I have been informed that the last picture of Jackson I posted was unsatisfactory. Apparently this is the one I needed to post. So...yeah. Jackson.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Here we have Jackson. Decided to join us 11 days early. If he is anything like his dad, that is the last time he'll be early to anything. If you'll pardon us, we're all going to pass ou...oh crap we have a 2 year old too don't we. Make that pardon me while I chase Sidney around. Who needs sleep?
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Right now we are sitting in a delivery room awaiting the arrival of Sidney's little brother, Jackson. Apparently we grew tired of the relaxing life that is just chasing a toddler around and wanted to add a screaming newborn. I'm live tweeting this one, as last time was so much fun. Hit the link on the right for all the excitement. Already proving he's different from his brother, Jackson is over a week early and moving quickly.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
On to the characters; did Sidney freak out? Way back when I visited amusement parks in my youth (yes, they had them in the iron age), the characters would just walk around the park and pose for pictures. Not any more, apparently. At Universal, Epcot and Magic Kingdom the characters are now stationed at certain locations at designated times and you can line up and wait to take your picture with them. Yeah, you've been reading this blog, you know this had a very low probability of happening. That being said, Barney had no line at Universal (more on that shortly), so Sidney met his first amusement park character and it was a giant purple anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus rex with a speech impediment (have you heard Barney?). It went just fine and he even smiled and stood still for the picture; Sidney didn't do bad either. We saw a few characters in passing while walking around all three parks but none caught Sidney's attention. The only other characters we saw up close were the princesses at Magic Kingdom, as The Wife wanted us to have lunch at Cinderella's castle. Sidney, predictably, was fast asleep for the portrait picture with Cinderella, and for 90% of lunch (The Wife is lucky Nana and Grandpa love her so much). So we have a picture of a passed out child in a stroller with Cinderella, pictures of The Wife with Ariel, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, respectively, next to a stroller with a sleeping child (apropos with Sleeping Beauty, in hind sight), and a picture of a crying Sidney avoiding Jasmine. In Sidney's defense, it looked like Jasmine could use a Pilates class or 10. Hey, don't hate the messenger people, she's the one in the belly outfit. Although we didn't have a freak out, he was not exactly enthralled with the characters, so let's call this one a push.
Next, would we survive the throngs of people at the parks? Funny thing, turns out that the last week of April and first week of May is a "low time" in Orlando. All the various Spring Breaks are over, it is too soon for the Graduation Trips, and way too soon for the Summer Vacation crowd. All 3 parks were readily manageable. In fact, the longest line we waited on was 20 minutes, and that was for the lunch at the Castle that we had a reservation for; not so much irony as foreshadowing, really. All of the parks now have some variation on "fast passes" that allow you to drastically cut your wait time, and we did use these a few times at the Magic Kingdom, but for the most part the parks were just full enough to show life, but there were almost no lines. I am not saying this was a "sweet spot" week, but it sure comes close. The down side is that this is still smack dab in the middle of Spring Showers season, so there was rain every single day. It broke long enough for us to be able to go to the parks, but rain it did. So ... yeah ... none of you guys go down during the last week of April/first week of May. Totally not worth it. Sure, we will still go during this time, but only because ... uh ... because ... oh, look, the last question.
Finally, will he remember any of this? Half way through the first day at Universal I came to the realization that we will have no way of knowing the answer to this one until Sidney gets older and communicates whether he does. That being said, we will definitely remember it. He laughed, he pointed and oohed, he stared quizzically, and was otherwise very happy (with the exception of when Nana would make him wear his hat to protect from the sun. Willful little bugger, but Nana prevailed). In the end it is not so much of a "push" as a moot question. Apparently, not everything with Sidney is fully about Sidney. Hegle would approve (the philosophy majors will argue Kierkegaard applies more, the rest of you, Google is still your friend).
