Monthly Archives: 十月 2013

First long haul trip with both kids to San Francisco – 6

This morning, J was holding a map of SF wanted me to circle the places we have been to. So I sat down with him, in order to do so, I wrote a simple journal with him of what we did and where we’ve been to each day by looking at my iPhone snaps. He was very excited and said to me, “I’m going to show this map to my friends and teachers in school!"

Before bedtime, again, J said to daddy, “I’m very excited that we will be going home soon!"
He really does miss his home!

Home, do I miss it? Yes.
Will it be the same again after this trip? I asked myself.

J asked to sleep in big bed with me and Alyssa tonight. I said yes. When he lied down next to A, she started to scream and gesturing him back to the playpen. So I asked J to sleep on my other side, leaving me in the middle. I do like sleeping with both kids in bed, taking if it’s just once in a while as I can’t sleep well at all when they are in the same bed with me. Basically I only sleep well when I sleep alone.

Miss A has grown up a lot these days. I took both kids to the park downstairs in the afternoon as daddy needed to work. I saw big improvement in her when they were playing at the playground. It’s the third time we went there, she’s brave enough to climb up and explore more compare to the first two times that she’s only willing to do things with me together and would not let go my hand. She’s even willing to go down the slides with J (not with me!) and seemed happy! I’m very pleased to see the differences and wish I had an extra hand to film them down.

I also wonder if she’s already used to sleeping with me every night that it would be a terrible time for all of us when we need to sleep train her after back to HK. Maybe there are other alternatives? Maybe I can try putting her directly in J’s room and see how it goes? Maybe she would just be fine or drive J crazy because of her screams?

I reminded J that he will be back to his own bed and own room after we return to HK, but where will Alyssa sleep? Does she go back to her own room as well? J said, put her playpen in my room! She sleeps in my room!

“But what if she doesn’t want to sleep in her playpen anymore? She refused to sleep in it now!" I asked, “can she sleep in your big kid bed?"
“Sure! I’ll sleep in my big sofa bed." J replied.
“But what if she wants to sleep in your big sofa bed? Will you let her? Then you sleep in your own big kid bed?"

“But she may fall out of the sofa bed! There’s no railing around." J said.
“I can buy portable railing and put on both sides or even 3 sides." I said.

“Really? There’s such thing? Great, mommy! You remember to buy them when we are back in HK. OK?" J seems pretty positive and acceptive to the idea of sharing a room with A.

So the question is only how A will react. Should I try? Should I try the big kid bed? (Which is definitely too early for a less than 2 year old unless I’m ready for the sleepless nights that she would climb out of bed numerous times to look for us.)
So maybe I should put the playpen in J’s room?!

Also, what should I do when A asks me for candies on car rides when back in HK? What about asking me for iPad at home? Not willing to play with her toys instead? What should I do?

I’m pondering on questions like these while my lovely hubby who’s humming his choir songs in front of his laptop after finished his work stuffs. He has a competition in Indonesia right after our SF trip. I really want to film it down as I find it really hilarious.

Men, do come from a different planet. That’s why men and women are destined to be lonely, either together or separately. We have totally different things on mind although we are just few feet apart.

That’s why I enjoy talking to J more sometimes. He seems can be more qualified as a soulmate at this stage.

Miss A is very sweet, but sometimes really makes me mad. Yet, I still want to add, it’s a pleasant to have her on our trip. She’s unique, has her own characters. Sometimes too scary for anyone to touch or handle. Yet, we all love her. There are times that I want to yell at her, J would do naughty things to make her fuss. But after all, we all love her. Truly.

Oh one final note to myself, eat less but healthy when back to HK.

First long haul trip with both kids to San Francisco – 5 [some traveling notes]

It’s definitely not a detailed one but I’m just writing down some notes to myself, and maybe it can serve a purpose as a reference for those who plan to visit SF with kids in the near future.

We bought the city pass when we were purchasing the admission tickets at California Academy of Sciences. It’s $84 for adults and $59 for kids from 5-11 years old. It includes 7 consecutive days of unlimited cable car, mini bus and historical streetcar rides, and admission to 3 museums and 1 cruise trip that you must use them within 9 days from the day you purchase or you first start using it. They would stamp a starting date on the pass.

