Throw back Toddler Thursday

It just happened.   I hadn’t seen his cute little furry face around here in a while.   There was a time I saw him everyday. There was a time Tai took him everywhere. He was loved and worn and his eyeballs were cracked. And now, it’s been weeks, maybe months and I then I found him, at the bottom of the basket under Brown Monkey. Hi, my old very red friend.   EImo.   Tai’s other favorites are gone too.

  1. Caillou –the whiny 4-year-old with a funny name on PBS.
  2. “Baby” –Tai’s first doll—the one he practiced being a big brother on so he would be kind to Zacky baby.
  3. Blue and Steve from Blue’s Clues –watched so so much of Blue’s Clues when I was on bed rest that Steve started to look kinda cute to me.

Gone also are the days strolling and pushing the Bob at the zoo, 6 rounds of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” at bedtime, mommy and me music classes where I was forever trying to keep my kids corralled in the group circle.  These were the memories scattered across a period of labor intensive parenting—when eating, traveling, and sleeping involve strategy, timing and good old luck.   I really wish I knew that the last time was the last time—that a little flag would go up in my head to signal, “Wake up!”. Then, I could really look and absorb all that was happening instead of being too tired or too hurried or too busy complaining.   But, we roll on, don’t we.   I must open my eyes now. Sit down. Hug and snuggle. Let these moments pass—but through my fingers slowly and tenderly. And be glad. Be glad that this is the year we are going to the beach and nobody is going to eat the sand.

Elmo was a good potty time advisor

Elmo was a good potty time advisor

Tai's 3 amigos: 2013 Elmo, Baby, and Brown Monkey.

Tai’s 3 amigos: 2013
Elmo, Baby, and Brown Monkey.

Tai's current Bestie: Elsa.

Tai’s current Bestie: Elsa with Star Wars closing in.

Momma’s Boy

I think I may be raising a Momma’s Boy.  Here are the signs:

1. Tai has a special face he makes just for me.  He turns his head coyly to the side, flutters his eyes at me, and smiles.

2. He still wants me to wipe his bottom after every poop but I can’t watch him poop.  So soon after he does his business, he beckons,  “Mommy!  Mommy!  It’s time.”  And I march into and do my special thing.

3. I told him that when one day he has a family of his own, I can help him to take care of his babies.  But, he told me that when I get old he will take care of me because, “Mommy you will always be my baby.”

4. He has figured out that if he prefaces an act of naughtiness with “I love you”, the consequences will be mitigated.  And he’s right.

5. And this is my favorite…Tai is now occasionally addressing me as “Princess Mommy.”  I’m loving this one so much that I’m requesting the people at work to address me as “Dr. Princess Mommy”…just kidding.

And I think, being a Momma’s boy–it’s not cool.  It’s kinda Oedipal.  It will be an invitation to ridicule and joke making in his future.

But, you know what?  I’m going to let it happen because the truth is…I love it.  These outward signs of love that are coming my way, it’s a season of mommyhood.  I’m going to soak it all in.  I’m going to be greedy about it.  I’m going to savor it. I’m going to claim it.  It’s mine, mine, mine.  I’m going to take these treasures and store it in my memory vault.

Because, I know that it’s not going to last forever.  I know that in our future, there will be some eye rolling, long silent awkward car rides, loud proclamations of my ignorance and doors that are slammed shut.  And then I’m going to have to back to the memory vault…to soothe my broken heart.



I hope our kids will have good memories of their childhood, especially Christmas. It already feels a bit forced for winter memory making here in San Diego where it is not uncommon for the thermometer to hit 70 on Christmas Day. No snow falling, no snowmen, no sledding and no snowball fights. (Yes, it’s rough—feel free to roll your eyes at me). But, really, I want to be intentional about making memories around Christmas time.   We’ve been making monkey bread—biscuits covered with cinnamon sugar and frosted with more sugar and butter—Christmas morning as gifts are being opened—the smell, the gooeyness so yummy. This year Denise, our nanny, helped the boys frost about 60 sugar cookies. Tai and I delivered them to our neighbors using his red wagon. Tai loved delivering goodies to people and wishing them a “Merry Christmas”. I would have taken Zac too but he stayed at home because he didn’t feel like wearing pants that afternoon.

So imagine my excitement when it came time to set up and decorate the Christmas tree. And then my UNexcitement when JD and I came to the conclusion that our trusty and “green” artificial tree’s two out three sections had stopped working. Well, nevermind, undaunted, the Niemans will turn lemon into lemonade or misses into Mistletoe. We are going to get a real tree. This is the year!

