Sunday, September 30, 2007

BFF... hopefully.

Two cousins are exploring the Central Park Zoo.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Best "Date" Ever.

I had a "date" this weekend. He was a few feet shorter than me, not big on words, cheap (as I ended up paying for our lunch) and for some reason, he was very amused by the buses and the NYC subway system. Even though he might not sound like a perfect gentleman, for a two-and-a -half year old, he actually was. That's right -David was my perfect "date" today and so was the time I spent with him in Manhattan.
Even though I am a stay at home mom, I don't get to spend any one-on-one time with my son as Julia usually gets most of my attention. Today, a lot of museums in New York city offered a free admission, so I decided to use this opportunity and take David to one of them, the Children's Museum of Manhattan . It was supposed to be a day about David, so to make him happy we ditched the car and took public transportation; a bus and a subway and no stroller.

No one could miss the fact that David was from the suburbs, it was that evident. He was pointing and shouting at every single bus passing by, impatiently waiting for the train and pushing his way in without even waiting to let people out.
We had a great time at the museum as well. David spent almost three hours running up and down four story building exploring every activity station. I don't know why it is called a museum, it reminds me more of an indoor playground.

After a busy morning, I decided to treat my little man to a nice lunch. Around the corner from the museum, there is a restaurant called Good Enough to Eat which according to Time Out New York Kids magazine is the place to eat with your little one. Ha! It sure is if you are willing to wait on line for over an hour to get a seat. So, instead we settled at an outside table of Fred's restaurant (doubt David would taste the difference in his scrambled eggs from one restaurant to another). He inhaled his eggs and while waiting for me to finish my sandwich, he was people watching (you'd think he doesn't get out much).

David was so happy running down the streets of Manhattan as though it was a giant park. What a day it was for both of us! I will definitely do these one-on-one outings with him more often. And from what I heard, Julia had a blast hanging out with daddy back in NJ.

P.S. An update on David's potty training. We have arrived, we are there!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Are we there yet?

David turned two and a half years old last week and I decided to get off my a** and start potty training him (as per David's pediatrician, I should have done this before he was one year old). While it's true that he's been using potty for the last couple of months, it's only been when it was convenient for both of us. I've used up all of my excuses why David is still in diapers: a) it is so nice outside, so he should be playing in the park, b) I have an infant, so it is difficult to concentrate on potty training David, and c) we have a carpet and he can't be walking naked in the house and our backyard is not fenced in.
After realizing that most of the kids David's age are already out of diapers, I made a commitment of doing whatever was needed to get this kid to the next stage of a toddler-hood. So, last weekend we stuck around our neighborhood, didn't go anywhere further than a mile away from the house, but rather took advantage of what our town had to offer. The kids went to our library for a story time. We even flew a kite in a nearby park.

When David was boycotting the potty, he stayed home with daddy while Julia received my undivided attention at the park.

So, what have we accomplished if anything this weekend? David did have a few accidents and if it was up to Seth (who was the one cleaning all of them), you'd be reading all the glorious details about them. But since I want to maintain some of my child's integrity, all I can tell is that I've heard more disgusting potty training stories from other mothers. But otherwise, he did better than I had expected him to do. He went to the park wearing a pair of underwear and actually came home dry. He still doesn't ask me when he needs to go to the toilet, but at least he'll sit on it. Today, David's been wearing the same pair of pull ups all day long without wetting them once and even went on a toilet at the library while Julia was going through the garbage in there ... such is her life.
I feel as though this has been the most stressful and difficult part of the toddlerhood so far for ME. I don't know how long it will take David to get completely off the diapers, but for both of our sakes (as well as Julia's) it better doesn't last too long. If we're lucky, Julia will see how much David enjoys going potty and will quickly follow in his footsteps! (yeah, right!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Weekend Excursion

Every weekend, we look for new parks for David to explore since he knows every inch of most parks in our neighborhood. So, finding one that he is not very familiar with is a difficult task. One of our favorite parks is Flat Rock Brook nature center in Englewood because every single time we'd go there, we'd choose a different path to walk through and find different little things that make David very excited. Seth used to take only David there since Julia was too little for a walking adventure. However, in the last couple of weeks, Julia has proven that she can keep up with the rest of us, even though she might end up with a few bumps. Once there, we chose to follow the red path towards the Nature Center and pond. Seth came up with a game, "spot that red dot", where David would look for a tree with a red paint on it. Since he was so involved at finding a marked tree, he didn't even realize how long the walk was and didn't ask once to be carried. Unfortunately, every so often he'd trip over a root since he was looking for the red markings.

On the way, David stopped to throw a few rocks in the stream.

When a rock seemed too heavy to be picked up, he decided instead to climb up on it.

Once we reached the pond, David was disappointed that he couldn't throw any rocks due to the Nature Center rules. On the way back, he ran ahead of us, continuing the game of spotting the red spots. Once back to the entrance, Julia and David played in the playground (yes - the nature center even comes with its own play and picnic areas) for a little while before heading back home.
It was a nice walk in the fresh air (well... as fresh as it gets in NJ) just before our dinner which was a perfect end to yet another hectic weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Have Camera, Will Travel

One evening, I decided to let David play with the digital camera. David didn't quite understand it, but was eager to play. Here are a few of his efforts:

First there was the picture of his fire truck. (The fire truck was moving too quickly for a good shot!)

Then David thought it would be interesting to watch himself taking a picture in the mirror. The flash bulb distorted the image a bit.

