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This journal is about raising identical twins.
Sixty Seventh MonthPrevious entries
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Thursday, Feb 6, 2003 (5y+6m)The twins are 5.5 year old today. The twins went to school as usual.
The twins' classmates, Annette and the twins (Katherine and Michael) often played together after school. The moms took turns to host the gathering almost every day. They were at our house today. They had dinner before returning home.
Friday, Feb 7, 2003 (5y+6m+1d)The twins went to school as usual.
Saturday, Feb 8, 2003 (5y+6m+2d)Mommy went grocery shopping in the morning. The twins stayed home with daddy. At lunch time, mommy decided to stay home to prepare for the dinner party in the evening. Daddy offered to take the twins out to lunch with grandma Chui. Joanne said she wanted to stay home with mommy. Daddy took Jasmine to lunch.
After lunch, I took the twins to the park. I let them ride their scooters there. They spent some time in the playground too. I figured the pavement in the park was more spacious for the twins to practice their balancing on the scooters. Jasmine fell down and scratched her knees. She lost interest and asked daddy to ride her scooter home. Joanne was doing quite well on the gliding, and she could stay balance a few seconds at a time. After we returned home, I let the twins soak in the bathtub.
We invited several families for dinner. The guests started to arrive at around 5pm. Lambert and Sandy arrived first. Sandy is currently 6 months pregnant. Lambert worked for Cisco for many years and he was so well off that he resigned from his job 18 months ago. He and his wife did a lot of traveling during the time off. The economy downturn and slumped job market did not affect him. In fact, he is not in a hurry to find a job yet especially when they are expecting the arrival of a baby. He said he could enjoy more before having kids or returning to work. The timing is just right because he can stay home when the baby arrives.
Siu Ling & Ed; Evon & Ronald; Sharleen, Poon & Claire arrived later. Except Sharleen's family, all the guests visited our new home for the first time. They all eagerly requested a house tour to see the result of our remodeling project. The twins discovered how easy it was to use daddy's color printer. The kids spent some time printing greeting cards from disney.com. They also printed some pages for coloring.
We set up Cantonese style hot pot for dinner. The twins and Claire had noodles on a separate table. The kids resumed playing while the adults enjoyed the dinner. The party ended at around 11pm.
Sunday, Feb 9, 2003 (5y+6m+3d)We went to "The Aquarium of the Bay" at Pier 39 in San Francisco to attend Aden's third birthday party. After the party, we took a tour in the Aquarium. Before we arrived, the twins said they wanted to see octopus and seahorse. They remembered them from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I told them that there was no seahorse in this one. They were lucky to see a big octopus (about 3 feet in diameter) crawled across the bottom of the tank. The guide said the octopus normally hide in the dark. It was very unusual that it came out in the open. The twins had an unobstructed view of the whole animal.
After we left the aquarium, we went to Japantown. Alan, Wendy and Valerie joined us for dinner in a Japanese restaurant. The twins and Valerie had a great time playing. They made so much noise that the table next to us decided to move to the other end of the restaurant. The twins were asleep when we got home. We woke them up to clean up before putting them in bed.
Monday, Feb 10, 2003 (5y+6m+4d)The twins went to school as usual.
The eye doctor wanted Jasmine to wear her eyeglasses because of her astigmatism. Jasmine's vision was 20/70 after her surgery. Though the doctor didn't admit it, I read from the Internet that astigmatism can be due to deformation of the eyeballs caused by the surgery. The doctor said kids need correction whenever vision is worse than 20/30. The poor vision may affect her ability to learn well at school. My worry is that the poor vision may affect her ability to reestablish depth perception after her cross-eye surgery. Jasmine did not like to wear glasses. She was willing to wear them at home. She refused to wear them to school because she worried that her classmates might laugh at her.
Before she went to school today, Jasmine looked for her glasses. Mommy told daddy not to make any comment. We didn't want to remind her about her prior decision.
Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 (5y+6m+5d)The twins went to school as usual. Tuesday school runs on an early schedule.
Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003 (5y+6m+6d)The twins went to school as usual.
Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 (5y+6m+7d)The twins went to school as usual.
Friday, Feb 14, 2003 (5y+6m+8d)The twins went to school as usual.
