Doing What Works, Because It Works

Today, Baguette’s Daisy troop had an outing to a UCLA Gymnastics meet. I’ve been thinking about taking her to see a gymnastics meet, so this seemed like a great opportunity. She’d get to see some of her friends and have a new adventure.

gymnastics meet warmup at Pauley Pavilion, from stands

We made it through the warmup, and Baguette was done. There were two factors.

First, she didn’t want to sit in the stands. She wanted to go down onto the floor with the college teams, because clearly they were doing something active and fun, while she was just sitting there.

Second, apparently now every athletic competition is a concert. My gymnastics viewing is pretty much limited to the Olympics, during which I can hear the equipment flex at moments of impact. But from well up in the stands in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, we got an overwhelming combination of music, announcements, cheers, and more. As we learned later, it was a bit much for the neurotypical girls, too.

So we left our seats and walked around the concourse for a bit, to see if we could cajole her back in once the actual meet got underway. Turns out? We could not.

Fortunately, we had a Plan B: UCLA.

Baguette loves the campus. We’ve taken her there any number of times over the years, and she runs around it like she owns the entire place. She seems to be learning her way around; often, it’s clear that she knows where she wants to go and how to get there, and we just follow her lead.

So we did that. We went up staircases and down walks and through buildings and plazas. We watched the marine layer come in, bringing the fog ever closer from the west, even though the campus itself was still bright and sunny. And after a couple of hours, she asked to go for a ride in the car.

It was a great afternoon. Maybe not the one we expected, but great nonetheless.

It was what worked, and it worked well.

Will Disneyland Be the Happiest Place on Earth for Baguette?

A through E

A lot of Baguette’s peers have been to Disneyland–many of them, more than once. My parents first took me when I was four, and we had annual trips until we left California a couple of years later. I’ve been a handful of times since, as a teen and as an adult (most recently with Mr. Sandwich and one of my college friends, about seven years ago), and it continues to be an amazing experience.

Baguette is four, and we have no plans to take her to Disneyland. It’s not that we have any objection to Disneyland. It’s more that we’re not even remotely sure that she’ll like it.

She’s just started to discover Disney movies, and she’s really only interested in Frozen. While she does know Mickey and Minnie, I’m not sure she sees them as anything more than two of her (many) plushes.

Disneyland is crowded. It has innumerable lines. While there is a program to accommodate people with physical disabilities and special needs, I haven’t yet figured out how it works, and it still sounds as if there is a lot of line-standing and coordination required to navigate the program and the park.

Will Baguette like any of the rides? Will she be okay with having a lap bar that holds her in place? Will flying on the Dumbo ride completely terrify her? Will Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride be a little too wild? Will Snow White’s Scary Adventure give her nightmares that she can’t tell us about? After all, this is a kid who won’t even ride one of the moving animals on a carousel.

Also? Disneyland is freaking expensive. $96 each for Mr. Sandwich and me, and $90 for Baguette. That’s $282, and we haven’t parked. Or eaten. Or bought a single souvenir. $282 and a drive that isn’t short, for a day she may find frustrating and frightening.

We’ll wait. Disneyland isn’t going anywhere. Plus, that gives us time to save up for it. Because entry will probably be $500 for the three of us by the time we’re confident about her readiness.

Photo by Andy Castro, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

Sand Pail List – What I Want To Do This Summer


Happy First Day of Summer, all!

Last year I created my first Sand Pail List, and I think I can call it a rousing 50% success.

This year’s list has some similar items, but with a few changes:

Go to the park
I’m pretty confident we’ll do this; we have a (mostly) weekly playdate with Bestie and her parents, and I’ve gotten into the habit of taking Baguette to the playground on our own as well. She loves the sand and the playscapes, but she also loves “running on the grass!”

Go to the beach
We want to go at least four times. That number is arbitrary, so maybe more. We all love the beach. To motivate us, I bought Mr. Sandwich this beach blanket made of nylon parachute silk.

Go to the pool
The public pool near our home re-opened last year, and we took Baguette several times toward the end of the summer. This year, we started going on Father’s Day, which fell on their opening weekend.

Work on my photography skills
Mr. Sandwich bought me a book that I really liked. He bought it for me probably a year and a half ago. I still need to put it into practice. Between an active subject (Baguette) and a sleepy subject (Wicket), I should be able to try a variety of approaches.

Go to a summer concert

I’m not sure Baguette is ready for this, and Sunday nights are not the easiest–but with a little planning, maybe we can get to one of the concerts at a park a few miles away.

