I'll take a break now from discussing babycarriers to dish about one of my other favorite things: shoes! I recently got myself a pair of Croc-offs (pictured) because I went in to Payless looking for something else and when I saw these, I just HAD TO have them and fortunately I'd just gotten some birthday money. They're very comfy, and contribute to my ongoing habit of dressing like a toddler. (I think the last time I dressed like an adult was for a wedding we attended a couple months ago) I know a lot of people just loooooove to go on and on about how fugly Crocs are, and I sorta agree. But periwinkle tie-dye? You had me at periwinkle, baby! Now the clever folks at Crocs have come out with two more mainstream-looking designs for the Fall, one of which is a Mary Jane. OMG!!! It's like the best of all worlds... If, like me, you're convinced that Crocs are a blessing to anyone who walks and/or stands on their feet all day, Journeys has them right now in a few colors, or you can wait until the Fall release next month (which will offer more color options). I had to go try the MJ on and am totally sold, it's waaaaaaay cuter than the regular Crocs but still just as comfy. Mo will soon be getting one of the Rx options they offer, and I'll be getting the MJs as soon as I can pick a color.
Staying on the subject of shoes, El Niño totally screwed us over by outgrowing his practically-new-just-bought 'em-in-June shoes. I'm so glad they were all shoes from babyGap that we'd bought on clearance. (in case anyone's wondering, this isn't surreptitious product placement or blogvertising... this is really me propping up the stuff I like, and I plan to do that often because I'd like to make sure the products that work for me stick around, unlike the china and flatware we registered for when we got married) Buying shoes for this child is tricky because he seems to have a high instep and very sweaty feet. All-leather shoes are out, and a lot of slip-ons are as well because they won't, hrm, slip on. We'd bought him a pair of Ecco sneakers we all loved but he outgrew too fast, then we tried a pair of Stride Rite sandals that were extremely cute but he kept taking them off and much to my chagrin I saw they left red marks all over his feet. The two pairs of babyGap sandals he liked so much he'd put them on at home, while he was otherwise running around naked (great way to potty-train, more on that in a few). I'm finding that a lot of the shoes at babyGap are actually excellent, very bendy soles and well-made enough to take a beating being worn to the playground every day, as well as the constant toddler on/off at home. And of course I only buy them after they've been marked down at least three times and cost less than $10, because if I remember correctly from my days as a Gap employee (a lifetime ago), their markup on footwear and accessories is 300+%, and I'm not paying that. Unfortunately, he wore his verycute sandals for two and a half months before busting out of them to a size 8. Seriously, we were caught with our pants down again and at a difficult stage of Summer-to-Fall retail transition. (I wish I could shop at thrift stores like Dutch but I never find anything other than books to buy there) So, we were out on the Eastside on Tuesday for a business-sushi-lunch and managed afterwards to go to the Marshall's store at Lloyd Center and score some great deals on shoes for all of us, including our third and only successful attempt to get comfortable Stride Rites for El Niño and some Cross Country sneaks for Hyde. Oh, remember the toddler-sized blue flame Chucks I wanted to get? We finally got those too, for $12 at Freddy's, woo-hoo!!! But they don't fit yet, these are a size 9 so maybe next month... and I guess they're not really flames as much as a tattoo design. Whatever... he keeps trying to put them on, it's cute.
On the potty training front, El Niño's been consistently staying dry overnight for over two weeks now. This is huge! Now all we have left to do is get him used to staying dry while he's wearing something... a note to the fine, hardworking people at Kimberly Clark: the idea of the "feels cool/wet" liner in your Huggies Pull-Ups product is clever but it doesn't work for a lot of boys who couldn't care less about being wet or slightly cool in their crotch. I have no experience with potty training girls but I can promise you that *my* boys could lay in enough wetness to constitute a pond and neither one would care one bit, it wouldn't signal to them "hey, you need to go to the potty NOW, Bud!" Oh, and the fit is horrible on skinny boys, El Niño's pants always get soaked when he pees in his Pull-Ups. Can you guys do something about that too?
The talking thing is progressing now at quite a clip, and last week we were surprised when Hyde was heading out the door and El Niño went running after him, yelling "byyyyyyyeeeeee, I wuuuuv uuuuuu!" Sentences are becoming commonplace, and it's clear that English dominates at least his spoken language skills, even if he still understands what I say to him in Spanish. What's funny is that he's also making more of an effort to use signs now, after a few months where he wasn't really trying to use them. The other day he even grabbed my hand and "forced" my fingers to make a sign he was having trouble with, and had forgotten the spoken word for, it was one of those awesome moments where maternal joy and pride just welled up inside me and almost knocked me out.
Sesame Street has begun their newest season, with a much-heralded "lead female" puppet character, Abby Cadabby*. I'm not crazy about this pink puppet with fairy wings and I'm not convinced that she's a necessary addition to the SS cast of characters... call me cynical but I have a nagging suspicion that this was more marketing-driven than anything else (with less Federal money going to fund public television, they've gotta find ways to pay for the show and they've gotta compete with Dora and the Disney Princesses, right?). Don't even get me started on Elmo and his takeover of about a third of the show, blech. The good news is that by adding this new character they've also had to add new content, and it looks like this season the show's being truer to its roots as a result: I've noticed more songs and more of the educational content that I grew up loving. If you're wondering why I care so much about the show, it's because I benefitted immensely from watching SS when I was an intellectually precocious and bilingual little girl. And I was also (28 years ago) one of the kids CTW used to review content for its shows. Most children's television is garbage, and I wasn't happy with the direction SS was taking in the last couple of years I've been watching. So, I'll be watching and probably commenting on Abby in the near future. Oh, and can I just say that for some twisted reason, Cadabby in my brain gets turned into cadaver, so she's Abby Cadaver to me? Oy!
* I would've linked to the New York Times article, which was pretty interesting to read (especially between the lines) but apparently they now require you to subscribe even if you just want to read one piece...
We met our opposites on Saturday... at the Lloyd Center MAX stop on the way home. Mo heard the dude talking and asked me what language he was speaking, and I told him Spanish. My husband's ears perked up and he immediately asked me to go over there and "freak him out" by speaking Spanish to him. For some weird reason, he finds this sexy, that people are surprised by my unaccented efforts at communicating with them in Spanish. Except that this man is as fair-skinned as I am (or more, he's blonder than Mo), so I was certain it wouldn't even faze him. And it didn't. Well, dude's my freakish-counterpart-PuertoRican, living right here in Portland with his Indiana-born wife and three kids. Some pleasant conversation was had and phone numbers were exchanged. As busy as we seem to always be (I don't even know how that happens or how we even have friends still), it *would* be nice to add The Opposites to our social circle. I miss hearing Spanish spoken in my accent... not to be a snob or anything (which I guess I kinda am) but after a while, hearing only the Mexican accent really gets old. And I think it'd really be good for my boys to be around other bilingual/bicultural kids with a similar background. I've called and left a message and now it's their turn. Tag you're it & hope they call back!
I haven't really caught up yet on everything I need to get out of my system but at least this is a start (especially since I started writing this post on Saturday). I have some deep thoughts I need to hack up out of my brain like a hairball but I'm not there yet. Happy Friday!
Update: Abby Cadabby was named "Person of the Week" by the ABC WNT crew... sheeeesh, it's like I have my finger on the pulse of our culture or something!