At least a few times a month, Otto and I take the bus down the road to Ikea. We go because it’s fun to take the bus. Because of the meatballs. And the cool fake small apartments where we can play pretend. We’ve been doing this for the last six months or so, and a few visits in, I realized it was actually a great thing to do with Otto from the whole early childhood education side of things…I’d say ‘go find the red couch’ and off he would run to find it. Soon he’ll be proficient in the many possibilities of the PAX system, and I give it another year before he can recite a few dozen esoteric Swedish names. If you want to look like a lunatic, just walk around Ikea reading aloud every name you see. Kidding aside, my friend Bethany is a preschool teacher and fellow mama; her blog covers preschool activities and she plans on writing about Ikea field trips sometime soon. Her posts all reference NY State Preschool Standards, so I’m excited to see how this little pastime of ours measures up (if at all?!).
Anyway, back to the best deal there. Sometimes we buy little things we didn’t know we needed, like this SLAPPA (aka awesome towel poncho/gnome costume). It has little snaps so he can run around post-bath and it won’t fall off like those hooded ones. I honestly don’t think there’s anything better for less than 10 bucks, but maybe I’ll find out on our next visit.
And just in case you’re wondering what the best 20 and under purchase is, my vote is on RANARP, which I spotted in this love letter to it. In the words of Brick from Anchorman, I love lamp.
I wanted to break my blogging silence (hello! it’s been over three months!!!) with more than just a quick list and a cute picture, but alas, that will take another few days (yes, November is officially the month to get back into the game here, I promise). So, without further ado, the three things I learned this year.
1. Embrace imperfection, and feel free to re-invent the kid’s costume if necessary. Otto wanted to go as a guitar this year. I got to work with my glue gunning and sewing and am pretty happy with the outcome. He was too. However, he flat-out refused to wear the headpiece (ie. the other part of the guitar). And the stick I had in it to keep it standing tall broke before we were barely out the door. The solution: let him carry it and call him the broken guitar instead. Success!!!
2. Carry a cheese stick. At one point as our trick-or-treating wound down, I glanced over and saw my friend Lucy giving her daughter a cheese stick. Brilliant for two reasons. It could be a way to tie the kid over until dinner without resorting to the candy in the pumpkin bucket. Or, as it would be in my case, a protein-packed way to offset the “chocolate candies” Otto was putting in his mouth as he walked along. Which brings me to point number three.
3. Even if you don’t carry diapers anymore, carry wipes. Because chocolate covered hands wiped on costumes is not pretty. Just sayin’.
ps. My friend Melinda’s article put me at ease about letting Otto eat said chocolate candies. He got his fill, had fun, and we got the little show of watching him run around the apartment until 9PM in a bit of a high. Fun times. And now back to treats in the form of clementines and animal crackers.
And that is all…hope you’re having a fun summer and on the watermelon diet just like us! xx.
Today Otto’s six months shy of turning two–and in many ways it feels like he just had his first birthday. It’s really no lie when people tell you it goes by so fast. One of the things I’m so glad I’ve kept up is my monthly letter to Otto. I’ve written these since the first month. Sometimes it’s a pain to sit down and do it. And who knows if he’ll ever really care to read them. He’ll probably be, like, “oh, maaaaa” and shake his head. Really, though, I think they’re more for me. Not only does time fly, but you forget a lot of the little things that make these days what they are–fun, special, frustrating, exhausting. Last year I was at a baby shower where we all had to write a bit of advice about mothering. The monthly letter was my suggestion. A year later, I’d still say the same thing. The stories get funnier and more detailed, they become less about how exhausted you are and more about the silly things that make up your days together, and no matter what phase you’re in, they remind you to stop and take in the present, which changes as fast as your kid changes.
A few times I’ve thought of posting the letters here, but decided I share enough about Otto and our little family here. But today’s a special one, so I’ll give you just a few notes of what’s making the letter this month: Continue reading
Otto’s in a bit of a dipping phase these days. It started with some ketchup a few weeks ago. In most cases, he was just dipping his finger and licking it clean, as seen here at the Shake Shack…how could he not want those perfect fries?! And that burger went untouched. It was all about the ketchup. Or “red dip,” as Otto’s little cousin calls it.
