Rocket Ship Park

Little Man had another fun filled and exciting day in Iowa. He is a non-stop playing machine. Grandma jokes that we need to put a pedometer on him, since he never sits down. It seems he is making up for lost time. He went on his morning walk with grandma and picked more flowers. He keeps pestering everyone to take him outside to play in the yard. He just can’t get enough.

In the afternoon, daddy and I took him to what is best known as “Rocket Ship Park.” They have two separate play areas, one for big kids, the other for the littles. As soon as he saw it, he screamed in delight. He walked all over the park, trying each section in turn. He did the swing for a bit, but was more interested in exploring. He walked up the ramps pretty well. Only the first one threw him off balance a little. He liked the interactive areas with a mini rocket ship, windows, and spinning blocks. He especially liked the musical chimes that make sound when you shake them. It was like they were made for him: they even looked like jail bars! It was cute to watch him do the steps, since he still climbs up or shimmies down. It made me proud, since I don’t want him attempting stairs regularly until he is much more steady on his feet. Even though the wind was blowing, the sun was bright, and Little Man refused to drink any water. He was having too much fun. I felt bad leaving, but we needed to get in the shade. We will attempt another park tomorrow, and maybe even go back to Rocket Ship before we leave.

Later in the afternoon, Little Man refused to take a nap. Instead, he wanted to stand up on the bed and bounce. He has been such a happy baby on this trip, I couldn’t help but to join in. Daddy did too, and soon Little Man was falling over from giggling so hard. As we winded down for the evening, I asked Little Man for a kiss. He was across the room, and I didn’t think he was listening. Instead, he walked right over and planted a big kiss on me. He did it again later, and even came back for a second one. After his bath, I got his milk ready as he wandered around the living room. I sat on the couch and called out to him, telling him to come get his milk. I see him burst around from behind the table, at a very fast walk (since he can’t run yet), arms spread wide, and a huge smile on his face. He was thirsty after such a long day, and clearly ready for bed!

Pop Pop

After having a pretty busy couple days, we decided to keep it low key and hang around the house. Little Man and I went out into the yard while the weather was cool. He followed me as we walked through the grass, picking up leaves and grass and tossing them into the wind. He went on a couple walks with grandma as well. By midday, the weather was hot and humid, but he still wanted to go out. When Papa got home, he tried to convince him to take him. Grandma took him back out and sat on the swing. I watched through the window as he sat next to her, bird-watching. He is becoming quite the nature boy.

He played non-stop all day (well one stop for a nap). His cousins came over, and it was adorable watching him play with the girls. He followed them around, particularly Charli. He tried sitting next to them, like he does with his puppy brothers, and when that didn’t work, he joined in playing. We built towers, had animal fights, and watched a movie. There was a little jealousy from the younger ones, which was actually still kind of adorable. Little Man was having a snack and saw Miki playing with daddy. He kept looking over and whining a bit until I finally let him down so he could play. When Papa was paying attention to Little Man, Miki gave Papa a kiss and waved a toy in his face. Yet by the end of the stay, they were all playing together. Not only was Little Man playing with big boy toys, but he was starting to play like a big boy. He even roared like a lion while carrying his animal around.

Daddy, Papa, Little Man and I got dinner together before swinging by the store for a new sippy cup. Papa left to check a different aisle, so when we were done, I asked where Papa was. Little Man started looking around saying, “pop.” He seems to be growing by leaps and bounds each day. He is walking like a champ now, still slightly wobbly, but not even bothering to crawl anymore. He can stand from the middle of the room without assistance now. He’s talking, laughing, and smiling so much. I am so glad we decided on such a long trip. I love just watching him interct with family.

Loving Cousins

Little Man woke early, even if we were still on Eastern time. It was slightly chilly, so I grabbed the fluffy blanket and cuddled him on the futon. He snuggled in as we got warm. We fell asleep for a couple more hours. When we came upstairs, he was happy and giggling. After breakfast, Grandma took him on a walk around the neighborhood, and he brought me back a “flower” (a strand of leaves). He loves being outside in the grass, watching the birds and pointing at the flowers. A little later, his cousin Isabel came over, and he must have remembered her from her visit a few months ago. He kept trying to bring her toys and sit with her to play. He even knew who she was when I asked to point at Isabel. He followed her around the house a bit, which may have upset Aunt Sasha who is still trying to be his new favorite.

