Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27: Choices and Consequences (toddler edition)

Don’t be deceived by this balmy image of our ride home. The weather finally took a swing back to normal today, skipping from June temperatures through May and April and into a typical early March. After the relative ease of dressing for bike rides the last few weeks, when I was giving more thought to whether I’d be cool enough than whether Alex would be warm enough, today was an unpleasant shock.

Alex is back on his mitten strike (after one glorious week when he couldn’t stand NOT to wear his mittens) and was also anti-blankie for the first third of the ride, so he really suffered. His hands were red and icy to the touch when he finally gave in and accepted having a blanket tucked around his legs and hands.

These days, the challenge of dressing Alex for cold bike rides comes from the conflict between two major cognitive milestones: the need for bodily autonomy versus a growing understanding of logical consequences. On the one hand, he’s coming to appreciate the virtues of, say, wearing sunglasses on a bright day to keep sunlight out of his eyes. On the other hand, he resists wearing anything that he hasn’t chosen himself because he’s so desperate to be in charge of his own body and everything that happens to it.

Thus we end up in situations like this morning’s, where I have to let him suffer the consequences of his choices until he finally gives in. He never actually admitted to being cold, but his stony, glum manner today was a marked contrast to his excited chatter on warmer bike rides.

I arrived at daycare with a red-cheeked and snotty kid:

On the plus side, it was much warmer on the way home. We exercised one of the privileges of family cycling and made frequent stops to pick dandelion seed heads on the roadside. Brookland’s sidewalks and tree boxes are now safe from the fluffy menace!

High: 56 Low: 34

Alex wore: Bogs boots, flannel overalls, long-sleeve shirt, puffy coat, cashmere scarf, winter helmet.

Clothing notes: NOTE ABSENCE OF MITTENS. Little dude definitely should have been wearing mittens, and probably another layer on his top half as well. Hands were icy, legs were just a little cool after 45 minutes of biking.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Utilitaire Omnibus Wrap-up Post

Wow, that went fast. Well, Internet, we did not successfully complete the full Utilitaire challenge. I'm going to produce my Baby-issued Get Out of Jail Free card and say, "Hey, it's really hard to control your time when you're part of a two-career household with a child to care for." Even more so when you're moving house, helping to manage your nonprofit's annual Lobby Day, and picking up domestic slack for a spouse who's putting in some pretty serious overtime.

It eventually became clear that we weren't going to complete the Utilitaire challenge to spec. So instead, I decided to let the challenge inspire me to add some truly wacky utilitarian rides to our list just for the heck of it. In addition to lots and lots and lots of daycare/work commutes, we completed the following "utilitarian" rides:

We visited a museum!
His favorite thing to see is the gigantic stuffed "eppedent" in the rotunda

We (meaning I) completed some of our apartment move by bike!

Portland eat your heart out

We took our moving boxes (and other recycling) to the Transfer Station!

IKEA bags: what can't they do?

We attended a "community meeting" (in the form of a group bike ride that I organized) with other bikey parents and kids.
More fun than you can shake a pedal wrench at

So even though we didn't meet the Utilitaire challenge, we had lots of fun trying.

Many thanks to Chasing Mailboxes for setting up the Utilitaire challenge, and congratulations to everyone who succeeded!