Join us next time when whatever I write is way shorter than the last two posts.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
With considerably further ado, I give you the guaranteed partially effective checklist for having a moderately successful meal at a restaurant with Sidney (so long as by successful you mean "getting to finish a majority of the meal" ... and by "majority" you mean "got to shove 2/3 of your food into your mouth without [excessively] choking"). With me so far? Good:
1) Get to the restaurant at an "off-hour" for the desired meal. Basically, this means "get there before the rush." So, for weekend breakfasts we're talking at or before 8am (hey, this is NYC, who the hell is up before noon on a weekend other than parents of young children? That's right, nobody ... unless Nana and the Admiral are visiting, then them), for a lunch 11ish or 2ish, and for dinner 5. Notice something? Yep, we're talking early bird hours. Babies and Geriatrics; cue Sunrise/Sunset, flowery circle of life cliché, et al. There will be more room, the wait-staff will be happy to have a tipping table during the off time (more later) and you'll feel less bad about ruining someone else's meal in the event of a MeltDown™.
2) Pick a restaurant that is not quiet. Sidney is, thankfully, very expressive. He babbles, he uses the words he does know (often), and when he gets bored of that he just makes noise. At 15 months, this is a great developmental thing. Sure, as he grows we'll (hopefully) be able to teach him proper volume control, but for now it means we bring what amounts to a foreign language color commentator wherever we go; you understand a few scattered words, you know he's describing some on-going thing and every now and then he enthusiastically declares a scoring play. In a loud restaurant, this all just blends into the noise; bonus points at places actually showing sports. We've found establishments that play music are ideal, with large boisterous establishments coming in a close second. This brings us to
3) Learn to spot "kid friendly" restaurants. Aside from the blaring advertisements for the obvious "kid party-places" (which, really ... no. Sorry Mr. E. Cheese [HA, pun], I'd rather pass), how does one know a restaurant is kid-friendly? First, look for strollers. Easy give-away. Be wary of too many strollers, however, because this can mean either a private party is going on, or you have merely stumbled into a less obviously advertised ring of hel ... I mean "kid party-place". Next, look for other families. The kids may be out of strollers, but having one or two other families there likely means the place passes kid-muster. Finally, and this one is key, ask if they have high-chairs. My Wife and I have come to the conclusion that if your establishment has even a single high-chair, you contemplate young-ins as patrons. Side note, you'd be surprised how many pubs in NYC have high-chairs ... rules 2 and 3 satisfied in one swoop! Bonus: pubs showing soccer and/or rugby matches. Everyone is pretty much expecting random exclamations in something vaguely reminiscent of English ... not to mention patrons possibly puking and/or peeing at the tables.
4) Bring stuff for the kid to do. This one was all My Wife (and she gives credit to Nana), but it is dead on: a bored kid is a noisy fidgety kid, so bring thinks to keep them occupied. For Sidney this means coloring books, a toy or two and Daddy's KindleFire (loaded with Bubble Guppies). You start with the coloring book, he draws for a bit, throws the crayon, you switch to the toy, he plays with that for a bit, throws that, hopefully by then your food has arrived and you put on Bubble Guppies and that buys you the final few minutes to get your meal down. Somewhere in there you feed him, which means hand him various foods that he either eats (GREAT) or throws (damnit). The most successful meal we have had to date involved Sidney chewing on a lemon while watching Bubble Guppies for a full 15 minutes. Hey, don't look the gift-horse in the mouth, just saddle up and ride it out. Bonus: vitamin C.
5) Tip commensurate with the mess. Had a relatively decent meal and want to be able to come back and not be told the high-chair mysteriously went missing? Tip the poor people that now have to clean up the child-dining ground zero. Kids in general make a mess, toddlers whom have a penchant for simply dropping (or tossing) food they are "done" with make spectacular messes. So, leave a little extra for the trouble. Think of it as an investment in future pleasant meals, your dining karma if you will.
Tune in next time when we cover packing for a family vacation. No, really, we have to pack this week for a vacation and there is no way this isn't going to end in comedy.