Archive for the ‘Tales of the Three’Category

14 Hours of Car + 4 Hours of NYC Underground + 3 Kids = …

One of the justifications we used for moving so far away from everyone was that it would put us closer to different relatives. Finally we were able to make good on that implicit promise a little bit more, and took a few days to visit Mark’s cousin in New York City and my grandmother and aunts in Connecticut. Having fond memories of NYC as a kid, both on family vacation and school field trips, I was especially excited for this trip.

Target of Times SquareHaving only a day and a half in the city meant that we ran from one major site to another, as fast as you can run with three kids, and hoped we imparted the essence of such a large urban area to the kids. So on the first day we visited Bronx Zoo with Mark’s cousin Jeremy, his wife Sarah, and their son Jasper, who’s just a little older than Toby. Frankly, the zoo was fabulous and probably the favorite of both Katya and Emma.

Pier and Statue of LibertyThe afternoon was a slight disaster, at least as far as transportation goes. We had driven our car to the zoo, so we tried to find a tube station that we could park at. Due to some misreading of the map, we ended up at a train station at the end of the line, so we had to pay train fare all the way to Grand Central, transfer to Times Square, then continue on to the very southern tip to board the Staten Island Ferry. Then in repeating the process backwards we missed a train just barely (late already at 8:40), so we weren’t done riding all our transportation until at least 11 that night. But on the positive side, we had a fun boat ride, ate at an unusual McDonald’s in Times Square, visited a store Mommy was curious about, and rode 3 different kinds of transportation, always a plus in Katya’s and Emma’s book.

We also were able to realize the great accessibility of ethnic food anywhere in the city (so jealous) and eat overpriced ice cream in Central Park before continuing on to Connecticut. While this phase of our trip was definitely more lowkey, it was nice to relax (fewer than five people sleeping in a room, yay!) and visit with my side of the family. We also visited the beach, which just got everyone excited for real beach season. My aunt is a terrific cook and her hospitality was amazing, given how little notice we gave her! And of course my grandma spoiled the kids, in the good way.

When asked how my trip went by a friend, I summed it up as extremely fun and extremely stressful, to which the response was that perhaps that summed up New York itself. In the very least, it whetted my appetite to be able to take the kids on road trips more…once Toby hits that magical age where car trips are fun.

(the photo set for our trip)


05 2008

Eight months of Toby

While we were visiting both sets of grandparents over Spring Break, Toby tried two seconds of moving his knees in a crawling fashion and two seconds of moving his legs in a walking fashion–and chose the walking. Both Mark and I bit our lips, silently (and more loudly) recalling the several months of assistance we gave Katya while she “walked” using our fingers until she walked completely on her own at 16 months. And she started the finger-assisted walking at a couple months older than Toby is now! But it’s perfect for him, of course, because it just brings him closer loves to new things and controlling what he sees and gets.

Additionally, he’s also quite vocal now. When he’s sad or hungry or both, he’s taken to yelling “MUH MUH MUH MUH!” while contentment and/or playing leads to “Daaa daaa daaaa,” regardless of which parent he’s with. He also yells just to hear his voice, often while bathing, and fortunately it’s not loud enough or high-pitched enough to drive us crazy.

Despite how adorable he’s been lately, he has not changed from being relatively needy in terms of attention and stimulation. He’s got five minutes, tops, before he’s kicking a fuss for something new. Frankly, I don’t even know how to entertain him anymore, so in my depths of despair I secretly hope that he’ll be some genius someday because he wasn’t content at eight months to just sit and play with his rattle like I wished he would.


04 2008

Technology Workers of the Future Need Fine Motor Skills Today

Toby is the age that loves grabbing. While nursing he’ll flail around with his free hand, usually holding my mouth or nose, or sometimes magically detecting when I try to work on a logic puzzle and smacking the book on top of himself.

When he’s less distracted and I’m more so, usually when I’m holding him at the computer, he’ll work on his goal to clear my desk of all that pesky clutter. He’ll lunge from Point A to Point B, drop Item C to grab Item D, and inadvertently knock over Item E in the process. After C and E are replaced, he’ll lose interest in D and simultaneously grab C and E, where C-E can range from important papers for crumpling, snacks (he has a sense of entitlement when it comes to food), gadgets, or pens and pencils that inevitably lead to poking himself. He particularly has a penchant for those gadgets. If it’s good enough for Mommy, Daddy, or even Katya, then it’s good enough to take away from them.

Music is my girl friend...While shopping for a toy phone to replace his saliva-covered LG AX5000 (previously owned, by Mommy), I came across a meager attempt at a combo pack: merely a flip phone and a set of keys. Heck, even the gym he got for Christmas has an extra add-on in which to insert an mp3 player (yes, you have to buy something separately just to use your own mp3 player…).

