Sunday, December 30, 2007

WII Games my kids love and hate

Since I obtained a WII through my blog connections, I figured it was only fair to blog about it.

  • Super Mario Galaxy - my daughter is amazing at this game
C hates it, so we bought him some Orange Box thing - the best value in videogame history it touts. So far it seems to me like Half Life whose name I only remember, because it's a fun name for a first person shooter game
  • Lego Star Wars - still going strong though I bought it for them as my birthday gift near Thanksgiving. They laugh and laugh at this game. They never tire of the jumping and running around. My husband is amused by the Star Wars story.
  • Guitar Hero though they both love to watch it, not play it.
  • Boogie - thought it's not so fun for me, because I have to sing "Doncha" over and over and over again. I wish WII would come out with a real karoke game.
  • WII Sports - a surprise one, but my son still loves the fishing game and sometimes the shooting game, though sometimes he says it's too scary.

  • Cars - The voices and animation and crazy driving held my boy's interest for a while, but after a couple weeks he stopped asking to play it. It's not interesting enough to hold adult interest and he still needs an adult to play with him.
  • Zelda - "Too scary" say both of them, though they happily watch the Lego figures blow apart. My husband likes it, but not enough to play it when they're not around.
Crossposted to my LJ.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mostly good Christmas

I had a mostly good Christmas. A few rocky spots, but the kids romped through with minimal crying.

They did stay up until 11pm on Christmas Day and then Little T fell out of bed at 4am with a loud thump and woke up crying. This symbolizes my Christmas for me. Mostly peaceful with occasional and unexpected thumps.

I'm still figuring out where the thumps come from. Part of it is that we visit my parents' house very infrequently except during the holidays. Mostly it's all managing the kids so that stress is minimized. Little T in particular has a certain routine and when that routine is disrupted, he cries. For a typical kid, this would be just part of the holidays. With Little T, I get into this space where I feel he's wasting calories. A bad space. We're a few months away to removing the g-tube forever. A feat we've accomplished by not stressing about calories and just working on feeding him.

Little T ate and ate and ate at my parents. I've never seen the boy eat so much. Honestly this was the highlight of my Christmas. I say this not to minimize the other joys of Christmas, but just that seeing him eating with such gusto after months and months of struggling with bags and bags of messy formula and vomiting and reflux filled me with such joy and pride.

Another joy was to see my little niece so healthy and active and curious and to watch Little T's utter adoration of her. He seems to regard her as his younger sister. In Burmese, there is no word for cousin, your cousins are your brothers and sisters. That's clearly how he feels. He loves babies in general. But he greets my niece as if she was the best baby on earth. She of course responds with a joyful smile. My niece doesn't bestow her smiles on everyone. She's a serious intense little girl who has things to grab, people to look at. It's funny how even at 6 months, personality is clear. Even as a newborn, she gazed at you with great intensity.

I had other joys and other rocky spots, a personal rocky spot -- my wrists and hands just gave out at about 7pm last night and started just aching a lot. A wrist soak and stretches and a good night's sleep got them to tentative okayness. But they are on the edge. Typing is one of the least stressful things I can do with them. Even so, I will rest them and end this post.

Monday, December 24, 2007

We hold it within ourselves to be good family

My package for my parents has spent Christmas eve sitting in the UPS warehouse about 40 miles from our house, so alas not in time for Christmas. I ordered in on Dec 18, so UPS does not get my Christmas cheer this year. But it does mean we will visit them again once the package arrives, so I guess it is good cheer for my parents.

We did avert one Christmas crisis by buying the last two Christmas puddings at Andronico's. Otherwise my mom would make it herself which takes at least 7 hours. I kid you not.

But the kids are really excited this year mostly about spending time with extended family and that's what Christmas is about for me. A friend who's had a particularly hard year this year blogged "We hold it within ourselves to be good family." And that's what I strive for.

Personally I don't care if we have Christmas pudding or not, but it matters a lot to my dad. So after a lunch with my brother's in-laws, we drove to Andronico's. My son was already fast asleep and my daughter who normally loves shopping refused to leave the car. I thought about whether to spend the wrist points to get out of the car and carry those puddings. My husband offered to do it. I briefly wished my service dog was already here. But I decided that getting the right pudding was worth it and my husband doesn't know about Christmas pudding. So off I went. I returned and discovered they had overcharged us. My husband just said he'd go back. He understood the cost to me to go back again.

