Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pizza and Squealing

Tonight was date night. I can't offer too many pictures of the madness, because...well...because taking pictures of madness is kinda hard.

Normally, Callie and Iain spend their dates playing separately. This is not the most interactive age. The primary interaction on the last date, for instance, consisted of Callie and Iain repeatedly stealing toys from one another and then getting "a talking to" from one or another parent.

Tonight everything changed. At some point after they shared a freshly-baked pizza (half tomato sauce, half white, with pepperoni and green peppers on the whole thing) they began to play together. They chased one another in circles through the house. They danced. They giggled and squealed and screamed and banged on things. It was amazing.

And I took zero pictures. Because you can't photograph that kind of thing. You want to try? Good luck.

Plus, I had better things to do. Like eat my own freshly-baked pizza (pepperoni) and watch The Staff enjoy theirs (green peppers, bacon, pepperoni, and goat cheese were available, and everyone topped their own pie to suit their tastes). Like eat a refreshing spinach salad with almonds, strawberries, avocado chunks, and a soupcon of goat cheese.

I love it when Callie's Mom makes the salad.

Anyway, use your imagination. Callie came over, Iain was delighted, the rest was pandemonium. At some point, John realized that we were finally at That Moment. The one we've been talking about for 3 years:

First we said, "Imagine when Callie is born and it's the four of us and a baby!" Then we said, "Imagine when there are two of them!" Finally, we said "Won't it be amazing when they actually play together?" Welcome to the Thunderdome, Baby.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Hey, Mom. Mom. MOM. MOOOOMMM! There's stuff outside. On the ground. Whatisit?

Oh, we have to clean it off the driveway? I'll help. See how I can wear The Dad's hat? My head is huge, Mom. H-U-G-E.

Here, I'm helping, see? I look at how The Dad does it, then I scooped it up the same way. I'm a helpful fella.

The Dad gave me a lesson for free, though. It's a lot like what a bulldozer does, except you have to toss the snow onto the yard. A bulldozer would fill a dump truck, see, then the dump truck would... never mind. I can see you don't love trucks the way I do.

I got out my bulldozer, though, and showed The Staff how it's done. And yes, my mittens ("minutes!") have skulls on them. I'm tough like that.

Tomorrow is date night with Callie! Whee! Also, home made pizza.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Can't Wait for My Date!

Last weekend, Callie came over on Saturday. This weekend, she's coming for dinner Sunday. I don't know if I can wait that long. Check us out, enjoying an interpretive reading by Callie's Mom.

I had to squeeze in between my ladies. Poor me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Highlight of Bedtime Tonight

Say What?

Charles: "If Iain says something that sounds like 'butt floss', he's trying to say 'butter sauce'."
Me: "Oh."

Boys Will Be Boys

I'm a boy. I like things. Like getting dirty and mud and spreading all of The Mom's cooking gear on the floor and eating yogurt with my fingers. I like vanilla lattes, too.*

But Ben. Ben is a BOY. Check him out:

That's right. He saw the drop cloth with white paint or chalk or something on it. He plopped down on that stuff and wiggled. Awesome. I bow to his coolness.

*Daddy drinks homemade vanilla lattes. He said "wanna try it?" and offered me a taste with his spoon. Now he can't have them anymore, because I come up and demand "Try it?" "Try IT!" until he caves.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Air NZ Rocks

Air New Zealand has added a cuddle class. Maybe we could go back for a visit sometime.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Don't freak out.

I know that anchovies don't please everyone. But Iain knows someone special who loveslovesloves them.

So this would be perfect. And when I saw it, I thought, "Oooo...she'd freak for that." You know, in a good way.

Do Arts!

When Callie stayed over, we had a demand for "arts!" Naturally, we complied (We're not foolish. You don't step on Superman's cape, after all.). Above, you can see that I got out the paint, brushes, heavy paper and Elmer's glue for some serious mixed-media action.

Iain likes to dip his brush in all the colors, identifying each one as "geen!" And yes, since you asked, I *did* let him "do arts" in a white shirt.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Words/Phrases

[Upon getting up from a chair] "Oof."

The Dad: "Iain, that's known as 'servitude'"
Iain: "SerBiTood!"

The Dad: "Iain, what's that?"
Iain: "Peese Caw!" [police car]
The Dad: "Iain, can you say 5-0?"
Iain: "Five. Oh."

