Something is Broken

Something is broken. I don’t know exactly what or how it can be fixed. But something is broken.

I was at Mui’s school last week and found out they didn’t have A/C during the hottest days in September and now don’t have heat. Just in time for winter. Whether it is due to budget or bureaucracy, I don’t know.

The neighboring school district (Canyons) has 5 furlough days this year due to budget cuts. 5 days where the kids are not learning. 5 days that will not be made up later on.

I discovered a few weeks ago that Utah has the most equitable distribution of funds, but that we have THE lowest per pupil spending in the nation.

Mui’s school has art and music teachers. But they are funded by PTA fundraisers. Apparently, art and music classes are a luxury.

There was a bond initiative on the ballot last week to fund the completion of the Natural History Museum. $2.40 per household per year over 15 years. Yet there were detractors who cited hard economic times. And that people couldn’t afford the $2.40 per year for some dinosaurs. (It passed, by the way. Thankfully, this state is not COMPLETELY populated by idiots.)

Something is broken when I hear complaints about us mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s future by funding TARP and GM and wars and health care, etc, etc. But the same people don’t care enough about our children’s and grandchildren’s future to fund education, music and arts programs, and museums.

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Didi’s 18 Month Exam – Autism Screening

Didi went in for his 18month exam. And there was something new. Something not included in Mui’s 18month exam, years ago. The nurse gave me an Autism assessment questionnaire. If he showed symptoms, they would have done a more extensive exam. He doesn’t show any symptoms. He is not very verbal, but he is vocal. I chalk it up to his confusion over which language to use. Mom’s? Everyone else’s? Or his own? Although, he seems to imitate sound pretty well. Especially if the sound is the name for a food he likes.

Here is the M-Chat assessment and scoring guide our Dr used. If your pediatrician doesn’t already do some form of assessment, this might help, especially if you suspect symptoms.

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Handy Little Man-ny

One of Didi’s favorite toys is this Handy Manny radio that he can “repair”. His love of tools kinda scares me given his genes.

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Mui Loves Daddy, Too.

Mui prefers me over SO. I think they have a personality conflict as both want to be in charge. So they fight. All. The. Time.

You can tell when I’m angry with Mui. She greets SO at the door with love and hugs and kisses.

Last week, SO came home to a cheerful Mui.

MUI: Hi, Dad. I missed you today. How was your day?

SO: Hi, Mui. I missed you, too. (SO glances at me expecting to see thunderclouds.)

Mui: Oh. And Mommy is not mad at me.

Maybe they have finally turned a corner.

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Mui Was Meant to Live On A Farm

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Children Must Be Supervised At All Times

A few mornings ago, Didi woke up at the crack before dawn. He would not go back to sleep so I took him out of the crib and set him on the floor. I then lay down on the floor and promptly fell back asleep.

I would wake briefly when Didi would climb on me or whack me on the head with a toy. But I would fall asleep again. Then it was quiet for a long time.

I sleepily heard him handle my glasses. I had hidden them under the crib, but he found them. I get up and grab the glasses to find them coated with something goopy. Turns out Didi had gotten into a tub of Aquaphor left on the floor. How he figured out how to unscrew the top? I have no idea.

I looked around and found a coated binky, mini basketball and mini football. “Aiya! Didi, what are you doing?” I quickly check his clothes and body for Aquaphor. Clean. Apparently, he had wiped the excess on the carpet. I run my hand thru my hair, resisting the urge to tear it out. What the hell? There is a glob of Aquaphor in my hair.

In case you are wondering. Hair sticking up is sexy ONLY if you are Cameron Diaz. Witness.

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Poodle Skirt

Mui was invited to a 50’s themed birthday party. Like the skirt? That’s right. I made it. From scratch. Even the poodle. You can have one too. For $1M.

I didn’t want her to wear it if she couldn’t promise to just sit there and not move. But if she couldn’t move, she wouldn’t want to go to the party. And I wouldn’t get to spend 2 blissful hours at a Starbucks with nothing to worry about except keeping scone crumbs off my nook.

(SO stayed home with Didi because I couldn’t bring Mui to the party and watch the baby. Mwhahahaha.)

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PMing the Mommy

Mui started 1st grade in a public school this year. One different thing is the parent involvement. I had asked Mui whether she would like me to come help in her class. I have done Junior Achievement before and volunteered to do it for her class this year. She thought it was a great idea.

Every other day, she asks me when I will come to her class. I tell her Junior Achievement won’t be until January at the earliest. But that I would call the room mom to see how I can help in other ways. But I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Yesterday I got a call from the room mom. Apparently, Mui had gone up to her and said I wanted to volunteer. She then wrote my name and home number on a piece of paper and asked the room mom to call me.

I think Mui is set to take over the world. When she isn’t project managing me, that is.

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Squeezing Months Into A Weekend

I brought the kids to visit my family this weekend. It’s been 6 months since the last time we visited. The boy has learned to walk and throw tantrums in that time. The girl, to sass (more).

It was a whirlwind of dinners and parks and dim sum. Trying to squeeze months of interaction and catching up in 3 1/2 days. I have 5 siblings. The kids have 4 cousins. No matter how much I try, I always leave feeling like there was not enough time. And I always regret not talking more to this sibling 0r playing more with that nephew or niece. Being so far from my family, having my kids be so far from my family, sucks.

At the airport, on our way home, Mui tells me she is sad to be leaving. She wants to cry. She misses her aunts and cousins. She wants them to live near her. I tell her that if we moved back to California, she would have to leave her friends behind. She tells me she would be sad to leave her friends, but she wants to be closer to her aunts and cousins. I feel the same way.

I have made good friends here in Salt Lake City. I have built a life and a community. But I still miss my family. My parents are getting older and I can’t be there to help them. My sisters and brothers got married and had kids, all while I was away. I was not able to support them except over the phone. My nephews and nieces are growing up and I only get glimpses and snapshots of their lives.

To move back to California, I will have to leave friends. I will have to leave my big-ass house and move into a shack with (maybe) indoor plumbing. We will have a significant reduction in standard of living. (The median household income in Mountain View is WAY more than our household income.) We will have to pay an arm and a leg for childcare. I will have to buy less shoes and purses. But I want to be closer to my family.

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The Answer is Chicken

A few months ago, Mui started asking questions about where people come from. But she wasn’t looking for the baby story. She wanted the creation/evolution story. When I ask her where she thinks people came from, she says God. Mind you, SO and I are not religious people and we don’t talk about God or Buddha or any higher beings, so she must be getting this from school. I am ok with this. I believe kids need to learn things and hear things and decide what is right for them. My complaint is that I don’t know what the hell to tell her.

Lately, she started asking about the beginning of existence for everything. Chairs, dogs, mountains, the sky, cars, clouds… I tell her I don’t know and have to look it up. “You mean you need to Google it?” “Yes, Mui, I have to Google it.” (Where the hell do kids get this stuff? But that is a lament for another day in another post.)

I’m beginning to lean toward chicken being my stock answer for everything. What does it taste like? Chicken. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken. Where do people come from? God. No, Monkeys. No, Chicken. People come from chickens. Yeah. Wait, no, the answer is 42. What was the question again?

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