Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sins of the Mother

Ohhh, how attractive TV is! I generally disapprove of TV for kids, and I agree with the recommendation of no/limited screen time for children under two. But it is so wonderful to have your child blissfully and quietly engaged while you try to get something done! Zane loves to watch YouTube videos of fish and garbage trucks, so we've brought them up on our upstairs TV/PC. I'll let Zane watch about 20 minutes of garbage trucks while I clean up the kitchen, and boy does he love it! So do I. I can see how people routinely plop their kids in front of the TV. Zane asks for "TeeTee! Gabboo!" You can see he has his own remote control and comfy chair, just like Mama and Daddy. At least the YouTube videos are not full of rapidly changing scenes and commercials, so I don't think I've totally brain damaged Zane.

We've had a pretty nice weekend. Saturday Zane and I went to the Zoo in the morning. We did some warm indoor exhibits. Highlights were the meerkats jumping, getting to feed the birds in the Australian aviary, poison dart frogs, Komodo dragons, and the kids' Zoomazium play room. I've never been to the zoo on a weekend, and the Zoomazium was, well, a zoo. When we got home we looked at our new reptiles and amphibian book and remembered the turtles and frogs we saw. I pointed out the Komodo dragon, and Zane said "Moto!" Today, Sunday, we took the bus for a very short ride to the Ballard farmers' market. Zane loves to see the bus, so it was fun to go on the bus instead of walking. This way we got to spend more time at the market. We ate mini donuts and honey, bought honey and a CD, and watched some great music. Zane even shuffled his feet a bit while we watched a lady buck dancing. Now he's tired out and napping!

I belatedly stuck together some Christmas videos. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mr. BeanJangles

This week has been so pleasant and normal. Separation anxiety and sleep are returning to normal. Sigh.

Zane and I started dance lessons on Monday! I tried to get him to wear the snazzy vest above, but he kept pulling it off. Maybe another time. The class had lots of activities with songs and stories, and as the teacher predicted, Zane mostly stared and didn't participate. She says she will often see a big change after just a few classes once the kids have soaked up a bit of the idea of movement to music. This Sunday evening we went to a family contra dance. I mostly wanted Zane to see live music, but once he warmed up to the place he enjoyed exploring, interacting with other kids, watching music, and even letting me hold him for a bit of dancing. Every time the musicians stopped he'd wave his arms and say "more!" When we got home he went to the CD player, and I'm pretty sure he was trying to say music -- "misi". We worked on how to turn it on by himself, which I may come to regret.

Words are really starting to explode out of Zane. This week alone we've heard (or heard something close to): crotch, milk, soup, soap, Cheerios, more, steam, music, cracker, and Zane. He's even starting little sentences such as "More boob" and "I pooped." He will now tell me right away when he's pooped and sometimes even go to get diapers! The other day he told me before he pooped, which is nice progress on the way to toilet training.

The obsession with fish continues. There is a National Geographic article on them that he loves, so he is joining the family tradition of reading while eating.

We started swimming lessons two weeks ago, and Zane seems to like them. The pool is a little cold, though, and he gets pretty cold by the end. Hopefully that won't sour him on the experience. The lessons are pretty basic, and I think the games and activities are things I can easily continue on my own. After this short string of lessons is done, I hope I can get it together to go back up to the warm Mountlake Pool which is literally made for kids.

The weather has been pretty yucky, but the last several days have been warmish and clear to drizzly. A good day in Seattle during the winter. We've all managed to get outside a bit and get fresh air. A neighbor just gave us a little tricycle that Zane has instantly fallen in love with. His little legs dangle off the seat and don't really reach the pedals yet, but it comes with a parental push bar to keep things rolling for now. We hope it's a nice enough day to go out again tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Boy are we glad to be home! There's nothing like your own comfy chair.

Before we left for Maine, Zane had a pretty excellent Christmas. He got very excited about his presents and grasped the concept of unwrapping quite quickly. I think his favorite presents are his very own chair with his name on it, a standup piano keyboard, a remote control, some monsters, and a garbage truck ("Gabboo").

At Grandpa Milt's house he got to play cars with his cousins, and he got a cool car from Grandpa and an electric guitar from his Aunt/Uncle/cousins.

On Christmas morning we were off to Maine. The trip to Maine went pretty well, although Zane only slept for one hour of the trip. He had a fun time watching planes take off, but mostly I think he liked to see all of the airport service trucks zipping around. He made the sign language sign for fan when we got into the small plane with propellers. Smart kid!

We started our visit in Maine in Harpswell with my Dad, Becky, and Brady. Zane was pretty ecstatic to be in a house with THREE cats! We had a little blizzard while we there, and it was cold and blowy so we didn't get to go out and play in the falling snow. Zane learned the word snow. We did take a drive out to Cook's Lobsterhouse during the storm, and while we were there only two other groups were in the restaurant. Zane spent a lot of time wandering around with a chaperone. He got to see his first big fully decorated and lighted tree there, and he also had his first french fries. Brady brought my Grandma Henderson up to the house, and we all had a quiet visit with football on the TV.

It was a little wearing to be in a non-baby-proofed house. It's amazing how much I take our safe house for granted! I had to follow Zane around and make sure he didn't fall down the basement stairs, or go up to the second floor and fall down those stairs. Pens, scissors, cleansers ... And we had to keep the telephones and cats safe from Zane.

