July 2008

I know that most of the cool kids were in San Francisco last weekend for BlogHer, but Emma and Mike and I are in town this week for the AFSCME Convention. Mike is working behind the scenes to make sure the convention goes off without a hitch, so he is working pretty hard and is not getting to hang out the way Emma and I are. We did have dinner with him last night though, so that was cool.

So here is a quick recap of our trip so far:

Saturday: As we walked up to the gate to board the plane that would bring us to San Francisco the flight attendant looked at us and said “Oh, we don’t do children.”

Huh. Really? REALLY Ms. Flight Attendant, you don’t do children?

I think Mike and I both laughed at her because she very quickly corrected herself and said “We don’t do early boarding for children”.

Huh. Thanks United.

The flight itself was a little hairy since we decided not to buy a seat for Emma. But I will leave that for another post.

Once we settled into the hotel, Mike had a meeting so Emma and I explored the area around the hotel. We quickly discovered that Yerba Buena Gardens is right across the street from the hotel, and there is a very nice merry-go-round there too. And in San Francisco, if you buy one ticket on a merry-go-round, you get two rides. Ok, not really, but you do on the Yerba Buena Gardens merry-go-round. Which seems like it would be wonderful, but really in the end just makes it harder for a merry-go-round obsessed toddler to stop riding when the time comes.

Sunday: Emma and I started early (around 7:30) and went for a walk to Union Square. There were some artists just setting up for the day and we browsed some of the art. We found one that I loved of a little girl on a merry-go-round, so I bought it. This trip is starting to have a theme. After wandering the Union Square area for a while we went to the hot breakfast bar at Whole Foods which is just two blocks from the hotel. Then we wandered around Yerba Buena Gardens again, rode the merry-go-round and watched the very beginning of the theater festival happening that day in the Gardens.

Monday: Emma and I decided to go to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, just to see what it was like. The bad news was that it was $25 for the breakfast buffet. The good news was that Emma ate at least $25 in raspberries and I ate at least $25 in smoked salmon. Jen and Emma: 1 – Hotel: 0.

My big plan for the day was to go to Fisherman’s Wharf via cable car so we walked to Powell Street and stood in the looong line to get our Muni passport (because I had a brain cramp and forgot to do it at the airport). Then we stood in another long line to wait for the aforementioned cable car. Needless to say as each cable car passed by us and we didn’t get on, Emma would let out a little yelp in protest. Luckily there were lots of pigeons to distract her.

We finally made it to Fisherman’s Wharf. We found out way to Pier 39 which kind of reminded me of Provincetown in Cape Cod. We grabbed a crepe and a lemonade and went to find the sea lions and eat. Emma loved/hated the sea lions. Wouldn’t let me put her down, but didn’t want to walk away. Luckily there was – you guessed it – a merry-go-round right in the middle of the whole pier, so she was quickly distracted. We rode the MGR and headed towards home.

Once home I finally got up the nerve to email Doodaddy – a San Francisco local and one of the blogs I read almost daily – to ask him for recommendations on things to see and do in San Francisco. He wrote back almost immediately and invited me to join him and Boobaby and Cry it out Mike and Emmeline in Golden Gate Park the next day.

Tuesday: Emma woke up barking like a sea lion. We decided to try Mel’s Diner for breakfast. While the food was fine, the touristy theme restaurant thing just didn’t do it for me. In the end I think I will probably just return to Whole Foods for breakfast in the days to come. Mel’s cost me $20, and there were no raspberries or smoked salmon. Hmph.

Emma and I hopped on the N train to Golden Gate Park. We had some time to kill before meeting Doodaddy, Boobaby, Mike and Emmeline, so we headed to the Children’s Playground. After another ride on a merry-go-round – the most exotic one of all so far – Emma played on the swings, removed at least half of the sand from the sandbox and slid down a few slides. I think she was relieved to be doing something she was used to, albeit in a strange place.

We walked to the Arboretum, our meeting place, and met Doodaddy and Boobaby, Mike and Emmeline. We spent about an hour at the duck pond, feeding the ducks, eating a picnic, which Doodaddy and Mike were nice enough to share, and practicing diving in the pond. Ok there wasn’t any actual diving, but I am pretty sure I was the only thing preventing Emma from going headfirst into the pond with the ducks. Doodaddy and Mike gave me some more advice about things to do in San Francisco and were just all around welcoming and friendly.

We boarded the train to return to the hotel for nap time and two stops later Emma was asleep.

So far we are having a great, if exhausting, time. Being the sole caretaker of a toddler in a city I am not familiar with is much more daunting a task than I originally thought. Thanks so much to Doodaddy and Mike for being friendly faces and helping us feel at home!

