We have discovered the thrill of watching Jarrah play with a new toy. Uh-oh.
On Friday Jarrah and I took a field trip to visit Mary and Joy in Encinitas, where Jarrah was pleased to find an entirely new living room designed (from her perspective) as her auxiliary playroom. The fact that these were actually Joy's toys interested her not a whit.
After a somewhat dismal lunch at Panera at an outdoor table in the rain (Jarrah didn't mind getting wet as long as I kept the morsels coming) we arrived at Toddler Paradise: Geppetto's Toy Store, where the staff actually encouraged Jarrah and Joy to sample their wares. Hot diggety! We played for a glorious hour, and I had to restrain myself from buying her everything in the store. We settled on a cannister that goes "Baaaaa" when turned on its side (it's hilarious to watch her tilt her whole body to the side when she uses it) and a tractor full of farm animals that beeps and goes (she still seems a bit baffled when she watches it go by.) But the most exciting thing we learned is that J. is at the perfect stage for a push toy--I'm not sure of the official name but it looks like a jazzed-up plastic lawnmower, Jarrah can walk on her own behind it, using it for support in front. Unlike the evil saucers the children in Chinese orphanages are confined to, these toys require her full weight so they don't hinder her posture or balance. Anyway, the one at Geppetto's was 80 dolllars (oof!) but the next day we were graced by a visit from Jarrah's doting Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Thomas.
Not only did they buy Jarrah a Playskool walker that, as you can see from the photos, makes her feel like the cat's pajamas, but they even added a fabulous orange Pooh who is holding his own tiny blue Pooh. She got busy immediately sucking on Pooh's ears--a sure sign of approval from our orally-fixated girl. We also had a fun time at Fusion Boba Cafe on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. (if you're local, try it--yum!) where Jarrah discovered her own personal ambrosia: Thomas's Mango-Strawberry "Sno Bubble"--a mixture of fruit, ice and soy milk that she sucked so hard we had to replace the flattened straw half-way through.
As you can see from the pictures, Jarrah also had her first Very Special Experience with a doggie--Lindsey's dog, her cousin Zooey, who was incredibly tolerant but seemed more than a little gobsmacked to be sharing the spotlight with a hairless, unpredictable puppy who made a lot of unnecessary noises. At the end of the weekend, she fairly galloped to the car when her mommy said it was time to go home. But I actually think they were quite good with each other, and the encounter was a good warm-up for Jarrah since she watched her first Oscar's Sunday night with Jen and Craig's dog, Huck. Aside from her effusive applause for Jon Stewart's hosting abilities, her favorite activity of the evening was hyper-crawling after Huck and attempting to pat him into submission.
It was a very social weekend, and I'm pleased to report that Jarrah took all her visitors in stride. She is a bit serious for a few minutes when she meets someone new, but warms up quickly, particularly with Thomas, who is a pro with babies. By the end of the weekend, he was giving David a run for his money as Favorite Really Tall Guy. In fact, Thomas and Lindsey were so good with Jarrah that David and I had our first solo outing since meeting her: we went to see "Tristram Shandy" while Lindsey and Thomas and Zooey took Jarrah to the dog park and gave her dinner. David and I did wonder fleetingly if there was something wrong with us that our primary feeling as we sped towards the theater was relief. I had heard that new parents tend to be incredibly anxious the first time they leave their child with someone else and go on a date, but after a careful self-assessment, we both decided that we were just excited to be going to the movies! Mind you, it was an extremely truncated date, as we dashed into the theater as the lights were going down and were already calling home from the car immediately after. Also, I managed to fall asleep twice during a movie that was not at all boring and actually quite inventive and clever. We are just not rested yet. When we returned, Jarrah was doing just fine without us, and we weren't sure whether to be pleased or miffed. ;)