Pronounced BAH-CHEW-CHEE, it was a nickname my sister called her first-ever niece, Miss C-Jaz. According to urbandictionary.dom, this term is used to express "an absolutely wonderful bum". And that she is, myBachoochie, my little bum cheeks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wishing Sheldon's Method of Trying to Make One's Head Explode Actually Worked

I was so looking forward to a weekend of wine, comfort foods, a mini 'make-over' for J (mostly hair cutting and wardrobe updating), and just our usual weekend fun.  I suppose we will still have a version of this whilst we sanitize the 'surfacely' clean loft next to us (a mirror layout of our current loft) so that we can move in to it. 

Sound ridiculous? 

Oh it so many ways, but really this lovely situation is all because of one person at J's work who has not one shred of competence or professionalism.  And, yes, this is me being NOT Ver-y-nice in a very nice way.  I have much more to spew, but I won't.  The bottom line is that this said person canceled the company's lease on our loft thinking it was the residence of another employee in the aforementioned loft next door to us.  The entire action of switching lofts is redundant (as Sheldon Cooper may comment) and supposedly the mistaken cancellation cannot be reversed for legal reasons.  So, fine.  I'll move my stuff, and the only reason I may be pleasant about it is for Miss C-Jaz's sake.  She shouldn't have to be around a grumpy and bitter me because of said incompetent person who can't even feel my wrath as I try to make her head explode ( Sheldon Cooper may do if in such a predicament - try this link for a visual).  And besides, if I focus on doing what I need to do, then I won't have time to think about said unprofessional person, which would only make the entire redundant process more difficult and more drawn out. 

Well, setting this situation aside, Miss C-Jaz had a good day.  We walked to see her ducks, then we 'groceried'.  She fell asleep for her nap and I swept and tidied, anxious to write until J called (during his work hours), which is not a good thing as already I've mentioned and will cease from mentioning further. 

Did I mention that Miss C-Jaz can now sing Sheldon Cooper's favorite comfort song when sick? I'm still trying to catch her in the act. 

"Soft Kitty...Warm Kitty...Lit-tel ball of ferrrrr.
Happy Kitty...Sleepy Kitty...Per per per."

Anyway, I made another great dinner...Chicken with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Chunky Mashed Potatoes - the easy and yummiest mashed potatoes I ever made.  Cooking back home in Vancouver never came so easily.  I hope this streak lasts for me.

Side note - I'm writing this early morning, and Miss C-Jaz in her sleep just called out Penny's name (another Big Bang reference).  Her dreams should be interesting.

Anyway, tomorrow is pancakes for breakfast, but I'm planning French toast, and regardless of this coming weekend's pre-determined events, we're going to have our weekend! 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

From Beginning to 'Slut' (Swedish for 'the end'): A Ver-y-nice Day!

The cuteness that I wake up to.

"I comfy cosy! Cover me wid da beng-ket pease, Mommy. Cover my arms too."

Today, after she peed in her potty, which she is starting to do well I might add - though she forgets to tell me she needs to pee during the day, so I still have to instigate it and we have to work on number two sitting down since she likes to stand - I ask her if she's ready to go downstairs for breakfast.

"No, Mommy.  I want to cuddle with you in da bed!!"  And I think to myself, how do you say no to that?  Well, you just don't.

So, we cuddle and chill for a  bit, but with sunshine finally filtering into our window we venture to Sickla for a good 4 hours there are  back.  We were excited for our Shake It! smoothy from our favorite kiosk, Naked Juice Bar (the yummiest drinks and the nicest staff), but it was closed since they were relocating to another part of the mall.

We almost settled for a pink pre-made-open-to-germ-infestation smoothie at 'Cranky' Coffee House by George, which would've been better if it was Cookies by George, but the rudeness of the non-looking Swede dude behind the counter deterred us for the better.  Too bad for you, 'Cranky' Coffee House by George (cranky because none of the staff look happy)!  You lost a great customer in me - and I used to go to Starbucks about 5 times a week.  I wonder if they even have anything good?  'Cranky' Coffee House by George sells smoothies that are not made fresh and they sell Gevalia coffee that I can buy from the grocery store.  So, what's the Coffee by George?  I really don't want to say much, but I was irked by the worst customer service ever (not that I should be surprised since I am in Sweden) - almost ignored and spoken too devoid of eye contact.  I was even dressed up Swede-like in the comfiest tights with my Zara pea coat and Scorett stiletto boots.  Am I that intimidating?  Anyway, to give the benefit of the doubt, maybe the dude couldn't speak English.  But, still!!!  I'm still working on my Swedish.  He's just lucky J wasn't with us or he would've been put in his place.  Regardless, Miss C-Jaz and I, as a result of our first AND LAST experience with 'Cranky' Coffee House by George, enjoyed a Happy Meal (of nuggets, apples, and OJ), a fried apple pie (like back in the 90s), and a smoooooooth chocolate milk shake (Nang's favorite).  Miss C-Jaz ate so well and so slowly, always looking around and squirming while reading her Happy Meal book, that we must've been sitting in the restaurant for 40 minutes.  McDonald's hardly displeases!  So, that's me being Ver-y-nice.  Even Miss C-Jaz was cute about it.  She said, "Mommy, I don't like the pink one (smoothy)!"