My mom only vaguely understands my daily pain and my dad not all. My service dog may teach them. I have no idea. But I've decided it doesn't matter. My children don't understand the costs of the things I do except in vague terms. Sometimes we talk about wrist points. And I don't really want them to. I try to be good family.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The flush of pride

First he started toilet training at school and now the past two days at home. The exact details are not fit for a blog that I assume one day he will read. Cognitive ability has never been one of his problems. Anyway what I will say is that it involves standing on a little blue stool and a look of pure pride and joy on his face.

It's very difficult for him to maintain his balance with his one arm. I'm so proud of him. I think he's very brave. But then he's always been incredibly brave. Flushing which seems to scare most little kids fascinates him.

And my children are the only people I will hug after such an activity and before washing. But that's mother love for you. No photo again for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lifechanging news, exciting news and commenting

My first and best news is that I will getting my service dog in February. I was invited to Team Training at Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). It's the best holiday gift I've ever received!! I feel incredibly excited and blessed.

Around the New Year CCI will send me an enormous binder chock full of info basically everything I'm expected to learn in Team Training, so I expect to blog more about this. Not the contents themselves since that belongs to CCI, but rather my reactions to it all. I should note that CCI has a pretty strict policy against not revealing the name of my dog or identifying details about my dog until graduation which will also be my sixth wedding anniversary. My human partner has graciously agreed to share the day with my new dog partner.

I do like the CCI logo a lot, but as it involves a person in a wheelchair, it doesn't seem quite appropriate to put in my blog as I'm not in a wheelchair. I know it's the universal symbol for disabled or special needs which I definitely claim. And I even have a disabled parking placard. Still I'm at a loss what picture to put for this post, since I don't know what my future partner will look like. Oh well.

Not life changing, but exciting Peter Jackson will be producing The Hobbit in 2009 in a two part series.
It was my extended family tradition to watch Lord of the Rings each Christmas.

Of less importance to me personally, but of import to readers of this blog, you can comment now using Open ID.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here Comes Another Bubble popped (sorta)

I'm annoyed that one of the funniest Youtube videos to come out in a long time "Here Comes Another Bubble" by the Richter Scales was taken down on request by the DMCA. In the meantime, all Youtube has is this very poor quality video of a live performance where you can't even hear the lyrics that well, but it's the best I can give you as an immediate link.

According to the Richter Scales blog,
the video was taken down because Lane Hartwell complained it used her copyrighted images of Owen Thomas, a tv reporter for heaven's sake. So he's a public figure and therefore his images are in the public domain. Ironically the video's still at Valley Wag. (at least when I blogged this post)

I'd like to know which videos on youtube don't use some copyrighted images of public figures. Youtube would go out of business if every video had every copyright checked.

I replied tongue in check on the blog that I think if they hadn't made fun of Larry Page and Sergey Brin the founders of Google who own Youtube, it might have stayed up. Since Silly Valley is about this big, I'm actually friends of friends of the founders and I think they have a sense of humor, but people are afraid. And frankly it really is a bubble.

How I can resist but to blog about a video with several men singing "Won't you blog about this song" in lovely acapella tune? Plus the video includes a baby blogging.

Richter Scales, I wish you well and I hope your bubble video gets back up on youtube.

Up with Internet Freedom and satire. Down with silly legalese. Satire is protected under free speech. Get a clue Youtube and DMCA.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Santa Paws

I've been a pretty good girl this year. Here's my real wish list

1. No more hospital stays for Little T. I know a year is a whole lot to ask when we have only managed a few months, but that's my biggest wish.

2. No more visits to the ER or Urgent Care. Yes you gave us fewer than last year and they were not nearly as scary as previous years, but I'd really like none next year.

3. Little T's g-tube to be removed forever. His GI doctor says he's close - maybe 3 months and maybe that will allow my first two wishes to happen.

