Tickle · the · Pear

gros malin

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I actually have a "real" update drafted...but in the meantime: Baby Z has a pretty structured and active life at the daycare so we usually let him relax and do what he likes in the evenings and over the weekends. But I was impressed with a series of posts on Hellobee on different indoor activities involving beans.

MoBob had received several pounds of black beans as a Ramadan gift so I re-purposed them to make a mini-sandbox with a plastic bin. To lessen the mess we used a large tablecloth I'd gotten on clearance from Target. Baby Z was absorbed for a good 40 minutes - a real success!

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I wanted to do something for Baby Z that would remind him that Ramadan is a special time just like the Advent countdown calendar for Christmas. I took some colored tape from Target and tried to create a mosaic-like pattern on some plastic picnic-ware.

I already had the plate, bowl, and cup, as well as the Modge-Podge.
photo 1

I tore the tape into pieces and arranged them around the edge of each item. I then painted on two coats of Modge-Podge.
photo 2

Baby Z had his first Ramadan dinner of harira (traditional Moroccan soup), dates, and milk.
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We were pretty busy with lots of fun stuff last week. My "cousin" R and her family were on their big East Coast trip and so we met them for dinner at The Hamilton last Thursday. The food was ok, hopefully the jazz was better. It was wonderful to catch up with everyone, and of course Baby Z charmed everyone in turn.

My mommy group had originally planned to meet at Clemyjontri Park on Saturday, but the weather didn't cooperate, so instead we went to the "soft playroom" at the Charles Houston Rec Center in Alexandria. It was so much fun, especially the parents could just hang out without constantly monitoring the kidlets. The same afternoon we went to an open house for the French Academy We arrived late, and didn't get to spend much time with R and her daughter​, who wasn't impressed with the activities. Neither was I, quite frankly, but the instructors seemed energetic and friendly enough.

Since we were hungry and in the neighborhood we stopped at American City Diner, where the World Cup was conveniently broadcast. I liked diners, and this one was bigger than Bob and Edith's in Arlington.

On Sunday we saw that the water feature in Yards Park was finally back in business. Baby Z and MoBob splashed around for a good while, then I took Baby Z out for a turn on his new convertible stroller/tricycle. Sunday evening we said happy birthday and goodbye to Janine while picnicking on the National Mall. Boo.

tricycle 22 June 2014

The daycare center is offering a series of parenting classes courtesy of Early Stages DC, a DC government program for families. The content is pretty interesting, but kind of like taking pre-natal classes, I wonder how much I'll actually retain in the end, especially since MB is unable to attend. I also went to the parents advisory group meeting at the pediatricians' office. I think it's great they organize something like this on a quarterly basis - with food! They were very receptive for example to feedback on the new patient portal. MB and I agreed that we'd prioritize music as an extracurricular activity for now over French, so I've been researching toddler music programs for the fall. Baby Z's summer activity is "swimming lessons" on Saturday mornings.

Last night was WIN's Women Opening Doors for Women event. In previous years the themed dinners I attended were on "mid-life crisis" and "work-life balance." This time I decided to attend the international network's dinner, From Aung San Suu Kyi to Malala and Beyond: The Changing State of Women's and Human Rights 1989-2039. I always had the impression that WIN events skewed young and, indeed, I was the only middle-aged, mid-career person there. I'm glad for opportunities to be inspired by young people's energy and idealism, but I'd rather learn from my peers.
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Last Saturday we attended the last session of “petites chansons” at the Takoma Park library until the fall. I feel like Baby Z enjoys singing time in French more than story time at the Alliance Française, although we go to that too. We took advantage of our visit to “the people’s republic of Takoma Park” by visiting A Fair Day’s Play, a local toy store. MoBob celebrated Father’s Day by purchasing a large green made-in-the-US-out-of-recycled-materials garbage truck for Baby Z. We went next door to Roscoe’s Pizzeria which was OK. I had the eggplant frittata which I suspect was what made Baby Z bloom like an overripe tomato in reaction. He didn’t seem bothered but just in case we stayed home instead of visiting our friends to watch the England vs. Italy match. Baby Z has relinquished the last vestiges of babyhood, formula and bottles, so we are donating everything to the Muslim women's shelter in Baltimore.

