Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hot Child In The City

So guess what?? In case you haven't heard, the mountains are burning out here. And it's definitely not a little fire. The fire line is 110 miles long and is being defended by 1800 firefighters. EIGHTTEEN HUNDRED!! That's nuts. The air is thick with smoke and ash. And to top it off, on Saturday it was 108 degrees! Needless to say, it is recommended that everyone stay inside as much as possible.

Luckily we are far enough away that we are not being threatened by the fire (and our air is not quite as bad as it is in many places). But some of our friends are in the thick of it. (Sorry. Bad pun there.) Alex, Leticia, and Nightingale we're sending all our positive energy your way, hoping with everything we've got that your house makes it through this. And Diana, Jamie and Kacey we're keeping our fingers crossed that the air clears up soon out your way.

Given the circumstances, it was understandable that our totally booked weekend suddenly became a completely open weekend when all of our barbeques and birthday parties were cancelled due to the crappy air quality and a nice coating of soot.

So what do you do when you can't go outside and you really need to get out of house because you're feeling a little stir crazy?? Well, on Saturday, we did what any civilized family would do...

We headed to the mall! No, it's not what you think. (Oh, other than those few things that I really needed to pick up at Sephora. Don't you love Sephora?!) Our mall has a double decker carousel. Which Dashy LOVED!!

It also has a train. Can you say, "Whoo! Whoo!"?!

After a ride on the train, we went for a second spin on the carousel. This time on the elephant!!

Once we finished up at the mall, we headed home. And since it was too yucky to go outside for a swim, Dash found a way to make his own water fun...

On Friday night, as I was putting Dashy to bed, he starting talking (well, actually, signing) about fish and turtles. And on Saturday, he was still talking about them. Since we couldn't go outside, and I couldn't deny him (the kid is just too cute when he's persistantly signing about something), on Sunday we got the hell out of dodge (or was it the outskirts of hell?!) and went to the aquarium. Clean air. Gentle breezes. And 82 degrees! Yep, you read that right. Eigthy-two delicious degrees! Versus 102 freakin' degrees where we live. A pretty good trade, I'd say.

From the moment we stepped in the door, Dashy started furiously signing "Fish. Fish!!" over and over. The kid was in heaven!

Once he was done with one tank, he started running toward another. I shouted after him "Stop!" and for a brief moment he did.

But then he decided that I was not nearly as exciting as the fish and he hightailed it across the courtyard toward the big tank and didn't stop until he was right up front...

...where a lot of other mommies spied him and were wondering where his obviously super-on-top-of-it parents could possibly be.

Once we wrangled our fish obsessed child, we went to see what kinds of fish were in the other tanks...

Eventually we made it to a tank that had a large sea turtle in it. Dash got super excited...

...and kept signing "turtle" over and over.

Now for those of you who have studied a little baby sign language, you'll notice that Dash is patting his chest. And, I'm sure that you know that this is not the correct sign for turtle. This is...

But, well... Well, take a minute, and do the real sign. I'll wait. Did you do you it? Now, think about it. You get it, right?! I kind of thought that, maybe, that wasn't the best sign for my sweet little boy to run around signing in public! (Not to mention that two handed signs are a little complicated for him right now.) So, I decided that our sign for turtle would be patting your back (you know, like indicating the shell), but Dash can't quite reach his back yet so he pats his chest. This sign, I'm fine with. (In case you're not familiar with baby signs, it's not meant to be a method for the babies to talk to each other so that they can plan their coup. The only thing that matters is that you understand what your child is saying. So you're allowed to adjust or make up your own signs as needed. Just wanted you to know that I didn't go all renegade.)

After we finished looking at the turtles, we went outside to see the stingrays, baby sharks and birds. As soon as the doors opened Dash ran ahead of us and went directly to the stingray tank and once there he quietly beckoned, "Up" in that sweet little voice that I am incapable of refusing. For quite a while he sat on the ledge of the tank splashing the water and petting the one extremely friendly stingray that kept popping up to nudge his hand. Then he asked to get down and made a beeline for baby sharks. After checking them out, we went to see the birds...

At one point we saw a couple of birds play wrestling on the ground...

Dashy was entranced. He giggled and then signed "more" over and over. I wonder if he's going to end up being a WWF fan. Man, I hope not! (No offense meant to anyone who is. It's just really not my thing.)

We were all exhausted when we got home and took a much needed nap. Afterward, Dash found our baby monitor on my bedside table and decided to work on his fine motor skills.

He worked hard at putting the plug in the little hole on the side of the monitor. Every time he got it plugged in correctly, he looked up so proud.

He did this for 45 minutes! Can you believe it?! Anyone who has a 15 month old child knows that not much holds their attention for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!! Incredible. Who would have thunk it?!