After a relatively short nap where he cuddled with his mama, we walked to the mall to get some Whitey’s ice cream. It was as good as I remember, and Little Man enjoyed some of my Oreo shake. He pointed at the cup and kept asking for more. As we walked around, he spotted one of those little rides that just moves back and forth.We got some change and put him on the one that looked like a trolley. He seemed confused at first, then smiling, then scared. We met up with Grandma and Grandpa, cousins Isabel, Noah, and Lizzie, and Aunt Tiffany at the bookstore. He walked around the children’s section with them, picking out books and toys. He seemed the center of attention and loving it. When we got back to the house, he played with his cousin Lizzie and Grandpa. They built a Lego tower and placed a plastic gorilla on top. Little Man saw it and freaked out. He was so excited to take the gorilla, but he accidentally knocked over the tower, and he was very sad. Luckily, they cheered him up by building the tower again. It was great to watch them together. Little Man had so much fun playing with them. He seems to take to his cousins easily, even if he wouldn’t remember the last time they met. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.

I tried to get Little Man to lay down for another nap, but he was too excited from all the playing. I asked if he wanted to go back upstairs, and he giggled. He couldn’t wait to see everyone again. Despite being tired, he made it to dinner where he was talkative and a little cuckoo. He crashed not long after getting home after such a big day. He seems to be having such a blast and loving every second of the attention he’s getting. And we are only on day 2 of 14!

It’s Been a Year for Some

As we walked toward the station after deboarding the train, Little Man seemed to have a better understanding of what was going on. He was tired, due to the somewhat rough night, but he at least seemed to realize there were trains all around us. When we got inside, Grandpa and Grandma were waiting. He smiled at them, but played shy. We went to wait for our bags, and Little Man showed off his walking prowess. It didn’t take long after that for him to warm up to them again. He was fascinated by the baggage claim. He wanted to climb on! He was having fun checking out all the happenings at Chicago Union Station, but unfortunately, we still had a three hour car ride before our final destination. We made a stop for some lunch about midway, and Little Man got a Spiderman mask from his Happy Meal, and somehow got Grandma and Grandpa to buy him a stuffed animal. He already had a small wooden helicopter from them in the car! The ride home wasn’t easy, especially given how tired he was, but he only dozed off for a half an hour. And that was all he would end up getting.

Once we got to the house, he spent all afternoon exploring. We walked out into the backyard and felt the lush, soft grass between our toes. Little Man watched the birds flying around, and loved looking at all the flowers Grandma had planted. We had a trip to the grocery store, where Little Man just wanted to be held. We had planned to meet some family for dinner, but after getting back to put away the food, I realized he just wasn’t going to make it. I made him some pasta while his Aunt Sasha and some of his cousins came over. While everyone else ate pizza, he was trying to play with them. He tossed shoes around, entertaining himself for a long time. When that got old, he tried to bring toys to his cousin Miki, who wanted nothing to do with him (she used to be the baby in the family). He tried to lean against her, like he does his puppy brothers, but she kept scooting just out of his reach. Not one to be broken, he moved on to his cousin Charli, and found she was more willing to play. He also followed around Aunt Sasha’s boyfriend, Mike, getting him to play as well. Little Man was having so much fun with everyone, but you could tell the end was coming soon.

Much later than normal, especially given the time change, I took him downstairs for bed. We read our stories, like usual, bundled in a blanket in a rocking chair. I snuggled and hummed as I rocked him nearly to sleep. But, in an unfamiliar setting, coupled with exhaustion, he didn’t want to be put down alone in the pack and play. I set him on the bed while I dimmed the window. He got very upset, and was clinging to me. I sat on the bed to pull back the covers, and Little Man immediately flopped onto his belly. He was ready for snuggles. I pulled back the blankets and scooped him into my arms. For the second night in a row, I got close, sweet snuggles. It took only minutes for him to fall into a deep sleep, but I stayed like that for a while. I told myself it was to make sure he was really asleep before putting him in the crib, but it was for me, too.

