Archive for February, 2011

Presents Day

February 28th, 2011
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My little kid cracks me up. She asked why she had no school Monday. I explained it was President's Day. "Presents Day?" she smiled. That's cute. That's like how she pronounces Valentine's as Balance Time Day.

 "What do I get?" she continued.

"Isn't it a present enough to get a day off?" I asked. I did not have the day off, but she did. She got to hang with the grandparents, and that is always a barrel of laughs. They spoil her rotten. Gifts, lunches out, snacks - whatever she wants. It's her fave.

Speaking of grandparents, she started to sing "All the Single Ladies" by Beyonce, one morning as I did her hair. She only knew the first two lines that go "All the single ladies, all the single ladies." I stopped, amused, and looked at her.

"Who taught you that?" I asked.

"Popo!" she answered.

"Really? Did she also teach you the dance moves?" My mom, a former dancer, keeps the passion for dancing in her heart. She always enrolls in senior classes that teach hula and lower impact dancing. She for years was involved in a seniors club in which the ladies went around and danced for even older people in nursing homes. Not too many years ago, she asked me to burn her a Barry Manilow CD in which Copacabana was set to loop, so she could practice her dance routine to that over and over without hitting play every three minutes on the CD player.

Yes, Olivia replied, and showed me some semi-coordinated steps.

Wow, I thought. What goes on over there when I drop her off for sleep overs?

***

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Two dads

February 25th, 2011
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Most days, my husband or I will drop Olivia off at school, and our babysitter picks her up after school. Therefore, the students have seen all three of us. Apparently, they will tell Olivia when they see the sitter, "Your dad's here."

I wrote a previous blog about how Olivia went through a phase of saying she had two daddies. That was before she was in preschool. Now it's not her, but the other kids saying it. She apparently corrects them and says it's not her dad.

I guess this has been going on a while but I only heard about it recently, and I find it funny. I teased Claus and the sitter that, now this could theoretically be a reality as Hawaii's become the seventh state in the nation to legalize civil unions.

On a more serious note, now that Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 232 into law this week, same sex couples will be able to start entering into civil unions January 1, 2012. State House Representative Tom Brower (23- Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako), who voted for the bill, held a committee on Tuesday to look at the issue of how civil union ceremonies might affect tourism.

"As Chair of our Tourism Committee, I wanted to explore possibilities to boost our market capture. Now that we have legalized civil unions, we might be able to increase tourist numbers as people will see Hawaii as more inclusive destination," he told me after what he called a "successful" public forum.

Of the nine speakers at the meeting, only one was from a hotel (not my employer). Various suggestions included the need for increased advertising, and specifically tailored to the gay market; the creation of more gay infrastructure, and the creation of more gay "anchor" events. Kamalani Wilson of Lesbian & Gay Business of Hawaii is quoted as saying Hawaii is ranked 18 on a list of most desirable places for gays to travel. JoAnne Adams of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii is quoted as saying that worldwide, gay travel represents $84 billion; if would be great if Hawaii could get even one percent of that. Without commenting on the moral controversy surrounding the issue, it's clear that from a purely economic standpoint, there is money to be made here.

Rep. Tom Brower

Rep. Tom Brower

Rep. Brower says he would be open to holding another similar forum if the need arises in the future.

Where do you stand on the new civil unions law? IF you were to attend Rep. Brower's public forum, would you have had suggestions on how to promote gay tourism in Hawaii?

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A laughing matter

February 23rd, 2011
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Ladies, if you could have laughing gas as a painkiller during childbirth, would you? Some recent articles talk about nitrous oxide making a comeback in the obstetrics ward:

http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/14/laughing-gas-is-making-a-comeback-in-the-delivery-room/

It's common in Canada and Great Britian, but not America. Yet. Americans get epidurals which are shot into the spinal cord. Nitrous oxide takes the edge off pain, but doesn't eliminate it. It is a gas, so it's easier to administer.

When I was delivering, I wanted to go drug-free. I was scared by the thought of something being injected into my spinal cord. However, I could not withstand the pain after five hours. Ground down by the spasms, I finally asked for an epidural, before it was too late.

I laid on my side while the doctor inserted the needle in my spine. He warned me that I might feel a cold rush down my leg, and he was right. It went all the way to my toe, and I had minor nerve damage for about six weeks in that toe. I couldn't feel anything. The ground felt weird, as if I had a piece of plastic over just that toe. Eventually, the feeling came back.

Even though the laughing gas doesn't promise to take away the pain, I'd still try it. That's because the epidural didn't fully take it away, either. It left what the nurses called a "window" of pain - a three by three inch area on my stomach that got the full brunt of the contraction pain.

What's your take on laughing gas in the delivery room, and/ or your birth story?

***

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Consular Corps Inaugural Ball

February 21st, 2011
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Over the weekend, about 355 diplomats, politicians, executives, and community leaders gathered to honor the installation of new officers for the Consular Corps of Hawaii. The Corps was started in 1824 by the British government's appointment of Richard Charlton, Consul for the Sandwich Islands. Today, the Consular Corps consists of six career Consulates General and 32 Honorary Consuls representing all continents, including Oceania. My husband is one of them - Honorary Consul of Denmark - which is why we attended.