[In the car, driving anywhere] "Home, Jeeves!"

Also, last evening while I was making his supper, Iain toddled over to the toy bucket, pulled out the ziplock baggie of art supplies, extracted the Elmer's glue, and prepared to paint glue all over the den. I replaced that plan with one involving colored corn syrup and marshmallows. Success, and all credit to Misses Donna and Megan, who showed me how to make quickie, edible paint for emergency art situations.

Oh, Didn't I Mention the Shoto?

Ben sent Iain a short sword. Iain is now considering the virtues of a career as a ninja. Callie, of course, found the sword irresistible. Did I mention that it squeaks?

Also, Callie wanted to play with the camera:

She wants you to see our neighbor's house. I believe she's transitioning from a portraiture-based period in her artistic sensibility towards a more landscape-based focus. Like Picasso in his Blue Period. Like that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thanks, Ben!

So....Ben went to Japan. (I KNOW!) He sent me a care package containing some awesome, awesome, awesome stuff that melds Japanese and American traditions. Above, my new banana holder. I'll eat a banana anytime, but The Dad thinks it's gross when they get banged around in my backpack, so this is a useful tool.

What? Did I mention a backpack? Here's a bit of dialogue from The Staff 3 weeks ago:

The Dad: Next time, Iain can maybe carry a little backpack or something.
The Mom: Yeah, he can tote his own books and toys and maybe Kleenex.
The Dad: That would be good.

I didn't say that The Staff are riveting. They're pretty dull, to be frank. But anyway, no sooner had they cast those words out into the world than the above backpack arrived in the mail. And what's that I see on the zip pocket? Is that a vehicle??

Why yes, yes it is. It's a picture of my other gift. See above. And below. ZOMG. A motorized Disneyland Japan bus that rides on a track and has a map of Japanese Disneyland for a background. Did I mention ZOMG?

And Uncle Tony - that's a VW bus, isn't it? Are you freaking out?

So I hooked up all my trains (even the 6 train from NYC and one of Thomas the Tank Engine's freight cars) to the bus and made a little caravan. It's excellent.

Thank you, Ben! You're the greatest.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Did I Mention the Cupcakes?

As a thank-you for babysitting tonight, Callie's parents brought us a box of cupcakes. Apparently, the NY/LA cupcake craze finally decided to make a pitstop in Lexington. Above, left to right from the top row, you see strawberry shortcake, chocolate with chocolate icing and chocolate chips, red velvet with cream cheese, lemon, malted milk, and apple spice.

After dinner we tried them out. I had lemon, Charles ate the red velvet (a guilty pleasure if ever there was one).

All I have to say is: 2 inches of frosting.

Tomorrow, that malt ball is MINE!

Saturday Night, Baby!

Look what came to play! And for dinner! (Chili mac, with vanilla pudding and blueberries for dessert.) And for some nie-nie!

I love Saturdays.


New Words

"Hi dude!"

"GoGoGo!" [in the car]



Friday, January 22, 2010

OMG Ponies

For Christmas, Charles got an LL Bean barn coat. It's very handsome on him.

Meanwhile, Iain is outgrowing his winter gear. We bought most of it last fall, and since he eats enough for the WWF*, he grows. We also had a $10 gift card for LL Bean. Bring those two concerns together and what do you get????

You get a size 3T LL Bean barn jacket (picture above is a link) for $9.94 including shipping. BAM!! And how adorable is Little Man going to be wearing a jacket that matches Daddy? Insanely adorable, thanksforasking.

*If you think this means the World Wildlife Fund, then he eats as much as an elephant. If you think this means the World Wrestling Federation, then this means he eats enough to lift a 300-pound man into the air, do The Helicopter, and then brag about it on TV.

Birthday Parties are Awesome

Above, The Mom and Dr. S at Siddak's 3rd birthday party. Aren't we smashing? See that stack of cups in the background? Don't ask me how many people attended the party. A lot.

Below, us flanking Iain as he decides which part of his cake to eat first. You won't be surprised to read that he ended up digging the fruit out of the center layer (mango!), then toddling off to play in the kid-sized playhouse.

I do think he liked all the attention he got, though. Dr. S's Mother-in-Law was there. She and Iain have a special relationship built on mutual adoration.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Isla likes to chase the cat. I hear. Seems like a good idea to me, girl. And BTW, love the stripes.

