Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ian's Last Month as a Baby

Today marks 23 months for Ian. A month from today, he will no longer be a baby, but a full fledged toddler!

It makes me wonder what he will look like and what he will be doing a year from now, when we're coming up on the big 0-3. What about 5 years from now when he's catching his first yellow bus to school...or 2022, when he's getting his driver's license? I guess for now, I'll stick with planning his 2nd birthday and getting ready for his next milestones... talking and running, which are both probably right around the corner.

This week Ian had school pictures, which I am anxious to see, and also received several neat books as a gift from a coworker of mine. His favorite was a book about trucks that has wheels on the front and back covers, so when the book is closed he can push it like a toy truck. It is almost all he has wanted to play with for the past 2 days. Another book has silly eyes and is ironically the very book he looked at with awe in the kids' area at Starbucks on Saturday.

Today, I arrived at daycare for him just as they were getting ready to go outside to play. He was VERY upset that we weren't going out with the other kids. This is the same boy that was petrified of outside just a week ago!

I am sad to report that the swimming lessons I had hoped he could start this Sunday will need to wait. The only weekend class for his age group is full, but there are plenty of openings in the infinite number of weekday morning classes. I know it's crazy, but not every mother in our area is a stay at home mom, so Ian's on the waiting list for May. I get very frustrated at the fact that almost all classes or play groups happen on weekday mornings around here. Yes, Ian is essentially in an all day play group and does tons of fun things, but I would love to participate too, without feeling like I'm choosing between a career and my child. I'm sure in time I'll find a happy medium, but for now, I'm just irritated. Sorry for the rant.

Below are a few pictures from this week. Ian in his school picture outfit, what happens when I'm not home for dinner, and Ian's sudden interest in step closer to fulfilling my hopes of having a child who is a reader (even if, for now, he just wants to hold them).

P.S. Happy Anniversary to Shawn and me...we celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary yesterday with no hoopla. By 6pm, Ian was in bed and we were on separate couches watching different TV shows... Ah romance!

Ready for school pictures. I was scared to death to put him in this outfit for daycare, but in the end, they changed the kids right after taking pictures, so it remained wearable for another day.

Chatting it up with Polli before school.

I went to they gym right after work Monday and missed dinner. This is probably a good example of why I don't take "alone time" often.

Ian's first pop up book. He promptly ripped the barn door off right after I took this picture.

A few chapters after breakfast is a great way to start the day.

He is in love with his truck book with's as though the idea was dreamed up just for him.

Dinosaur book with oogley eyes. He saw this same book at Starbucks and liked it. What an amazing coincidence.

He liked putting ham chunks on the wheel and spinning it for a while, eating it, and doing it again with the next piece. Crazy kid!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekend Miscellaneous

We had another sunny weekend and were on a roll with the whole outside thing. In our neighborhood, there is a park every few blocks, some more conducive to younger kids than others, but we drove a half mile or so to another park on Saturday AM. We were the only two at this park and Ian liked the see saw bouncy toys, but was not thrilled at all about the swing. We'll have to revisit that concept a little later into the spring or summer, but for now, it was a bit too much.

Grandma Trish came over today for a visit and we had a great time, once again, outside. We walked to Starbucks, picked up some dog treats at our nearby natural pet food store, and hung out at the park for a while. Trish brought with her a very sweet gift a friend made for Ian, a fleece blanket, which will be his lovey at Grandma's house. It was made of an adorable car/truck pattern and Ian was really interested in the wheels on the vehicles, naturally.

Also, our niece Ashleigh made Ian a cute paper mache mouse. Not sure why, but she did. :-) It was really cute and we tried to get a picture of Ian with it, but he was not interested. It was as big as him and even Polli wasn't sure about it. Sorry Ashleigh, but it will have to go in storage until Ian gets older or we run out of storage room, whichever comes first. We really appreciate the thought and effort that went into making it.

