Liam is working his way up the baby-food-chain . . . from rice cereal to oatmeal to wheat to veggies. He is a human version of a baby velociraptor — this kid will eat anything that doesn’t move faster than he does. Most babies are relatively slow to take to “solid” food (if oatmeal and pureed carrots can be counted as solid) but not Liam. He doesn’t spit food out, he doesn’t make faces — it goes in, he swallows it and he looks for the next bite, even the first time he tries something. We have to cut him off, at some point, so he doesn’t make himself sick, and he cries when we put the food away. (Don’t worry, he’s still nursing — he won’t starve.) He has yet to meet a food he didn’t like.
Benjamin and I have a ritual in the evenings. Sometime between dinner and bedtime, I’ll turn to him and say, “Benjamin, what was your favorite part of today?” And he’ll say, “Um . . . my favorite part of today was . . .” and he’ll tell me. It’s usually something we played together, someone we talked to or something really neat that we saw or did.
It’s always interesting to hear what he picks out from his day. I love seeing him contemplate it, and the huge smile that lights up his face when he tells me. (It’s also a great exercise, for both of us, in putting our mental energy towards the best parts of our day, rather than the alternative. I can only imagine the wonders this will do for his psyche if he starts now. Imagine a lifetime of remembering your favorite moment in a day, every day.)
After I ask him about his favorite part, he asks me about mine, and I tell him. But, truthfully, one of my favorite moments is having that conversation with him. That would be a boring answer every day, though, so I usually pick something else.
We went out this morning for coffee and breakfast, which is fast becoming a weekly tradition here. After a rainy couple of days, today was beautiful: sunny and cool, so we decided to walk “the long way” for breakfast (i.e., a 10 minute walk instead of 2) and we came upon the Stadt Fest Wein (Vienna City Festival) at the Hofburg.
In French, they don’t have “dust bunnies”, they have “moutons” (sheep). I feel this is a much more accurate description of what we have rolling around our apartment these days. (They’re beginning to approach the size and aerodynamics of tumbleweed.)
What a day. I woke up this morning to my first humid day in Vienna. (That is something I do NOT miss about home.) It made the heat so much more unpleasant. The kids and I were all sticky and grumpy by 10:00 in the morning. It was forecasted to get warmer, and I was imagining just being miserable by mid-afternoon.
It is sunny here at a quarter after five in the morning. Not “the sun is coming up”, but sun streaming in the windows. It starts getting light before 4:30. It’s taking some getting used to. At home, we had a rule that the kids couldn’t get up for the day before 6:00. We just can’t enforce that here. We can’t convince Benjamin, let alone Liam, to go back to bed when it’s bright out. It’s making for some early mornings.
And then, on the other side, it’s light here until after 9:00, which is making for some late evenings.
I discovered a new favorite place in Vienna today: the Volksgarten at the Hofburg. I’ve actually been there before, but it has changed since I was there last, so I rediscovered it today. When I was there before, I took note of the huge rose bushes, but I had no idea of what I was in for when they really blossomed. They’re in full bloom now. I didn’t realize, when I was there before, that ALL of the bushes I was seeing were rose bushes. (The only thing I can kind of compare it to is the azalea gardens near where I grew up, but with roses.) The whole place is basically just a huge rose garden. It’s literally breathtaking.
One of Benjamin’s many books is one that was also a favorite of mine as a little kid, “Too Much Noise”. It’s a folk story about a man named Peter who is unhappy that his house it too noisy, so he is advised to fill it with all manner of loud barnyard animals. After the animals have been removed, he finds that the noises he used to find so bothersome are now pleasant and peaceful.
We went to see a potential kindergartern for Benjamin today, with mixed emotions. I’m very excited for him — I know he will enjoy making friends, playing games, making arts and crafts and everything else he’ll get to experience by going to school. But I’ve never been away from him like this. We spend our days together. With very few exceptions, I have been there to guide his explorations, to kiss all his boo boos and to supervise and witness all of his adventures. It’s going to be very hard for me to have him go to school, even for just 4 hours a day.
Our weekend kind of got away from us, and after a day full of organizing and cleaning yesterday, and a morning full of visiting with an old friend of Dan’s and walking around downtown Vienna, we decided to be briefly adventurous and go explore somewhere neither Dan nor I had ever been: the Prater. The Prater is a big park in Vienna — it has a “green” section (what you’d think of as a park) and an amusement park section . . . which is almost exactly what you’d expect from an amusement park. It’s full of everything you’d expect in an amusement park: wild rides, water rides, games, balloons, bad-for-you food and tons of people.