Archive for the ‘dad’ Category

A knowledge-free zone!

By
July 27th, 2016



These kids. Ha!

Olivia and two friends were in the back of my car as we were driving somewhere. For some truly unknown reason, I started to hear them discuss the answer to eight times three. That developed into some exchanges about who knows their multiplication tables.

Then Evie said, "Wait! It's summer! Why are we talking about math?"

Jaycie: "Yeah! Who even brought this up?"

Olivia: "Yeah! We're not in school! This is a knowledge-free zone!" I don't even need for it to be summer for me to feel that way sometimes.

I entered the conversation and started pop quizzing the girls on multiplication. Because it was a game, they competed to answer first.

When I did the twos and threes, they were disdainful. "Um, the threes are so easy."

It was pretty funny to see the blank stares and pauses, though, when I asked what's 12 x 12. I could see the gears turning.

To my surprise, Olivia called out the answer first. This is truly amusing since Claus quizzes Olivia every day on her times-table. She HATES it. HAAAATES it.

On a good day, she'll cooperate reluctantly. On a bad day, of which there are more than we care to recount, there's obstinance, fussing, and eventual time outs.

And now she's proud the work paid off. Look how fun math is.

These nine year olds. So cute. I love talking with them. I love that they readily accept me as part of the conversation. I've got to absorb all this now before people turn into surly, secretive teens!

Sleep overs again!

By
July 24th, 2016



Towards the end of my job on the morning shift, I disallowed Olivia from having friends sleep at our house. They stay up so "late" and there's always the need for several reminders to go to sleep and stop playing/ talking/ laughing/ watching TV.

The latest the girls have ever stayed up is around 11 p.m. Then they wake up so dang early, and make more noise. They're excited to be together so they get up at 5 or 6 a.m. What the heck?

Anything past 8 p.m. was too late for me because I needed my sleep and to maintain my rigid schedule. Now that I'm off mornings, I lifted the ban.

Olivia was very excited, and truthfully, I was too. I enjoy domesticity and being part of normal family life.

Evie was the first girl to sleep over in a long time. Olivia was thrilled. They are such good girls.

After dinner, Olivia asked me to come to her room and hang out with them. Yay! I'm invited to be part of the Girls' Club! This is so cool.

They were quietly drawing and coloring on her bed. I curled my body around my daughter and watched the kids while we chatted intermittently. We weren't doing much of anything, but we were still doing so much!

My heart was swirling with contentment to be awake and simply near my daughter and her friend. It was so amazing.

Chronic fatigue acted like a blanket, and it dampened my entire being, most of my waking hours. I appreciated kid-time before, but it's so much more vibrant when I'm feeling alive and energetic.

She's nine, and I'm totally here for the experience. Gratitude.

Cake and candles at Ice Palace

By
July 22nd, 2016



For Olivia's ninth birthday, we had her party at Ice Palace. I know I've been blogging about several different way  we've marked the occasion, but it wasn't by design that we stretched her festivities out for weeks. It was a matter of timing and scheduling.

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So this day was the official party with friends. There has to be a cake-and-candles day, right? After going through a couple of other ideas, in the end, she wanted Ice Palace.

Oh, Ice Palace. How noisy you are for old ears.

Non-skaters.

Non-skaters.

On the plus side, it was fairly simple, and a great way to beat the summer heat.

A bunch of little girls tired themselves out on the ice for hours while we parents watched and chatted. I swear, I feel like my parents, who I thought were so boring sitting on the side when I was a kid and they wouldn't come swim/ play/ participate. I get it now, Mom.

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When you buy the party package at Ice Palace, you get pizza and soda. The kids remind me of gazelles at the water's edge before an alligator surfaces. They were at the table for ten minutes inhaling the pizza, and then they disappeared in a herd back to the ice, because they loved it so.

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I have proudly made Olivia's birthday cake every year for the past eight years, except this one! I'm so sad I broke my streak, though I had a good reason; I was terribly busy in the lead-up to the party.

We bought a cake and while it was pretty, the candle stole the show. It was a musical flower candle that played a tune as the petals spun in a circle. So much fun!

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That was a great few hours. I love that Olivia loved her day!

Sea Life Park a great way to spend a birthday

By
July 20th, 2016



For Olivia's ninth birthday gift, we took her to Sea Life Park where she swam with a sea lion, watched a dolphin show, and cavorted with winged friends in the aviary. It was so much fun!

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The sea lion tour started with a little briefing about the difference between sea lions and seals (sea lions can "walk" on their flippers, have ear flaps, and are noisy), where the park gets its sea lions from (California), and other fun facts about the life and care of these pinnipeds.

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We were in the water learning about this, while the trainer brought out the sea lion and had it float past us so we could all see and touch the body parts she was teaching us about - big flippers, external ears, coarse fur mottled with algae.

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Olivia was thrilled when it came past her. Part of being a mom is enjoying seeing your child's reaction, and sometimes I think I spend more time looking at her face than I do the actual event itself.

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Sure, I love animals and I adore being near this creature, but it was so neat to see Olivia's wonder and joy at being so close to it. Maybe this is the kind of moment that inspires a lot of young visitors to become marine biologists or environmentalists.

After we captured our photos with the sea lion and concluded that very memorable swim, it was time for us to explore the rest of the park. We like all the exhibits and took in the famous Dolphin Cove show, which features Atlantic and Pacific Bottlenose dolphins and the hybrid, Kekaimalu, a Wholphin.