We loaded the car in the evening for a ski trip tomorrow. Joanne picked the DVD movies to bring. She picked Spirit, 101 Dalmatians II, Peter Pan and Return to Never Land (Peter Pan 2). Her choice was a little different from Jasmine's. Since Joanne was not involved in the selection process last time, I didn't get Jasmine involved this time.
Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 (5y+6m+9d)We headed out of town in the morning. We made the first stop at Jim and Kioko's in Martinez. Kioko gave birth to their third child three weeks ago. We paid a visit to baby Minnie because their home was on our way to the mountains. The twins were glad to see JR and Mikki. Mikki let the twins play with her miniature hamster inside a plastic ball. They liked it until the poops leaked out from the ball. They twins were interested in Jim's Akita Moh-Moh. Akita is a large breed dog. Moh-Moh was only three year old, but when she stood up, she was taller than daddy. Jasmine liked to pat Moh-Moh. Joanne tended to shy away because the dog was too big for her liking.
We learned a few weeks ago that E.T. (the twins' favorite pug) had passed away. She fell into the swimming pool and drowned. Despite all the violent cartoons they watched, I didn't believe the twins understood what death really meant. They only knew they would never see E.T. again. They were sad to learn that.
We stopped by Sacramento for lunch. We arrived at Reno, Nevada before dusk. We took the twins to the Midway of Circus Circus Hotel. We played some games and only won one stuffed animal. Joanne took it, and Jasmine didn't complain. Since the twins won many stuffed animals in the last trip, they didn't complain despite we didn't win much this time. Instead, they preferred to go to the game room to win some tickets to exchange for toys.
When it is time for dinner, we found long line everywhere. Those who took reservations had the tables available at least two hours away. We decided to just have fast food. We went to Mel's diner for dinner.
Sunday, Feb 16, 2003 (5y+6m+10d)We took our time to get up in the morning. Mommy said she just wanted to relax for the holiday. We went to Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe. We signed up the twins for ski school. It was past noon when we grab a quick lunch. The ski school starts at 1:30pm. We saw Rachel and her father there. Rachel took a ski lesson yesterday and they skied on their own this morning. Compared to them, we were really lazy bones.
Rachel had progressed quickly. She was in the "Turtle" class in her first lesson. She took the "Squirrel" class yesterday, but the instructor promoted her to the "Fox" class after a few runs.
It was a windy day. The wind chill factor made it a very cold day despite the sunny sky. Though it was not snowing, the strong wind blew snow up from the ground. The twins dressed warmly for the occasion, but they still got wind burns on their faces. The twins were still in the Turtle class at the end of the day. The instructor said they were doing great except that they still needed assistance to get up after falling. If they could get up on their own, they could move to the Squirrel class. Given that Rachel skied two days in each trip and our twins skied a few hours at a time, it would be hopeless to catch up to Rachel's level.
We were quite happy with the ski classes at Mt. Rose, NV. In comparison, the ski school at Northstar at Tahoe was a rip-off. Daddy took ski lessons in Illinois, Pennsylvania and California before. Mommy took ski lessons in Utah and California. Aunt Elaine took ski lessons in California. We watched the twins took ski lessons in both California and Nevada. When we compared notes, we all agreed that the ski lessons in California were lousy. The ski instructors in other states were enthusiastic and really taught the skills and tricks for better skiing. The ski instructors in (Lake Tahoe area) in California just goofed off. They just told you some basics and let you struggle on your own. I had a feeling that they purposely make the learning a frustrating experience for the beginners. My theory is that since the Lake Tahoe ski areas are overcrowded, the instructors probably wanted to scare off the new comers, but they couldn't refuse the income. When they refrained from teaching the real stuffs to the students, the frustrated ones would just give up and thin out the crowd; the dedicated ones would keep coming back to pay them more money. So in any case, the instructors are in a win-win situation. It was to their disadvantage to do their job wholeheartedly.
When we got back to the hotel, we ordered room service for dinner. Mommy was tired so everyone went to bed early. Daddy was wakened up by the trains several times in the night. The hotel was located at the railroad crossing with a major street. Every train blew the whistle long and hard when approaching the major crossing. The train whistles kept mommy up last night and kept daddy up tonight. The twins slept through everything.
Monday, Feb 17, 2003 (5y+6m+11d)It was Presidents' Day Holiday.
We took our time packing in the morning. We checked out the hotel at around 11am. We bought some sandwiches and headed back to California.