We had a fun day, as we always try to do.  Miss C-Jaz loved the walk.  I even got a cute top to go with my tights.  I'm skinnier now than when I was home in Vancouver, so I see all the hype about tights since I'm confident enough to wear them.  I was able to shop a little when Miss C-Jaz was snoring away in her Zooper, and I had a zippy walk home with daylight ending early.  My boots were made for walkin'!  Love them, but love my husband more for getting them for me!

We chilled a bit at home after Miss C-Jaz emptied a few items for me from ICA - she's a self starter!  Her hair was all dis-shelved from her hood and she was a tad disoriented but happy from her hap as she oh-so-cutely picked up a pack of small garbage bags, held it up in her right hand with her left grasping the bottom kitchen cupboard, asking, "Mommy?  I put it here?"  She was so  nonchalant - it was a charming site and a scary one because she's definitely growing!

While Miss C-Jaz watched a bit of 'Tan Tan Tan Tan...', her nickname for The Big Comfy Couch, I prepped dinner, and it was amazing!  Sukiyakilax, or Salmon in Sukiyaki Sauce.  I altered the recipe I found, as always, and with just enough sauce, the salmon had great flavor and the veggies were crunchy.  As I finished cooking, my wok looked a bit picturesque.  It's as good as it looks salmon lovers!!!

From beginning to slut, our day's been full of mini adventures.  Overall it was a day of minimal whining until bedtime when she randomly acted out with a kick and some scratching at Daddy as he joined in to watch Tinkerbell.  I don't even know what compelled Miss C-Jaz to be so rough - maybe she felt disrupted from her Tinkerbell movie.  When I attempted to discipline her apparently..."Mommy!  You made me cry!"  I had turned off her movie because she didn't stop with the attitude, and I replied, "No.  You cried on your own.  You know you're not supposed to kick and scratch.  Remember Molly and Lunette today?  Molly hit her friend, and Lunette got hurt."  Miss C-Jaz continued with some fake crying.  "I'll be here when you're ready to say sorry."  It was fascinating, in a few moments, MissC-Jaz returned to her usual cute self, and at eye level I heard out her apology that started in a whisper.

"I sorry, Mommy.  For kicking.  For what I said,  I sorry.  For crying."

"So, you're going to remember not to kick and scratch because it hurts other people?"

"Yes, Mama."

"Okay.  Thank you.  Hugs and kisses please.  Then go give Daddy a gentle kiss too and say you're sorry."  And Miss C-Jaz did so with some sugary love.

SLUT!  (pronounced SLEWT)  'The End'

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sitting Pretty in Purple and Pink

Stockholm this week continues to be dark and rainy, but there's still plenty of sunshine from my Bachoochie.  We got a break from Swedish class today, but as we headed out anyway for a walk and for groceries, it started to spit rain.  It wasn't too bad, but we didn't linger much outside.  Miss C-Jaz had fun as always.  When we stepped into the door arriving home she said in a sigh, "Oh, Mommy, that was fun."  We dressed up a little today just 'cause, and I couldn't help but take pictures of Miss C-Jaz in her cuteness.  I've been able to pin up her bangs lately since I'm trying to grow them out, which makes her face even sweeter. 

Miss C-Jaz is a poser, just like Daddy. 
She's wearing her shiny Osh Kosh B'Gosh jeans
and her Joe polka dot cardigan with shiny beads for buttons.

She's showing off her turtle neck...

...and her gathered wrists and ruffle sleeves of her Zara top.