If your kids are older than 5, buy a pass for them is a great idea. But if your kids is 5 under, or just over 4 but not yet 5, like J, then no need to buy although some of the places included in the pass that you can visit require tickets for kids above 4 (eg The Aquarium of the Bay and California Academy of Sciences). The admission tickets of the 2 places for kids won’t add up to $59, maybe less than $30 together, so better just buy separately.
The rest visits on the pass and the rides are all free for kids under 5.

For details of city pass San Francisco, see link below:

Since we bought the pass, we just visited all the places that are included in the pass.

Between 2 aquariums to choose, we picked The Aquarium of the Bay, it’s smaller but closer to where we live, it accommodates our needs as we have a younger child that her battery doesn’t last long and wouldn’t sleep in a stroller, so we avoid long trip to the bigger aquarium which is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Plus, J is not a super fan of aquariums anyway.
And as an expectant mother, I get tired easily too.

Between The Exploratorium and De Young museum, we chose the former. It’s a fun place for all ages that you can spend long hours there.
We have not been to De Young Museum but passed by as it’s just right opposite to California Academy of Sciences. We sense that it should be a place with more artsy stuffs, exhibitions of arts and paintings. So if you or your kids are really into arts than sciences, then the latter maybe better choice for you or your kids.
We think art museum might be a bit boring for our kids, especially when J is not particularly artistic. However, we could be wrong because we also thought The Exploratorium is more for older kids at first, that we didn’t plan to stay for too long but ended up both kids loved it so much. We ended up were there for 4 hours, yet, still couldn’t finished checking out everything.

A note to myself – the cruise trip means nothing to A as she’s too young to understand and a bit too long (one hour) for J as he wasn’t too interested in listening to the audio guide, therefore after seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, he’s already asking when we could get back to the pier.

Cable car ride – J’s comment was bumpy and noisy. Indeed, SF is a hilly city with so many steep slopes up and down, the ride was much bumpier than we expected. Same applies to the bus ride. A was crying on both bus and cable car rides, as if she were terrified by something.

Historical streetcar – if your kids are fans of chuggington trains, they will love them as the streetcars look so much like them. J was shouting out all the names when he saw them passing by, “Hey, that’s Wilson!" “We rode on Coco!" he claimed. And they are not bumpy as they mostly run along the pier line, no steep hills up and down like the routes of cable cars and buses. I maybe wrong as I’m not familiar with all the routes but it’s just my general impression.

We also went to the SF zoo ($17 adults & $11 for kids from 4-14 years old) which is not included in the pass. You will pass ocean beach when you head there. It’s just a fascinating place for kids who love sands and waves! J was wow’ed when he saw long coastal line and waves. And we told him, we were facing the Pacific Ocean, look straight to the very end, it should be HK!

The zoo itself is OK, not particularly impressive but got most major animals covered. The tiger and lion den was closed on weekdays, don’t know why though you could still see them napping from fences far apart.

There’s the little puffer – a little steam train ride that is $4 for adults and free for kids 4 and under (as I remember it was free for A but not for J), not included in the admission ticket.

All museums and zoo have cafe for food. So no worrying about eating. The Seaglass restaurant right next to The Exploratorium was quite nice. You don’t have to be in the museum in order to get in the restaurant, they have separate entrance for it. Food is good but a bit over-priced.

The cafe in California Academy of Sciences was nice, too, but food wasn’t too impressive.

Besides the places on city pass that we’ve covered, we also went to the fisherman’s wharf, took J to see a WW2 submarine. It’s free for 5 and under.

It’s quite interesting for J and there’s a retro Game Center nearby which is really nostalgic.

First long haul trip with both kids to San Francisco – 4

Our trip is almost half way done and will be back to HK in a week.