It was really nice to have such great weather and we really count ourselves lucky to have weather like this in February. Nice weather this early does tend to come back and bite us, as it typically jump starts our plants and trees...and then a frost or snow comes in March, really screwing up our landscaping projects. We'll see what March brings...but Shawn actually cut the grass yesterday and I don't think we've ever had to start that weekly task this early.

Anyway, we also went shoe shopping this weekend. Sadly, not for me. I was concerned that a pair or two of Ian's shoes were getting too small since he would cry as soon as we started putting them on. I decided to take him to the Stride Rite store to get his feet measured and pick up a couple pair of shoes. I know they're pricey, but we haven't really splurged on anything yet for Ian and thought of all the things that should fit just right, it's shoes. I just about passed out when the woman announced that he is a 6.5 wide. We've been buying him 5.5's, and his everyday shoes are 5's, and from Target, so they're probably a generic width and not wide enough. If only he could have told me "Hey lady, I'm crying for a reason. These things hurt!"

I bought two pair of shoes and we headed out to run more errands. From that store to our car in the parking lot took almost 30 minutes (when figuring in ramps, elevators, parking lot navigation etc.) and when we got to the car and I pulled Ian out of the stroller, a display shoe was underneath him. He had shoplifted a shoe! We made the 30 minute trek back to the store to return it and then made the 30 minute trip AGAIN back to the car. Uggh. I did think it was funny, but wasn't about to keep the shoe...I had just learned first hand how much those things cost and would have felt horrible.

Ian has school pictures tomorrow and I will be reluctantly putting him in his Easter outfit for the day so he'll look spiffy for the occasion. I fully expect a mess at the end of the day...and a trip for a new outfit later, but I'll take my chances. Also, Ian turns 23 months old on Thursday. It will be the last month that I automatically announce his age in months. In another month, he'll be 2. It sounds so grown up!

I got some flack for my post about my Kindle...I know it's completely unacceptable to post about non-Ian related topics. I'll try not to have a life of my own ever again. Sorry, mom! To make up for it, here are a few misc pics from the weekend.

At another neighborhood park. This is near the golf course homes, so there were fancier toys than on our street. He liked this "bouncy bouncy" toy.

...The swings, not so much.

Also, not quite ready to make friends with giant paper mache mice.

Polli the friendly ghost (Ian loves to throw his blanket on Polli and she doesn't really mind it much either.)

Afternoon snack for Ian and Polli

Ian liked his new blanket. He actually noticed the wheels on the vehicles. Such attention to detail (or an unhealthy obsession with wheels).

Just a cute picture. No reason.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's Not Always About the Kids!

Today's post is 99% unrelated to the things that have consumed my life for the last 2 years... Frenchies, Adoption, Babies, China, and Adoption... or worded another way, Adopting a Frenchie and a baby from China. It pretty much sums up what I've spent my time thinking and doing.

Today, I'm bringing you an almost Ian free blog post to talk about my newest baby...My brand new Amazon Kindle!

Now that we've been home for 3 months and are starting to settle into our comfy little life, I realized it was high time that I get back into some of my "pre-Ian" habits. That means exercising a little bit more (made easier by the Bowflex and free weights we bought right after coming home) and having more "me" time, which I don't really give myself very often. Now that Ian gets up at 5:30am, he's asleep no later than me about 4 hours before bed to do things without little fingers in the way... Quiet chores, internet surfing, email, extra work left over from the day...and my #1 habit from my old life: reading. I used to put away a couple of books a week, typically with a fiction and non fiction book going at the same time. After we returned from China I didn't turn a single page.

One thing I can't resist is new technology, so with the release of the Amazon Kindle, I became very interested in reigniting my reading habit with what I think will ultimately be a huge step in making e-readers mainstream. I've been close to buying other e-readers in the past, but was afraid of changing file types, DRM, and lack of best sellers for something that would ultimately become obselete. With the Kindle backed by Amazon, the best online book reseller (among other things...I buy tons from Amazon), I felt confident that I wouldn't be left with a bunch of worthless files in 5 years. Think IPod but for books. Most people said MP3 players would never get off the ground. Apple changed all of that. I think Amazon has the ability to do that for books, too.