Comfy Cute!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Broccoli Trees in Haystacks & 'Operation Re-Newed Potty Poop-N-Pee'

It was indeed another great weekend in Sverige, filled with lounging, walking through Sickla Galleria, eating good food that I made - potato skillet, feta spinach lasagna, beefsteak with onions - and drinking great Cabernet Sauvignon.  Miss C-Jaz and I continued our experiments of Silly Snack recipes, and on Sunday night we made 'Trees in Hay Stacks".  It was cute and tasty but a little more involved to make also requiring a bit more patience with a two-year old wanting to mix mix mix!  Miss C-Jaz didn't want to eat it, but Daddy said it's the best recipe we've made so far.  Agreed!  It could use a few more ingredients to give it a fuller taste.  Maybe then Miss C-Jaz would eat it.  She does have taste buds that enjoy sushi, seafood pasta, and fine chocolates.

Weekends are always great for Miss C-Jaz and Daddy.  She had a great time with J, "Daddy, 'oh-nee'!  Daddy, 'oh-nee'!"  She loved walking hand-in-hand, but she loved walking on her own too just like today as she chased down a pigeon.

Being Monday, it's our withdrawal day from Daddy.  Miss C-Jaz and I went for a walk in the somewhat bright day.  She chose her Gap fuchsia pea coat with striped detachable hood and matching Polo fuchsia loafer-like shoes with green Polo embellishments.  Of course, she had to have her Carter's sunglasses to finish off her look.  She even carried her own backpack that contained my cell phone and her "Pretty a-Pencess" toy camera. 


We had a nice walk, but in the end it got windy.  We did our grocery shopping then headed home for her "two two-teen" nap, which didn't really happen til 3:45ish.  I didn't have much time to do my thing today but I got in some laundry and sweeping.  Miss C-Jaz finally passed out on the couch after I made yummy skagenröra with little messy helping hands.

Miss C-Jaz was more refreshed after her short, but late, nap.  She was more cooperative in the evening helping while I made dinner, reading while I washed dishes, and sitting while we decorated letters of her name for a surprise J and I had planned for 'Operation Re-Newed Potty Poop-N-Pee'.  All last week I've been considering what would get her more interested to do her business in a potty and to wear 'big girl' pants (diapers) - Miss C-Jaz likes to consider it as 'little girl' pants since she's not a baby or a big girl, as she describes.

J and I surprised her after dinner, and she was shocked and totally loving it.  This is what Miss C-Jaz saw as she came into the washroom, then we moved it to an area she wanted, just under the sink by the rug where we put her potty (so her feet wouldn't get cold).

It was so cute!  Right away Miss C-Jaz wanted to wear her new pull-ups, and she sat on her new pink Baby Bjorn though nothing happened at first.  I think it might be a little too small for her, so I might check out the potty chair version. 

Miss C-Jaz gets the whole concept of potty-ing, but we'll see tomorrow just how much it sticks.  Tonight, before falling asleep she peed in the potty then drank 5 ounces of milk and is sleeping in a pull-up diaper.  Hopefully, J and I wake up with NO dried pee areas on the bed, or worse, on our clothes.  Yes, we're in a shared bed, for now, since our current Swede loft has no practical area for a toddler bed.  Unfortunately, Miss C-Jaz can't use her Ellis convertible day bed back home...but it won't be long...5 months and counting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Best 'Carrot Stix' for Toddlers...and Mommies with Sweet Tooths

This week has been about trying different Silly Snack recipes with Miss C-Jaz from Sesame Street's Cooking With Kids book, and it's been fun and fairly easy.  Even before following the recipes, Miss C-Jaz is a good little helper (when she wants to be) in the kitchen mixing and washing.

Today, I made a recipe by myself as Miss C-Jaz watched Word World, a great kids show that mixes songs and reading with interesting story lines and characters.  She was a bit cranky and uncooperative after grocery shopping, but I really wanted to try making 'Carrot Stix', and it would be a great snack for both of us.

Can you tell how pleased she was?

Surprisingly, these 'Carrot Stix' are the best way to eat carrots, especially if you love "cinnamony" and sweet things, as I do.  I could see yams being a good substitution for carrots, but these 'Carrot Stix' are definitely a must-try from the regular crunchy and hard, sometimes bland taste of carrots, which are also not good for 2-year old's to munch on.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

'Pendening' It's Tea Time and 'Pendening' to Eat Steak

"Mommy, would you like some sugar-sugar?"

"Yes, please.  Thank you!"

"Go use the big one, Mama.  I using the baby one.  Too...oot (pouring sound).  I put sugar in it too."

"Mmmm.  Very good, Nana.  What's next?  May I have something to eat, please?"

"Mommy, go eat."

"Okay, what am I going to eat?"

"Ummmm...steeeek (steak).  Go eat."

