Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Grama and Grampa Come to Town!

It was off to San Clemente after Christmas for an ADVENTURE with our little Reeder (we enjoyed her parents as well!). The excuse (not that I exactly need an excuse) was to give Reeder's parents AKA Clint and Marianne an opportunity for an anniversary celebration (6 years) and a bit of a respite on Catalina Island before BABY #2. So we flew (notice we are not EVER driving the desolate road across central California- I never need that kind of reality check on what this state would have looked like except for human intervention)- But Alaska Airlines is a painless way to fly from here (or rather Oakland) to Orange County.

Immediately we were aware that things were changing for our little girl. We had arrived in the middle of "POTTY TRAINING"!

Most of you probably believe that potty training is a process to train the child how and when to use the potty. Not true for us. The process was much more the training us to recognize the need and then to get Reeder to a potty before her pant legs started getting soaked. We started out by asking as often as we thought about it and 99% of the time Reeder's answer was "NOOOOOOOO". The key was hearing her when she would quietly say "potty" and rushing her to an appropriate potty in time. We missed it at the play ground and again in a shopping cart. There were a couple of successes, most just before bed. But our effort was valiant. It should be obvious that to achieve success in this process, one must always have quick access to a "potty". We were made well aware of this upon our arrival at the airport and the walk to the car at which time we needed a potty. Marianne was already well trained about Reeder's signal, so our first exposure (so to speak) was in the back of Clint's car in the parking garage of the airport.

This was a successful event for both Reeder and Marianne and the success was enjoyed by all. Our first night we helped put Reeder to bed in her new "big girl bed"

and Marianne read her night time book.

The next day I took the parents to "The Boat" for their Catalina adventure and Max took care of Reeder. When Reeder asked where Mommy and Daddy were, we told her that they had gone on a boat and would be back soon. So it was up to us to keep her entertained and to try to keep her jeans dry for the next 36 hours. The entertaining was not too hard. First we went to the "Kid's Park" so she could play. While there we were at least successful in keeping her entertained.

Our efforts to keep her jeans dry were not quite so successful even though we had the travel potty in the back of the car. But at least Reeder gave us a hint of the need just before it was too late. And since we did have some experience in this type of effort in our previous lives, we did have a spare pair of pants.

And we think that we saw a glimmer of talent for a future career as a PLUMBER! What do you think?

And then it was off to a Mexican Restaurant for lunch- No McDonald's for this little one!

I bet you didn't know that you don't need chips for guacamole- just use a fork- Don and I didn't get so much- we were trying to use chips!

Or that rice is a finger food?

And don't tell Reeder's Mommy and Daddy that we didn't always make her sit in the high chair.

But the best time was watching Mickey and his friends curled up on the couch snuggling! Other than answering NOOOOOO to our questions about needing to potty and asking if mommy and daddy were still on the boat, Reeder's next comment was always "more Mickey". This little girl has fallen in love with Mickey and his friends.

Grandpa Don was a good snuggler! Sometimes Lefty and Poncho even joined in!

And Grandpa read the bedtime story- It was a hysterical watching Don- with his bad back, bad shoulder, bad knee, And zero flexibility-

- crawl into the "Big Girl Bed"!

During the first morning when Don took Clint and Marianne to the boat, Reeder asked me "Daddy, work?". I said "No, Daddy's on a boat". She said , "Daddy, boat?" And of course the answer was "Yes". Then she said "Mommy, Boat?". And that was a yes as well. Well after that about every hour or so she would look up at me and say, "Daddy, boat?" - and I would respond "Yes". Then she'd say "Mommy, boat?" and I'd say "Yes". In fact when she woke up on Sunday morning after a night's sleep and I went into get her up the first thing she said was (there is a long pause here while the reader's come up with the answer)- you got it- "Daddy, boat?", "Mommy, boat?".

And then it was off to the local IHOP for breakfast:

Man oh man- that whip cream on top of the pancakes sure tasted good!

