Thursday, February 19, 2009

Out and About

Being constrained to a single indoor locale for long periods of time can wreak psychological havoc; I know I get horrible cabin fever working from my basement office 9-5 like a great big citizen square, and I imagine it's doubly frustrating for a house-bound infant that can't even articulate her protest beyond uncontrollable shrieks. So we try and get Hunter out of the house as much as possible.

He has had a rather full social calendar these last few weeks, please forgive any chronological errors as I relate them, my memory isn't in top shape.

Eating avocado, the Bean way

Some friends of ours, an unruly mob of Goths in fact, have recently moved to our lovely suburb of Grafton, and so we headed to the local park for a picnic to celebrate the bolstering of the Grafton Massive.

Bean loves romping about in the grass, shoving as much of it in his mouth before one of his killjoy folks comes to fish it out, so parks delight him. Picnics become a tad problematic with his newfound mobility as he does his level best to get up in our oily sun-dried tomatoes and hummus. In their pure form I don't think there's any reason he couldn't eat stuff like that, but considering all the crap that's no doubt been added to it I think its best kept away from his developing system. No problem with it destroying my own, though.

Chilling in Outhwite Park

It was a lovely afternoon until a big hairy crazy man decided to wander past and scream obscenities at me relentlessly. I do have a habit of offending people, but I truly have no idea what that guy's problem was. Anyone living around our area is fairly well used to dealing with the criminally insane, but throwing an infant into the mix made everyone uneasy. So we left promptly after his verbal assault.

We also attended the Auckland Lantern Festival, as we do most years, to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Much like the Diwali festival, the event attracts a staggering amount of punters. It's great to see the city embracing cultural events, but the sheer numbers can get a little intimidating, especially when trying to navigate with a stroller.

Bean quickly learns all the good stuff is on the top

As per usual the place was packed with big pretty lanterns, fantastic food stalls, and cheap useless crap to buy. The ornate lanterns hanging from the tree branches in Albert Park particularly captivated Hunter, but as his usual bedtime slipped further away he began to lose his cool. Still, you can't exactly appreciate the displays' glowing appeal during the day, so it was well worth it.

Finding friends for Bean to hang out with hasn't been easy, since both Mama and I are significantly younger than most of the parents we have encountered there aren't many in our circle who can provide defacto kinship for Hunter. Plus most people think we're a bit weird. Mama did manage to discover this rather nifty social network site Mums On Top, which has put her in contact with some other mothers that aren't from entirely different planets than our own.

Bean and his badass gang loitering in the park

The sprawling Domain down the road from our flat recently played host to a meet-up of Internet Mamas and their brood. Hunter got to roll about aimlessly with a few new playmates, which I'm told he enjoyed greatly (unfortunately I was working at the time).

The Auckland Museum also resides in the Domain so Mama took the opportunity to try a little osmosis-based learning on Hunter. The Museum currently has one of the largest, most well preserved dinosaur skeletons yet discovered on display, a T-Rex named Sue. The little guy was apparently very excited to meet the prehistoric husk, but who wouldn't be I guess.

Kind of hard to tell, but that's a giant dinosaur bone

Ever the popular location for these sunny seasons, The Domain later served as the green for the Justice for Palestine soccer tournament. We had intended on going along to support the event, and technically did I guess. However, when we arrived there was little action (half-time or something I guess) and the heat was just unbearably oppressive. After about 2 minutes of political solidarity we decided to hoof it for cooler climes.

The beginning of March marks the start of the University year and Mama is all signed up to continue her degree. For Hunter this means enrolment in a Daycare facility. Our initial research on such establishments turned up harrowing results. Not only were these tiny child-prisons sterile, impersonal, over-attended, and under-staffed, but they were also all booked out by crazy parents who had reserved spots before their kids were even womb-bound.

Gamecube, Bean's got good taste

As fortune would have it, after much fruitless searching, we came across a place that both met our criteria perfectly and wasn't completely booked up for the next 12 years. Apparently the kind of anal-retentive parents that raise kids who become accountants or advertising executives don't like the notion of children having fun, their own space, or ability to express themselves - so there was still space for Hunter at Uptown Kids.

After getting through the paperwork Mama took me along to meet the absolutely lovely staff working there. They showed us around the place, explaining their approach to childcare as we went, and by the end of it I was kind of jealous that I couldn't stay there. Once we get Hunter used to being apart from his Mama (which they do over a series of transition appointments) I'm sure he will adore that place.

It's a good thing you're cute, because you can't spell worth a damn

Beano also got to meet a few more members of his supporting cast recently; his Great Auntie Denise and Great Uncle Greg (whom he had met in Hamilton previously) came up to visit for a day, and his... no, I don't think I can figure out the wording for the relationship, but fantastic couple Paul and Anne also popped in with their newborn Ender. It was lovely to see everyone, and if there's anyone else across that great Internet sea that would like to arrange some face-time with Mr. Hunter, please let me know.

I grow bored with typing now, go live your lives.

Cherry front-carrier as designed by Mama

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Still Alive

It's been a while, huh? I don't really have an excuse, I haven't been any busier than usual or tragically injured, so lets just chalk it up to general ennui.

Hunter has developed some major mobility ability of late. His drawn out and frustrating pre-crawling gestation period has finally passed and the little guy is officially tearing up the living room. Along with being able to motor about on all fours Bean has also become proficient at pulling himself up on furniture to facilitate fake standing.

Apparently there is a little contention among those annoying parent types as to how early a baby should be supporting her own weight with the legs. The argument goes that the wee ones' bones are very soft mid-development and if weight is applied too early things will go horribly wrong. I don't buy it though; it's not as if we are dragging Hunter to his feet for our own entertainment, it’s neigh impossible to stop the little guy getting up on it. I really doubt he would be quite so keen if it felt like his bones were exploding.

We are also in the process of helping Bean adjust to sleeping in his own room. At first it was all long, rowdy nights that weren't doing anyone any favours, but he is slowly becoming more accustomed to sleeping in his own crib. And he loves his room -- the decorations for which I must remember to post about in some future entry.

If anyone feels like kicking it with Hunter in the near future the following are some of his planned outings. Please feel free to tag along:

Auckland Lantern Festival: Feb 6-8, Albert Park. Haven't picked a day yet but if I had to guess we will probably head along on the Friday.

Justice for Palestine Soccer Tournament, Feb 15 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, Auckland Domain. I'm not traditionally a sports fan but there will be food and wares and hopefully sun, with all money raised going to the Palestinian aid effort.

And on a non-Hunter note:

Propagandhi, Feb 12, The Studio. Canada's most outspoken band of commie vegan heretics are finally doing a New Zealand show. And pretty cheap too. You should come!