Monday, November 7, 2011

18 Months!

Will turned 18 months old yesterday! As they say, time sure flies...feels like only yesterday I was moving to Hong Kong with a 4 month old.

He is really becoming quite the little person. He got his top 2 molars a couple weeks ago - so now he has 12 teeth and is getting increasingly capable of chewing. He still eats like a champ...although he's gotten a little pickier now that he can communicate a bit better.

His vocabulary has really taken off. He definitely understands most of what we tell him. And he's adding new words daily. He says quite a few useful things - water, yogurt, fruit, pasta, up, down, carry you (which really means carry me), stroller, cars, ball. And he's added lots of other miscellaneous words - moon, head, toes, chair, shoes, dance. There are definitely many more, but he's adding them at such a rate that it is hard for me to keep up. Of course he doesn't pronounce or enunciate all that well yet - so I often understand him mostly by context and familiarity.

Will had his 18 month check-up this morning. He got 2 injections - one in each arm - and he was a champ - started to scream, I stuck a lollipop in his mouth and all was forgotten. He's grown a bit in the month since he was at the doctor last - now 13.8 kg (30.4 lbs) and 86 cm (almost 34 in). The doc said he looks all healthy - nothing to worry about.

Leah is also doing well - working on numbers and letters at school and just starting their reading program. This week we are meant to be working on the "sight words" and, a, I, the - and Leah seems to already know them a bit. She now brings home a book a week. This week's book is just pictures - and we are supposed to use it to tell a story. Gradually we'll get into the books with simple words and sentences. She's definitely very excited to learn to read. We've also started talking about addition, as they are doing that a bit at school. I taught her how to put the fingers from one hand and the other together to help add small numbers and she's very excited to show off her new skills.

We all enjoyed Halloween. Leah was Sleeping Beauty and Will was Winnie the Pooh. They got a ton of candy that I will be gradually parceling out to them over the next few months.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2 Molars, Updated Measurements, Hand Foot & Mouth, and a Stomach Virus - Whew!

Good news first - Will got his first molar (bottom left) last weekend and the next one (bottom right) this past weekend. He didn't do too badly with the teething...but we did supply some Tylenol a couple times.

The kids have both been to the doctor recently, so we have updated measurements. Leah is now 17.2 kg (~38 lb) and 108 cm (~42.5 in). Will is now 13.4 kg (~29.5 lb) 85 cm (~33.5 in).

And the doctor visits...they did both get flu vaccines. But Leah had hand foot and mouth virus a couple weeks ago. She missed an entire week of school and had large ulcers in her mouth, with one especially bad one on her tongue. She was fairly miserable. And this past weekend Will had his first stomach virus. I have never seen him so unhappy. He slept most of Saturday, waking frequently and then falling back to sleep in the arms of whomever would hold him. Luckily it seems to have been fairly mild with only a couple days of diarrhea and only one vomiting incident...and today he has some appetite back and seems quite a bit happier, although not back to his usual boisterous self.

Other than that, we have now officially been in Hong Kong for a year. And we are settled in and living life here. My Uncle Howard was here to visit for a few days this past week. The kids really enjoyed seeing him, and I enjoyed showing off my home and my town. We had some good meals and did a little sightseeing.

I am starting back to dragon boat, with my first practice tomorrow. Looking forward to the workout, the social team and being back out on the water.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Summer...

I realized I have not posted since late it's time for a little catch-up. We left July 9 for 6 weeks in the US. The kids and I spent 3 weeks in NYC, followed by a week in DC, a week at a beach house in Dewey Beach (Delaware), and then our final week half in DC and half in NYC before flying back home. Shafi was able to join for a week in NY and for our week at the beach. It was really great to see friends and family and visit some of our old haunts in Brooklyn Heights and vicinity. We had a great time at the beach with my whole family - GG (my grandmother), Uncle Gorilla (Howard - my uncle) and Uncle Charlie, Uncle Alan (my brother) and Aunt Rachel, and Grandma and Grandpa (my parents).

There are really too many stories, pictures, etc. to share here, but you can check out our antics on Picasa. The flights both directions were not fun at all! I had both kids for 16+ hours on my own. Will did not much like staying seated and Leah got airsick during descent (both ways). But a relatively brief amount of pain in order to take such a long trip was not so bad. The jetlag was about a week on both ends...not too terrible.

