Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Apple Juice Store

One of Island Boy's favorite neighborhood adventures is a jaunt to the "Apple Juice Store". No, not the Apple Store, but rather the Apple Juice Store. Never heard of it? Sure you have and I'll bet you have one close to you, no matter where you are.

The Apple Juice Store that Island Boy is referring to is Starbucks and surely you've heard of them, yes?

In Island Boy's world, Starbucks translates to the Apple Juice Store since apple juice is the treat he gets on the rare occasion that he visits one. It's so much fun to see the world through the eyes (and taste buds) of a toddler!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chinese Horror Story

If you haven't seen this story yet, prepare yourself to be horrified. I can barely imagine how the people that did this can sleep at night. I cannot imagine how the people to whom this was done can sleep at night and I cannot imagine wondering if my family could be one of the families that might have been part of this despicable behavior.

Here's the story. Read it. I typically like to look on the bright side of any dark situation, but the only good I can find in this is that articles like this one will help to ensure that these crimes will stop if they haven't already.

More Tuba, Please!

We were sitting around yesterday which is an unusual thing around here on its own when Island Boy said, "I want tuba, please!".

Excuse me? Could he be thinking of Tuba Dad? It's been a while since we've seen them and I'm pretty sure he didn't actually see Tuba Dad in action. Hmm...

"Tuba, please!"

We don't have a tuba, son.

"Tuba. On the TV. Please!"

Puzzled look from me.

"Tuba, Bam!"

"Oh!! You want to see the tuba that was on TV last week, right?"

"Yes! Tuba! Bam!" (this was followed by squeals of delight)

Ohio State fans will recall that just last weekend, one very enthusiastic tuba player dotted the "i" in Script Ohio with such pride and conviction that he unwittingly knocked out the cameraman covering his closeup. 'Twas quite the sight, and rather impressively, both men continued to do their jobs with barely a hiccup.

Enjoy (in both focused and full-length versions)!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stride Right

Island Boy got his first "real" bicycle a couple of weeks ago. Oddly enough, it has no pedals.

Stranger is a relatively new invention as far as I can tell (to be honest, I have no idea of the history of the balance bike so if you do, please tell!).

Apparently, the "balance bike", as these types of bikes are called, is better-suited for learning the skills needed to ride a "real" bike (e.g. one with pedals) than say a tricycle or a bicycle with training wheels. Since the real skill one needs to master bike riding is not pedaling (that part is easy), but rather balance, the balance bike makes perfect sense.

Although this all sounds good intellectually, it remains to be seen how it will play out for us. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Island Boy has made amazing strides (har har!) with his new bike. He went from taking it out for long walks (and by that I mean wearing his helmet and literally walking next to his bike the entire time) to walking while straddling it for a portion of each walk to now sitting on the seat and striding with it for the entire walk, comfortably rolling up and down hills.

He has yet to move into the advanced balancing that the bike is designed to encourage, but we're getting there and Island Boy is having a ball along the way, so we couldn't be happier.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Day of School

Today was Island Boy's second day at school. The first was on Tuesday, when half of his preschool class had their first day of school (the other half had theirs on Wednesday). He sailed through the day with flying colors as all of the children did. It was the nervous parents that, arguably, didn't do as well.

School philosophies differ. In the case of ours, the separation process is handled with kid gloves, so to speak. It began with several "Transition Days" in June when we showed up for what amounted to something like a play date at the school where we simply got familiar with the environment. Then, last Saturday, just a few days before school started, Island Boy received a letter in the mail. It was a card bearing a picture of his teachers and a little note saying that they were looking forward to seeing him in school. How wonderful is that??!

The next step in the process was a home visit by the teachers the day before school started. Island Boy enjoyed that visit thoroughly. He was the perfect host, offering food and plenty of entertainment.

Finally, the parents are invited to attend class (actually, expected to) for the first week or more, depending on the needs of each of the children. Although this is all set up to ostensibly help the children transition more smoothly, I suspect it is at least as important for some of us parents.

Of course many, if not all, of the parents were both thrilled to see their little ones growing up and going to school, yet a bit sad at the thought of them moving on to another phase in their lives. A new authority figure, the teacher (or teachers, in our case), will now get some of the time, some of the smiles, some of the rewards, some of the affection and respect that had previously been just for us.

To gauge the way the parents were adapting one need only have glanced at the differences in the parents from Tuesday to today. On the first day of school, the parents stood, cameras in hand, lined up like paparazzi, eagerly aiming to capture the moments, to hang on to just that little extra bit of connection with their children as they passed the baton over to the teachers to share in the duty of helping their children grow.

Today, those same parents sat, cameras at rest, while the iPhones came out in full force to pass the time. As one parent observed, we looked like an Apple commercial. And our children played happily nearby, clamoring up on the laps of their teachers, dropping by occasionally to check in with us (or to comfort us??), sensing that we were all beginning to relax into our new roles and knowing that things would never be quite the same.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Air Travel Tips with Tiny Ones

As someone who has traveled much and often and, more specifically, as someone who has flown with a child on my lap - yes, including internationally, I have some very strong opinions about what works and what doesn't work for us when we travel.

When preparing for traveling with small children, our thoughts usually turn to surviving the trip - that is, surviving the trip without going bonkers. This post isn't about that particular aspect of airplane travel with little ones (however, I do have lots to say about that so will post on that in the near future as well). A post on Delicious Baby got me thinking so this particular post is about surviving serious turbulence.

The FAA suggests holding your infant in front of you as you lean forward over her. Here is what Transport Canada advises on the subject and it sounds ok but potentially difficult to execute.

What's interesting to me is that I've never heard of anyone doing what we do while we're on a plane. I don't know if it's because it hasn't occurred to anyone else (I doubt that) or if it's because I just haven't happened to read about anyone doing it, but it makes sense to us and it feels safer than trying to hold a baby in our hands.

I wear my baby in the Baby Bjorn during plane travel. Yes, usually for the entire trip. It just feels SO much safer than anything else (with the possible exception of purchasing another seat and lugging along the infant car seat, but since I will soon no longer have the option of NOT paying for that extra seat, I'll opt not to for now, thanks!). I doubt that any studies have been done to determine whether or not using the Baby Bjorn (or another similar carrier) is safe during plane travel, but it has to be safer than trying to hold my baby in what sounds like a pretty similar position with no assistance while we're both jostled about in turbulence, right?

Parenting Research

Here's an interesting article on how sons and daughters may or may not learn parenting from their own parents.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What Kind of Parent are You?

I don't ask the question to make you wonder whether you're a good parent or a bad parent (Although every parent makes mistakes, very few of us are truly bad parents.), but rather to get you thinking about what kind of parent you'd like to be. What kinds of things do you want to do for your children? What kinds of things might be too much?

Read this article to get you thinking about some of the ramifications of what you might or might not want to do and see whether it changes your mind. Or not.