Monday, May 09, 2005

Here we are now in May. Costa Rica was a highly successful trip by any measure - we saw many animals & birds, we had good weather, no one got sick, we had good food & lodgings, the car survived the *bumpiest road we*ll ever be on*, we didn*t get sunburned. What can I say? Pete is working on a trip report - something like 4 pages to get 3 days into a 12 day trip. I always have alot I want to say after our trips but then get intimidated and so nothing gets said at all. Of course I also do pictorial trip reports on ofoto or kodak gallery or whatever it calls itself these days. That is a bit of an undertaking especially as I get better cameras and the download times to computer and internet get ever longer. I also took *video* with my camera for a change - got our boat driver feeding the croc and a troop of monkeys romping around. That was interesting to try to figure out how to get it to actually stay on my computer and then to convert it so I could email it off. All this eats time of course.

I have to say the kids for the most part are good travellers. They hang in there pretty well on long flights with nothing much to do. It can be hard to keep them fed at times esp when you have a longish drive to do - or a long return flight wiht no food service. They still don*t over eat like us adults and have to have their 5 feedings a day to stay nice. I took along a big box of honey cheerios and bags of cashews (mostly enjoyed by the adults) and graham sticks and a bag of granola - surprisingly popular snack when i pulled it out about a week into the trip. Aidan refused to try the rice dishes until over half way thru when he finally tried some rice and beans offered at our Mango Moon B&B - then he fell in love with them (of course). Quincy was a bit surprisingly picky and would just tell me *I don*t like that* - even for food he normally eats. But they managed to get enough food. Fruit was always served with breakfast which Aidan likes.

The kids did however drive me nuts at time with their behavior towards each other. Sometimes they just wouldn*t leave the other alone and there was much teasing and behavior we don*t normally see. We got back mid-week so I assumed that the kids would be thrilled to have a break from each other and be back at school - but magically just being home seemed to resolve the nasties and they were back to mostly playing happily together. Maybe having a few more toys is part of it. I let them pack their own toys (after the tears of being denighed each having their own suitcase as *usual*). I suggested they take 4 trains each - instead Quincy took I think 3 and Aidan 2 - and Quincy wanted them all. He really is the train lover, but of course that left Aidan with nothing. They really enjoyed having family on the trip with them. Pop is always fun to have around, but having cousin Ellie to romp with (Aidan) or Maggie to pet (Quincy) or Phil to pick up frogs, well, pretty great.

Aidan and I got into bird watching. After a few days I picked up a laminated field guide for Costa Rican critters - mammals, amphibians and reptiles on one side and birds on the other. Aidan was stellar at spotting anything that moved. Our first hotel had papayas out every day on sticks adjacent to the restaurant - and a huge variety of the most colorful birds imaginable came to call. The largest iguanas we have ever seen (in Komodo Dragon range I would say) were also frequent guests. I was someone very surprised to find out that they are great climbers - and like to sun them selves draped over the top branches of a tree. I just couldnt figure out how those huge bodies could get up those little branches let alone be comfortable hanging out up there. On other nature guided tours at other spots lizards & iguanas were always pointed out, but somehow after seeing the big grandaddies the little kiddy ones just paled. On our guide I started checking off everything we had definitely seen. We had no hope of course of spotting things like Jaguars and didnt want to spot the snakes, but we did manage to check off a heck of alot of things. Aidan was somewhat hopeless at actually identifying the birds he saw - he really wanted them to be something new we hadn*t seen (and checked off) and of course he couldn*t read how big the bird got - so he would point to a picture of a huge bird and tell me he had just seen it - and it would have been sparrow sized in reality. None the less I was surprised by both our interest and patience in sitting and watching for birds. He joined me several days around 6 or 6.30 on our front porch or balcony to sit and observe. Yesterday I invested in a laminated San Francisco birds guide and a larger book so we can hopefully continue with our spotting back here in the US. So far he has pointed out a few pigeons and a sparrow. Not quite the same as a Toucan or a Blue-crowned Motmot or a Kingfisher! Maybe I*ll try to round up some way of hanging a hummingbird feeding in view of our windows. I do often spot them in our backyard and it would be nice to give them a place to linger where we could watch them up close.

Quincy is going thru a bit of an annoying phase where he likes to talk most of the time in some high pitched funny voice. It is on the scale to being a whine (which it isn*t) and it gets old fast. I have realized that he truly has some muscular control issues especially in regards to ways to move his tongue. I finally identified that he makes the *ar* sound in lieu of *er, ir, or* sounds - where the tongue is kept much flatter. If he could make those sounds it would greatly help in understanding him. He says he can*t put his tongue up either - he can*t reach it up towards his nose for example. It will be interesting to see what the therapists can do. They started off just working to make the *f* sound - and he now can. Then onto the *k* sound. Not much progress and I think they are now realizing that he needs some jaw stregnthening etc. We do an exercize where he bites down on a popsicle stick and growls like a dog. He is actually quite a bit better at that now and can really grip it. I hope to talk to them about it tomorrow when he is going to have a *private* session. We also have a pediatric visit in the a.m. Aidan complains pretty much daily if not more frequently about stomach pains and now Quincy sometimes jumps on the bandwagon too. Aidan*s teacher Laura says that he is of the age where kids are discovering their bodies and are much more aware of different sensations. I can really see that being the *cause* as Aidan has always been a pretty unaware kid - *who me hungry? oh yeah - i am starving!* Quincy has always been much more in tune with when he is hungry and thirsty and very good about letting you know. Aidan just becomes a puddle - that is how he communicates his needs!

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