Once I'd decided to make the leap and buy one, I found that the backlog for the Kindle is huge. I decided to get on the waiting list and wait it out, but impatience got the best of me and I found myself on Ebay and in an auction for a brand new sealed, unregistered Kindle... with less than 5 minutes left to bid. I placed a bid with a minute to go, fully expecting one of the two top bidders' reserves to immediately beat me. 30 seconds later, I refreshed and saw the "Congratulations!" banner. I'd snuck in and won the auction for $6 over the Amazon price with $15 shipping and no tax, meaning I got my Kindle for $3 less, net, than if I had placed my order on Amazon. That was Monday and it arrived today!

I put it down long enough to log on and write this post, watch Survivor and Lost...and then I'll be back to it. It truly is the addiction everyone promised it would be.

Amazon has a great description of it's features, but essentially, it's a 10 ounce, paperback sized device that uses E-Ink technology, meaning I'm not reading a backlit monitor style screen, which is what kills my eyes about PDA's and monitors. It is truly a words on paper-like solution, which revolutionizes reading digital media. It's also just as easy to read in bright light, which makes it great for vacations (when I actually get one...where I'm not chasing a toddler around the whole time).

It's onboard memory holds approximately 200 books and can support added memory for more if necessary. Amazon has almost 100,000 books for it so far, most for less than half the list price available for download. It's a little hard to essentially re-buy books I have already, but haven't read...and buying books can be done instantly and wirelessly directly from the device, which makes it almost TOO easy to buy books. The coolest thing, in my opinion, is that I can browse on the Kindle for any available book and get a free 3 chapter sample within a few seconds...from almost anywhere in the US... So, if I'm in the grocery store waiting in line and see a new book on an endcap...think it looks interesting... do a quick search, in a few seconds for it on my Kindle... read a review... and download a sample. Before the checker scans my first item, I'm starting the first chapter of the book. Cool.

What I will miss is the feel of turning pages. There is something about holding a book in your hands and watching the left hand side get thicker than the right, slowly but surely. Some books that are purchased with much anticipation have a different feel than casually purchased books. I'll miss those. Also, I do fear that I will forever feel like I'm on page 1. It is hard to tell how I'll gauge my reading progress.

There are a bunch of other features I haven't mentioned, and it has a few cons, but after only having it for a few hours, I already have 5 books purchased and about 40 samples loaded. It will be an amazing change to lugging books around on vacation and will make taking a handful of half read books anywhere with me a snap. Now, I'm not sure how I'll read in the hot tub at the gym...or in the pool at my parent's house, but I'm sure they'll come up with some kind of cover given enough demand for one. Otherwise, a zip lock bag might be my best option.

That's my Ian-Free rant... Now, if you've still reading, here's an Ian/Polli tidbit:

Polli is normally really good about going about her business as usual after Ian goes to sleep, but tonight, she kept going to his door, sniffing under it, and then whining and scratching at the door. At one point, she looked at me with panic in her eyes and all I could think of was Lassie. "What's that girl? Ian's trapped in the crib slats?". So I took the risk and we went in his room, looked around in the dark, saw that he was sleeping soundly and still breathing, and I ushered her back out in the hall before he could wake up and see me standing there, which wouldn't make a fun night for anyone. The picture below is what Polli has been doing for the last hour. She misses her brother, I guess... Either that or Ian's Diaper Genie needs to be emptied!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ian's Day in the Sun

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle, and almost reached 60 degrees GASP! My parents will be laughing as they bask in the Arizona sun. While we actually get beautiful summers, days like this are few and far between this time of year...and there's nothing more gorgeous than our mountain fringed neighboorhood on a clear day in the winter.