We are now back in Hong Kong and I guess the summer is over...although it's still very hot & humid it doesn't feel like fall except that school is back in session. Leah is back at Sunshine House - this year in the Cloudview Room. And Will has started there in Mother Goose (think mommy & me) 2 days a week. We've also gotten into full swing of extracurriculars with Leah in ballet, gymnastics and swimming and Will in gym for tots and socatots (soccer).

We've been spending lots of time at the pool and when the weather cools down a bit we may start hitting the beach a bit more also. Last night was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival - a harvest moon festival. We hung out down at Stanley Main Beach with hundreds of other expats and a few locals, celebrating with picnics, drinking and thousands of glow-sticks. It was a fun evening for all.

We have been reconnecting with friends here in HK and reaching out to those who were more recent acquaintances to cultivate new friendships. We're filling the social calendar and realizing how far we've come...we arrived in HK on the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival last year (a public holiday) while it's 2 more weeks on the Western calendar, it's been a year on the Chinese calendar.

I haven't kept up so well with Will's milestones here...but he's definitely very steady on his feet these days. He's running around and trying to jump (he puts his arms in the air, bends his knees, stretches up high, but doesn't quite get off the ground). He loves to play with balls - throwing and kicking. And he's starting to show a bit of interest in cars and animals. He's got quite a few words now - hello, bye, no, uh-oh, ball, up, mama, baba, lala (Leah), nada (Nilda), bath, vroom (car sound), beep (horn sound), woof woof, meow, ooh ahh (monkey sound), puh puh (puppy - his lovey), yes, whoa, yay. He's getting better at imitating sounds and words, but he still frequently prefers the screaming/whining method of getting attention and getting what he wants.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Walking Man

Well, walking 13 1/2 month old anyway. Will has been taking a few steps here and there since mid-April. But all of a sudden in the last few days he has started to up the distance. Yesterday he got up and walked around quite a few times without prompting. He's a bit of a control freak...doesn't like to perform on command.

At the American Club yesterday afternoon he walked the length of the Eagle's Nest (which is actually pretty big). He was definitely very proud of his accomplishment. And at home last night he walked all over the living room. He still gets down to crawl quite a bit, but I would say there is no doubt that Will is now officially walking. It's a month earlier than his sister did it...but I can't say that I'm disappointed that he ended up not being an early walker!

Unfortunately he is also quite the climber now. He can get onto the couch (which has meant several falls off of the couch...luckily onto the carpet and usually not hitting his head). He can get onto various chairs and from there onto tables - the ones in the arts & crafts corner at the Eagle's Nest are a particular favorite. And at the playgrounds at The Manhattan and Pacific View (2 large apartment buildings nearby) he has been climbing ladders and doubt he will be keeping me quite busy at the playgrounds of New York City in a couple of weeks!

No other major events or milestones to report lately. We've been quite busy on the birthday party circuit - both 1st and 3rd/4th birthdays lately. Good thing my kids are normally good eaters, as they have had more than their fair share of cake and other sweets, not to mention chicken nuggets and french fries, lately.

Leah's gymnastics and ballet classes have ended for the term, and both kids will have their last swim classes next week. Leah's last day of school for the term is the 30th, so we will then have a week of playing and packing before we head out for our 6 week trip to the US on July 9. July 1 is a holiday here - HK SAR Establishment Day. And since Shafi is not joining us for the US trip, he may take a couple days off the following week to get some extra quality time with the kids before we go.

We did have our first experience of a T3 signal this week. The typhoon warning system here is T1, T3, T8. At T8 everything shuts down and everyone is supposed to go straight home and stay indoors. At T3 most things remain open but there are bouts of high winds (60km/hr) and squally rain. And as a precaution since T3 means that it's possible that the T8 signal will be hoisted, the preschools are closed. Unfortunately that meant that Leah did not have school the last 2 days. We didn't have too much trouble keeping busy, but she does love school and was none too happy about it being canceled. As an aside, I looked up typhoons yesterday in order to better understand what the fuss was all about...they are basically the same as a hurricane...they just call them typhoons in the Eastern hemisphere. They are particularly common from May to November and require a combination of warm surface temperatures and various other atmospheric conditions, which the South China Sea provides. But luckily for us, Hong Kong is fairly protected by other chains of islands, like the Philippines, so we rarely get a direct hit. This last storm moved past us to the south and west and never got closer than about 200km.

