Saturday, June 12, 2010

House guests and Star Wars

P had looked forward to the block party for a year. So when he asked, Friday, if we could sleep through Saturday(block party day) to skip to Sunday faster, I knew he was super excited to see Ella and Reed (our dear friends from Kansas). All day Sunday he asked when we could go to Grand Central. Even as he laid suspiciously still on the couch. Even as he covered his eyes with his flax seed pillow. Even as he eschewed food for the cool floor.

Fortunately, his fever was short lived and we were able to adventure with our friends the following morning. Our typical tourist trappings weren't at the top of the kids' lists, so we mapped the Empire State Building, Dylan's Candy Bar, Central Park, it's Zoo and FAO Schwartz in an attempt to minimize walking for short, midwestern legs.

While the kids were a bit underwhelmed by the mighty matron of the city, the candy shop didn't disappoint :) P handles the sweet shop with aplomb, and I'm always surprised ;) Two floors of brightly colored sugars, all of which he is allergic to, shine beneath bright lights and booming music. A childhood candy aficionado myself, P's allergies to fake foods have put an extra emphasis on my adult whole foods preferences, and my feelings about candy shops were summed up in this one shot: (The treat's name said it all :)

                                  P and Ella, wowed by the wonders of a candy filled floor:

Its not just my kid that likes to climb rocks in Central Park. After a couple of subway rides, our guest were giddy running into the rock strewn green for a snack.

                             Public art, en route to the zoo (cuz climbing rocks doesn't always do):

After climbing, we headed to the zoo. I had waxed poetic about seeing a polar bear in real life and hoped he wouldn't be holed up in the heat. But no disappointments there, we were all thrilled to see him bobbing in the water, watching us watching him. Mammals in captivity break my heart, especially when they make eye contact ;) P seems to have the same reaction, because after seeing the snow leopard glide past the glass, he demanded to know why the regal feline wasn't in his natural habitat.... Nevertheless, the zoo was a success, all three kids seemed pleased as pie with the lovely animals and the giant spiderweb.

At FAO, P very carefully picked his prize - a special occasion since friends were here. Yup, I said "special occasion." After years of constant toy purchases, we agreed to take a break. We're fully stocked, overflowing our space, in fact, due to toys (seriously, we own almost nothing other than toys, toy containers and the food making basics). And the child.... he doesn't play that much with them these days! He typically turns towards his rocks and sticks, a cardboard box, BB or a hammer and a board. And, of course, us. His favorite toys, the live robots that play endlessly, he can spend an hour on the floor with either of us and nothing else but sheer joy. He's finally starting to realize this and has decided to wait a while for new additions, (thank the holy freakin stars.) But there is a difference between taking a break from toy stores and actually leaving a live toy store empty handed :)

So, despite his total ignorance on all things Star Wars, the Little Man chose light sabers. His best buddy is all about Star Wars and has been talking up his lighted swords for a while now. Additionally, the older boy downstairs has spoken of Star Wars in hushed, reverential tones. This has made an impact. Nevertheless, P agrees he's nowhere near ready to watch the flick. But swords with lights, well, that sounded kinda cool :)

And honestly, they are. Our previous swords have been a tad short (read: hand injuries) for me to enjoy swordplay with P. And its a pursuit he loves. Now we can jab and dive together, in the dark, bouncing on the bed, illuminated by our sabers. Its ridiculously fun.

But there's one problem. P got a red one and a blue one. Then Reed told him the red one was the bad guy's. Well, P doesn't really want me to be the bad guy and he doesn't really like the idea of the bad guy going after me either - so after a few rounds, he was stuck. I let him sit with it and then suggested the colors were ours to interpret. No go. Damn defined toys. Sticks pose no such problem ;) Hmmm, I said, maybe I could be a good guy that had grabbed a bad guy's saber? (Don't even get me started on the good guy/bad guy delineation!) He liked this solution and we swung and bounced merrily, for a moment. Then he stopped. "But wait. If we're both good guys..... why are we fighting?" OMG. I love this child.

Day two had big plans for two museums and plenty of park play... and we just barely made it through the American Museum of Natural History. After our afternoon indoors with bunches of bones, we headed to Belvedere Castle before getting dinner. Travel with kids is an amazingly different beast that beats to its very own drum :)

                                                         The pic P took at he the AMNH:

P was sad to see his friends (and their mum!) leave the next morning. He, in all seriousness, invited them to be our flat-mates :) Unfortunately, I'd guess that a few more days of P inspired late nights and Reed inspired early mornings and the situation would have been less "Three's Company" and more "Star Wars," for real :)

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