In da SLC
My first impressions are that SLC is pretty darn cool--I think I could with all fairness say that it, even in light of the fact that it's been in the *triple digits* EVER SINCE WE GOT HERE (okay, not today, but up until today) that it is a mother's paradise. Changing tables almost everywhere. Some with diaper genies, even! Everything's stroller-accessible. There are ankle-biters of all ages, thick on the ground, ready to befriend your kid. Kids' coloring menus with crayons must be required by the chamber of commerce for all restaurants, too, because we ate in a buttload of restaurants the first several days and EVERY ONE had kid-friendly menus and built-in kiddie entertainment (now if they would just come with a mentor to convince D to not eat the crayons...).
Seriously, kids are factored into almost everything: the botanical gardens at Red Butte (wish I made that name up, but I didn't) has a kids' garden that is spectacular, the Children's Museum is a DREAM, the library (which is not at all oversold by being Library of the Year for 2006--it's that good) has little alcoves for reading and hiding and playing--one is called The Attic because it's all skylights, stairs and exposed beams. I would have been all a-quiver for such a library during my awkward, library-loving preteen phase.
And the parks? Well, they must feel outclassed by all the other stuff in town and went and so Liberty Park went and got itself a water area with a fake fire hydrant and a sprinkler tunnel and everything which would be so awesome if D wasn't terrified of it and runs directly away from it to the metal playground equipment which, invariably, is too hot to touch. But the parks have potential.
So as far as Stuff to Do With the Under-2s, it's got it all over State College, of course. But it doesn't have my dear Beth and E, and that makes it have to work a hell of a lot harder to win my admiration. I mean, what good is a Children's Museum if the people you meet there, while perfectly nice, find ways to work sentences like "So I thought, well, shoot, we're a good, patriotic, Republican family, why NOT live near a military base?" into the conversation. I am not even kidding. In addition, there was an incident here involving a little girl which is just too horrible to talk about, and that makes me ache for a small town with ZERO badness happening to small children.
Also? I wouldn't mind not being the oldest first-time mom by at least a DECADE every. single. place. we. go. I mean, if a woman in SLC is MY ripe old approaching-mid-thirties age, well, she's already got herself a football team at this point. She might even be close to being a GRANDMOTHER. HEL-LOOOO. I feel like a *freak*.
So I've met some other moms. I try to seek out the more hippie-ish moms, if only because they are the only ones who remember a world with rotary-dialing telephones and cassette tapes. We Slightly Older Moms (SOMs) are easy to spot, too, because evidently, having a baby in your 20s or teens means you have boundless energy to put on makeup, do something with your hair other than the dated Winona Ryder Tiny Barette look, whiten your teeth, and iron your crop pants.
Now, lest I sound too much like I'm smacking on my youthful breeder brethren and sistren (that's the real plural of "sisters," isn't it?), I will say that the one good thing about Babies Everywhere is that most kids are AWESOME with D and actually PLAY with him without my having to bribe, threaten or trick them. Two little 5 or 6-year-old girls were playing with him at the library--toting him around, handing him the plush pig he kept throwing at them and laughing at his tricks. I almost asked if they babysat before I realized that was probably inappropriate considering their age and offered instead to adopt them, so engrossed was my child with these older women. They politely declined. It seems my mother-of-the-year-award-inspiring reputation proceeds me.
Despite my somewhat muted display of Important Mothering Skills (you know, like Patience and Not Yelling), D has been, by the way, the best sport ever about the whole move. He was voted Very Best Baby on the flight from Dallas to SLC by the flight attendants, which is saying something, since there were roughly half a million screaming children on that flight. I wish I could say Am3rican was the Very Best Airline to fly with tots, but alas, their failure to help me (until I was leaving the LAST of two flights) in any way with my giant carseat, 2 carry-on bags, and stroller was almost as unconscionable as the fact that THEY DO NOT PRE-BOARD PEOPLE TRAVELLING WITH SMALL CHILDREN. Even if they have carseats. I'm sorry, what?!? Their answer was, "Well, at this time of year, lots of families fly with us." Hmm. Really? Probably not this family again, I should think.
But D, oh, he was a trouper--he's been (knock on wood) sleeping pretty well, has generally been well-behaved on our numerous trips to restaurants, discount stores and Home Depot, and continues to (much of the time, anyway) charm the very marrow from our bones.
He has learned what I call "calling intonation"--when we call to Daddymatic from D's room in the morning, he says "DAAAAA da" with that sort of falling intonation we all remember our mothers using when we were late for supper, and when he can't find Lambie, he'll say "LAAAAA la." It is too cute. He is so in love with my mother that he melted down every time she left the room, and just the other day, he looked at me and said, very firmly, "Bee-bee. GRAH-di-grah (how he says Grampy, my dad's call sign). Na-nuh (Nana is my paternal grandmother, and he saw her almost every day in Charlotte)." And I told him they weren't here, we'd have to call them because they were in North Carolina, well, the little bugger started saying "GRAAAAAAH-di-grah. BEEEE beeee. NAAAAH nuh." because to him, that's how you "call" someone. Not a linguistic prodigy, perhaps, but dashed entertaining.
Also, he did his first two-word combination the other day. As I mentioned, my Nana pushed D around on her wheeled walker (aka "bicycle') a few times and it was big fun for all involved, so the first night here in UT, he saw a similar walker and looked at me, pointed at it and said "Nana. Bicycle." After I picked myself up off the floor, I told him "Yeah, sweetie, that's just like Nana's bicycle."
Right now, we're stamping our feet waiting for Comcast to come and hook us back up to the world of the internet, which they say they can't possibly do until tomorrow (that's two weeks we've waited, whine, whine). We are also STILL trying to fix the car, which Daddymatic used to run over a large metal pipe in the road just outside of Kansas City. I shouldn't even joke about it, because it's a miracle he's alive, given that the gas tank and fuel pump were complete toast, but it's been something of a logistical voyage, what with the rental cars, insurance peeps, air tickets to KCI and a 15-hour marathon drive back in a still-mostly-broken car for Daddymatic. As the house gets more put together, I'll post some pix on flickr, but for now, we're here and we love it and I miss you and I'll be back to visit your blog or send you an email as soon as we are hot-wired. Or wire-free. Or whatever.