Even though it was Ale’s day off from pre-school we joined them for today’s field trip. How could we pass up a visit to the local firehouse on 11th street!
The firefighters were happy to welcome the group of twenty – three and four year olds. As a token of our appreciation we first we gave them a bag of homemade cookies. Then we got right to it and asked them our research questions.
How does the water get into the hose? How do you learn how to be a firefighter? Do you ever have scared feelings? Do you go down a pole? What is the best thing about being a fireman? How do you know where the emergency is?
After this fascinating Q&A session the kids were allowed to climb into the fire truck!
Suddenly, the alarm sounded calling out the number of the fire truck – engine 220. The firemen looked at each other and politely asked us to go with urgency in their voices. We all ran out of the firehouse to make room for the truck to leave. The firemen then jumped into the truck and sped off. We looked at them go in awe and waved saying “Be safe. Thank you!”. After the truck turned the corner we slowly made our way over to a resturant for pizza amazed at their bravery and generosity.
OMG its 93 degrees in Brooklyn, New York right now. Hot and humid. What is a mama to do? We still must go out to let the toddler run and jump. Prospect Park is the solution! We are so fortunate to live close to such a wonderful park. In my eyes it beats Central Park any day. Prospect Park is a living park, filled by the people of the communities that surround it. I just love that after a short walk we suddenly feel like we have left the city. Its cooler, calmer and Ale can run, run, run in the lush grass while I sit under a tree with an iced coffee. That is exactly what we did this morning.
Can you believe it? I have lived in Brooklyn for many years now and I had never been to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. To add to the embarrassment I had no idea that it’s free on Tuesdays. So what did Ale and I do this Tuesday? We ran over to the Botanical Garden to see the tail end of the cherry blossoms that makes this garden so famous.
While at the Botanical Garden we met up with some of my friends with their little ones. We explored the gardens, ran through the grass, marveled at the many goldfish swiming, and passed around a basball sized purple spiky ball in cherry esplanade. Whoops. … The security guard ran over to the seemingly unrulely group of two toddlers and three babies and shouted “Put the ball down. Put the ball away!”. We had a great time despite the overzealous security rules. We rounded out the morning with a taxi ride home and found grandma waiting for us back at our apartment. Best spring morning ever!
Two important events happened on Tuesday.
1- We were playing in the park when 12:30pm struck and Ale turned to me and said “Hotdog mama”. I looked down at him in amazement. He was asking for food. He never asks for food. He has no interest in food 99% of the time. Then he said that he wanted to eat a hotdog with his friend that he had been playing with, Maria. Well ok! My baby is a real New Yorker. Eating hot dogs in the park is classic. I ran to the hotdog stand, prayed that the seller had washed his hands sometime that morning and ordered two plain hot dogs. I returned to Ale and Maria and was met with squeals of joy. Nothing beats eating a hotdog on a park bench on a nice sunny day. They wolfed down their hotdogs in a New York minute.
2- After nap time we headed over to our pediatrician’s office for Ale’s 2.5 year old checkup. My husband and I were anxious to get him weighed and measured. We were convinced that Ale had not grown enough since he does not eat enough. We check in and wait in the waiting area. There Ale busied himself with the toy cars. He even made me some chicken that he baked with a firetruck in the wooden oven. Ale was having fun. Then the medical assistant called out, “Ale”. He froze, looked at me and started to scream. “Mama I scared!” he said and clung to my leg. We arrive to the exam room. Sniff, sniff….. Oh, boy. Ale pooped. Fantastic. I then took him to the bathroom that is the size of a matchbox where he continued to scream while I struggled to changed him. Back in the exam room Ale continued to scream bloody murder. Enticing him with a lolly pop we got him to stand still for half a second to take his height and weight. He continued to scream as the doctor asked me milestone questions. She tried to get him to say something. I wanted to gush about all the amazing things that Ale says and does. Things that are for sure way beyond his years. But no, nothing. Just screams. As the doctor told me that she was happy
with his growth- he gained more weight than ever and he continues to be a tall lean toddler, he continued to scream. Thank goodness there were no vaccines due this visit! At the end of the visit I told Ale that were were now going to the park. He finally stopped screaming, looked at the sweet, and thankfully, patient doctor and said “Yea! Park! Bye! Bye!”. Oh my little toddler.
