Sunday, June 29, 2014

La Quinta with an Infant and Toddler

Just returned from a weekend in La Quinta where we stayed at the White's vacation home located in the La Quinta Cove. Temperatures were in the 100's, confining us to the pool or the air conditioned house, but I was prepared. Our first vacation with Rose went as smoothly as the date shakes at Shields.

Here's what made this vacation with a 2 year old and a 5 month old work: the preparation and the prayer.

First, two weeks prior, I began collection supplies to create a busy box for Lee. I looked on pintrest for ideas that used everyday household items. The busy box contained ribbons, balls, balloons, cotton balls, the top half of an empty vinegar bottle, an empty coco box with a hole cut in the top, clothespins, knickknacks, straws, a plastic cup, wire basket, and an asian take out box. These were his inside toys. For outside I packed a bucket, sponge, toy boat, and paintbrush. I took a trip to the library for a bag of new books for the car. We also had three rather annoying children's CD's to listen to, if he became really cranky. As it turns out, I was overly prepared. The two-year-old was perfectly content to sip on his sippy cup and suck his fingers the entire way there. Sure, he also looked at the books I showed him.

As for the packing, the making of lists put my mind at great ease. I had a list of food items, a list for Lee, a list for Rose, and a list for me. Phil kept his list in his head and made it up as he went along. I think this is why his toothbrush ended up in the center console of the car.

The week before, I began packing bit by bit. Our low profile Merry Muscles jumper and Chicco Caddy Hook on Chair contained the children at meal times. Fisher-Price's Rock 'N Play Sleeper served as Rose's bed, and Lee slept in a Pack 'N Play.
I had a meal plan prepared for each of the two days we stayed there and a vague idea as to the order of events: swim, eat, take a nap, swim, eat, take a nap. 

Rose tested out Lee and Finn Fincher's old Baby Float. She found the water so fascinating that she wanted to get it in her mouth and gag. So we held her most of the time while in the pool. She scowled at the splashing and occasional splatter across her face but she also learned to slap the water with her little fist. Another first for Rose this weekend was rolling over front to back.
 Lee took a liking to the White's floating lounges, which he called his boats. He asked for performances of a whale by Philip and enjoyed throwing his toys in the pool after Phil fished them out. Interesting side note: the swim trunks gifted to us by Jeff and Heather Himes were still a bit big for him, but he fit just fine into Rose's new swimming trunks. Rose and Lee shared the blueberry hat—a Mama Mina gift.

As we were in the midst of potty training, we brought Lee's potty chair and marshmallows. I think the trip away from home helped Lee understand that pottying occurs in all places. Upon returning home, he volunteered to sit on his potty chair without prompting twice. We'll see if it sticks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Highlights of the Week

Phil built a Teepee out of his bamboo poles, and then played games beneath it with some friends. I was testing out the different modes of my camera here.

Lee drew a picture of Rose, which I think accurately captures her sweet but sometimes hostile moods.
We started potty training once again, which involves a potty chair corral, a new dimension to the chore chart, marshmallows, and a pile of cleaning supplies.

And Lee learned to run around the house showing his belly. Yes, that sums up the week.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Father of My Children

Wednesday nights were date night with Daddy. (That is until schedules changed and Wednesdays were replaced by Fridays.) Each week one of us four kids had a night with Daddy where we could do whatever we wished, within reason of course.

As we grew older, Wednesdays involved more costly activities like going to Knotts Berry Farm or Speed Zone. But early on, Wednesdays were simple: roasting marshmallows over a fire in the backyard, rounding up the other siblings to play ball tag or have a pillow fight, getting frozen yogurt at the Twin Palms Plaza, going to the park, purchasing a new item from Motts Miniatures for my dollhouse, seeing Harriet The Spy, rock climbing, eating at My Thai, going to the pet store to purchase new apparatus for my hamster, or taking an overnight camping trip out to the desert.

These nights were special because my dad made us feel special. I could do whatever I wanted. We didn’t have to worry about so and so not liking it or not wanting to go. These date nights weren’t about the others. They were about us as individuals. 

I’m sure my dad did numerous activities that he wasn’t supper excited about, but my dad is king of making dull activities exciting. He hasn’t stopped this either, but now I get to watch on the sidelines. 

He has Lee cling to his shin, and then he bounces him up and down. He flies him around the room. My boy’s mouth is wide open in a laughing smile as he makes passes at whoever is in the room. When Lee is in sight, my dad brightens. He drops to the ground to chase or roll or tickle. Lee squeals as he holds a hand up to his face, kneading the air to indicate that he wants to be chased again. Again. Again! AGAIN! Childhood is made of this.

And now I understand my dad even more as I see Philip shoulder the responsibilities and cares of fatherhood. Phil gets up extra early each morning to be home in time for dinner. He drives really slowly up the driveway in case Lee pops out unexpectedly. He does great Lee-boy impressions: the shoulders-up-elbows-out run, the pronunciation of bean-bean (green bean), wose (rose), and chess (yes). He bends over to let Lee, who is riding in his baby backpack, smell plants. And holds Lee upside-down so he can walk on the ceiling. They pull weeds in the front yard together. And run laps around the Ginkgo tree out front. 

Philip protects me against Lee’s crawling, crashing ways while I’m nursing Rose. He enforces my word when I ask Lee to do something. He takes Rose to burp her after I'm finished feeding her. He has taken her when she was wailing too. He watches how I mother and learns new techniques himself. He is teachable. He is inventive. He is a man. I’ll prove it to you. Just today he showed Lee how when you squeeze the Play Dough through the tube it looks like poop. And when you drop the Play Dough on the kitchen floor it falls like poop. Yes, he is a man. He is the father.