We have about hour until soccer class, so we rush over to the neighborhood lot . Tai sees his buddy from school and soon, Tai and Zac and his friend and his friend’s brother and sister are playing hide and seek in between the trees. It smells wonderful and it was kinda cold-like 60? and I hear the children laughing—it’s really wonderful. JD and I can’t decide on a tree and after 10 minutes of heavy sniffing our noses have given out. So, we decide to go out on a limb and play Christmas Tree Russian Roulette. You know, where you pick out your tree from the back corner because they seem fresher (like, a California girl would know) and the tree is still wrapped in a thin net so you easier to tie to the top of the car.  And then, voila, you open the tree at home for the very first time. Sounds fun. Plus, we are in a rush—enough Christmastime—it’s soccer time now.

After soccer time, we head home to decorate the tree. The light sets are mismatched and in a jumbled mess. I’m trying to untangle them and T/Z are plugging them in and tugging and I’m worried that that they will get electrocuted. So, I tell them to back off. Then they find the box of ornaments—the fragile ones. Tai really wants to play with the snow globe because it plays jingle bells when you wind it. I say, “ok” but please be careful because it’s glass. No less than 2 minutes later, I’m picking up glass pieces off the floor and mopping up glitter and water. Again, I’m telling them to back off because they are barefooted and there’s broken glass. Now, Tai has moved on to my tabletop red décor Christmas tree from Target and plucked off the top and crushed it. I am so about to lose it now because in less than 10 minutes they have broken 3 things. Thank God JD comes home now and it’s time to take Tai to a birthday party.

It’s a great party and we have a good time. Tai sees some friends from school and gets an amazing facepaint. I’ve settled down now. Tai gets ready to watch some tv and I warn him about getting the facepaint on the couch, but it’s too late. The blue face paint is on the corner of the white pillow with “Noel” scribed in gold. “Tai! You broke another one of mommy’s things.” “Sorry, mommy”.

JD sees I’m pretty upset and I am putting myself in a time out.

I’m putting myself in a time out because I have become a person that wants their house appear “perfect”, a person that cares more about the state of her stuff more than the state of her son’s heart,a person that thinks circumstances dictate the feelings of the season instead of remembering that it’s when our feelings rise above our circumstances true joy is experienced. And that Christmas—it’s a gift. It’s not for us to grab, to overmanage, to orchestrate. It’s just here and it’s for us.

The next day I apologize to Tai for yelling at him. He doesn’t accept my apology. Instead, he says, “I don’t want you to talk like that”, meaning he doesn’t want to remember yesterday. It makes me a bit sad and left wondering if I have scarred him. This week he’s been really good about not breaking stuff. I have a Nutcracker that plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and moves his arms at the same time.   Before, that was off limits (it’s from Nordstrom). Now Tai gets to wind it up and after each time he smiles, shows it to me and says, “I not break it”. Thanks Tai and I’ll try not to break you too.


Most of the blue face paint came off the pillow and the Russian Roulette tree is miraculously symmetrical—about a fifth of it seems a bit bare but we have backed it up to the corner.  It’s not perfect but it’s beautiful.  Tai is getting his own snow globe on Christmas day.  Time to enjoy Christmas.


This one is for Anita, a beautiful lady, mom, and grandmother. She reminded me to write last week.






Tai with that great face paint.

Tai with that great face paint.


Thanksgiving in August

How do you teach your children about morality?

How do you teach your children about religion?

How do you teach your children about the love of God?

I certainly don’t have the answers. All of I have right now are pieces of a puzzle. But, gosh, where do I start? Morality, religion, and receiving the love of God through the Grace of Jesus–well, those all are different things. Maybe, a piece of the puzzle involves verbally upholding the values of justice, equality, kindness, peacefulness and truthfulness to name a few (Morality). And another piece of the puzzle involves modeling in my own life those values with a extra dose of grace, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, and integrity (Religion). And the last piece…soaking in the love of God…that is a freely given personal choice. For Tai, For Zac, For their father, For me…There’s no other way.

Well.. we have to start somewhere, and in the Nieman home that place to start is the dinner table. We hold hands and say Grace before eating. Sounds so Norman Rockwell, doesn’t it. But, it doesn’t always happen in a portrait perfect manner. In fact, it only occasionally does.  Sometimes, Tai refuses to hold Zac’s hand and sometimes, Zac doesn’t want to hold my hand. Sometimes, Zac starts eating before everyone is sitting down. And sometimes, I’m getting annoyed waiting for JD who is taking a full 2 minutes to get his beer with his lime while the food is getting cold. And sometimes, the food is already falling on the floor or stolen by Roxie, the shifty Sheltie mix, before we begin. And sometimes, we just plain forget.