In the afternoon after being cooped up in the apartment all day it was time to venture out. It was too cold and icy for the park so what is the next best thing? A trip to the hardware store! The hardware store is just three blocks away so I decided to turn it to an adventure and ditch the stroller.
We suited up in our winter finery and out we went. With a toddler with little legs the three blocks suddenly appeared a mile. There was so much to stop to look at and examine. Up in the sky flew helicopters and birds. A truck zoomed up the street. Numerous gray blocks of city ice to pick up and to crush with booted feet. Dog poop to avoid. People in a hurry to pass by us. Then finally in the hardware store shiny things to pull down from shelves and isles cramped with interesting tools. Thank goodness the owner knows us and high fives Ale when we go in or else he may have been less forgiving about a small rack of key chains that was pulled off the wall.
Once we paid for our things back on to the street we went. Ale wanted to turn left to go home “This way home!” and was frustrated that it was to the right. He then looked up and saw the familiar corner of our block and walked along with me again. He was fantastic about crossing the street. Every city mom’s fear is that their child will just run into the traffic. With my gloved hand with his little hand in a mitten we carefully crossed the streets. By the time we returned to our building the little man probably did feel that we walked a mile. He was ready to be carried.
Our adventure to the hardware store was fun. I think we both had a sense of freedom without the stroller. I loved the feeling of walking down the street with my little boy. Oh! The places that we will go! Next thing I know he will be leading me to and from.
Wow! What a cold Tuesday! Today New York City reached record lows with temperatures of 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Right now is a toasty 12 degrees outside. I’m cozy at home, writing this in my fluffy slippers and eating a bowl of lentil soup.
There is nothing more yummy on a winter’s day than lentil soup. Its warm and fills your belly with goodness. Ale is taking his nap so I have a moment to share with you my recipe. The way I make Lentil Soup is the way that its made in Spain.
Warning! : This is not a cooking blog so the photos are subpar and lentil soup does not photograph well! But it sure is delicious!
2 cups of lentils
1 medium size onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 small chorizo sausage
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
3 bay leafs
4 table spoons of olive oil
salt to taste
*In a soup pot, heat the olive oil
* Finely chop the onion and garlic and add it to the oil. Cook and stir it until the onions become translucent
* Chop about 1 inch of the choroizo and add it to the onions and garlic. Let it cook for about 5 min. Set a side the rest of the chorizo
* Stir in the lentils and mix them well with the garlic, onion and chorizo
* Add the 4 cups of chicken broth and the bay leafs.- Cover and let it simmer on low for 30-40 min until the lentils are tender
* In the meantime chop the potato in little cubes and thinly slice the chorizo
* Once the lentils are tender- with a hand held blender- puree the lentils a few pulses so that at least half of the mixture is puréed
* At this point add more water if the soup has become too thick
* Add the potatoes and the chorizo to the lentils and cook on low heat until the potatoes are tender- about 30 min- Stir occasionally- don’t burn the bottom of the pot!
* Add more water if necessary and add salt to taste
* Enjoy with bread and a big glass of red wine!
Here is Ale dressed for the cold. We went out for a moment this morning.
Stay warm everyone! Bundle up!
If you live in a warm place- can we switch? Thanks!
New York City had its first real snow fall today. We headed out to experience the winter wonderland. Ale enjoyed stomping in it and catching it with his hands. There is nothing like a toddler to remind you of the magic that surrounds us everyday. His “Wow!” was pure joy and delight.
This Tuesday Ale was due to get his flu shot. We arrived in the afternoon to his pediatrician’s office where we were quickly ushered down a flight of stairs to a large, cheery, but windowless room. There were a few toddlers stumbling about, a baby in his car seat and a two older kids horsing around on the stairs. This room contained a no mercy flu clinic. The nurse went around the room administering the vaccine to the kids she could catch. She operated like a one woman flu shot firing squad. All the screams and shouts were witnessed by all. There were no doors and no curtains.
