Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On The Road Again

Lots to report! It was a busy weekend.

Yesterday (which was not technically, or even un-technically, the weekend--but who's counting?) Jarrah and I went to the zoo with her dear Auntie Jane, who craftily wooed her with such fabulous gestures as carrying Jarrah on her shoulders--whee! Jane is so patient with Jarrah, and is also a really good sport considering she had a lovely spring ensemble on and it pretty much poured while we were scooting around the deserted Hoof and Horn Mesa. I put up the bonnet on Jarrah's stroller, but, of course, she is total sensation girl and just stuck her head and hands out to catch the water. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the WWM (World's Worst Mom) when I do things like allow my child to sit in the rain for an hour, or (oops) don't even think about changing her diaper the entire afternoon. (Hey, she smelled fine, so I forgot!) I mean, she seems happy and well-adjusted, and her tushy is perfect despite my neglect, so...should I feel guiltier than I already do? ;)

Jarrah, as you can see in the pictures, had a Very Important Goal at the petting zoo: she was going to pet every goat in residence. This meant she had to stay focused, and each goat got a couple of strokes before she was on to the next one. I think she may have achieved her goal, and without mishap, though there was a fraught couple of minutes when she seemed obsessed with inserting her fingers into the mouth of a chewing goat. She also came close to being pecked by a curious Guinea Fowl, which was odd because she had no Veggie Puffs in her snack tray at the time. And we got to experience a beautiful, unmediated "nature moment" when a mama duck and her 12 adorable ducklings stopped for a roost just a couple of feet from the stroller.

A fine day, and a busy one, but it could in no way rival the panoply of events from Sunday. Our family (how weird to say that) made its first foray to Orange County for Beth's bridal shower, and this was our longest car trip (about 90 minutes) since returning from China. Jarrah, as predicted, was a champion napper on the way there, and charmed the arriving guests from her car seat with some docile post-nap blinking. Then she was whisked off with Daddy while I enjoyed a mimosa (or two) and the opportunity to celebrate Beth's impending nuptials without any squirming or "em-em-ing." As the photos attest, Jarrah was making the most of her morning as well, beginning with power-shopping at Fashion Island with Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Thomas, and following up with a big splash at the "pinging" droplets fountain in the middle of the mall. I have watched children shrieking with delight in this fountain for many a year, so I'm a little bummed I missed Jarrah's first experience with it, though by all accounts she relished every squirt and even stood over the water spritzers, all the better to get soaked.

Afterwards, we had a lengthy lunch in the courtyard of Pacific Whey, where Jarrah seemed to love the food as much as I do, and kept her Aunt Lindsey on her toes with the slicing and dicing of bananas and tomatoes. We left Lindsey and Thomas after lunch and drove to Big Corona Beach, where we met up with Beth and her parents Judy and Jay, none of whom had met Jarrah before (the fleeting glimpse in the car seat didn't really count.) It was a dazzling day, and Jarrah seemed impressed with the blue ocean, and even more impressed with a patch of grass where she ran around like a maniac with Beth in hot pursuit. During this little stopover, we met a couple who told us they adopted their son from Russia when he was 11 years old (!) and that he is 21 now, in college and doing great. In another coincidence, she was from Australia. It was inspiring to hear their story, though I thought it was a smidge bossy when she lectured me about retaining Jarrah's heritage...of course we are always mindful of this dimension in her life, but at the moment we're a little more concerned with what's in her diaper and making sure she doesn't throw herself off the jungle gym. At any rate, she (the mom) would have no way of knowing what we are doing or not doing.

It was time to head back to San Diego, but we still weren't going home because Jane's family had generously invited us to stop in for dinner and a visit. They even had a high chair! And Jane's mom is the most amazing cook. By the time Jane's sister and her two daughters, Rachel and Aliza, arrived, Jarrah was amped in high gear. There was great mirth and circular running and the thrill of being pushed in a doll stroller by a three-year-old. Jarrah has never seen a doll before (that I know of) and seemed a little unsure about the tiny person with the voluminous hair, but she does enjoy pushing a stroller and this one was just her size. Jane and her mom gave Jarrah some gifts, too, including an adorable pink hoodie and a red tutu covered in rose petals.

Readers, it is here that I must make a confession. Not only did I NOT think Lara Flynn Boyle looked tacky when she showed up at the Oscars in a pink ballerina outfit complete with satin lace-up toe shoes, I still fantasize about that ensemble. I was not one of those little girls whose mother sent her to ballet in the pink tights and the black leotard, and how I longed to be like them. When my niece, Stella, went through a tutu phase, it simply sounded like good sense to me--at what other time in life is it socially acceptable to wear tulle to school? Yes, I was sadly tutu deprived, and I have schemed and plotted for about 10 years of finding my redemption through a little girl who will be forced to do what I missed. Readers, that day has come. I cannot WAIT to post photos of Jarrah in that red confection, and I will attempt to hold back my tears...not at the adorable sight of her, but at the deep and abiding injustice that the tutu is not mine.

Again feeling like the WWM, we didn't start packing Jarrah into the car until almost 10:00, and she was still going strong! Luckily she conked right out when we got her home, and slept until the previous-unheard-of time of 7:45. Bliss, absolute bliss! Too bad we can't keep her up until 10:00 every night. ;)

Today we had "Let's Make Music" again and Jarrah is feeling so confident now that she has no use for the class at all. She sprints around the room, sometimes tumbling head over teakettle, and is sure to steal another child's rain stick when she is already holding two. But as for the singing and clapping and gathering around the giant drum? That is so last week, readers. She has moved on. She did enjoy her weekly round of "Ping Pong Samba," but here's another confession: I have gotten so hooked on this infectious ditty that when it ended I found myself shouting "Again, again!" exactly like the Teletubbies. (It's also kind of scary that the other moms laughed in a harsh, mirthless way in response, as if they, too, have lost the will to resist the colorful stuffed beasties.) Today's rendition of "PPS" was accompanied by chiffon arm bands in bright colors that flowed and flapped like the fins of tropical fish. Jarrah loved hers, but was torn whether to exult in her finery or to pry them off just because she could.


Jennifer said...

What a glorius day you all had! It sounds like Miss Jarrah is a trouper and has many more trips in her future. The water pictures are precious and I am so glad you got to sleep in. Can't wait for the Seder shots and her first taste of matzah.


Anonymous said...

At least she didn't try to eat the armbands! :) Sounds like a great weekend -- love the pictures. lix

Mary and Paul said...

Make Way for Ducklings!!!!

Love the photos!


Alleen said...

ok, how bizarre. I updated my blog last night and then logged on to check yours this morning and find both of us used the same title for our latest post!! Great minds think alike!

Such fun times you are having!!!!

Bianca said...

Hi Sam! Wanted to let you know I've been faithfully poring over your delightfully-written adventures. I did want to offer a friendly word regarding the upcoming tutu affair. Jarrah already shows signs of fierce independence and may decide to assert nonconformist ideals by rejecting the tutu! :) Miss you!