So, in that 1 to 2 year span between learning to walk and learning not to crap your pants, the only really noticeable area of development is language.
Riley's vocab is expanding at an amazing pace (to us. don't know how it compares to smart kids)
He has taken a little step backward though, and I can only attribute it to something in the air or water. (or both since our air is mostly water)
His verbal handicap is one quite common to our area, but not one used by anyone he is regularly exposed to.
This abomination is the use of "me."
I don't know enough about diagramming sentences to explain what part of speech the word plays. (maybe if Loula reads this she can clue us in)
What was once, "I reach it," has now become, "I reach it, me."
I like it, me.
I eat it, me.
I silly, me.
Hopefully it'll be something he grows out of, but for now it is pretty hilarious just because it is so common around here. He's now well on his way to being a Waterboy character.
If anyone actually reads this and lives anywhere but South Louisiana, I would love to hear feedback on whether such appending of "me" is common in other regions or cultural enclaves.
I'll move on now, me.
Last Sunday, Riley got all mechanical and helped Daddy and Poppy change the water pump on Nonnie's Jeep.
Just like Daddy and Poppy, his shirt was feeling a good bit of tension in the gut region.
Saying that he helped may be a little stretch, but he did stand right by us and bang a screwdriver on his 4 wheeler.
Then he moved on to putting sockets and other tools in the frame rails and bumper of my Jeep, which is a major man faux pas and got him kicked out of the garage.
When bedtime approaches, we pretty much split the reading duties.
Usually, Riley is ready for bed and goes down easy, but not on Wednesday.
No big deal though. He fussed for a little while, then fell asleep.
The next morning, I looked at the monitor and saw an open book in the bed.
I asked Joan if she put it there and she denied.
He's grabbed books from his bookshelf before, so I didn't really think anything of it.
Things proved to be a little different when he finally woke up and I went to retrieve him.
On the monitor I had seen one book.
When I got in there, I noticed that it was actually 20 books.
He had just about cleaned off the bookshelf and had very little room left to sleep.
I really wish I could see what he did with them during the night, especially since the open book was his "Go Cajuns" book and it was opened to the fight song page that he tries to sing along to.
But no complaints here. Whatever it takes to foster a love of reading (before formal schooling kills that spirit.)
Friday's weather was perfect, so I took Riley and Anna to Bach Lunch to see the Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Anna enjoyed the music, but Riley is on a "fear of loud noises" kick.
One thing they both agreed on was the fun of riding in the Jeep, and the wonders it does for your hair.
After catching the band, we headed over to Johnson's, where Riley had his first encounter with (semi) random public recognition and he and Anna got to meet some of the nice ladies who read the blog: Ms Christi, Ms Becky, Ms Nicole, and Ms Frances.
At the same time, Anna got to meet her semi-doppelganger, another 2.5 year old red-headed-girl named Anna.
Riley's not big on his celebrity status though, so he refused to tell them hi.
Then while Anna killed a brisket stuffed grilled cheese (a hearty meal), Riley discovered the non-gastronomical joys of salt and pepper shakers.
Now do you see why we try to only bring him to outdoor restaurants?
Saturday, Mommy and Daddy were scheduled to go to an engagement party in New Orleans.
Coincidentally, Anna's family was spending the weekend at Lesley's for a Saints game.
It worked out because we were able to turn it into a zoo day, and we had built in babysitters during the party.
Added bonus- we've already gotten our money's worth out of our Audubon membership, less than a month after buying it.
Riley is usually hesitant about approaching most non-goat animals, but really enjoyed chasing a giant tortoise.
Then both kids manned up and petted a baby alligator.
(is "petted" really a word?)
One of the highlights of their day, of course, was the very non-zoo-specific act of running laps through an archway in the Mayan ruins.
Riley made a few unassisted trips up Monkey Hill, and only had one close call were he almost tumbled backward to certain doom.
All of that hill climbing made them tired.
Zombie mode set in and was quickly overtaken by log mode.
After a short nap, Riley enjoyed the sea lions (a name that melted a few of his brain cells)
and then, for the second day in a row, a set by the Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Riley and Mommy enjoyed some exploring and finding the oddest zoo creature of the day.
Riley and Anna both enjoyed their new white-alligator-chomping-head-on-a-stick-thingies.
One of the many positives about the Audubon zoo is that their merch prices, in addition to the memberships, are really reasonable. (and you get 10% off merch as a member.)
2 alligator chompers and an alligator fridge magnet came to 8 bucks with tax.
Taking advantage of cheap prices and membership discounts, we headed over to the carousel.
It's only a dollar for members to ride, and adults don't have to pay if accompanying a small child. That makes it less than half of what our local zoo charges for their rickety, quarter mile train loop/exhaust huffing experience.
After much debate, Riley chose a lion for his first carousel whirl.
He started out with a two handed death grip on the pole.
then, as we got up to full speed, he went kinda bullrider with one hand.
and finally got cocky enough to pull a "Look ma, no hands!"
On the way out, Lesley was brave enough to attempt a photo with both tots.
Here's as close as we got to success.
On the way home, we stopped at Creole Creamery on Prytania, for ice cream.
They've got some pretty unique, homemade flavors.
Best of all, they do something every ice cream place should do.
Instead of locking you down to ordering a single scoop of a single flavor, they offer the option of ordering a 4 mini scoops sampler, which Joan and I both did as we are royalty in the Land of Indecisiveness.
Some flavors were hits, and some were misses.
Don't order the Creole Cream Cheese unless you really, really, really like cream cheese.
Even if you just really, really like cream cheese, stick with something safer like Brownie Batter or Bananas Foster. (both excellent.)
Regardless of ice cream quality or local ambiance, Riley and Anna always have fun together.
We ended family day back at Lesley's so Mommy and Daddy could get dressed up for the party.
Finally, since he's been busy with lots of letters and numbers (H1N1, PhD, etc) I'll hijack a little bit of Paul's blog theme and write about food and recipes.
When mealtime comes around, Riley's back on a guacamole kick.
And he tried his hand at cooking this week, but was a little too arrogant and presumptive when he decided to take a shot at making rice pudding.
Ha, Ha. See what I did there?
Bet you're saying, "I wish I hadn't read that, me."