Friday, September 28, 2007

Adventure Day, continued

The plan was to go to the zoo, but since we had two other moms and their kids (and an extra tagging along) with us, and there was rain predicted (which didn't materialize — it's a gorgeous day), we went to the Museum of Science.

(I'm going to digress here just a wee bit and point out how much I love the fact that the Belmont library lets you check out museum passes! We paid $5 each for the adults; the kids were all under 3 and so got in free. Even counting drinks to go with our lunch and the pricey Boston parking, I got out of there having spent less than $20. Hooray!)

The MoS is way, way cool — everything from a push-the-button exhibit showing basic mechanical principles to race cars to a life-size T-rex (and his footprint, Beth pointed out) to semi-precious stones (Beth looooves picking up rocks, and these were really neat rocks — she thought they were flowers at first!) to shells and butterflies and lots of computers and buttons for little hands to push. Bethie and I spent quite a bit of time talking about what a museum is, how it's a collection of things that are similar to each other in some way, and we sat down at a hands-on exhibit that let kids classify objects: sort them, put them in boxes, write on a small chalkboard attached to each box what it was a collection of. She gets, now, that the collection of shells sitting next to the TV from last week's beach trip is a kind of museum. I asked her, "Beth, if you could go see a museum of anything at all, what would be in it?" and she answered, right off the bat, "Trees. And dolphins." So I guess some of our next Adventure Days will have to be to Habitat and to the New England Aquarium. (I'd love to know what Sarah wants to see, but she's not telling us just yet.)

The best part of the visit was last: baby chicks actually hatching out of their eggs! We stood around (and stood around, and stood around) and eventually everyone else wanted to leave, but Beth and I wanted to stay. I even told the other moms to go home, but they didn't — and eventually we did walk away, to see the monkeys and change Sarah's diaper — and then we came back, and one of the chicks had pushed halfway out of the shell! It was all wet and scrawny looking, and obviously tired (come on, pecking a hole that big and working your way out of your own shell has got to be hard), but it would rest for a few minutes and then wriggle more to get further out of the shell. So, so amazing.

See, this is the kind of thing I want my kids to see. You can read about chicks hatching, or puppies being born, or see pictures of rivers or know that glass is made out of sand at very high temperatures, but until you actually see it up close and participate as much as you can, you don't really understand. This sounds pretty trite, as I'm typing it, but it isn't a very complex philosophy, and that's why we're doing Adventure Day in the first place.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beach babes

In an attempt to get some sort of schedule going on in our lives, I've declared each Friday to be Adventure Day, and we kicked it off last week with a trip to (gasp!) the beach. I know, I know — the beach is not the first thing I think of when I think of New England. But there it is, and I have the pictures to prove it.

Beth, after some hesitation (and some screaming and crying about NOT wanting to go in the water!), squatted down and started digging in the sand — eventually helping me make quite the rambling sand castle. Sarah, of course, had no qualms about any of it and scootched herself off the beach blanket immediately so she could scrunch wet sand through her fingers. She didn't eat any of it, but she sure enjoyed the texture.

And then we went to Wendy's for lunch — Beth shoving whole fistfuls of fries in her mouth, hungry kid! — and Sarah chowing down on as many mandarin orange bits as I'd give her. They slept the whole way home. I think we may go to the zoo this week, and I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Indoctrination, of several sorts

We took the girls to the Bentley football game last Friday, and it was a hit! Beth got her face painted on the way in (a blue and a gold stripe on her cheeks), and she had a sausage sandwich and fry bread while sitting in the bleachers, and she made friends with the freshman guy sitting behind us (and ate half of his pretzel). Sarah got herself adored and held by the three Danish exchange students sitting in front of us. She lapped up the attention. Beamed, actually. She also got her first taste of a frozen strawberry pop, and was INDIGNANT when I finally took it away from her.

When we came in the gates I said, "Look, Bethie! Cheerleaders!" and Scott asked, "Early indoctrination?" (Well, yeah.) After we got settled he pointed out the football players, and the fact that they were actually holding a football and running with it, and Beth was supremely impressed that they pushed each other and knocked each other down. This is big for a two-year-old, I guess.

