Proof That It’s The Beatdown

I was trying to get Alex to say “running” and “chasing” and “fast” or something along those lines the other day. With his second birthday coming up I realized that I have very little video evidence of his ever increasing vocabulary, and I need some video footage for his planned second birthday slideshow. In my attempt to get get a video of him running and speaking, I succeeded at something. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but it was something.

He’s running in hopes of finding the “beatdown.”

(It was in the opposite direction.)

Slides Are Intimidating

Apparently, slides are rather horrifying. At least, they are if you’re my son.

Alex has never really been into slides. Every once in a blue moon he’ll go down a slide, but mostly he will climb to the top and then say “no down.” He doesn’t want to go down it. If I hold his hand he may consider it, but even then it’s a long shot.

I can’t say that I totally blame him. I mean, letting yourself fall down some unknown material that, in theory, will take you down to the ground? No idea how fast? No idea how sturdy? Who came up with this?! Not exactly reassuring. But I loved slides as a kid.

One of our local playgrounds here is often referred to as “The Blue Slide Park.” It is so called because it has, well, a blue slide. A big blue slide, to be precise. I spent many, many, days going down this slide as a kid. In fact, I probably have gone down this slide more times in my life than days I’ve been alive. We would go down in every direction, with cardboard or wax paper under our butt, knees, back, to make us go faster. Every time Alex and I go there I wax nostalgic for those times as I see the scattered cardboard boxes all over the place.

When we went to this park the other day, Alex and I went down the big blue slide together a few times. As long as I am holding on tight (and I mean tight! Kid will yell at me if I don’t have both arms wrapped snuggly around him) he has a great time feeling the air rush by him on our way down. But this day? This day he decided he would try it for himself.

He walked up and up.

Blue Sliding It

And then he stopped, came back down most of the way and decided that close-to-the-bottom was the best place to start his sliding:

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

One day he’ll go down that slide, all by himself, on cardboard. But until that day I’m happy to see him making progress, and even happier to see that he is still a very cautious child.

Hunting Is Exhausting

We’re house hunting.

As of now, it looks like it is very likely that we will purchase a duplex with Zach’s parents.

For many people, that would be a horrendously awful thought. I’m lucky: I love my pseudo in-laws. I absolutely adore them, and we get along fabulously. Besides that, having babysitters that live next door? Awesome.

They came to visit this past weekend, and while they were here we looked at a bunch of places all over the city and, gasp!, in the suburbs. While looking at houses can be a lot of fun, looking at duplexes can be rather depressing.

Most of them were tenant occupied, and some of them were downright nasty. Not only was the worst offender a disgusting mess, to the extent that you literally could not walk across the floors of the bedrooms, but also? The house reeked of marijuana and cigarette smoke. There were two young children there.

Fortunately, they were not all bad. And our fingers are crossed that we will be able to work something out.

Also fortunately, Alex was an angel all weekend while we went into and out of the car, into and out of houses, walked around messes (not the pot-filled house!) and up and down the streets all while skipping nap time. He hung out on Zach’s back, said hello to the tenants, and was genuinely charming the whole time.

While life may be pretty inhospitable for a lot of people, Alex had a fabulous life on Zach’s back for the weekend. Even if the two of them combined make for a double furnace turned on high on 80-degree-100%-humidity days.

House Hunting

Asleep in the car

Cutie Patootie Playdate

A lot of people hate facebook. Some refuse to sign up, others complain that it is irritating or pointless. While I can’t disagree that it has become irritating, I certainly don’t think it’s pointless.

Through “facebook stalking” I am able to keep up to date with what old friends are doing in their lives. People that I otherwise would never talk to, I am able to keep in touch with. And people that otherwise would be gone from my life? I’m able to get back in touch with.

On Monday morning, I had the opportunity to see my childhood dance teacher. Phoebe taught me dance for years, and being able to reconnect with her (thanks, facebook!) was fantastic.

We met up at a local playground where Alex and her adorable granddaughter, Mikayla, could enjoy themselves. Mikayla is about three weeks younger than Alex, and oh my goodness the cuteness!

There was swinging:

Playdate!

There were snacks:

Playdate!

Playdate!

There was super-cute piling of sticks:

Playdate!

Playdate!

There was a lot of staring at each other. “Who is this other little person who is more like me than I’m used to being around?”

Playdate!

Playdate!

Playdate!

Playdate!

And there were the mandatory modeling sessions:

Playdate!

Playdate!

Playdate!

I would love to be able to get together with Phoebe again, and I think Alex and Mikayla had a good time playing! Plus, it made for some fun photos of these beautiful subjects.

Here Comes A Beatdown

The playground has officially been renamed: Beatdown.

For whatever reason, Alex thinks “playground” should be pronounced “beatdown.”

So, I share with you pictures of our trip to the beatdown yesterday afternoon.

Watching the big kids

Squeezing Through

Waffle Time!

Squeezing Through

I’m not sure how obvious it is that Alex doesn’t really play at playgrounds.

