Memo to Dessy: 25.75 Months

Oh Dess-dess,

Since I last wrote about you, you've already changed gobs. You used to not be able to say the "s" sound when it was in front of a consonant. Spoon became 'poon, smile became 'mile, stop it became 'top it. But my favorite was when I starting talking about your cute little calf muscles, calling them "sports calves." You would parrot me and say, "'Ports cabs!"

But that was 24 month old Odessa. Now at the ripe age of 25.75 months, your pronunciation has already changed and you no longer saying 'tar for star and 'mooth for smooth and 'qurrel (which was virtually impossible to interpret but I'm your mom and I'm awesome) for squirrel.

You have this uncanny ability of repeating exactly the thing I said that I wouldn't want you to repeat. Luckily no swear words but you are the exact opposite of Emmy in this regard. Where she would pick up on any sort of negativity or verboten thing and steer clear, you hear the most random edgy things and gleefully shout them out. Examples include: when I hear something crazy and I say, "Oh my God!" You follow up with "OH MY GODDDDD." Or when I said something about Daddy being busted, you said "Daddy, BUSTED!!!" I shake my head to think what's coming.

You're counting to 29 pretty well with only a few mix ups in the teens. The big finish is always, "twenty seven, twenty eight, twenty niiiiine....eleven!" If I ever start a band, I'm calling it 29-11.  

What a fun time you had in Maui--building castles and getting a sandy bottom on the beach. You were done with the flight there about 30 minutes in but somehow we made it through the next 6 hours. 


Your vocabulary in English and Vietnamese is growing. You surprise Asian Grandma all the time with your recall of the Vietnamese words for watermeon and bellybutton. 

If you decide you're unwilling to comply with something, usually something extremely difficult that we've asked of you, like to wave, or smile, you say, "Nnnnoh! I DON'T. I DON'T." while you wave your little hands around like a dictator at the podium.

That level of cuteness is so dangerous. 

You're really listening into our conversations, interrupting Daddy and me all the time to say, "WHO Mommy? WHO?" when you hear me talking about someone. We just make up names and it seems to appease you. "Burt Reynolds, Odessa. Burt Reynolds." Then you go back to whatever you were attempting to do, usually something with your blankie or something that you refuse to let Emmy partake in as you wave your hands saying, "Mines! No Emmy. Mines!!" 

You're so curious now and totally Daddy's little buddy just like Emmy was at this. "Daddy's coming to geeeehhhht me!!" is your favorite thing to squeal before you run off to hide under my sheets. Breathing in the air under our covers with my face two inches from yours while you look all 'round waiting for Daddy to get you is one of my happiest moments. 

You're now also wearing underpants during the day! We are getting you ready for preschool and "being a big girl" and two weeks ago we started going for it--no diapers during your waking hours. So far, pretty impressive. Only a few accidents in the beginning but now you're consistent and such a champ. We've only said, "Odessa, you don't pee in your underwear. You pee in the toilet, OK?" 950 times to you. I think it's working.

You love to command us to speak "louda, loudah!" when we whisper to you in the morning. You're just such a little imp, always favoring Asian Grandma and wanting to her to "Look Gramma, look" at whatever you're doing.

You're so tall and already 29 pounds. A giantess for your age and already almost growing directly into Emmy's clothes. You eat well, you laugh a lot, and you entertain constantly. We love you more each day.




Odessa Turns 2!

This is only about a month and a half late. I recall people saying something about how second children have fewer photos and fanfare about their milestones... 

Since Odessa is a Gymboree addict--we decided to celebrate at her favorite place. Highly recommend these off-site birthday parties. It's no fuss no muss. Send out an evite, show up with cake and food, shoot video, bounce out. 

The party was a big hit--kids seemed to have a bunch of fun and Odessa enjoyed herself in her happy place. The Amelie bangs were a tad too short but I got a little carried away with the bang trim. But if anyone can pull off that haircut--it's this birthday girl. 


Maui 2014

Back from a pretty ridiculously fun trip to paradise. Except when you travel with kids, it's like a lot teensy bit less relaxing than when I was last in Maui and Emmy was still in my belly and Odessa was still a speck in the air.

But one of the secrets to a fun family vacation is to do a family vacation with other families that are like-minded and with kids simpatico with yours. This solves a few dilemmas. First, you have some built-in playpals so that you don't have to play 'pretend animals' for the one million and seventh time. Second, you have other people to chat with and share the kid chores with. Because there will be kid chores. Namely, feeding and napping and cleaning up. Third, you get to stay in a house and split the costs of some nice digs with a kitchen, which is also a necessity when traveling with children. Which is synonymous with cooking for children. I know--this makes you want to just go out and grab some kids to take on your next trip, doesn't it?

Traveling takes a very different pace with little ones--particularly when it comes to the preparation for the plane (BTW, we saw a 7-ish year old kid with this rainbow loom thing and he was making a bracelet for the captain--a must get for our next flight) because you have to have a million snacks and activities but you also have to make sure your luggage doesn't weigh 600 pounds. The pacing of the trip is totally different too. No snorkeling this time, or major hikes--more of a resort and beach and dare I say retail therapy type trip. As I said to The Good Doctor, the sales tax in Hawaii is only 4%! Add that to the markdowns on things we just don't have on 'da mainland and suddenly I'm toting home some sweet new clothing items for the family. It's a weakness of mine. I've never met an additional 40% sale items discount at the Gap that I could walk away from. Davis, Maui, when the Gap says it's an additional 40% off, I'm putty. Don't get me started on the factory outlet stores. It reminded me of the Orlando Premium Outlets all over again. Memories.

I digress. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. 

The Good Doctor decided to do Movember, in February. He was inspired by Felipe, whose beard is now also a close personal friend. He got so obsessed he even sent me google images and articles about million dollar beards. I mean, don't get me wrong, if my husband could get a milli for his beard, I'm all ears. I'd grow one myself.

In any case, TGD couldn't stand having so much manliness on his face, so he decided to shave it, in stages, during our Maui trip. This, and the handlebar day, were the only times I was somewhat not ashamed to be walking alongside him with my children. I even allowed myself to make occasional eye contact with strangers. Most other days, I kept a low profile and a slight distance that he may or may not have noticed. Particularly as the progression of the beard went to goatie with mutton chops, mustache, and tiny mustache with tiny soul patch. Don't even imagine it. Clear your brain of the image! I'm sorry I even introduced it. 

To my surprise, the handlebars had a bit of a "Sons of Anarchy" feel. It was bearable for 24 hours. But as a friend correctly pointed out: the haircut did not match the facial hair. He was right. This was business on top, party on the bottom.

Speaking of bottoms. Some of the cutest sandy bottoms belong to people I know. Personally.

I was so happy I got this shot. Scorpion tail braid!

My only regret on this trip-- I should have bought a GoPro and waterproof case because I was always one stumble away from jacking up my camera, and for those who have seen me walk, it's pretty miraculous Stumbelina came back with these photos. Alooooohhhhhha.



Emmy (in a breathless run on sentence): "Daddy, I'm gonna pretend I'm a mommy and Odessa is my daughter and I'm her mommy and I'm coming home from work."

Daddy: "OK"

Emmy leaves room and bursts back in with a kid cell phone toy pressed up against her ear, talking loudly: "OK yeah, right. Sounds good. Bye."

Daddy: "What were you talking about?"

Emmy: "You know, stuff."


Well what? Apparently that's what mommies do when they come home from work. Talk all loud on their cell phone after bursting in the door. 



Memo to Emmy: 58 Months


You're starting to show a bit of sassafrass lately. An independent streak of sorts that's reflected in the way you flop to the ground unable to walk upstairs for bedtime because you're "so tired, Mommy." Or your "Harumph" frowny sighs as you slowly stomp your way to brush your teeth. You are realizing you can slow down the nightly routines and you're exercising your newly discovered rights. It's nothing compared to the tantrums and talkbacks and horror stories of complete rebellion and lawlessness by other children but we've grown so accustomed to the easy, good natured, obedient Emerson that this new mini fire cracker shrimp is not just a dish at Panda Express, it's an almost-5 year old in my house testing her tiny boundaries.

You get out of bed without fail 9.9 out of 10 nights about 5 minutes after we leave your room. You sit at the top of the stairs and hoot or make little warbling sounds until we realize, over the sound of chewing our late dinner, that you have once again breached the security barrier that is your bedroom door past 8pm. We take turns checking to see what your nightly excuse is. "Mommy, my fingertips are a little hot." "You didn't brush my tongue." "I need more water." Sometimes we sneak up on you and you have to quickly come up with an excuse because you're caught unawares and thought you'd be humming a little longer. "Um Daddy--my sheet is bunchy." One of my favorites, you were listening to us and called out, "What is the laughter all about?"

One time you actually had a legit claim, "But every time I close my eyes I see a bright light through my eyelids." Further investigation revealed there really was a flashing strobe light in your room--from your sister's Minnie Mouse dress up shoes that flash seizure-inducing lights at the slightest movement. Sorry, Emmy. Those are definitely not bedtime-approved paraphernalia. 

I volunteered at your school during the week you were named "Special Person." It was beyond fun watching you "do the calendar." I had long wondered what you meant by that and now I finally know. It was a whole process, changing the date, saying the month and the day and the year, posting the velcro weather cutouts indicating if the day was sunny or windy or rainy or cold. You're definitely a chatty kid and we were pretty stunned when you picked a girl and a BOY as your two friends to hold hands with and walk back from the bike yard. You have so many good schoolmates and sweet friends. I will cherish this experience of watching you because it's the definition of innocence. 

What an artist you're continuing to be. Lefty for sure.

Plus your handwriting is getting better with practice. Working on lowercase and uppercase so it's not quite so random.

You're reading tons of books to me -- a delight and a treat and the best gift. One of my favorite activities especially since I can do it lying down. We've also read through a bunch of my favorite Roald Dahl books. You're a great listener and question-asker. And wise observer when I lament how fast you're growing up: "I'm never gonna be too big for hugs and kisses." 

And now a big sister who teaches her little sister so much. Even when she's not always the best pupil. You're patient, and doing a great outreach campaign for Dessy. Even when she rips your origami in half, sending you into hysterical sobs, you tell Asian Grandma you'd like to share your chips with her. Classy, Emmy.

We still have epic dance parties. Your rendition of Lady Gaga is so cute, "Do what you want, what you want with your body." I don't know how you know to censor the lyrics but I rue the day when your innocence turns into snark.

You love to sneak up on people and sometimes you really do scare the bejesus out of us, like first thing in the morning when I'm quietly getting ready and putting on my eyeliner and suddenly you're just standing there like the baby in the Grudge movies. Minus the black hole mouth. You also love to put your ice cold feet under the shirt of an unsuspecting parent and right into the small of our backs. That is very undesirable though I understand the hilarity as one who has done that to Daddy a bunch of times. #karmaisatinyfrozenfootintheback

We did get Daddy pretty good with a kumquat trick wherein we told him it was super sweet when in fact, it was the most sour fruit on earth. We make a good team.

Love love love you Special Person,