Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

Grady really, really wanted to go meet Santa. He was very clear about it. We waited in a long line, and he remained committed. Which, honestly, is not a thing that happens ever. He told me that he was going to go meet Santa ALL BY HIMSELF and he was going to sit on Santa's couch, NOT on his lap. Cool. Good plan. Let's do this.

And then. He decided right at the last minute that he didn't want to. And I was the terrible parent who said, you know, dude, after an hour in line, we are getting the picture. So, here we are, Imma gonna wrestle you into the frame, okay, it's done.

I felt that it was a bit of a parenting misstep, to be honest. I knew I should have honored his decision to change his mind. But in the moment, with that long line at my back, I went with "screaming Santa photo, here we come."

And you know what? Within around 30 seconds of exiting Santa's couch space, Grady was talking about how he wanted to go see Santa, and sit ON HIS LAP this time. Because honestly, somehow I had held him back from the immersion Santa experience he had really, truly been after in his heart of hearts. Or something.

He now remembers meeting Santa as an absolute hoot, tons of fun, let's do it all the time. He was so excited to tell Daddy about it. I don't know, you guys. The kid's bananas.

I hope you're all enjoying the final moments of anticipation and prep. We're planning an epic walk after dark to see all our favorite light displays, but not a whole lot else. Pie, I should make some pie.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Halloween #2

Grady has really, really strong opinions about what he wants to wear on any given day. So the idea that he would consent to wearing a certain pre-selected and unfamiliar outfit just because it was Halloween? Unfathomable.

For more than a month we discussed the matter, trying to get Grady's buy-in on a costume choice. I felt that I got a pretty firm commitment on octopus, and I found a $12 octopus costume on Amazon. So, the plunge was taken.

Leading up to Halloween, we talked about the costume for days, suggesting maybe (maybe?) trying it on (just a little?) (NOOOOOO!!!!!)

We practiced trick-or-treating for dry cereal and goldfish in the kitchen. (This remains a highly enjoyable game to this day.)

Somehow, with the temptation of trick-or-treating, and the allure of the Halloween decorations draped over our neighbors' lawns (he still misses those skulls and cobwebs), he tried on his costume the day before Halloween. We went walking around the neighborhood, because, well, I've come to understand that sometimes familiarity helps.

And then Grady won Halloween. He wore his octopus costume, and waltzed right up to people's doors to say "trick-or-treat-thank-you!" And then he wanted to taste every item he received immediately. I think he only actually consumed a single fun-size Crunch bar. And then he was a crazy person and had to call it a night.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FFFA: Birthday Pumpkins #2

This is old news. It took place back in October. The 13th, to be exact. What can I say? I am in no way a professional blogger. But there were some photogenic moments this fall, and so I shall try to catch you up before the barrage of Christmas posts I have planned. I'm down to the wire. Brace yourselves for rapid-fire autumnal and vacation flashbacks.

I suppose I'm making a bit of a habit of forcing the family to go to a pumpkin patch for my birthday. It's just, well, it's the time of year, I guess. I don't have a thing for pumpkin patches, really. I especially don't have a thing for the sunny, hot pumpkin patches we get in October in November. It's actually quite depressing to me that my birthday is always so shiny and hot here. I long for a crisp chill.

But somehow I endure.

This year the pumpkin adventure started a little slow. I could tell that husband of mine was deeply unimpressed and convinced the whole excursion was destined to be a total flop. First trouble arose when we had to walk past some sort of air cannon game to get from the parking lot to the pumpkins. It was loud, and if there's one thing Grady doesn't like (there are lots, but this is one), it's loud noises. We were on the verge of fussiness all around.

And then.

I don't really know, but we turned it around. We explored the not-remotely-quaint grounds and I don't think I'm overstating things here when I say that we made some picturesque autumnal memories. For a long time, Grady would talk about the cow train (he didn't ride it, of course, but we cheered for it and said bye-bye when it left). To this day, he still demands to see pictures of Grady and pumpkins. Because, obviously:

Friday, November 29, 2013


Upon waking on the morning of his second birthday, Grady announced that he wanted to go to a museum. Most likely because he can only assume they would have a gift shop there. We asked what he wanted to see at the museum and he said rocket ships, obviously.

We spent the morning at the farmer's market and playground. Grady indulged in his Sunday morning ritual of mango agua fresca and a muffin. Then he tried to steal a scooter. By nap time, he had decided that he wanted to go see otters at the zoo.

He picked out his own birthday cupcake at the bakery. Chocolate with white frosting and sprinkles. Before he would eat it, I had to remove the sprinkles, which was not a surprise to me at all. Then he wanted the slab of frosting removed from the cupcake, so that he could concentrate on just a fistful of frosting, without the cake getting in the way. Can't argue with that.

In the afternoon we went to the zoo, but he didn't want to see the otters after all, because he is still a complete mystery. He enjoyed the chimps and the bears, which are not usually his favorites, and the goats, which are.

Then we went out for a dinner of burger-fries-milkshake, because that is Grady's favorite, because he is sensible like that. Except that he always chooses a strawberry milkshake, which isn't sensible at all.

He is nonstop energy -- a baffling bundle of hilarity and stubbornness. Still a lousy sleeper but an expert tester of every boundary. And the most amazing smile. At two, he seems like a very big boy, but he still sometimes sleeps with his buns in the air and part of me wishes he would never stop.