Tuesday we headed out to Camden, and Zane got to re-meet his cousins Ian (9) and Julian (5). He really had fun with them. Ian was especially good and patient with Zane. My brother's house was pretty fun for Zane, but from my point of view, a mega death-trap. The two resident cats, Manuel and Polly, are a little shier than my Dad's cats, and Manuel can be downright vicious. There is a red-hot woodstove in the middle of the house surrounded by a sharp and trippable brick hearth, and fronted by a slippable and trippable carpet. Stairs to go up and fall down. Cleansers. Tiny Bionicles parts everywhere. Mousetraps! I was exhausted. I didn't want to keep Zane cooped up and constantly say No No No, so I followed him around and put my body between him and danger. He had a blast.

The Christmas tree here was decorated with many outdoorsy things. Zane is still very excited about fish, so he was happy to see lots of fish ornaments. There were also many boat ornaments, and boat toys for the bath, so Zane learned the word boat. After learning the word he came into our room, spied some wooden duck decoys, and said "Da Boot!" He was sure they were boats, and we decided that was OK.

It was finally time for Zane to have a Maine snow experience, so on a beautiful and relatively warm sunny day, we went to the Camden Snow Bowl. We got the sled, stuffed Zane into his snowpants and boots, and went to have fun! Whee. Zane would not crack a smile. He seemed pretty stunned, like he couldn't understand why we were torturing him with layers of clothes and freezing air. We finally gave up and went into the lodge to eat, and he perked right up and had a grand ol' time. I have a feeling that when we go on our next vacation to Hawaii he will be happier.

Zane also got to spend time with his Grandma! Grandma is an early morning person, so I got to catch up on some sleep while Zane ate healthy breakfasts with his Grandma. One day I was in bed for 10 hours, the next for 12. I can't wait for July when she will be with us for a whole month! And not just for the sleep.

My friends Ann and Jon came to Camden to visit, and gave Zane a super-stylin' embroidered vest. I think maybe Zane will wear it for his dance class starting on Wednesday. My aunt Vicki came to visit, too, and we had quite a full house of guests. It was pretty relaxing, because Zane was napping! We also had a quick visit with my Grandma Robarts and Aunt Connie.

At this point we were pretty exhausted with keeping Zane alive, and really looking forward to going home. Back to Harpswell, which we decided was actually quite safe compared to my brother's house. A nice lunch out with my Dad, Becky, Grandma Henderson and Aunt Vicki and we were off to the airport! Yay!

Well. If only it were so simple. The weather issues of earlier in the week were all gone, but for some reason Newark Airport was all backed up in air traffic, so our plane from Portland got in late before our flight, and so our flight departed very late. I spent much time with Zane in the Portland airport running back and forth and making friends with other little kids. Zane was great in the terminal, but on the plane he ended up screeching and crying for most of the 1+ hour flight. He fell asleep right before we got to Newark. By the time we got to Newark, air traffic was still backed up, so our plane hung around in the air for 10 extra minutes before landing. Then they couldn't find anyone to drive the skybridge to the plane. Finally we got off and trotted trotted trotted to our connecting flight -- and missed it by 5 minutes. @#%%@!

After a really long wait at customer service, we were able to get a flight for Monday morning (a day and a half later), so we had to stay in a Newark hotel for 2 nights. During deplaning, running to miss our flight, wading through customer services, getting our bags, and getting on and off trains and elevators Zane slept soundly in his car seat on wheels. He woke up just before we got the shuttle to the hotel. The shuttle was completely packed with people standing in the door well and loud music coming from the driver's area. This was just a sign of things to come!

We were put up in the lovely Newark Ramada Plaza Hotel. As you can tell from these reviews, it pretty much sucked. And Continental only paid for one night of such luxury, so we had to shell out for some of it. This is odd -- I just went to look at my Facebook account where I had mentioned staying in a yucky hotel, and the post is gone! I don't think I even mentioned the name of the hotel! Creepy. I've been edited. The hotel was in some sort of weird freeway interchange and freight yard dead end, so you couldn't walk anywhere. Not that you'd want to what with the State Prison next door. There were no diapers in the hotel store, so Michael had to take a taxi to get some to tide us over. The towels were very thin and small, and they wouldn't seem to let you have more than one wash cloth at a time. Unvacuumed floors. We asked for a crib several times and didn't get one. The lobby was stained and filthy. At the restaurant we had to ask for a high chair three times before they gave us one. At least the shower was hot with nice water pressure, and we didn't seem to encounter bedbugs.

The restaurant was pretty good, though, and we managed to pass the time walking around the hotel over and over again. Zane and I played with hinged door stops over and over in an empty dining room, and Zane finally began to learn the concept of up and down. Because of the Ramada, he learned some vocabulary! Zane napped and slept pretty well in a bed surrounded by pillows so he wouldn't fall off.

Zane had really had it with travel, and he began biting us frequently. I decided not to deal with it too harshly until we got home, since I figured he was just out of sorts. He also started sitting in his travel seat and saying "home", which was sad.

When it came time to leave, we were almost late to the airport because the shuttle was too full and then didn't come back to pick us up for 30 minutes, but eventually we made it home. We stood in the living room and jumped up and down!

We've had some transition time with sleep schedules disrupted, and Zane has been very clingy and has more separation anxiety than usual. After his very first time out, the biting subsided, too. Mostly we're back to normal now.

On Wednesday our friends Jeff and Claudia visited with their son Finn, who is one month older than Zane. Zane was a bit of a pill about his toys -- he didn't want Finn to have any. Luckily, Finn didn't care.

And now, hopefully life will go on. No more travel adventures for a while!