But when we launch into prayer, led by Tai, it goes something like this:

“Dear Jesus, (Good job Tai, talking to the right guy, make note to teach him about Trinity later)

I love you so much (Adoration, textbook!)

Thank you for your Holy Name (Wow, definite advance Vacation Bible School stuff!)

Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Zacky and Nonnie and PoPo and Grandpa (appreciate the nod to me…like that you are thinking ahead to those who are funding your future!)

Thank you for Poo Poo (What???!!!)

Thank you for Pee Pee ( Wait a sec…does he mean urine???  Is he getting disrespectful?)

Giggles, laughter from Tai.


Tai dives into food.  I’m looking at Tai with my squinty eyes, thinking about my next move.”

So, I try to tell him not to say the Pee Pee or Poo Poo part in his prayers.  But, it goes nowhere.  He’s just annoyingly laughing at me.  And now, he’s asking “Why ????”.  Quite honestly, I don’t have a good answer except well, we usually don’t mention Poop or Pee to God.

Then, after a few times of this original prayer by Tai,  I was thinking about it.  Why don’t we?  From the medical standpoint, the day you stop peeing, you are in serious trouble.  With poop, you’ve got a few days of uncomfortable lag time, but once your gut stops working, it is a strain to enjoy life.   Everyone eats so everyone poops. (line taken from one of Tai’s favorite books).  Gratitude is such an important practice of a happy life (according to multiple scientific studies).  And we learn in church to not just thank God for the good stuff but for the bad stuff, the difficult stuff, and the stinky stuff.

So, ok Tai.  I think you are right to thank God for Poo Poo and Pee Pee.  So, thank you God for Tai, for  Zac, for JD, for Roxie, for this time know as Today, for this food, for the poop that will follow.   And thank you  Tai for teaching and reminding me.

Tai loves mangoes!

Tai loves mangoes!

My "Tai"-ger. Love him.

My “Tai”-ger.
Love him.



Naughty is the new black.

Is it my imagination or are the boys getting naughtier?  It’s a question I been asking myself everyday for the past 3 months.  Sometimes, I ask it as I step into the home after a long day at the hospital, see 20 DVD’s abandoned across the hardwood floor and my beloved Karaoke mic hacked in two, and realize, “Oh, mommy your real job has just begun.”   Sometimes I say it in the first hour of the day when by 7am there are 3 half eaten bowls of Cheerios, yogurt, and fruit smashed on the kitchen floor and out of the corner of my eye Tai and Zac are climbing onto kitchen counters just to get a jelly bean.  Almost always, I say it at Souplantation when they are climbing out of the booth into the soft serve machine, and people are shooting us dirty looks because they were looking forward to a quiet romantic dinner there.

Wait.  I just had a thought….Is this the new “normal”?

The new “normal”:

1.  Tai is no longer responding to Time Outs.  Separation from us is not a deterrent anymore.  Mom and Dad are stepping it up and are taking away Bunny, Baby, Brown Monkey and locking them in the Dungeon of Garage.

2.  Zac is a geometry genius.  He has figured out which direction is exactly 180 degrees from Mommy and runs as fast as he can in that trajectory–in the driveway, at the zoo, in the parking lot.

3.  Tai has started to bargain.  “We are leaving the park in 5 minutes, Tai”, ” No, 10 minutes, Mommy”.

4.  Zac has changed his last name from Nieman to Stop!  Because that’s what he always hears…Zac Stop! emptying the pajama drawer.  Zac Stop! throwing the diapers around.  Zac Stop! breaking Tai’s Lego house. Stop! Stop! STOP!  (Zac’s middle name may also officially get changed from Tianyan to GetDown!)

The old new normals:

Like how a year ago taking 10 minutes to load up a car because you’ve got a dirty diaper to change and a 3 year to tickle torture before strapping in the car seat was the new normal.  Like how 2 years ago strapping a baby to your chest and buying groceries, internet shopping, or going potty was the new normal.  Like how 3 years ago “sleeping in” to 615 was the new normal.  Like how 4 years ago a little vacation consisted of spending a week in your bathing suit surfing right point breaks eating lots of nutella and bread with butter and 3 books simultaneously being read on a Kindle was normal.  Not really.

being naughty..with a little help from buddy Grant.  And yes, they are licking the window at Yogurtland.

being naughty..with a little help from buddy Grant. And yes, they are licking the window at Yogurtland.






