Wherein Niklas Visited The Old Country.
So the potty training has stalled a bit. Niklas loves using various public toilets when we're out and about, but when we're at home he seems to have
lost interest in sticker acquisition and shooting pee-pee at Cheerios. Without those, there's really no incentive for Niklas to go to the potty when modern
technology has advanced to the point where a wet diaper really isn't much of an inconvenience (for either of us, I suppose). Convenient or not,
though, it's time to get this thing on the move, as they say.
Therefore, Niklas and I went shopping for some underpants today. I was hoping to find some Underoos or whatever their
modern equivalent is. There are a couple of little kids clothing stores in Hamilton, so I didn't envision any difficulties. No, this was
not my first time trying to find something in Bermuda. Why do you ask?
So the first place we went had a bunch of Underoo looking stuff featuring the Incredible Hulk. Unfortunately, they had what I would not be exaggerating to estimate as 30 pairs of size 8 underpants and negative 12 pairs of any other size. Okay, there might be some exaggeration in that second number, but I stick to my story on the first. They did have some plaid boxers in his size, but I had a horrible vision of him running through the house with poop falling out of his shorts, so we took a pass on those and kept looking for something with a more secure fit.
The next place had one three-pack of pretty much what I was looking for. These feature Bob The Builder, previously renowned around our house for lending his image to an extremely unappetizing pasta-like substance. They also had a whole bunch of cartoon free things in his size. What kind of things? Low rise brief, of course, because why not? Not surprisingly given what I've witnessed at the local beaches, these are from Europe, where underpants and beachwear are apparently manufactured to conserve as much material as possible. The worst part was the packaging which featured a picture of a six year old that I'm pretty sure would get you arrested in the states. It was pretty much exactly like any Calvin Klein low rise brief advertising photo you would see, BUT THE KID WAS SIX. Obviously, due to my desire to stay off of Dateline's radar, I'm not going to post that picture here. Perhaps the worst part was when I had to buy a three pack of these on account of how I imagine that there will be times when thee pairs of Bob The Builder underpants will only make it through forty minutes or so.
2009-06-06: As we had hoped, the addition of the training pants has really jump started the whole potty training effort. We are going through lots of underpants and shorts, but mostly it's because he'll start to pee, realize that that's not going to work out for him, and we'll run to the potty. He's also pooping in the toilet, which is pretty awesome on account of how I don't have to carry around a package off poop anymore. It's taking some getting used to for him. The first time he pooped in the toilet, he wanted to fish it out for some reason. The second time, he stood up to quickly and deposited a bit of poop on the floor. Also, he tries to run off before I wipe his bottom. Given his propensity for jumping on Andrya's and my bed when he's not wearing pants, this is a potentially terrible situation. So far, I've been able to corral him before he can do any damage.
2009-06-08: Wooooooo! Niklas made it all day without peeing or pooping in/on his underpants, training pants, the floor or me. He did pee in the back of the car a bit due to his car potty having an insufficiently sized splash guard, but still. Also, even though he didn't pee on me, I did manage to spill a bunch of pee on myself after he inexplicably decided to use his potty instead of the toilet. I am not coordinated first thing in the morning. Even so, it was a pretty successful day.
2009-06-09: So Niklas has been doing an awesome job with the potty training. He had another accident free day and he's doing a great job of letting me know when he has the potty. What's the best way to keep this going? Hopefully, it's a massive schedule disruption. We're taking off for the states tomorrow so as to attend Andrya's cousin's wedding and also find some place to live for when we get back for good in August. Unlike some (all) past trips, I plan on updating the site while we're out and about. Then again, I had also planned on archiving the May stuff by now and look where we are. So, tomorrow we fly to Philly and Thursday, weather permitting, there's a big surprise for Niklas. I'll let you know how that goes.
2009-06-11: Well, the first two days of our trip have gone pretty smoothly. Niklas was a good boy on the flight yesterday. Despite its coincidence with naptime, he stayed up for the whole thing. He watched The Imagination Movers (who I will not link you to, lest their insufferable songs get stuck in your head and you hate me forever) on my laptop, ate a bunch of Cheerios, read the airplane information card fifty times and performed a stress test on the window shade to determine how many times it can be opened and closed. Tests were inconclusive. By the time we got to the hotel, he was completely out of gas, so we grabbed some dinner (and Yuengling) and then put him down for the night. That went about as well as expected, which is to say he shouted crazy sleep deprived nonsense for an hour or so before finally dropping off.
Today, we took Niklas to Sesame Place, which is an amusement park for the Sesame Street set. It was insanely popular. Niklas's favorite part was meeting Elmo. Given his previous interactions with Santa Claus, we were a bit concerned with how that would go, but Niklas pretty much spent his time with Elmo alternating between "I can't believe I'm meeting this beloved character" mode and "what is that silly Elmo doing" mode. These modes are very similar, but having spent a bunch of time with Niklas, I can tell the difference. Anyway, Niklas also really, really enjoyed the carousel and the flying fish ride, which is a spin around/up and down type thing. I have a bunch of pictures, but who can be bothered to pack the cable that connects the camera to the computer?