We have rabbits! In our neighborhood mind you, not in our house (god help me). They usually hang out and eat in our neighbors’ yards and we see them from the car when we are on our way home. We always block traffic stop and show them to Emma and now when we drive by that spot she points and looks for them and makes a little noise with her mouth that sounds like eating.

One day recently when we came home, one of the bunnies was sitting at the bottom of our stairs. I got Emma out of the car and we got within about six feet before Emma squealed and the bunny decided that maybe the bottom of our stairs wasn’t really where it wanted to be. Still, it was cool to get so close.

This morning when Emma woke up she pointed out the window, so I opened the curtain to let her see what was (or wasn’t) out there. Sitting right in front of her window were two teeny little baby bunnies. One of them was a little skittish and when it heard me open the curtain it ran under a bush for a second before coming back out. The other one was all “Yeah, I hear you. Whatev. I’m a bunny, you don’t scare me” and just sat there looking at me. Except then Emma started pounding on the window and both bunnies ran for their lives. I told her the bunnies were going to sleep.

Emma spent the rest of the day saying “bohbee”, insisting we let her look out the window and making the sign for sleep. She has also managed to find every stuffed bunny she has (three or four by my last count) and has been carrying them around all day.

I can’t quite decide if I want the bunnies to be there tomorrow morning or not, although at this point I guess it is ridiculous to think she might actually forget about them, even if they aren’t.

At some point early on in this month the toddler fairy came to visit our house. She waved her wand over Emma while she was sleeping, and *poof* our baby was gone and our little girl was here.

Yeah. I guess it didn’t happen that way, but her transformation from baby to little girl did happen this month – with startling rapidity.

No more drama this month with sleeping or separation anxiety. Just lots of new facial expressions, more dancing, more singing, and a serious ratcheting up of the cute factor.

Emma lost her second great-grandmother this month, and I lost my Grandmother. I have been feeling her loss acutely but am thrilled that she got a chance to meet Emma and spend some time with her before she passed away.

Gram’s funeral was highly surreal. It was held at the Dupont Funeral Home in Bristol, Connecticut which is in a house built by her grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, in 1903. Gram spent many family holidays there as a child, and later married my Grandfather in the house. To stand in a room that was once my great-grandfather’s bedroom, at my grandmother’s memorial service, while I held my daughter, was a little mind blowing.

We drove to Connecticut for the funeral and Emma was wonderful. We left at 5 am and got four hours of driving in before she needed to stop, which meant we were almost there. On the way home we left at around 4:30 pm and didn’t need to stop much either since a lot of the drive was after her bed time.

Once we got through the funeral and made it back home, Emma had places to go and people to see.

A few months ago Mike’s dad got to choose a gift from his company as a thank you for an unimaginable number of years of service. He looked through the options and the only thing that jumped out at him was a Eureka! mansion tent which he guessed maybe his granddaughter might enjoy rattling around in.

Let me in!

This month we tested the tent for the first time on an overnight camping trip with Emma’s friend EJ, who brought his parents along for the ride. Emma had her own room (no, seriously, she did) and the tent held up well during the torrential downpour that started at about 3am. We went on a hike with Emma, taking turns carrying her on our back, which she enjoyed. Enjoy would be a strong word to describe how Mike and I felt about the hike. *Happy to get to the end of it and to have survived* is probably much more appropriate. The camping trip was lots of fun and we are hoping to be able to go at least once more before the we wimp out because of cold weather.

The weekend after the camping trip was the best weekend EVAH. My friend Kate left her idyllic life in Vermont to come visit us in hot and sticky DC. She brought her cute-as-a-bug son Jack, who is 10 weeks younger than Emma, and there was great rejoicing. We hung out, went to the zoo, played in the Silver Spring fountain and just generally had a great time. Emma loved playing with Jack but seemed a little stressed by the end of the weekend. I think all the FUN was getting to her. Plus since Jack’s daddy couldn’t come, Emma’s daddy was doing double duty, which she was NOT a fan of.

Clearly we kept Emma pretty busy this month. She still had time to learn “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and now walks around the house singing “Down rain! Down rain!”. At some point during their visit, Kate was trying to get Jack to say sorry and Emma obliged by saying “sorry!” loud and clear. Mike and I practically fell out of our chairs since we had never heard her say it before. So she is picking up a few words here and there. Being the perfectionist she is, I think she is just waiting until she can get a word *just right* before using it regularly. We can wait. I do love listening to her little voice though.

Things are pretty fun around our house these days.