 year checkup, we were unsure of how Sojo would react since literally every other time we have gone to the doctor, she does nothing but scream the entire time. We're talking shaking and sweating screaming, which of course is no fun for anyone. Well, we are pleased to say that she was a superstar today and even said, "I'm not cry" when she heard another girl crying while sitting on the scale (yea, that one made her scream as well before!). She's doing great, weighs 11.9kilos/26.2lbs and is 85cm/33in tall, and the only issue is her skin, which we already knew. Even more superstar was that she had one shot for Japanese encephalitus right in her butt, and she cried just a smidge and then said, "Sojo bandaid on the butt." Laughing now just writing it because it was priceless. Of course, she talked about the butt bandaid all day.

Permit me, though, to do a quick walk-through of the children's center at the hospital we love so much. It's based on a first-come, first-serve basis on Saturdays, and when we arrived, our mouths dropped we saw this--The Kid Zone. Unbelievable. Truly. Computer games, a mini-theater with cartoons playing, a huge tube slide. Plus, bottles of water and boxes of milk for the taking at any time. We had to wait about 45 minutes, but it was no problem at all because the doctor was so nice and Sojo could have played forever. Even the various doctor offices were cute as they were set up like little colorful houses. Ha! I just looked at the photo and realized that Sojo and I are both barefoot. Definitely a relaxed environment.

I was so impressed with it that I wrote to our President-Elect Obama and shared my experience as part of my vision for healthcare in the U.S. and how it would look similar, and be as affordable as, Bumrungrad. Obama has a new website with his plan for the country (it includes us!) and a section where you can share your vision of what America can be. Worth a look-see.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's in the Details

As we live day to day with this sweet little girl, we get so into the moment that I fear we will forget some of the details of her burgeoning personality when she is older.Like...

how we love her current method of counting...1, 2, 4, 19, 20. The 19,20 is courtesy of the ending numbers of her time-outs. When we hit 20, she is free to go. The 1, 2, 4 is just the way she wants to say it. Even if we say 1, 2, 3, she counters with 1, 2, 4. Truly love the spunkiness.

how she reads so voraciously already and has begun reading to us. Our mutual love of wordless picture books and the sweetness I savor when we read The Story of a Mango and she talks about the Indian man's turban. The seeds of global understanding are being planted.

how she now pretends to take a walk to Chimacum with her hands behind her back like a grandpa on a Sunday stroll.

how she does this cute fake cry and then asks herself, "you ok?"

and how some nights,as we put her to sleep, she calls out in the darkness--'love you.' Yeah, that one we'll never forget.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Celebrate

Sojo attended her first big-girl birthday party this past weekend, but that's not the only thing we are celebrating in our household. We are celebrating a new day, a country that voted the son of a Kenyan goat herder President, a people that looked beyond a different name and skin color to see the man and his values, and, most of all, celebrating the intense pride we feel as Americans to have experienced this election in our lifetime.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Lot of New


Sojo's got a new movie chair, some new Veggie Booty snack popcorn from the US, new soft dino jammies, and a new saying--"Hey, Dude!" This photo kinda brings the 4 new things together...dude.