We rode the roller coaster, which was a bit faster than I thought a roller coaster you can put three year olds on would be. (Me to Niklas just before boarding the roller coaster: "If anybody asks, buddy, you tell them that you're three.") He was super-excited at first, probably because the roller coaster is the first thing you see when you walk in the park. Once the speed kicked in after the first drop, he was a bit less thrilled, but he wasn't wailing or anything. He wasn't smiling when the ride was over, but when I asked him if he had a good time, he said "yes". He had a bit less fun on the Blast Off, which is pretty much a shorter version of the Giant Drop at Six Flags. The thing went up and down four times. Times two and three were popular, times one and four were not. Each time the car-thing dropped, he opened his mouth as wide as he could and stuck his tongue all the way out and either yelled or laughed. When the ride was over and the harness opened up, he was out of his seat and on his way to the exit before I could ask him what he thought, but I think I have a pretty good idea.
There was also a live show version of Elmo's world, a fairly popular parade that allowed Niklas to high five the Count and Ernie, a net climbing thing that almost killed me, several other rides and a whole bunch of trips to the potty (still successful on that front, by the way). No trip to the amusement park is complete without spending money frivolously in the gift shop, so we got Niklas a travel friendly (which is to say small) Telly doll. Niklas declared that it was a baby Telly and when we got back to the hotel, Niklas pretended to change his diaper. Anyway, a good time was had by all.
2009-06-15: So, we've been in Chicago for a few days, now. We got in on Friday a little after noon after making a trip to the Dunkin Donuts in Philly that was extremely popular with Niklas and also the basis for the sugar crash which caused him to sleep through the whole flight. Win-win, there. We hit the Goose Island for lunch where Niklas continued his nationwide taste test of chicken nuggets/tenders and I continued my nationwide taste test of beer. Andrya continued to eat reasonably. Afterwards, we hung out the hotel for a while, grabbed some Chipotle and put Niklas to bed. He did see the first few minutes of this, though:
Awesome, yes? Let's look at that again:
Right, then. Saturday was pretty rainy in the morning, so we took Niklas to the Chicago Children's Museum. This was quite popular. There was a pretend block party where you could make all kinds of pretend food. Niklas took this opportunity to create the Crustless Pizza In A Basket, which I'm sure will bring him millions in the future. We also dug for dinosaur bones, devised an alarm clock out of tinker toys and created (intentionally) the world's worst flying machine. Niklas's favorite thing, though, was playing the steel drum. He banged away on that for quite a while while some other kid sang and a supernaturally tolerant staff member played the guitar. So a good time was had by all.
After a nap (which Niklas requested. ! !! !!!!!!!!) (!), we headed over to Jared, Dana and Aaron's. The boys wrecked it up pretty good for a while (at one point dressed as Batman and Superman) before turning in while Andrya, Jared, Dana and I went out to grab some Mexican food. Please note that we did use a babysitter in lieu of putting one of the boys in charge of the other one.
Sunday, Niklas got up pretty early, so I took him for a walk over to Millennium Park. He had a really good time playing in the Crown Fountian and looking at some of the big art installations that are there right now. I would show you the pictures of that, but you know. Later, we headed back over to Dana and Jared's where Dana graciously hosted a brunch for us. Niklas and Aaron once again had a fabulous time playing together. Also, I owe them both a bit of cash after teaching them, much too successfully, how to play blackjack. In the evening, Grandma and Pa Pa Meeker came up. Niklas showed them how he could use the potty, instructed them on the ways of the hotel remote and transferred all of their trash from one trashcan to another. Also, we had some dinner.
Today, Niklas hung out with his Grandparents in the morning while Andrya and I went out to find a house (we've narrowed our list to three at this point). They went to the zoo where Niklas had a great time looking at the animals and climbing on things. He also apparently ate his weight in hotdogs, macaroni and cheese and cookies. This evening, his Godmother Katie and her two year old Alice came down and we all went out to dinner. Afterwards, Niklas gave Alice a hug and a kiss goodbye, which was pretty much the most adorable thing ever. Then, on the walk home, he claimed that while he did hug her, there was never any kissing. I don't know what to make of that. Anyway, that's where we are right now.
2009-06-23: Well, we're back in Bermuda. Hopefully, I'll finish recaping our trip in the next few days. In the meantime, here's what we've been up to in the two and a half days we've been back: not much. The weather has been pretty poor and Niklas takes a while to get his internal clock reset, so we've pretty much been hanging around the house. Today, he had a runny nose, so he had a fabulous time wiping snot away with his hands while I had much less fun trying to stop him. Also, he and I did some baking and played catch. Niklas has been going through pool withdrawl, so if the weather is anything better than awful, that's what we'll be doing tomorrow.
