Sunday, May 29, 2011

When she is 5

Kai has been climbing since her earliest of days -- scaling walls and windows before she could walk. And, she continues to love climbing. There is a park near our house with a rock climbing wall and Kai asks to go there nearly every day. She likes to start with the monkey bars, which she does with her legs wrapped around one of us for support. She likes to hang from the last bar and drop to the ground - trying to swing herself further out with each leap.

Then it is onto the rock wall. She is an incredible climber - matching hands and feet, criss-crossing her limbs to reach new heights, and all sorts of other fancy moves that I don't know proper term for. The funny thing is, she'll be climbing up the wall and suddenly get a little stuck and yell, "I CAN'T" as she whines and sounds generally distressed. The first time she did this, Eric went over and grabbed her to help her down, to which she yelled, "NO. I can do it all. by. myself." and she grunted and pulled herself out of the difficult spot. And then, again, "Oh No!! I CAN'T." Once again, we try to help, once again she tells us to get away, but proceeds to yell in a distressed voice, "I CAN'T. HELP!" And then refuses the help. Now we just tell her she can do it and that we'll be there if she falls -- and she pulls through the tough spots, hollering most of the time. I think the other parents think we're torturing her -- but it's all self-imposed. She wants to climb the wall. By herself. But, parts of it freak her out. And she gets fatigued. And as soon as she pops off, she scurries to start again, determined to go higher with each attempt.

This evening, Eric climbed to the top of the wall and was sitting on top. You could see the light bulb go off over Kai as she hopped onto the wall, determined to sit on the top, just like her dad. There was a LOT of hollering and whining, "I CAN'T... HELP!!" involved on the way up... but, she got there and was so incredibly pissed at us when we wouldn't let her straddle the top (because of the whole danger of falling thing). Eric held onto her foot and pulled her back down, thwarting her victory move. She screamed, "I WANT TO SIT ON THE TOP." We told her she was only three, and that she was too little to sit up top by herself. "When you are 5, you can sit on top," Eric said.

Later, she was on the swings and pumping her legs and arms so that she was, literally, flying. She was going really high and Eric said, "no jumping off" (because she had seen an older girl jumping off the swing the last time we were at the park and had been trying to duplicate the move ever since, and we could tell she had it in mind to let go again.) "Why?" Kai asked -- and you could tell she was irritated that Eric had read her mind. "Why do you think?" Eric asked. "Because, I am not five. And when I am five, I can go really high. And sit on top of the wall. And jump off the swings. When I am five."

Five is going to be a fun year. I can tell.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing

Kailey continues to love her alphabet and the idea of being able to actually write. Some time ago, I mentioned that she used to scrawl lines all over the page, declaring that she was "writing letters!". She started with asking us to "dot to dot" various words, tracing over the letters after we create the dots. And now, she has a little buddy at school, 4 year old Gabbi, who has been teaching her how to write her name all by herself, and Kai is getting pretty good at it:



This last weekend, she attempted several other names by herself as well. She gets frustrated when a name has a letter that she doesn't know how to do by herself (like "G") but is determined to get them all down and practices her writing nearly every day asking us "how do you spell...." (insert name of person or thing that she is interested in) as she attempts to get it all down.

She's writing! Where does the time go?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trip to Chicago



Kai accompanied me on a work trip to Chicago this last week, which we also made into a mini-vacation and chance to see Katie and Becca. Kai has gotten to be a really great traveler. I quizzed her leading up to the trip. The first time, our conversation went something like this:

“Kai… on the plane, do we use loud voices or quiet voices?” “Loud,” she answered hopefully. “No, quiet.” She looked bummed by that answer, but nodded.

“And do we poke people or keep our hands to ourselves and not bother our neighbors?” “Poke?” she ventured. “No, keep hands to yourself.”

And finally, “do we run all around and jump and climb or do we sit still and watch videos and be patient?” Kai was definitely getting that the right answer and the answer she preferred were not the same, in this case, and got a glint in her eye as she yelled, “run around?!” I laughed and told her she had to sit still.

Then we did it again and she answered everything correctly. After that, every time I’d ask her the questions she’d say the wrong answer first and then yell, “noooooo, we have to be QUIET,” yelling the word quiet for dramatic effect.

When the day came, she was great. Quiet voices, no poking, and sitting still. When we finally got to our hotel (after taking the two trains and walking a fairly long distance that involved me going up and down multiple staircases – with Kai on my back and two roller bags in two) she was ready to burn off some serious energy and spent most of the evening running around like a crazy person. But, the flight was good (and I am writing this as we fly home… two hours to go… so far so good, but she is getting restless).

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Kai calls Katie, “my Aunt Katie”. Always the “my” and the “Aunt” before Katie. It’s funny because we don’t refer to Katie as her Aunt. At least not usually. We have on occasion, and Kai seems to like the title for her. She would tell everyone that we saw that “my Aunt Katie is going to watch me while Mama works.” If you ask her if she has other Aunts, she’ll tell you she does, "Becca and Amy". But, despite the fact that she knows who all her aunts are, she only Katie gets the distinction of the full title - “my Aunt Katie” - in conversation.