Feel the Love (for Chicken Nuggets)

Above, Iain trying to break away from Callie's loving embrace. It's hard to get an in-focus picture of the two of them, so bear with me. But let's just say that Callie's love is tough love. Tough, squeezing love like the kind an anaconda might offer. Except way cuter and with less slithery-ness.

And then (below), they had dinner. This is the "before" shot. The "after" shot was too disturbing. They were shoveling in chicken nuggets (fried to order, naturally, at Casa de Poulet), hummus, and fruit. Note their coordinated outfits. (and our pathetic attempt to keep the poor lime tree alive with scads of incandescent light)

And last:
Could she be more perfect? Let me help you: no.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kate McGarrigle

Kate McGarrigle, of the McGarrigle Sisters, died yesterday. Their song NaCl was one of my favorites many years ago. Here are the lyrics:

Just a little atom of chlorine
Valence minus one
Swimming thru the sea, digging the scene
Just having fun
She's not worried about the shape or size
Of her outside shell
It's fun to ionize
Just a little atom of Cl
With an unfilled shell

But somewhere in that sea lurks
Handsome Sodium
With enough electrons on his outside shell
Plus that extra one
Somewhere in this deep blue sea
There's a negative
For my extra energy yes
Somewhere in this foam
My positive will find a home

Then unsuspecting Chlorine
Felt a magnetic pull
She looked down and her outside
Shell was full
Sodium cried "what a gas be my bride and
I'll change your name from Chlorine to Chloride"

Now the sea evaporates to make the clouds
For the rain and snow
Leaving her chemical compounds in the abscence
Of H2O
But the crystals that wash upon the shore
Are happy ones
So if you never thought before
Think of the love that you eat
When you salt your meat
Think of the love that you eat
When you salt your meat

My favorite bit is where salt woos chlorine by offering to change her name. What a guy. And what a great song, making good fun from a little chemistry.

[EDIT: upon demand, here's a cover of the song. I can't find the original on YouTube]


Graham turned 4 this week, proving that time flies and I'm not paying enough attention. Check out his hip-to-the-hop wrist warmers. Apparently, in Cambridge one's wrists can get cold.

Little G's sister Freddie has been saying, according to their mother, "Hap bir day!" So from us to Graham: Hap Bir Day, cutie!


It turns out that the delicious bread served at Megan's was not puri (poori) but Bhatura. You can find a recipe here.

The recipe says "best served piping hot." No kidding! These came out of the kitchen filled with steam, and Megan or her Mother-in-Law would press gently on the puffy center to release a bit. Iain was entranced, while Charles and I just watched greedily. As The Pasha would say, "Mine! Mine!"

The recipe I linked to also has a link to chole, the chickpea and onion curry with which these are eaten. It was excellent - filling and spicy and rich in the same way chili can be rich - so I recommend you take a look.

Callie: Glamour Shots

Callie took more pictures during her Sunday visit. Here's a shot of The Dad. He looks pretty forbidding, huh? No wonder his students say he's tough and intimidating (I wish they said that about me!!).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paris 2e Goes to the Library

Check out his photos of the Reading Room at the LoC. That's where I spent many a day last summer, working at a little desk, trying to ignore the staring statues above.


Last week, the temps in Charleston got all the way down to...40!! It was chilly, y'all. So Isla had to bundle up in her cuter-than-cute, ridiculously adorable faux-fur trimmed red girlie parka with rick-rack trim.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Macrina Coffee Cake

Today we had an unplanned playdate. Here's how it went down:

[Iain's staff, while driving home from Babies-R-Us with a trunkful of diapers]
The Dad: What do you want to do? We could go to the library and browse the used bookstore...or we could call Callie's parents and see what they're doing...
The Mom: Let's call them and see if they want to do a playdate. a car less than 1/2 a mile away...

[Callie's staff, driving home from Babies-R-Us and Barnes and Noble with a trunkful of diapers]
The Mom: What're we going to do now? This rain is such a total downer, dude [Callie's Mom is from Cali, baby]
The Dad: I don't know. Oh, my phone is ringing!


