Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm completely amazed at how fast the summer went by - I mean really - how is it after Labor Day already? I'm not READY to put all my white pants and shoes away! (ok, not like I actually do that and I don't OWN white shoes... but still!) It's funny how you start with all these great plans for the summer and then suddenly it's over and if you've gotten to half of your list if you're lucky. Well this summer was no exception. We had planned to get to Baker's Beach a number of times (didn't make it once), see more of Grammy during her summer vacation, hang out with local friends more, etc. However we DID manage to get in a trip to Franklin Park Zoo with our cousin Lisa and her daughter Victoria. We just slid in under the wire on this one too - we went during Victoria's last full week home from school.

None of us had been to Franklin Park Zoo before and it was SO COOL. I'm so impressed with both that and Stone Zoo (a visit we did, but I never got around to posting about). They're both in the "Zoo New England" network and are small, city zoos. I love that they are totally approachable for a toddler. Lily was able to get along on her own in both zoos and had a fabulous time. It's funny how when you're with a toddler the smallest space can take ALL DAY to explore. So the fact that these aren't huge zoos worked out just great. Despite Victoria's best efforts and superior zoo-guide skills we did not succeed in seeing all of Franklin Park Zoo - but that was entirely Lily's fault :)

We did see most of it though and had a great time doing so. Lily loved hanging out with Victoria. In fact, if I tried to hold her hand she would look at me very seriously and say "Toria hand!" Well, excuse me - I know my place now! I couldn't help lamenting that Victoria lives a tad too far away to come over and baby-sit. She does such a great job taking care of Lily.

There are many highlights from the day, but Gordon wasn't there so I didn't get pictures of all of it. They have a lion there who was sitting all majestically on his rock and then decided to belt out a few good roars for us. At first Lily was a bit freaked out. But when the Lion stopped roaring she turned to me and said "more more more?" Sorry hon, I'm not in charge of getting that to happen! We pretty much had to drag her away from Mr. Lion.

There was a very cool butterfly exhibit. The room was full of butterflies flying around and they had a little display case where you could watch them coming out of their cocoons (or whatever the proper word is....). It was really neat watching their wings unfurl and dry off once they were out.

Another treat were some new zoo babies - a baby water buffalo and a baby giraffe. Here's a picture of the giraffe - turns out the babies are still very tall.

Lily also enjoyed the pretend zoo animals. Here she is getting a quick "ride" from an alligator (or crocodile? I never know). She and I missed a whole other exhibit area because I couldn't pry her off his back.

By far the funniest animal-statue encounter involved the Mama and baby gorilla statue. At this point in the day I was tired and Lily was nearing the end of her rope - it was a tad too close to nap time. But all trip we had been promising her the gorilla - so we were all determined to get there. Just outside the gorilla area there's this statue:

Here we see Victoria and Lily posing near it all normal-like. But then Lily started getting kind of attached:

Then - silly, naive Mama that I am - I thought it'd be cute to put Lily on the statue - in the crook of the Mama's arm kind of behind the baby. She fit very well and DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE EVER. I so so wish I had a picture, but by this point I was too busy begging and promising her that a REAL LIVE gorilla would be even cooler to pull out the camera. Eventually we succeeded in talking her down off the gorilla. And the real live gorilla was pretty cool - but he also kind of freaked her out a little bit. I'm not entirely sure why.

We ended the day with a ride on the carousel - something I promised Lily every time we walked past it. We had such a nice time with Lisa and Victoria - hopefully we can find time for another fun outing soon! Thanks for coming up our way to play with us. Oh - and Victoria - when you read this - feel free to leave a list of YOUR favorite parts of the zoo in the comments!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Funnies

OK so not a post about "funny things that happened on Sunday" but more a post of funny things for you to read on a Sunday. Although you can't read it with your Sunday morning coffee because I'm about 12 hours late for that. Sorry.

Over the past few months that I've had lots of posts written in my head, but have realized that very few of them actually made it from my head to the computer. I could really use one of those fancy brain-to-computer gadgets. Can someone I know get working on that please? I'm happy to beta test. Anyway, here's some random funny stuff that's happened over the past few months, blogged for posterity. They're not in any real order - I've lost track.


