Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Goin' Out Country

Thanks to many good suggestions we went out to Round Hill Farm today.  Riding out there from Pittsburgh I was a little worried at first--the route we took featured the highest concentration of used car lots that I have ever seen.  Didn't seem like it would resolve itself into farmland anytime soon.  I kept the faith, however, and we got there just as the weather decided that it wasn't going to rain after all.

Getting there a little bit later in the afternoon meant that 99% of the animals were not in their convenient stalls and barns but way out in the pasture where we could only see them from a distance. Which, actually, is probably good for Our Little City Boy, who is still scared of dogs. We got to see some horses, some sheep and some adorable lambs, right in time for Easter!

Oh yeah--and we fed some ducks.

An actual metal slide--remnant of a pre litigious world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Musical Genius Update

About a year ago, Donovan was obsessed with the piano.  He would get up in the middle of dinner and run to the front room so he could play it.  And it wasnt just noodling around--his grandfather taught him how to play a chord and damn if the kid did'nt figure out how to apply that one chord formula into playing every chord the piano has to offer.  We took him to a Suzuki teacher for lessons.  She admitted he had "a gift" (natch: duh) but said he was a little too young.  We agreed with her and made a date to touch base a few months later.

Not that its a few months later, she doesnt have room for him in her local studio but may be moving to Bloomfield soon which is even better for us. And the really good news?  Donny seems to have rediscovered the piano.  Not only that but he's been asking Mike to teach him to play songs.  So now he picks out "Lullabye and Goodnight" (which is what Mike plays every night before taking the kid up to bed) and today Mike taught him the "Mississippi Hot Dog" version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

What's really blowing my mind tho is that Donovan and I have this game we play where I sneak up on him and tickle him.  And when I sneak up on him I sing this.  Which he taught himself to play on the piano with no help from Dad. 

I fully expect to wake up one morning to hear him playing Aladdin Sane or Tango Till They're Sore...

Friday, April 15, 2011

And the Lights! And the Sound!

I'm in the office and Mike is getting Donovan ready for bed in the next room.  This is difficult because we went to the CMU Carnival tonight and Donny won a ball at the Duck Pond and he doesn't want to put it down.

I've always loved amusement parks and carnivals--the mix of lights and movement and noise and music are really pretty, especially when an entire city of games and rides pops up in the middle of a parking lot, if only for a day or two. The CMU carnival is just that sort of ephemeral, beautiful confusion and we had a great time there with Donny, Donny's friend Leo and Leo's family. It was extra fun watching Donny and Leo get all excited for the rides--running between the Merry Go Round and the Motorcycles, taking turns copying each other. It was a lovely evening.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Not To Do

Donovan likes throwing things. And I can’t say I blame him, but we try to discourage him from throwing things in the house. The day before yesterday we got a package I had ordered from a flashsale site: a new lunch box for him and a red kickball with yellow polka dots. He was super excited about the ball, which made us feel bad because it was raining out so he couldn’t go outside to play with it. We tried to get him to roll it thru the house but he could’nt resist the temptation to throw it. Thus the following exchange:

ME: Donovan! We don’t throw balls in the house! I keep having to tell you this--no throwing!
DVS: [very serious] Throwing balls in the house is bad.
ME: That’s right!
DVS: We don’t throw balls in the house.
ME: Correct.
DVS: And we don’t throw pianos.
ME: Uh, yes. No piano throwing inside.
DVS: And we don’t throw chairs and couches.
ME: Right…
DVS: And we don’t throw socks.
[and on and on…]

No piano throwing in the house, people--take that mess Out. Side!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thus Starts the Kid's Curriculum Vita

I wasn't too sure how today was going to go.  Last night, Donny had a really bad cough and an even worse reaction to the All Natural Buckwheat Honey Based Cough Syrup that we gave him (it necessitated a load of late night laundry: I'll leave it at that.)  And I was worried because today was the Masquerade Party and Children's Art Exhibit at Lili Coffee Shop.

