Monday, July 27, 2009

2.5 Years and 32 Weeks

Lily and I had a photo shoot done today documenting 32 weeks of pregnancy for me and 2.5 years for Lily!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Quest for the Perfect Play Cafe

Trust me, when you become a parent your vocabulary quickly expands with all sorts of new words. Jumperoo, bumbo, bugaboo, moby wrap, robeez...and play cafe. I had never heard the words "play cafe" before having Lily. Shortly after her mid-winter birth two and a half-years ago, however, I was bored, sleep deprived, and seriously jonesing for some cheap out of the house entertainment that was baby/mommy/child friendly. And then another mom started throwing out names like Jungle Java, Urban Toddler, Pump it Up, and Chelsea Tree House. I was intrigued. What are these places? I asked. I soon found out. They were Baby-Mommy havens. They had climbers, bounce houses, play kitchens, dress-up clothes, infant parks, wireless internet, comfy chairs and coffee bars. Now, each of them had some of these wondrous amenities, but none of them had the whole package.

Fast forward a few months, and we move to The Hills and leave our beloved play cafes behind. No matter, I thought. Certainly there would be plenty of play cafes in and around The Hills. Alas, none of my findings over the past 11 months has been even close to perfect. Bounce U is great for Lily, but not so much fun for me. The toddler/preschool play area at the local Jungle Java is tiny and boring for Lily, plus there is a constant stream of big, fast, old kids who infiltrate the little kid area even though the sign clearly says 3 and under. Somerset Mall has no play area, of course, and the one at Great Lakes Crossing is always packed and leaves Lily clinging to my leg instead of running off to play.

But then...last night while chatting with my work friends at book club, one of them mentioned a place that had pretend play areas, ride-on toys, a big, safe climber, an infant park, wireless, good food,coffee and comfy chairs. Kid something...I can't remember the name, she said. Hmmmm...I thought. Sounds too good to be true. When I got home I hopped on my laptop and started googling like crazy, trying to find this elusive new play cafe. Finally I found it. KiddieKlub. Okay, bad name, I thought, searching their website for clues to its level of perfection. The pictures on the website didn't really show all that much. Mostly faces of seemingly happy children without any real shots of the place itself. Well, it could be crap, I thought, but at least we'll go check it out.

I packed up Lily and we were off. Less than 15 minutes later I turned into a shopping center and saw the KiddieKlub sign. I got Lily out of the car and grabbed our stuff. We walked to the door and slowly opened it. Laaaaaaaaaa! It was perfect. Bright and wide open, with a big, but not too big climber, plenty of pretend toy areas, a big infant play space, nice comfy chairs, wireless, a full cafe with good healthy food and yummy coffee drinks. We stayed all morning. Lily happily played on the climber, the slide, rode little bikes, pushed baby dolls in strollers, and looked at books. I parked myself in a centrally located cushy chair and surfed the net. It was lovely. We've already made plans to return next week to our new favorite play cafe, and I know it will become a regular hang out for us after #2 is born and I need a place to take Lily where she can play and I can relax. Hooray for our new, perfect play cafe!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

She's All Growns-Up and She's All Growns-Up

My baby is sleeping for the first night in her big girl bed. I guess that means she's officially a big girl instead of a baby now. I don't even think I can call her a toddler anymore--as she certainly doesn't toddle. Ever. Stands on one foot while she smoothly lifts her other leg, straightens and bends it with perfect balance, yes. But toddles, no.

She won't be 2.5 for another week yet, but in many ways she seems so much older to me. Her play has become richly imaginative, and her attitude and bossiness is much beyond her years. I wonder where she gets that from?

I keep waiting for the day to come when she turns into a terribly difficult child, and maybe when her baby sister is born she will. For now though, I would really like to tilt the hourglass on its side, allowing the sand to rest a bit, since my baby is growing up unbelievably fast.