"Okay.  Soooo good."

"I'm full...a 'leetabeet' (little bit)."

"Me too!"

What little girl doesn't like to play tea time and 'penden' (pretend) to eat steak?  She is definitely her father's daughter.  'Pendening' to eat steak made me really want particular, my Ladies steak from Texas Loghorn in Hammarby.  Instead, I have my Shake-a-Shake-a-Mango-(protein)Shake with a new ingredient I've added to make it a little sweeter...2 swirls of honey.  Soooo not the same!

Miss C-Jaz was so cute, as always, and now she can hold her fork and knife properly (plastic of course) while 'pendening' to cut her steak.  She can pour, stir, and serve.  The weird nostalgic part is that she's playing with MY old tea set.  I don't even remember playing with it when I was little.  All Miss C-Jaz needs now is her own table and chair set.  We play on the couch because it's a perfect height for her when she's standing.  The disadvantage being away from our Canada home is that we don't want to start collecting and buying new things that we may not be able to take home or that we already have back home.  I'm not sure what to do now for Miss C-Jaz, aside from open dagis, because we can easily play with all the toys I've brought from home and go through each book we have in her library here.  She really is growing so fast.

One new game I came up with today was for an animal hunt using her Animal Stencil Cards.  We would spread out each animal card onto the floor, then we would meet at one spot to blindly name an animal at random (which usually ended up with me naming an animal because she would look for an animal to name).  Finally, we search for the animal to take away.  Of course I always pretend not to find it first, and in the end, she found each card on her own.  Miss C-Jaz had fun, and whenever she found the right animal card, I cheered for her.  She wanted to play a second time, so I gave her clues about which animal card to look for.  Sometimes I made an animal sound and other times I would describe an animal.  It was a little more difficult for her, but she still managed to find the right cards.

It's been a long morning of playing, stretching, pretending, jumping, and reading, especially because Miss C-Jaz woke up earlier than usual today and has been whiny, but it's always interesting to watch her get those lightbulb moments of, "Oh yah..."  Just recently, she's finally able to complete this cube thing of shapes.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miss C-Jaz Makes Big Bird's Little Nests

We are on Day 3 of Miss C-Jaz's eating streak.  Unbelievable.  Still waiting for her eating to decline again...any mealtime now.

Miss C-Jaz was particularly impressive this evening with dinner.  I made chicken adobo, which was so good and so easy, especially since I don't cook filipino food often (see recipe below*).  No picture can capture its sour aroma and amazing taste.  A picture might just not do the dish any justice.

J loved it - thankfully!  Before we left for Sweden, we wondered where our filipino food fixes would come from.  How would we survive away from both our parents' homes and authentic filipino foods?  I never cooked much at home for this reason.  We lived 5 minutes away from Ganma and Ganpa then another 5 minutes from Mamita and Wowo.  If I could cook like our moms then we just might survive.

J wasn't the only one who enjoyed the adobo.  Miss C-Jaz finished her entire Ikea bowl of one scoop of rice and chicken adobo.  She also ate her cucumber, which I recently found a new way of cutting so that she would eat it.

When Miss C-Jaz was first starting to eat solids, I peeled cucumbers then cut it into slices and further into bite-size pieces.  Eventually, I stopped cutting the cucumber into bite-size pieces.  When she got better at eating, I stopped peeling cucumbers but continued to cut it into slices then into halves.  Lately, since Miss C-Jaz has been helping me put J's salad together after his workouts, I cut the cucumbers (unpeeled) into slices then into quarters.  Miss C-Jaz would bite the centres of each quarter piece then place it into J's salad, saliva and all.  Today, I cut a 3" section of the cucumber then sliced it lengthwise until I reached the juicy core, Miss C-Jaz's favorite part.  I cut this section further into 4 to 6 'stix', and voila, Miss C-Jaz easily ate her greens.  Now, to work on broccoli and zucchini.  If only there were a way to get rid of the green colour.

I don't know what it is about the green, but Miss C-Jaz definitely did not want to eat it in Monday's SCRAM-bled Egg & Zucchini Pie.  I liked it.  Yesterday, we tried something different in our Elmo cookbook of snacks.  I was excited because I thought it would turn out into something similar to macaroons, but quite the contrary.  We made 'Big Bird's Little Nests' made of a baked coconut mixture filled with non-fat sour cream and mandarins.  It had a nice light taste, but the coconut mixture was dry, not chewy.  Miss C-Jaz had fun filling the nests, but the first bite she took was spat out as fast as it came in.

