March 26, 2012

Mitsuwa: Manhattan to Tokyo in 30 Mins

We went to Mitsuwa, the largest Japanese supermarket/mall in the US and easily accessible from the Port Authority Gate 51 via 30 minute shuttle bus to Edgewater, NJ. The supermarket is stocked with every fresh and packaged japanese product imaginable, from brightly colored pickled vegetables to face creams. What makes it a destination in and of itself is the food court, which boasts the best ramen noodle soup EVER, amazing green tea ice cream, waffle-like desserts stuffed with red bean paste and dumplings that are at least 40% more flavorful than any dumpling you've ever had at any other Japanese restaurant. A+ food. Oh, and the PORK. Mmmmmm porkkkkkk.

This Japanese staycation idea came from my friend Melissa (of Philadelphia blog Whiz and Firkin) who planned a second visit with her boyfriend and invited us to join. She described her first visit as being the only place she's been to where she truly felt transported to a foreign country--it was like being in Tokyo. Oh, that got me excited! We decided to be uber tourists and spend the evening there on Saturday.

When we first walked in at the produce department, I felt a little silly. It's a supermarket after all; a place for the large Japanese population in NJ to shop for their weekly groceries or stop for a quick meal in the food court for a taste of home, not necessarily a place for white people to gawk at products we've never seen before, take pictures, let our toddler run free and stuff our faces. But I quickly got over any initial discomfort and fully dove into a really fun 3.5 hour shopping and eating spree because the place really is incredible! And it was of course extra fun to have Savannah there, running around the store, grabbing snacks off the shelves, filling her basket, slurping noodles for an hour.

In fact, Rob and I probably had a very similar experience to Savvy's. It was sensory overload heaven--loud, colorful, crowded! And none of us could decipher the packaging! We bought a bunch of sweet and savory snacks and let Savvy choose some of the items because her guess was as good as ours, and everything was reasonably priced.

Before you take your own staycation across the Hudson to Mitsuwa, here are some tips to maximize your visit:

1. Time your food consumption wisely, especially on a busy Saturday. We arrived at 5:15pm and left on an 8:45pm shuttle bus back to the city. We ate a small dinner and some desserts around 6pm, assuming we'd have room in our tummies for more savory food later on when Melissa and her boyfriend ate their meal (Rob and I are on Savvy's early dinnertime schedule). The only problem was by the end of the evening all the prepared foods sold in the supermarket (sushi and sashimi, etc - the stuff we wanted) were nearly sold out. Saturdays are CROWDED. Sadly I can't comment on the sushi here.

2. The food court restaurants are Cash Only. I arrived with $2 in my wallet. Whoops. The ATM was out of service but after asking a few employees where another was located, one suggested I purchase Mitsuwa gift cards from customer service with my credit card, and just use those at the restaurants. Crisis averted.

3. Turn it into a day trip in order to eat at least 2 meals at the food court. On our way out, we noticed that right next door is a driving range and mini golf center. Fun! I'd suggest arriving for lunch, followed by a stroll along the river to check out the Manhattan skyline view, followed by mini-golf, then back to Mitsuwa for shopping/gawking at all the supermarket delicacies, partaking in some free samples, an early dinner and dessert. If you have extra time, there's a Japanese bookstore (I enjoyed looking at the fashion mags and children's books), a home goods store that also sells toys, and a salon in the shopping center.

4. Advice and notes on traveling with a young child: 

  • If your child can walk, leave the stroller home. It would be cumbersome on the shuttlebus and in the food court. Most toddlers were walking hand-in-hand with their families so you won't get weird looks, and if you need a break from tot-wrangling, you can always sit them in a shopping cart.
  • I am very anxious about hot liquids near my child. I asked the staff at Santoka (the ramen noodle place) to add ice cubes to our soup, but they don't keep cubes on hand. The food court, however, is stocked with ice water and green tea free of charge. Even after adding a few shots of ice water to our soup to cool it down, the miso broth still packed an umami flavor explosion.
  • Let it feel like a vacation! While I won't let Savvy walk the aisles of Fairway or touch everything in Duane Reade, I allowed her to do her own shopping here. When she wanted to touch every juice container, I turned it into a lesson on colors, and when she wanted to slide all the price tags around, I explained to her what the signage meant. When she wanted to pick up a shopping basket, I let her. She even put her groceries on the conveyor belt all by herself!
5. Load up on as many snacks as you can carry. Holy cow! Do you like Snap Pea Crisps? The ones they sell here are light years better than the brand sold in American stores. We discovered an amazing chocolately, crispy, ganache-y snack (memorize the photo below so you can locate it on the shelves!) and lots of other crispy goodies.

