Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Leaves Are Falling, Falling...

It's fall and we are all settling into the new rhythm of the school year. The Boy is in preschool every day from 8 a.m. until 11:30 and on Mondays and Wednesdays until 2:30 p.m. Despite the fact that half his class has transferred into a new classroom because his teacher is new at the Montessori method, he loves preschool. He's also taking an arts & crafts class at the park district on Friday afternoons. Mama missed the registration boat for soccer.

The Girl is in Mother's Day Out on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Like her brother, she loves school. She is upset on days that The Boy goes, but she does not. She and I are also taking a Jammin' with Julie class on Friday mornings while The Boy is in school.

The Baby comes with us to Jam with Julie, but otherwise is unscheduled. He is sitting up already and is in that stage just before crawling -- he scoots backward, which frustrates him as he moves further away from the toy he'd like to grab. He just started eating table food as well; unlike his siblings, he likes jarred baby food. He knows what to do with the spoon and helps me move it into his mouth if I do not offer the spoon fast enough for him.


We have not done much of interest lately. The Boy is now in preschool every day until 11:30 a.m., which does not give us much time to take interesting outings. We have been sticking closer to home and filling our days with more pedestrian child/motherhood pursuits: trips to the playground, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, running up and down the street with our neighbors, playdates with schoolmates, indoor play with toys, and arts & crafts at home.

However, yesterday, we had an adventure of sorts. As we only have one car and had two places to go at the same time, I joined Zipcar and drove a Mazda Matrix3 to get The Boy, The Baby and I where we needed to go for 4 hours yesterday. The process was really easy: I reserved the car online. The Boy and I took the blue line to the Logan Square stop, went up the escalator, turned the corner and got into the car. We installed his carseat, then went home to pick up The Baby and his carseat.

A quick trip up I-94 got us to our destination: Chuck E. Cheese's. We had not really been to the mouse's entertainment palace, but I have a feeling that that is about to change. The Boy had a fantastic time. Unlike older kids, he was oblivious that some of the games shot out tickets, which can then be traded in for prizes. He just had fun playing, even more so when his friends showed up. He was a bit scared of the mouse himself when he showed up at the table to sing "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy.

I had flubbed the birthday time, so we had to leave promptly at 1:30 to get the car back to its parking spot in the city self-meter lot at Emmett and Kedzie. I made it back to the lot without incident, but getting home was a bit more work as I had two carseats, a stroller, and The Boy and The Baby to keep track of on the train and home again.

Next time, I am renting a MINI.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


This is what The Boy calls Kiddieland: Cat-land. The Dad and I have tried explaining to him that the "kiddie" in Kiddieland is for little kids, like him, and not about kitty-cats, but he keeps missing the point, perhaps deliberately ("But, I'm not little, Mom. I'm big!").

Un/fortunately, our friend J. was sick on August 23, the day that we had planned to make a joint family outing to Kiddieland. It was just as well that we missed it on the 23rd with the weather in Chicago that day, as Kiddieland does not offer rain checks or refunds. But, since we had such fun there last year, I didn't want to let the summer end without a trip to the amusement park. So The Dad and I took The Boy, The Girl and The Baby there today to spin in circles, eat greasy food, drink free Pepsi-Cola products, and inhale gas fumes.

Although I never went there as a child, going to Kiddieland is one of my favorite summer things to do with small kids in Chicago(land). It is a small park, within 20 minutes' drive from our house, and everything is geared for small children. It is not as big as Great America, but honestly, that is part of its appeal to me. At $22.75/ticket for adults and $19.75/ticket for The Boy (The Girl and The Baby were free), it is not a cheap outing, but watching The Boy and The Girl enjoy themselves thoroughly was well-worth the price of admission (and lunch).

The Boy remembered going to the amusement park last year, and his first question/comment was whether he was tall enough to ride the bumper cars ("Scooters") this year. He was, and he rode them with The Dad. Not only was The Boy tall enough to go on more rides this year, he was more adventurous as well. He rode the Little Dipper roller coaster twice, the small/cage Ferris Wheel, and capped off the visit with a trip down the log flume ride.

The Girl, The Baby and I stuck to tamer pursuits for the most part. (I did take The Boy on the Little Dipper and am such a scaredy-cat that I was shaking after the little drop on the 24' tall ride.) The Girl really liked the vehicular carousel and rode it about eight times. She also rode the racecars, drove the antique cars (twice, initially under duress), and sat in the bench in the carousel with the rest of us (even The Baby!). The Girl, The Boy and I rode the flying elephants all together, and also rode the Kiddieland Unlimited train. The Boy talked The Girl into riding in the mini Ferris Wheel with her, but she was really scared and got out after about two revolutions. After that, she was really tired and asked to go home.

There were lines everywhere at Kiddieland today, including buying tickets and getting in, but it wasn't too bad. There were longer lines for many of the rides that The Boy wanted to go on, which was good because he had more patience for such things. We stayed for about 4.5 hours; I feel like we got our money's and the kids' stamina worth out of the park.