This morning, J suddenly said to me at breakfast, “I miss HK! I miss my family, friends and classmates there. Are we going home soon?"
“Your family is here with you, my dear." I said.
“I know, I mean nana yeye, gong-gong, por-por, Camille Nadia, Laura Rachel, uncle Sean….Aunty Maria, Aunty gerlie and Aunty Rona." He counted the entire extended family including our helpers that he considers as part of the family which is nice to know.
“I see, well, we will be back next week. Soon, right?"
“Oh? Yes, but not too soon. It’s OK. Do I still go to school after I go back? I mean to the same class with same friends?" He looks a bit worrying about life back to HK whether they will still be the same as before.

See, even a 5 year old shows his comfort with his familiar life and anxiety of changes. I’m sure he’s pretty enjoying the life in San Francisco, seeing new places and trying out new experiences, but he still wants to go back to his “home" – his daily life. That’s something interesting to know.

My last 2 pregnancy-honeymoon travels (traveling on 2nd trimester) both lasted 4 weeks and both were to Zurich. First time was totally blissful, all about eating, shopping and photography and I remember I felt the first kick on the way to Geneva. We even managed to go to Florence for few days. Second time with J, it was different but still easy with grannies and helper around, and J was close to 3, it wasn’t hard at all. We even planned to fly to London for few days but canceled it because grannies against the idea and we all were down with a cold for a week.
This time, the trip is slightly over 2 weeks only, with no grannies and helper, just 4 of us. Sure it is definitely more tiring but feels so “real". Again, I believe we are too spoiled with life there’s always a helper around that made us believe it’s impossible. I think it’s manageable – as long as you give up certain standards, can tolerate the messiness of living room and a kitchen with piling dishes to do at night when kids sleeping. It’s OK, actually. But, I do not wish it’s life time though.

J has been taking care of A more. Since we are sharing room, they entertain each other when they wake up in the morning and echo goodnight many times before falling asleep. The first night we arrived, both kids sleeping with me in the big bed, I was so exhausted, but still having my both hands crossing over my chest patting on both kids, and I felt the little one swimming like a fish inside. It’s truly a life-time experience only, to me, I’m pretty positive. It feels great!

A never sleeps on car rides back in HK, maybe twice the most. And here, she’s used to doze off on car rides now. If we were lucky, she would fall asleep quietly without us noticing, or she would scream to sleep, or fuss then fall a sleeping to our patting and singing. She’s comfortable in stroller and being pushed around by her brother. I doubt she would remember this trip but she has learned and grown a lot these days, more vocabularies and better communication skills. Not saying the trip has made her grow, but I think there are stimulus that helped.

A is being her usual self that I think it’s still too early for her to understand the difference of traveling and living. J, again, has amazed me with his adaptability and tolerance on this trip, especially when he had to listen to his sister screaming next to him for 40mins on car rides when we couldn’t stop to comfort her and she was just too tired, not just once, he sat there silently and didn’t say anything. Even adults, like us got really irritated and stressed by hearing her scream, especially me, that I wanted to yell or slap her, J was so calm. At one point, he said, mommy don’t be angry at her, because I like her.
I was stoned.

There are lists of things that we can do with them in San Francisco but we agreed it’s no hurry to finish them all, can save for the next time. And now there’s a list of things to do when back in HK – and it’s a plan of switching back to “normal" life, mainly for A, less so for J:

1. Back to sleep in her own bed and room.
2. No patting or singing at bedtime, sorry you have to go back to “just me falling asleep on my own" mode.
3. No more snacking or candies on car rides, especially once get on the car after buckling up, A already automatically asked for candy like it’s a cue to switch her on.
4. No all-you-can-Pad (iPad) time when mommy doing chores.

These are the downside when going on a trip, mind you (me), it may take months to switch back to “normal", giving the experiences with J, such an easy-going kid, it took him a long time to get used to sleep on his own back in his own room when he was younger. So what can I expect on A?
The positive insight learned from this trip is – it might be do-able to put them in one room from now on.

Anyway, we will see. A lot of post-work for mommy to follow up after a long trip. For daddy, it’s not much difference, I guess. He only needs to look at his credit card bills carefully to make sure all the damages were caused by his wife. That’s it.

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