Leah demonstrating her "big arms" at swim class:
Blowing kisses to Mommy during a neighbor's birthday party:
Elizabeth came over to play yesterday morning:
The girls made flower necklaces...Leah did it 95% by herself and was very proud:
Walking and waving...Will is becoming a multi-tasker:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

AWA Globe Paddlers - Dragon Boat Champions!

I have been very lax in posting lately...but it's because I've been very busy. The 2011 dragon boat season has just ended (for my team anyway). I joined the American Women's Association (AWA) Globe Paddlers. We participated in 4 race events. We started practicing in the off-season (October/November 2010) and got serious beginning January with an hour on the water on Tuesdays and 2 hours on the water on Saturdays. After a grueling 5 months of serious workouts, muscle pain, exhaustion, and lots of fun - we reaped our rewards. We started with the 500m races in Deep Water Bay in early May. We came in 2nd in our first 2 heats, qualifying us for the ladies cup finals - but we ended in 5th overall (out of 10 teams). Then a few days later we competed in the 250m Stanley Warm-Up Races, where we came in 1st in all 3 of our races (out of 6 teams). And just a few days after that we went out to Lamma Island for the 500m races there, where we again placed 2nd in our first 2 heats and qualified for the ladies cup finals - but we ended in 4th overall (out of 8 teams).

This past Monday was Dragon Boat Festival (a public holiday here in Hong Kong). We participated in the 270m Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship. There were 8 ladies teams, including 1 who came in from Australia to compete. We won all 3 of our races by about one and a half seconds. And we are officially the Stanley International Dragon Boat Ladies Champions!

For now I think it will be nice to have my Tuesday and Saturday mornings back...but I am looking forward to getting back in the boat in October!

There's really not much else new. Leah is in school until the end of June - and then the kids and I will be spending 6 weeks in the US this summer (July 9 - August 20).

Will just had a little check-up at 13 months, in order to get his MMR vaccination. He now weighs 12.2 kg (26.9 lbs) and measures 83.5 cm (32.9 in). Still topping the growth charts...but happy and healthy and no concerns from the doctor.

We're spending lots of time at the pool since the weather has been quite hot and humid. But the kids have become great swimmers. Leah was moved up from the Guppies 1 class to Guppies 2 (most kids are ages 4-5). She is pretty capable of getting around the pool - jumping in, swimming around (a rudimentary front crawl and also a doggie paddle), and even a little combo of floating and treading water that allows her to get her head up out of the water. Will loves the pool and is pretty self sufficient in the baby pool with floaties (arm bands) on - hasn't quite figured out how to locomote in water too deep to stand in though.

Our Winnie the Pooh at a friend's birthday party:
Along with Sleeping Beauty:
Swim time:
Stanley International Dragon Boat Races - I'm 3rd from the back on the near side:
My team celebrating after our big victory:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I now have a 1 year old and a 3 year old

Boy do I feel old! And busy! And tired!

But the kids are really starting to be able to play together. It is very cute to watch. They're not always nice to each other, of course. But I think they both appreciate having a playmate sometimes.

Will's birthday went well. We had 12 babies ranging from about 10 months to 18 months, not including Will. Leah helped me make Winnie the Pooh cupcakes, which were well received by all and especially loved by Will - his first cake!
We also served a nice spread of homemade banana bread and blueberry muffins, fresh fruit, OJ, coffee and tea. There were blowers, party hats, and balloons - just to set the festive mood.

Later in the day we went to Archie's birthday party - which both Leah and Will had a great time at.

Will has definitely been enjoying his birthday presents - a Little Tikes car, a driving toy, and a beanbag chair - plus some other little gifts from friends.

