We're all hanging out in Clearwater for the next couple of days, and the weather is fine! Each year that goes by I become less tolerant of the winter and more passionate about sunshine and warm weather. So, when Kevin called me from work a couple weeks ago and asked, "You wanna go to Florida?" I thought I might just be in the middle of a fabulous dream. But no pinch was necessary. Kevin is attending a three day conference and Monica and I are hanging out at the beach and the pool. (Pics to come!) The weather was sunny and about 70 degrees today. There has been no ocean swimming, but the heated pool is a favorite.
Monica really does love the beach though. She just toddles around, picking up interesting things off the ground (read: shells, leaves, rocks, and garbage) and smiling a lot. She's not really into climbing on the playground as of yet so toddling and the occasional swing sesh is about all we've got at the beach. I never really thought about what 15 month olds do at the beach or at the park. At first, it didn't seem like much: toddling, picking up stuff, babbling. But I see now that there is a whole lot of discovery and limit testing that goes on. I realized how much I take for granted in walking through sand in barefeet with relative ease and staying focused on a destination (i.e. the water) and being able to walk up inclines without looking like I'm rock scrambling. This is an age that requires a lot of patience for repetition and very simple activities.
Kevin was busy with a late business dinner so I took Monica out for dinner by myself. Arg. It was a series of unfortunate events.
We went to a well known seafood restaurant that seemed tasty, but not too touristy. I was right on both accounts, but it was a tad too upscale for soloing it with a milk intolerant toddler. When we walked in, I told the hostess that we were a party of one and a highchair. She gave me a blank stare and said blandly, "Just a high chair?"
Seriously? If the girl had stopped to think for a second, she probably would have realized that
1. A toddler would not be hanging out by herself for a meal at this restaurant.
2. I cannot fit into a high chair.
After straightening out debacle #1, we moved on to others. The highchair's buckle was broken, which I thought wouldn't be a huge deal...except that the chair didn't fit underneath the table and Monica was trying to stand up in it every other second. So, I caught one of the four hostesses (not the one from Debacle #1) and asked for a high chair with a functional buckle. She was only able to find other broken high chairs. It wasn't until she got the manager to assist her that they found a functional high chair.
Debacle #3 was the menu. I only got one menu which had no children's options. Arg. I chose a chicken dish that I thought Monica would like and ordered that, except that I realized about 15 minutes later that the sauce was probably really buttery so I talked to the waiter about plain ol' grilled chicken. He asked me about any other options on the childrens's menu...that I never saw. Apparently there was a separate children's menu that the hostess did not offer. Excellent. So, I changed our order only to receive the dinner sized crab cakes instead of the appetizer size.
Debacle #4 was the timing. By the time the food came, Monica was already full from the bread that I had been giving her in small bits to distract her from fussing and destroying the table while we waited for food. She ate almost none of her meal. I guess we'll be eating grilled chicken and steamed veggies for lunch tomorrow.
But, honestly, aside from tonight's restaurant adventure, the trip is going really well, and I am incredibly thankful for this chance to get away from the cold grayness that is January in Michigan! More to come...