Last weekend we took a ride on the Polar Express! The train ride was a huge hit, but unfortunately (for Yogi) Santa comes through the train to visit with all the children. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Life with a toddler is more fun than I ever imagined. Everything is changing so rapidly that I can’t keep up. If I wait to pen the perfect post, I’m sure I will have forgotten at least a few of the most recent magical developments. What follows is a laundry list of some of my favorite things:
Egg Breaking at the Neighborhood Market
This one took me by huge surprise. A few times a week we pop into the little organic market in our neighborhood. This is the place where we buy Yogi’s milk and get the bulk of our produce. We know most of the folks who work there (luckily!) and Yogi has a big crush on the twenty-something cashier. I have always carried him through the store and tossed my purchases in a bag that I carry on the other shoulder. It’s the kind of place that is too small for grocery carts. Recently Yogi has decided that he no longer likes to be carried, particularly when he is in a place that is filled with lots of stuff that he could touch were he not being carried.
So…. last week we drop in for three things. Pears, dried lentils and Yogi’s milk. There were no other shoppers in the store so when Yogi started wiggling I set him down and planned to keep a close eye on him. We were good right up until the moment I started pouring the lentils into the bag. Yogi toddled over to the dairy case (less than a foot from where I stood) where he could clearly see his milk. As I scooped he was pointing and pointing and pointing and I was telling him that we would get the milk next when I was writing the code on the twist-tie and I heard the break.
Yogi had moved his hand ever so slightly to the left and encountered a carton of happy chicken eggs. Being Yogi, he wanted to get a good look at them and when he did the carton went crashing to the floor. My boy was standing in the aisle with four broken eggs around his feet which of course he immediately had to reach down and touch. Understandable, but yucky.
Everyone was super sweet and they wouldn’t even let me pay for the eggs. The guy who cleaned up the mess told me that he was looking for a diversion anyway. I love that place, although it looks like it’s going to be harder to shop there.
Climbing the Stairs
Yogi is now a climber of stairs. It takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. but he loves it. Unless I am in a tremendous hurry I let him take the trip himself. Oh, the big boy.
The “Hey, I Can Get Away From You!” face
I saw this face for the first time in the airport over Thanksgiving. Not the best time for such a realization, but this is clearly when the thought occurred to him. The most charming grin spread across his face, his eyes lit up and he toddled off in the opposite direction.
A double edged sword for sure. I love his growing independence, but man does everything take longer.
Car Seat Shoe Removal
Although we always hand him a little board book for car trips, he’s decided that taking his shoes off is the first order of business. Only when his shoes have been removed can he be bothered with a book. Will socks be next?
Watering the Christmas Tree
After watching me water the Christmas tree ONCE Yogi now picks up the watering can each morning while I make his breakfast and proceeds to “water” the tree. What this involves is banging the can against the lower branches and then setting the can on the floor and clapping for himself. A job well done!
Sheep Laughter in Social Situations
This is my most favorite development. I noticed it the first time at a playgroup. The Moms were all talking about something along the lines of in-laws and holiday travel and suddenly everyone was laughing. From across the room where he was playing with an excavator (yes, an excavator – not my house) he started fake laughing. This fake laughing was accompanied by deliberate eye contact with the group. He really looked like he was trying to communicate, “That’s a good one! I totally get it! You guys are hilarious!”.
Now whenever he hears a group of people laughing together he ALWAYS joins in. Love it!
We are seven days into December, it is freeeeeezing cold and I’m thinking that it’s time to acknowledge that the winter holiday season has arrived.
Last year at this time Yogi was four months old and we were doing good to get cards in the mail. This year he’s walking and chattering and attentive to every little thing that goes on around here, so I’ve been eager to share the season with him.
But….. what does that mean?
How can two parents who are neither Christian nor Jewish nor down with rampant consumerism share the season in an authentic way? (This question is not rhetorical, if you have thoughts please share them in the comments).
Given that my wife and I were both raised in the Christian church, the first obstacle is explaining what Christmas even is. Now, I know I’m getting a bit ahead of myself as Yogi is not asking these kinds of questions yet, but he will and I want to be ready. So, what to say? Here’s how I’m imagining the exchange:
Yogi: Mama, what is Christmas?
Me: Well Yogi, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Yogi: Who is Jesus again?
Me: He’s that really great guy that we talk about sometimes, usually at church.
Yogi: Like Buddha or Martin Luther King?
Me: Yes, kind of like that.
Yogi: So everybody has a birthday party for him?
Me: Yes, many people do.
Yogi: Are we going to put up a tree for Martin Luther King’s birthday?
And this is where I imagine the conversation breaking down. How to explain that? No, we don’t put up trees and spend a months time celebrating any of the other “really great people”. It seems impossible to avoid the assumption that we don’t do those things because those other folks aren’t quite as great. They did good stuff, but they just aren’t really that big of a deal. Arghh.
This is not what I want to communicate (even implicitly), but I don’t see a way around it. I do want to use rituals that are associated with Christianity both because they were significant in my own childhood and because I want Yogi to see his family experiences mirrored in the world around him. There are plenty of other ways in which his family is not the norm and perhaps this is why our participation in these facets of the dominant culture (doesn’t that sound menacing?) are important to me.
