Archive | June, 2012

Balance bike

28 Jun

It’s a bit early on, but in the spirit of the future being invented by people “who don’t give a shit about the past,” we’re going to build on the success of walking by getting baby a balance bike (and a helmet, how frickin’ cute are those chickens!). I’ll let you know how terribly this decision breaks.


The way you’re supposed to play, or why lateral thinking is so hard

27 Jun

We went to Boston this past weekend, to visit the best people in the world. While we were there, we took in a couple of really fun day trips. The first was to Davis Farmland, which is part petting-zoo, part water park, part children’s museum. You can feed the pygmy goats that are just walking around, pet the kittens and baby lambs, there are pony rides. The water park has a slip-n-slide, a crazy bubble-maker suds machine, lots of water playground features. The pens are all marked with colored bands, indicating whether the animals are docile, unpredictable, or somewhere in between. They also have a play area with pretend workshop, house, veterinary clinic. You can ring the firebell on a little pretend fire truck. This place is catnip for kids.

The second was the Boston Children’s Museum. Right in South Boston, on the waterfront, it’s a sparkling gem of a children’s museum. Seriously: whoa. Do it. Go. Go now.

We had a blast at both places, our sometimes deliberate little one running with abandon, other times backing away with a fearful ‘no, no, no’ (when the goat tried licking his arms). At the farm, there is a little cafe with a train running along a track at ceiling level. Squee. The BCM had gigantic, foot-wide bubble wands to make bubbles, and a brilliant water table.

For all the fun, I had a kind of self-realization while we were there. It turns out, I have a strong tendency for trying to get baby to play with things the ‘right’ way. Here, I’m going, “baby, look, a giant kinetic raceway sculpture! You can roll the golf balls down the track! Look what happens when you do it higher up, or lower down! Experiment!” And baby’s all, “What if I put this golf ball right HERE, at the bottom of the slide? And look over there, a cabinet door! DID YOU SEE THAT? A CABINET! DOOR! OPEN AND CLOSE! OPEN AND CLOSE!”

I do this a lot, all over the place. Somehow, I’m not content for him to just play, but I need him to ‘play’, to do what the objects were intended to do. Given a big box of legos, I want him to build something cool. Something awesome! But he just likes taking them out of the box, putting them in the box. Out, then in. Repeat.

I am trying hard to do this less, now that I’ve noticed it. There is no good reason for me to want him to play with the whole play set, rather than ringing the doorbell 500 times. It’s my version of fun and exploration, not his. And that is why lateral thinking is so hard – because we socialize it out of kids, early one, even with the best of intentions. And by we, I mean I. But I’m trying to stop. Because maybe there is something to throwing the pieces out of the tub rather than making this awesome water block slide. Maybe.

18 months! Our baby is a year and a half!

15 Jun

Well, well, Brooklyn Baby turned 1.5 this week. We took him to the doctor for his year-and-a-half checkup. Baby memories of checkups past, and attendant shots, made this a bit of a traumatic experience. He is clearly his father’s pup in this regard – I didn’t like shots then, and have been afraid of needles on and off my whole life. Although once he realized there were no vaccinations this time, he chilled out a bit.

Turns out that aside from sensitive skin, he’s a pretty healthy baby. I know, right? We’re going to have to find something else to be anxious about for a while. In fact, the only really interesting moment of the examination was when Doctor asked if he’s saying any words. It turns out he’s got a couple dozen.

Which led us to make a list of the unabridged vocabulary of Brooklyn Baby. We’re counting words that are recognizably close but not perfect; we’re not counting words that are BB-speak for something that we understand but that no one else would. So, he drops the ‘g’ in ‘dog’, but it’s pretty clear he’s saying dog. But his weirdo Sleep Sheep rattle doll is named ‘Ma’ (which you can buy! And no, we don’t have multiple ones of them, I can preemptively say to my Queens-y friends. And yes, we’ll almost definitely be paying a price for this sometime in the future…). Here he is, using this in a sentence, from this morning at 6:25am: ‘Ma? Ma! Ma? Ma? Cards! Flower! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma!’ So…I’m not including Ma for lamb. No. Sorry. Also, baby mama would include pe-pe, which is how he says ‘penguin.’ I think that’s unreasonable, but she’s always giving him the benefit of the doubt. I’ll include it, because I’m not a total asshole. But with an asterisk. Cause I’m a little bit of a jerk.

Baby’s words at 18 months:
Park, dog, playground, flower, card, car, curtain, Mama, Papa, sack, bar, shoe, ball, bubbles, balloon, crack, puddle, Pooh (as in Winnie-the), moon, rabbit, turtle, bird, squirrel, penguin*, tree, leaf, down, cracker, bye-bye, hat, pants.

For those who are tempted to call child services, crack and bar are cracks in the sidewalk, and the bar of his foot brace, and sack is usually in reference to his sleep sack.

The mobility is still a tiny bit shaky – he walks, but can’t really kick a ball yet, and is a little unsteady. But it’s only been a month since he started doing it, so we’ll cut him some slack. For now.

Happy 1.5 years on the planet, baby boy! It all gets easier from here on in. Also, no more vegetables. I promise.

Clubfoot update

14 Jun

We took baby to the pediatric orthopedist last week, for a 6-month checkup. The doctor (David Scher, at the Hospital for Special Surgery) told us that if he didn’t do the procedure himself, he would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between baby’s clubfoot and his ‘normal’ foot. We will continue to have him wear his brace at night for the next 2-3 years, to be as certain as we can in preventing a possible recurrence. But the prognosis is quite excellent.

A couple of notes on grace and luck and thanks. First, the HSS is one of the top (if not the top) places for orthopedics in the country, and Dr. Scher is one of their best doctors for treating clubfoot. We are pretty much working with the top, let’s say 25, people in the world on baby’s foot problem. That our insurance covers this, and that we work and live in a place with access to this, is a frankly remarkable statement about the wildly lucky lives we lead. And, I am certain that baby’s relatively mild case would have been fine in many many places, with many many doctors.

But I don’t know that I’m quite as thankful as often as I should be about these things that are strongly correlated with 1st world class privilege. All I’m saying is that we are very grateful for baby’s response and for the excellent care he’s gotten.