Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hallelujah! Forest is starting preschool!

The moment I have been (impatiently) waiting for for the past 2 years, 10 months and 1 day has finally arrived. I'm not sure who is more excited, me or Forest. He has been on cloud nine ever since we had a 'meet the class' day Monday morning. I asked if he had fun at school and he said "no I didn't go to school. I went to PRE school". Get it right, mom! 

Of course, the day does bring a sense of sentimentality with it. It's remarkable how big this baby boy has become and just how much more grown up and independent he becomes with each day. His favorite phrase lately is: "I didn't need your help mommy. I did it all by myself." And while the wording stings, I know he's coming from a place of joy and pride in his new found abilities. And honestly, what's the end purpose of parenthood if not for our children to confidently say- "I don't need your help. I can do it all by myself." (Though hopefully we manage to teach him to say it with a bit more tact...and of course that he can't do anything all by himself but should seek the Lord first in all things...but he's 2 so we haven't really gotten there yet;)) 

I can't wait to watch him continue to thrive and bloom right before our eyes. He's such a smart, curious, observant little boy and I think preschool will be a great experience for him to start learning to interact (ie share and take turns) with his peers a bit more. 

Happy first day of preschool little buddy. We love you and are bursting with pride over what a wonderful little child you are. And we're praying hard for your teacher who probably has no idea that a wolf-cub masquerading as an adorable preschooler is about to enter her classroom. 

Of course such a momentous occasion required two photo shoots...Actually I was just testing the lighting and where I wanted to snap the pictures and Forest jumped right in to model so I went with it and then we did an actual 'day of' shoot for him. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Incident with the Red Balloon.

Red balloon in top right corner
Weeks ago, Forest was given a balloon sword (a red balloon sword to be specific) by a balloon artist at The Woodlands 4th of July parade. On our way back to the car, we put it into the basket of his stroller. Jonathan, not thinking it was any big deal, folded up the stroller and popped the balloon in the process. We instantly got into an argument because I felt like he should have known to take the balloon out first but he insisted that Forest would forget all about it in no time. Hahaha. 

Not only did he mope the entire drive home saying ‘daddy popped the red balloon’ in a tone of voice that conveyed disappointment rather than anger towards his father, but hardly a day has gone by when he doesn’t mention the incident at some point. For instance, this is an exchange I got on film while at a red light the other day:
So when he needs therapy years down the road I believe a talented psychoanalyst will be able to trace the trauma back to the mishap with the red balloon, July 4, 2016. And it won't even be about his mother. This one is all on daddy.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Interview with a Toddler

I’ve been seeing a lot of facebook posts featuring interviews with toddlers and they always lead to some pretty comical answers. I decided to try it with Forest and figured I’d post the transcript here. The rule is that there is no coaching or prompting allowed. He actually did fairly well so it wasn’t as funny as some of the ones I’ve seen. 
What's your name: Forest Alexander Perry 
How old are you? I’m two years old. 
How old is mommy? Uh. Two years old. 
When is your birthday? (blank stare) 
What is your favorite color? Blue. 
What’s your favorite food? Waffles. 
Who is your best friend? (points to himself) then says ‘Curious George!’ 
What is your favorite TV show? Frozen. No, not Frozen. Just the movie Cars. And Super Why and Daniel Tiger. That’s a show I think. (Can you tell he really comes out of his shell when the topic of Tv comes up?) 
What’s your favorite song? Good Good Father 
What’s your favorite animal? A frog. 
What are you scared of? Nope. Nothing. (This is a lie. He is still scared of vacuum cleaners. But other than that, yes, he is pretty fearless. )
What makes you happy? (BIG SMILE) Lightning McQueen! 
Where’s your favorite  place to go? To the park. We’re not going to the park. No, of course not! 
Where do we live: California and Texas. Mmmhmmm that’s where we live. There’s berries in our neighborhood, at the park. 
What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m gonna go to the ice cream shop. When dad gets home we’re gonna go to the ice cream shop. 
How old is daddy? 2 years old. Daddy is 2 years old. 
What’s mommy’s favorite thing to do? Clean the house. Mommy cleans the house. 
What is love? (blank stare as he stabs Lightning McQueen with a fork).

Ps. It's crazy to me that I used to write blog posts in his voice when he was a baby and now he is such a little boy that he can actually have back and forth, question and answer conversations with me. Child development is truly amazing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lafayette or Bust

So obviously my mind is pretty consumed with the recent flooding which occurred in South Louisiana. As it happened, I just so happened to be in Lafayette when the heavens opened and unleashed a torrential downpour that didn’t stop for 48 hours. 

My parents’ house lost power and internet on and off those 2 days. I didn’t realize that just east of us, Baton Rouge was having an even worse time of it. My heart sinks looking at my old stomping grounds in both cities under water. It was crazy. I remember glancing at the forecast while packing Forest and I up and noticing a few thunderstorms. I even considered tossing in his crocodile suit and rain boots but assumed it’d be the typical fast and furious afternoon showers that occur most summer days down there and that bringing Scottish-style rain gear would be silly. 
I had no idea it would be enough rain to bring on flash floods the likes of which hadn’t been seen in decades. During my childhood and youth in south Louisiana, I’ve lived through many hurricanes and tropical storms and this was reminiscent of that except that no one was prepared. No one knew that a massive system would land over I-10 and just hover for days. 