Obvy, we hooked up for some quality playtime at Casa Filthy (that would be our house). Pics of that to come. But on a rainy day even grownups need something to play with. So Sarah and I made coffee cake. We consulted about recipes, until I realized that my new copy of the Macrina Cookbook (a Christmas gift) was sitting next to the sofa.*

Sure enough, it contained a recipe for Brown Sugar Almond Coffee Cake. Yum.

We modified the recipe a little to reflect what we had on hand. For example, the original calls for fresh raspberries, but I had blueberries in the freezer (picked by me, last summer). Also, the cake took a little longer to cook and we used a different pan. Lastly, I only keep salted butter in the house so we omitted the little bit of salt the recipe calls for. But those changes are minor. The important thing is that the cake was lovely.

It has a very delicate crumb, a crunch top (the topping is chopped almonds), and a surprisingly mild sweetness. Charles felt that it could benefit from some additional flavoring - like cinnamon - and Sarah, John and I agreed.

Iain and Callie were too busy shoving cake in their mouths to care.

Brown Sugar & Almond Coffee Cake from Macrina
(buy the book!)
4c AP Flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2.5 sticks of butter (I used salted. If you use unsalted, which she calls for, add 1 teaspoon of salt)
1.75 cups light brown sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup buttermilk (I used one cup whole milk plus one tablespoon white vinegar)
2 cups berries (she uses fresh raspberries, I used frozen blueberries)
1 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped (put them in a baggie and whack it a while. Chopping round nuts is silly)
Powdered sugar for pretty-making

  • Obtain fun, willing-to-try-anything playmate, preferably from California.
  • Preheat to 325. Grease a pan. This makes a lot of batter. She says use a 9-inch square pan, but I used a 9x13 Pyrex lasagna dish and it was pretty darn full.
  • In a big bowl, mix flour, BP, BS, and salt (if using). Toss it a bit to mix, then set aside.
  • Combine butter and sugar in your stand mixer (you really need one), set it on low and let it mix 5-8 minutes while you set up the other stuff. It should get light beige and fluffy-looking.
  • In another bowl (this recipe makes a lot of dirty dishes), mix the eggs, milk, and extracts with a whisk. Slowly add this to the stuff in your mixer, on medium now, so that it gets mixed in pretty smoothly. At the end it's going to look like curdled stuff - no worries.
  • Remove the bowl and get a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately. First a bit of flour, then a bit of buttermilk, until it's all mixed in.
  • Add the berries, mixing in gently (!).
  • Pour the batter into your dish, sprinkle the almonds over top, and bake for 1 hour. If you test it and it's not yet done (mine was not) bake another 5 or so minutes and then see.
  • Make dinner for two hungry toddlers, including chicken nuggets, carrot sticks with ranch dressing, hummus, milk and juice. By the time you're done with that, the cake will be cooler and you can cut it, dust it with powdered sugar, and enjoy. Discuss its relative merits with sous chef and the menfolk. Agree to add cinnamon or nutmeg next time.
Full Disclosure: Nobody gives me anything to blog. This book was a gift from my BFF, who also owns it and who gave it to her mother and who is kind of obsessed with it. And who can blame her??

*Last year we visited Seattle for the OAH Annual Meeting, and we rented a little condo downtown. It was fabulous, and the best part was that the building's first floor contains the Macrina Bakery. So for brekkie every morning we popped downstairs just as they opened and had freshly-made nosh with hot coffee (excellent, of course - it's Seattle!) and a soupcon of milk for The Pasha. Then, every evening, we popped downstairs and bought dessert to go with our scallops, dungeness crab, etc. It was a tough conference, let me tell you. Tough.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Nice Day (Medicated)

Iain awoke this morning at 6:48am. But no worries. I buried my head in the covers and whispered "go back to sleep!" and he did. Until 8:29. Yay!

For brekkie, we made waffles. Recall that we received the above device (A Cuisinart) for Christmas. Iain sat beside me and helped ensure that I didn't leave anything out - eggs, flour, oil, salt, baking powder and soda, sugar and milk. He waved a whisk at me to keep my attention focused.

I told him the machine would be ready when it beeped. It beeped. Iain said "BEEEP!"

He consumed an entire waffle, with butter and syrup, for brekkie, accompanied by a healthy dose of milk. Minus waffles for me and Charles we again had 6 waffles to freeze, so the menfolk can eat a waffle this week anytime they like.

After that, we had to shop.

