August 2011

Monthly Archive

summer send-off

Posted by lynn on 26 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: melina, nalani

Next week Melina starts pre-K in the Tiger room, Nalani starts visiting the Toddler table at daycare, and Kai starts third grade. We’ve had loads of fun this summer, and the kids – especially the littlest one – continue to grow by leaps and bounds.




After an on-queue start to language (especially “mo ma” for “more milk”) at around a year, Nalani lost her words. By 14 months she had reverted back to little more than grunts and hand motions, probably because they got her just what she wanted. She’s always been chatty in her own way, but for the past couple months it’s been nonsense in absolute perfect American English cadence.



Happily for us, she recently rediscovered a few sounds we can all understand. Favorite words include “bird” (especially when looking at the birdie pictures in her room), “nana” for banana, “ma” for milk, and of course “mo” when she wants more. We hear things that sound like “good morning” repeated back when we say it to her, and she often says “yeah” when we ask her questions. She has started her own sign for food, pointing one finger gently at her mouth until we give her more to eat.



She’s also started using a spoon (semi successfully) and hates to be fed by anyone else, which makes things like yogurt or applesauce a messy endeavor. She still naps horribly at home (the most we get is 20 minutes in her crib), but beautifully at daycare. She also sleeps perfectly, 12-13 hours, nearly every night. She loves bedtime so much that she’ll walk right over to her sleep sack and sit on it so we can zip her in. And she goes to bed wide awake, with or without milk (but usually with a song), and nearly always without a peep.



Physically, she climbs full flights of stairs with a little too much ease (especially when I’m not watching closely at Mina’s preschool) and can open the closet door in the big kids’ room. When exiting the kitchen, she wisely throws things she wants down the small stairs to get them into the family room ahead of her. Sometimes this includes her baby stroller, which always lands with a pretty big thud. At certain playgrounds she can do the full circuit of stairs then down the slide on the tot lot, all by herself.




A few weeks ago Melina told me, “When Nalani’s a little older we’ll have three kids.” And a few days later, “I want Nalani to be three so she’ll start copying me.” Big sister really wants to play with little sister, and I bet it will happen sooner than any of us thinks. Mina may not see it but Nali is already copying her: She carries her bacchi all over the house, just like big sis. She pulls on Mina’s hair, just like big sis does to her. And she loves playing in big sister’s bedroom and preschool classroom more than just about anywhere.



But Melina has plenty of things that baby sis won’t appreciate for a while. This summer she had her first viewing of Wizard of Oz (with Grandma Rapoza) and Star Wars (with Daddy). I’m still shocked she made it through the wicked witch and monkey scenes in Wizard. As for Star Wars, she loved Princess Leia (but “only at the end when her hair was different”) and really wanted to see “Dark Vader” with his helmet off.

Melina’s drawings have become much more intricate in the past month alone. She tends to pick a theme and practice it for a week or so at a time. Recent endeavors include hearts, cupcakes, and our whole family standing under a sunny sky. All her drawings now include “all the colors of the rainbow,” including, you guessed it, pink!

To illustrate it’s not all about pretty and princesses with our fairy-infatuated four-year-old, she has started wearing pants (I haven’t bought her any in so long they’re all too short), and one day last month she asked me this:

Melina: Can I ride a rocket ship to outer space one day?
Me: Sure, if you become an astronaut.
Mina: Or an alien.


Posted by lynn on 08 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: family, friends, kai, melina, nalani, travel

Last week we took a road trip down to Southern California to visit family, and more importantly, experience Disneyland with the kids. Take a look at all our trip photos on Flickr.



A few weeks ago Melina asked me, “Are the princesses at Disneyland REAL?” Fantasy and reality walk a fine line for the preschool set. Melina is keenly aware that the line exists, and for the past six months or so has been asking plenty of questions to try to pinpoint where it stands.



Once at Disneyland, she aptly pointed out that Tinker Bell and Princess Jasmine were real (as were the many little girls walking around in Jasmine, Ariel, and Cinderella costumes), but Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy were not. They were people wearing costumes complete with headgear, which is also why they couldn’t speak. Logical, right?



Our first family trip to Disneyland held plenty of fun and discovery for all of us, and by all I mean six kids and six grown-ups. We road-tripped down to visit Cyndie and Rich in South Pasadena a few days early, then met up with my parents and my sis and her family for two full days of Disney fun, complete with a swimming pool at our down-the-block Anaheim hotel.



A run-down of some favorites:

- Kai absolutely loved Pirates of the Caribbean, which is a standing favorite of my own. All 12 of us rode together before the fireworks on night one, and our family rode again the next day. Melina was scared the first time and kept confirming with me that the pirates were all pretend. By round two she knew what to expect and gave it a hesitant thumbs-up.



- Melina most liked meeting Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow and riding the new Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure.
- Joey and Kai both loved Star Tours. Melina rode, too, but wasn’t a huge fan.
- Nalani adored It’s a Small World. She’d been super cranky in the afternoon heat, but as soon as we (again all 12 of us!) got on the boat her face lit up. Through the whole ride she kept saying “oooooo…” and pointing at the musical figures.



- We all (except maybe Nali and Ella) enjoyed the fireworks show from New Orleans square on night one. Far better than our view of bayside fireworks on July 4th from the Berkeley Rose Garden!
- Despite the insane crowds and wait, my parents and I found the World of Color water/light/fire show in California Adventure spectacular.



- Somehow Stacie and I got Lucas (5) and Melina (4) to ride Space Mountain. Melina is barely 40 inches tall but by squeaking by a whole world of rides opened up to her. Since it’s pitch black on the ride I couldn’t see her reaction, but as soon as the coaster came to a halt she said, “Mommy, I don’t want to ride that again.” She didn’t mind the roller coaster per se, but didn’t like the dark. Fair enough.



The only real downer was the heat. We Berkeleyites just aren’t used to temps in the mid- to high-80s, especially spending a full day in that full sun. Next visit (which will probably be when Nalani starts asking to visit Mickey, Minnie, and Tinker Bell) will definitely not be mid-summer. Maybe by then Melina will have worked up the courage to brave Space Mountain with me again.