And now for some photos (not in chronological order)--

Ramen. So much flavor. Shockingly good.

Eating "NooNoo", Sav's fav

Lemongrass green tea. AWESOME.

Touching the "white juice" - probably rice milk?

1st package Savvy chose was bright pink w/ flowers on it. In a college sociology course, I learned that children begin to favor gender-specific toys at 18 months. True for this chickie!

Buying her items. Girly colored soup cakes & strawberry bear cookies.

A pickle rainbow

Enjoyed the skyline view, daddy hugs, and quacking at the ducks.

What a cool way to choose your entree!

For Savvy, it would take a million licks to get to the center of this ice cream cone.

I can lift it!!
OK. It's getting a lil' heavy...

Mo mo rah (more more rocks) - some playing outside before it got dark

The next day we binged on yummy treats. These particular chocolate crispy discs were top notch. Rob ate one of the light-as-air cookies first. "What does it taste like?" "Good. Weird. They're WET."  He was right--when the wafer mixes with your saliva the texture turns from rice crispy to chocolate ganache. So amazing. "You need to try them two in one row." "What? You mean two at a time?" We crack each other up. We kept saying "Two in one row" in our best culturally insensitive, Japanese game show host voice until we finished the bag.

March 21, 2012

Carl Schurz Park, Secret Spot - Wordless Wednesday

Photo tour is over, mom!
A visual tour of our secret spot in Carl Schurz Park, Spring 2012

March 19, 2012

Day 570 - Words about Savvy's Words

Written March 17, 2012. 

Savannah is 570 days old today (18 months and change). I know this because Savvy shares a birth date with the daughter of blogger, Chasing A Miracle, who tracks the days. Another twitter friend I've kept in contact with since we were both pregnant has written complete catalogues of her SAHM days, down to the minute, a couple times since her baby was born, like this post: Tick Tock and You Don't Stop. Such a great exercise, so I'm stealing the idea as my inspiration. My focus is on Savvy's language - I originally just wanted to keep a running list of every word/phrase she said, but thought adding the framework of what we were doing all day made more sense. She speaks a ton, loves her routines, talks about the same things everyday and her pronunciations are so adorable, I want to make it a point to remember her voice at this moment in time before she starts speaking full sentences. I hope reading this post will always bring me right back to this moment. This is a long post (read at your own risk) and represents a very laid back Friday (although getting her to nap is usually a 10 minute job, not a third-time's-a-charm fiasco - a lack of pooping this morning probably contributed to her no-nap mood. Or a sniffly nose. Always guessing.). Savvy's words are in bold/italics. 

Hi, Hiiii. Hi. Mama. Mama up.
This is how Savvy wakes me up each morning from her crib which is next to our bed. I pull her into our bed and she asks for boo (boob) - yup, still nursing at 18 months. Never in a millions years thought that would be the case! But it works for us.

Dada! Wakes up daddy. We look at the clock. It's 8:10a - late wake-up. Yay!

We all chit chat in bed and play the Nice Baby game my family used to play with me. Savvy says Yeah Baby instead of Nice Baby. We find this hilarious. Hi, hello to each of us as she goes from parent to parent. Sings her tapping on the table song from her "school" - more like dap dapdapdapdap, hitting hands on the bed.

Mama pee, she commands or simply predicts. She knows the first thing I do when I get out of bed is pee, so she likes to hurry along the process so she can play. A cheerful, loud BYE to daddy. 

She plays the Hi, Bye game in the bathroom while I pee. She opens the door HIIIIEEEE, Closes the door BYEEEEE, knock knock knock "Who is it?", Door opens HIIIIEEEEEE, repeat.