First Train Ride

This post was written in spirit on Saturday, July 19, as we left on a train to Iowa.

We arrived at Union Station in DC earlier than we needed, but I would rather be safe than sorry. As we waited to check out bags, Little Man started pushing the little pink one around in circles. He was making me dizzy just watching him. He seemed amazed at the high ceilings and statues above the doors. I couldn’t wait for him to get a look at the train. We waited in the first class lounge, since we would be riding a sleeping car. Little Man didn’t want to take a nap, there was too much going on. I should have expected that this would become a theme for the next couple of days. He practiced his walking around the lounge. He held my hand as we walked up and down the aisle, past other people waiting for their trains.

Our train was called, and we headed out to the platform. I video taped it as best I could, but Little Man mostly had a blank stare. I am not sure he knew what to think. He pointed at the train, but his mouth stayed agape. Little did he know we were boarding that train! Once in our room, Little Man sat looking out the window at others boarding. His favorites, which he pointed out to me as always, were those wearing hats. After a bit, the train started moving, and he was mesmerized. He pointed at some things as we passed, other things we tried to show him, though I am sure it was too much to take in. We tried the observation car before dinner. He walked between me and daddy, scooting down the window, holding his balance pretty well considering. He kept trying to sneak between tiny spaces and get away to explore on his own, but he couldn’t quite fit. Back in our room, he explored the small space to every inch (including the emergency exit window). He even spent some time giggling with the family in the room next to us. He got to sit in one of the seats on his own, and he leaned back on the pillow to relax in comfort.

After an interestingly eaten dinner, we attempted to turn in for the night. Despite no afternoon nap and it being past normal bedtime, the experience was just too much to give up. As Little Man and I lay in the bottom bunk, snuggled together, he would reach up to pull open the curtains, just slightly, to watch the trees and clouds roar by. He sat up to look out the window as well, and I let him. How often would he get this experience. After a little over an hour, he finally crashed. Some noise on the train woke him around 2am. Since everyone woke up, we did a restroom switch. Little Man got upset when I moved, so I reached out to him. He fell into my arms, and I snuggled him the closest he’s let me in a long time. After all the hullabaloo, it took over three hours to get him back to sleep. He wasn’t crawling around trying to play, but he just didn’t, or couldn’t, sleep. He would occasionally sit up to look at me, otherwise we were cuddling the entire time. His eyes stared up at the ceiling, listening to the sounds of the train. When he finally fell out, he was out cold. We could have slept the rest of the way to Chicago, but we woke with some time to clean up and let him watch Chicago roll in.

Shoes Off!

Little Man wore his new sandals as we ran some errands to pick up some things for our trip. At the store, he continued his “mommy hold me” mode, since he isn’t feeling well. I took him out of the cart and held him for a bit before letting him walk around the clothing section. He really liked when he got to help push the cart. On the way home, Little Man was talking away, and I would occasionally hear the sounds of velcro being pulled apart. I teased him about playing with his shoes. Nana said he had gotten the bottom velcro undone, but the top remained intact. Just as I got finished saying how the straps were relatively difficult to loosen even once undone, I hear a thud on the floor. When I asked if he took his shoe off, I glance back in the mirror to see him holding up his leg and pointing at his foot. Clearly, I underestimated his ingenuity.

As a note, I have done really well for nearly a year, writing every day. I fully intent to write about tomorrow, it just might not be published since we will be on a train to Iowa. I am so excited for this experience for him!

Thirsty

Little Man is walking around the living room, playing with his walker and Elmo balloon. We have just gotten back from a nice family walk. Koda heads over to the water bowl and starts gulping some down. Little Man starts wobbling over toward the kitchen, sticking out his tongue and sucking it back in. At first I thought he was asking for his water after hearing Koda, since he sometimes does this. Then I realize the action is a little different. This time, it looks like he is trying to imitate Koda lapping up water. I praise him for his good imitation and give him his cup just in case. He takes a drink, and as Koda walks by, he stretches out his arm, offering Koda the straw. He must have thought his brother was still thirsty and wanted to share.