Category Archives: Outdoor Time
The hunt for the purple pacifier may not have the global ramifications of a Tom Clancy novel like the Hunt for Red October, but it does pit man against a fiendishly clever baby. The baby in this case is my 11-month-old daughter named Madeleine.
Over the months, Maddie and I have endured a wild series of sock and pacifier search and rescue efforts. We have climbed hills, missed trains and braved the elements to bring the missing items home alive. I’m proud to say that we still boast a perfect record on a dozen or so of our recovery missions. But binkie-busting is a hard life and not for the faint of heart.
Sometimes items come back dirty and I mean really dirty. Reckless drivers have been known to drive right over stranded socks without a care in the world. Our mantra in baby country is, “No passy left behind!” One of the ways to ensure this never happens is to conduct multiple spot checks. That way if a passy goes missing, you have a much smaller grid to search.
So this afternoon when I saw Maddie had lost her pacifier, it was GO TIME! I realized the error of my ways in an instant. It had been far too long since a pacifier spot check.
Step one is always the same – SEARCH THE BABY! I checked her sides, behind and all her hiding spaces and came up empty. This was the real deal! I scanned the horizon in back of me, but the sidewalk was clear. Not a good sign, but we’ve been through worse.
We zigged and zagged, traversing the same path we had taken on the way out and NADA. Our record was in peril. One block, then two and still nothing. I could feel the sweat gathering on my brow as this mission was going south in a hurry. I stopped and looked at Maddie for some signs of encouragement and stopped dead in my tracks!!!
The little devil was smiling at me from behind the missing purple pacifier! So many emotions rushed to the forefront. Our record was still untarnished, but what trickery did Maddie employ to hide the binkie from her dad? We will never know where the little girl hid the passy – maybe we were never meant to know. But it’s always nice to be outwitted by a baby who has yet to celebrate her first birthday.
that was our first stop.
Trying to accurately predict my 8-month-old daughter’s reaction to outside stimulus is nothing short of impossible. For three days this week, Maddie hated the very thought of getting near any water that was sitting in the tub. Today you could barely stop her from striking out on her own into the Atlantic Ocean.
That’s right, the baby who was afraid to take a bath can’t wait to climb into the ocean. It all started with a sudden keen interest with the sand between her toes.
I was feeding Maddie a bottle on the beach when her foot slipped off of me and into the sand. Suddenly the bottle was totally forgotten as Maddie struggled to immerse her feet deep into the sand. She kicked at it and did her best to get sand between her toes. She squeaked with sheer delight and was more than ready for crack at the waves.
We brought Maddie out to the water and let one of those mini-waves wash over her feet. Her eyes went wide with fear and apprehension as the chilly water rushed past her feet. But that lasted less than two seconds, as she started playing and splashing. Apparently the beach and the water really agree with her.
You could already tell that Maddie thought that dry sand was a fantastic invention. But she quickly decided that dry sand couldn’t hold a candle to wet sand mixed with salt water. She was completely in her element and had no desire to head in even after a half an hour. But with her fair skin, we can only expose her to the sunlight for so long.
Finally it was time for us to head in, clear out the sand and seek out the day’s next adventure. In just the past week, Maddie has mastered flying, swimming and body surfing. Tomorrow she wants to try some cliff diving mixed in with a little bit of parasailing.
A doctor’s appointment for Maddie deep in the heart of Lower Manhattan turned into a race through the city this morning. All it took was a delayed train for our plans to go up in smoke.
Instead of a pleasant ferry ride, Maddie ended up slugging it out on the Path system underneath the ever-soaring Freedom Tower. But before she could do that, we all had to overcome the obstacle of getting Maddie onto the path and through the turnstiles.
There’s no area wide enough for the stroller, so I handed the baby off to my wife and rested the stroller on the turnstile. This created a mini logjam of people as Maddie looked on with great interest.
She still had no idea what she was in for. Once got into New York City, the crowds were as thick as bugs on the bumper. This area is not for the faint of if you are pushing a stroller occupied by a fearsome honey badger.