Tee (teeth) - She climbs on her stool at the sink.
Hah (hot) - she often says the water is hot even when it's not
Tee. Wah (Teeth Water) - "You want your toothbrush?" I ask knowing the answer.
Yeah - She brushes her teeth
Hine (hand) - She gives me her toothbrush and washes her hands.
Mo mo bubble (more more soap)
All done! BYE!

Bow - requests a bow for her hair. She always taps her head when she says bow. In fact, we never used sign language but she uses gestures almost every time she speaks to help me understand -- pointing, mimicking, etc.

Daddy's out of bed and he and Savvy do their secret handshake. Savvy does it to me after she and daddy do it and she counts Wah doo weee (1, 2, 3).

Off - She announces when her faux ipod stops playing music.
Mama book - we read a story

I've been in and out of the kitchen making oatmeal and coffee. Rob gets ready for work.

Ahmna - Oatmeal
Shereo - Cereal
Those are the choices - Savvy chooses Ahmna, which I make with peaches and blueberries.
She runs to her high chair and says hi chai - new word!
Nin nin nin nin nin - I know she's saying this b/c she's hungry since this means dinner so I joke "You want dinner?" "Nooooooo." Breakfast?" "Yay."
Says muk (milk) but doesn't want her sippy of milk. I give her a second sippy of juice to drink w/ her breakfast.
PBS is on in the background - Curious George - so she makes monkey sounds; says "bah" for a box she sees on tv.
Chee! - She clinks her 2 sippies together to cheers and tries to drink them both simultaneously.
Hah- Points to my hot coffee. She likes to point out everything she knows throughout the day. "Yes, my coffee is hot." I say this every time I drink coffee.

She's done with breakfast and plays independently and talks to herself when I pull her out of the high chair. Says "How bout that?" over and over. I must say that phrase often because she picked it up a while ago and says it randomly throughout the day but rarely in the right context.

Daw (draw) - She goes to her table and picks up crayons to draw. A crayon falls "Uh oh". She invites me to color with her by tapping the floor next to her where she'd like me to sit.

I pull out a few fresh sheets of construction paper - I basically describe everything I do all day long "Mommy's going to get more paper." Peepoo - she imitates the word paper for the first time. 

She wants me to draw too. "What should I draw?" "Apple...Elmo"

Savvy draws circles. I ask her what she's drawing - Bird. Elmo.
Circles are the doodle du jour

BYYYYYEEEEE DADA - Rob leaves for work at 9:05.

Beak - she said beak! New word. I ask her if she drew a beak. Yeah. It even looked like a beak - a small v. I ask if it's ok if I draw the rest of the bird. Bird teet teet teet teet (tweet).

Bop! (paint) - She's been saying Bop for paint ever since we went to her first art class at 74th St Magic where they taught her to pat the paper with the brush and she said "bop bop bop bop" as she patted. "You want to paint?" I ask even though she's pointing to the paints and trying to grab the painting paper. "Okay. I'll get the paint. Put your crayons back in the box and I'll get the paint ready." She puts all the crayons in the box except for 2 she couldn't jam in, Uh oh!, while I got the paints, brushes and wet washcloth for messes and taped the paper down to the table. She also helped by getting her smock, but I decided to take off her jammies and have her paint in her diaper since it was warm in our apartment.

Sings the tap tap tap song while she's painting. 

Robot. Sees robots on TV. I turn off the TV.

She paints for maybe 3-4 minutes. Picks up wash cloth. "Baby". She goes off and washes her baby doll with the wet cloth and plays her piano while I keep painting to use up the paint I already squirted out and have a moment of zen.

Savvy's half of the paper - painted with brushes and cotton swabs
I bring out grape tomatoes and orange (onya) wedges for a snack. "What color are these tomatoes?", I asked thinking she wouldn't get it right since I'm not convinced she actually knows her colors or just says colors at random when asked. "Red". Ok then. I also made a mental note to stop quizzing her today so I don't artificially inflate her day's language. I try not to quiz her in general but it's hard not to sometimes.