The Potty Games, Part 2

January 29, 2014

We have started potty training for Tai…again, it’s our 3rd round.   The first two rounds ended with sticker charts ignored by day 2, muttered threats to take those Thomas the Train underpants back to Target, multiple wardrobe changes, and me, dangerously close, to shaming Tai and also comparing him to others…gasp…poison for a mother’s heart.   It was too much strain and struggle, so we pulled back the troops and put the potty onto the top shelf of the closet.

I saw Tai Tai pee into a potty when he was just a little over a year and a half old. And I thought…ahhhh….I have a potty savant on my hands. As a parent, you love seeing your child hit the milestones hard and hit them early. You get a little bit of “that’s my boy” buzz if your kid is the first to walk, to say a sentence, to ride a bike, to get early admit to Harvard. I haven’t figure out why all the reasons. Maybe it’s nice to know you produced a little genius or a sporting phenom. Or maybe you just don’t want your kid to be on the short bus. Or maybe you want reassurance that you’re doing a darn fine job as a parent.

So far Round 3 of potty training is going ok. Tai is still in his diapers, but he will use the potty for poops. We found that chocolate, gummy bears, and candy penguins are fantastic motivators for Tai. So while Tai is working on his _hit, I’ll work on mine. For, while I don’t want Tai to take his diapers with him to Kindergarten, I even more don’t want him to take any of my crap with him to Kindergarten.


February 14, 2014

Retreat! Retreat! Tai has stopped using the potty. Even chocolate has lost its power to lure Tai back to the potty.


March 24, 2014

Tai is now 3.5 years old. We will now launch into our 4th attempt at potty training. This time I’m pulling out the big guns: peer pressure and shame…don’t worry, just a little bit. I engaged every potty trained kid I met into a conversation like this, “Hi __________ (name of diaper free child), are you wearing diapers or underwear?” Almost invariably the response would be, “Underwear!!! , I’m a big girl (or boy). I don’t wear diapers. Diapers are for babies.” I’d make sure Tai was close enough to hear the exchange.   As I look over to Tai, the pretend disinterested gaze confirmed to me that he had heard the message. We then took a big trash bag, and together we exiled every diaper we found to Zac’s room. Cuz what???!!! “Diapers are for babies!”.

And then over the next week. I really believed he could do it and there was no out for our family or for him. I dragged him to the potty or mostly, dragged the potty over to him. There were 6 underwear changes a day! He still got his gummy bears and M&M’s and chocolate hearts as well some other positive reinforcers—Lego Star Wars underwear which comes with Yoda reminding us in print, “There is no try only do”.

And this time…after about 2 weeks. He did it. I’m really proud of him. And he is really proud of himself. He is quick to show off his big boy underpants and his extra big poops. He can even empty the bucket himself.

It would be great if I could motivate my kids to do every thing with sticker charts, duckie stamps, and a very enthusiastic “Yeah!!!!”.   I wish I could always be that parent or Tai could be that of kid.   As an adult, I know that peer pressure is a double edge sword to be unsheathed sparingly. But, the one thing I learn about being a parent through all this is that potty training is both for the parent and the child. It taught me to persevere and keep trying. Keep trying when your kid wants to quit, keep trying when you want to quit, keep trying crap everywhere.


Just keep trying: Perseverance.

Tai rockin' those Legos underwear

Tai rockin’ those Legos underwear



If Tai had gotten trained 6 months ago…would I have gotten this pic?



Family Jewels.

It’s been awhile…but that’s a fault of mine and not Tai’s as he has been his usual wonderful self.

A few months ago, I had a my first parent teacher conference. It was with Miss Beth…Tai’s preschool teacher. And it was as you expected…Tai likes to paint and built towers. His BFF at school is a sweet boy MacArthur who incidentally is also the tallest kid in the class while Tai is one of the shorter– a cute pair. He is using more words and other people even understand him…yeah! So far, so good. But then when Miss Beth said that Tai has such a kind heart, those word went straight into my heart and I found tears forming in my eyes and emotions overflow.

What more can a mother hear that will affirm her heart’s desire her child?

I know that Tai is a sweetie but sometimes I don’t see it in front of me. I’m so preoccupied that he says his “please” and “thank you”‘s, that he waits in line for the slide at the park, or that cleans up his messes in the kitchen—I don’t see that Tai is the boy who gets the glasses for his myopic mom when she is striving to awaken herself in the morning. He is the one knows where his brother’s stuffed monkey is hiding and finds it for him. He hands his nanny’s car keys to her after she leaves it on the car seat. Tai sees you and notices you and helps you.