Today was also a "teacher inservice" day for Ian's daycare and was closed, so Shawn bit the bullet and used some of his much bragged about sick time cache to stay home since I sacrificed almost two full days last week while Ian was down and out. Poor Shawn...he had to sleep in on a Monday. Must be rough.

When I arrived home from work, I witnessed something that we've yet to see in our 3 months home... Ian ENJOYING the backyard. This might seem like a ho-hum milestone for some, but for us, it's kind of a big deal. Ian's only two trips outside (that weren't soley for the purpose of getting to the car as fast as possible) were to put him in the snow and go crazy snapping pictures while he cried. Not really a positive experience.

Considering that his orphanage was completely indoors, his first real trip outside after being found at 3 months was to get on a train at 19 months and travel from Wenzhou to Hangzhou to meet us...where we promptly stuck him in a baby carrier and his feet never touched the concrete while in China.

So back to today. He was outside walking with Shawn on our patio, but was not thrilled about the rocks. Our entire backyard consists of pavers, flagstone, and river rock. Only a small patch of grass for Polli's "business". As long as he didn't have to step on a crack or seam in the flagstone...or over an area of river rock pebbles....he was enjoying himself. He and I left shortly after my arrival and headed down the sidewalk to a toddler park that is literally across the street from our house. It was packed and I was anxious for him to experience the great outdoors as every kid should.

He grew less and less reluctant the longer we were out and eventually forgot his fear of seams in the sidewalks. We played on the big toy for a whopping 40 minutes and walked from the park and around our block twice. He walked almost the entire time without wanting to hold my hand, which is equally as big a deal. We met up with Shawn as we rounded the block the second time and he escorted Ian back home where he gladly drained a sippy cup of water and pointed at his highchair, indicating he was famished from his exciting afternoon.

It might not be a big deal for most kids, but we were pretty proud of Ian. Only a few days ago, he was too sick to leave the house and today he overcame a big fear of the outdoors and had a great time.

Below are a few great pics of the afternoon.

Ian hanging out on the front steps. He'd never even gone in or out the front door before today!

Playing on the Big Toy at our neighborhood park.

You can't really tell, but he couldn't get enough of the slide.

The bark surface of the play area was freaky at first, but he got over it quickly.

Strolling through the neighborhood. He did almost 2 full laps around our block, probably close to a quarter mile!

Walking with dad...on the home stretch and still going strong.

He wasn't sure about our yard... standing on flagstone with river rock nearby...and the jury's still out about the bamboo.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ian Goes to the Museum

We are all still slowly coming out of our colds and Ian seems to be doing better than Shawn and me at this point. Ian scored "cheerful" in his last two days at daycare and reportedly didn't cough at all (magically beginning again during the car rides home). He even has his appetite back, although part of his motivation has been the addition of a fun eating utinsil we've been using to gain his interest...a nose aspirator. It's sterile, don't worry. It is funny watching him spear his food with the part that is supposed to go up his nose. It got him interested in eating again, so we'll take what we can get.

Today was actually a landmark day for us. We've been home exactly 3 months today! Only 90 short days ago, Ian officially became a US Citizen and started his orientation with life as he now knows it. It's very hard to believe that we've been home such a short period of time given all that he has overcome and been exposed to since. Some days it feels more like a year. Some days it feels like we just left China. Eventually, I'll stop counting the months, but for now, it seems noteworthy.

Because we've all been under the weather, we put off plans last weekend to go to the Kid's Quest Children's Museum near our house. It is essentially a big "pay to play" center in a mall near us, but there are several section for different age groups. There is a water area, where kids can shoot water, make it do scientific things...essentially make a big mess. It's probaby better for the 5 and over group and Ian didn't really get it. We weren't completely ready to deal with a wet kid on the ride home, so we didn't stick around that area long.

The next section was a 18-wheeler cab that the kids can climb in and on. We tried to get a picture of Ian with it for my dad, but he was afraid of it. It was pretty big, despite the fact that it has wheels...Ian's favorite thing.