Yuck. Tomato fell on floor. Throw it in the garbage.

Starts saying Nonna (which means Nonna and/or any grandparent), Dada, Noonoo (for her Uncle Richard who we dubbed Uncle Noodles in Florida since they bonded over a shared love of chinese noodles). I call this the "Who do you love" game. "Nonna." "Who else do you love?" "Dada." "You love Dada." Who else do you love?" "Nonna." It goes in circles, haha.

I hang her painting to dry. The empty table has her asking for more crafty things. Ahh. Arc. "Art, you want to make art?" "Ark" she says pointing to the art box stored out of her reach. But she didn't want her crayons when I pulled them out. Eventually after a failed attempt to get her interested in pipe cleaners. "Ohhhh, you want your markers?", I ask realizing ark is markers. "Yay." Make mental note to set up a craft area at an accessible height so she can get her own supplies.

More coloring. I note the time: 9:45am. Full morning so far. Feels later.

We go into the bedroom. I do a diaper change, have her blow her nose since she has a bit of the sniffles and then get out the trusty aspirator. She doesn't want me to suck out her boogers with the aspirator so I tell her "Just one more." After the last nose suckie she declares "NO MAW" (no more). Right-o.

Wants boo. Mo boo. Ok fine. I want an excuse to sit down.

I drink luke warm coffee while we snuggle. She calls it juice. These are some fantastic snuggles. My hair was still super messy from sleeping and she noticed, pushing my hair out of my eyes, saying uh oh. Says "cheek" as she takes my hand and puts it on her cheek then transfers my hand to my cheek, back and forth. She plays with my lips so they make that funny smacking sound, she puts her hands around my neck and plays with my hair.

We're back up a few mins later. 
Loon (balloon? this is new.) - She points to our hot air balloon wall decals. She likes to be lifted up so she can touch them. 
Duck - says duck for no reason...???
Up - wants to touch more balloon decals

I say "Let's get you dressed so you're not cold." 

I get her leggings on. She walks away.

Mo mo meow - touches cat decal
Tchee - touches tree decals

I go to the bathroom - more Hi, Bye, knocking game. She plays with her magnets and hands them to me. Also, lots of ooh ooh ahh ahh monkey sounds.
Ooh ooh - monkey sound face
She sees the washcloth from our painting time hanging to dry. 
Mama wah (wash)
You want to wash your baby?
You already washed your baby.

I go back in the bedroom to get dressed and put a shirt on Savvy. I get the Victoria's Secret shopping bag from yesterday where I bought a much needed new bra in the right size. Yay for bra fittings! And after I told Savvy what I was doing - getting the new bra - she mimicked me over and over - New bah, new bah, new bah. She also took the new panties out of the bag and put them on herself over her pants, walked around the room, then turned them into a head band, while I chose my outfit. She cracks me up.
Nothing like a small child to make average size panties look gigantic

Time for makeup. Savvy runs to the closet to open it up so I can reach my makeup bag. She calls makeup "mah".

I hand her the bag - this is seriously her favorite part of each day. She pulls out my concealer - eye - she says while pointing to her own eye and handing me the concealer. "Yes. I put this under my eyes." She plays with a L'Occitane hand lotion sample and wants to put it on her hine (hand), so I open the cap for her. (She doesn't squeeze out lotion so I can give it to her opened without worrying about making a mess.) She taps the top of the cream and pretends to tap it onto her lips and feet and toe, while I put on mascara and blush.

She notices that the tube is flimsy and decides to try to roll it. Yes, she says roll it, which she got from me rolling up salami and turkey cold cuts for her. I narrate and repeat everything ad nauseum. Guess it pays off?

She decides to pretend to go out. She picks up her baby, the empty VS shopping bag, says Bye bye to me 100 times, leaves the room, comes back, gives me a kiss, leaves the room, comes back, kisses her reflection in the mirror, buh bye!!!!

10:40. I'm dressed. We're nearly ready to go out. We head to the shoe mat by our front door.

Mama shoe, she says pointing to my red shoes. Boo, she says pointing to my boots and her boots. Socks are yock. We go into the hallway. Butt = elevator button. Ella = elevator. We're out of the building at 10:45.