In my macaroon-disappointment I tried changing the filling into something sweeter: Jello chocolate pudding and whipping cream.  "Not bad, Mama," as Miss C-Jaz would say.

* Here's the Chicken Adobo recipe I made tonight for 2, adapted from Ganma's ('Tang-koo!').  There are lots of ways to make it, and here is one.

   6 boneless chicken thighs, rinsed, seasoned with salt and pepper
   1/2 cup each of soy sauce and vinegar (more or less depending on how much sauce you want)
   4 cloves of garlic, minced
   1/2 an onion, diced
   bay leaf (if you have it)

   Combine all these ingredients into a small pot.  Let it sit to marinade if there's time.  Otherwise, bring the pot to a boil, and let it boil on high for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium for 10 minutes, then finally to low for the last 5 minutes.  Don't forget to cook jasmine rice.  Enjoy ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Miss C-Jaz Makes Elmo's SCRAM-bled Egg & Zucchini Pie

YESSSSSS!!!  Miss C-Jaz's eating streak continues.  She ate much of dinner yesterday and all meals  today, still with her ka here and there.  I am now jinxing it.  I know it.

We experimented with an Elmo cookbook that I got at last year's Scholastic Book Fair.  Miss C-Jaz helped me cook 'SCRAM-bled Egg & Zucchini Pie' for dinner, and it actually tasted good.  She ate half of it, except for the green stuff she could see...the zucchini :(  Note to self: peel the zucchini before chopping it.

Miss C-Jaz was so happy following her recipe book.  We have a few more planned, so we shall see how that goes this week.  Here she is with her SCRAM-bled Egg & Zucchini Pie.   

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tips to Please Miss C-Jaz, the Picky Eater

Today's been a great day of perusing books for Miss C-Jaz.  She woke up in a particularly good mood this morning - maybe because she slept in till 10:00 from falling asleep by 22:30.  She had a smile on her face, and as always she asks, "Mommy, where's Daddy?" while simultaneously remembering he's at work.  We cuddled in the blankets for a bit, then with no whining she cooperatively came with me to the washroom to wash up for the day.  Those two things are what makes for a good day: no whining and cooperation.

While we were washing up Miss C-Jaz started listing a menu for breakfast in a sing-song voice that went up in tone at the end of each phrase.

"You'll have bread...
...and coffee...
...and I'll have water...
...and apple juice..."

"What are you going to eat?"


She's so lively and animated.

We had a great breakfast, which was the beginning of a great day of eating for my little petite one.  It's always been so hard to get Miss C-Jaz to eat.  She's a picky eater, but she also loves her 'Ka' (milk).  I came across an article on 17 TIPS FOR PLEASING THE PICKY EATER from  I've found that I do some of the tips already with Miss C-Jaz: dip it, spread it, drink it, cut it up, package it, turn meals upside down, let them cook, make every calorie count, and relax.

Miss C-Jaz and Bo helping cook and wash dishes.

There were some tips that reassured me and reminded me of some things.  Miss C-Jaz is tiny so she has a tiny tummie which means that her stomach can hold the size of her own fist.  I usually give her small portions at a time so as long as she can take several bites here and there of different foods, then we're on the right track.

The article made me realize too to count on inconsistencies and that like other toddlers Miss C-Jaz likes to binge on one food at a time.  She can eat a lot one day, like today, then eat much less another day, like yesterday.  On a daily basis I'm trying to stay aware of Miss C-Jaz's food needs, but since her eating habits are inconsistent, it may be more ideal to aim for a 'nutritionally-balanced week' as opposed to a balanced day as suggested by the article.  One tip I'm looking forward to trying is the nibble tray, a customized smorgasbord using an ice tray.

This morning's breakfast consisted of exactly what Miss C-Jaz listed this morning.  She ate the butter side of the toast strips I made her because she thought the other side was crust - it was just toasted and crispy.  She even drank a whole plastic Ikea cup, Kalas, of apple juice and water, alternating sips.  I had my non-Swedish-like cup of Cappuccino and toast with hallon sylt, raspberry jam.

While eating, we had Madagascar playing in the background on her 'DVDV Paya', which I've read a few times as a suggestion NOT to do, but I find that it helps distract Miss C-Jaz from NOT eating.  It's funny to see how her thought processes work and word associations.  She heard Marty say the word helicopter then she turned to me and said, "I like helicopters and butta-fies and 'cata-piw-ows' and 'sips'."  I think she meant ships.