Speaking of wheels, he did like a steering wheel that turned...yes, gears. His next favorite thing. He also liked the music area where they've made musical instruments out of everyday items. Unlike some Microtia kids, he actually really likes several noises at once. He just starts to get agitated when he can't figure out where they're all coming from. There was a drum set made from pots and pans, which would probably be really easy to duplicate, and a piano made from tennis shoe soles. He liked both of these things.

Another area, intended for 1-4 year olds, had numerous toys, play areas, slides, and train name a few. He liked the slide as long as Shawn was holding him the whole time, and was sucked in by the huge brio style train track system. He could have played there all day, but didn't quite grasp the idea of sharing and wanted to take other kids' train pieces, which we obviously didn't allow and it didn't go over well. A parent kept trying to say "Ni Hao" (Chinese for hello) to Ian, which annoyed me. How did he know he wasn't born here, that my husband isn't Asian (Shawn wasn't nearby). For that matter, how did he know Ian isn't from Vietnam or Korea? Most people don't know the difference. Ian didn't respond. The only place he knows Ni Hao from now is the Nickelodeon show...I doubt he remembers it from China. Anyway, it was annoying and the first time we've had someone be ignorant in public, so we moved on and tried to stay away from the guy.

In all, it took him about 30 minutes or so for Ian to start to go into overload. A big majority of the place will be money well spent ($3 each with Shawn's MS discount) in another year or so. For example, the jewel of the place, a huge tree house network, will be fine when he's about 5. Until then is almost as scary for me to imagine him in it as it is for him to just look at from ground level. We might try going back again on a weekday afternoon when it isn't so crowded to see what we missed in the toddler area. It was literally wall to wall kids and parents today.

We finished the morning by having lunch at Red Robin, one of our favorite restaurants when we're craving burger style fare. What better way to celebrate Ian's citizenship but with All-American food. It was our 3rd official meal out since coming home. Considering we all had to drag ourselves out of the house for this outing, we were pretty zapped at this point (still before 1pm) and having a sit down meal was a lot of work. But, Ian was really well behaved and we got through it relatively unscathed. He even ate almost half of his grilled cheese, but preferred the "peace keeping" Cheerios that I always pack in my purse.

A quick stop at Target gave Ian just enough time to engineer an outfit destroying, diaper blowout for the ride home....and we're all napping now (well, everyone but me). It was a full day and a lot of fun despite how exhausting it was. As Ian gets older, these types of things will be a lot of fun (and maybe recruiting a grandparent to tag along as help isn't a bad idea).

Below are a bunch of pictures from today. Ian's nose aspirator fork, Kids Quest Children's Museum in Factoria, and Ian's first trip to Red Robin.

1. First spear the food

2. Next, carefully navigate food into mouth. Be careful not to squeeze too early.

3. Laugh hysterically at how funny you are!

Ian loved the train system...of course, the trains had wheels!

The overhead tree house was very cool. This is only one part of it.

He didn't quite understand the water wheel. He preferred the random ball he found on the floor.

This truck cab was imbedded in the cement and actually really neat. Ian didn't want to get anywhere near it so we sadly took one picture and moved on.

He really got into the pots & pans drum set.

A piano keyboard with sole.

This wheel turned gears and lit up. Hard to take a picture of, but pretty neat.

Examining the menu at Red Robin. He decided on Grilled Cheese (my favorite as a kid) with canteloupe and milk.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We hope everyone had a love filled Valentine's day!