Wa wa (walk) Savvy likes to say while she walks. We're headed towards the playground on foot. I didn't check the weather report. It's misting. I announce "it's raining". Savvy gestures like she's holding an umbrella and says "mmma" which also means umbrella in her language. Only Rob and I would know this. (Mmmma is pretty versatile - makeup, umbrella, banana...) I didn't bring an umbrella, so I put her hood up. She pats her head and says "hat". She knows where we're heading and starts saying weeeng weeeng nit. Weeng means swing. And nit is one of those filler words she uses constantly. We think it might mean want. It was one of her first concrete utterances that she would use when pointing to something at 10 months old. Nit. Nit. Nit. Nit. (We call her nitto sometimes because the nit was constant for months!!! Ahh!) I always thought it meant "that", but "want" makes sense too.

Wa wa wa - walk walk walk
I buy a buttered roll from the coffee cart outside the park. It's raining now, not just drizzling. Savvy says Hi and Bye to the cart guy and gives him tons of smiles. She announces wah when I pull out my wallet. 

Ree (rain). Too rainy for the park. We're wet. Back home we go. Back at our building, she greets the doorman, super and delivery guy and yells a farewell to them when we're back in the elevator. Home by 11am.

Savvy is hungry again. I guess she wants lunch. A little early but she seems tired so I want to feed her something substantial. Buttered roll, turkey, cheese. I eat half a buttered roll and make myself a turkey/cheese wrap. This is my breakfast/lunch.

Deconstructed sandwich added to her smorgasbord
Bleh (bed) blb blb lblb lblb (bed bed bed) - Is Savvy asking for a nap already at 11:20? Her eyes are tired and glassy. We go into the bedroom. She takes off her bow saying "bye bye bow". Bye bye Doe-a-dee (Dorothy). (Is Elmo's fish her imaginary friend, I wonder. I recall that my own imaginary friend as a preschooler was named dee-dee. Humorously similar to do-a-dee.)

More nursing. She hums Twinkle twinkle. Shoosh schitch choosh (switch, as in switch sides).

She's wide awake. False nap alarm. Ugh. She farts a few times. Prob needs to poop. I decide to try for a nap after she's done pooping.

I make more coffee - note the time - 11:35. Savvy plays in the bedroom while I heat up water for another cup of Starbucks Via. She starts whining at the baby gate. "uh oh pee". Did you pee? No. I give her some sips of water from a water bottle to keep her happy while I put lunch stuff away, straighten up, chug some water & sip fresh coffee. She wants me out of the kitchen. She yells MAMAAAA in a way that would rival Marlon Brando's STELLLAAAAA. Oy.

She's in a mood (lucky for me her bad moods are mild!) so I let her watch one Elmo's World on Sesame Street. I write email to my aunt who gave me an update on my grandpa's health and check Facebook.

She then whines for more Elmo, more Noonoo (more Mr. Noodle). Sorry kiddo. No Elmo.

We go to the bedroom in anticipation of nap time part deux despite lack of pooping. I sit on the floor and pull out a fresh diaper. Sav leaves and goes into the bathroom. I think she might be pooping in private. I lie on the floor enjoying a brief rest because I don't like to interrupt her when she's pooping. But no poop. She returns promptly with my hair brush. I'm already lying down so I let her climb and flop all over me and brush my hair. She announces Bye bye bruh as she puts the brush back in the bathroom.
Making mommy's hair soft and smooth

She LOOKS tired, but no nap!
12:35 eyes close
12:37 - eyes open - Dada Nonna
GO TO SLEEEEEEP I SCREAM IN MY HEAD. Decide next kid will CIO from 4mo and get formula.

Cranky meowbie. Must not have used enough physical energy to necessitate a nap at a decent time. We usually spend an hour or more in playground each morning.

She wants to brush her teeth again. I give her her toothbrush and she carries it around the apartment. I wash dishes and she plays with our shoes, brushes her teeth some more, babbles to Dorothy. 