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The Wholphin is the only one of its kind in human care, and as the name implies, it's half whale, half dolphin. False Killer Whale and Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, to be specific. She was born at Sea Life Park on May 15, 1985.

Olivia saw an aviary that she wanted to check out, which opened in September 2013. If you enjoy birds, you will love this, as we did.

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In the Manu Aviary, you can interact and feed about 400 lovebirds and cockatiels, which are all extremely friendly and very skilled at begging for bird seed. When you walk in, there are staffers who hand out bird seed lollipops, and instruct you to simply hold your hand out to get the birds to land on you.

Claus with birds eating his hat string.

Claus with birds eating his hat string.

They do poop at will, though for the half hour we all spent in there, we didn't get bombed. Surprise, huh?

"The aviary was created during a time when the park was looking to open value-added, interactive elements to the park that would allow guests to get closer to the animals.  The original thought was to have lorikeets, which are popular at many mainland theme parks because they are colorful and drink nectar out of cups.  But loris are on the Department of Agriculture restricted list because they are not indigenous to the islands.  So instead of bringing in birds from the mainland, SLP decided to buy cockatiels and lovebirds from a retiring local bird breeder. So yes, while these aren't technically seabirds, they function as a way for guests to interact with birds and develop an appreciation for them, which enhances the Park's mission of education and conservation," explains Scott Kim, who works with the Park.

It's such a charming time. It was the surprise highlight of our park visit, actually. The little birdies are so cute and colorful.

Bird butt. One landed on my iPhone as I was going to take a photo!

Bird butt. One landed on my iPhone as I was going to take a photo!

Birds have been a part of Sea Life Park since its opening in the 1960s. The park today does not collect or train birds, but it will accept hurt or sick sea birds brought to the park.

It has a Seabird Rehabilitation Center where, each year, hundreds of seabirds are taken in and treated for injury, exhaustion, dehydration or illness - that includes broken wings, cat or dog wounds, fishing line entanglements, and fish hooks.

The goal is to heal and release the bird back into the wild. Sometimes, the birds who come are so young, the staff needs to teach them how to fly again!

Sea Life Park is the only place where someone may bring an injured seabird 24 hours a day, seven days a week - even in the middle of the night. That's quite a commitment to caring for our native Hawaiian species.

More at http://www.sealifeparkhawaii.com/.

 

Feeling old at Ice Palace

By
July 13th, 2016



On her exact birthday, a Saturday, we took Olivia to Ice Palace, per her request. We have a party for later, but there were schedule conflicts so we couldn't do it on the day of her birthday.

We met up with her oldest friend, Amanda, and her family, which we've become close to. The girls darted off on the ice and stayed there until "that slow moving thing that cleans the ice" forced them off for intermissions.

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In the first 20 minutes, we parents jumped on the rink, too. My poor, poor husband. In the first ten minutes, he fell straight on his butt and hurt his back. Unfortunately, he was nursing a pulled muscle, and this aggravated it.

I'm certainly not an ice skater by any stretch, but balance is my superpower, and living a foot closer to the ground certainly is an asset here.

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He's such a trouper. He got up and kept trying until he fell straight back again.

He was afraid of hurting his back again so he braced the fall directly with his elbows. So now those are deeply bruised.

Of all the ways to fall, this guy really took a licking. He took his cue and stayed off the ice for the rest of the time we were there.

The girls asked me skate with them now and then, and the other dad, Mike, challenged me to a race around the rink, so I stayed on for another hour.

I could feel my muscles hurting in new places, and my ankle and arch rubbing me a huge blister against the crappy rental skate, so I knew it was time to stop. Plus, racing Mike left me winded. When did I get so old?

The girls, however, couldn't be pulled off the ice. They'd come in for little intervals to eat their pizza and rush off again. "This is so much fun!" they insisted.

We old folks minded a spot on the table, chatting with each other and rubbing our feet. They'd burst over and interrupt us. Kids.

I kept trying to get a photo of the girls on the ice, but it was like herding cats. They totally ignored me. When I had my phone finally ready, one would be running off. "Hey! Come back! I want to take---" and they were gone again.

I remember doing things like this with my parents when I was a kid. No matter where we were - the pool/ beach, roller skating at Da Rink at Chinese Cultural Plaza, Castle Park in Halawa, or anywhere else active - they'd do exactly this. Stand on the side and talk.

How can that be fun?, I wondered. Parents are so boring.

Well, I get it now.

The kids didn't want to leave, but we all decided two hours was enough of the noise and the longing to recline on a sofa. Olivia ended up sleeping over at Amanda's house.

"Best birthday ever!" she pronounced before hopping in Amanda's car. No long hug, no kiss, just - parents as an afterthought.

*sigh*

You'd think that having a Saturday night would be all Party Town for Claus and me, but no. He sat on his heating pad minding the clock for when he could take his next ibuprofen, while we watched maybe 30 minutes of TV before calling it a night at 7:30 p.m.

I sank my tired body between the sheets, grateful that at least I had a body clock-schedule to blame for a socially unacceptable bedtime. Hey, I got up at 4 and that was sleeping in for me.

I don't know what Claus' excuse is. Or maybe, we're just old. We are officially now our parents.

Actually, our parents were smarter. That's why they never participated in the activities and just stood on the side. I didn't see them nursing a pulled muscle at night.

I still have much to learn from my mother and aunts. I'm going to take the tip for next time.

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