Archive for July, 2010

Rainy Portland

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Here in Portland, we have had cold rainy Spring weather up until July 3rd. I kid not. It went from the upper 50s to the 90s in 48 hours and I’m still kind of working out the kinks in my brain. Our lawn is still totally lush and green and requiring frequent mowing. Last year this time? It was a matted-down dead prickly sea of brown (except for the dandelions, those bastards are unstoppable); we spent last year’s 4th of July sitting in the shade with our feet in a kiddie pool. Our garden this year is going strong, except for the tomatoes, which we planted a bit early and who got utterly pommeled by some nasty hailstorms and then finished off with an extra six weeks of winter. I seriously doubt any of them will bear fruit by next freeze. It’s pretty much tragic since the only thing I really care about, vegetable garden-wise, is a really good tomato.

We went for a couple of hikes up in the gorge in the past couple of weeks. It was wet and rainy and Ronin was crabby since she didn’t nap but we had fun. Everything was very green and drippy.

The snails were out in force and we had educational moments every 30 feet or so along the way. Ronin was pretty interested in watching them sit there poking their antennae in and out; it was slow going for a while.

Well, she did nap after all, for a short while. Everyone was happier afterward.

We had mentioned to her that maybe we could go see the big fish and we’ve learned that once she gets something fixed in the brain, if that thing does not come to pass, there will be a massive shrieking meltdown. So we went to the hatchery and watched some enormous sturgeon swim around for a while.

This fish is like 800 pounds and ~12 feet long. I will think about this every time I go swimming in any large river for the rest of my life.

In addition to the underwater viewing window, we can feed little brown trout-snacks to a raging pondful of massive rainbow trout. This is a big toddler pleaser. I like them too but mostly I kind of wish I could have one to take home for dinner.

Another outing had us wandering through the cottonwoods near Smith Bybee lake. Ronin liked walking on the fallen beaver logs. Those crazy animals can chew down a tree that is over a foot in diameter. How the hell? (And why?)

At the end of the walk is a little observation building with a handful of little windows at various heights that look out over onto the marsh. The idea is, presumably, to observe nature without disturbing the nervy little ducks. They even have windows low enough for Ronin to peek through but she’s not a quiet observer. We didn’t see any ducks.

We did see some of these.

The lake is higher than normal and the metal walkway out to the observation building was flooded. Ronin thought this was great. It was all we could do to keep her from completely stripping off her jacket and shirt and diaper (it wasn’t warm and the water was super cold).


Unfortunately, Ronin walked right off the edge of the grate in the split second that Joshua looked away from her and she fell in the lake up to her neck. This bent her right out of shape and we immediately had to strip her of her sodden jacket/shirt/diaper. The tragedy of the moment was swept away finally when we discovered this teensy little green frog. Ronin really liked this frog and we sat and watched him quake in fear for quite some time.

I carried Ronin all the way back to the car hugged in my sweatshirt to keep her warm. Little monkey.

Much Misc

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Ronin is getting tall! A real little girl these days. We actually started her in a local preschool two days a week. We felt like she would really enjoy the activities and different stuff, and the other kids to play with. Plus, she could definitely use some socializing. She’s not always going to hang with two protective hovering satellites that intuit her every move and desire. She seemed to really enjoy it the first couple of times and even napped (!) but the second week, we had tears when we dropped her off and cries that she didn’t want to go. Once we left though, we got calls from the teacher to tell us that as soon as we left, she cooled down and was pretty much fine and happy. Unfortunately (for the teacher, less so for Ronin), she stopped napping. She hasn’t napped now for a few weeks (except once when we essentially “forced” her to by bouncing her like we did when she was a baby). The no nap means that by the time we come to pick her up, she is completely wiped and falls asleep in the car or on the bike seat on the ride home. Thussly refreshed, she is absolute hell to get down for the night.

Actually, she’s been hell to get down for a good while now. I’ve felt so miserable about it that I have refrained from bitching here online about it, and in so doing, have not been posting anything at all. It just made me so upset, I could only come out with negative things to say about her and the sleep situation. But, things seem to be getting a little better; she went down without any fuss at all tonight.

I just cut her hair for the first time yesterday (nothing daring, just a respectable bob). She has never let us brush her hair with a hairbrush and so I follow her around waiting for any moment when she is otherwise occupied with something—eating or playing with bathtoys; on occasion, I’ve snuck into her room and done this while she slept—and I pry carefully at the dense dreadlocks that have formed at the back of her head. (Ronin, in addition to being a serial brush-hater, is a major hair-twirler when confused or tired or just lost in thought.) She of course hates this and says: “Mama! Are you getting out the rats? DON’T DO THAT!” And runs away from me. The shorter hair seems to keep the rats at bay, and I got rid of a couple of the more tenacious of the bunch in the process.

[Ronin looking cute in her hat. I haven’t gotten any pics of the new ‘do yet. Next time.]

One historic issue we’ve dealt with since forever has been the non-eating thing. Curiously, as she gets older, she is getting less picky about the consumption of food. Everything I have ever heard about toddlers and food has been to the contrary so it is with great trepidation that I watch her suddenly deign to touch green vegetables, nibble on a lettuce leaf say. I’ve heard of people who would never let their toddler eat pizza but seriously, we rejoiced when Ronin actually ate a bite and didn’t spit it out. She’s getting less picky about fruit too and will, on occasion, eat things that we did not have to pantomime picking off the bush or tree for her (though she still won’t touch raspberries once we are more than five feet from the bush they came off of).

One of the outfits Ronin picked out: David Bowie shirt over Tahitian dancer girl outfit with green tiered skirt. She’s big into layering and will emerge from her room with three t-shirts over a dress with a skirt on top, pants underneath, and two different socks on. I think she is practicing to be a bag lady when she grows up.

Potty training is in full force hereabouts. We introduced a potty right around when she turned two when I was all gung-ho on the whole deal. She seemed to be aware of the various bodily functions and very curious about the potty aparatus and potty-themed storybooks and the like. Potty #1 was a raging success for about 35 minutes and now that we own three, any hope of reliving those first moments have all but been shattered. She uses none of her potties, naturally, and on the rare occasions we have managed to coax her out of a diaper, she has shown a preference for the step-board that we use to get in and out of the garden shed. Today was uncharacteristically sucessful however, she peed twice next to trees at two different parks and once on the step-board. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high.

Ronin models potty#2 for us. It can be a lot of fun and used for many different things, observe:

You see how she’s combined her newfound enthusiasm for food with her interest in the potty? It’s moments like these that make a mama proud.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell