Wednesday, May 14, 2014

James and Julia 24-28 months, Part II: Rediscovering the Mall, Gymnastics Party, and Pizza at Papa and Gaga’s Apartment

Last year the babies only got to lie down in the piles of leaves in our front yard. This year they get to play in them for the first time. Our plumber comes by while we are taking pictures, and Julia lights up with a big smile for many of the pictures because she’s telling him “hi” and keeps trying to catch his eye to make sure he’s watching her. Julia loves an audience. 
Julia trying to get our plumber to smile at her
At the end of December the twins ride in shopping carts for the first time - one per cart - at the Mountain View Target. They love it. (Previously I kept them in the stroller while shopping and piled my purchases on top of them.)

On New Year’s Day the twins go to the mall for the first time in 1 ½ years (since I went there with Bubby in search of an outfit for Jeopardy). They love eating a big pretzel with Daddy and running around the fountain in Santana Row.

Julia playing by the fountain in Santana Row
A few weeks later we return to Valley Fair Mall and Daddy takes the babies in the stroller on the escalator for the first and last time. (He doesn’t recommend it because the stroller was very heavy and hard to hold level, especially with two kids. He also doesn’t realize this was against the posted rules before doing it.) The kids love it though, and they still tell me about visiting the mall three months later. (Afterwards I ask James what he likes more - escalators or pretzels - and like a baby politician he responds “Escalators AND pretzels.”) Mark takes them to Banana Republic and puts sunglasses on them. James sits back in the stroller with his first pair on and is chill. Meanwhile, Julia immediately takes off each pair and demands another. This seems pretty true to their personalities.

James tries on sunglasses on Banana Republic.
The twins visit San Francisco since the first time when they were a few weeks old. Since James is afraid of elevators, I carry both down the Macy’s escalator at the same time. And since it’s easier to keep going once I’ve already got two kids in my arms, I actually descend one escalator, walk around to the next escalator on the other side, and continue down that one - all while lugging 55+ pounds. On the way back up I let them step on the escalator themselves for the first time. This doesn’t seem to be a momentous occasion at the time but a few months later they become obsessed with escalators.

The twins attend a Hanukkah-themed playdate at Debbie’s house and eat latkes and sufganiyot, attempt to spin driedels, and search for the items on the Seder plate. A few months later Stacy hosts a Valentine’s Day playdate, and Mark teaches James to say “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mommy!” I host not one but TWO St. Patrick’s Day parties because I am insane. We take the kids to Google dressed in their St. Patrick’s Day finery. James is afraid to go inside the building until Mark offers him cookies. On a later visit to Google, they are thrilled when Mark’s co-worker Emily gives them stickers and they request that the stickers be placed on their tummies.

James and Julia are quite the social butterflies and make appearances at several birthday parties. They attend the birthday of Hudson (from Las Madres Sunnvyale) at Airborne Gymnastics. James cries the first few minutes upon arriving but then loves it. Their favorite activity is jumping in the foam pit. Julia squeals with delight before jumping in. She also loves the rings, too.

Julia loves jumping in the foam pit.
Their playgroup friend Ronan has a Curious George themed birthday party and the books that are party favors inspire a love of Curious George books in the twins. At Zachary and Zoe’s birthday party at Swaray, James builds a stack of Mega Bloks taller than himself and Julia goes into the bounce house, jumps once, slides out and repeats. They also enjoy holding the basketball to make baskets with Daddy.

Stacy cleans Ronan in the sink after he enjoys his chocolate birthday cake a little too much.
Julia slides out of the bounce house. Again.
Mark helps Julia dunk.
James and Julia attend the open house at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool, which will be their preschool in the fall. They enjoy all the activities. Julia paints for the first time (James skips it), and despite washing up immediately afterwards, does not like getting paint on her hands. This ends up being so memorable she refuses to paint at school when she starts attending six months later, until halfway through the school year.

We surprise the twins with a last minute pizza lunch at Gaga and Papa’s apartment in Cupertino. The kids love it - especially rocking in their grandparents’ recliners. After living there a year (in addition to their house in San Diego), Gaga and Papa move out a month after our visit because keeping the apartment didn’t end up making financial sense.

James eats pizza at Papa and Gaga’s apartment.

James and Julia enjoy rocking with Gaga.

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