And of course Grandpa helped build "towers" out of the cream-

And we made sure that Reeder logged adequate time on the potty- success or no!

But the time raced by and soon it was time to go to the "boat" and find Mommy and Daddy!


And Reeder was so very happy that Mommy and Daddy were home from the boat!

But the story doesn't end there- though it does seem like it might- We still had another adventure before we boarded the plane for San Fran (our HAH- Home Away from Home).

WE WENT TO THE ZOO! Now I must say this wasn't Don's idea! Don hates zoos- He can't stand to see animals penned up and pacing in small places. And even though I have explained over and over that these animals would be dead- or extinct- if not for zoos in this day and age- I think Don thinks being dead beats being in a cage- so he sets his jaw and refuses to even pretend that he's having a good time. You'd think by now (since I love zoos- I live in a cage of sorts so I don't mind the cage thing so much - unless it's small and there is any pacing- not that from time to time I haven't done a bit of pacing- I do yoga now-) anyway- you'd think by now that Don wouldn't go- or that I wouldn't insist- But no- he comes along- scowling from time to time just to remind me that he is not having a good time! There does seem to be a contradiction here about how animals are treated. Max only buys eggs from "happy chickens", i.e., those that are cage free. They cost about twice as much a regular eggs, but we support the concept of "happy chickens". She also only buys chicken breasts from meat markets that have Amish chickens. I suppose an Amish Chicken is happy too, at least just before they undertake their final objective, which is to make us happy to have them. So why Max cares so much for chickens, but not for elephants, big cats, Panda's and all of the other zoo inmates, is something I don't understand.
As an addendum to the above paragraph (and thanks to Sharon Lucas for the link) here is an "ethical" argument of why zoos aren't on my list of favorites. This is pretty one sided and doesn't give the zoo lover's point of view, but it is worth thinking about. Here is the link:

But it was off to the San Diego Zoo for us. I hadn't been for 30 years- when Brandy was 18 months old! Reeder was ready to go and appropriately outfitted for the day.

There were Flamingos (Reeder's favorite- the "mangos")-

And my favorite- the Orangutan-

And we saw Brandy's favorite- the goats! Well at least they were when she was 18 months- she rushed into the barnyard yelling with glee- hugging first one and then another- I turned and she planted a big one- You got it- a big kiss on a startled goat's behind! Reeder wasn't so smitten....
And the pandas- but this was a bit painful- because even though they're hyped as the big attraction- they live in smallish pens- and the one we watched did pace! Painful!

And in case you're wondering- we did carry the potty under the stroller throughout the zoo. Marianne was a lot better at knowing when Reeder needed the potty and on this occasion we were on a walkway that was a bit off the beaten track. There was a large trash can to offer some privacy, although I'm not certain Reeder needed it. We had time and Reeder had time, so she sat and we waited. The result was a success that was celebrated appropriately and the urine was recycled as fertilizer for a plant at the zoo.

But then at last it was time to leave the zoo- and go to Daddy's work- there instead of animals they have Marines! Reeder likes Marines better than the animals! Clint is the Company Commander over 400 enlisted men and 22 Sargents.

Reeder likes to help Daddy!

This is Daddy's new "taxi" for getting Marines from place to place-

This is called a LAV- Light armoured vehicle- doesn't look too "light" to me- But I do guess "light" versus "heavy" is all in the reference!

But all too soon it was time to say goodbye- And off we flew on an Alaska Airlines Disney Express back to Oakland. Reeder would have loved the way it was decorated with pictures of Mickey, Minnie and Donald!

Our next trip to San Clemente will be in March- And then Reeder is going to have a new sister or brother. We can't wait to see Reeder "share" her Mommy and Daddy!


Anonymous said...

Reeder looks so tiny in her "big girl" bed! Of course, cute as can be. love, brandy

Anonymous said...

What a great time for Clint and MArianne! I am so glad you got to do that and see Reeder. Can't wait to see you in Columbus! Have been missing you all so much!