At 1pm I put her in her stroller and we go out for a walk. I get on a conference call with Rob and our tax guy while we walk to Planet Kids to buy a birthday gift for her friend's 1st birthday. 

Toe-eez (toys) - her robotic pronunciation of toys is especially cute to me and Rob's ears. 

Toys. Dada. 
"You think of daddy when you think of toys? Me too!" I joke.
"Me too, me too, me too, me too." She copies.

We're already out, so we pop into H&M. Sav finally falls asleep. I meander through the store and try on a bunch of things. I buy a spring outfit for her and for me. Then I pop into Little Brown Chocolate Company for my favorite drink ever - a Dark Chocolate Chai Latte. It's not on their menu but an employee recommended it once and it's amaaaaaaazing. Savvy wakes up at some point on the way home but stays lying down in a trance-like state. 

Stroller nap day. City kids can sleep through anything!

We're home at 2:50. She wants mama snuggles and cries when I take her out of her stroller and immediately go to the bathroom to pee. First tears of the day. We have some post-nap wumbly snuggle time and sing some songs. She wants dada. Today is more clingy than usual. I check email and make plans for a play date while she lays on me, eyes closed, playing with her hair for a couple minutes.

Toys! 3:10 - time to go to playground with sand toys.  3:17- we actually leave. In the hallway Savvy says baby, pointing at neighbors door. "You remember baby Noah? He moved to NJ."

At the playground, the first stop is the swings. A nanny and boy we had Gymboree class with were next to us. I chatted with the nanny while Savvy pointed out pigeons. Then our friends Adele and Jack arrive. Savvy calls him a baby and tries to say Jack. Then she pretty much stopped talking! She doesn't say much to me in front of other people except for boisterous hellos and goodbyes.

We spent 2 hours with Adele and Jack which was great - I needed the adult interaction. Adele and I have very similar experiences and parenting philosophies so it's always nice to catch up with her, compare notes and talk about our transition from our old lives to our new lives. It's also always so cool to see how different our kids are when they're one on one. Savannah is content to do her own thing and watch people interacting with each other. In the sandbox, she spends equal time playing with sand as she does observing other people and listening to the moms' conversations. Jack is younger than Savvy but was an early walker so he's an uber toddler even though his first birthday is a couple weeks away - and has so many cool qualities that I attribute to his boy-ness -- explores other children's toys with little or no hesitation, doesn't play with one thing for long, obsessed with chasing balls, great throwing arm... Savvy is so dainty in comparison. She often prefers to hold my hand when climbing stairs or out of the sand box even though she can do it on her own. She is as content to sit and watch as she is to play. She wipes her hands clean as soon as they're covered in sand. I didn't take notes during this time, but in the 2+ hrs at the playground we went from the swings to the sand pit, to the jungle gyms and back to the sand box. Busy busy.

Savvy must've worked up an appetite. On the way home, when we passed the pizza place, she yelled "Pee! Yeahhhh PEE!" I ignored her request. Planned on leftover homemade chicken soup tonight.

We were home by 5:10, took off shoes and headed to the bathroom. We washed our hines (hands). BYE BYE BUBBLE (as the last soap bubbles went down the drain). Still standing on the stool, Savvy pointed to Rob's contact lens case. Dada eye. I was confused for a second. Then, "Yes. Daddy puts his contacts in his eyes." She never pointed that out before.

Soup was heated up by 5:25. I portioned out Savvy's on a plate without much liquid in case she preferred eating with her hands instead of a utensil. I separated the chicken, rice, carrots and celery into little piles so we could talk about what she was eating. Savvy says blib as she chooses her bib. Too hah (too hot) about the soup's temperature. Takes a bite of chicken, says "All done" and hands the remainder to me. She does this with several pieces. She likes to share her food with me even if I have my own. Always has. Says "minna minna buck" over and over, looking at me like I should know what she's saying. No clue.

