Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Zoo, Part II

Well, as Greg is entirely too busy watching the X-Men cartoon via Netflix, I guess I, Kim, will have to continue the saga that was the zoo.

I'll continue where I left off, exiting the Cat Complex. We next headed down, up, sideways? the Gorilla exhibit. Not much to go over from this as most of the apes were sleeping or out of site. Greg did manage to get into an argument with Noah. The question: Are we looking at monkeys or apes? Obviously the answer was apes as all monkeys have tails, but, who can argue with a 2 year old? We did get a few pics around the statues though. Who needs the real thing?
I think the most exciting thing for the boys was the petting zoo. I know, all of these nifty animals with such cool evolutionary designs...and Noah loved the goats. Alas, a two year old mind does not reason. He loved getting to touch them and feel the hard horns. I think any chance to run a muck with animals is fun for Noah.

Harrison also loved to see the goats up close and to touch them. Although, you could say that there's not much Harrison doesn't like. We'll just have to assume that he enjoyed himself because of the animals.
Probably the highlight of Noah's trip was the train ride. Lately, Noah has become quite fascinated with trains. Seeing trains, going over train tracks, watching trains, watching cartoon trains (i.e. Thomas the Train); anything about trains floats his boat. Grandpa generously offered to stay behind with Harrison so that Noah could enjoy the trip w/ Mom, Dad, and Uncle John.

We all thought Noah might be a little scared on the train, just because this was so different from anything he's ever done. We were way off. Noah loved watching the steam come off the engine and loved the fact that we were actually on the cho-cho tracks. Again, the simplicity of a two year old. I did have to point out that there were still animals around, but I think I only distracted him for a few minutes before we started talking train again.

After the train, we made a few other quick stops. Noah, Greg and Grandpa fed the budgies (different types of small parrots) while Harrison, John and I watched the otters. No, I did not take any to practice my taxidermy skills (through back to the old college days working at Moral Hall). And I'm pretty sure had I tried a few people might have stopped me. I leave you w/ the fun pics.

The sounds not the greatest on these videos, but there fun to just watch Noah.

And that was our zoo trip. A fun time was had by all, especially due to the fact that most of the animals were actually awake and moving around. Another plus was that it was only in the mid to upper 70's. A perfect day for the zoo!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A day at the zoo, part 1

I, Kim, being the bright-eyed nature lover with a degree in biology, jump at every chance to visit a zoo. When Greg and I's work offered free tickets into Henry Doorly Zoo, I could hardly contain my excitement. We could finally take the family to the zoo, without having to take out a second mortgage. I also think that Noah's going to have my love for animals as he loves to watch nature shows with me. Maybe I'm just a little biased though. So on September 13, Greg, Noah, Harrison, Grandpa Philson, and I headed to Omaha for an adventure. We would meet Uncle John there.
Our first stop would be the aquarium. A brief side note, while I was in college I had the privilege of interning at the Henry Doorly Zoo in the aquarium. Needless to say, I know what happens back stage, and I love to see what has (or hasn't) changed since my brief stint. Noah loves watching penguins on t.v. and he also has a couple books with them, so I knew he would like this exhibit. He did in fact love watching the penguins swimming and eating fish (we showed up just as the keepers were feeding them). He also loved watching the sharks, turtles, and fish swim all around him as we walked through the aquarium's sea tunnel. Although, he did get a little scared, so it's a good thing Grandpa was there to protect him.

Harrison just loved looking at everything, and was perfectly content just sitting in his stroller.

After one exhibit, it was time for lunch. We found a couple of picnic tables and ate our sack lunch. We also had a nice visit from a local peacock. Everyone enjoyed the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (even the peacock) and then it was off to the next set of animals.

Our next stop was the cat complex. The animals were actually all awake, and one of the tigers was growling and staking it's territory. Pretty impressive as they are usually all asleep. The male lion was pretty funny as he was watching people walk be and staring them down. I want to go to Africa one day, but I'll be sure to keep my distance. There was also a mountain lion (or puma as the zoo calls it. I guess it depends on where you grow up what you call it.) that was in a very playful mood and entertained Noah for quite some time. It was running around its enclosure and chasing its tail. It also was jumping up on the logs, hanging upside down, and batting at its tail. You could definitely tell that this animal was related to the average house cat. Or at least your average playful house cat.

There's more to follow about the zoo, but I'll let Greg post the rest. My hands are starting to cramp with all this blogging. Stay tuned!

So big, Harrison!