Shawn proposed to me on Valentine's Day 13 years ago. It was such a cliche day for a marriage proposal, but that's probably why I wasn't expecting it. For those who don't know the story, it goes like this:

We met on December 22nd and a whopping 7 weeks later had picked out a ring and were ready to make the plunge. Shawn was (is) a perfectionist, picky, and not one to make hasty decisions, so his family knew he was serious. He sent peach roses to my work, picked me up at the end of my shift, and announced that he was going to make me a nice dinner. His parents were out of town, so we had their house for the evening. He was so nervous and impatient that instead of making me dinner, he took me on a romantic stroll through the Jack-In-The-Box drive-thru. Some women would have turned and ran at that point, but I apparently saw through what was major faux pas on his part.

We got back to the house and ate our Sourdough Jacks and Curly Fries by candlelight and then decided to head for the hot tub. Now we're talkin! So we're in the hot tub talking "and stuff" and the rubber ducky that was always in the hot tub was getting caught in the current and kept bumping into me. Finally, I picked it up and set it on the ledge...Shawn kept putting it back in the water. After about 4 rounds of this, I finally noticed something attached to the ducky's neck. A plastic bag. What? I looked a little closer and noticed that there was something shiny in the plastic bag. It took for what seems like forever to realize it was a ring. I fumbled in the water to get the bag off the duck and I couldn't really tell you what Shawn said. I don't know if there was a speech or if he just blurted out the words, but I do know that he tried putting the ring on my index finger. He was so nervous.

So obviously, I said yes. We worked for the next year at planning the wedding and were married February 27th, 1996 on the beach in St. Thomas. Valentine's Day still holds a special place for me and we still have the rubber ducky. Because V-Day is so close to our anniversary, we usually don't do anything special, just a gift card or something.

Yesterday, in the midst of our quarantine pajama party, Ian and I did some crafting. I used to have all the time in the world to make cute paper crafts and have a large, expensive collection of stamps, punches, paper, embellishments, etc. I've gravitated more toward the electronic versions of these things now, but our general family/friend network still expects hand made cards for Christmas and birthdays. I have to admit I've fallen a bit short in the past few months. Once Ian is no longer insistent on using my paper cutter and fancy scissors, I'll get back into it a bit.

In the pictures below, you'll see that I was hardly worried about the ramifications of a baby with markers. He's still learning control...and that the inky part goes on the paper and not in his grip. His PJ's were half off on a sale rack and he'll grow out of them in a few months so...go for it kid. I don't have the energy to stop you!

Picking out the perfect stamp

He did a great job once he figured out which direction the marker part goes

He did a pretty good job drawing an arc...and I'm still convinced he's left handed!

Card making battle scars... Hang Loose Dude!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Slowly Making a Comeback

What could be better than staying in your jammies all day on a weekday...and it's not even a holiday? Well, it would be better if we weren't sick, but we'll take what we can get I suppose.

Ian has shown vast improvements over yesterday. After his nap yesterday, he was gray, glassy short, a zombie. He refused to eat anything for lunch and just laid on the floor in a stupor. I took his temp 3 times, all with different results, but all over 101. He sounded like he had just run a marathon and his cough, well, it sounded like crunching gravel. I called the nurse at the pediatrician's office and she said that all but the cough are effects of the fever, not so much the cold, and told me that based on his weight, I could be doubling dosage of baby Tylonol I've been giving him. I gave him a dose while on the phone with her and within 30 minutes, he was up and playing. Not enthusiastially, but still a big improvment on the day as a whole.

For dinner, he would only eat cheese, but that was also an improvment since he hadn't been eating at all for the two previous days. Cheese it is. Fat, protein, calcium. Things he hadn't been getting.

He was ready for bed by 5:30pm and slept through the night again, with a cough here or there. I had decided to see how he was feeling upon waking up before deciding whether to take him for a half day or to stay home and call it a loss.

We called it a loss. He was in much better spirits when he woke up and actually ate an entire Nutrigrain bar. Things progressed well and we even did some crafts (yep, with a 22 month old!). As I realized the day was moving along without proper day wear, a shower, or any of the things normal people do toward an effort at normalcy, I decided it would be silly to put him through the prep process only to get to school just in time for a nap. He would probably be too wired to settle down for one and then I would be back for him shortly after. Not a productive day for anybody. So here we sit in our PJ's still.

