The Weekly Peanut, Issue 71
Going back over recent weeks I can't remember if I've mentioned it yet. Honestly, I haven't been talking about it much, because I'm still paranoid about jinxing ourselves. However, it's been a solid month now, and I'm very happy to say that D IS 100% PACI FREE. It was such a gradual thing to where she was only still getting it during nap time in the crib, but when day care informed us they'd be cutting it out entirely there we decided to just take the plunge. The key was making sure she DID NOT SEE THE PACI during bedtime, because if she did she'd freak out until she got her hands on it. Hooray for paci-free living (confession: I'm still too paranoid to take our backup out of the diaper bag, you just never know when your kid is going to pitch a fit in public and you won't be up for the condescending looks. So far I've not had to use it, but...
Ian and I have been pretty fatigued all month, for me it's been one illness or allergy attack after another followed by busy busy busy, so when Friday night came around we wanted to treat ourselves to some C&L cocktails. We got there early and the bar was PACKED, but they were able to seat us at a real table. That was weird. We're so used to grabbing a booth in the bar we joked that we felt like we'd been banished to the kid's table. Still, it was a great meal all around, and D enjoyed watching some newly downloaded Gabba episodes. She also SCARFED all of the mac and cheese we got for her. This kid would exist solely on mac and cheese and pizza if I let her.
We decided to continue the family bonding time with a little Park Ave post-dinner excursion.
Let it be said, my child has found her voice, to be sure (turn down your speakers before playing this video, trust me).
D is getting REALLY good at repeating words and sounds. She's almost got caterpillar now (come on, that's got to be the most ridiculously hard word for a kid to say... all those syllables and Rs and Ls... it's just cruel). So good is my kid at speaking, it's drawing attention from strangers.
Saturday I continued Ian's Birthday/Father's Day week celebration down at Animal Kingdom Lodge. While waiting to be seated at Sanaa, D was charging up and down the hall, climbing all over the benches, talking to the Radiated Tortoise outside, doing the things she always does while I just barely managed to keep her from breaking her own neck. A father was there, holding a little girl in his arms who looked to be about D's age (but with a lot more hair and physically larger), watching D's antics with big eyes. I'm feeling judged, my kid is hell on wheels, just because your kid is content to quietly sit in your arms doesn't mean mine is the spawn of Satan STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT ugh. Anyway, the guy finally came up to me smiling and asked how old D was. "She'll be 2 in July." His jaw dropped. "She's talking... SO MUCH." Oh... not judging after all... "Yeah, can't shut her up." I saw him cast a fleeting worried look at the kid in his arms before smiling again at D and walking away.
This exchange... from both sides it's just SO TYPICAL of the "parenting wars" that go on every day. It is ABSURD how we continue to compare our kids to anyone else's. I just wanted to go after that dad and give him a big hug. For every kid I've ever met that D is more advanced than, I've met at least one or two others that are ahead of her in the curve. It's SO EASY TO GET INTIMIDATED. You think you're doing a good job, that your kid's knowing color words is great, that you have a budding genius on your hands, then you see somebody else's 2 year old reading flash cards and you start to feel like this abject failure as a parent.
GUILTY. GUILTY AS CHARGED. But... [Samuel L Jackson voice] I'M TRYING REAL HARD... to stop all that. The only people who need to be pleased with D's progress are me, Ian, and her doctor. There are too many way more important things to be worried about (like raising a good person) than worrying if she can do long division yet. My friend Katy recently wrote a wonderful post about how happy she is to have an "ordinary" kid and I couldn't agree more. Every time I catch myself worrying about things that don't matter I just remind myself of that week I spent thinking my kid might have cancer. Perspective is so important in parenting. As much as I would never wish that week on ANYBODY, in a way it was a gift to me to always help me remember what really matters as I go on this parenting journey.
Tangent over. The reason for our trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge was to enjoy a special lunch feature they have that allows you to have a private meal with one of their Animal Care specialists while enjoying a tasting menu from Sanaa. It was just one other couple and their two kids plus us and the care specialist. I was slightly concerned that Ian wouldn't dig the food (it's largely Indian influence/Indian fusion, which Ian has never been a fan of), but I knew he'd enjoy himself enough by getting to talk animals the whole time. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a really beautiful facility, Sanaa in particular has wonderful decor and tons of windows for you to be able to look out over one of their "serengetis" where zebras and giraffes wander.