2009-06-24: More rain today, so there was no pool. In lieu of that, we headed to the Exploratorium (though they prefer to be called The Bermuda Underwater Institute). Niklas had a fine time. He put on some diving gear, rode the dolphin, snail and sea horse shaped rocking horse things and generally ran amok in reasonably undestructive fashion. Also, we went to the grocery store and watched a bunch of TV. Niklas requested "Donald's" for lunch, so I tried to explain to him that there are no fast food franchises on the island. He countered with an offer of going to McDonald's for dinner. We settled with some chicken stew for lunch and a bunch of chocolate so as to keep the protest screams to a minimum.
2009-06-28: I haven't checked this yet for the horrible, horrible grammatical errors for which I would be famous if poor grammar was a thing that brought people fame, so please to enjoy as is.
So, here's what happened on the rest of our trip back to the States. The last I mentioned anything about it, we had narrowed our home choices down to three. So the next day (Tuesday the 16th), we did some shopping and then Niklas hung out with Katie (his Godmother) and Alice (that girl he kissed but denied kissing) while Andrya and I went out for some second viewings. He had a fabulous time playing with toys and looking out the window at all the cars and buses and trains that go by Katie's condo. After Andrya and I picked out a place and put an offer in, we picked him up and grabbed some Chipotle for dinner. Have I mentioned my theory that Bermuda would be thirty to forty times more a desirable place to live if there was a combination Chipotle/ice rink? Repeatedly? Well, I stick to my story. Anyway, it was rainy out, so Niklas tore it up about the hotel room for a while and crashed out, so his missed Andrya and I doing the dance of joy when our offer was accepted. Here's the new place.
Wednesday, we still had to pay for the new house, so we CTA'ed our way up to the realtor's office to drop off a check. Then we did a bit more shopping, seeing as how there is a seemingly infinite supply of stuff you cannot get in Bermuda. That night, we took Niklas to Heaven On Seven which he loved on account of how they gave him some Mardi Gras beads. Finally, two weeks later, he's stopped insisting that he wear his necklace everywhere. He's wearing it right now, but there were several hours today when he wasn't fixated on it.
We were up early on Thursday for our flight back to Philly for Andyra's cousin's wedding's rehearsal dinner, which they were kind enough to invite us to despite the fact that our only role in the wedding was to show up and not make an excessive racket. The weather in Philly was bad enough to delay our departure for an hour, but seeing as how that gave me a chance to have one more Potbelly sandwich, I didn't mind too badly. Niklas crashed out for pretty much the whole flight, which was pleasant. That evening, we headed off to the rehearsal dinner just about the time that it started raining with enough ferocity to send people out seeing if they could find two alpacas in greater Philadelphia. Our strategy of one umbrella for three people proved woefully inadequate when we arrived at the restaurant, but Niklas doesn't mind a little rain. He also doesn't mind a lot of rain, apparently, which is good, seeing as how that's what we got hit with. Anyway, once we got inside, a fine time was had by all. Niklas got to see his Grandma and Pa Pa Meeker again, Andrya visited with her family and I had all you can drink microbrews. Win/win/win.
The next day, Niklas was up early, so he did some visiting with his grandparents and the myriad aunts, uncles and cousins who were in for the wedding. After a much needed nap (for me and probably him as well), we headed off to the wedding. Niklas managed to sit still and not voice any objections, so that went well. This is where I suppose I should provide a picture of the ceremony, but I failed to take any, so there's that. I thought it was pretty solid. After driving around in circles for a while, baffled by the one way streets of Newark, Delaware, we arrived back at the hotel for the reception, where there was Yuengling, wine and milk, so another win/win/win. Dinner started kind of late, so we expected Niklas to crash out, but the allure of desert kept him going for most of the night. He did some dancing, ate a bunch of food, ate most of the chocolate favors that were on the table and chatted amiably with just about everyone. When desert was served, most of our table (including Andrya) was either on the dance floor or mingling. Niklas ate the bowl of chocolate mousse he had been given, crawled from his chair to Andrya's and ate her desert as well. Had people not returned to the table, he likely would have kept on going. Thus fortified with sugar, he made it until about 11:00 before running out of gas. He and I went back to the hotel room and I let him watch Futurama for the few minutes it took him to pass out.
After saying numerous (and repeated due to the length of the numerous) good byes the next morning, we headed into downtown Philly for a day of relaxing before flying back to Bermuda. (We had decided that waking up at 7:00 to head to the airport the day after a wedding was an awful idea, at best.) It was pretty rainy out, so we pretty much just relaxed in the hotel room. Niklas gave me Father's Day presents a day early (on account of the un-Father's Dayness of waking up early and getting on a plane), so that was cool. Then on Sunday, our flight back was uneventful. So, there's that.
2009-06-30: Well, the weather here has finally swithched from rainy to horribly hot and humid, but sunny, so we've been able to get back to doing outdoor type stuff. Today, we hit the playground in the morning and the pool in the afternoon. That's pretty much our plan for the rest of the week, although we may switch it up a bit and hit the pool in the morning and the playground in the afternoon. Variety!
Here are a couple of new pictures that aren't really new so much as they are from the camera whose battery I finally got around to charging.