Thursday, March 27, 2008

Traveling with Toddler


As a native of Florida, I have always felt a deep connection to the event known as "Spring Break!" Each year, our beach community braces itself as college students from around the country descend, in search of warm-weather fun! Maybe that's why I haven't ever been able to really give up on celebrating Spring Break myself. Each year, Drew and I hit the road in search of our own Spring Break adventure. In a few days, we'll embark on our trip to Alabama to visit grandparents and cousins.

I love traveling with my toddler! His perspective on the world is fascinating. He provides a steady stream of conversation, and I feel like I'm seeing the world again for the first time through his little eyes. "Look Mommy! A cow! Horses, over there. That is a farm. Look - a queen!!!"(when he saw an inflatable version of the Statue of Liberty waving people into a car dealership).

I have traveled this stretch of interstate hundreds of times over the past ten years, but I am looking forward to seeing it in a new way next week. If all goes smoothly, we're in for a special time of bonding, just me and my son. And if it doesn't go just like I envision it: well, there's always the DVD player and a few Diego videos ready to go, too! Look for more of our Spring Break adventures coming soon!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Pantyhose Saved The Day!

When I gave birth to my son, I realized that I had forever lost a certain amount of dignity in the "birthing experience". More of my pride/ego was forfeited when Drew began talking. (One time, in a restaurant bathroom, he remarked with enthusiasm, "Mommy, I like your underwear! It's bee-you-tee-ful!").

Today, I was once again reminded that I should expect no level of modesty or decorum when I have my three-year-old at my side. Standing in line at our favorite lunch spot today, I proceeded up to the register to order our food. As I leaned forward to give the man our order, Drew grabbed the bottom of my dress and flung it high into the air. As I felt the cool draft, I silently prayed that there weren't too many people standing behind us in line. Well, six people isn't really THAT many when you think about it. Except when five of them are businessmen in suits and ties and the other one is the YOUTH PASTOR FROM YOUR CHURCH!!!

My only saving grace today is that I'm wearing pantyhose!!!! And the good ones - the control top kind that try their best to keep everything smooth and in place.

I think that pantyhose are going to become a priority in my daily wardrobe. At least until Drew stops thinking that my underwear are "Bee-you-tee-ful" enough to share with all our fast food friends!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Simple Solution

For the past several weeks, I've been shopping a lot for an Easter outfit for my kid.

Not many things bother me too much, but I find myself getting upset every time I visit the children's clothing section of ANY store. And at the risk of being like the bickering Andy Rooney (60 Minutes), I just have to wonder why there are so few options in clothing for little boys. I estimate that the majority of retailers dedicate 80% of their floor space to girls' clothing. And don't get me wrong, it's cute stuff.

But I'm left with a paltry offering of t-shirts with a big logo or funny saying and khaki or navy shorts to choose from. At Easter, I am also offered one sweater vest in a "variety" of colors (blue, yellow, or green), and 3-piece suits (yeah, right).

So, I was griping to my mom the other day about my shopping strifes and said, "Apparently, I need to do something about it instead of complaining. You know, like design a line of clothing for boys or something."

"Or..." she said, "you could just have a girl."

Hmmm... good point.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Feeding the Giraffes

Over the past year, Drew has probably been to our nearby zoo about 4-5 times. Each time, he seems to anticipate the trip more and more. In fact, yesterday morning, he woke up, sat straight up in bed and said, "We're going to the zoo today!"

We went with a good friend of mine and her two-year old daughter. Both kids were in a very good mood when we arrived, having entertained eachother in the backseat the whole way over with their nonsensical jokes and questions for us:
"Mommy, is this a big road or a small road?"
"Are we going to the zoo?"
"Can I have a snack?"
"Can I roll my window down now?"
"Mommy, is this my diaper bag?"
"Are we going to the zoo?"
"Are we going to the zoo now?"

(Meanwhile, we reminisced about the days when they couldn't talk!).

One of our first stops was the Giraffe Exhibit, where visitors have the option to buy a "biscuit" of some sort that you can actually feed the giraffes! Drew has progressed from fear to curiosity to slight bravery each time we see the giraffes, but never has he even come close to feeding them. That is, until yesterday!

I purchased the cracker and walked with my son up the ramp to the lookout, where four giraffes were leisurely enjoying their morning routine. They were completely uninterested in our outstretched hands and seemed unmoved by the childrens' pleadings, "Come here giraffe - Come get your food!"

Eventually, one of these beautiful creatures became interested enough to stroll over and check us out. Andrew's hand was eagerly outstretched through a hole in the fencing as the tall, lanky animal sauntered over. After a brief moment of hesitation (where he quickly withdrew his hand and looked up at me), he summoned up a whole lot of courage and thrust the cracker up toward the giraffe's mouth. A silvery gray tongue gently pulled the food out of his hand, and just like that... the food was gone and the fear was conquered!

I am really proud of Drew for overcoming his fear and being SO brave yesterday. And today, I am compelled to follow his example. My desire to pursue some sort of writing career is similar to feeding the giraffes. I've experience fear (I could never do that - no one would want to read what I have to say - I'm not good enough), curiosity (researching writing contests, publishers guidelines, self-publishing websites), and a little bravery (starting this blog, for instance). But I am inspired to just wave my outstretched hand a little further through the fence today and be brave. There's a writing contest that I've been "curious" about for far too long. And there's a children's book that needs a few finishing touches.

How about you? Wanna feed a giraffe today?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Show Me the Money

My mom took my son to a local playground today. He's so good now at climbing and playing on all the equipment - it's amazing to watch. We've also noticed that his "imaginative play" has really taken off lately. So, the following scene unfolded as Grandma and Drew were playing at the park.

Under the covered picnic area, there are several ledges for placing drinks, snacks, etc. So, Drew decided to make one of these ledges his "fast food restaurant". After Grandma ordered grapes (mulch), carrots (more mulch) and some chicken nuggets (yep, mulch), she handed my son some money (a leaf) to pay for her meal. Quite willing to suspend reality when handing her fruits and vegetables, he wasn't so happy to oblige her creativity when it came to the cash. He looked at her and said, "Grandma. That is not money. That is a leaf."

Knowing how adorable she thinks he is... I'm guessing that real money exchanged hands at the "drive-thru" window today. Maybe I can get him to take me out for some chicken nuggets!