My Mom bought Lily a baby doll. I meant to write a whole post about it - but oh well. Lily loves baby - she's a part of the family now. Lily also loves getting "rides" from Gordon and I. We lie down on the floor, she sits on us, yells "ride ride" and then jumps on us until we puke. Ok well not really on the puking part. Anyway one day we had to give baby rides too. First Lily rides, then baby. Then Lily put baby on the ground and very very carefully lowered her bottom onto baby. Then started yelling "ride ride!" So much for this baby being sibling practice.


Lily likes using her fork at mealtimes. Gordon decided that "stab" sounds too violent. So he made up the word "shunk" (rhymes with hunk and monk). Now when Lily has food on her plate she'll either shunk it or scoop it. Melons are definitely shunked, peas are scooped. She often talks about it as she does it "shunk melon, shunk pasta, etc". One night at dinner G and I were talking and we heard "shunk Lily, shunk Lily!" We looked over and there she is trying to stab her safety fork into her leg.


[this one - not so funny to me)
At dinner we're eating pasta salad that has sausage, eggplant, cheese, peppers, olives in it. Lily picks out ALL the pasta and then asks for more pasta immediately. G and I tell her she needs to eat something else on her plate first. She refuses, we refuse the pasta - we reach a roadblock. Finally she shunks some sausage and puts it in her mouth. Feeling victorious, I scoop pasta on her plate and go back to my dinner. Then my Mom makes this funny noise and says "I'm not saying anything!". So I look over at Lily (she's next to me). She has pulled the sausage right back out of her mouth and is now hiding it under her plate as far away from me as possible. I KNOW she did it on purpose - being all sneaky-like. Any other discarded food ALWAYS finds its way onto my plate, into my hair, on my shirt, at the very least on the table between her plate and mine. Isn't she a bit young for willful deception?


I'm making Lily breakfast one morning. She's in her clip-on chair at the counter, I'm making eggs or something and there's a waffle in the toaster oven. I sort of hear these popping-like sounds that could easily be someone intermittently dribbling a basketball outside. Then I hear Lily: "uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh". Sadly, I've learned to tune this out somewhat - because she says that a lot. Eventually I break out of my egg-frying induced trance and look over at the toaster oven. It's on fire. Literally, like with flames and all. I look at Lily - she's pointing directly at it and looking at me like "uh hello? what are you going to do about THAT?".


Tonight, at bedtime she wanted to read Five Ugly Monsters - a take-off on the ditty about the monkeys. So she got in her crib with the book and before we even start reading she's wagging her finger at the stuffed animals that sleep with her (all 30 of them) saying "No more monsters jumping on the bed!" It was both funny to see her scolding her stuffed animals and notable as it's her first complete sentence. Although I'm willing to bet that not everyone would have been able to understand it as clearly as G and I could.

As we were going through the story she decided to let her stuffed animals join the fun:
Us: "5 ugly monsters jumping on the bed"
Lily: picks up kangaroo and holds him expectantly
Us: "One fell off and bumped his head"
Lily: *SLAM* kangaroo hits the deck, head first
Us: "Called for the doctor and the doctor said..."
Lily: (wagging her finger at kangaroo) "No more monsters jumping on the bed!"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Games Daddies Play

In all respects Gordon is a super-terrific, exceeds expectations, one-of-a-kind Dad. One of his great talents is coming up with fun games for he and Lily to play. Lately these games have centered around a canvas tote/bucket thing that my Mom bought for Lily a while back. By day it sits in her room providing a home for a portion of her obscenely large stuffed animal menagerie. But at night, in that magic post-bath, pre-bed 20 minutes - it becomes much more.

There are there main canvas tote games - we don't really have names for them so just bear with me.

1. Tote goes on Lily's head. As seen below, Lily sits on the ground and the tote is then placed upside down on her head like a hat- her little legs stick out. Stuffed animals are then placed along the periphery of the opening and are suddenly scooped up by the tote-monster. We really enjoy saying "you want monkey?" and then hearing a muffled "OK!" from inside the tote. Then monkey gets scooped up inside. Eventually the tote reaches capacity and everyone comes tumbling out. Then we do it again.