I'm impressed with the measures the school takes to keep students out of trouble on the weekends. Freshmen aren't allowed cars on campus. A shuttle runs hourly to Harvard Square (where the action is, apparently). Football games — although the team's probably just above high school caliber — are a big draw. Admission to the game was free with Bentley I.D., and food (though not drinks or ice cream) were free too. Students with "Bentley Superfan" sweatshirts roamed the crowd giving out white pompoms (Beth was ecstatic) and offering white hair paint. By the end of the evening we also had two little snow globes with the girls' pictures embedded inside.

The cheerleading thing came up again because Halloween is coming up, and there are indeed cute little cheerleader costumes at Target (read: cheap) and although Beth maintains she wants to be a piggy (or maybe a cow), Scott's been pushing for her to wear something exceedingly girly ("Wouldn't she like to be a princess?"). I've been looking online for piggy costumes, and there's just nothing that's really, really cute. Which is a bummer, because I really like Halloween, even as a supposed-to-be-really-jaded-by-this adult, and Sarah's going to be a chickie, and if they were both going as barnyard animals Scott and I could have a really good excuse to go as farmers. But now I have to find her something else cute, and (here's the kicker) convince her that it's what she really, really wants. (And then find myself a costume to go with it.)

In retrospect, I realize that ALL PARENTS DO THIS, and my parents did it to me too ("Are you sure you want to be a cricket?" my mom asked, and I can just picture her thinking, How on earth do you make the legs? And the antennae? "Wouldn't you rather be a ladybug? Ladybugs are cuter."), and it's only about half as evil and manipulative as it sounds.

Beth's sleep troubles are diminishing again, which is good, and I'd like to think I even had something to do with it. For several nights in a row I asked her, "Can you have good dreams tonight?" and she actually did.

I woke her up Saturday morning with, "Did you have good dreams, Bethie-boo?"


"What did you dream about?"

"Doggies." Pause, pause, pause. "And mommy and baby Sarah."

Then she had to go find her toy football, and run around with it and fall down, and pick herself up, run around with the football again, and fall down again. At one point she dropped the ball and Scott said, "Whoops! You fumbled!" and then she dropped the ball again and said, "Fumble!" Early indoctrination, indeed. Maybe we'll find her a little football uniform for Halloween. In pink, because she'll insist.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Chickies, and sleep troubles

So Scott starting teaching today — he has a Monday/Thursday afternoon class and a once-a-week Thursday evening class, which means that on Thursdays he's leaving by 8:00 a.m. and getting home well after the girls are asleep. I don't think it actually occurred to Beth that Daddy was gone all day today until it was bedtime and he suddenly wasn't there. I think she was more confused than sad, and she spent half an hour crying herself to sleep — though that was probably unrelated to the fact that Daddy didn't tuck her in.

She's had a rough few nights. I think she has night terrors — she starts screaming and crying, and even sits up in her crib, but she doesn't really recognize me if I go in to calm her down. She just stares right through me. This is heartbreaking.

We went to a (real) farm today! (I told Beth about it yesterday, and she's been talking about being a farmer for two days.) Drumlin Farm, operated by the Mass Audubon Society, a little working farm up in Lincoln with a few extras: sanctuary animals that can't be returned to the wild for various reasons. So Beth saw piggies (very exciting) and a bunny rabbit, a skunk, a woodchuck, several owls, some cows, horses, and a whole mess of chickens.

Sarah? I don't know how much of the rest of it she really got. But she definitely got the chickens. They were right at her level, and about her size, and up close — she was fascinated. Completely absorbed. Beth got all excited about the chickens sitting on eggs, and the baby chicks, and had to explain over the phone to her daddy and her grandma about the baby chicks hatching out of eggs. "They come out! Baby chicks talking to me. They say 'peep.'"

She was so excited. And as I'm writing this, she's upstairs crying in her bed — one of those sobbing wails that tells me she's having nightmares but she's not really awake. I'm going to go up and pat her back and tell her everything's okay.

Sigh. Being a mom is hard.