I’m so sidetracked by managing the little manners and mircobehaviors that tell the world “Hey, I’m good person” that I forget that it all begins and ends with the heart. Tai still has a lot to learn about playing nicely, sharing, appropriate or inappropriate use of force…but he’s a gem. And I still need to learn how to polish it and cut it and not cover it so it can shine brilliantly.



I can tell what Tai’s favorite toy is now…it’s the one Zac’s playing with. And of course, vice versa. Stuff he hasn’t touched in weeks, Tai now wants to lay claim on with squealing fervor. “Mine!” is the anthem he chants. How quickly envy and discontentment invades a toddler’s heart…

More than admission to an Ivy League school, a spot on the Varsity team or a house in the right zip code, the future I wish for the Tai and Zac includes the bond of true brotherhood–a relationship that’s dynamic, real, deep, spoken and unspoken. One that will endure breakup’s, things you shouldn’t say, distance, and the due disappointments that living brings. One that also celebrates big victories, a good beer, important decisions, and shared waves. Tai and Zac were given to JD and I later in our lives, and if we are to live the average American life span, the boys were be in their 30’s when we die and move on. With God’s Grace, they will still have a long way to run. They will still need to cheer each other on.

As Tai and Zac’s mom, I have to choose my battle fronts–where I’m really going to dig in, deep, a trench in which I will not move–where I put up the defenses against other people’s opinions, insecurities and fatigue, and so and so’s parenting books. People say that parenting involves a lot of patience but I tell you, it also requires a healthy portion of stubborness. So, with this brotherly relationship I will not let it drift to chance or “sorting it out themselves.” I will do my best to make sure each feels deeply loved and equally loved. I will do my best that each boy’s piece of cake will be exactly the same size. I will teach them to communicate. I will orchestrate shared experiences. I will not stay silent if I see hitting, bullying, unkind exchanges, snatching, pushing, slapping, and biting between the two. (which I have all already seen in various forms) Of course, this means I need to watch my own words and actions–another battle in itself (could probably fill up another blog…) And at the end of the day, we may be tired, cranky, or still upset but there will be a hug, a kind good night, and forgiveness–for no relationship survives without forgiveness.

And I hope that later in his life when Tai is yelling “Mine! Mine!”, he’s pointing to Zac and of course, vice versa.



Classic case of "over hugging"

Classic case of “over hugging”

We’re not in San Diego anymore…

For me…air travel with young children has the “Oh goody, let’s do it !” equivalent of…

1. deep tartar cleaning with the dentist

2. 5 straight hours of a Tool playlist

3. all the fire alarms in your home emitting that…change my battery BEEP….BEEP! in sequence every 2 minutes or worse, randomly.

But, our recent cross mid country trip to Wichita far exceeded my expectations.  The plane flight was fine.  Of course, there’s the usual struggle of getting Tai to sit down and buckle down, hauling luggage and maneuvering a double stroller through the Houston airport, and preparing a packing list that’s includes Elmo, a sound machine, and a few trains.  But, there was no extra drama.  No flight delays, no crying lasting more than 10 minutes (including JD and me), and nobody required a clothing change at any point during our journey.

Nonnie Pat…aka Grandma Nieman…had prepped her French Country home with playpens, washable crayons, Dr. Seuss books, animal crackers, and organic baby food.  Tai and Zac immediately discovered what a great dog Riley was…He more than tolerated the boys stealing his squeaky toys and comandeering his crate.

They played in a medieval castle, followed a snake (which was caged, thankfully), experienced a tornado (in a tornado simulator at the children’s discovery center), saw snow flakes come down, and ate a fried chicken dinner at the counter club.  Nonnie even spoiled the boys further with an all out little pony party.  Gosh, I think some of my childhood dreams came true that week.

But, the best part of it all wasn’t all these experiences…Aunt Susie came from Cinci for two days and Auntie Karen and Uncle Bob drove from Texas to meet the boys.  They gave hugs and kisses to TaiZac, took lots of pictures, and got on the floor and played with them.

One of Tai’s favorite thing to do on this trip was to ring the doorbell, wait for someone to answer the door, and then come in and announce himself with a big wave and “Hiii!!!!”.  And we would say “Hiii!!!!” right back.  He then would go back out and do it again..and again…and again.  Sometimes, he even used some luggage as a prop.  He did it in the morning, in the evening, and when it was 40 degrees outside.  He must have done it over a hundred times.  It drove me a little nuts.

