Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Part 5: I love...

being still.
(Outside our house, on a quiet, snowy winter's day.)

But with much pre-vacation fussing to do (packing, repacking, making a list, checking it thrice, forgetting some things, stressing about forgetting them, etc.), and a 24-hour plane ride with a toddler (gasp!), I won't have that luxury in what would seem like forever. I know I've talked ad nauseam about the dreaded flight but I have learned to remind myself this: Whatever this trip brings us, at least at the end of our journey, tropical sunshine awaits us. With it, a brand new day.

And of course the warmth, both from the sun and my family's embrace. I cannot wait.

NOTE: I will probably be MIA for the next three weeks but when I'm back, I'm pretty sure I will have stories replete with discoveries and wonderment through the eyes of Little Miss and My Guy, who're both new to that part of the world. I am so excited for them. But let's not think that far ahead. First, there's a vacation to be had. And delicious moments to be savored.

Check out the previous posts in this I Love series from the February archives. And click on the hearts button to learn more about this wonderful idea, and see what others are loving today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Part 4: I love...

my nerds.

 (This is still one of my favorite pictures of them.)

My Guy, the computer geek, and his (then) 4-month old progeny. I wonder what lies in her future?

Side note: This may very well be my shortest post ever. I've procrastinated enough. Off to pack for my three-week vacation with the fam. There's a list a mile long and I've started on exactly...nothing.

Check out the previous posts in this I Love series from the February archives. And click on the hearts button to learn more about this wonderful idea, and see what others are loving today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Part 3: I love...

fortune cookies. (Especially when they're true.)

(click on image for larger view)

This evening's takeout brought me a fortune that made my jaw drop. We leave for Malaysia in three days! What made me quiver with excitement wasn't so much that this was some fine piece of soothsaying. It's that it specifically says "fun vacation." Does that mean Little Miss is going to be the perfect little traveler and not be that baby?

I mean, why else would it say "fun vacation" right? It didn't say "fun vacation except for when you're flying there and back". Suddenly, things are looking up for us. Little Miss is going to sleep for 80 percent of the flight and play happy peekaboo games with strangers who will fall in love with her. They will also commend us on the incredible job we've done as parents.

Yes, it's going to be great. Because the cookie says so.

Check out the previous posts in this I Love series from the February archives. And click on the hearts button to learn more about this wonderful idea, and see what others are loving today.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Part 2: I love...

...our grey cat.

Macavity is the most laidback and loving cat/pet I know. When I was pregnant, I was a little worried about how our pets, two cats and one dog, would react to the baby. As it turns out, Kirby (the dog), while harmless, barely tolerates her, and the other cat, Kayli, panics at the sight of Little Miss. Macavity just brushes himself against her for attention, completely unaffected by her happy screeching and flailing arms that would make any animal turn tail and run. He even climbs on her and lays his head on her lap to rest (where's that camera?!).

The Little Miss grabs his tail, pokes his belly, tugs at his whiskers, and this cat just lies there. Maybe it's because she "serves him tea" (bringing a toy teacup and tipping it up to his mouth, to make sure he finishes every last drop) or maybe because he knew from the time she was growing inside me, as he lay purring on the mound that was my belly, she was his best friend in the making.

So it came as no surprise that her first real word was "cat". I cannot imagine raising Little Miss without our beloved pets -- yes, even the fat orange one. But it is really Macavity that brings out the sparkle in her eye. And this is why:

(he's still sleeping inside the bed as she climbs in with him)

(animated conversation - get it? get it?)

(wrestling match. baby 1 : cat 0)

(like her, we heart our "Macavity, the mystery cat")

(and I'm pretty sure he hearts us back too!)

Check out the previous post for the first in the I Love series. And click on the hearts button to learn more about this wonderful idea.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"It's Friday, I'm in Love"

I've joined the "I Love" bandwagon! Click the button on the right and see what it's all about. Kudos to Kerry who originated this oh-so-wonderful idea.

So I had all these ideas for my first I Love post that I couldn't wait to share, except this evening, as the night wore on, a new one began to form in my head. You see, I was celebrating a belated Valentine's Day with My Guy. We started with dinner and cocktails, and had the most amazing conversation, with music from all our favorite bands--The National, Hot Chip, Phoenix--playing in the background. It felt like the night was made for us. 

It was followed by the Chicago Auto Show. Yes, how romantic. But so us, as we both love cars, although he's the Car & Driver-subscribing geek. And this (don't laugh. OK, laugh all you want) is our annual Valentine's celebration. Does the nerdery ever end? Uhm, probably not. Throughout the evening, as I sat across from this man and heard myself talking, laughing, giggling like a schoolgirl and building these dreams, it became clear to me just what my first post would be about.

I love...

This man.

 (whose picture I snapped with my phone as he sat across from me tonight)

 Without whom, there wouldn't be this little wonder


And many perfect moments, such as this


And this.

(thank you to our friend and talented photographer for this. more ah-ma-zing work here.)

And many, many more.

Happy Valentine's Day. Sure it's late. But that is also us.

(Please join me on this bandwagon - tell me what YOU love.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

China Girl.

Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year fell on the same day this year, which we celebrated as a two-in-one holiday special at our house. The morning began with purple heart pancakes (as in, My Guy couldn’t find red food coloring so he came up with the next best thing, although please don't ask me why he decided he wanted colored pancakes; we also didn’t have any heart-shaped molds, so he formed each one by hand, which I think made them all the more special). Then we hung Chinese paper lanterns in the living room, much to the Little Miss’ delight – one more thing she could point to (“where’re the lanterns?”) and we dressed her up in traditional Chinese samfu in celebration of this auspicious occasion. We also gave her a hong pao (red envelope with money), which she pranced around with all day, occasionally caressing curiously at her shiny new garb. In the end, I kept the money, with a mental I.O.U. What would she do with it now anyway, other than tearing it to pieces or stuffing it in her mouth? Finally, we ended the evening with simple homemade Chinese food—noodles, her favorite—and heart-shaped cookies.

This is vastly different from the Chinese New Year I grew up with, where we had a big family reunion dinner on the eve and feasted on a myriad of elaborate dishes, family-style. On the next morning, there would be deafening firecrackers to start the new year off with a bang, followed by hong pao distribution. We would also have an open house, where non-Chinese friends and family (my mom’s side, all Indians) came to visit and eat with us throughout the day. It was always a boisterous, raucous event, where gambling was the norm (black jack was our favorite—I joined the adults from the time I could place my own bets with my hong pao loot. My family had no qualms about taking money from a 10-year old). The open house would last a couple of days, and for the next two weeks, we would take turns visiting relatives’ homes. “Today is Tai Pak/Big Uncle’s house, tomorrow we’re going to Yee Pak/Second Uncle’s.” My dad had seven siblings, hence the long, drawn-out affair. But kids enjoyed visiting different homes just so they could amass hong paos and compare their haul at the end. And who could forget those delectable pineapple tarts? Those were the days...

That is the Little Miss’ heritage. Sadly, she will probably never know the Chinese New Year of my youth. But as my gift to her, we will have our own traditions, combining old rituals with new, which we will create together as a family. Our celebrations may not be loud, and it will mostly be void of relatives jostling for a spot at the card table, but they will always be special. It’s times like these that I used to ache with homesickness. But that has changed. 

Now, nestled comfortably between my guy and my girl, I am home. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

TV Robot.

Our 24-hour flight to Malaysia is in two weeks. Bright side—tropical vacation and family reunion. Flip side—did I mention a 24-hour plane ride? Each way? With an active toddler?! If that doesn't fill you with dread, you're a better person than I am. 

Our plan to turn her into a TV robot, where she sits hypnotized for many hours in front of the screen, serves no other purpose than to give us some kind of peace on the flight. Sadly, we are about a month into her...uhm..."training" and Little Miss is still not hooked. What’s wrong with her? She knows how to sign “TV” and even asks for it but when we turn it on, she sits still for maybe five minutes until some furniture lint catches her eye and off she goes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Word Economy.

After going through my previous blog posts, I realize why it has lately become a laborious effort for me to post an entry--it takes me forever to write one! In the time it takes me to write a post, peace treaties could have been signed and broken. When I was in school, I preferred essay exams and loved writing papers. The longer the better. When asked for a three-sentence reply, I gave five. But for the sake of my reader(s), my woefully neglected chores, my (often futile) attempt to go to bed at a decent hour on school nights and my effort to alleviate my carpal tunnel, I have to learn to be succinct. Considering it took me that many words just to say I need to be brief, this is going to be quite the challenge. But I'm up for it. In fact, I'm going to start now.

My daughter is awesome. Period.

(Even if she does eat blue marker during an art project.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nature, Nurture.

My 15-month-old girl has 16 pairs of shoes. I am appalled. Seriously. I didn't realize how many we've amassed until her nana finally decided to count them the other day and even I was shocked. In my defense, a couple of those pairs of shoes were hand-me-downs from friends, and another couple were gifts. But it makes me wonder, when Little Miss becomes an Imelda Marcos wannabe would it be because she has my shoe-fetish gene or because I made her into one? Nature versus nurture, the perennial debate.

Recently, I have been reading Suite Francaise for my book club, a story about the mass exodus of Parisians, scrambling to leave their German-occupied city during World War II. I knew it wasn't going to be light reading but what I wasn't prepared for was the emotional upheaval. Yesterday, I was helplessly weeping into the book, which isn't uncommon for me, but on the subway?! I dared not make eye contact but I rather imagine that it made a decent anecdote for those lacking more exhilarating dinner conversation: "Oh my god, today on the train this chick was like reading a book and she was like crying and shit. Oh my god. Hilarious!"

Yeah, hilarious. I hate that I can't help myself. If you haven't guessed already, I'm the type to cry at commercials, news broadcasts, You Tube videos and yes, even posters on the train about the plight of children or animals. The other night I was bawling at a blogger's post about the untimely passing of her child, undoubtedly magnified by my maternal role, and My Guy stopped working on his computer despite a tight deadline just to console me. He's seen this all too often and by now, he's a pro at making me feel better, gently leading me away from my misery, without mocking me. (Thank you.)