Monday, May 26, 2008

A day at Tilden

Yesterday we took advantage of the light holiday weekend traffic and sped over to Tilden Park. Our first stop was the steam train, which is my favorite local train ride -- I love the views and the scenery. Jack liked it too, but he was a bit confused about our location; he kept asking to see the meerkats next (no little dude, that's the zoo).

We left the train and drove to the Little Farm area, where we enjoyed a little picnic in the grass, then explored the farm, which Jack did not like like at all. He expressed disdain for all the everyday animals, and only wanted to see meerkats (sorry little dude, not here). After a quick tour of the visitor center we set off on a spontaneous hike.

I did have a Tilden map, but had a hard time telling what trail we were on (turns out the Olmstead Brothers map is much better for this part of the park, anyway, it was Lower Pack Rat). We walked on a narrow path lined with lush vegetation, including thimbleberry, blackberry, and currant, as well as dogwood, ninebark, twinberry, hazelnut, alder and other typical riparian natives. This is a very good path for kids, because it's nearly level and poison oak is present, but not dominant. Chickadees flitted about and we got a glimpse of two deer through the foliage. Eventually we ended up at the tip of Jewel Lake, and it was an easy walk back to Little Farm and the parking lot. Jack walked the entire first leg, but on the way back started to get seriously poky. I carried him the last 1/2 mile, and he fell asleep on the way home. Fun day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New interests

Jack has gone completely bonkers for letters and numbers. He sometimes wakes up crying about them -- I think at those times he's frustrated because he's not counting or spelling right that second. All day long we spell and count and read books about numbers and letters. He knows all the letters and can count to 13 (sometimes 14). On a hunch we got him They Might Be Giants "Here Comes the ABCs" on dvd and that has been an enormous hit. If he could I think he would watch it over and over all day long (he sure asks to!).

In the morning, as soon as he finishes watching the ABCs dvd, he starts running around the house shouting "Coyote Point Museum" repeatedly. The river otter, coyote, raccoons, badger, and owl are fascinating and get admired accordingly, but Jack particularly adores the bobcat. We also spend a lot of time visiting the bee hive. Last week Jack watched the bees coming into the hive and said "some of them have pollen on their legs, and some of them don't."

The two of us went for a short hike this morning "up on the mountain" (Mount Davidson). He walked up the fire road to the top, then I loaded him into the backpack and carried him the rest of the loop. Wow, he is heavy. We are looking into a different carrier option, as the backpack really compresses my upper chest and feels very uncomfortable. Jack really enjoyed both the walking and the backpacking, so that was a happy thing for me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Family hike!

We successfully accomplished our first family hike of the toddler era this morning. Previous attempts had been quite bad, with lots of tears, screaming, and tantrums. Jack would ride or walk for a short distance, then stop to pick up rocks and demand to go home.

Today's hike was at San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica, one of my favorite places to hike. Valley View Loop was a good choice, not too long and with lots to see, including plenty of monkeyflower and ceanothus blooming. Paintbrush and coyote mint were just starting their blooms. Hans carried Jack in the backpack and kept him occupied the entire way, pointing out a deer, flowers, birds, views, and lots of trailside scat. We didn't see a bobcat but we went to the visitor center after our hike and showed Jack the stuffed bobcats (we called them pretend bobcats for now) and he was happy with that.

Jack fell asleep in the car on the way home and is now napping. Hurray!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Calm and happy (but tired) today

It's been a dry week for naps until today, when Jack relented and finally took one. He's been going to sleep a bit earlier, but still gets up 6ish (sometimes earlier). His moods are more stable this week, and we've had fewer tantrums.

With no naps to schedule, our days are more free. We've had some really fun trips, to Coyote Point, the Zoo, and the Discovery Museum. He really adores seeing the animals at Coyote Point, and talks about them all the time. The zoo is always a happy destination as long as the train is running. And now everything at the Discovery Museum is interesting to him, so we can easily spend an entire day there.

Not much else to report, except potty training is pretty much off this week. Been too tired to fully concentrate on it, and Jack's been mostly unwilling.