In Toby’s dream world, the gadget combo pack would contain not only a phone, but it’d be media-ready and automatically network with video chat to other babies in the neighborhood. The little battery-operated dog would not only wind up to walk, but also learn and associate his coos with specific actions; “muh” would lead to the dog retrieving a new toy and “goooo” would spit out a Cheerio. Since he doesn’t actually know his letters yet, much less the layout of a QWERTY keyboard, his tummytop would be touch-screen, of course. At this point, his most used application would be the interactive slideshow of family pictures, but it’d also have a webcam to turn the tummytop into an interactive mirror toy. After awhile, he’d associate the icon of a bottle or a bowl of squash (customizable by the parent). Maniacally smacking the icon would send an instant message to the correct parent that it was feeding time.

Pheww. I could go on all day dreaming up these things. I have just one request however. When you do ultimately see these items for sale, please don’t tell me about it. I don’t really need to know that babies of today have fancier gadgets than me.


03 2008

Toby starting to be more mobile!

So thus begins what is simultaneously more fun, and more frustrating. Toby is starting to maneuver his way (closer) to things that he wants. On the down side, he’s also more dangerous now, because any moment he’ll roll into the cat, chair, or off the bed. Here’s a video of him making eyes for the camera while he wiggles around.


03 2008

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, that’s my name too!

Partially for fun, partially to remember some of the nicknames the girls have implemented in our family, I diagrammed the following chart.

Diagram of family nicknames


02 2008

Reflections on Toby’s Appearance

He may look like a giant Cheeto. Really he just enjoys neverending bowls of sweet potatoes.

He is also a bit sparkly with makeup. That comes on days when he doesn’t see me much, so feels the need to burrow his head in mine. And sometimes giving open-mouthed sucks, I mean, kisses.

And honest, I’m really not feeding him Cheetos.



02 2008

Katya, anchorwoman in training

Katya got asked to read a segment on the school’s weekly news show about the value of the month (integrity). We had her read it at home for us and recorded a little video clip.


02 2008

Happy Birthday, Katya!

Katya has had a banner 6th year. Even her last few weeks have been lots of fun and amazing.

We had a small party for her last night. Later this week she and Emma will have a tea party with a couple friends.

As usual, you can follow the links on the pictures to get more information on each one.

Katya the Pink Panda Katya secretly wonders if her present will eat her Blowing out candles  


02 2008

For those who don’t actually like eating cabbage

It’s amazing how much fun you (and those much younger than you) can get out of a purple cabbage. I sort of glaze over the “common” science experiments, dismissing them as blasé, but they aren’t blasé when you’ve never seen them before (aka, are 5 years old)!

First we just had fun dying scraps of cotton fabric in our cabbage dye, but the real fun was what came after pouring out cups of the liquid (a pH indicator). First we determined our knowns. Katya and Emma knew lemon juice was sour (though we had to taste it numerous times to be sure), and when we put that in our cabbage juice, it turned pink. Great, pink is an acid! (We also talked about acids yesterday when discussing Vitamin C). Then we tried baking soda, though I wasn’t so cruel as to have them taste it, so that was our blue and blue-green (the linked article has a color guide for determining actual pH based on the color, but pH was just a little advanced for 3- and 5-year olds). We did a couple others, tasting and “measuring” vinegar and Squirt soda, for example, but when Mom gets bored, then the kids must get to mix everything willy-nilly just because. Oh, and did I mention how wonderful everything is when it fizzes too?

So now the only question is if we’ll be able to tie-dye our original cabbage-dyed fabric with lemon juice and baking soda.


07 2007

Katya and Emma Snippets

I hope to write up some of the highlights of our trip to London, especially those parts that aren’t covered by photos we took (which aren’t all uploaded to flickr yet). But in the meantime, I present some amusing kid stories I’ve been hoarding.

Katya and Emma march into the kitchen, shouting “Katya is 5! Katya is 5!” Upon closer examination, Katya is waving a popsicle stick sign that said “Katya is 5” where the “s” is backwards. Adorable.

From the more cringe-inducing department, Emma has long been obsessed with hair and eye color (most likely because everyone she meets instantly comments on her blond hair). On at least two occasions, she’s bounced over to me after meeting a new (black) child and announced loudly, “That’s my friend with black hair!” More cringe-inducing because I think she’s going to say “black…skin” and then have a million people stare at me as if I’m teaching my kid weird things.

Katya muses about how to spell “spoon.” “How do you spell ‘foon’? Hmmm… F?” (Yes, she has trouble with her sp and related sounds.)

This is no longer an isolated incident, but I did write down Katya praying “Thank you for postmans, and librarians.” She has since been thankful for such things as “the earth, which You created a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time ago. That’s a lot of longs.” I guess I should be happy that she doesn’t have a prayer formula.


05 2007