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January 26, 2002
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Dim Sum with the Higginses and Great Dinner At Home

We started the day with a lot of planning. We called the Higgins family and got dim sum planned for lunch time. We called Kathy as we had said that we were going to do something with her this afternoon, and she was sick and glad that she could spend the morning at home. So that worked out pretty well. After breakfast and getting everything together, Mom suggested a walk in La Jolla, so we did that.

La Jolla is a good town to walk through, though the parking is pretty hard to find, especially on a Saturday. There is a grocery store with all the attendant shops on one end of the main drag, so we parked there. We went into a toy store on the main drag and there were bins of tub toys. Mom and Dad decided to buy Jet an early birthday present and since Jet was very intrigued by a hippo with glasses, they got him that. I found a little plane with a wind up propeller that could go on its own power in the water, so I got that for Jet's birthday. He seemed to like the colors on it, as they were pretty much primary colors.

Down on the cliffs over the ocean, there is a pretty nice line up of window shopping places plus a bunch of really nicely situated restaurants. There was, of course, a Starbucks, and given the hour, John and I headed right in and got drinks while Mom and Dad sat outside and played with Jet. We got our fix and headed on. There's one beautiful little outdoor mall right across the street and they have all kinds of mildly expensive shops, and in front of it all there's a beautiful little fountain with a huge marble sitting on top of the running water. It's about four feet in diameter, and it's massive but it floats on the water coming out of the fountain, so a person can actually turn the marble. It rotates with the force of the fountain itself, but when someone applies pressure to its surface, they can actually start the motion in a different direction.

John got up there and pushed until it was spinning fast enough to throw water off of the surfaces and Jet watched with some fascination.

From there, we headed back to the market place parking lot. Jet was mildly unhappy as he was hungry and tired after the walk, but we had to get there at noon, so we did despite Jet crying a lot. When we got there, I managed to nurse him under the table while we figured out who was sitting where and what to order, as they didn't have carts on Saturday. We figured out what we wanted, though and ordered plenty of it. Jet came out from under the table far less upset, but still a little cranky and tired compared to usual. Steve and Margaret understood perfectly, and I was very glad to be with parents that weren't that far from being new at it.

Jet did eat with the rest of us, picking at various small things we put on his tray. Ben and Mia were great at the table, happy, playing, but mostly quietly at the table and they ate very well, too, and joined in the conversation here and there. Steve looked really happy, and Margaret seemed content. It was really fun to catch up with them, too, just talking about everything and anything in the years that have gone by. We really have to get together more often.

They invited us over to their house, and since the day was pretty good, we decided to go to the park near their house. We parked in front of their house, and tucked the sleeping Jet into his stroller and followed Ben on his bike and Steve on his unicycle. Mia was pulled by Margaret in her wagon, and we all went in a train. The park was only two blocks away, and there was a significant play sand box, and we watched Ben go around on his bike, and then kick a soccer ball with John and Steve. Mia played with her wagon for a while and then with the swings and then came to where Margaret and I were talking and asked if she could give the baby his gift.

Jet had woken up by now, got another nursing, and was awake and still mildly irritated, but not as bad as he had been. Margaret had told her that we couldn't open the present until Jet was awake. So this time Mia walked all the way across the sand lot to get the present and came and brought it back to us.

It startled me mildly. Mia's only a couple years older than Jet, and the whole concept that in a couple of years, I would be able to trust Jet to go over somewhere, get something, and bring it back when asked was just kind of mind blowing. Getting there from here seems such an enormous thing, and no real concept of how it really happens is in my brain, but there it was. It seems so simple, yet so beyond where Jet is now that it just made me stop and think a bit.

Jet studied, picked at and finally got help from Mia to open the gift. It was a lovely book! About the sea and all the textures of all the sea creatures that lived within it and the things that were about it. There were sandpaper feelings, slippery slimy feelings, and all kinds of textures on the pages of the book. Mia went through it several times with Jet, and they looked at all the pictures together. Jet liked opening and turning the pages.

They enjoyed it together for a while, and eventually, John took Jet to play with Mia on the swings.

I had fun talking with Margaret. It's good to talk with parents who have 'already been there' where I am now with Jet, and getting some things just spoken so that I don't think it's just all in my head.

Margaret is very keen. I like her a lot. I admire that she got her Ph.D. in psychiatry and is working and also at home with her kids when she can be, and that she is involved with helping people out. She's involved in mental health center that specializes in helping out Asians, and they have translators and all the differences that dealing with people of a different culture brings. It was neat to hear her talk about it and the joys and troubles she ran into there.

The day was perfect. Warm enough, with a light breeze to keep it from being stifling, and the sounds of the basketball court, the kids running around, and the trees that were planted around there was just wonderful. Hard to remember it's freezing out in Colorado. There are moments when I think Southern California would be a cool place for a kid who wants to play outside all the time. Though I do remember that in Indiana, when I wanted to play outside, a few inches of snow was no deterrent, it was more of an incentive... still...

We headed back not too long after. I wanted to call Kathy to hook up with her and figure out what was going on. We played a little bit of phone tag with two pagers (Kathy's and Steve's), three cell phones (Kathy's, mine, and Steve's), three house numbers (Kathy's, my parents' and Steve's) and finally Kathy actually called my cell phone while we were in the car and we got to talk! Yay! After all that we ended up deciding to just meet at my parents' house. I'm very glad Kathy was so flexible.

Mom and Dad made a Super Dinner. With all kinds of dishes. There was slow cooked spare ribs in a black bean sauce, sea bass with fermented soy topping, twice cooked duck with a crisp skin and lovely tasty interior, the pea shoots Mom found yesterday were crisp and green, Mom did an eggplant dish for me (an old favorite of mine with the eggplant, some ground pork, hoisin and scallions, she showed me a cool trick of microwaving the eggplant to break down the cell structure so it wouldn't soak up oil like a sponge, like salting it but without the salt!), and there were pickles and other things as well. Lots and lots of rice to go with everything, and it was all really, really good.

Afterwards, we watched a tape about Maya Lin, who, while in college, entered and won the design for the Vietnam War Memorial, yeah, the black wall of names. It was about half about the Wall, with the attendant controversy of having a woman of Chinese descent designing the memorial, and all the other things that went with that. The rest was about her other projects since then.

It turns out that her grandfather was the brother of Dad's grandmother, so she's a cousin once removed, of Kathy's and mine. That was interesting to find out.

Poor Jet had a fit before the video tape was done because he was tired and hungry and with the tape on he was upset because it was loud enough that he couldn't get to sleep. I finally took him into his room and just nursed him there in the dark quiet and he went to sleep just fine. He's had a really, super structured day today, so much so I felt like a really bad mom for planning way too many things where he couldn't just be himself and he couldn't get his needs met when he needed them. I was mad at myself, some, for having done that.

So we'll so better tomorrow. Still, I was kind of sad that Jet was so trashed by the end of the day, and he'd had at least three tired/hungry incidents through the day.

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