Our table: Jen, Dad, Mom, me, Claus, Val, Pat (missing: Cindy)

Our table: Jen, Dad, Mom, me, Claus, Val, Pat (missing: Cindy)

Val, Di, Jen

Val, Di, Jen

This year, the Honorable Mark. Recktenwald, Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, installed the following officers:

Incoming Dean Leoncio R. Cardenas, Consul General of the Philippines

Vice-Dean Kusuma Cooray, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka

Secretary Nina Fasi, Honorary Consul of Norway

Treasurer Annie Kaneshiro, Honorary Consular Agent of Tonga

Auditor M. Jan Rumi, Honorary Consul of Morocco

Historial Niklaus R. Schweizer, PhD, Consul Emeritus

(Congratulations!)

DSC02402

Us + Cindy

Claus and me

Claus and me

It was a gala event at the Royal Hawaiian, with the evening marked by a traditional grand entrance through a gauntlet of military swords. The evening began on the lawn with butler-passed Piper-Sonoma Blanc de Blancs, a 100% Chardonnay from Piper Heidsieck in Champagne, and pupus of vegetable lumpia and shrimp fritters. I was too busy joking with singer Jimmy Borges and his wife Vicki, or trying to keep my stiletto heels from aerating the lawn. I missed the appetizers, but that's OK.

My mom and Jimmy Borges - former colleagues

My mom and Jimmy Borges - former colleagues

We migrated inside the Monarch Ballroom for dinner, which was a Traditional Seafood Sabao with Shrimp Scallops (very spicy), Duck Leg Confit on White Beans and Kunia Vegetables, Roasted Chateaubriand with Morel and Cognac Sauce, Macaire Potatoes, and assorted Fresh Vegetables, followed by a fabulous taste of the Philippines dessert buffet. The line formed quickly to sample the Palitaw (a favorite), Leche Flan, Ube Ice Cream (another of my favorites), Mini Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, and Banana Flambe with Dulce de Leche.

Sabao

Sabao

Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand

Dessert

Dessert

Mayor Peter Carlisle gave a speech honoring the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii's Jessica Rich, and shortly thereafter turned the floor back to singer Cathy Foy, whose amazing versatility extends from doing show tunes and Hawaiian classics at the start of dinner, to Earth Wind & Fire and ABBA disco hits, as the crowd was encouraged to dance and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Cindy Paliracio, me, Val

Cindy Paliracio, me, Val

If I didn't have a child to tend to, I would definitely consider renting a hotel room in Waikiki and making a weekend of it. If you're going next year, my practical advice is: Add about 30 minutes to your commute to sit in a bottleneck for the last 3 blocks, including  the line to valet the car. If you leave directly after the emcee signs off, you'll wait 30 minutes for your car, too. The traffic is horrible getting in and out of the hotel.  It's the sheer volume of guests that created a slowdown, but it must be said that the valet staff are hard-working and courteous. This is said not to dampen the experience, but to hopefully enhance it for future attendees.

Other than that, it's a wonderful, interesting, fun experience that we enjoy because we get to taste fine food, listen to great live entertainment, get to know Claus' consular community better, and meeting the most fascinating individuals. Till next year!

***

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Potty training, PM version

February 21st, 2011
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I have the displeasure of now being able to say I have been peed on. More than once. It's called night-time potty training.

My kid's been potty trained for daytime, for about a year - right before she turned three. We didn't attempt to take her out of pull ups at night for a while. People say the child needs to get the daytime version downpat first, which took a few weeks. We then tried to work on potty training for overnight, but she was unable to keep her pull up dry overnight.

We gave it some time and then decided to try it again recently. I thought that maybe having a pull up on was hampering her effort to stay dry at night since psychologically, she knew there would be a crutch. I just went "cold turkey" one night.

I researched what to do, so we had plenty of spare sheets and nightgowns ready. I was prepared for lots of leaks since I knew Olivia would have a lot less control over herself if she were sleeping. We stopped giving her liquids after 5 p.m. and made her pee right before bed. We also woke her up and took her to the toilet right before we went to sleep at 10 p.m. She always has a night light, but we talked to her about staying dry at night, and getting up to walk to the bathroom to pee if she felt she needed to go.

Did it work? No. In a two week span, she stayed dry twice. Once, because she slept at my parents' house for the usual weekend sleep over, and my mother was understandably paranoid about having a urinated-on bed, so she woke up Olivia every three hours to pee. The other time, because she ate a restaurant pizza that was very salty and she was so dehydrated she asked me for water overnight. I denied the request.

What happened was that every night around 1 a.m. she would wet the bed. Around 2 or 3 am she would wake up and come into our room and inform us of such. Claus would go in and change everything immediately and then try to make her go back to sleep. Usually, she would be fully awakened after getting a new set of night clothes on, and she would object to sleeping in her bed. "I want to sleep in your bed," she insisted.

Some nights we held our ground, but towards the end we were getting worn down by the interrupted sleep. She would cry for 10 or 15 minutes about wanting to sleep in our bed. We have no problem with letting her cry herself to sleep, but it also keeps us up. So by the end of a 14 day stretch we were getting mighty tired.

I finally called the pediatrician to see what to do. She told us sometimes kids aren't ready, and that's OK. The doctor said when Olivia can stay dry overnight in her pull ups, then it's time. I guess I was wrong about the psychological crutch thing.

It's fine with me that Olivia go back to pull ups at night. In fact, we all get better rest.

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