We've definitely hit a new phase. Not just with the fine motor skills, but in general. It's interesting to think back to the first couple times that we went to the aquarium. It was amazing to see how fascinated Dash was with the fish. How excited he got. Then several months later, when he had just started walking, it was cool to see him try to navigate his way to each of the tanks that caught his interest. And this time, it was great because he can "talk" so we could have "conversations" about what he was seeing. I can't wait to see how his development influences our next trip! Or, more accurately, actually, I can. Time is really flying. People tell you that it flies by. And you know what? They're right. It does. I really can't believe that he's 15 months old already. It seems like just last week I was delighted when he was able to make contact with the red bird dangling above his playmat. I do wish I could make it slow down. Just a little.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Skinny

For a while, I have just thought that Dash has been maintaining his trim physique through his often unnervingly particular eating habits.

Witness the menu he chose for this past weekend...

Friday: 2 smoothies, sweet potato, chicken, musaka, and a salmon, broccoli, cheese scramble

Saturday: 2 smoothies, 1/2 piece of french toast, 1/2 serving of mac 'n' cheese

Sunday: 2 smoothies....THAT'S IT! (oh, actually, I lie... he ate centers out of 5 blueberries.)

And then, I caught this...

HA! The truth is out. The child obviously has a problem! What do you think we should do, immediate professional intervention?

(Silly me, I didn't realize that toddler bulimia was on the rise. They totally forgot to mention it in our parenting classes!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

They Go Together Like Peas And Carrots

For all of you looking for an Adventure Club update, after the great debacle a few weeks ago... We hit a bulls eye this past weekend. Thank goodness!!

Let me hear you shout it out...
Give me a W! A! T! E! R! Water! WATER! WATER!!!!!!

Holy crap, the boy loves water!! Maybe it's because it's easy to spot. Maybe it's because it's refreshing. Maybe because it's one of the few words he has truly mastered.

On that note, I actually have to digress for a few moments here...

Many times when Dash is riding in the backseat of the car by himself, I hear this, "Aaah-ba. Aah-ba. Up. Up. Gra. Up. No, no, no. Aaah-ba. Woo. Woo." It becomes a kind of chant. Over and over. (When you decipher it into English he's saying, "Water. Water. Up. Up. Grass. Up. No, no, no. Water. Train!" Which spirit do you think he is trying conjure? I'm thinking it's the flying water train of the grasslands, of course! Right??)

So the other night when he woke up crying (yep, it's now been two Tuesday nights in a row that he's woken up crying and had to be consoled for the rest of the night. Can you say: tiiiiiired!! I know children like schedules, but really? this? come on.) Anyway, when he woke up crying, I went and comforted him back to sleep and he lay there on my shoulder, diving deeper and deeper into his dreams. He would twitch every now and again. And then, out of the blue, I heard a little, "up." And then a little more twitching. And then, "aaah-ba." Silence. Twitching. And then he panted in my ear like a dog! Hmmm... It's interesting to at least have a bit of insight as to what the little rascal is up to in his dreams! (Or actually maybe it just raises more questions... does he see a dog, since the panting is his sign for dog, or is he a thirsty dog??)

So where was I? Oh yeah, water. The kid loves it! (Unless of course it's the ocean. And since he's a born and bred California boy, we'll have work on that.) So we took him to the Bing Children's Garden at Huntington. Huge success! HUGE!!

Dashy ran through the gates...

...excited, because the first thing you see is WATER!

Little did he know that these pools have fountains, on the ground in front of them, which squirt water straight up in the air every now and then, and he got nailed right in face!! (Sorry, laughing too hard to remember to click off a picture.)

Once inside, Dash got a chance to feel the vibrations. (This dish holds water and the whole thing vibrates.)

Then, around the corner, we hit the jackpot!!

Dashy was a very happy, happy boy!

There are fountains that squirt water and fountains that suck water...

Little streams with bothersome plants...

And the water god, to whom Dashy thought about leaving an offering...

...but then decided not to.

Here's Dashy just doin' his thing...

In the next area there's a mister...

...but Dash was more impressed with the drain!

(Isn't that always the way?! It's not the toy, it's the box that's interesting.)

There was also a really cool stone sculpture that makes music when you throw rocks down it...

...and tons of tunnels to run through and around.

(or, just, through... we're big fans of through!)

One of the tunnels even has prisms in it that cast rainbows everywhere.

As our visit wound to a close Dashy took a moment to admire the flowers...

...and wave goodbye to everyone.

Then we were off!

"Off to where?" you ask. Well, let me ask you... What goes well with water?

FISH!! (of course.)

We found ourselves back at Bahooka's. Surrounded by fish!

Dash thought that the fish at our table looked hungry and decided to see if he would like a little slinky to go with his fish chow...

...and believe or not he did! Unfortunately there was a pesky piece of glass in the way.

Dave and I ordered up a few refreshments, and Dashy got in the spirit of things too...

After a few too many (sips of smoothie, that is), Dash invented this little game...

(Sorry that the quality is crappy. Obviously the people who decided on atmospheric lighting, so weren't thinking about the fact that I would want to video my son!)

Then it was time to say goodbye.

All in all, we had a wonderful, wet, water-filled day!