2. Lily and animals go inside the tote. This game is simply an inversion of the previous one. First the tote is emptied, then Lily gets inside, then we pour animals on her head while she frantically makes the sign for "more". I have no idea why this is fun - but she absolutely loves it.


3. Animal Basketball - I don't have a picture of this one, but it's the only one with a name. Basically it's just how it sounds. Tote goes across the room. Lily and Daddy get a pile of animals - hijinks ensue. Sometimes Gordon makes a shot from across the room. Sometimes Lily gets an animal and goes in for a layup or a slam dunk. Occasionally Mom gets an assist from the sidelines.

Phew! playing is hard work. I bet Grammy had no idea how many hours of entertainment she would be providing when she gave us the magic canvas tote!


One of my absolutely favorite things about summer is blueberry season. I love walking into the supermarket and seeing piles and piles of blueberries for a really great price. I am always a little heartbroken when it ends and it's back to $5.00 for a pitifully small container. Lily shares this love of mine. From what I can tell most toddlers are obsessed with blueberries, so I won't claim any crazy genetic link here. But it does lead to some stress in our house during non-blueberry season - when I am trying to save the precious few berries left for my morning cereal and she is demanding "more berries!"

Anyway this year I was determined to get to a farm and do some blueberry picking. Sure we get our pint of berries each week through the fruit share at our CSA. But one can never have too many blueberries! So one Saturday we put Lily in her overalls, got in the car and drove to Connor's Farm in Danvers - not too much of a hike from Somerville.

I've found that the actual picking always SOUNDS a little better than the hot, sticky reality. But it's so so worth it. At first it was hard to find the really good berries on the bushes. There were a lot that just weren't ready for picking yet. But after a little practice they got easier to spot and it was hard to stop!

I did feel a little bad for Lily as she seemed kind of tortured at the prospect of carrying around a container of blueberries and not just shoving them all in her mouth the whole time. I know we picked/ate more than those that actually made it to the cashier to be weighed and purchased. But in the end we walked off with quite a nice haul. I even managed to find some raspberries and Lily may like those even more than blueberries. I made a blueberry cobbler when we got home with our treasure and the next day we enjoyed a yummy breakfast - dutch babies topped with all kinds of fresh berries!




Friday, August 1, 2008

Adventures in Diapering

[Disclaimer: might be TMI for those of you without children who are not yet used to discussing poop as casually as tomorrow's weather forecast or the latest big Red Sox news]

[Disclaimer #2: Holy long and rambling post Batman. I need an editor, stat]

Way back when I was pregnant and trying to navigate the whole "what do we need to procure in order to care for a baby" landscape (thanks to Erica for ALL her help with that!) I spent some time flirting with the notion of cloth diapers. I loved the idea of them, but was worried about implementation. I was so overwhelmed by all the choices and just didn't feel capable of doing "the research". A few weeks before Lily was born someone gave us a package of newborn huggies and I basically let that gift make the decision for me.

Then Lily came along and turned out to be a very easy infant in a number of ways. We heard a lot of horror stories about newborn diaper blowouts and the like but honestly, we have no real experience there. Lily's output was pretty predictable and pretty easy to clean up. I could be exercising selective memory here, there is after all this bit of photographic evidence:

But all in all, we were totally in control of the diaper/poop situation. So in control that I decided to start "shaking out and flushing" the messy diapers before disposing of them. I did this as "practice" for using cloth. I figured - if I can deal with this extra step with disposables, then it'd be an easy transition to cloth. I kept it up once I realized that the diaper champ smelled far less this way and that I wasn't really comfortable with piles of poop sitting in a can in my house even if it was airlocked away. (See previous post on my tendencies in this area)

Then one day a smart, capable friend of mine (Hi Jen B!) sent an email to a little "parents" email list that we've thrown together explaining everything you'd ever want to know about cloth diapers. It was informative, well-written, comprehensive and scared the living bejeezus out of me. I mean I knew I didn't really understand the cloth diapering options, but I had no idea HOW MANY options there were to not understand. So I read the email, marveled over what a star my friend is and vowed to stick with my "scraping out the huggies" approach.

