Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shoes Please - I Just Need Shoes

Rosemary has two unique characteristics among the kids: 1) she's a hoarder; and, 2) she's a shoe addict.

If she goes into the playroom to bring out toys, she brings an arm full - all that she can carry. When it's time to get in the bath and I have bath toys lined up on the bathroom floor, Piper and Henry grab a duck or other toy to take in the bath, and Rosemary gets an arm full of ducks and tries not to drop any on the way into the bath. She acts like those are the only ducks on earth and she'll never have the chance to grab ducks again.

As for the shoes, she wants her own shoes on almost all of the time, and she's generally obsessed with shoes. She likes to scratch my dress shoes with her fingernail, especially when they are freshly shined. This disturbs me to no end because I have a bit of a shoe thing myself. Not a freaky break-into-someone's-house-to-steal-shoes thing, but I like shoes more than most men.

The other day, Rosemary was upset about something. Henry probably took something from her; I don't remember. I was sitting at the bar and I picked Rosemary up to comfort her. I hadn't noticed, but there were three pairs of kids' shoes sitting on the bar next to my laptop. Rosemary was pouting. And she started picking up shoes. Each time she picked up a shoe, I could feel little waves of happiness roll over her.

She was able to get five of the six shoes on the bar and then couldn't reach for any more without dropping a shoe, so she just sat content with five of the six shoes that were on the bar. Just sitting in my lap holding shoes. That's all she needs.

I don't know much about kids, but I'm sure this isn't totally normal. If Heather and I didn't both have OCD tendencies, I might be concerned with Rosemary's quirks. But really, how can I even be phased by her behavior when I have a couple of these in my closet.

I won't uncover the real crazy by showing the dress shirt rack above the dress shoe rack with its shirts lined up by color.

Given that I would pull a Rain Man if someone snuck a blue shirt into the white shirt zone or misplaced one of my shoe trees, I'd say that Rosemary's little shoe thing is pretty much in line with the household norm. Who am I to get all judgmental and not indulge Rosemary's odd habits. So I will. And she'll get lots of shoes. And hoard them. And line them up in rows. And then, when she goes off to college and one of her roommates messes with her shoes, she'll pull a Rain Man and freak everybody out. Then she'll be pissed at me for not curbing her crazy when I had the chance. But I don't care. My little Rosemary gets shoes. She needs them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nice Weather - Finally!

The weather in Birmingham was beautiful today. It's been cold and/or rainy every weekend that I can recall. Today was sunny and in the mid-60s.

The nice weather came just in time. Heather took a spa trip this weekend, so I was flying solo with the kids. A nice weekend outside with the kids on my own can be a little tricky, bit it's a treat. Not that a weekend cooped up inside with bored angry kids isn't a treat, mind you; it's just better out there.

We took the opportunity to go to the (drum roll please) . . . zoo! We've been to the zoo so many times, I'm certain the kids have seen more giraffes and lions in their life than they have dogs and cats. It's just hard to beat the zoo for a place that accommodates a side-by-side triple stroller and has things for kids and adults to see outside.

We did the usual tour of the world's animals and took a cruise through the "kids zoo," which is a hands-on barn / petting zoo. I think this is a barn llama.

Whatever it is, it needs a toothbrush and some Crest White Strips. That grill is brutal. I saw it try to bite a little girl after her parents picked her up to pet it. The little girl freaked out. I didn't need that ugly Austin Powers looking bastard to lunge at us to know it wasn't our friend. Some people just have to test it.

We got up close with a peacock who was wandering around the sidewalks.

I didn't know this before, but peacocks have large talons. I noticed them right after I took the picture. I think a peacock could so some damage if it wanted to - - say, if you snuck up behind it with a four foot wide, bright red stroller carrying three handsy kids. After we made our way by, it went after a another kid. He looked OK physically. Mentally, not so much.

We had two up-close and personal "When Animals Attack" moments today. I've never really thought about the assumption of the risk you take by being at a zoo around animals. I get the part about assuming the risk of being hit by a foul ball when I go to a baseball game, but I sort of expect the more dangerous animals at a zoo to be somewhere where they won't maul me or the kids. Then again, maybe peacock and llama attacks aren't as dangerous as they look.

Surprisingly, the zoo wasn't as crowded as it usually is on a sweltering summer day. The big bonus of the zoo not being hot or crowded is that the kids got to play in the fountain / play area without any 140 pound 8 year olds giving them a flying forearm shiver while charging through the water.

I had always thought the floor of the fountain area was concrete, but it's actually little bits of rubber.

If I was MC Hammer, I would put one of these in our back yard.

Now that I know it's rubber, I might let the kids play in the fountain when it's 100 degrees - depending on the size and speed of the kids competing for the water, of course.

Henry was the only one who found the play area behind the non-functional fountain. I was thinking it looked more interesting than a thing that might be a fountain if it was turned on, but I still know very little about the decision making process of a toddler.

It was a good day. Hopefully we'll get some more nice weather next weekend and we can do it all over again with Heather - sans llama and peacock attacks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

King Cake!

It's Mardi Gras. In Birmingham, you have to look pretty hard to find any indication that Lent is around the corner and it's time to cram in all your food and beverage related debauchery. Fortunately, I have a coworker from New Orleans whose mom Fed-Exed her a king cake this week. I had one piece at the office and got dizzy from the sugar rush. It was sooooo good though.

She sent a giant hunk of apple filled goodness home with me under strict orders that it was for the kids. I've fallen a long way from the days when I was all about limiting the kids to baked items that were no sugar added, whole wheat and organic. It started with their first birthday smash cakes and went down hill from there. The kids are good eaters and they always eat their fruits and veggies. I guess if they don't replace good food with deserts, they need the extra calories anyway. Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself too?

I figured if we we going to do it, we should do it right. I cut each of them an obese adult sized portion.

Piper took to the cake in her typically reserved manner that makes us wonder how she is the chunkiest kid. She clearly liked it, but exercised some restraint.

Henry went at it like an angry land shark.

And Rosemary worked her way through it methodically.

The girls ate until they were full and called it quits. Rosemary ate about twice as much as Piper, which is usually the case. Henry put all of his cake away at least as fast as I could and looked like he could do it all over again.

When we put the kids to bed, Henry howled like a wolf (not crying, but actually howling - like a baby wolf) for an hour. Then he tipped over and slept all night. Dreaming of king cake, I would imagine.