Once we were all seated, the chef immediately came out to tell us about the food we'd be eating, where the influences for the flavor profiles come from (I noted he was from Kenya, thanks Disney name tags). D, in a high chair between Ian and I, was NOT on her best behavior. It's not that she was being cranky, but we were facing a relatively new situation: having D be quiet. As I mentioned above, D is in the TALKALLTHETIME phase, so even though we had her comfortably situated with some Gabba, she needed to TALK. LOUDLY. ABOUT EVERYTHING. WHILE THE CHEF WAS TRYING TO TALK and her poor parents desperately tried to get her to shush.
D: MUNO! Me: Yes, Kid, Muno, now shhh the man is talking you need to be quiet. D: GABBAAAA! Me: Yes, Shhh... Please... Please D: TOODEEEEEEEEEE Me: Kill me. Please. Eventually she piped down and settled in to watch her episode, thankfully (?) the chef was pretty long-winded, and though it felt like forever D's outburst probably only lasted the first 30 seconds or so.
The food was FANTASTIC. Ian even enjoyed it, going to far as to polish off my extra rice so he could keep eating the butter chicken sauce. We could have skipped the salad course, but that was probably just because we filled up so much on the bread course and all the glorious dips. Mmmmm dips. Sanaa was very accommodating both of D's dietary "needs" (pizza, she was fine with that), but also with another little girl at the tale who was "gluten intolerant" (but their parents hadn't told them in advance, all the more reason to be impressed by how well Sanaa rolled with the punches). Our animal care specialist talked about both how the Lodge manages its animals and the park as well, how animals get moved between, her history in the field, it was all really great conversation with no lulls. When we'd finished all our tasty food, Kim took us out onto the property to see some of the animals and get up close with one of the radiated tortoises. THIS IS NOT A PETTING ZOO, it wasn't a bunch of performing critters, these were wild animals with which we got to get up close but not personal. Ian was on cloud 9, so I was pretty proud of myself for pulling this off. Anybody thinking about doing this, I'd highly recommend it (though probably for older kids? The other family with the kids that looked to be around 8 seemed a little bored, particularly with the rather adult food), it's particularly cost effective (the cost is comparable to most character dining, and the food is plentiful and SOOO GOOD). Seriously this was the best butter chicken I've ever eaten.
I had to change D on the way out, but Ian mentioned that the other mother from our dining group approached him while D was screaming at me on the changing table. "I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with how well-behaved your daughter was. I was worried in the first few minutes, but you guys really got her under control and I forgot she was even there." Well, alright then. It was starting to rain as we were leaving (the whole experience was a little over 2 hours from start to finish), but Animal Kingdom Lodge (at least the part we were in) uses a PARKING GARAGE. Awesome.
That afternoon when i went to get D from her nap, I noticed her eyeballing her closet pretty hard. "Peanut, would you like to wear a Princess dress?" "YEAH!" (Her default response to almost any question right now is "Yeah!" so I wasn't totally convinced yet). I pulled down all her costumes one by one and asked her which one she wanted to wear. She didn't hesitate. "Elsa!" This is the only full-blown Disney ensemble I own for her (all the others are the cheap (under $20) licensed costumes, I popped for the fancy Elsa one off craigslist a couple months ago but D has never shown any interest in putting it on. We pulled the dress over her head and I slid the little sleeve loops over her fingers. "NOOO! NOOO!" Ok, no loops on the fingers. She smoothed the skirt of the dress down, then I asked if she wanted to go watch Frozen. Silly, silly question.
We got up nice and early Sunday morning for a chance to have breakfast with some Tampa friends in town visiting. D hadn't seen Ed and Lydia since a Food and Wine (I think?) trip to Epcot, and Ed's beard has gotten even more formidable. She was having none of him.
D opted for another princess dress that afternoon. Mulan is definitely a favorite in our household.
D is also becoming very fond of the selfie. I have to say, my favorite thing right now is her spontaneous kisses. She can be in the middle of losing her damn mind, stop and grab my face, pull me in for a kiss, then continue losing her mind. Like in this selfie series. Love you, Peanut.