In the run-up to our trip west, I used up all kinds of things and didn't replace them. "Oh, I'll just get more salad dressing when we return," I thought. But you may recall that we returned around 11pm and I had to teach the next morning. Oh, and did I mention that I like to take salad for lunch? Hmmm... [I can report that Mark Bittman's recipe for a little bit of vinaigrette (1.5T vinegar, 3T oil, plus a little salt plus a little mustard, plus a little sugar plus something flavor-y like shallots or garlic or herbs) isn't bad.]

But between my new MFW teaching schedule and my trip to Frankfort Thursday to talk with middle school teachers, we just didn't have a moment to get milk or kiwi or cereal or any of the things Iain consumes by the pound.

So we spent the day shopping. In the morning, for meat and eggs, then in the afternoon Charles and Iain went out for everything else. I curled up on the sofa for a nap while my drugs kicked in.

Because - YES - I am sick again. Yucky sick, too. Lots of nose-blowing and coughing and a regular supply of antibiotics and Mucinex and Nyquil.

It's ok, though, because Iain is in such a good mood. Last night he stood at the living room coffee table and literally rocked with glee. He flung out his arms, then pulled them back in, giggling. We asked him, "Are you in a good mood?" and he couldn't even answer because he was grinning too hard. Then, today, he spent his time ping-ponging from me to Charles, offering hugs and reading books and playing Tickle Truck ("What kind of truck is that? Oh, a dump truck. And that? A cement mixer? What about the Tickle Truck? Do you see one of those? No? How about NOW!!!").

Iain is abed, Charles is feeding the dogs (and probably dipping into the dark chocolate raspberry ice cream), and I'm about to go read a book.

Friday, January 15, 2010

EGGS! CluckCluck

Above, Iain playing with Maddie's egg-box-toy-item (I have no idea what that thing is for).

Tonight, for dinner, Iain ate 3 scrambled eggs and a bowl of yogurt with bits of pear on top. Here's how the egg-eating went down:

6:02pm: I hand small plate of scrambled eggs to Charles. He places said eggs in front of Iain. Timer on pizza reads 1:25.

6:03.5pm: Having helped me remove pizza from oven, Charles pops his head back into the dining room. I hear: "Dude, what'd you do with those eggs? Iain? Did you eat all those eggs? Really??"


In other news, Iain has learned an important new phrase. He dropped something Thursday morning and when I turned and saw he said, "Sorry, Mommy."

[insert wailing as The Mom melts down at the adorable politeness of her toddler]

Then he said it again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Date Night

Callie and I had a date on Tuesday night. I know: Tuesday. But it was an awesome date, so I think mixing up your flirting is a good idea. Who says you can only see your girl on the weekends?

We had dinner, as you can see. I ate hummus with a spoon and crunched my pita chips and disdained the string cheese. The Mom ate it, so no waste.

Callie was feeling sort of possessive. She kept squeezing me, hugging me, and sitting right next to me. I loved it, of course. We also shared some playtime, and she showed me how to use her safari kit. It's pretty cool, except it has a fence, which I don't completely understand. Are there a lot of fences around giraffes?

When The Mom wrote my name on Callie's Etch-a-Sketch, Callie demanded "Where Callie Name?" So The Mom wrote her name, too. Then she wrote it in cursive, which Totally Blew Callie's Mind. (Totally).

After dinner and playtime, Callie's staff read to us. As you can see, we each need a lap and a book. Luckily, the staff was in full force. I wore my dinosaur pajamas ("Hippo!" "No, Iain, Dinosaur." "Hippo! Hippo! Hippo!") while Callie sported her best pink monkey jammies.

I'm so ready for Callie to come back to daycare. It's just not the same without her...

Dance, Dance, Dance!

Callie is a dancing machine. Last night, to the tune of "You Be Illin'," she showed Iain her moves:

I know it made an impression, because this morning Iain bopped around the dining room and said "Das!" "Dance?" I said. "Yah!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Callie Takes a Picture

So I hand Callie the camera and tell her "look through here and press this little button." This is the result. No joke. The child is a genius.

Also, she has pink monkey pajamas. Need I say more?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Little Wool Art for Charles

This is a version of what David B. showed us at Callie's house last summer. Too funny, and half the pleasure is the grins and laughter of the shepherds.

The 25th of this month is my seventh anniversary with Charles. Traditional gift? Wool. Consider this a woolly tribute to my husband, an man of many talents (shepherding not among them, alas).