We made a stop at Boreal Ski area. We let the twins played in the snow for about an hour. They made snow angels and threw snow balls at daddy. We also drew some pictures on the snow.
We got back to Sacramento at around 3pm. We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner. We left at around 4:30pm. The twins watched some DVD on the way. They were so tired that they volunteered to pause the video so that they could take a nap. We were back home at around 7pm. They were re-energized after the nap. The twins were in a week long recess from school. We let them stay up late. They discovered Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network. We usually told them we didn't know the showtime because I thought the cartoon was too violent for kids. However, now they bumped into the show, it was hard to block the show from them.
Tuesday, Feb 18, 2003 (5y+6m+12d)The twins were off from school for the entire week. They got together with Annette, Michael and Katherine every day.
Jasmine got a little cough.
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 (5y+6m+13d)The twins were off from school for the entire week. They got together with Annette, Michael and Katherine every day.
Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 (5y+6m+14d)The twins were off from school for the entire week. They got together with Annette, Michael and Katherine every day.
The twins started their Piano lesson today. They were in a group lesson learning the Yamaha method using electronic keyboards. We thought the Yamaha method was designed for children to make learning fun. Since it was cheaper and more fun to take group lessons, we planned to let the twins learn the basics first before going into private lessons.
Friday, Feb 21, 2003 (5y+6m+15d)The twins were off from school for the entire week. They got together with Annette, Michael and Katherine every day.
The twins were excited to tell daddy that Miss Mo, their teacher would come to our house today. Actually this was not a family visit from school. The three moms invited the teacher for a gathering because they were about the same age. It was the women's thing, unrelated to the twins' school.
During the Chinese New Year gathering 3 weeks ago, the moms played the Mahjong game together. Mommy had been a beginning player for many years. She never could find players at her beginning level. Mahjong is mostly played in a gambling setting. It is very difficult to find four players who just want to play the game for fun with no money involved. They found their soul mates three weeks ago and they have been playing the game every chance they got since then. Actually the twins' teacher didn't know the game, so the moms had to give her instructions. The twins were very curious about the Mahjong game mommy was playing. Joanne had watched enough of the lesson to be able to instruct daddy what to do with the tiles. Since they learned the Chinese characters from 1 to 9 from school, they were able to tell the tiles from the "wan" suit also. They had no trouble counting the circles and sticks from the other two suits.
While the moms and teacher socialized over a game of Mahjong, the kids turned the house over. Sharleen dropped off Claire with us before she went to teach the Chinese school. There were 8 kids in our house at one point of time. Mommy made a big batch of pasta for dinner. Annette and Katherine's family stayed past 9pm before returning home.
After the guests had left, the twins requested to play Mahjong with us. This could be a controversial topic. Should kids learn any game that might turn into gambling? Is playing poker with chips okay if no money is involved? Daddy learned the game of Mahjong at around the same age as the twins' now, but I never was indulged into any form of gambling. Playing games and betting on games can be totally separate activities. In all the cases that I knew of, those who learned the game as adults were the one who became gamblers. All those friends who learned the game since childhood could resist the temptation to gamble with it. As a matter of fact, I really worry about mommy starting to gamble on mahjong because of her late exposure to it.
We both thought it was okay for the twins to play the game for fun. We don't need to worry about the twins gambling before the twins have money to bet with. We played the game with all the tiles opened, so that we could show the twins what to do with the tiles in each play. Daddy won the first game. The twins were unhappy about it. We took the opportunity to teach them that losing was okay as long as there was hope to win the next round. In each round, there are 1 winner and 3 losers. It is the fact of life that no one wins all the time. Usually those who never lose will have trouble facing real competition later in life.
Joanne won the next 3 games. Joanne had the beginner's luck, and the right pieces just came to her. Mommy and Jasmine didn't win any. Jasmine started to have tears in her eyes. She requested that we would play the game until she won and then she would go to bed. We could tell she was tired already. With luck, Jasmine got all the right pieces. Since we were playing an open game with all pieces showing to everyone, I knew what Jasmine needed to complete her hand. I took the first opportunity to play her the winning tile. They all went to bed happily.
