Friday, April 2, 2010

Are those Zebra Eggs?

Wren, Frost and I went to the zoo this morning. It was the Speed Dating equivalent of a normal visit. How to see the most animal in 30 minutes. Our goal was Giraffe so we raced around the africa savannah seeing hippo, oryx, zebra, ostrich and finally... GIRAFFE.

Wren noticed a clutch of [ostrich] eggs in the savannah and was excited. "Are those Zebra Eggs?" he asked?
"Do zebra's lay eggs?" I asked.
"No?" he answered, carefully.
"Who lays eggs..."
"BIRDS!" he said... "I don't knowwa? Do they?"

As we passed the hippos I realized that some adults are not much better than Wren in imagining Zebra eggs. A woman walking with her daughter (age 5ish) said "Look at the rhino statue, Macy."

The Rhino is pictured in this mud wallow below.

"Is it a rhino?" asked 'Macy'.
"Sure is. Look, it has armor on it."
"But it looks like a hippo."
"No, its a rhino."
"But it doesn't have a horn?"
"Some of them don't."

The boys riding the Rhippo

After sorting that out we moved on and Frost saw a bag of jelly beans spilled on the ground.
"Can we eat them?" he asked.
"Can we eat them?" Wren echoed, hopefully?
"Sure," I said. "You can eat one. They probably have zoo-poo compost on them but if you only eat 1 you'll be okay."
"Yuck! Zoo poo?" grimaced Frost, unsure whether I was serious.
"It will be fine, with one." I confirmed.
Wren dusted one off and ate it so Frost did too.
"Would another be OK too?" asked Frost, looking at the fallen bounty.
"I think you should just have one."
I had one too. I think that jelly beans, having hard shells, are less likely to absorb bacteria and stuff from the ground so I wasn't too concerned despite the stares.

Jelly Belly bonanza!

"Shannon, Come, come and SEE what we found!"

A bit later we played with Dylan and Laurie and ate food that had not be on the floor near animals. Dylan impressed Frost by his April 1st PRANKS (disconnecting the toilet chain in the cistern so it would not flush, taping the toilet seat down). On the way home Frost asked me how you stopped a toilet flushing, exactly. Not being very mechanically minded this was a challenge for Frost.

I told him he was not to mess with our new toilet in our new bathroom or he would have a new sense of my role as Mother [of the bathroom]. Of course, my hostility was masking a secret fear that he will open our new low-flow, dual flush toilet and take it apart, somehow. Nobody, not even our plumber, knows how the Europeans make their toilets and I am hoping to wait at least a decade to find out.

Later, when I was on the phone to Yet Another Roofing Company, he called me to his bedroom urgently. I know its urgent when he calls "Mommy, mommy" instead of a rather droll, "Shannon".

I opened the door to his room and a raw egg fell from the sky and broke on the carpet.

The Wicked Snow Queen cast him in her icy glare and swept from the room, her ermine furs hissing on the dirty carpet.

He was very quiet for a long time and then came out cautiously and asked "are you cross with me?"

"That was a REAL EGG from our OWN CHICKENS." I said. "You should apologize to them."

OK, that was not really a quotable moment from my parenting bible but its all I could think of. He should drop eggs on Joshua. He is the one in the family with a sense of humor.

Good news from the awfuldentist today - only a few more months of braces!!!! He said "a couple" so I told Frost "by summer, no braces" to manage his expectations.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What goes up

This morning we scooted to visit Leo, Anna and Ari. The sky was a cornflower blue [#6495ED] above us but to the north and south huge mounds of grey black clouds massed and churned. I was riding the scooter we snagged at the Lakeside Rummage sale last weekend. Unlike the old one, I am able to stand upright while scooting (the old one was found in a dumpster near our campsite at Cape Disappointment last summer and is held together with duct tape) and as a result I have fewer collisions and dead stops when I encounter surprising ridges and cracks in the sidewalk.

This is refreshing.

In my newfound confidence I have learned to do TRICKS. Wren also does tricks. He sticks his leg out in an arabesque while shouting "LOOOOOK LOOOOK". I do a trick where I hook one leg over the handlebars and shout "Look Wren, look!" Then he throws himself on the ground and rolls around a bit. This thrashing is because he can't do that move and is dismayed by my skill, grace and elegance ;) I urge him to get up and concede to copy his move and he deigns to copy his old move back again, with a twist of one arm out!

Apparently we look quite cute scooting around. Or perhaps it is amusing to people to see a 56 Wii-year old mother scooting with her 3 year old son [Aside: My Wii age yesterday was 56 while Josh's is now 22. If he regresses much further our relationship will be on an awkward footing]

Wren was a bit reserved at Leo's while he ate a rice-cake and peanut butter AND HONEY and a string cheese and frozen blueberries. However, his reserve was quickly eroded by his first trampoline bounce.

Here are some pictures of Leo and Wren on the trampoline.