Toast and apple juice and 'wata' wasn't the end of her eating and drinking.  Miss C-Jaz had a quarter of a pear and a few bites of plum.  We sat on the couch for a bit then started reading book after book after book.  We must have gotten through 9 books this morning, which is always great.  She named so many things, like basketballs and 'flowas', asked lots of questions, "Wha deese?  Wha deese doin'?", and she identified letters, like 'O' and 'A'.

I gave Miss C-Jaz her milk, then she snacked on dried jordgubbs (strawberries) and had chicken pasta salad for lunch with 'wata' and 'appa juice'.  We read a few more books, which brings us to nap time and a very dark afternoon in Sweden, which is just so odd, considering it's late afternoon.  When Miss C-Jaz wakes from her nap she'll think it's bed time when it's time to make dinner.  We'll have to see if Miss C-Jaz can continue her streak of consistency for dinner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Miss C-Jaz Using Public Washrooms Make Me Cringe

I hate public washrooms!  The smell, the dirt, the grime.  Mostly the smell and all the toilets.  I hate how careless and gross people can be, or maybe they're like that at home.  I have heard that mens' washrooms are just as gross in different ways.

Ever since I can remember, I have always 'held it in' until getting home to avoid any and all public washrooms.   Me avoiding washrooms is one thing, but ever since Miss C-Jaz came into our lives, the thought of her tiny little homunculus-self having to use public washrooms made my skin crawl.  Here comes the 'not-gona-lie' moment.  I have partly prolonged potty training because I did not want to sit Miss C-Jaz on any public toilet seat.  So, this is a big reason why I may not have made the biggest effort to outline specific potty training strategies.  It's not like I didn't try to set Miss C-Jaz up for success.

J and I made sure Miss C-Jaz had the same potty system in her three main homes: our own and both grandparents'.  We were ready with sticker rewards, praise, and picture-taking.  We had the right elements, just not an effective plan or system.  Too many inconsistencies.  I realized this today, after Miss C-Jaz and I watched 'Huggies Pull-Ups Big Kid Central Potty Training Success DVD' - a free video J and I ordered a while ago when were back home.

The video gave me perspective, as cheesy as the acting was.  I bet that the parents who were featured were actors and unrelated to the children presented.  It was funny, but the info was helpful and supposedly supported with research.

In hindsight, Miss C-Jaz was sitting on her potty at 19 months.  If I had to potty, she would sit on hers then ask for tissue to wipe her bum even though she never did her business.  One time, on Valentine's Day 2008, she sat on the potty, pooped, then stood up, but since it was stuck to her bum it plopped to the floor.  It was funny and gross!

While my loathing of public washrooms was a part of why I avoided potty training Miss C-Jaz, I also wanted to wait to start at Spring Break so I had a full week with her to establish a routine.  Then, I wanted to wait till the summer, but when J got the offer to relocate to Sweden, I wanted to wait till we made the move to avoid plane washrooms - which are even more gross than regular public washrooms.  See my internal dilemma?  Regardless of my issues, I understand now that when Miss C-Jaz is ready for the potty it will happen.

At 19 months, Miss C-Jaz showed #3 and #7 of the 'Signs of Readiness', but at 27 months up until now, she has shown 6 of 7 signs (all except #3).  I'd say she's ready for the potty (as long as she says so).  Last week, November 2nd, she was happy in her H&M underwear.  She had two accidents, but she also peed in the potty twice (got that on camera).  We didn't continue with the potty training, distracted by our fun with visitors from home, an example of inconsistency, but I have begun to formulate a new plan for potty training that will start after she finishes the last pack of diapers in about a week and a half.  This will give me a chance to find a basic potty seat, and we should be back to a regular routine.  While watching the DVD today, Miss C-Jaz pointed to a potty seat she saw and said, "Mommy, I want one."  So, once we get her a potty, we'll designate in both our washrooms her potty place with pictures and stickers - part of my new plan.  We'll commemorate the end of diapers once and for all (but maybe save a few for my peace of mind?).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Hmmm...What to do?"

It's been a long day.  Who doesn't have them right?  It wasn't that there was an overload of stuff to do or places to be.  It was a long day of the basics (walking, playing, 'chore-ing') particularly because Miss C-Jaz's nap started downtown Stockholm, continued through grocery shopping, then ended at home with the testing of fire alarms that was not only loud but 'un-silence-able'.  Her nap time can be my saving grace during the day to get a break to sweep without her interrupting, or to catch up on writing, or to fold clothes and organize, or to nap myself if in dire need.  There was no saving grace today, but I did get to grocery shop quickly and efficiently.

