At the Zoo: Dad J & Mom K with kids V (held) & L (in stroller)
On Tuesday we wound up a week-long Thanksgiving visit with our son and daughter-in-law, J and K, and our two-year-old grandkids, V and L, all of whom flew up from New Orleans. It was more fun than one could imagine. Because we live far apart, getting together is always a memorable occasion. J, K, and V (along with K’s dad Ted) had travelled to China in late summer to bring L back home with them, so it was our first time to see our new grandson in person. L was everything we could hope for. Both children are as cute as pixies, and they have energy levels of whirling dervishes. Plus they are totally smart. I don’t think that L had had any prior English exposure before three months ago, yet he communicated successfully and seemed to understand just about everything his parents and sister said to him. V, too, had grown a lot in language and motor skills in the short time since we’d last saw her in June. Everybody commented on how well she speaks. J had cautioned us to babyproof everything, and it was apt advice since the kiddies were endlessly curious and liked to examine everything in sight. As on our last trip, V showed a strong attachment to her grandma. When we drove across town and J pointed out the building where I worked, V asked, “Nana work there too?” And when it came time to leave, V gave a kiss and spontaneously volunteered, “I love you, Nana.” L too was full of hugs and smiles at meetings and departures. I took a lot of photos, and I’ll put a larger batch on Flickr. Here are some highlights of our week.
We worried a bit beforehand about four adults, two toddlers, and two big sheepdogs all occupying the same space, but the dogs were gentle with the children, and the children were remarkably good with them. V and L had their own bedrooms upstairs, while J and K camped out in the living room.
The children seem to be full of play genes, and they loved doing many things, old and new. We’d stocked up at the thrift shop, and Jennifer and her family lent us still more toys. L was fascinated with pulling the lever to release the brightly colored balls.
The preschool school bus was a huge hit – just their size and speed for the little ones.
Donna had trimmed V’s hair on her last visit, and she did so again. V, with her growing sense of independence, wasn’t as into it this time around.
Paula D and Jordan came over for a late afternoon visit. L and V had many laughs and giggles playing with 20-year-old Jordan (who was much older than the kids but still closer to being a young person than the rest of us).
I got more firsthand familiarity with Cincinnati playgrounds this trip than ever before. Dunore Park is just down the street from us. It contains a little playground pitched to two-year-olds, but the kids have nearly grown out of it. Nonetheless, L enjoyed driving the “bus” and taking his Mom for a ride.
Clifton’s Burnet Woods was a more plentiful offering, with playground swings, a giant slide, the hiking trails and gazebo. Here’s our group making their way up the stairs from the playground and through the woods.
The park’s shelter house became a play room in its own right. The two favorite games were: (a) Dad chase the kids, and (b) kids chase Dad. Even Grandpa got into the act. Lots of screaming, squealing, and excitement.
With lots of room to run around in, L and V invented their own mini-soccer game, kicking around the giant yellow-greenish seed pod.
Mt. Airy Forest had the biggest and best playground gym, but the magnificent Treehouse was the highlight of our expedition. Set off in the forest, mounted forty feet up in the air, and suspendend by four or five big hardwood trees, it could have vaporized out of a fairy tale.
L was sleepy one afternoon, and J and I took V to Eden Park and visited the holiday show at the Krohn Conservatory. V liked the waterfall, the model train displays, the poinsettias, the other little kids, and, most of all, the teenage violinists.
Then we drove to the nearby Eden Park Overlook. When J was a little kid, he was fascinated by the statue of the mother Wolf nursing Romulus and Remus. Wouldn’t you know, V was just as fascinated too.
The zoo was the biggest and best of our family outings. In addition to the elephants, giraffes, gorillas, manatees, a baby wallaby, and two baby cougars, V had a lot of fun chasing the barnyard hens to and fro.
Being late afternoon we weren’t allowed to enter the petting zoo, but that didn’t stop some of us from doing their petting by stretching over the fence.
On the last morning Katja had to leave early for work, and V watched solemnly over the patio fence as she got in the car to drive off. Later, when we got ready to leave for the airport, V cried and cried. Maybe she was just tired from an abbreviated nap, but I imagined that she and L were sad about their vacation in Cincinnati coming to an end. I know for sure that we were too.
-Gayle CL (12-6): Hi. Absolutely;))))))) thx David for always connecting :). It means so much to me;)))) L O L. G
-Phyllis SS (12-5): Dave, How lovely - I can see now how much your son looks like you. Phyllis
-Vicki L (12-4): Hi D, What a lovely story. That's all I can say. Thank you, Sis