Car wash, wetlands and a fiesta

What a packed day! Saturday started off with our usual pancake breakfast. Then we went to a nearby park with a recycling facility; that way LO got to play on the grass and playground and we got to dump our recyclables.

After that, we headed over to the car wash. It was the first time LO has been to one, so he liked watching the cars go through the tunnel where they spray and spin and soap all the cars. Later we sat outside and watched the people dry up our car. I was surprised he actually enjoyed himself, although thinking about it further, I shouldn’t have been, considering that there were so many new things for him to look at.

We went to another park and ate his snacks there, then headed over to the Ballona wetlands. This was our first time visiting the wetlands and I was impressed. There’s a trail that you can walk on if you want to exercise or go for a stroll. And if you want to get closer to the wetlands, you can just enter through the gates and see the animals up close. We got to see ducks, all kinds of birds, dragonflies and even a small lobster. The weather was hot so it sort of made it uncomfortable to be outside and we weren’t able to stay long, but I definitely want to go back when it’s cooler or maybe earlier or later in the day.

Then LO took a nap, only 45 minutes though and with a bit of crying to begin with. But he woke up fine and we headed over to the Fiesta la Ballona. Parking’s a bit crazy there, so we always take the bus to get there. LO loved riding on the bus so much that he didn’t want to get off. But once we arrived at the fiesta, he was mesmerized by all the rides, especially the carousel and the ferris wheel. We bought tickets and my husband and I each rode on the carousel with LO. He also liked looking at a game where you try to toss a ring around ducks’ necks that were all floating in water.

They had a petting area there so we took him in and he got to pat a few of the animals. His favorite was a black baby goat that he would giggle at whenever he patted it. He also patted a baby horse, a sheep, a goat, and a llama. That was the first time he got to see those animals up close and pet them.

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Walking through Fern Dell and chickens with Grandma

We spent a sunny afternoon walking through Fern Dell is Griffith Park. The trail is short, flat, and beautiful—perfect for little kids! The tall trees offered plenty of shade and breeze that it didn’t feel hot at all. LO was excited to see the streams flowing with water. He picked up sticks and leaves as usual, and we would stop at benches and eat our food. I always feel better being out in nature, and I’m sure so does LO.

After the trail, we visited his Grandma. He had a blast! He played with his cousin’s toys, and he was very pleasant and talkative, always smiling at everyone. He even ran up and gave his Grandma a kiss and hug all on his own; I love when he does that! Later in the day, we went outside to feed the chickens and pick some figs, lemons and cactus fruit. The chickens were going after LO because he was carrying a small peach in his hand and they were hungry. I was scared of them too!

His relatives were impressed that he ate “regular people” food; that he didn’t grimace or shun Grandma’s zucchini stir fry and Spanish rice. He eats most everything we cook, and we cook a variety of food, so I think that helps him be open to any sort of food presented to him.

What a great day to spend with my two guys!

He made up for yesterday

Just as I was bracing myself for a patience-testing day with LO based on yesterday’s fiascos, today ended up being one of the smoothest days I’ve had with him. The morning already started off great with us getting LO up at… 8:30am. Yup, we got 1.5 hours of sleeping in. Or rather, lying down and lounging in bed (not sure if he was actually sleeping or not, but rest is good!).

Throughout the whole day, he was so sweet and loving. He would run up to me and give me a kiss and hug. Or he would smother his stuffed animals with kisses. He even told his dad “La la you.” So sweet.

Food-wise, he was great. He didn’t keep demanding more food just to demand, and in fact he even stopped eating mid-meal twice, saying “ba ba” (“down” in Tagalog), opting to play instead. He liked all his food and didn’t complain.

He was patient when I had to do other things, and entertained himself very well with his toys, like his crayons, dominoes, and puzzles.

We also had fun outings. We went to the park and met up with my neighbor friend who also has a son the same age as him. He was so happy go lucky, just sitting on my lap, or playing with the toys or leaves or whatever he could entertain himself with at the playground. Later, we swam in the pool, where he loved it when I dribbled water down his face (?!). And even later, we went to the wooden trail and got to walk in nature for a little bit.

No tantrums. All love. He even napped (even though it was for only 40 minutes). Today we were all smiles!

Stop and smell the flowers

During today’s walk, LO and I found flowers growing in our neighborhood. I took pictures of them and pointed them out to him. He liked counting them, and fluffing them with his hands. He even picked one and held on to it for the remainder of the walk. I didn’t realize how many varieties we had, and this was just from one walk around the block. Here are some pictures of the flowers:

Then when we got home, I tried to tie our flower theme into another activity: drawing on black paper using white crayon. I was hoping to show him that white crayons don’t write on white paper but they show up well on black. Unfortunately I forgot that I didn’t have a white crayon, so we had to settle with the next lightest color, yellow.

What I gave up for what I gained

Before being a parent, I had more time. I could wake up at 8am, and that was early. I could make a cup of tea and not feel like I have to rush to drink it. I can fix my hair. My husband and I went out more, whether it was to movies, museums, long drives to destinations. I saw my friends more often, and had more time to talk to them on the phone. I stayed up much later, often sleeping at midnight. I could shop for clothes in a store whenever I wanted to. I could go home for work and do whatever I wanted to do, whether that was exercise, cook, eat, read, use the computer, anything.

Now that I’m a parent, things are a bit different!

I wake up at 6:30 to get ready for work before LO wakes up. I prep LO’s meals, dicing the ones that are too big to chew, and packing his snacks into little tupperwares ready to go. I listen to children’s music. I check out children’s books at the library and read them over and over. I attend library story time and children’s events. I watch movies on DVDs that we borrow from the library. I blow bubbles, squish Play-Doh, and color with crayons. And I cram all my errands and chores in the evenings after LO is asleep, but not past 10:30pm, because that’s my cutoff bedtime.

The wonderful thing is that I actually enjoy all of that! Maybe not the sleeping and waking up early part, but everything else! I love how LO looks when he wakes up in the morning, with his hair tussled and his smile all energetic (even when I’m still groggy!). I love reading to him and hearing him saying all the hundreds of words he says. I love giving LO structure to his day, laughing with him, taking walks around the neighborhood with him. I’m amazed at how everything is a novelty to him, and it makes me wonder at all the things I’ve missed because I didn’t see it with the same “newness” as a kid his age does.

I replaced going to the movies with DVDs because it wasn’t a priority. I just brush my hair for work instead of flat-ironing it every day because I just stopped caring whether my coworkers think I’m fashionable or not. I’d rather use that time to take care of myself (e.g. get a few more minutes of sleep!), my family and my home. And there’s always ways around things. For instance, there’s no way my husband and I would not watch Harry Potter in the theater, so for important movies, we leave LO with a babysitter. Night out with friends? I just found out today that I’m going to see Janet Jackson in concert! Okay, so it’s the first time I go out in 21 months, but still, not saying it’s impossible!

I like to think that I’ve replaced one set of fun for another set of fun. It’s a different life, parenting is, but more fulfilling to me.