In an effort to broaden his dipping horizons, I tried something new. Last night in an effort to get him to eat his sweet potato fries–which he was throwing onto the floor for Dolly to eat–I took out some babaganoush to see if that would make them more appetizing. Worked like a charm! I’m not sure if it’s the act of dipping (which he does with such gusto) or the extra layer of flavor that he likes (ps…babaganoush and sweet potato fries is a lovely combination). Either way, I’m looking for more recipes. So far, these are on my list:
Edamame Skordalia. Have you ever had skordalia? It’s this Greek garlic and potato dip that’s beyond delicious. And what a beautiful word to roll off your tongue, right? Otto’s a bit meh about edamame, but I bet I can convert him with this concoction.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Dip…oh, so many beet recipes, so little time!!! I also clipped this Beet and Horseradish Dip from Oprah magazine a while back, although I’m afraid the horseradish will be a bit of a turn-off. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.
Cauliflower and White Bean Dip would go well with bits of crusty bread and a bowl of soup.
And last but not least, my favorite way to eat peas. We had a mint pea dip similar to this one at our wedding. It’s made with frozen peas, but biting into this you’re instantly transported to a spring day, no matter how cold it is outside.
For well over two months now, I’ve been putting off the inevitable first haircut. Haircuts instantly morph babies into toddlers and I just wasn’t ready for it. But the hair kept growing and growing and in his eyes and I lost count of how many times people thought Otto was a girl. And in addition to that, the extra long nape hair reminded me that he was one Wayne Gretzky jersey short of looking like a circa-1982 hockey player. So yesterday without too much thought or fanfare (just a few chalkboard drawings to make the kitchen into a barber shop), I bit the bullet. And I have to say….I love the new look! It’s clean and he looks so handsome. And sure, he looks older, but he’s still got the baby cuteness too.
All the credit goes to Adam. I started out as the stylist and Adam was the photographer, but after about two snips, he was like ‘no no not that way’ and took the scissors and started cutting. We joked that if things to work out with architecture, he can always move on to cutting hair.
Bye bye earmuffs!
And we’re all done!
Happy Halloween! We just got through our first official one with Otto and had no idea how much fun it would be. Like all things when kids are under a certain age, this is more for the parents, right? Otto was a rhino–a costume that has been planned since May(!) when we hired his babysitter from Denmark, where, we learned, kids grow up on a story about Otto the rhino. There’s a song about him and when Marie takes Otto to this Danish playgroup, apparently all the kids sing the song to Otto. Needless to say, the rhino is Otto’s mascot.
I’m proud to say I made that little number. Of course I spent way more time than a sane person should on a Halloween costume, but given that I’ve spent all of maybe two hours (shopping time included) on all of my costumes in the past 15 years I was allowed to go a little nuts. That said, it was far from perfect (I loosely followed this pattern for a bear costume and made that giant Dr. Seussish horn myself.) I also carved my first pumpkin in I don’t know how long, as is evidenced by the very basic geometric eyes and nose, and scary toothy smile. Otto had no interest in this and Dolly was scared of it and wouldn’t come near the kitchen as I finished. I can’t blame her, really. It was awful. We skipped the seed roasting, though. That’s because the pumpkin I bought was well on its way to rotten in part of it. But that’s OK because we came home and put Otto to bed and had plenty of loot to snack on instead. Continue reading
Is it too late to post a little post about Otto’s first birthday party? No? Well let me tel. you all about it, then! We had a cupcake picnic last Sunday near Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Of course I stressed for I don’t know how long about the weather and what we would do if it rained, but it was absolutely perfect. I also worried that Otto would be having one of ‘those days’ where he was grumpy, but he rose to the occasion and loved being the center of attention.
Can you guess which of these I stopped to get? Beet & Dill, of course! If there was a kale flavor, it would have been a tough decision. The flecks of dill were unexpected, and it was so good I had to stop to share it with Otto. He approved. That’s my boy.
P.S. The ice cream is from Karloff, a beautiful place with borsch and cabbage rolls and warm stews. It’s completely underrated. Go!
Today my little one had his first birthday. I’m a little late posting him a birthday wish, but that’s because we were out all day having fun! 365 days and 1 lucky leap year day later, I’m still in awe of this little miracle that came into our lives. Even though it’s bittersweet to see Otto turning into a little boy seemingly overnight, I am excited to watch him grow–just not too fast! Happy 1st birthday, Otto. xoxo.
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