Since the big birthday the kids have been doing some swimming. Leah loves practicing swimming and is getting pretty good. Will has figured out that if he holds a swim noodle in front of him he can walk across the baby pool - he loves it - but of course I have to follow close behind in case he falls over.
I've had 3 days of dragon boat races. The AWA Globe Paddlers came in 5th in Deep Water Bay, 1st (winning all 3 of our races) in Stanley Warm Up, and 4th in Lamma. We're feeling pretty good. Leah came out for the first 2 race days and had a great time. Now I'm getting ready for the big Stanley International on June 6. Hopefully both kids can pop down and watch some races that day.
Will got another tooth a yesterday (May 16). He's up to 7 now, but he's still chewing on his hand and drooling quite a bit so I am sure there are others coming soon. This one is the on the bottom to the left of his center teeth.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My big boy turns 1 tomorrow!

I took Will for his 1 year check-up today. He had his Hep A and Chicken Pox vaccines. (We will go back in a month for MMR.) He weighed in at 11.43 kg (25.2 lbs). And he is now 81 cm (almost 32 in). His head is 48 cm (18.9 in). That puts him over the 97th percentile for height, the 91st percentile for weight, and the 95th percentile for head circumference.

He's a happy healthy boy and the doctor had no concerns. We'll keep doing what we're doing!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We finally took a trip! Part of coming to Asia is seeing Asia - but with 2 small kids, high expenses, etc. - it took awhile to get in some travel. We spent 9 days in Bali. Thanks to a nice hook-up from my Uncle Howard, we stayed in a fabulous villa at the Karma Kandara, located in Ungasan on the Bukit Peninsula - on the southern tip of Bali.

The resort and villa were great - nice pool, beach, restaurants, kids club. We had a 3 bedroom villa, so we had a room, Leah had a room and Will shared with Nilda. It was really great to have Nilda with us - meant for a much more relaxing trip than we otherwise could have had with an 11 month old and 3 year old. The kids club at the resort was also incredibly useful as the kids spent most mornings there with Nilda playing with toys, doing arts and crafts, getting nails painted, etc.

We took Leah along to the Ulu Watu Temple one evening for the Kecak Dance. We ate at a few good restaurants. We went to Waterbom, a very nice little water park. Other than that we lounged, relaxed, swam, and just enjoyed being on vacation!

Bali is beautiful. The people are friendly. The fruits are delicious (our villa included a fruit plate that was restocked daily). We would definitely love to go back some day and see other parts of the island - we did not make it further north than Seminyak.

We had some good milestones on the trip too. On April 15, actually in the car on the way from the airport to the resort, Will started clapping. He is now an excellent clapper and will do it on request when he is in the mood to play along. And on April 20 at Waterbom, Will took his first steps. He took just a couple steps from me to Nilda while standing in just a couple inches of water. Then later that day I was able to coax him to take a few steps by forcibly letting go of his hand and encouraging him to walk to me. Since then he's done similar little bits a few times - but he does not seem to be all that confident in his abilities on his feet. He has been letting go and standing solo more and more but still only for a few seconds at a time.

He also seems to be adding some words. He seems to say "hi" appropriately. And since there were monkeys on the grounds of the resort (wild monkeys that inhabit the area - long tailed macaques) we worked on what a monkey says, "ahh ahh ahh ahh."

Leah had a great time on the trip too. She practiced her swimming and she can now swim solo - scooping and kicking - for about 10 feet. Both kids have gotten increasingly comfortable in the water - a good thing - but may make for a very tiring summer at the pool for me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ball, Haircut, Swimming Pool, Fieldtrip

Looking back at the two weeks or so since I last posted, I realize that we have been having fun! The weather is warming up. We've been getting together with friends. School and activities have been going well.

In my last post I was debating whether Will was saying more words. I've decided he definitely has "no" down. He doesn't say it all that regularly. But when I wash his face he tends to mutter "nananana" and other "na" and "no" utterances pop up here and there. And today he added a new one - "ball." Definitely his favorite toys - at home, at a friend's, at the Eagle's Nest, in the pool - he loves to play with balls - and now he can talk about it. He must be an athlete in the making!

In other exciting news, Will had a haircut today. I took him to Spur, which had been recommended by several people. The guy there was great. Started with the top, then did the sides/back, and ended with the front (which is the most disturbing for a young child). Will sat pretty well for it - a combination of watching cartoons and looking in the mirror helped - and of course he was sitting on my lap. He only cried at the very end, when the front was being cut and I had to hold his hands to keep him from grabbing at the scissors. It looks cute...although the front isn't quite even...hard to cut hair well when the head keeps moving.