Harrison is definitely into everything these days. Now that he is crawling on his knees, he thinks he can get into everything. Within the last 2 weeks, he has also learned how to pull himself up on things, as the video demonstrates. I'm sure it's only a matter of a month or so before he's walking. Noah was walking by 10 months, so it wouldn't surprise any of us if Harrison followed his path. Harrison will be 8 months on 10/3 and it seems he can't grow up fast enough. I think his real intention is to drive his brother crazy. Harrison has also learned how to shake his head "no". He cracks himself up shaking his head, and makes everyone else laugh too. He'll shake his head while eating, playing, or while getting into trouble. There's no stopping him.

These next 2 videos are just quick little snap shots of the little guy playing. He's really started vocalizing a lot more while playing, although he still hasn't mastered Momma or Dada yet. However, Noah has mastered them. All day long we hear, "hey Momma" or "hey Dada". And it doesn't help if we try and ignore him, as he just gets louder and more frequent in his requests. As the video will show, Harrison also likes playing with big brother's toys. As long as Noah's not taking away the fun toys, or running by and hitting him, Harrison is very happy to just sit and play with Mom and Dad. He's a very happy baby, and turning very quickly into a very happy toddler.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To hold or not to hold...

Noah's been doing a great job with his potty training. Over the last week, we've slowly been letting him become accustomed to "big-boy underwear" for a couple of hours at a time. Due to the success of the last few days, Noah spent all of yesterday actually wearing underwear from wake up to bed time. In fact he repeated that victory today, but this story is about yesterday. Now permit me to set up the story...
Our big thing with Noah is that he needs to tell us when he has to go to the bathroom, that way he doesn't have an accident, and the kid's been getting really good about running up to us and shouting "Momma, Dadda, potty!!" While delivering this message he seems to posses this look of urgency that suggests he is not in fact fooling around, and if we were to fail in getting him to his destination, the world, would come to a very disastrous end. Therefore, we take the boy and his cry for assistance with the utmost seriousness and do everything in our power to escort him (Rather quickly, because honestly, who wants to clean up that mess? We do it enough with our dogs.) to the potty. Once there, Noah will very quickly assist in removing his pants (thanks Kim for teaching him how to slide them off) and will then struggle to get his undies off. Finally, he climbs up to the toilet, positions himself, carefully aims, and in most cases will successfully fire. The grand finally consists of a round of applause and high fives from all parties involved.
Set up complete, we shall now proceed to the punch line...
Last night Kim was at her usual weekly CCD class, teaching the Public School kids of our Parish all about the wonders of the Catholic faith. This means that I'm left to babysit, err I mean, bond with my two boys one evening a week. With Kim being gone, that means I'm in charge of keeping the schedule and basically getting everyone through a 90 minute period alive. With about 15 minutes left to go before total Philson Household lock-down, I had Harrison ready for bed. Dressed in his jamies (I'm a daddy, I can say the word jamies with a straight face and not be laughed out of a room full of men) in my arms, bottle in mouth, and lights off. It was heavenly. Noah was at the time playing trucks in the other room, gracing Harry and I with the occasional visit to make sure everyone was okay. On the last occasion, Noah entered the room with that look of urgency. "DADDY, POTTY!!" he cried with no regard to his semi-sleeping brother. In a flash a multitude of scenarios ran through my mind; put Harrison down, and take Noah to the bathroom, send Noah there by himself, let Noah wet himself. (okay three scenarios) In the end I decided that to set Harry down would ruin the work I had already invested in putting him to sleep. He would wake up and cry, and require additional comfort that would clearly take up valuable "Daddy time" that theoretically should be mine and mine alone. Without giving my words much thought, I calmly looked at Noah and said "Noah, can you hold it?" (I like to pause here to give other parents a chance to laugh at the stupid question I just asked)
Immediately I regretted my words. The kid gave me a look of confusion mixed with disgust. "But dad, I get in trouble when I do that" his eyes said. In the end, the child's obedience over ruled his frustration, and very slowly he raised his hand, and then firmly grabbed onto the front of his pants. Very clearly doing what Daddy had asked less than a second ago. The effort to restrain my violent laughter was tremendous. If I gave in to my impulse reaction to hysterically laugh at Noah's action I would essentially have nullified my efforts to keep Harrison asleep. The kid would have woken up and cried and I would have needed to soothe him, and would then need to clean up my urine stained two-year old.
In the end, my will-power overcame my primal urge, and I sent Noah to the bathroom. Harry finished his bottle just as all of this occurred, so I was able to put the youngest down, and then take Noah to the bathroom where we were met with additional successes. Through the entire ordeal, his underwear stayed dry. We celebrated our victory with a round of applause, a few "yeahs!" and one or two high fives.
This story very clearly has a moral, two year olds take things literally. Therefore never use such expressions as "Well gouge my eyes out with a dull steak knife" in your young child's presence. I highly doubt that story would end with applause and high fives.