Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Hard Out Here For A Toddler

NJ's been taking a pounding lately.

Yesterday she came home from day care with an accident report describing a trip-and-fall into a cabinet. She also brought home this forehead shiner:

Photo intentionally blurred to project a disconcerting sense of movement, in an effort to fully capture the essence of an NJ bath.
She and I played downstairs, and as she stewed wooden carrots in a wooden pot I groaned and said, "Daddy's got to lay down on the flat floor for a minute. My back hurts." NJ's face showed surprise, then she got serious as she pushed her hair out of the way and showed me her bruise. "I hurt my head! It hurt!" she exclaimed. I think she was a little excited to have something like that in common with me.

Then, as I was testing our new camera today, I snapped this shot and saw those shins. Let's count the bruises, shall we?

Hey, these graphics are a little crude, so tell you what: No charge for the graphics. You get them free, absolutely no cost to you at all.
She's a durable little thing, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And The Third Year Begins

Two days ago the kid turned 2. It was a Monday, and the weekend we spent on Orcas Island, so we weren't able to throw her a birthday party. "But you know when her birthday day is, why did you plan an out-of-town trip just before it?" you ask. No, you don't really ask that, do you -- you know why we did that. Precisely so we wouldn't be able to throw her a 2-year-old birthday party. I'm sorry, Future NJ, but it's true. We just thought this would be the last time we'd be able to get away with no party, so we went for it. I'm sure by the time you, Future NJ, are reading this, you and swarms of your closest friends will have already had several fabulous birthday parties at the circus, the zoo, the Museum of Science, F.F. Woodycook's, the far side of the moon, and many other fun locales. And you had a pretty good birthday anyway, trust me.

NJ raked in the goodies, including this miniature kitchen, a guitar, a pile of books, some gear for her favorite doll (Babydoll) and a fun game that involves an elephant blowing butterflies out of its trunk. She also made a triumphant return to one of her favorite places in the city, the aquarium. Then it was fish for lunch (oh, the irony) and then home to the daily grind: She spent a lot of time in her new kitchen, aping things she's seen us do (OK, mostly The Wife) in ours.

You expect me to get dinner on the table and take care of this baby at the same time? I don't think so!
On the island, counting boats was her main focus, with some rock-throwing and sand-gathering thrown in, as well.

D'oh! Left the shovel in the car again.
The Wife and fondly recalled how hectic our lives were 730 days ago, and -- like most parents, I suppose -- did so with big smiles on our faces. Our first night on the island, she and I were sitting on the deck, just about to turn in, when a fireworks show started across the sound. We watched it intently -- it's literally been years since I had a good view of fireworks, which seems wrong somehow -- and I thought about getting NJ up to see it. We didn't though, because she'd been in bed asleep for a couple of hours by then (might not have mattered, actually -- she woke up around 2.30 a.m. and we had a rough journey to dawn). Still, I thought about her as I watched the show. After all, she showed up out of the blue, too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

NJ's Kulinary Korner, Part 3: A Real, Actual Kulinary Korner

Currently under construction in the basement, this kitchen set -- a gift from her Connecticut grandparents -- will be completed this evening:

Funny thing is, the freezer already needs defrosting.
See that post in the middle, behind the sink and faucet? Dad Solo picked the counter up wrong yesterday and it broke -- it's setting with wood glue now and should be good to go later on today. But if the thing breaks again while NJ plays with it, let's not tell her about that, OK? I don't want to be the guy who broke her favorite toy (if it turns out to be her favorite) before she even got to use it once.

The Wife sent me on an errand yesterday afternoon, and when I got back she'd unpacked everything and started to assemble. And get this -- she wanted me to drop everything I was doing (Web-surfing, TV, etc.) and help!

Once it's finished, it will be covered by a bed sheet until next Monday, when NJ celebrates turning 2 years old. She'll no doubt throw the little pots and pans (not pictured) around and ask whether her play food is organic and local.

Now we'll need to build her a little woodworking shop, a little basketball court, a little scientist's lab and a little executive's office to make sure all our bases are covered.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

NJ's Kulinary Korner, Part 2

Today, NJ learned that there is a thing in the world that is a "chocolate milkshake." She finds them to be highly pleasurable.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship.
She's even confident that she can indulge in the occasional "chocolate milkshake" and not drink herself out of swimsuit season.

The 'before' photo.

Monday, August 1, 2011

NJ's Kulinary Korner

It was a big week for NJ's taste buds -- the kid busted two new taste sensation moves on her palate, and refined a third that can be tricky for an almost-two-year-old to pull off.

First, the refinement -- her first experience with corn-on-the-cob came last month, and last night she proved that she's got it down:

Is it true, Daddy, that you can fashion this thing into a pipe once I'm done eating?
Now, the new stuff.

I've been wanting to take the kid out for sushi for a while now. Last week I spoke to a friend whose daughter is almost 4, and when that kid was 2 she was eating not only sushi but oysters on the half-shell -- something I didn't even muster up the courage to try until I was an adult. So this past weekend we lunched at a very good nearby sushi joint.

I would quote from the Tubes' song 'Sushi Girl' here, but I'm trying to rein my habit of making references so obscure that only I get them. As fun as that is -- and trust me, it's fun. Sometimes I really crack myself up.
NJ mostly stuck to tempura, rice and veggies, as we're well aware of concerns about potential shellfish allergies and mercury in uncooked or steamed fish (The Wife went semi-mad when she couldn't eat sushi during the pregnancy). But when I gave her a bit of my fatty tuna she scarfed it down and asked for more. And more. I had to get another order. It won't be a regular thing, by any means, but she's gotten a taste for it and found it to be good.

But the real action came Saturday when we swung by a the soon-to-be-open ice cream place a couple of blocks away. It doesn't open for a couple weeks, but on the weekends they've hauled out a cart and sold sample-sized cups (it's very good, too!). NJ got her first taste of ice cream, and if she could articulate a little better she'd tell you that her life has been irrevocably and forever changed.

"Really? This tastes like this? Wow! I could really get used to 'chocolate ice cream.'"
When you ask NJ to 'make your sad face' while she's eating chocolate ice cream, this is as close as she can get.
I forgive you guys for not giving me ice cream before. Just make sure it's always in the house from here on out and we're good.
The best part of the ice cream introduction? She had some for dessert two nights in a row, and both times I watched as she ate a bite, and another, and another, etc. until she just put her spoon down and asked to get up from the table. In other words, she ate until she'd had enough, then stopped. One day I'll have to ask her how she does that.