Next up- Ale. While holding him down I removed his blue corduroy overalls to reveal his thigh. Then I suddenly was afraid for him. The sharp pain he was about to endure. I asked for a lollipop. The nurse gave me a look that said “Really?” and passed me a grape flavored organic lolly. She took the cap off the mini intramuscular syringe, took aim at Ale’s little thigh like a bullfighter going in for the kill. Then- stab! Ale started crying bloody murder. I quickly unwrapped that organic lolly and shoved it into his mouth. Between his sobs he said “Thank you mama. Yum!”. He then reached out for some wooden trucks. It was all good.
Next up- A four year old doe eyed girl who was watching Ale. She came over to me and said- “I’m a big girl. When you are big it does not hurt. He is little so he cried.”. That’s right little mama! Pre game!That’s the way to do it! Throw on some JayZ and psyche yourself up. It’s not gonna hurt! We can do this!! Then the nurse comes to her and takes aim. She starts crying and screaming No! The pinch is quick. Her dad slips her a lollypop. It’s all good.
This is not a blog post that I will gush about all of the fun things I did on my Tuesday off from work with my little boy, Ale. I will not talk about all of the sweet things he did and said. Why you ask? Because it’s rained all day and it’s winter in New York City. All of the great outdoor neighborhood activities we enjoyed in the warmer months are gone. My goal now with Ale is to reduce the Caillou, Thomas, Dora all day marathon by a few hours.
Unfortunately, I am not a mom who peruses Pinterest looking for amazing toddler activities. I just want a place for Ale to explore, run and shake the sillies out. The local YMCA can be a life saver with their indoor soft playground. The downside is that the entire neighborhood also has the same idea. The soft playground turns into a baby discotheque with a bouncer at the door handing out tickets. They only let in a few people when others leave to abide by the occupancy limits of the fire code. I swear there are a few nannies who run an underground YMCA ticket ring!
On Tuesday we did make it into the soft playground. Ale went wild climbing and jumping on the foam blocks. The energy of the children in the room was so frenetic that it was obvious that we all come from small living spaces. Cabin fever is truly an ailment that city kids all suffer from. Ale jumped and danced the allotted one and a half hours of free play. As the time was running out the children suddenly became tired. During the last fifteen minutes the noise of room suddenly dropped a few decibels. They started wandering off the mats to look for water and snacks. Nap/lunch time was near.
Despite my complaining I am grateful for the YMCA. We need this vital play space as the temperatures drop. Sometimes, however, I think that it’s me rather than Ale who needs to get out. The idea of being trapped indoors all day with a toddler is frightening, even if he is content to just watch Thomas and Friends. The guilt to be a better mom ultimately sets in so the urgency to run out becomes paramount. So next up… the Children’s Museaum. Here we come!
How many days to summer???
This Thursday is Ale’s 2nd birthday! Yes I have a Halloween baby. I now have a lifetime of Halloween parties to attend and plan.
Last year for Ale’s 1st birthday we did not really do anything special. This year he is more aware and loves cupcakes so I decided to go all out. We are going to to have a spooky birthday bash for my little guy.
The event will be in two phases. Halloween – the day of his birthday he will bring cupcakes to his daycare to eat with everyone during snack time. Then in the evening we will head out and enjoy the Halloween parade in our neighborhood. After the parade we will go home and eat more cupcakes with Ale so he can blow out his candles. The next phase of Ale’s super Halloween birthday will be over the weekend. Twenty of Ale’s and our friends will come to his birthday party to celebrate with him and eat yet even more cupcakes.
Needless to say I have a lot of baking to do! So this Tuesday with Ale we went to the park then hit the grocery store for supplies. When we came home Ale happily watched Dora the Explorer while I started my baking marathon. I made thirty cupcakes. The next round will be on Saturday.
Last night Ale tried one. He could not resist the chocolate and rainbow sprinkle frosting temptation. He took a bite and said, “Yum! Cupcake!”. The boy who lives off of air, kisses and spaghetti ate it all. He even asked for another. It looks like he approves of the cupcakes.