Lili is a wonderful place and all three of us like going there.  It was a godsend in the really bad weather when tempers were frayed and we were all feeling a little bit too Donner Party for our own good.  This morning, with the art exhibit somewhat in mind, I gave in to Donovan's begging to put together a Bird Feeder Kit he got as a birthday gift.  We worked on it together but I tried to let him do the majority of the work.  He got to hammer in some nails and do most of the painting, which is the part he really wanted to get to.  The feeder ended up with a red tray, one white wall, one blue wall and a yellow roof.  It looked pretty stark so I suggested he paint some words on it.  He decided the only word we needed was "HELLO," which, with a little help from me, he painted in red.  We dropped it off a Lili this morning, came back home, had a major disagreement about napping (Me pro, him anti), and then we worked on his mask.  He liked it but had to be bribed with some fruit snacks to actually wear it.  That's not really true--I gave him the fruit snacks so he'd have something else to do with his hands and he'd leave the damn thing alone.  Worked like a charm for about 45 minutes.  When we got there, there were lots of people and lots of great art of all kinds on the walls.  Donovan was geeked to see his birdfeeder in pride of place in the back room.

Here are my few and far between shots of the event.  Hopefully there will be links from others I can post soon.  Props to Lili for making my kid, and all the other Polish Hill kids, feel like the rock stars they are.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Sometimes I wonder how well I'm communicating with Donovan, or even how well he's able to communicate in general.  I suppose all parents of preschoolers have these questions, but I wouldn't really know.  The past few days, tho, saw two very different breakthroughs:

1.  Sunday being Donny's birthday, I made him a cake after he went to bed on Saturday and we served it up Sunday afternoon, complete with candles and "Happy Birthday To You."  When we were putting him to bed that night, he said, "Thanks for making me the cake, Mama.  I liked when you sang to me."  Where did that come from?  I actually got a little weepy, in a good way.

2.  Tonight I was getting him ready for bed and he was being a real brat.  He'd had one time out and was on his way to his second.  I finally asked him what was wrong and he sat up and said, "You keep talking.  I don't want you to talk!"  Well.  I said, "OK, I'll stop talking but I need you to put your head on the pillow and lie down."  Which he did.  Then I said, "Last thing I'll say--do you need covers or not?"  "No covers!"  Alright then.  I laid down next to him and, just about instantaneously, he was asleep. 

So, yeah: communication.  Such a relief...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Birthdays and Pathos

Donny's friend, Leo, had a birthday party today.  It was in the lovely room they use for a gym at Waldorf.  The invitation asked for artwork or cards as presents so Donny and I made Leo a paperchain.  We put it in a gift bag and halfway to the busstop, Donny asked where it was.  It not only had fallen out of the bag (which was being held by Donny) but had managed to get blown up Herron Avenue.  Herron Avenue on a Saturday?  Busy!  We managed to chase it down and it managed not to get run over or wound around an axle.

Donny was very happy all the way to the party and was all excited to hand Leo the bag and say, "Happy Birthday, Leo!"  All that went well.  And he had a great time running around playing with a red balloon.

And then the balloon popped.

O, Sweet Jesus: it was the end of the world.

The poor kid--his face just crumpled and he came running over to me from across the room.  It took awhile but I finally got him calmed down.  He had some cake and took a blue balloon with him when we left.  And halfway to the bus stop he asked where it was.  It had come off the ribbon and blown behind us under a parked truck.  I told Donny to stay on the sidewalk and I got down on my hands and knees in the street to get it.

And then the balloon popped.

O, Sweet Jesus--the world ended AGAIN and THIS time he had someone to blame: Me.  " BROKE my ballOOOOOON! [sob, sob, sob]"

Mike is going out now to make a grocery store run.  Of course in our grocery shopping we did'nt get any cocoa or confectioners sugar.  Why would we?  Its not like we're going to be making any birthday cakes or...Ohhhh...  He's also going to, hopefully, pick up a nice sturdy Mylar balloon.  One that won't pop quite so easily.  I'm hoping he'll be a happy birthday boy tomorrow when he wakes up to see a shiny new balloon in his room.

Here are some pictures from the party.  Despite the pathos, it was a very sweet party and, in between the angst, we had a very nice time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ohio Represent!

Grammy and Aunt Karolin from Ohio sent a birthday package to Donovan. Below are the results:

Great Aunts Carolyn and Rose also checked in:

Clock Watching...

Oh, Friday--you are moving way too sloooow!  Tomorrow is Saturday!  Chop, chop!  Move it, already!

Tomorrow is a busy day with a birthday party for one of Donny's old Waldorf buddies.  I'm looking forward to it and I hope he will, too.  Then Sunday is his birthday: 4 years old!  Yesterday when we got home he was very sleepy and wanted me to sit down on the couch so I could hold him on my lap.  And he didn't fit.  Those long legs of his couldn't find a place to go and I was left with the conundrum: kitten or second child.  I'm sorry but I need a small thing to pet on a regular basis.  I will hold him and squeeze him and call him George...