Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monkey Joe's.... the sequel.

Frigid temps on Saturday morning forced us to select an indoor activity for the day, and Monkey Joe's was a shoe-in. Cory was pretty jealous that I took David there last week without him, and he wanted to see what the fun was all about.

With his dad in tow, David was able to tackle many of the more challenging bounce houses. The place was also quite a bit less crowded than the day I visited, making us all a bit more brave and adventurous (you know, fewer patrons meant fewer bodies to crash into as you or your two-year-old go careening down a slippery slide, that kind of thing).

Needless to say, we had a ball. And I think you will, too, when you check out these pictures.

Wheeeeeeeee! Nothing says fun like bouncing and sliding on inflated (and probably germ-infested) plastic sculptures. Can't wait to go back. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cabin fever.

I continue to rack my brain for ideas to beat the winter toddler doldrums. And since we can't go to Monkey Joe's everyday (alas), I'm starting to run out of ideas.

I thought I'd brave the cold today with David and head to the park for a bit (toddlers are a hardy bunch, right?), but my own gloved fingers were screaming with pain after a mere 15 minutes. We stayed just long enough to spot a plane, drive the playground car, and get David's pants wet with ice from the slide before I broke the news to him that we had to leave. Oh, and we had time enough for a kiss, accidentally but wonderfully captured by my iPhone's new self-timer app. My favorite part, even though it was a bit snotty.

Not quite the outing I was planning for, but at least we got some fresh air into our lungs even though our fingers turned red.

These are the days that make me long for singing birds, warm grass, chirping crickets and sunshine. Unfortunately, those days are quite a ways away. Until then we'll continue to try to come up with some more winter day ideas. Hopefully the next idea lasts more than 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Be careful what you wish for...

Not too long ago I was wishing David would show even the slightest interest in watching something, anything, on TV, in the off chance that the temporary distraction might give me 15 minutes or so to get something done around the house. I thought it was cute how other toddlers had favorite characters and interests based on what they saw on television. I couldn't understand why David seemed to like Unique Home Solutions commercials (think fat guys with guitars singing goofy jingles) more than material designed expressly for his enjoyment and passive education.

Then, by our active encouragement, he discovered the Wiggles ("geh", how he says it) and Sesame Street ("tree"). Slowly that discovery blossomed into a passion. Recently, it is more of an obsession.

Oh, my. What have we done?

In the picture above from yesterday morning, he is begging and pleading for me to turn on the TV.  Begging and pleading with his entire body.  He says "please" so enthusiastically that the veins in his eyelids bulge out and the shape of his face is contorted into an almost unrecognizable form. Anyone who has witnessed such a plea knows that I am not exaggerating.

Here's one from another day, after discovering the unguarded remote, and bringing it to me with glee. How can I resist that hopeful face? Seriously, his feet aren't even touching the ground! As you can imagine, I gave in without a fight...

Before you judge me too harshly, keep in mind that he watches a max of a few episodes a day. And this newfound hobby of his does have its benefits (and I don't just mean time for me to do such things as, say, writing blog posts and editing my photos).

Because of The Wiggles, he has learned to dance with abandon, and follow simple directions on how to move his body. He remembers to say "please", unprompted, in order to ask nicely for what he wants. He's getting exposure to nursery rhymes and music that I don't necessarily have on my iPod (I'll play Adele over and over again for him but I draw the line at adding a song called Fruit Salad to my playlist. Nope).

Thanks to Sesame Street, he's learned to recognize (and maybe even love) characters. He's starting to count, and recognizing colors. He watched Elmo ride a tricycle in one episode, and did a better job afterward than he ever had before when attempting to do it himself later that day. He tries harder than ever to pronounce words and name objects.

No doubt, there are better things he could be doing than watching TV. But there is plenty of time in his toddler schedule to allow for those things, too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our new find

I took the afternoon off today, hoping to put a bit of my vacation time to good use by doing something special with David, just the two of us.

But harsh Indiana winters can make planning outings pretty challenging. Playgrounds and backyard lounging are out of the question for obvious reasons, and I didn't want to embrace the challenge of a major outing like the Children's Museum or a shopping excursion.

Enter Monkey Joe's.

This little gem is a bouncy-house paradise in Castleton, and only allows children 12 and under to play. I heard about it from a co-worker some time ago but I was skeptical and hadn't ventured to check it out until today. I was worried that David would just end up getting run over by the bigger kids, and not have a very good time.

Boy, was I wrong.

He climbed and bounced and balanced. He slid and rolled and laughed. He giggled and squealed and tumbled. Watching him, I smiled and smiled and smiled.

From the moment we walked in the door, he was going and going like the Energizer Bunny, only stopping once after about an hour of playing to take a nearly forced drink of water.

He explored the two toddler houses pretty independently, and we tried a bigger obstacle course together until I got a bit seasick (left that one pretty quick). As the grand finale, we climbed to the top of a giant 20 foot slide. About halfway up the ladder, I wasn't sure that we would make it, to be honest, but I quickly realized that I was committed. I had to summon super-human strength to hoist him the rest of the way to the top, you know the kind that helps people lift cars off of other people if necessary, and which I'm sure I will be feeling in my muscles tomorrow. Finally at the top, we slid down together (wheeeee!), put on our shoes, and in a hail of tears left the building with promises to return some other day. This promise I will have no trouble keeping.

Too often, my days off are filled with dishes and laundry and cleaning, trying to catch up with the chores that I neglect on the average work day. David and I have time together, sure, but I'm not as focused on him as I want to and should be. I worked extra hard yesterday to make sure that I had everything done and in order, so that today we could just enjoy each other. And what an amazing time we had doing just that.

Thanks, Monkey Joe's! I'm sure we'll see you soon.
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