He walks around. He runs around. He climbs up and down hills, up and down stairs. He watches the older kids with fascination, often finding a crush among one of the girls. He follows his crush around. He walks back and forth through the tunnels. He eats.

Every once in a while he will go down a slide or, you know, actually play.

Crazy Long Eyelashes

And I swear the kid does smile. He just no longer smiles for the camera. Or if he is smiling and I think I’m quick enough to catch that adorable smile? He moves his head back and forth really fast to make sure the picture is blurry.

He Just Has Good Taste

Alex is a bit of a picky child. Not when it comes to eating. No, when it comes to eating he will eat just about anything you give him. He is picky about other children. As in: he doesn’t like most of them.

He seems to like almost all adults that he has met. There have only been a select few that he has taken a strong dislike towards. Children on the other hand? Well, he seems to dislike most of them.

When another child tries to play with him, most of the time he runs away screaming “no no!” Granted, he is quite young to be playing with other children. But all the same. He runs away from most kids. If the kid tries to touch him? He screams in their face.

Every once in a while, though, he meets someone he really likes. So far, it’s always been an “older” girl. At the playground yesterday Alex found one such lucky lady. She was about to turn two. Every time she saw Alex she said, “Hi, baby!” and Alex coyly said hi in return.

Everywhere she went, he went. Everything she did, he did.

His "crush" in the background

Well, except the slides. He’s still pretty scared of slides.

Taking a break

The Best Time

Did you know that the absolute best time to go to the zoo is when they are closing?

With Zach’s parents in town for a long weekend, we decided that Sunday would be a perfect zoo day. Even though it was my third time in about a month, I was still super excited. I absolutely love taking pictures of the animals, and feel that every time I go I get some amazing shots.

We arrived an hour and a half before closing, which is only thirty minutes before they stop letting people in. As we entered, there were hoards of people exiting. While everyone was leaving, there were only a very small number of people entering, so we ended up having the zoo practically to ourselves.

Spending as much time as you want in front of every animal without having to worry about blocking a 4 foot tall person’s sight? Is awesome. When you get to wait around just watching animals, you don’t miss all of the cool stuff that they do:

Showing off

We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch the trainers with the elephants. They were marched around in circles and told to do various things, all while the baby elephant was just running around getting in the way.

Tail Grapping

Baby elphant running!

Of course, we also saw a lot of “meows,” which may actually be graduating to a “rawr!” title.

Meow Meow Meow

Meow Meow

Meow

The only downside to entering so late is that we weren’t able to go into the aquarium, and all of the people that were still in the zoo twenty minutes after close were told to leave, twice, over the loudspeakers.

While I was happy to get some great shots of the animals, the best shot of the day, naturally, was an Alex picture.

Having fun at the zoo

You Can Learn A Lot At The Zoo

When Alex and I went to the zoo a few days ago, he taught me a lot of things.

This here guy? He is a “meow!”:

Tiger

Oh, and this guy? Just another “tweet tweet tweet!”

Ostrich

I knew before we got there that the monkeys would make Alex happy. Every single monkey he saw needed to be recognized. “Eee aah! Eee aah!” And let me tell you, there are a lot of monkeys. Most of them were running around, swinging, jumping, climbing everything they could and picking bugs out of another monkey’s fur. The gorillas were a little lazy, though:

Gorilla at the zoo

As we were leaving the monkeys I was told “mo! Mo eee aah!” a few times, until we caught sight of another “tweet tweet tweet.” The lovely peacocks that roam the zoo, and, as Alex taught me, always lead you to good places. His insistence that we follow the peacock led us right to lunch.

My biggest lesson of the day didn’t come until later that night when we were home. Alex successfully learned how to climb up his parental units just like the monkeys do.

Definitely a monkey

Why I’m a Sucker

Saying “no” to Alex is easy for me most of the time. He wants to play with knives? No. He wants to push over our speakers? No. He wants to eat a stick on the ground? No. But sometimes he makes it impossible.

We end up going to Target a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. To keep him entertained I either open up a box of crackers or let him play with a small toy until I am finished. We always return the toy right before we check out, and he always gets upset when I have to take away his crackers in order to pay for them.

Today we went straight to the back of the store to look at the larger toys, and what did I have to hear? “Elmo! Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!” over and over and over again. He spotted the Elmo toys. I immediately regretted the decision to walk down that aisle.

I picked up a stuffed animal Elmo (who is also a puppet) and handed it to him. “Elmo! Mama! Elmo!” He was so very excited.

We were grabbing a few items here and there, and I was all set on putting Elmo back before we left. But then Alex suckered me.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo a kiss.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo another kiss.

He hugged and kissed Elmo again and again.

He held Elmo up to me and asked, “mwah?” until I kissed Elmo.

If you saw some woman kissing Elmo at Target the other day? That was me. Kissing Elmo again and again.

“Mwah! Awww. Elmo!”

So, I bought Elmo.

I’m a total sucker.

Alex and Elmo