Saturday, April 21, 2012

Road Trip #5 or 6

Desmond has more road trips under his belt than years of life.  A long time ago, I would've told you to your face that road trips sucked and that I'd much rather get to my destination sooner rather than later.  I guess the old mantra "life is in the journey, not the destination" didn't sit well with me.  However, having flown on more flights than I can remember with Desmond, I am happy to report that I have fallen in love with that old American standard: the road trip.

This love affair, as with any great love affair, happened quite by accident and when I was least expecting it.  We moved to St. Louis and were set up in our landlord's furnished apartment as our house was being readied for our arrival.  We took the opportunity to go visit some friends and family back East.  We thought we were in a prime position to travel everywhere, with St. Louis being in the middle of the country and all.  :)

Now, 10 hour trips are like a walk in the park.  A walk in the park with a toddler strapped to your back while carrying a diaper bag and walking two dogs, but a walk nonetheless.  10 hours is the max we think Des can get through (it probably takes us 12 hours with stops to eat and let Des run around).  He is awesome in the car.  I can't wait until he's a little older so that we could start playing road trip games.  Someone mentioned to me that they used to tie a string from oh shit bar to oh shit bar (what are they called?) with marks on it for places of interest or exits.  The kids would color and cut out car shapes and would then tie them to the string, moving them along the string as they hit another marker.  Genius, huh?  But I think Desmond is used to the long rides and sort of settles in to his seat once he realizes it's not just a short jaunt to the supermarket. 

For Spring Break this year, we decided to visit my brother John in New York.  It was so much fun to see Desmond connect in such a different way with family than he did almost a year ago. 

One of Des's many books...we get new ones out of the library so that he has some new material and pepper it with some of his faves from home.

A psychedelic glowing cup given to Des by his Aunt Christine on our stop in New Castle.

Magnetic etch a sketch wasn't a huge WIN as I'd hoped it'd be.  I don't think Desmond gets it yet.
My FSIL was so excited to push Des around in a stroller.  I was happy to walk unencumbered, hand-in-hand with Bill.

On my brother's rooftop in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. 
In Carlisle, PA, visiting with Kseniya, Bill's sister.

My "little" brother John.
All dressed up for a nice dinner.
We stopped by some random park in Yellow Springs, Ohio and came upon this miniature wooden doll house.  Desmond was sitting on the dining table.

Releasing some energy.  Essential!
 We love traveling and although it is much easier traveling without him, it's so much fun when he tags along.  Although we were a bit hesitant to start going on road trips with Desmond (and we are doing more of it because flying with a toddler on your lap is harder and because when he turns 2, we will have to start paying for him), we have so enjoyed the journeys and backroads we have taken with Desmond and to get to show him parts of this country that he might have never seen if not for driving through it is so amazing. 

So, don't let a few hours in the car scare you.  Everyone will get used to it.  Remember, it's not the destination, it's the trip.  Or however it goes.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Open Letter to Desmond: 20 months


Des, oh, Des, oh, Des. 

You are one crazy little man.  Your personality is exploding all over the place.  It's thrilling to see how you are developing these little idiosyncracies all on your own (because God knows Mami doesn't jut out her lower jaw like you've been doing and Dada doesn't walk around with his hands down his pants all the least not in front of me).  Where do you pick these things up? 

You are starting to be more communicative with us.  You are so smart (seriously!): you know which English/Spanish word is easier to say and you focus on saying that one.  For example, you say "bah" for ball instead of "pelota" and "loo" for "luz" instead of light.  Your first complete word in Spanish was "pavo" (turkey).  Yeah, I wish it would've been something cooler, too. 

Des loves birds, so naturally, we would take him to the World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis for Eagle Day.

I don't think Des gets it.

You get so frustrated when you want to do something and we can't understand what it is that you want to do.  You sort of grunt, "uh," and point at things that you want or sometimes, you just say "mamamamamama" and look at me with these beautiful brown eyes, begging to be understood.  And if we get it right, we are rewarded with your version of yes: a big grin and a breathy/laughy "yeah."

You love balls (mind out of the gutter, people)...all kinds of balls, but your favorite is the basketball.  I love watching your little face light up when, all of a sudden, on a neighborhood walk, your eyes get wide, you turn to face me, and you point at some yard out in the distance.  I ask you what you see and you say, "bah, bah."  And then I try to find the basketball.  You notice them everywhere: on t-shirts, supermarket sweet 16 signs...everywhere.  And to calm you down when we are out to dinner, your dad puts on a basketball game on YouTube.  This fascination of yours isn't thrilling to me by any means (having never sat through an entire game of basketball), but it does make me smile from ear to ear when I see you clap every time a player makes a basket at the gym and every time you try to steal said player's ball when they throw it out of bounds.

Des helping out with the gardening.

You hate it when we try to brush your teeth and your signal to go outside to play in the backyard is to put on your green froggie boots (and you can almost do it by yourself!)  Although I tried to hold out until you were 2 (as per the American Pediatric Association's recommendation), it was so much easier to get dinner ready or get myself ready for the day if you were busy doing something else (i.e. watching TV).  You never liked anything that I tried to offer to you (mostly Sesame Street), but you did latch on to Curious George 2.  And you love to watch it as you sit and eat your breakfast (and as I get ready for the day).  We try to limit it to 30 minutes of George a day, lest you become a zombie in front of the TV and get a major crick in your neck.

You love playing with your friends Dunnen (Dun-da) from across the street, and Joshua y Lucas, the two boys who live in your nanny's house.  You try to keep up with the big boys in the park.  They mostly ignore with your little legs and arms pumping as fast as they can to catch up to them...and it makes me want to scream at them, "Hey, kids, don't you see that my little boy wants to play with you?" but I take a deep breath and realize that kids have no peripheral vision outside of their own boy sphere and that at their age, I wouldn't have noticed a little rugrat trying to tag along either.  But it still breaks my heart.

Even though some of your other "peers" are saying and vocalizing more than you, and some people might question our method of trying to raise Desmond in a bilingual household, we firmly believe that you will eventually filter out what's Spanish and what is English and that you will take your time in communicating in your own way, whenever you feel ready to do so.  Already, you will listen to your dad and I while we are simultaneously speaking to you in both languages and understand what we say. 

I've had my mind blown before (in good ways and not so orthodox ways), but nothing can compare to seeing what you have accomplished in your little lifespan.  And to think that just 2 regular old people like your dad and me could have created not only a creature who has a heartbeat and eats and moves around, but one that has developed the capability to communicate, emote, and make jokes. 

Ah...You're growing on me, Des.