How much Grady weighs: 30.6 pounds (worth noting that this weight was taken during a rare and unprecedentedly enthusiastic multi-day feeding frenzy)
How tall Grady is: 35 1/4 inches

Size of Grady's clothes: 2T
Size of Grady's shoes: 7

Grady's hair color: blond, and people are always asking how in the world that is
Grady's eye color: brown

Number of trips Grady has made to the emergency room: 3

Grady's favorites: hats, his lizard jacket, leggings (preferably print or striped, because there can be no neutral in his wardrobe ever), The Lion King (well, a couple of scenes), stickers, his dump-truck, bananas, going to Jamba Juice, going to school, the orange cat who roams our neighborhood, swings and slides, orca whales, Jude (who lives across the street), Halloween decorations (skulls! cobwebs!), burgers and fries and strawberry milkshakes, sweeping, shopping ("Mommy pay for this."), trains

Grady's least favorites: elevators, loud noises, the beach, being told no, smoke, sometimes having to share, having to wait

Sunday, October 6, 2013

FFFA: California Academy of Sciences

So there's a thing about Grady the Gus. You must never (ever) decide that he is just going to love something. No matter how much you know he is, just don't do it. It could be silver-star shoes, a delicious sauce, or leggings with an amazing green-dog print... All of those things are, empirically, GREAT, and RIGHT IN GRADY'S WHEELHOUSE. But the minute you convince yourself that Grady is just going to love them, you have ensured that you will be soundly rejected. You really have to keep your expectations low. And I am someone who really likes to embrace and revel in my high expectations. I mean, I really thrive in a state of optimistic anticipation. It's when I'm at my best. So Grady is having to teach me this lesson lots of times. He probably wonders if I will ever learn this one at all.

A few weeks ago, we headed into the city on a chilly, foggy morning, to see the fish (and maybe some other stuff) at the Cal Academy. And Grady was just going to love it, you wait and see...

He liked the steps and such in Golden Gate Park.

And he liked the sharks and rays on the main level, including their porthole.

But the adorable and hilarious penguins and the giant tanks of coral reefs and colorful fish? They made him sort of worried.

He humored us by looking at a few things. And we had a nice nursing sesh in the coral reef viewing gallery, in an attempt to convince him that he LOVED IT THERE. IT'S SO OBVIOUS THAT THIS IS YOUR JAM, GRADY.

But really he preferred the gift shop, and trying to climb a giraffe display.

Oh, and the best part? Running around in an open gallery, ignoring the exhibit, throwing himself on the ground, and climbing on a chair. Oh, and eating snacks. Natch.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pretty nice little Sunday

We have a routine, of a sort. (Have I told you how I love routines? Almost as much as I love traditions. Though I have almost no traditions. It's sad, and so maybe that's why I go for routines so hard. They are like the everyday version of traditions, really. And I love them. Do something once with me, and there's a good chance that those little things will be promptly promoted to the status of "a thing we do," and from there it's really just one repetition from being a comfortably established routine. Are you following any of this? Is it confirming your suspicions that I do not excel at spontaneity? Because it's true, I really do not.)

So, this routine is actually a lot like a real routine, in that we've done it many times. It's not an every week thing, because there are only so many days and all, but it's solidly in the rotation.

Sunday morning farmer's market and playground. We're so wild, right?

It looks like this:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Baby's Wardrobe #13


Grady recently received a hand-knit cap with an octopus on it. He fell in love and promptly began insisting on wearing it everywhere.

(Photos courtesy of Pamma.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FFFA: Children's Fairyland

When Pamma was here, she was just the best sport about happily going along with whatever ridiculous adventure we could cook up for her. And the most ridiculous, as always, was Children's Fairyland. Located within a fenced enclosure adjacent to Lake Merritt, Children's Fairyland is more than just borderline creepy. But small to mid-sized children really get a kick out of it. Because they have no idea that a) fairy tales are the creepiest! and b) Coney Island is the creepiest! and c) combining the two is just the absolute most bonkers extreme of creepy family entertainment.

It's difficult to even describe what it is... I will go with: a sprawling series of interactive displays inspired by children's fiction, none of which are aging gracefully, and some of which smell of mold. So, it's clearly fun for the whole family.

It's way too big for us to cover all the terrain in one visit, so almost everything we saw this time was new to us. Grady the Gus enjoyed the moldering Alice in Wonderland slide/tunnel/maze complex:

Unprompted, he went around hugging Snow White and the seven dwarves, who stood stock-still in a small fenced courtyard outside their locked cottage. That wasn't cute or anything.

And then. We happened upon a carousel for toddlers. We've never even suggested to Baby Grady that he should ride a carousel, because, well, we know him and they are so very, very clearly not his jam. This one, however, seemed like it might be okay. It was tiny, and open-air, and moved very, very slowly. It was kind of no big deal, really. Grady was clearly interested, but we just sort of hung out, no pressure, let's see where this goes. He observed it for several cycles. Then he decided that he wanted to ride the walrus. Then he panicked and wept and had to be removed right before the ride started. We walked away, but then he wanted to go back. He watched some more. Finally, he decided to try again. This time, he selected a sturdy, chair-like spot, in the arms of a weeping turtle-pig. (I don't have any idea, you guys.) And he nervously made it through the entire ride. He managed a slight smile and even some waves, but for the most part, he was clearly concentrating on not losing his baby ish all over that faded, weird miniature carnie ride. It was such a challenge for him, and the desire to tackle it was all his. So incredible to watch from such a little guy.