4. Better health for my parents

5. A service dog of my very own

6. A path to writing success

7. Peace for my relatives who struggle everyday just to get by

Thank you very much for your gifts this year including, but not exclusively:

1. Little T's improving health and learning how to talk

2. Little T's wonderful preschool teacher

3. Special K's love of reading and thriving in Kindergarten with her own wonderful teacher. And Special K's continued good health. Something I sometimes forget to mention, but never take for granted.

4. My friend L who drove me and my kids all over the place until I could drive myself and has in many other ways been a true friend this year.

5. C finally feeling things are okay enough to go ahead

6. My brother's healthy baby girl who also seems very bright and curious and social. Little T and she adore each other. As if in solidarity, she even has a hemangioma on her left arm, though hers is harmless like 99.7% of hemangiomas.

7. Our prosperity when others around the world including my own relatives have so little

8. Although I am never pleased to see horrible violence, I'm pleased that the world has noticed Burma just a little.

9. All the kind CCI people who showed me their dogs or sent me photos of dogs this year or wrote to me about dogs. You make waiting just a little easier.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Newshour in HD brings me joy

I got an email last night from KQED that McNeil Lehrer...sorry.The Newshour with Jim Lehrer will be in HD starting 12/17. This makes me far more excited than it should.

C says "it's not like broadcast news where they have sexy anchors." Do I really want to see Jim in high definition detail? I do. Real news is not pretty or glamorous. It's like Jim, who's been around the world.

Happy Holidays, Jim. Please don't feel you need extra makeup or anything. We love you the way you are.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Reluctant Lactivist

I found out sometime last year that I'm a lactivist or at least the NY Times told me so.

Ironically when the article came out, much of my breastfeeding was a very private affair. You see, I was almost exclusively pumping due to my son's health problems. And there's really no discreet way to pump in public. Only Madonna wears huge breastfeeding horns in public.

My son would breastfeed once a day but only in the most private of circumstances. A dream (not a wet one) of those who would ban breastfeeding from public places.

But I never felt dirty or embarrassed breastfeeding. I've never received any comments or dirty looks or been asked to stop. Most of the time the world seemed oblivious to the fact that I was breastfeeding. With my daughter who has always been healthy and focused on food, we breastfeed anytime anywhere she was hungry.

Maybe it's living in Silicon Valley. Maybe it's because my Burmese mother taught me that breastfeeding was normal and natural and I watched both of my siblings breastfeed. Or maybe it's because I'm

half-British and so used to doing things discreetly. But I'm a lactivist, because I believe that women should be allowed to breastfeed in public. I also think breastfeeding should be discussed and taught to all moms.

I think breastfeeding like dancing is something you learn by watching other people do and doing it yourself. It's not something you can learn from some book. Also like any dance, it takes two people and while it's not PC to say so, some partners just can't dance. My breastfeeding dance is frankly more like the funky chicken then the graceful waltz found in the La Leche guides, but it took my son a long long time to learn to latch on properly. If he had been my first, I'm not sure if we would have learned to breastfeed successfully. But my daughter came first and she was extremely eager. The second try she latched on and would not let go. Hoover and barracuda accurately describe her breastfeeding style. So I was an experienced partner by the time by my son was born.

One thing did bother me. The article states that some lactivists compare public breastfeeding to gays holding hands. Once when I held hands with a woman, I got a shocked look. So the reactions I've received personally are the same. And in some states both can put you in jail. However I've never heard of a woman being beaten up or had her life threatened for breastfeeding in public.

Crossposted to Silicon Valley Moms Blog

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How do you take holiday photo cards?

As you may have read before, I have photo phobia, and holiday cards are no exception. Try to get two small children to look at the camera and smile at the same time. For me, it involves me singing Christmas carols and bribes of candy. Even then the photo comes out looking like I have two slightly deranged children (mad usually only when trying to get them ready for school or photos), instead of two adorable children (which they are most of the time). As you can see, I have photographic proof that my children can look adorable at the same, but they're not looking at the camera. And the dear friend who took this photo has other things to do. This was an entire afternoon of her time.

Does anyone have tips for me?

I took over 30 photos with the digital before patience gave way. I'm not sure if it was me or the kids who were more sick of the whole process.

Don't you love when they change things w/o telling you

Well LJ has been sold to Russia which they did announce. But it seems like Google decided to enforce a stricter password scheme without telling anyone. Just one day I couldn't log in. Grrr.