The next obstacle is Santa. What to do about Santa? I know that I only have so much control, but I want Santa to be about magic and wonder and surprise, not stuff, stuff, and more stuff. We haven’t talked at all about Santa (beyond naming him when he shows up in books), but what will we say when we do? I don’t think that the idea of him is inherently bad, but I’m not sure what role I want him to have in our family celebration. Anybody have ideas about this?
And then there is obvious fact that there is a lot more than just Christmas going on this time of year. Although I want Yogi to know about other religious traditions, there is something about actively celebrating a religious holiday that no one in your family has any connection to that rings more than a little false to me. So, we won’t be lighting the menorah either.
But…… I have always thought that celebrating the winter solstice sounded like an awfully nice idea. Does anyone do this or know of any rituals associated with solstice?
I know I’ve got a little time yet with Yogi being 16 months at Christmas this year, but I want to start getting my story together, working out the kinks in the winter holiday system.
- I found this book at a local book sale and it was quite a find. Rituals are so important and this book has lots of creative ideas for how to mark and celebrate not just the major holidays, but the minor ones and the everyday. To give you a flavor, some of the rituals include Full Moon Bonfires, Social Justice Night and Family Book Groups.
- Lots of excellent (and highly detailed) information about nutrition. Tons of recipes too. This one is on my kitchen counter.
- I’ve written about this book more than once, but I found the information to be super useful. I read the whole thing in a few hours and dog-eared a handful of pages for reference. If you’re not an expert in baby cues, you should check this out.
- Very readable and organized around age milestones. Each section outlines the big issues (sleep, eating, teething, motor skills, etc) at that age and what to look for/expect in the coming months.
- LOVE this book!!! It’s essentially a readable lit review of recent research (and particularly outcomes that are counter-intuitive or not widely discussed) about childhood. There is an excellent chapter about self-esteem.
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids (John Payne)
- How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life (Golinkoff & Hirsh-Pasek)
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Richard Louv)
- Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids without Religion (Dale McGowan ed)
- The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Kinder, Happier and More Compassionate (Susan Kaiser Greenland)
It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, but I’m (as I think I might have mentioned) home now and so glad to be back!
- Yogi. I fall more deeply in love with this tiny person every minute. I have no idea how my heart will bear it, but I trust that it has the stretching capacity that is required.
- My wife. My beautiful, patient wife who continues to amaze me with how very deeply she sees me. She just gets me in a way that helps me understand myself. No small gift.
- Monkey. What a blessing this little guys already is. It will be hard to wait until May to meet her, but those are the rules. 😉
- My family. The ones I have chosen and the ones that have been around from the beginning. I have certainly been blessed in the family department.
- This community. I had no idea when I started writing here more than two years ago that I would find a space like this one. In 2006 I had been writing about my wedding and in the course of that I met this lady who is the person who told me that I should write a TTC blog. I had planned to stop writing bc I had been blogging to keep up with people I know and I wasn’t interested in sharing the TTC journey with them. It was literally this one person who led me to all of you. If she hadn’t said “What do you mean, you’re going to stop writing?” I’m sure I wouldn’t have done it. So, I am grateful to Deseray and I am grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for reading and sharing your own stories and being a part of my world. It’s a better one because of you.
- Crossing the finish line this morning with my son in the jogger ahead of me. Yogi was likely the only person who crossed the finish line twice. He went through the first time with his Mommy and then they backtracked to me and I was able to push him through for the second time. How cool is that? It was the perfect way to start the day.
- The opportunity I have been given to stay home with Yogi. Grateful, grateful, grateful. Sharing this time with him is precious and devoting myself primarily to the care of my family is beyond precious.
I might have to come back and add some more later, but for now I must go. Pumpkin pie is being sliced!
It’s raining, it’s the last weekend we have at home before the whirlwind of holiday travel and Yogi has declared today National Whining Day.
I’m just a ray of sunshine.
Right now he’s napping (and yes I AM watching 30 Rock, not even public shaming has motivated me) and I’m hoping that he will magically morph back into himself while he sleeps. Maybe…..
For now I am wallowing in my first round of winter doldrums. To chronicle both my lack of genuine productivity and my love for Trader Joe’s I have made a collage. Why? Because making a collage is the perfect activity to accompany endless episodes of 30 Rock.
Anyone else obsessed with Trader Joe’s? What are your favorite things? I don’t want to miss anything.
Remember how November was going to be all about writing?
Yeah. me too.
It even was for the first twelve days.
I was on FIRE and I managed to write a little more than 16,000 words on a story that I really think is worth writing, I had done all sorts of planning and preparation and getting to know my characters ahead of time and I was ready for go-time. I also decided to go for a post a day on the blog because, you know, if you’re going to do it you might as well just do it, right?
Then there was the long weekend and the family togetherness and the technological snafus and somehow….. I lost my momentum.
I started doing things like cleaning the house and cooking dishes that I’ve never tried before and watching 30 Rock during nap time. (Aside – How did I miss this show? I’m aware enough to know that Tina Fey is a pretty big deal these days, but I had no idea she was that funny. I kinda wish I hadn’t found out.) Not writing. That’s the point.
Instead of writing I am watching television shows about writers. I’ve hit the wall.