Mozart in the Making

Alexis loves to play the piano. We were fortunate to figure this out probably about a year ago. As such, she has quite the little toy piano collection. There is one in the living room, one in her room, one in our room, and a couple of small ones scattered in her various toy boxes. Every one of them is a little electronic number which makes it very difficult for her to play a "bad" song.

I have learned that I should really appreciate those little programmed numbers. A few days ago, she and I were wandering around TJ Maxx. We ended up in the toy section (imagine that) where she discovered the Mother of All Pianos. It was a miniature Baldwin. It was bright red and looked exactly like a grand piano, just in a very small, just right for Alexis, size. And it sounded like a real piano. One key was even a little bit out of tune. Baby girl was in heaven. She sat down in front of the piano, arched her fingers just right, and started pounding away. The worker two aisles over laughed as she played and played and played that little piano. I gave her about five minutes, then tried to divert her over to the books. After all, the piano was $40. A book is $5. She looked at a few little novels then discarded them in a flurry as she ran back to her beloved piano. She sat down and played some more. The worker two aisles over chuckled a bit, but his laughter was certainly not as heartfelt this time around. And by the tenth time I tried to drag her away from the piano that she loved -oh- so much, he wasn't laughing any more. In fact, I think he may have been crying just a little bit, as were the other 30 or so people in the store. The thing was really loud. And she's really not very good.

The piano stayed at the store that day. I think about it from time to time as I imagine the joy that would light up Alexis' face if I were to purchase the greatest piano ever. But then I remember that it would end up one of two ways: 1) She would get bored of it the instant it entered the house and she would never touch it again. 2) She would love it forever and ever and never stop playing it. I fear number 2 is the more likely option and I think that may be the most painful outcome I can imagine. So, TJ Maxx, take care of Alexis' little piano. We will likely come to visit it once in a while, so make sure to get your staff each a set of earplugs.


Re: The Pittsburgh Children's Museum

I finally bothered to upload the photos from our trip to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, so now would probably be a good time to tell you the top 5 reasons why it kicks Indy's Children's Museum's butt.

1. There are family restrooms all over the place. Whilst I only have one child to deal with (not counting Daddy, of course), if I had three or four, I would greatly love the ability to take them all at once. And shut the door.

2. Indy focuses on letting kids look at cool things. The Burgh focuses on letting kids touch cool things. For example, Indy has some real cool miniature dollhouses behind glass. The Burgh has really cool miniature dollhouses on a play table. Alexis played with the fully functional light switches for about 20 minutes before I drug her elsewhere. Any chance the kid has to pick up some extra germs is fabulous--especially if it's while climbing in Clifford the Big Red Dog's food bowl!

3. The craft room? Killer! I'm so going to take her back so that she can paint, do ink presses, pour soap into a mold, etc., etc.

4. Indy had a really cool little infant/toddler area. The Burgh has a really cool huge infant/toddler floor. The best part? There are fun activities for Daddy.

5. Screw that business with a water table. The Burgh goes for a water floor complete with fountains coming out of the floor and tubes that the munchkins can use to do a little irrigation. Wardrobe changes required. And worth it.


The Key to Successful Child-Rearing

My favoritest neighbor ever gave me some very wise advice the other day. As many of you are also in the midst of trying your best to successfully raise a child or two or ten, I think it would be prudent for me to share this sage advice.

First, you should know that this particular neighbor and I have a bit of history. It all started the very first time we spent more than ten minutes in the house we currently occupy. This little abode came complete with really bad carpeting, nasty (and boring) pastel-colored paints, and some of the worst wallpaper borders of all time. So we gave ourselves a month to get the place up to snuff before moving in. On the day that the neighbor and I became good friends, I was upstairs in what is now Alexis' room, painting away. As I attempted to rid us of the pukey peach, I kept hearing a noise outside. It sounded like a car honking and honking and honking it's horn nearby. A few minutes after it finally subsided, I heard a knock on the door. I gathered up the barking Jasmine and headed to the front door.

As I opened the door with a maniacal Lhasa Apso in one hand and a paint roller in the other, I was greeted by a rather tall, odd-looking fellow. He proceeded to welcome me to the neighborhood and continued on with several niceties. Then, suddenly, he asked "Didn't you hear me honking?" My head spun round and round with confusion as I told him I had heard a horn honking but didn't really understand why he was asking. He proceeded to inform me that I was parked in his parking space and needed to move.

Time out for a moment: The parking space to which he was referring is part of our driveway. I know for a fact that we own it because we pay taxes on it every single quarter. Definitely our property.

The conversation continued in a very confusing way that is still, to this day, not something that I can say I understand. At one point I believe I said we would talk to the Homeowners Association and request some clarification. When the conversation started to get a bit louder, I decided I was tired of trying to hold on to a snarling, barking, clearly smart enough to realize the guy needed bit dog and a wet paint roller and called Daddy to deal with it. I don't really know how the conversation went from there, but I do know that my favoritest neighbor promptly filed a complaint against us with the Homeowners Association. For parking on our own property. They told him he was out of line, so he proceeded to go before the Board with his complaint. He reasoned that he had seniority in the neighborhood (he's lived here since the complex was built), so he should be able to park on our property. I wasn't there to see it, but I've been told much laughter was heard at the Board meeting that evening.

Since that time, I have limited my interactions with my favorite neighbor. Actually, I've just completely ignored him. Little did I know, he has many wise thoughts and theories about child-rearing. Such as the little nugget he shared with me the other day as Alexis ran fast-as-fast can be, up the sidewalk and out into the street. As I chased her and scooped her up, he approached and said . . . are you ready for it? . . . do you have your pen and paper ready? . . . I bet you didn't know this:

"You shouldn't let your baby run in the street"

Clearly, the man is a genius.