Saturday, January 24, 2009

J.B.'s surgery an initial success

Josie had her ureteral re-implantation surgery two weeks ago. Although it was a horribly stressful experience for her parents, one that we would like to have completely expunged from our collective and individual memories, she seems relatively unscathed by the experience. The surgery took 3.5 hours at the UCLA medical center (#3 hospital in the U.S., #1 hospital on the west coast). We then spent a completely unenjoyable 4 days in the hospital. Despite a four inch scar across her abdomen, an i.v., a drainage tube, and a catheter, by day two, Josie was back to her wild self and was climbing all over everything. Night of day two brought even better feelings as the catheter came out and then on day three, finally the i.v. and drain. Being in the hospital sucks. Being in a children's hospital with a little kid totally sucks. Enough said.

The surgeon was extremely pleased with how the surgery went and he said all of her organs and tissues looked great. We won't know whether the surgery was a success until they remove the stint (currently keeping her ureter open while it heals from the surgery) and do an ultrasound of her bladder, ureter, and kidney. This procedure will show whether the reimplanted ureter is working properly. We all have high hopes that this will be the case. For now, things are looking good.

Why Trust A Shark?

We made the epic trek to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach today. It was another rainy day and we decided to go big with the girls. It was a bit of a trial driving all that way (86 miles) and of course we hit some traffic even though it was a Saturday.

The aquarium was pretty cool - lots of neat tanks with fish from all over the place. They also had seals and sea lions and the obligatory but always enjoyable sea otters. The layout wasn't that great (lots of enclosed spaces, no good views of the ocean outside, non-intuitive wayfinding) and they seem to have some issues with staying on the mission (they were hosting a festival of Americans' with Disabilities- great topic but totally unrelated to oceans, and had displays of lorikeets and poison arrow frogs...).

I thought the neatest part was the big shark tank. They had five or six different kinds of sharks in this big sandy bottom tank. The sharks were are all pretty big and regularly swam by and underwater viewing window so you could see them close up. They even had one of those weird saw fish that I have seen pictures of but never seen in person before.

The most striking thing about all of the sharks was how unimpressive their teeth were. Having seen many shark skeletons and pictures of sharks, and having seen Finding Nemo ten thousand times (it is Lucy's current favorite movie), I expect sharks to have big and impressive teeth. But you could actually see most of the sharks teeth in this exhibit and they weren't that scary. Mitch explained that many of the sharks in the exhibit actually eat things like mollusks and crabs so they use their jaws for crushing and not ripping flesh. There was one guy with pretty impressive teeth (pictured above) that is a sand tiger shark. Lucy and her other squealing little girl friends called it the scary shark. I was impressed by how many of the sharks, including the Zebra shark (pictured here) looked perfectly benign.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth

We finally made our first visit to the happiest place on earth. Despite having lived in California for thirteen years and having lived in southern California for five years, none of us had ever been to Disneyland. I think this might actually be against the law in California. If not illegal, it is definitely beyond the pale. I've been wanting to go every since Lucy was born but I was having a hard time convincing others that this was a good plan.

About two weeks before Christmas I was talking to some friends at work and they were saying what a great time they had at Disneyland the night before. At Christmas they decorate Disneyland and do lots of extra Christmas things. Then I found out that our friends Ray and Sandy (and their kids Tyler and Chloe) and our friend Lena were all going to Disneyland that week. That was it, Disneyland was on!

S0 we loaded the family up into the minivan and hit the road to Anaheim. Of course we hit totally hellish commuter traffic and it took us two and a half hours to get there, but it was worth it. We had a great time.

Lucy worked her outspoken little girl magic and managed to dance with a prince, dance with Mary Poppins in front of a crowd, have a private audience with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and had her photo taken with Goofy. She was wearing a Princess Belle costume so that helped wow people with her charm. Josie wasn't so sure, she hated Mickey and Goofy but seemed to enjoy riding on the teacups, The Small World ride, and the Dumbo ride.

One of the funniest parts of the whole day was going on the Autopia ride with Lucy, Tyler, Sandy, and Lena. They actually let the kids drive the cars. The cars are prevented from going completely off the track by a cement rail in the middle but with two three year olds driving, the cars pretty much careened back and forth as much as humanly possible. I almost peed myself laughing watching Tyler and Lucy drive. Watch out southern California freeways, here comes the future.

Have You Enjoyed Your Bert Recently

Josie is in the single command phase: "out!", "up!", "nuk!", "snack!", "oose (juice)!", "eeed (read)!". Unfortunately, for now, many of her commands are difficult to understand. We can usually puzzle out what she wants after a series of clarifying questions (this? no, this? or is it this?). All of her commands are always delivered with a lot of authority, urgency, and enthusiasm.

Two nights ago we were having dinner. We started with lentils and rice but Josie rejected the "ice" as she called the lentils and rice and so we gave her macaroni and cheese. Halfway through dinner Josie starts demanding "Bert, bert, bert!!" and pointing vigorously towards the table. Now on the table were a variety of items, none of which sounded anything like Bert. We had fruit salad, yogurt, macaroni and cheese, and juice to pick from, along with the rejected lentils and rice. Eventually after much pointing and offering of different things, it became clear that "bert" was lentils and rice. Josie ended up eating a lot of bert, once we figured out what it was.

She had a lovely meal of bert again the next day for lunch.

By the way, when Josie started yelling for Bert, Lucy helpfully offered that Bert was one of the people on Sesame Street.

By the by the way, I grew up in the lentil capital of the world. Maybe they should consider changing the lentil festival to the Bert Festival.