We've had a few meltdowns surrounding his desire to eat only cheese for lunch (until I introduced him to the exciting combination of Pirate's Booty and yogurt). Polli also looked at him once, which prompted a theatrical "fall on the floor and cry to the point of hyperventilation". We haven't had one of those for a while.

Below are a few pictures of our morning in PJ's....and what a difference a day can make.

Ian looked like this most of his waking hours yesterday.

Good Morning! Awake and staying hydrated.

Climbing the stairs with a smile on his face. He must be feeling better. His milk at the top was the ultimate motivator.

Kisses from Polli are always good medicine.

Even doing some heavy lifting.

At least my laptop was put to use for something today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ian Takes A Sick Day

Sorry for the absence of an upbeat adventure today, but I've waded my way through Vicks Vapor Rub and mucus filled kleenex to bring you this post.

We all have the crud...Shawn, me, Ian, and maybe even Polli. Either that or she's mirroring our groggy vibes. Ian and I both started sounding rough last week and while I have been coughing and blowing into the weekend, he fared OK, only showing some signs of fatigue and a runny nose. By Sunday though, he was inconsolable. He didn't want to eat, play, be tickled...only sippy, blanket and sleep were welcome. He even had a mild bloody nose in his sleep Saturday night, which was quite unexpected and freaked me out a little. After reading, I think it was just the dry air in our house. Still, waking to see blood on your baby's sheets is scary.

He went to daycare yesterday, but when Shawn went to pick him up, he looked awful. I made an emergency Target run to pick up a humidifier and some Vicks based on the overwhelming online and Real Life advice. We plugged that thing in, gave him a bath, put Vicks on his feet and chest...and he slept through the night without a single cough... 5:30pm to 8:30am.

Pushing through the pain (and with very little paid leave available), I had to work for part of the day before I could come home to stay with him, but Shawn volunteered the "sleep in" shift. When I arrived home at 9:30, Ian was awake, eating breakfast (insisting on being handfed...and unusually picky about bananas and cheerios), and we even got some smiles out of him for the first time in a couple of days. Luckily, he is downing water and juice, which makes me feel a little better about the fact that he's not eating much. His color was better, but I could tell his tank was still running on empty.

We played in slow motion for about an hour before he started to fade. We don't turn the TV on much when he's awake and he's not terribly interested in it anyway, but I made an exception and we sat on the couch and watched Ni Hao, Kai-Lan- the new Nickelodeon cartoon about a Chinese American girl. It teaches snippits about Chinese culture and a few Mandarin words in each episode. It's technically the Chinese equivalent of Dora or Diego. Shawn is so excited that he now knows how to say Hi, Thank You, Red, and Green in Mandarin. Today, Ian and I learned up and down before he started to fall asleep in my lap.

After only being awake for a couple of hours, he's down for a nap that I'm hoping can go for a few hours to zap a little more of his cold out of him. He'll go down early again tonight in the hopes that he'll be well enough in the morning to go to school.

So this is the part of parenting that I did nothing to prepare for. Sitting by idly while my child is sick. There is so little I can do at his age for a cold but I hate to see him miserable. It's such a helpless feeling. He's too young for cold medicine and I don't know that I want to suppress his immune system from doing its job right now anyway. I just really wish I could do more to make him comfortable. I suppose as long as he is sleeping restfully, his body will do its job. I just wish it would do it a little faster!

Hopefully the next time you visit, we'll all be feeling better and the mood will be a bit more positive. If we're feeling up to it by the weekend, we're planning to go to a children's museum near our house, which will be a nice way to celebrate good health (and hopefully not catch more germs!).

The first smile we've seen in a while!

He was so happy to see his blanket. Love at first sight.

It didn't take much playing to wear him out.

Nothing's better than juice and a mom-leg pillow.

Even Polli's taking a sick day.