Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Monday, June 28, 2010

"What I Learned on My Summer Vacation"

Two weeks ago, my husband, son, and I went to Tehachapi, CA with my in-laws for a mountainous Californian vacation.  Mountains are not typically what I expect when I think of California (that's what my own state is known for, after all.)  I didn't even realize, when my father-in-law talked about seeing giant Redwoods and Sequoias, that they'd be in the mountains (duh, Eileen, evergreens thrive at higher altitudes.)

We all had a great time, although I suspect that my sister-in-law's days of being willing to sleep on a sleeper sofa are about at their end--just as mine ended a few years ago.  My poor in-laws won't be able to fill their timeshares to capacity for much longer--at least until they get more grandkids, and the grandkids are big enough to need beds instead of cribs.

Here are a few things I learned while on vacation:

  1. I think my son has chosen a new lovey--his monkey, which he carried through the airport without losing it or needing us to carry it for him
  2. An ostrich egg is equivalent to 18-24 chicken eggs
  3. Ostrich eggs require hammers to open (which we didn't have, so we used the knife block)
  4. My son is still allergic to eggs (learned this from a cookie, though, not the ostrich egg--and kudos to my cousin-in-law's oldest son for tipping me off before my son had eaten much of it)
  5. Alpaca yarn is very soft
  6. Alpacas require big, friendly (to humans) dogs to protect them from predators
  7. Ostriches are perfectly capable of protecting themselves from predators, thank you very much
  8. A positive genetic link has been found between the ostrich and the t-rex (must be why they're so capable of protecting themselves)
  9. My father-in-law seemed a little serious about the idea of starting an alpaca farm
  10. Although my son can say the word "baby," he is wary of tiny babies, especially ones that make noise
  11. I still sometimes get motionsickness, especially when paying attention to a wiggling child during turbulence (no barf bags needed, thankfully)
  12. It took me 14 armspans (I'm 5'8") to encircle a giant Sequoia
  13. Sequoias live up to 3,000 years, and drink 100 gallons of water each day
  14. Farmers used to use the hollows in sequoias to house geese
  15. Tehachapi has the largest wind farm in California
  16. My son loves wind turbines
  17. After standing directly beneath a giant 1.5 megawatt turbine, I have no desire to play Don Quixote (it was eerie standing beneath the blades, watching them swing down, and hoping they wouldn't break)
  18.   Oh yeah... and my son can climb out of a crib by himself

Wait... what was that last?

Yes, my son learned to climb out of the portable crib while we were in California.  I had just put him down for his nap and then prepared to go to a wine tasting.  I was coming out of the bathroom (right next to our bedroom) when I saw the doorhandle moving.  The half-formed thought in my mind was that somebody had gone into the bedroom again, which was odd, when the door opened and my son peeked out at me.  I'll never forget that moment.  We stared at each other for a moment, me in shock and him with a mischevious smile, before he closed the door and scampered back into the room.  I walked in a daze to the living room (where my father-in-law, who had been sunbathing by our bedroom window, had just come inside because he'd heard a thump) to ask whether anyone had gone into our son's room.  No one had.

Finally my brain, almost in slow motion, made the full connection that he'd gotten out on his own.  I headed back to the room to put him back in the crib when I started laughing, and I had to stay out until I'd regained my composure.  I couldn't stop marvelling at his accomplishment for the rest of the day--my son had hit a major milestone!

After we got home, I checked the height of the rails of his crib against the height of the portable crib, and they were pretty darn close--so it was time to consider Big Boy Bed options.  My husband wants to get him a racecar bed.  Low-end toddler beds start at about $70, but racecar toddler beds start at $200.  If we're going to spend that much on a bed, it had darn well better last for a while, so we're thinking of doing a twin-size racecar bed.  We've found a few options, including these two woodworking plans that we could make ourselves--and when I say ourselves, I mean with the help of our dads :)

Which do you like better?  The second one requires more wood, probably because it boasts a "hidden storage area" (presumably a drawer underneath) and also sounds like it's a little more complex (i.e. harder for us novice woodworkers.)  I like how they both use the spoiler for a shelf.

Then my husband found this bed.  It's $900 ($1100 if you count shipping)
He wants to modify the woodworking plans to put the bat signal on the hubcaps and side, make the edges more wing-shaped, and of course paint it black.  And here I thought he was already living vicariously through our son with the racecar bed!

Of course, none of these beds match the jungle theme in our son's room, but hey, the kid loves cars.

For now, we took the dropside off the crib and added a bedrail, making our own daybed.  So far, he's stayed in bed at naptime (knock on wood.)  We'll keep it like this until we figure out (and possibly build) whatever bed he'll use for the next ten years or so.

I love this picture.  "What's this?"


Linda said...

I was going with the red car over the orange one...until I saw the Batmobile! That's gotta be the one- really, how much harder can it be to make that one? It actually looks like a simpler design, more streamlined.

PS-Aren't milestones fun? I'm glad you got to share your son's delight in his discovery.

Crystal said...

Cute blog. Love the family orientation. =)

Crystal said...

Cute blog. Love the family orientation. =)