Unfortunately, the weekend was also one I had been looking forward to for months. The stars aligned to make sure that high school friends from all over the country and the world would be in town for one of our best girl's baby shower. My parents had just moved back to Lafayette and I felt like it would feel like a true homecoming for me. But then the crap weather happened and my dad ended up having to leave town for Missouri a few hours before I arrived so I missed seeing him completely. My bestie in Alabama couldn’t get to Louisiana because of the flooded interstates and our friend flying in from the East coast had her flight canceled. Not that it mattered because with the weather and the flooding I couldn’t even see those friends who were in the same city as me. Petty complaints considering what some friends and family lost in the flooding. 

We were lucky. No property damage, just a little inconvenience with power outages but we made the most of our time together. My mom brought out lanterns and we hunkered down and read books and did puzzles by flashlight, plus we had plenty of Disney movies downloaded on our iPads so Forest was actually A-OK with being stuck inside with no electricity. 

When the rain slacked off we let Forest loose in the backyard (and I was REALLY wishing I’d packed his croc suit and wellies!). 

I mean, seriously, this is what childhood is made of, right? 

I hesitated to post these pics and videos. It seems insensitive. Like the first time you laugh out loud after a loved one passes away and the sound is jarring to your ears. There shouldn’t be joy in such a time of tragedy. But that’s the Louisiana way. 

The state gets battered and beaten down so frequently and yet it’s people are some of the most resilient, resourceful and joyful people I know. I’m proud to be a native and so happy my parents’ have moved back to Lafayette so I can visit my hometown more often.  

My orginal plan was to visit with friends in Lafayette Saturday and then head to Baton Rouge Sunday to see my brother, grandparents, and my other bestie, April, before heading back to The Woodlands on Monday. Well on Sunday the forecast was for a few hours of respite before torrential rain started up again and lasted for a few more days. 

It was either hit the road right then or stick it out until Wednesday. I impulsively decided to head out and by the grace of God we made it home with no drama. 

I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get to see everyone that I planned to but I’m definitely keeping that in perspective. Please pray for the state of Louisiana as it recovers from these historic floods. 

I pretty much have been listening to this song on repeat for days now, and crying and praying as I do. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Woodlands Children Museum

Y’all, this heat is killing me. Its so hot that it almost feels similar to Scotland in the dead of winter because you just can’t go outside. The only time its even tolerable is early in the morning but unfortunately this is the time of day when Forest is super mellow and plays independently and let’s me drink coffee and sit down before a full day of chasing a feral toddler around. It’s hard to give that up in order to whisk him off to the park and start the chasing early. And even still, we rushed out the door at 8:30 one morning and it was already 91 degrees. I mean. Seriously. What am I supposed to do with that? 

I see all these articles on European parenting and schooling and how one of the things they do differently than us is that their kids are constantly playing outside, even in inclement weather. Well, trust me, I would love to slap a muddy buddy on this child and let him loose in the woods of Scotland, but in the height of Houston summer it is actually not safe to let him run himself silly. So yea, we are missing California BIG TIME in regards to the weather and outdoor things to do. 
Remember wearing jackets and sweatpants in June? And having places to hike? Sigh...
Also, we’ve been here for coming on 2 months and we go to the park nearly every day and you know how many times we’ve seen other kids there? One time. It’s just so obnoxiously hot that people really only go outside to go swimming and since Forest is an absolute maniac in the water, I don’t especially like taking him to community pools for now. 

Anyhoos, the point of this post is that we’ve been scrounging around looking for fun indoor things to keep us from going stir crazy. Especially when Jon is gone I feel like sometimes we just need to leave the house, otherwise the days just feel impossibly long. It’s been especially tough during peak summer time because the weather is brutal and the town feels a little abandoned.  One lifesaver for us has been The Woodlands Children’s Museum. 

This is a decent size play space for toddlers and preschoolers that has all sorts of amazing displays such as a gigantic train table, a giant sand box, a toddler size grocery store, magnetic fishing ponds, legos, crafts, etc. 

Forest LOVES it and never wants to leave. Seriously, every time we leave (usually when the place closes) he cries the whole time ‘But I really REALLY want to play at the Musey-um!’   

I love it because he entertains himself for hours. I even start to get a little bored. I’ve honestly thought of bringing along a book, pulling up a toddler sized chair and just catching up on my reading while he goes to town building lego towers. I have a feeling that might be frowned upon though… 

We are super grateful that my parents bought us a yearlong membership so we can go as many times a week (or a day…)  that we want. It really is just the easiest spontaneous activity to add to those super long and lonely days when we just need a little change of scenery. The only thing it’s missing is an in-house Starbucks and the no food or drink (ie coffee) rule is a major bummer.