1. Wren tells Leo what to do. Leo is not sure. Wren is pretending to be a little lion. The little lion thinks that it is too bouncy in the middle and wants Leo to stay at middle so he can be safe at the periphery.

2. But they both fall down anyway.
3. Falling down is funny. So is having hair that stands on end.
4. And jumping up and down is pretty fun too.
5. And falling down is ... well, you probably follow this part of things.

6. Except then you get really crazy hair and it hurts to touch you because you are electrifyingly bouncy. This reminds me of my brother, David's, hair when he was this age. It was always out like a dandelion.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chilly Green

Determined to buck the Last Child in the Woods trend, I dragged Wren out for a birdwatch at Mercer Slough on Friday. It was a bitter day after a week of sun and we were not well prepared for the wind that swept across the grassland from Lake Washington. Despite the weather, the daffodils were bunching, the apple trees were in blossom and the ducks were mating. Horsetail ferns were pushing up their strange asparagus-like tips and we enjoyed watching flocks of white-capped sparrows, robins and chickadees moving through the old orchards at CUH.

Here are some pictures from that morning.

It was cold and I only had my bunny hat in the car so I wore that. As often happens with something on your head, I quickly forgot about it and only later realized why the posses of dog walkers were giving me smiles and nods. I had assumed it was the indefatigable cuteness of Wren.

Over by the pond Wren saw some Northern Shovelers 'fighting'. They were actually mating but it did not look friendly. The drake had pounced on the female duck and thrust his tail over her to the point that she was submerged beneath him and desperately sticking her head out from underwater while he did his "fighting" on her. This picture is of the drake mating. The duck is completely submerged beneath as he holds her down with his beak!

Wren found the horsetail ferns fascinating and broke some off to "see what is inside".

Outside CUH Wren found a fountain and asked for coins to drop in wishes. He had four pennies and one nickel and wished for:

An excavator
A digger
A ferry boat
A red dragon and

Since I had wished for a coffee we retreated to Zoka where I enjoyed one. Josh has challenged me to try his new diet (involving a single month long behavior change. His was only drinking water instead of other sweeter beverage options) and so I am now forsworn from pastries, even those which are remnants of Wren's indulgence.

We have just bought a Wii Fit board. Wii Fit analyzed the family and told us that Joshua is overweight, I am on the cusp of normal/overweight and Frost is at risk of being overweight.

Frost is rather alarmed and asked for a banana for bedtime snack instead of his usual nutella toast X2 option. He is thrilled and appalled by the accusation and reminded me of something Principal Skinner said "there is right and there is rude," calling Wii Fit rather rude. He says he will not let his friends do it in case they are offended. Good call. For the record, Frost is not overweight but he is large for his age - in the 75% percentile or so, which has probably been interpreted as rather risky weight wise. I explained that he is a fine size but of course he could eat better as he eats far too much sugary food and does not like to eat many vegetables. We shall see if this lasts.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

To the woods, the woods

A few weeks ago we went on the first PSMS Spring mushroom hunt to forage for morels in the Tolt River watershed area. The starting point was a State Park near carnation, an area well known to me from that summer we took a share in a CSA and drove out to the far east-side weekly to collect our produce. In a surprising development, Josh came with us despite the early hour and the promise of dragging around the woods hunting for fungi he is not particularly driven to explore gastronomically.

The family set out a bit ahead of the crowd (about 100) to to the cottonwoods, crossing this cable footbridge with wide wooden slats. Once a few people were on board it bounced alarmingly and Wren clung to us as we crossed.

We thought there might be a troll...

This is the view down the river. Scenes like this make me want to buy a canoe and paddle off. The downside of canoeing is that its much harder to paddle upstream and I don't know how we can all paddle and still have someone to fetch us.

Frost looks through a viewing scope which superimposes the image of an old bridge over the river. That bridge was swept away in flooding a few years ago, and a new bridge was built.

"I see a troll!"

We battled through the cottonwoods for a while finding very few fungi. Sometimes I thought it was too wet, othertimes I thought it was too dry. Frost thought it was too nettly, Wren thought it was too brambly. We found some interesting things but no morels!

Frost says "I have become VERY FAT" [he has hidden his coat in his shirt]
"I will defend Wren from trolls"

Of the lot of us, Josh was most overcome with despair at the lack of mushrooms and the seeming endlessness of nature. Coming to a pebbled beach he finally crumbled under the pressure of all the outdoorsyness and buried his face in his hands.

"Perhaps if I press my hands hard against my eyes I will see trolls"

Spirits buoyed by throwing stones into the river, the small band straggled home across the river. The icy water below, the sun above. Wren collected yellow dandelion flowers and Frost tried to make the bridge sway and us fall over.

Notice the stone, suspended at the line between water and bank.

It was a good day of suffering in the woods and we felt justified in relaxing in the living room for the rest of the day and playing with D&Ds.