Please Follow Along As I Narrate the Action...

[The Mom walks into The Pasha's room, 9:12am]

"All clean."
"New Diaper!"
[The Mom asks how many toes]
"Three, Four, Nine..."
"Thomas, uh huh!"
"Toast! Butter. Jam"


As you may have guessed, Iain has taken to narrating everything we do. He just talks his way through it. I think he gets this from his father, whom we all know as a Talker.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Iain Ate

Ok, use your noodle and try to remember my goals for our California adventure: sushi, dim sum, in-n-out, sushi, shawarma, sushi, and fresh produce.

I got most of that covered. No shawarma or in-n-out, but nothing is perfect. I ate sushi 3 times and dim sum twice, which is more than one can really expect in ten days.

But Iain was the real rock star.

You already know that at the Dumpling House he ate spicy noodles and hot/sour soup. There's more.

On our last day in Irvine, we took Iain for sushi. He ate a bit of sweet omelet and almost an entire bowl of miso soup. "Sooop!" he kept demanding. Later in the week, eating sushi with Megan and me, he again devoured a bowl of miso soup. I tried to interest him in a tempura-battered green bean, but ... with his eyes he said, "That's a green bean, Mom. I wasn't born yesterday."

That night, he ate freshly fried puri, an Indian bread made by hand by Megan's mother-in-law. Iain loved it, I loved it, and Charles loved it so much he said "you have to learn to make this." The image below is from a website with a tutorial. Never let it be said that I am not a loving and devoted wife.

Image from It is a hyperlink to a puri recipe.

That night, Iain also ate spicy roast chicken. For the adults, it was part of a rice biryani dish, but for Iain it was a bowl of pure, spicy protein. I thought he might not eat it ("not chicken nuggets!!"), but he dug right in.

After dinner, our hosts composed a plate of strawberries and other fruit. It was intended for 6 guests. Iain tried to eat it all.

The next morning, he joined Megan (AKA Dr. S.), Dr. G., Dr. C., and the acrobatic and generally amusing Christian for dim sum. He ate: glutinous rice dumplings filled with sweet bean paste, spicy fried noodles, barbequed pork buns, fried dumplings filled with lotus root paste, a custard tart, and jello. I love it when a dim sum place has jello. It's hard to say who had a bigger sweet tooth: Christian or Iain.

For breakfast, in the hotel, he ate a plate of fruit (strawberry, pineapple, and papaya), part of a piece of french toast, a mini-croissant with butter and jam, "Bacon!" and three scrambled eggs.

In short, Iain took over my quest to eat my way through California.

Charles and I had plans. We intended to make our son into a person who tries new things, who likes a variety of foods, who enjoys the cuisines of many cultures. We had theories about how to do this. What a waste. Iain's got it figured out - he needs no reverse-psychology from us ("Oh, honey. That's grown-up food. You probably wouldn't like it. Oh, you'd like to try it? Welllll...ok. But don't say I didn't warn you.")

I'm feeling pretty smug. Did you guess?

Outside at Kidspace

Kidspace has a tiered garden that introduces kids to concepts like growth and plant nutrition. They have vegetable gardens (of course), but also a tunnel made of wisteria (it's growing in. What you see above is the frame that will eventually be covered in the vine.) and a series of play objects that mimic natural phenomena.

Below, for instance, a rope toy made to look like a spider's web. Iain was, frankly, indifferent to the web. But he liked the tunnel and he toddled around a bit before he understood that he needed to exit through the same door where he'd gone in.

Farther up the hill there's a beanstalk. I thought it was fabulous, but Iain was not impressed. Still, it was neat to look at him under the vines. Like seeing him walking inside a sculpture.

A water wheel turns at the very top, splashing water up and over a tin roof so it cascades down into a little pool. From there the water travels downhill in a stream and to a tiny beach.

In case you're not that into the "nature" theme, the bottom of the park is devoted to modern life. There's a little house (which Iain really liked) and a racetrack for tiny little scooters and tricycles.

I suspect that in about 2 or 3 years Iain would find Kidspace absolutely riveting. Even now, though, he was entertained for a good long time with the various objects, exhibits, toys and games designed to teach him about bugs, archaeology, biology, and movement. It's a great little place, and one really scaled to children.