Then he moved into the kitchen for a shot of Nataliya. Unfortunately, Mommy's a bit too tall, so some of the picture was cut.

Then it was back into the living room. Should he continue to take pictures, or perhaps watch tv. He decided to combine the two activities!

Finally, someone he could photograph at his level. Julia was not a big fan of being photographed, though.

Sorry, Julia... there's no escape from David and his camera!

Maybe one shot of the track lighting would be cool, right?

Anyway, David has a ways to go before he becomes proficient at taking pictures. For now, he had a fun time with the camera. Whether it was watching the flash bulb go off in Julia's eyes, or watching the small LCD screen which looked just like a small television, you can be sure this isn't the last of David's photos!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Part II

As though running after 2 kids for 7 hours straight at Sesame Place wasn't tiring enough, we decided to drive another hour and a half deeper into PA (or twice as long if you are stuck behind one of these).

Once at our destination, Lancaster, PA, we would stay overnight and spend the next day at the Dutch Wonderland amusement park.

If you haven't heard of this place before, believe me, you are not alone. Dutch Wonderland was purchased by Hershey park a few years back and that's how I've learn about it. This place is filled with over 30 rides and even though it was very crowded, there were almost no lines to any of the rides. As soon as we walked in the park, Seth and David disappeared from sight. Seth was very eager to take David on as many rides as possible. Finally, he had a buddy who isn't afraid of heights and who can go with him on a roller coaster ride over and over again.

One of the few rides that I went on with David was the Frog Hopper - a simple ride that simulated a free-fall drop of a couple of feet at a time - which had to be stopped as it was too high for me and I became hysterical. David didn't even notice my screaming, but rather kept saying "ribbit, ribbit". So, finally the ride was stopped and I got off. However, David remained seated for 4 more rounds. I am just glad he didn't inherit my fear of heights.

David got a chance to test drive a Chevrolet around the park.

The next ride cost me a few gray hairs. As I and David stepped inside and proceeded to climbing up very steep and spiral metal staircase to reach a slide, a worker literally dragged me back since no adults were allowed in. Of course, David was busy running upstairs and was oblivious that I wasn't following him. Thankfully, he safely reached the top and slid down. When older kids asked their parents to go again, David imitated them by saying "one more time, please" while holding one of his fingers up. How could I say no to that? But there wasn't just one more time, rather 5 more times.

"Destroy everything ahead of me!"

The Sky Ride was amazing - at least that's what I've heard. I was content staying on the ground.

At this point, I lost my boys again, but caught up to them on the on Voyager ride - a simulator ride that had something to do with outer space. I knew that's where Seth must have dragged David. All I need is for my little boy to become as big fan of Star Trek as his father is.

David rode the roller coaster for his first, second and third times. Again, I stayed back, but Seth was right by his son's side delighted that David was excited as much as he was about this ride.

I pulled myself together and joined the entire family on the Double Splash ride. That's the only ride that David didn't want to go on again because a few drops of water ended up on his shirt.

Julia went on a few rides, but mostly she was exploring the Dutch Wonderland by feet.

Our Little Miss Independence refuses to sit in her stroller or even hold my hand while walking and, of course, napping in an amusement park is out of the question. So, there we were, running 7 hours non-stop after the baby who was not bothered by a 95 degree weather, was curious to turn every stone and put everything in her mouth that she found on the ground. But even little monkeys run out of energy even if it takes them seven hours to do so.

Yes, we won! We tired them out! But then we realized that there was a 3 hour drive ahead of us, and Seth and I were both very exhausted. So the ones having the last laugh were the two little terrors asleep in the back of our car.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Run, David, Run!

It was a beautiful evening in our little town of Leonia, and the family decided to head to Overpeck Park for some fun. Nataliya was going to jog around on the running path while the kids and I were going to play and offer moral support nearby. However, things would not go as planned as David was not content being a bystander...

As we watched David run, many thoughts passed through our minds. For starters, this kid can really run! Maybe we should sign him up for soccer... when he's old enough. Could we get him involved with a running-related sport that could lead to a college scholarship?

Then there was the reality of it - In the time that Nataliya makes sure Julia's descent on the playground slide was safe, David could take off and disappear. Perhaps we need to consider getting David some new sneakers!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The High Price of Walking.

That's how Julia looked two months ago when she was satisfied holding my hand while practicing her walking. The only color on her face you could see was on her rosy cheeks. Since she started walking on her own, she became Little Miss Independence; refusing to hold my hand, running away from me, climbing up the stairs, crawling across a tunnel in the park and going down the slide on HER OWN. Three days ago in the park, Julia rolled over the staircase while walking down the stairs by herself and got black and blue bruise on her forehead. The next day, she tripped on a sandy baseball field and scratched her nose and cheeks. Today she fell on her face in the playground while running after Olivia and cut open her gums and bruised her (now swollen) lip. At this rate, the local volunteer ambulance corp will soon know us all by first names.
I'll consider ourselves lucky if we don't end up in the emergency room. (Who said that girls were easier?) So far, Julia has been more of a troublemaker than David. Even though she started walking about 2 months later than he did, she's made up for it!
Anyway, there hasn't been any damage to her that won't heal in time, but until she becomes more proficient at walking and climbing (or at least understand that walking downstairs isn't possible when your legs are shorter than the step), we'll have to keep on our toes and keep one step ahead of her.