Get (a little bit) organized
I want to clear off part of the living room bookcase for Baguette’s toys–which requires cleaning out part of the other bookcases and getting rid of a bunch of books. I don’t think it will be fun or easy, but it really should be satisfying.

So what’s on your Sand Pail List?

If you want to use the Sand Pail icon, feel free! You can find it on Flickr.

Farm Life

Pierce College in Woodland Hills has an agricultural program, and one weekend every year, they open up their farm to the public. Luckily for us, this was that weekend. Much of my time was spent complying with cries of “PIGGYBACK!”, but I still managed to get a few shots.

Pierce College Farmwalk - chickens

Pierce College Farmwalk - sheep shearing

Pierce College Farmwalk - Toy Train

We also saw a cow and its calf, a tortoise, an owl, a parrot, goats and a kid, and horses, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Traditions: What We Did on the Fourth of July

I like to think my Independence Day tradition is watching 1776, but the fact is that I don’t always do that. In fact, I suspect I usually don’t. But I love that movie so much that it feels like it ought to be my tradition.

My second favorite Fourth came when I lived in Austin. It was incredibly hot, as Austin is wont to be, and my apartment air conditioning was working poorly, as my apartment air conditioning was wont to do. On the spur of the moment, I called my brother in San Antonio and said, “What are you doing for the Fourth?” He said, “[Best friend] is coming over, and we’re going to grill.” I said, “Can I join you?” and then did so. We grilled everything but the french fries–burgers, buns, corn, you name it. After dinner we all went up to the second floor and watched fireworks on the horizon. And because my brother was house-sitting for my parents, the air conditioning was much better.

My favorite Fourth doesn’t even feel like the Fourth, because the highlight of the day had nothing to do with American independence. Nine years ago today, Mr. Sandwich proposed in a way that was so perfectly us that I can’t imagine it happening any other way.

In more recent years, we’ve gone to a variety of parties–last year I think we hit four in the 3-day weekend. But none of those materialized for today, so we woke up this morning with no plans. We talked about whether to take Baguette out to see fireworks–would she love them? would she get scared? After deciding that it would probably keep her up (and us out) too late, we opted for a daytime visit to Travel Town.

When my brother and I were kids, he adored Travel Town–after all, you could climb all over the trains and even sit on top of them. On one visit he spotted a birthday party and announced that he wanted his next birthday to be at Travel Town, and it was.

But we moved away and grew up, and I hadn’t been back. Now, with Baguette, it seemed like it might make a nice outing. We decided to head over as soon as they opened, and I began to get ready. As I was packing the diaper bag, I looked up and discovered that Baguette had passed out on the couch. Apparently she was ready for her nap–two and a half hours early. In the interest of letting sleeping babies lie, we moved her to the bed and postponed our departure.

I’m glad that we did, because she loved it. We read about different kinds of train cars, peered into a car that had been used by USPS, examined a variety of engines and box cars and lounge cars, ran around an empty passenger car (now used for parties, but not being used for anything at the moment we were there)–and of course rode the miniature train that circles the grounds.

She fell asleep on the way home, resulting in an unusual second nap. So while we’re still set on grilling later on, the question remains: will we, or will we not, bundle her up in PJs and shoes to watch fireworks?

Regardless, may you all have a happy and safe Fourth of July. And if you don’t celebrate the Fourth of July, just be happy and safe.

It’s a Zoo!

Baguette is probably not looking at elephants.

My dad and stepmom were in town this past weekend, and while Mr. Sandwich did his 20-mile run (someone’s training for the L.A. Marathon next month), the four of us went to the Los Angeles Zoo.

Baguette wasn’t particularly interested in the animals, but she did enjoy spinning and walking in circles. She enjoyed me doing that, too.

She was less interested in riding in the stroller we rented, although it was handy for pushing around the diaper bag, which still weighs a ton for reasons I can’t quite identify. And while she did walk, for an awful lot of the time, she wanted me to carry her.

Which really pointed out to me that I don’t particularly care for the L.A. Zoo. There is a lot of walking involved in a visit, and when you’re carrying a toddler, it’s a long way between animals.

A long way.

This is why I still haven’t joined a gym.

Down on The Farm

The San Fernando Valley is home to The Farm, a ramshackle but delightful animal rescue site that doubles as a petting zoo. It’s home to horses, cows, sheep, emus, alpacas, pigs, a variety of poultry, and an astonishing number of goats.

Although as far as Baguette was concerned, the place was full of puppies. She loved it, and them. We’ll be back.