But, Tai Tai is on to something.  There’s nothing like being welcomed.  That feeling that someone is warmly embracing you and is expecting you and has been anticipating and preparing for your arrival.  No wonder he wanted to relive that again and again.

I’m so thankful for everyone that showered love on Tai and Zac in Wichita.  I would gladly drag them anywhere to be loved on.


Auntie Karen and Aunt Susie getting sweet hugs from Zacky


Tai is feeding the pony and Zacky is pulling the pony’s hairs out.


I dragged Tai out of bed…to see the snow come down on the front porch. Shortly thereafter he signaled, “All Done”!


It’s never too early to pull your own weight in the Nieman family.


I see pet snakes in our future…


Tai gearing up for another Welcome!

Making snowmen out of snowballs…

The Jeep was packed with a travel crib, food for a week, 2 snowboards, and about 10 new toys for TaiZac.  The Niemans were prepared to keep on traveling despite the two boys.  Yes, with the boys’ nanny, Denise, in tow were heading up to Mammoth for 4 days of sledding, shredding, and hot cocoa.

The 7 and half hour drive went quite smoothly…Tai was entertained with the ipad and little Z slept most of the way.  We stopped in Bishop for groceries…and Tai vomited inside the Vons…Thank God it wasn’t the car..but we were almost there despite the cleanup in aisle 8.

Once we got there JD’s back was a little tight but we managed to unloaded everything in time to get to the 2nd quarter of SuperBowl.  The Freiwald’s joined in and soon everyone was having a good time…until we discovered that JD could not get off the couch.  He had “an episode” with his back about 2 weeks earlier when he picked little cannonball Zacky but it had gotten better.  But, now JD was in terrible pain.

That night, no one slept very well.  JD ended up on the floor.  Zacky was up from 1-3am.  Tai awoke from 2-3am.  

The next day, JD could barely get downstairs but he managed somehow.  Undaunted and still on a mission of fun I took Tai to the snow park.   Tai loved slipping around on the icy parking lot.  He sledded and sledded and sledded.  He went backwards down the hill, spun down the hill, on his tummy down the hill.  Speed is his friend.  He discovered the restorative effects of hot cocoa and went back to the snow for some snowman making.  I threw a snowball at him, gently, but he bursted into tears–apparently he took a friendly snowball toss as a personal attack.  Opps Mommmy.   After a few sobs, he then took the snowball from the ground and packed it onto the top of his snowman.  That was our game, I make the snowballs and Tai makes the snowman.  When we got back to the condo, we played with Miss Genevieve–Tai got introduced to ballet and Barbie and princesses and Miss Genevieve got introduced to a little boy who won’t sit down at dinner and colors outside the lines.

All the while JD was still on the couch and by the next day, he could hardly stand.  We found ourselves in the emergency room watching snowboarding videos of some hot shot tearing through some powder–hoping to get a shot of something to relieve his pain.  What a sad place to be for two anesthesiologists.

Fortunately, JD felt a little better after a little white pill and an appointment to the physical therapist.  But, then we got the call from Tai’s nanny that Tai had burned his little hands on the fireplace shield.  Apparently, he though that when we said, “No touching the fireplace”, the back of the hands was fair game.  Blisters quickly developed on the back of his hands. Thankfully, one of the perks of traveling with the Freiwalds, a trauma surgeon and an ED physician, is good medical advice which was antibiotic ointment, gauze dressing, and a visit to the burn clinic.

At this point…the trip was officially labeled a DISASTER!  I was beginning to accept defeat and acknowledge that I had to call back the troops.  With JD finally able to walk a bit, we decided to get him on the next flight home to SD at 4pm.  Denise and I packed our truckful of belongings and with the Freiwalds help loaded the Jeep back up and within 2 hours we were on the road back to San Diego less than 48 hours after arriving at altitude.  We dropped off JD at the airport with small backpack and then headed down the highway.

With the help of Steve Jobs, a white mocha frappacino, and prayers from friends…we made it home in 7 hours.  Tai got into the burn clinic the next day…superficial 2nd degree burns…every other day dressing changes but will heal.  JD got into the physical therapist right away and can drive now and is off narcotics.

Tai…has his two little hands bandages up like little claws but he still manages to play on the iphone, grab little Nilla wafers with just his teeth, and paint at preschool.  He amazes me.  I’ve learned this about Tai…when you throw snowballs at him…he’ll make a snowman.