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Thanksgiving 2010

Started: 2010-12-03 22:49:38

Submitted: 2010-12-04 22:20:37

Visibility: World-readable

After considerable discussion, we ended up staying home for Thanksgiving this year, skipping the every-other-year Logan family reunion (and the security-theater necessary to get there) in favor of a quiet long weekend at home.

Of course, any "quiet weekend" with Calvin has the tendency to go pear-shaped fast at even the slightest provocation. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I got up with Calvin in my regularly-scheduled morning slot. Our morning babysitter canceled, and Kiesa got up sick, leaving me with exclusive parenting duties, in addition to the modest amount of housework I needed to do to prepare for the week. (I was lucky I managed to get my yard work done on Saturday: I raked the leaves in the front yard and out from under my lilacs (using a shrub rake I acquired just for this purpose) and took a trunk-full of branches to Longmont's tree limb diversion center. I wasn't the only person taking advantage of the bright fall day to do yard work: the queue of cars waiting to drop off limbs and leaves ran out into the street.) At his nominal 11:00 lunchtime, I tried to feed Calvin lunch, but he wasn't especially interested, so I took him to the local park, despite the brisk wind. He seemed only moderately interested in the toddler-accessible part of the park and took advantage of the fact that we were the only people there (except for a pair of teenage girls) to explore the skate park, running up and down the sloped concrete, and headed to the two playgrounds at the adjacent elementary school. The first playground was clearly too big for him, so I followed him to the second playground, which was more toddler-accessible. He ran several laps up and down the structure before I took him back to the stroller, where I fed him a snack and settled him into the stroller to head home. I took a detour by the nearest Starbucks for a mid-day latte. Calvin fell asleep on the walk, and stayed asleep all the way home. I let him sleep in the stroller for a few minutes, then tried to transfer him into his crib for the rest of his nap. This did not go as well as I hoped; he tossed and turned in his crib for an hour before I gave up and got him up. I fed him lunch and tried to keep him occupied for the rest of the day. Kiesa finally got up by late afternoon and felt well enough to watch Calvin while I worked on supper. When I finally got Calvin to bed I was exhausted, with (once again) a greater appreciation for what Kiesa does everyday.

I left work early on Wednesday, my last work day of the week, after a desperate attempt to roll up everything I was working on and document it so I could remember where to pick it up in a week. (Or, more likely, two weeks, since I spent the week after Thanksgiving in a training class without much opportunity to do real work.) Kiesa met me in the garage before I even managed to get out of my car, which I didn't seem like a good sign. As I feared, Calvin had been a handful that afternoon, and Kiesa was happy to dump him on me. This worked about as poorly as one might expect; we were both short-tempered by the time Calvin went to bed, and I stayed in his room longer than strictly necessary once he was asleep, sitting in the dark listening to my iPod, until it was safe for me to go back downstairs. I searched the fridge for sugar and settled on the last piece of leftover coffee cake. It did not seem like an auspicious beginning to a four-day weekend.

Contrary to our worst fears, Calvin was quite pleasant on Thursday, perhaps because he had the only-partially-divided attention of his two favorite adults. When he went down for his mid-day nap, we broke out our newest board game, Agricola, which I figured must be perfect for Thanksgiving because it's all about harvest. I acquired it earlier in the week, having enjoyed it during #humblikswedding, and optimistic that Kiesa might also enjoy it, especially since it claimed to scale seamlessly from one to five players. She did enjoy it, giving us a new board game we can play. Calvin woke up from his nap a few rounds before the end but wasn't especially insistent on getting up until we finished the game. Kiesa got Calvin up and he watched me score the game and almost helped me clean up, though he ended up dumping out the tiles he put in the bag.

For Thanksgiving dinner, Kiesa cooked a pecan loaf she found in my mother's collected recipes, with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. We set a sheet on the floor and pulled Calvin's high chair up to the table so he could eat as if he were really part of the family. He especially enjoyed the pecan loaf and cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie, and made less mess than we feared he might. (Kiesa is worried what our mothers will think of his table manners, which leave a bit to be desired.)

On Friday, we took Calvin to the Denver Zoo, arriving shortly before the zoo opened at 10:00. He seemed dazed for the first half-hour as we watched the tiger cubs play with their mother, then perked up when he saw the juvenile giraffes, one of whom was born as tall as I was weighing as much as I do. (It seems that, for all of Calvin's many fascinating attributes, at least he's not a morning baby.) He especially liked the ducks and geese in the migratory waterfowl pond, and thought the best part of Tropical Discovery was getting to ride around on Daddy's shoulders.

After a few hours at the zoo, we headed to our favorite vegetarian restaurant in Denver, Watercourse Foods, for a second Thanksgiving dinner. Calvin sat up at the table in a high chair, and Kiesa ordered a grilled cheese sandwich for him, made with whole wheat bread and exotic cheese, which he picked apart and managed to eat most of. I ate seitan fajitas, which were fascinating: I wrapped crispy slices of gluten in a tortilla with beans, rice, and grilled veggies.

We managed to keep Calvin awake through the meal; his afternoon nap has been drifting later and later, giving us the opportunity to actually finish eating before he needed to sleep. He fell asleep on the drive back home and stayed asleep as we stopped by REI and Kiesa looked for warm winter clothing that might help him sleep in my mother's house.

The big thing that kept us busy over the holiday weekend was potty-training Calvin. Kiesa finally pushed him over the hump to the point where he'll let us know when he needs to go, and will often walk over to the toddler-sized potty chair and use it without our intervention, then call our attention to it. We reward him with episodes of Elmo's World, which is technically targeted at slightly-older kids; any amount of "screen time" is not recommended for children as young as Calvin, but there are only so many miracles we can work on our own.

Calvin failed to take his regularly-scheduled afternoon nap on Sunday, which put a dent in our normal plans. Kiesa finally took him grocery shopping, and he fell asleep in the car, forcing her to stay with him in the car until she decided to wake him up.

We managed to survive the long holiday weekend rested and rejuvenated and almost ready to face the month of December.