Saturday, Feb 22, 2003 (5y+6m+16d)Grandma Ling, grandpa, Uncle Ivan and cousin Natalie came to visit. Aunt Tina, and Aunt Jun went shopping and they didn't come. Lillian came to visit too. Mommy craved for a game of mahjong again. Uncle Ivan was also a beginner and he didn't mind playing just for fun. Daddy, mommy, Lillian and Uncle Ivan played the game together. The twins were occupied with their cousin. The grand parents took care of dinner. After dinner, Lillian stayed for more games. We switched to the Chinese domino game of "Tien Gow". The twins wanted to play too, but it was a much more difficult strategic game. They were not old enough to learn that yet. We just asked them to stack the tiles. They got bored and left the table.
Sunday, Feb 23, 2003 (5y+6m+17d)Aunt Jun came to visit, she picked up cousin Natalie on the way to our home. After lunch, they all went to Stanford mall. Daddy stayed home to take an afternoon nap.
After a week long break from school, we sent the twins to bed early after dinner.
Monday, Feb 24, 2003 (5y+6m+18d)The twins returned to school after a week long recess.
In the evening, daddy asked Jasmine whether she liked going back to school. She said she enjoyed staying home more. The long break spoiled the kids.
Jasmine wanted to stay up to watch PowerPuff Girls. Instead, we sent them to bed early because school starts early on Tuesday.
Tuesday, Feb 25, 2003 (5y+6m+19d)The twins went to school as usual.
Wednesday, Feb 26, 2003 (5y+6m+20d)The twins went to school as usual. Joanne's class went on a field trip to the fire station. Mommy was one of the volunteer helpers to follow the group. Joanne said they didn't take the bus. I guessed the fire station was at walking distance from school.
Thursday, Feb 27, 2003 (5y+6m+21d)The twins went to school as usual. Jasmine's class went on a field trip to the fire station. Jasmine said she liked the field trip. She said the firemen could get dressed very fast and she touched the fireman's hat.
When the kids were in school, the moms got together to make Chinese dumpings to sell to their friends and other moms at school.
They went to their piano class after school. Joanne said she was the winner of some game they played in class. The twins couldn't explain what the game was, but it was enough for me to know we had a winner in our household. Yeah!
The Yamaha method makes learning piano a fun activity. Looks like the twins enjoyed the music lessons and were motivated. Our twins are not attending an official Yamaha Music School. However, the teacher is from Singapore. She was trained in the Yamaha method from the Yamaha Music School in Singapore. Her classroom is set up for a maximum of 5 students. So each student is getting a fair share of attention.
Mommy packed all the swimming gear for tomorrow. They got a guest pass to the local YMCA and they were going to swim in the heated indoors pool. The twins were so excited about it. Mommy said the trip would be cancelled if the twins didn't finish homework or get to bed early. It was a huge motivator. The twins went through their daily routines much faster than usual.
Friday, Feb 28, 2003 (5y+6m+22d)The twins went to school as usual.
Three moms and six kids including Annette and Katherine's family went to YMCA for a swim. They said the water was at their chest level. It was important that the kids could stand up with their heads above water because each mom had to watch two kids. The kids had a great time.
Saturday, Mar 1, 2003 (5y+6m+23d)Mommy went to grocery shopping in the morning. We would have a dinner party later in the evening.
Daddy took care of the twins at home. The twins requested chicken soup. Daddy made them some chicken noodle soup from the cans. They loved it and praised daddy for being a good cook.
When mommy came back, daddy spent sometime cleaning up the garage. In the afternoon, Jenny arrived early with Anita's daughter Lori. Anita needed to work today, she would come later in the evening. Lori's daddy would stay home babysitting their other two kids. Lori and the twins played for a while. Then they requested to ride their scooters and bikes to the park. Jenny took them to the park. Daddy rode a bike to join them at the park later. We rode twice around the perimeter of the park. Joanne was on a scooter. Since she was still a beginner, her legs get tired very soon. She could barely catch up with the group. Lori was pretty good with the scooter. Jasmine did fine with her bike. She was kind of shy away from the scooter after she scuffed her knees last time. They were getting good exercise.
The other guests arrived in the late afternoon. The guests were mainly mommy's buddies from high school, college and church. Among the guests were Jenny, Connie & Francis (their 4 year old Cythnia), Irene & Tom, Christine & Daniel, Ellen & E-man(sp?), Sara & Simon (their 3 year old Kingsley), Anita (her daughter Lori). We fed the kids first. The five kids played by themselves while the adults enjoyed dinner.
