Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Walk in the Park

Our house sits on the border of John Hinkel Park, a 4.9-acre hilly and wooded area that was donated to the city in 1918. There are a number of crumbling trails winding through the hills, an aging outdoor amphitheatre built into the hillside, a deteriorating redwood clubhouse, and a somewhat forlorn playground consisting of a few swings, an ancient metal slide and an old-fashioned style seesaw. We’ve lived in our home for four years and have only walked through the park a handful of times. But recently I have started spending more time there, mostly on weekends while Alison is napping. On hot days it’s pleasantly shaded. This morning there was a chill in the air that I equate with East Coast fall days, so the park today seemed even more tranquil than usual, and perhaps a bit nostalgic. And although Zoe is not quite old enough to really enjoy the winding, crisscrossing paths, she still enjoys climbing on the benches dotting the paths and she particularly likes the old, metal slide. Except for the weekend theatre company that arrives each summer, the park doesn’t get a lot of use and it is not rare that we will wander through and don’t run into anyone. Alison and I sometimes talk about moving back to the East Coast, or even moving closer to the hospital where she works, but I think living near this park makes our current home unique, and should we stay I hope it is someplace that Zoe will eventually enjoy as much as I do.

Zoe's favorite song these days is the toilet paper song. You see, in a hopeful and ultimately premeditated spurt of optimism (and misread signs) we purchased a child’s potty. We chose a model that voices encouragement through song and positive reinforcement for performing various potty tasks. On one side of the ‘tank’ there is a spindle that is supposed to resemble a roll of bath tissue. Spin it and the toilet will say various things, one of which is the toilet paper song. It goes something like this. “Toilet-paper, toilet-paper, on a roll, next to me, I can take a few squares, maybe one or two squares, how about three? Hurray for me!” Zoe will give the roll a spin than do a little jig along with the music. Fortunately she seems to have abandoned the real toilet paper or this singing one. Unfortunately, the few times I have attempted to sit her on this potty she has locked all her joints into a rigid board and yelled, “No!” In an unrelated piece of developmental news she can now use a spoon to get liquid from a soup bowl to her mouth most of the time (although the space between the bowl and her mouth also gets its share).

Recent photos:
Buy the book at

No comments:

Post a Comment