On Sunday evening MB and I went to the After the Storm benefit concert at the Kennedy Center. We arrived early and watched the parade of Fil-Ams and Filipinos in various types of barongs or ternos. I’d never seen Lea Salonga perform before so that was the biggest treat for me. Joshua Bell was replaced by a cute French guy. Charisse couldn’t match her own lip-syncing. Most surprisingly, VPOTUS’ son was a nervous speaker. He’s currently the head of the US Committee for the World Food Programme and grew up in the public sphere, and yet he stumbled over his speech and didn’t know where to place his hands. His wife, who also spoke, was much more polished and relaxed.

On Monday I attended GenderPalooza and Iive-tweeted the entire event. (#Gender360Summit) I was jealous and impressed that the speaker from CARE enjoyed an “infant at work” policy and brought her six-month-old with her, with CARE paying for the babysitter during the trip.

It's been a difficult week for some members of the Mormon church, including myself. Almost 20 of us got together one evening to talk about recent events, and I was just overcome by love and gratitude. I wish I could send those feelings to my friends who feel isolated in their own faith communities. Instead of falling to the temptation of thinking, "Why should I struggle to stay in a church that doesn't seem to want me?" I ponder the words of one of the church leaders: If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.
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Faithful readers may recall that I've participated in any number of fitness activities with varying degrees of success. My best experience was the tennis team I joined for two years. A great group of ladies and a great way to work out. The cute outfits helped too.

Unfortunately I am one of those people who do not feel energized by exercise. I feel even more tired. Tennis worked out because the practices were in the evening and Saturday mornings. Otherwise with an early morning workout I'm really unable to get through the day without massive doses of caffeine.

Now that the pool is open I'm hoping to go swimming regularly. Perhaps a sign of how adverse I was to exercise was that last summer, when I was on maternity leave (free time) and my sister-in-law stayed with us (childcare), I didn't go swimming once. Granted, I was post-partum. Well, I'm not anymore, and I still haven't gone swimming. Our schedule is so packed in the evenings - with cooking and eating dinner as a family and getting Baby Z ready for bed, the pool is already closed at 9pm. Even if it were open I'm just so knackered at the end of the day. I make up for it by waking up early (to tidy up somewhat and get organized for the day including packing lunch) so I don't even get enough sleep. Gah.
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For the first few days at home Baby Z looked around as if to say, "where's my entourage?" He is slowly recovering from two weeks of absolute attention. Now it seems like a dream and we are in the same routine as before our vacation. Except now the weather is getting hot and sticky.

We've been going to Canal Park since the water feature at Yards Park is closed for repairs. Baby Z isn't too keen on the actual fountains - unexpected jets of cold water! - but liked the shallow pool well enough. He LOVED the pool and the ocean when we were in Bohol, and hopefully with upcoming swimming lessons he'll be even more comfortable. We ended up enrolling at the YMCA in Alexandria, because the places in DC (DC public pools, JCC, or the Y downtown) were all booked or impossible logistically.

I've been trying to decide also what volunteer work I'll take up again. When I found out I was expecting I resigned from everything. Now that we have a pretty standard schedule and Baby Z is more autonomous I feel like ending the hiatus. So I could either go back to the organizations I used to volunteer for (for which I still care and regularly donate) or try something completely new.

As I sift through the trip photos I'll post some randomly.
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As in 2012, I have difficulty articulating my feelings about visiting the Philippines. I’m glad we went, even though my parents were so nervous about Baby Z’s health (at one point they said they would reimburse us if we cancelled the trip), and I wasn’t looking forward to the logistics of traveling 20+ hours with a one year old. Overall, everything went well; except for diaper rash and finding equivalent infant formula, Baby Z seemed to have a fine time, spoiled by the grandparents and a huge entourage of extended family. Every time he pooped, he had at least four people take him to the shower to clean him up. His feet never touched the ground and he never slept alone. Even on the plane trips there and back he was surrounded by a constant gaggle of flight attendants. So our return to the US has meant a real boot camp.

We took advantage of Bohol’s burgeoning tourism industry; spent a day with cousins in Cebu and another day with other cousins in Manila; visited everyone during fiesta season; and ate and slept. MoBob did fine on the food aspect, though people seemed to have confused “no pork” with “vegetarian.” My only regret is that we didn’t spend more time at the beach resort.
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