No regular nap time break today was a little harder because we're still trying to catch up on getting back to our routines from a fun-filled week of having familiar family faces last week: Auntie Lanie and Uncle Yanie.  Today was also a little harder too because it's Swedish class day, which goes at a slow pace, but it's helping me build my confidence with learning Swedish, and it forces me to venture downtown.  So, as Miss C-Jaz would say, "Hmmm...What to do?" I could focus on my CD of Swedish phrases and the Rosetta Stone, then venture out downtown once every two or three weeks for a change of scenery, or even start taking Miss C-Jaz to open dagis (preschool) at least once a week.  There's really not much to do downtown Stockholm other than to shop or see touristy things, which is always fun but not when it's just Miss C-Jaz and I. 

I think I may have already answered my own question: self-learning and open dagis.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Expressions of Miss C-Jaz

Miss C-Jaz is getting a little bit taller and her hands a little bigger too.  She's still cute just not as little as when we left home.  She has so many new nuances, phrases, and faces. 

One morning when we woke up, we cuddled under the blanket.  The loft was nice and cool with the gray clouds and light drizzle outside.  She had a good sleep and was in a good mood.  She covered her mouth with her fingers and gave a good SMIZE, one that would make Tyra Banks proud and outdo all the girls on this season of America's Next Top Model (ANTM).  With a smize, Miss C-Jaz did the cutest thing.  Since she just woke up, I knew what she would want...Ka (milk), and I hadn't heard her ask for it yet.  But, as we were waking and saying 'Goodmorning', she whispered through her fingers like a 'cough-hint' (coughing a word out to make an obvious hint).  She whispered through her fingers..."Ka".  Smize.  Then, she repeated herself a few times with another smize and a laugh.  "Ka...puhleeeese." 

Miss C-Jaz has always been good at articulating her words although there are still some words that at times even I have difficulty understanding when I first hear it.

One time Miss C-Jaz was saying, "Mommy, I'm just pendenning."  I was confused and had to hear her use the word a few more times to understand she was saying pretending.

Miss C-Jaz has had this cute Disney Princess camera for awhile now, and it has a few different phrases when you press the button to 'penden' to take a picture.  One time she was commenting about a bow I put in her hair, and she said, "Mommy, I'm peety apensis!"  That one stumped me a bit too, and then I realized she was saying, "Mommy, I'm pretty as a princess!"

It's not just her versions of words that are cute, but Miss C-Jaz's stories are so entertaining that sometimes I don't know where she gets it.  When I change her diaper, I tell her not to fart at Mommy since I'm in the direct line of fire, especially when there's no diaper on her yet.  As soon as I remind her, she says,
"When Dad-dee change Nana...I fart on Dad-dee.  Is 'kay-zee'.  So funny."

Miss C-Jaz does say phrases that I know she gets from me or others.  Sometimes, she may ask me for something like Ka or she might be telling me something, and if I don't respond right away, then I'll hear her say, "Do you unda-stand?"

One of her common phrases now involves trying to negotiate with me.  She might be asking for one more vitamin gummie, more soap to wash her dishes with, or one more bottle of Ka.  She'll ask her question followed by, "and das it."

It gets even funnier when she says Tagalog phrases.  One time she was carrying something then dropped it, and immediately she said, "Ay nako po, falling down...always," which is an expression like, "Oh my gosh."

It's amazing what she remembers now and tries to reiterate.  Her ABCs are becoming more complete.  She tries to sing Itzy Bitzy Spider with the hand movements.  She can now sing with ease, as Mita taught her, "Georgie Porgie pudding and pie, kiss da girls and made dem khy".  From watching her home-made baby video she's been trying to sing a clip from Blackstreet: "Baby Baby Bay-beh...I wanna know you, place no one above you...I wanna love you...Baby Baby Bay-beh I wanna be your Lay-deh-eh-eh."  She still sings Bahay Kubo.  She can now sing bits of Alicia Keys' 'No One' that we used to rock her to sleep with, and now, impressively, she sings the extended notes of Alicia's 'Doesn't Mean Anything', and she sings with tone.

There aren't enough words to  describe just how Miss C-Jaz can light up a room, especially after she gets over the stranger-shyness phase.  No words or pictures can ever accurately describe just how funny and amusing she can be.  Videos can only catch her essence.

"She's the smartest little girl.
She's the cutest little girl.
She's the brightest little girl I know."
                                                     ~ from Nana's song

Monday, November 2, 2009

Miss C-Jaz is 2 Years Old and Technically Savvy

Last night we were all ready for bed.  The three of us, correction, the four of us were sitting in bed in the dark: J, Miss C-Jaz, Bo, and myself.  J and I have our own duvet covers, something we carried on from our hotel stay in May when we first visited Sweden.  Miss C-Jaz had her 'DVDV Paya' near her, and we were watching Shark's Tale, but she wanted to change the DVD.  What J and I saw her do was so fascinating.

She asked for her (flexible) flashlight - it was as thin as a pen and as long as an average banana.  One end had a clip, and the other end was the light.  She inserted the clip end of the flashlight through the top of her shirt so that the light was shining out in front of her (something I did a couple of times to put a band aid on her finger during the night).  She pressed stop on her player (which I always told her was the square image), then she pressed open.  She took out the Shark Tale DVD then set it on the bed, and she unzipped her CD case.

J asked her, "Nana, do you need help?"

Nonchalantly, in her sing-song voice, she replied, "No, I'm good.  Thanks."

We quietly laughed and watched on.

Miss C-Jaz found her Word World DVD, took it out of the case and placed it in the player.  It got stuck, so we helped her a bit, then she pressed the disc into place and closed the door.  It was 'loading', as she pointed out, then zipped up her case, and she was done.

Times like these make her seem so old, and I forget that she's only 2 and a few months. 

Miss C-Jaz's technical awareness doesn't stop there though.  She talks like she truly knows what Skype and Facebook are.  When I'm on Facebook she often asks to look at photos of her friend K.  When we Skype with family and the screen of J's Macbook Pro darkens, she touches the Touchpad so that the screen lights up again.  She recognizes the apple on his Macbook as the apple on our iTouches, and she knows how to turn on my iTouch, start the Blowfish game, and play it, or at least try to.  She's such a fascinating little 'homunculus' (all The Big Bang Theory enthusiasts like myself will understand this). 

I wonder what she'll surprise us with next...her ABCs are almost there...a few less Qs and a few more E-F-Gs.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Miss C-Jaz's Third Sweden

In the last week I've observed that Halloween in Sweden is almost non-existent.  Some stores, like H&M and KappAhl, have a small selection of Halloween costumes and clothing.  Grocery stores, like COOP and Willy's, have Halloween themed candy and decorations, but not a lot.  It's very much known here as an American tradition.  Rather than Halloween, Swedes focus on All Saints' Day on November 1st to honor people who have passed, though I'm not sure what they do.  Perhaps it's just another day to take advantage of as a holiday.

For Miss C-Jaz's first Halloween she was a lady bug dressed in a red turtle neck and black leggings with lady bug wings.  All she could really do was lie amidst candy.  For her second Halloween she was a Dalmatian puppy with a round suit, puppy shoes and a floppy ear hat.  She was one year and four months, and when she met Galahad, the biggest dog ever, of her Polish godparents, she stuck her tongue out to copy his panting.  It was the cutest thing ever!

For Miss C-Jaz's third Halloween this year we dressed her up in something we thought would be cute and we dressed her up in something she thought would be 'piiity'.

Here she is in her 'Risky Business' outfit like the Playboy Playmates' Guitar Hero 5 Commercial.

And here she is in her fairy butterfly costume with her Juliet tights and a Disney Princess top.


If we were home in Vancouver we would be dropping by the grandparents' and trick-or-treating in my old neighborhood, but since we're in Sweden we don't have that option, and I still wanted her to have fun.  So, last week on our walk during the 'misty moisty morning' to Sickla, we bought some Halloween-themed decorations from Willy's and some Halloween-themed candy from COOP (sugary and sour gummies), including some Swedish chocolates.   We decorated with skull garland,  home-made 'goats' as Miss C-Jaz would say (a.k.a. ghosts), and a big moving spider cut out from my hand prints.

We played music, had a great salmon dinner and even got to Skype with Mita, Wowo, and Nang (my parents and sister).  J hid the candies that I got from COOP while I distracted Miss C-Jaz with dinner and Skype-versation, then Miss C-Jaz had her trick-or-treat hunt.  It was so new and exciting for her that whe was so quiet, intently looking and collecting her goodies.

While Halloween usual means cold weather, random fireworks, and dozens of goodies (and not-so-good candies) from dozens of strangers, we had our fun in our warm loft nibbling on treats that did not need inspection.  Miss C-Jaz was great with her treats.  She only took a couple of bites from her orange jujub, sour peach, and Marabou chocolate (this she would have eaten if I hadn't stopped her).  Most of Sweden may not celebrate Halloween, but Miss C-Jaz surely did.