Okay now a little segue. At Lily's 15-month appointment her doctor talked to me about potty training. He suggested that we just sit her on a potty and see if she peed or pooped on it here or there - no pressure, just giving her the experience. This idea sounded fun to me and - hey - I'm always looking for new activities - so "potty time" became a regular part of our evening. I bought one of those rings that sits on the "big potty" and she had a blast sitting there every night before her bath reading magazines. Yup - not even kidding - she sits there and thumbs through magazines - it's hysterical.

Fast-forward to now. We're at a point where Lily nearly always poops on the potty. It seems like she's modified her schedule so that she goes after dinner, when she's up there. On days that I'm home with her we get on the potty more and I pretty much never have to clean poop out of a diaper anymore.

Coinciding with our happy potty moments a new kids boutique, Twinkle Star, just opened up in Somerville. A woman named Salina is running her business, Diaper Lab, out of this boutique. She's basically a cloth diapering consultant and she's awesome. She's very approachable and knowledgeable and has been the little hand-holding that I needed to give this cloth thing a shot. My plans were always to wait until we have another baby (no, nothing to report, but we would like Lily to have a sibling one of these days) and to try cloth diapering then. However last week we were in Twinkle Star and I found myself completely drawn to Salina and her colorful collection of cleverly named cloth diapers. You know - brands like: Bum Genius, Happy Heinies, Thirsties - the list goes on. After taking up like an hour of her time I managed to convince myself and Gordon that switching to cloth NOW might get Lily training quicker - since she's already well along a path there - AND give us some head start practice for cloth diapering a second. Salina has a program where you give her $20 and she gives you 8 different types of diapers to take home and try for two weeks. So we walked out of there with our courage up, confidence high and a big bag of fleece/hemp/poly goodness.

Today, we're about a week into it. And I don't know what's happened, but I'm finding myself all kinds of out of control of the situation. I could write a whole post about how I drove to Porter Square on Monday night in order to find the "right" detergent in which to launder these diapers. And then spent at least a 1/2 hour doing web research to figure out how much of this detergent to use in my front-loading high efficiency washing machine. And how I had to do a cold-water rinse cycle first before washing. I mean I don't MIND the extra laundry - but it's extra laundry with an evil difficult twist. There are entire forums out there about using too much detergent, not enough - how one gets the soap out, etc etc. But what I really want to talk about is the fact that Lily is now refusing to put on diapers altogether.

The issue might be the diaper rash that she seems to have developed from the cloth diapers. I went to see Salina today and she's got some theories and new stuff for us to try. Right after the butt paste I bought today does its job clearing her up. It could be that she finds having a TON of material hanging off her butt uncomfortable. It could be exacerbated by the fact that she's obsessed with her new Baby Bjorn little potty. "Lily's Potty" she said all the way home from the store. But the end result is that Lily spent a good hour of this afternoon roaming around the house diaper free, while I followed her around obsessively asking "Do you have to potty? No, how about now? Do you have to potty now?". I swear I could see the teenager that she will become when she'd look at me and say "NO" ("now lay off already Mom, don't have a cow").

We're totally in uncharted territory here now folks. Gordon seems much less freaked out than I am- but that's pretty par for the course. Today she peed on the potty before we went to the park. I wrestled her into a diaper (disposable was all she'd let me use) and we went to the park. Upon our return she went straight to the potty, peed, made the more sign and then peed again. Then she went diaper-free until dinner without an accident. We insisted on a diaper for dinner - because hello - how could I possibly enjoy my baked cod casserole while wondering if she was peeing all over the floor the whole time? After dinner - she went right back to the potty - with a totally dry diaper - and peed some more.

So tell me - experienced ones - is this just a case of the toddler being ready before the parent? Does the diaper-free, peeing on the floor stage last awhile? Is it time to buy pull-ups/underwear or something else? And more importantly, how hygienic IS it to ride a rocking horse bare-assed?

UPDATE: I wrote this post Saturday night - and here we are Tuesday and she won't sit on the potty to save her life. I contemplated not publishing this, but what's the use of a blog if your friends can't have a good laugh at your expense?? Current state: diaper rash is nearly gone and we're back in disposables.