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For this story – you need a frame of reference. Imagine Nathan Lane in The Birdcage. Or a Jewish mother.

We spent a day at the Children’s Museum, which is quite a cool place. We all did an art project together where we drew a design on a piece of plastic, cut a hole in the plastic, and then baked it in the toaster oven for a few minutes in order to shrink it. After it was shrunk, we put a chain on it and turned it into a necklace. I made a necklace for Kai, turning the square piece of plastic into a circle before we shrunk it, and when it came out of the oven she added beads to the chain. Then we also turned the square piece she had colored into a necklace for me.

Later that evening, Kai noticed that I wasn’t wearing the necklace (it was sitting next to me on the desk at Katie’s house). She came up and asked, “why aren’t you wearing the necklace I made you?” “I said, “oh… I took it off. It’s a little pokey.” Kai got this look on her face – Nathan Lane/Birdcage look – of utter sadness and despair and said, “But I maddddeeee it for you” in her absolute saddest voice. I immediately felt guilty (and this from someone that generally feels guilty about very few things). “Oh… sweetie. That’s true. You made it and I love it. Here, I’ll put it on.” I said to her, reaching for the necklace that she had grabbed off the desk. Kai turned her shoulder to me, shielding the necklace from me as she cusped it in her hands and saying, “no… no. It’s pokey.” Katie and I started laughing so hard we were crying. She’s going to be a fun teenager!

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And, of course, pictures!









Belated Birthday Post



Here it is the middle of May and I am finally getting to recapping Kai's 3rd birthday extravaganza... bad, Angie. But, it was quite the extravaganza, as they all have been. I love birthdays and I really love Kai's birthday. It's a perfect time of year (although, three years ago I didn't think it was quite the perfect time for her to be born.. but, now I love that she has an April birthday). And, it's fun to really celebrate for a few weeks -- which is what we end up doing, since my birthday comes just 2 weeks after Kai's. It's like our Spring Break.

We started the birthday week with a trip to Santa Barbara. I had to be in Santa Barbara for work, and we decided it would be fun for Eric and Kai to come along since it meant a night at a hotel with a pool. It also meant a 5 hour drive there and a 5 hour drive home... but, one night at a hotel with a pool is enough to qualify as a vacation once you have a kid (and apparently worth 10 hours of driving for maybe 4 hours of pool time). Kai LOVES pools and she loves hotels... so the two combined makes a one-night trip feel like a week off. It was totally worth it. Of course, I had to work all day, but Eric and Kai had a blast in the pool and running around the hotel. And, the next day we spent more time in the pool, then at the beach, and then on a merry-go-round and at a cool park before finally heading home. The drive home was a grind, but still, the diversion was a good way to kick off the week of birthday festivities.





The next morning, my parents arrived for more birthday partying. And, they stayed at the Claremont Hotel -- more hotel. More pool. Yea!! And it turns out the Claremont has one of the best wading pools I've seen... the pool is the temperature of a bathtub, only 2.5 feet deep, and has all these cool fountains pouring into it. Kai LOVED it. She practiced dunking her head under water and would stay under long enough to completely freak me out. She also had fun pretending the fountains were the shower, and would run under them and yell, "we have to wash our hair" as she pumped the imaginary shampoo bottle and scrubbed at her head. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the pool (because I never seem to have my camera on me these days!). But, she also just had a good time walking the halls of the hotel in the boots Katie and Becca bought for her, and I do have a video of that:

video (Kai is developing quite the fashion sense these days -- preferring dresses and skirts to pants, and insisting on tights with every outfit. It's a bit annoying... but, I do like some of the outfits she comes up with. I just have a drawer full of pants going to waste. Sigh).

Sunday was Kai's big soccer party. About 12 kids came, mostly from Kai's daycare (and, of course, Penny -- Kai and Penny haven't spent their days together in over a year now, but Kai still talks about Penny and Doug nearly every day and asks how they are doing, when we can see them, and any time we talked about her party leading up to the big day, she would inform us that "Penny. AND Doug. AND Sarah. AND Max" were coming. It's amazing what a huge influence Doug and Penny are in Kai's life and how much she loves them, given how young she was at the time she was with them every day. Truly amazing). Anyway, it was fun to watch all the kids playing together, since we don't get to watch them interact much at school. Kai LOVED her party.






We have a few videos from the party, but my favorite is Kailey going around straightening the cones before a game that the coach had set up. Genetics, baby.

video

And, of course, there were the gifts. What's a birthday without a present or 50? Especially when those gifts involve Toy Story, "beautiful" dresses (as Kai says), and a new gymnastics suit?





And she got a lot of other great stuff too... these are just the things I have pictures of... I really need to get her in some of the other cute outfits she got. And, I want to get a video of her "flying" down the street in her new butterfly wings, flapping her arms, yelling, "flap! flap! flap! I'm a BIRD" and wearing her cowgirl boots. Seriously, too cute.

Three! What a great age!

Happy Birthday, Kai!! We love you soooo much!