People were inches apart, all battling for pole position and Maddie was starting to feel a little bit claustrophobic. She snapped her mighty jaws at anybody that ventured too close to her stroller and emitted a series of short grunts.
Maddie noticed far too many near collisions because of all the people who had their snouts buried too far into their cellular devices to bother paying attention to what lay in front of them. One clown had to spin to avoid the stroller and then nearly snapped his ankle on the curb. Poor Maddie was getting more and more anxious as we cut across the island towards toward the doctor’s office.
However, once we got to the doctor’s office located in a quiet and secluded area of Front Street, Maddie exorcised that mean old honey badger and resumed being her ever-charming self.
After the appointment, Maddie took some quiet time to feel the ebb and flow of the city. We all enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch and walk on the East River. Then we took a nice slow ride home on the ferry which seem to delight Maddie. She noticed every detail as we all took in the sights and sounds of the ferry ride home. Once again, Maddie is showing a resiliency and maturity that is very surprising for 7-month-old girl.
My 7-month-old daughter has always been the model of decorum in public settings. But sweet Madeleine may well be on her way to reversing that trend.
It started in church this morning. Maddie was being as sweet as can be and once again charming all those around her, including her father. Maddie was sitting on my lap when she turned around, put her hand on my face and gave me the most amazing smile. It will always be one of those perfect moments frozen in time.
So as you can see, Maddie was in a calm and happy place, shrouded in butterscotch and ponies. But suddenly she found herself troubled by a disturbance in the force. We were just minutes from Communion when you could see her patience dry up all at once.
First she got frustrated and then she got very loud. So loud in fact that when Mom headed up for Communion, Maddie and I scooted out the back door. What’s funny is that nobody seemed to notice Maddie’s little outburst except her parents. We’re funny that way.
Fast forward to a couple hours later at a local restaurant. Maddie had just finished eating and seemed to be high spirits. However, looks can be deceiving. Once again and without warning, Maddie was off to the races.
The baby was more than happy to share her discontent with her fellow restaurant patrons. “Check Please!” As you might have guessed, the lunchtime festivities were over. We got Maddie back in the car and she was sound asleep within two minutes.
So whether this was a pair of isolated instances or the beginning of a new trend, I struggle to keep Maddie in the dark about how I really feel about these little tantrums. I absolutely love to watch her in action whether she is batting her eyes at a stranger or swinging for the fences.
Her little grunting noises and snorts of protest are just too cute. Of course I don’t want to encourage her to act out, but it’s impossible for me not love and enjoy someone like her who is just bursting with all that pent up energy and craziness.
My six-month-old pride and joy is not one to let the grass grow under her feet. Nope, Maddie is a girl who likes to shake things up after a meal and a nice nap.
If early afternoon arrives and Maddie feels like she has not spent enough time outside – her outdoor fever can strike without warning. A series of grunts and complaints start flying around to room notifying people that it’s time to beat feet and hit the shoe-leather express.
This afternoon was a perfect example of our plight. Maddie spent the afternoon vehemently complaining for no particular reason. She wasn’t interested in playing, sitting still, being held or eating. She wanted be out on the streets of Jersey City – also known as “Riding Dirty!”
Even when we strapped her into the stroller, Maddie wasn’t done dishing out some dishonorable parental mentions. However, once the stroller was actually moving, a sly and devious smile rippled across Maddie’s face. Ahh the great outdoors – this is what its all about my friends. Her reverie was briefly shattered by a passing dump truck, but she recovered in seconds.
A few minutes later, the baby and her parents rolled into a local restaurant not far from the house. Her restlessness and fussy britches act was long gone now. Maddie paid close attention to the conversations of other diners, watched the wait staff and shared her some of delighted squeaks and gurgles with her parents.
Just a little fresh air and the theater of restaurant operations was all Maddie needed to wind down and really enjoy her afternoon.
It’s still unclear whether this yearning to get outside is instinctual or if it was cultivated by her father’s string of trips with her each week. Either way, her outdoor adventure needs have basically become a staple in her day-to day life.