Yesterday was the big day of the week though. Leah had a school fieldtrip in the morning. I chaperoned, along with 4 teachers and 7 other mothers. We took 2 classes of 2.5-3.5 year olds - about 25 kids - to Hong Kong Park. We stopped at the pond first to see the pond life. Then we walked through the aviary. And we ended at the playground, where the kids ate their snacks and then played for awhile. Overall it was fun - although maybe not all that educational.

And yesterday afternoon it was sunny and warm - and I finally took Will into the pool. He loved it! We spent the afternoon there again today. I'm definitely going to enjoy this perk of living in a tropical climate. We actually spent last weekend hanging at the pool too - Leah enjoyed it - I thought it was a bit cold and didn't go in - hence Will did not either.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More teeth and more words?

Will definitely got his 6th tooth - on the 21st - no question there. But we're not quite sure if he's got more words. When anyone says "no" - including me, Leah, a random stranger nearby talking to her own child - Will says "na." He sort of spits the word out - a rapid emphatic usually loud quick burst - NAH! When I tell him no - because he's doing something naughty or going somewhere he shouldn't, he does respond - so I know he understands - but I can't tell if he is just repeating or if he is saying the word.

Ma and Ba are also commonly heard from Will - sometimes in multiples - mama, mamamama... But we have yet to decide whether he's using them to call us - or just babbling. On a related note, he started clucking a couple days ago - that click click sound you can make by popping your tongue down from the roof of your mouth. And he has rediscovered blowing raspberries. And he loves to let out random shouts - often at a high pitch - but not always. So our lives are a bit loud these days...but we're enjoying watching Will find his voice (although not always enjoying the listening).

Luckily Will's little virus passed in a couple days and he's back to his normal self. Leah had a dentist appointment today. The dentist, hygienist, and office staff were all great. Her teeth look good - they said to "keep doing what you're doing." But one thing I was not too surprised to learn - she did chip some teeth in her fall. I had thought that what Leah was describing as sand in her mouth after the fall might be bits of teeth - but I was fairly confident it wasn't front teeth - and nothing seemed to be continuing to hurt her after the injury healed. Turns out that she actually chipped 6 of her back teeth - 1 top and the others bottom. Luckily while the dentist described them as fractures, they are just on the tops of the teeth - no cracks and nothing that looks deep enough to bother the nerves. The dentist said that on a slightly older child she might try to put something on top of them to help seal them a bit - but that at Leah's age it would be a bit traumatic and she'd rather just keep an eye on them. But given all that, unless she's having pain, we don't need to see the dentist again for a year - plus go back in 6 months for a cleaning with the hygienist. And Leah was excellently behaved for the appointment - and happy to get a sugar free blue lollipop at the end.

Will's first ride in the Little Tikes car - loving it:
Tiger tiger burning bright:
Leah at the UJC Purim Carnival:
Leah dancing to entertain Will:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Uh oh!

Today Will began to speak! He's been babbling away for months now...but today while we were at a playdate with friends he said "uh oh." He said it more than once actually. Someone asked me when he started doing that...and I said "now." I was a bit unsure whether he was actually intending it or if it just sounded like he was saying uh oh. But this afternoon he dropped (maybe threw) a book and said uh oh.

Unfortunately Will also came down with a high fever today. Poor guy just wilted mid-morning. Wanted to be held - fell asleep in my lap - hardly ate lunch. After his nap his temperature was 102.6. He's been pulling at his ears a bit all week, so I was a bit concerned about that. I've been assuming it was teething related - but now with a fever I decided he ought to see the doctor.

Motrin brought the fever down a bit but not all the way. He was pretty miserable all afternoon. The doctor said his ears and throat were a bit red and inflamed, but not infected - so some sort of virus. She did a flu test and luckily it was negative. So we'll probably just be riding out the virus and trying to keep him comfortable for the next couple days.

Leah enjoying the warming weather:
A duet at home:
Happily roaming the apartment - crawling, pulling up, cruising - and loving it:
Exploring the playground:
Drumming with Raghav: