Posts Tagged ‘ Louisville Zoo ’

A Farewell To (Mommy and Daddy’s) Arms

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

As I look through the pictures from our Louisville Zoo trip on my Facebook page, I realize how challenging it is to find a picture of you with Mommy and/or me where one of us isn’t holding you.

(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)

Son, you’re more than half my height now. You don’t need me to hold you.

However, I recognize that’s the #1 way you show physical affection with people.

So it’s never been easy (or felt natural or right) for Mommy or me to refuse to hold you when you ask us to; which is pretty much anytime we’re in public, as well as when we are putting you to bed.

But now, I think the time has come.

You’re pushing 3 years old now. More importantly, Mommy is the one who holds you most.

She’s definitely strong, but you’re not a light kid, and I know that holding you all the time can’t be good for her back.

It’s a struggle as your parents to deny you the type of physical affection you crave, when we feel like we hardly ever get to see you anyway.

In our version of 2013, Mommy and I both have to work full-time; even though we’re debt-free now.

I’m taking it upon myself to transition you into you holding our hands and walking, and making up for the lack of closer physical contact in other ways.

Yesterday morning, I tried our new way of doing things.

“Jack, this morning when we go into school, you’re going to walk and hold Daddy’s hand.”

Yeah, it didn’t go well.

It was even worse when I came to pick you up at the end of the day.

You were so happy to see me, but then had a breakdown all the way out the building into the car.

And I imagine it will be that way for the rest of this week, at least.

I wonder in what new ways you will begin showing affection to Mommy and me as we transition out of holding you.

As you get used to walking in public and holding my hand everyday going to and from school, my hope is that it becomes more normal for you to let Mommy do the same.

After all, we were at the Louisville Zoo for nearly 6 hours and Mommy was the one carrying you around most of the time.

So here’s to a new transition in our lives. Oh yeah… we still need to work on that whole “potty training” thing too…





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The Need For Discipline… Or Just Sleep?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s done. I just uploaded the pictures from our weekend Louisville trip onto my Facebook page.

(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)

I love looking through those pictures, seeing how happy our family was.

And the way you smiled in most of them, it’s as if to say, “Yeah, I know I’m a sneaky rascal!”

The thing is, the happiness captured in those pictures came with a steep price- the total of 6 hours drive time to make those good memories possible.

It was rough…

We chose to drive there after work Friday night, hoping you’d sleep in the car.

You didn’t.

Not to mention, we were in the middle of heavy rain the whole time.

I did laugh, however, when you woke up in confusion as we were carrying you upstairs to our hotel room at midnight,  and you simply reacted by asking, “Wwwwwwhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy?…”.

By that point, I was so ready for rest, I didn’t mind taking the fold-out couch and letting you sleep in the real bed with Mommy.

But whereas I was actually asleep when I hit the “couch,” you stayed up until 2 AM with fidgety legs keeping both yourself and Mommy awake in the next room.

Fortunately, the splendor of the Louisville Zoo kept you entertained and in good spirits the entire 6 hours we were there.

That changed the moment we got back in the car for the 3 hour ride home.

You were extremely needy, you kicked the backs of our seats, you kept dropping your toys then screaming for them, you whined, you cried… and no seating arrangements between the three of us seemed to help.

Nothing we did or said would break your will.

(I’ve noticed that when people talk about their own temper, they attribute it to whatever ethnicity they are most aware of… I feel like it often tends to be an Irish reference. I’m not Irish, so I guess this is where I’m supposed to blame it on my Italian or Mexican heritage…)

I couldn’t take it anymore, I remember reaching behind my seat and grabbing the pink elephant squirt toy that the hotel gave you and throwing it in the floor, shouting something to the effect of “I told you to be quiet! I’m tired of you not listening to me! And I’m tired of you telling me ‘no’ when I’m talking to you!”

Mommy immediately advised to me to take the next exit so she could switch to the driver’s seat.

For the rest of the trip back to Nashville, Mommy and I tried something new:

We stopped answering you, looking at you, or responding to you in any way. Plus, we rolled down the windows to help drown out your screaming.

It took a challenging 45 minutes, but you finally shut down and fell into the deep sleep you needed so badly.

You’re a good kid. Sure, you’re iron willed, but so am I.

I will always make sure you get the discipline you need, when you need it.

But as Mommy reminded me, in her subtle and gentle way, this wasn’t a case of you needing discipline as much as it was you needing sleep.

Once we got home, we were both cool again.

The next time you act like a maniac, the first thing I’m going to do is ask myself whether or not your nap time or bed time was compromised. That way I won’t turn into the Incredible Hulk, even if you do.





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The Health-Conscious Road Trip: An Oxymoron?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

I can barely remember it, but for the first five months of our marriage, Mommy and I didn’t have any dietary restrictions.

Whenever we took a road trip, we didn’t have to consider where or what we could eat; just where and what we didn’t want to eat.

Then we went kosher in November 2008, and vegetarian in December 2011, then I went vegan in March 2013; as you and Mommy are pretty much there with me too by now.

With that being said, gone are the days of not having to carefully plan out in advance every single meal and snack over the course of a road trip.

As you know, this past weekend for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Mommy and I decided to take you along for a mini-road trip; a 2 and a half hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky.

Using hotel points we had earned last year, we made it an overnight trip and visited the magnificent Louisville Zoo.

Just as we had to plan out in advance which hotel we’d be staying in, making sure we could not only redeem our points there but also that it was closest to the zoo, we additionally had to find out its proximity to the nearest Whole Foods Market.

Basically, we packed half the food we would need, including plenty of water and snacks; then bought the other half of the food at Whole Foods the next morning.

We dined on veggie wraps, fruit snacks, and bottled water in the parking lot. It was like a picnic in our car; fortunately, it was the perfect weather for it… not too hot or wet.

Plus, I knew from previous visits to Loiusville that the city is laced with 14 different Heine Brothers’ Coffee shops. Not only is their coffee perfect, which Mommy and I could definitely appreciate as a fun way to start the day, but they also have plenty of vegan options for snacks.

So was it difficult to make our road trip a health-conscious one? No, because we carefully planned for it.

But was the actual driving part of the road trip difficult because it threw off your sleep schedule? Absolutely!

(That’s a whole different story and I plan to tell it in the near future.)

Our mini-road trip served as necessary practice for the big one up ahead in a few weeks, when we will be taking our annual family vacation in Sacramento to see Mommy’s family.

It’s one thing to avoid eating at restaurants for 23 hours, but another thing when we’re staying at someone else’s house for over a week and trying not to become a burden because of our alternative lifestyle.





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