I finish my soup. She continues to eat for another 15-20 minutes. Asks for Elmo. I concede and put on an Episode of Sesame Street, skipping to Elmo's World. Wants noonoo (Mr. Noodle). When he appears on the screen she yells "Yay, that!" This episode is about drawing. When the children show off their artwork she says "Ahht". I clean the living room while S finishes din and watches TV. Feel a twinge of guilt that we lack regular large family meals. It's hard for me to keep the conversation going when it's just the two of us. When it's more than just the two of us she can sit at the table eating for an hour or so without getting bored, but Rob's not home for dinner 4 nights a week.

Starts asking for Hop Op Pa (Hop on Pop, a Dr. Seuss book). I can't find the book on the shelf, so I grab Good Night Dog. Then she's done with dinner at 6. Mo mo book. I look for Hop on Pop again but can't find it and recite it from memory instead. We look at more books, play with her music table. I notice a text from Rob that he's coming home after work instead of seeing friends. Yay. Daddy's coming home soon.

I take videos of some of our playing because I was getting lazy about taking notes of our interactions. Savvy finds the package of silly putty that my friend Melissa sent her. Ope (open). I open it up and roll it into a ball. She loves its funny bounces and chases it all over the apartment until she's out of breath. We take turns throwing and chasing the putty. 

I notice the quiet and decide to keep the energy up with some dance music. We have a dance party to Goldfrapp followed by merengue courtesy of Pandora radio, and I set up the computer to record it on video.  Lots of fun!!! After 10 mins, Savvy lies down on the floor to relax, I scratch her back. We read books, look for Hop On Pop again, and Savvy plays with cars and babbles an entire unintelligible conversation to herself. 

She gestures to the computer where I had the Photobooth program open. I forget exactly how she clued me into what she wanted to do (a mix of hand motions, standing at the computer, etc), but eventually I figured it out: "You want to make a video of us singing 'Wheels on the Bus'?" "Yeah!" The first time she ever knowingly performed for the camera! She's officially a ham. Here's a snippet:

Daddy gets home at 6:50 at the tail end of our 5 min 'Wheels on the Bus' videoing action--first time she didn't run and greet him at the door! Too excited by the video I guess. Savvy shows daddy the computer. Then Savvy follows Rob into the bedroom while he gets changed out of his work clothes. Tickle time and daddy hugs for Savvy.  I retreat for a minute. Rob calls to me "She just said 'How bout that ball'. Write that down!" in reference to the silly putty ball that Savvy has since shown daddy. Hard to believe she said that, but I'm including it. Silly putty ball = win. Lots more giggly time with daddy, playing with his nose and playing catch. I join in for more ball playing. We eat Snap Pea Crisps and tell Savvy it's time to shower. She protests. I take my shower. Rob brings her into the bathroom and they play until I'm ready for Savvy. I bring her in with me and quickly scrub her and pass her back to Rob. He brushes her teeth, we dry off, see if she wants to pee on the potty (nope), then Rob brings her to the bedroom for lotion and jammies. They talk about animals while he's doing all this, I hear from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room as I do a million random things to get myself settled. I hear Savvy make the sounds when Rob requests cat, car, tiger, monkey, dog, duck...

We all come into the living room. Rob and I collapse in a tired heap on the couch. Savvy performs the hand motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider in the center of the room.

I leave the room to do...something...I don't remember what. Maybe put the day's clothes in the laundry basket. I hear Savvy ask for Ree (Grandma Raine in Florida) on the computer. She wants to Skype. Daddy says Grandma is sleeping. 

Savvy and I put her books back on the shelf to clean up her toy area.

We say our goodnights and give kisses to daddy. 
Pause for a cheeeeeesy family photo

Lights out at 8pm. I sing Savvy the "It's Time for Bed" song I made up at some point during her newborn weeks, then I softly list the names of the people that we love and the people that love Savvy. "Daddy loves you. Mommy loves you. Grandpa loves you. Grandma loves you. Nonna loves you. Your friends love you. etc etc etc" Savvy is snoring by 8:15.

I heat up soup for Rob and pop open a bottle of wine. I forget to pour a glass until a half hour later. I upload photos and videos from today. Talk to Rob. Watch the videos, trim them. Look over the notes. Write this post. Blargh. Exhausted but happy I did this. It's already the next day - 12:26am to be exact. Day 571 of this parenting gig. 