Sunday, Mar 2, 2003 (5y+6m+24d)Daddy took the twins to Maddie's 3rd birthday party at Jungle Fun & Adventure. On the way to the party, the twins asked why Maddie came so far to her party. I was puzzled about their comment. They said Maddie lives in the snow. Then I realized that they remembered her from the Tahoe trip in last March when we stayed at Maddie's vacation home. The twins learned for the first time that some people could have two homes. Mommy stayed home taking a vacation from the twins.
The twins had been at Jungle several times, and they knew enough to show daddy around the place. They wanted daddy to follow them into the play structure. The tunnels were built for kids. They could walk by bending down a little. But adults must crawl on their hands and knees. I saw another parent wearing knee pads. He was well prepared. I was glad that I didn't get stuck inside though it took a great toll of my back and knees.
We arrived at 10:30am and we stayed till almost 3pm. Joanne started to become moody. She cried because Jasmine ran away without waiting for her. When the twins became unreasonable, it was a sign that they were tired but didn't know when to stop. When kids were exhausted and continued to play, they were prone to injury. So I suggested that we should go home. Jasmine wanted to play more, but she didn't object when Joanne wanted to leave.
As soon as we left the parking lot, the twins saw a poster of Jungle Book 2 outside a cinema. They had asked for this movie for weeks now, thanks to the TV commercials. They begged daddy to stop the car and check if the show was on. We were 5 minutes late for the 3pm show. When we went in, the commercials were finishing up and we didn't miss any part of the movie. The twins watched the movie quietly. I was surprised that they didn't fall asleep after a few hours of physical activity. Right after the movie, they asked daddy to buy the DVD when it is available.
In the evening, Joanne played dumb with daddy. When daddy spoke to her in Chinese, she turned to Jasmine giggling and said "What does that mean? Is he speaking English?" Daddy didn't think it was funny. We strongly believe the twins should learn more than one language. So it would be a problem if they resist speaking Chinese at home. We knew that the same thing happened to all our Chinese friends in the US, but we didn't expect it would be so soon for us. We thought that if the twins attend bilingual school, it would make a difference.
The twins didn't a nap despite the physical activities at Maddie's birthday party. We sent them to bed early.
Monday, Mar 3, 2003 (5y+6m+25d)Today is 03/03/03. The twins went to school as usual.
The moms got together to make Chinese dumplings for friends. They are offering two flavors, pork with Napa Cabbage and pork with chives. They were able to make more than 300 in one afternoon.
The kids played in our house when the moms were busy working. This play group got together almost every week day. They had no trouble getting along.
Tuesday, Mar 4, 2003 (5y+6m+26d)The twins went to school as usual.
They had a dentist appointment after school today. No cavity was found.
The twins looked forward to the semiannual visit to the dentist. They knew that their ugly black stains on their teeth would be removed. They knew that George at the dentist's office would give them many toys and stickers. So far, all their dentist appointments were pleasant experience, hence they had no fear of the dentist. We just keep our finger crossed that they don't get any cavity. When they do, the drilling and filling may change the image of the dentist.
Joanne told Jasmine in the car that she wanted to be an artist when she grows up. I think it is too early to decide before she had considered all other options.
Joanne had completed her INH treatment. Since the mediation can be toxic to her liver, it was a dilemma for us to decide whether to go with the treatment or now. We were glad that it was finally ended after nine months.
Wednesday, Mar 5, 2003 (5y+6m+27d)The twins went to school as usual. The twins went to one of their classmate Nicholas' home after school.
One of the other parents from school called mommy in the evening. They talked about some nasty stomach flu going on at school. The caller said her child and few other students caught the virus and became quite sick too. They knew it was one of the students Claire who had the symptoms first. Instead of keeping the kid at home, her mom sent the sick child to school. Her mom actually warned other parents to wash the kids' hands to avoid being infected. She now spread to the rest of the class. They were disgusted about such irresponsible action. In response to the news, I took the twins temperature. Joanne had a 100.7°F fever. Jasmine was at 99.7°F. Since 98.6°F is normal, they weren't seriously ill. Both twins were so energetic and noisy that I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't check their temperature. We sent the twins to bed early because of their fever. But they didn't see the need to end the day early because they didn't feel ill.
Thursday, Mar 6, 2003 (5y+6m+28d)The twins are 67 months old today.
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started on Mar 6, 2003