March 13, 2012

Macarons on Madison Ave

The urge crept up on me yesterday. The weather was beautiful so we spent all morning at our neighborhood playground. After Savvy's nap, she quickly began asking for the swings again ("weeeng") but I just didn't want to go back. We have fun on the playground but it can be dismally boring for me at times. I can only handle one trip per day before I zone out.

But with perfect weather, I wanted to be outside as much as she did. I decided to take Savvy for a walk without her stroller, our adventure mode, which quickly turned into a ride on the M86 crosstown bus. I didn't have a destination in mind but when the Madison Avenue stop was announced, my ears perked up. We headed to Juice Bar on Madison and 79th for fresh squeezed pear and banana juice, my favorite combination, then kept walking a couple more blocks, window shopping, until Savannah came to a shop that she decided to enter. When she grabbed the door handle, my first reaction was to stop her, but then I read the sign. She chose the door to La Maison du Chocolat. How could I say no?! It was snack time after all.

The staff was incredibly welcoming despite the rigid feel of the shop and suggested I buy a raspberry macaron to match Savvy's pink purse, which she carried the whole afternoon over her shoulder.  After I paid for her treat, she unzipped her purse so I could place the baggie in it. The staff got such a kick out of her with her bag! One of ladies offered Savvy a piece of chocolate, and when she tried to hand it to her, Savvy pointed to her purse. So naturally, I opened her bag and put the chocolate in. Savvy started shaking her head no. "You don't want the chocolate?" "No." I have no idea why carrying the chocolate made her so uneasy, but she removed it from her bag and handed it back to the shop lady. I guess I don't need to teach her not to accept candy from strangers!

Perusing the macaron selection at La Maison du Chocolat

Examining her sweet raspberry pillow

Look at that stance. Could she be more nonchalant?

How freaking cute is she sitting at the bus stop?! (Madison & 79th, heading home)

This accidental macaron encounter reminded me that my friend Liz, the blogger at Travelogged, suggested I bring Savannah to Laduree for macarons as a Parisian staycation. So that's what we did today! Sucre overload for Savvy!

Savvy matches the window decor at Laduree!
While La Maison du Chocolat had a stuffy stiff-upper-lip, trop cher, "our chocolat is art, not food" vibe to it, Laduree was incredibly inviting, whimsical, and appealed to all the senses. In addition to their macaron rainbow, they sell parfum, candles, miscellaneous paper goods and tea. I felt comfortable allowing Savvy to walk around and explore the shop because it's something of a tourist destination. There were people there with luggage; everyone took pictures, so I didn't feel judged for snapping iPhone photos or taking our sweet (pun intended) time before making our selection.

Macaron rainbow
Laduree macaron flavors, March 2012. I chose Cherry Blossom for me and Orange Blossom for Savannah. 
Their gift boxes are beautiful keepsakes 
$38 notebook. This is Madison Ave.
Savvy's Paris t-shirt from Target (tar-jay)
We spent a lot of time sniffing parfum. Love the atomizer!

We left the shop and walked a block to Central Park, hung out in the playground opposite the Frick, then set out on foot for an idyllic location to enjoy our snackarons. (I'm tired and delirious, can you tell?)

Surrounded by crocuses and sitting on bedrock, we enjoyed our treats. I LOVED the Cherry Blossom flavor. The outer hyper-flavored chewy pillows had a pleasantly floral bite that was muted and rounded out by the creamy, white coconut filling. I didn't enjoy the bit of Orange Blossom Savvy shared with me -- too sugary, too floral -- but she ate the whole thing so it was a win for her. Orange (ahhn-yaa) is her latest fruit addiction, so I'm glad I chose it for her.

We left the house at 10am and were home by noon -- it's amazing how short our outings are compared to how they feel. Exhausted, Savvy took a nap and before joining her, I turned on the tv just in time to see Barefoot Contessa create a simple cheese plate -- Brie drizzled with honey, baked at 350 degrees until it began to ooze, served with crackers.  The perfect prelude to dinner and end of our French staycation.

Barefoot Contessa Baked Brie

Oozy brie. Oui, oui.

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