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Babies, Aliens and Vanilla Ice-Everything is new

04/09/2010

Today it was raining buckets, which was unfortunate for the Abby and Wilson, as they had to go outside and use the bathroom.  They came tearing back inside, shook the water off them and went to lay on their pillows.

Two wet dogs, one dry baby

Two wet dogs, one dry baby

Baby Mojo found this hilarious and started to laugh that cute little baby laugh.  He’s seen them come into the house before and I realized that he was laughing at their behavior when they get wet.

Everything is new to babies.   It’s their first time seeing everything, so put on a good show, describe it well and enjoy yourself.

Many years ago I worked at The Disney MGM Studios as a tour guide and character actor on The Great Movie  Ride.     The Great Movie Ride is a slow-moving vehicle that goes through famous scenes of great movies.  Interspersed along the ride are various audio animatronic figures and live actors.  Sometimes I was a tour guide, other times a gangster.  As a tour guide you’re the stranger in a strange land and the gangster ‘takes over’ the vehicle about half way through. 

Daddy Mojo as a gangster on The Great Movie Ride

Daddy Mojo with an Alien above him.

The tour guide starts, vehicle gets ‘hijacked’ by a gangster or cowboy and then the hijacker goes to an Egyptian tomb where the tour guide returns.  That’s the set up and it always runs like that unless the tour guide or gangster are friends and want to shake it up a bit.

One day when I was a gangster I was feeling especially frisky, adding lines to mess with the tour guides, loosely chatting with the guests and so on.  On one tour I got in the vehicle, did my opening spiel, looked back and saw Vanilla Ice

It was back in the late 80’s, Ice was in his prime and had a couple Disney suits around him.  Before the gangster and tour guide switch back again there is a line where they say, “oh, would you get a load of that chunk of that ice up there, now don’t none of you move…I don’t think they’d notice a couple of bodies around here.”

I said, “Oh, would you get a load of that chunk of Ice, Ice Baby up there…”  I won’t win any awards for creativity with that, but I knew the tour guide would get a kick out of it and it made my day go by with smile.  Walt Disney World is excellent at the guest experience and making certain that their employees know that it’s always somebody’s first time to the park.

It was just like Baby Mojo and his first time seeing a wet dog.  After a couple of times the wet dogs may not be as funny to him, but for the first couple times, that and so much more will be totally new and unique to him.  He’s truly a blank slate that relies totally on me to entertain him, show him what to do and what is special about the little things. 

After a while, the tourists and questions like “what time is the 3:00 parade?” (yes dozens of people every day really ask that), start to pile and I had to leave the Mouse.  By the end of it I had spent two years yelling at tourists, making fun of bad clothing and waving a gun at aliens.

 I still have good friends that work there, they truly love their job and I’ll be hitting them up for free tickets when The Mojos visit.

Nostalgic stroller envy

04/07/2010

The other week I was at Jungle Joe’s chatting with a stay at home dad.  He said that  his wife had a case of stroller envy.  “Stroller envy, what do you mean”, I asked. 

“Well, we have the one stroller, but now she wants a jogging stroller, as well as, an umbrella stroller, whatever that is”, he said.  Suddenly it was as if my subconscious had manifested itself in physical form and was confronting me with feelings I was having too.

Internally my Id and Superego were laughing at me, 1.  For being in a Jungle Joe’s… and loving it and 2. For understanding exactly what his wife was talking about.

Two strollers and a dog

When we were initially shopping for strollers I had no clue about what strollers were good for what purpose.  In this case strollers are kind of like shoes, you need a couple different ones for where you’re going.

The Stroller travel system

That’s the bigger one on the left and has a baby carrier that snaps in and out.  The baby carrier also pops into the base that will be secured in your back seat.  The downside to this system is that the baby carrier can get heavy and the stroller isn’t really responsive if you’ll be jogging or walking quickly.  However, the upsides far outweigh any negatives as it’s comfortable, folds flat, has loads of storage and has a shield to cover your Baby Mojo from the sun.

The Umbrella stroller

I was slow to embrace the umbrella stroller but am a big fan now.  It’s very lightweight and folds up to the size of an umbrella.  This is the great stroller that you’ll use when running a couple of errands or when you need to calm your little Mojo down with a couple of laps around the house.  The down side is that your child has to be able to hold their head up, so it can’t be used immediately for infants, and it’s ride is a bit rougher than the bigger strollers.  It also doesn’t have the shield to protect against the sun or have any storage space, but it’s the difference between a pair of dress shoes and hiking boots.

Those two strollers are the ones that occupy the Mojo garage for babies.  Personally I would love to have one of those three-wheeled strollers with the inflatable tires.  They look cool, you can jog in the them and they’re comfortable. 

The Green Machine, circa 1975

The new Green Machine looks the same

They also have the added visual impact of  making your child look like they’re in Tron or driving their own Green Machine.  Oh, I loved my Green Machine and was totally shocked to see that Huffy is still making them.  Huffy, there’s a brand that I haven’t uttered since I was a child.  It’s one of those brands that are almost exclusively regulated to children and parents.  Since they don’t make Green Machines that are marketed to parents I guess I’ll be familiar with them for the next 14 years at least. 

Back to strollers.  You need more than one, plan on it and start scouring the yard sales now as these are great items to purchase used or from a consignment store.  I know that we’ll be on the yard sale looking for a jogging stroller.  If you have one that you’re selling for about $40 please let Daddy Mojo know, otherwise good hunting!

Storytime at Alpharetta Library

04/04/2010

Baby Mojo and I went to this last week and they’re doing it again this week.   Storytime at Alpharetta Library, 10:30 AM on April 6.  They read a couple of books, had some stuffed animals to help tell the story and it was specifically geared to those 0-3. 

They’ve got an older kids storytime immediately following the one for the younger children too.  The Alpharetta Library is located at 238 Canton Street, Alpharetta, 30004.  Your local library also will have readings as well, they’re free and they rock.

Children’s Garden Storybook Time

04/04/2010

Children’s Garden Storybook Time at Atlanta Botanical Gardens on April 7, 10:30-11.  The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a magical place, especially in the spring.

Earth Day 2010

04/03/2010

It’s a day just for the earth and most of the activities are family friendly!

One of the biggest and most entertaining activities is the Earth Day Kids Fest at Chattahoochee Nature Center on April 17 from 10-3.  They’ll have live animals there, loads of activities and games, canoe trips on the lake, gardening exhibitions and meet Captain Planet.  This event is sponsored by Captain Planet Foundation and Chattahoochee Nature Center, you can find all the details at www.captainplanetfoundation.org.

There are loads of recycling events also around town in Decatur, Oakhurst, Atlantic Station and Buckhead.  Atlanta Intown has a nice list of them here.

Beijing showers, procrastination and dirty towels

04/01/2010

Waiting tables in college taught me one lesson that I’ll always remember; never leave the kitchen empty-handed.

You leave the kitchen take something – anything – because it’s needed out front by somebody.

Since being a stay at home dad I’ve had to practice that lesson countless times, but it’s helped me keep the Mojo castle slightly cleaner.  I’m leaving a room – I grab a bottle, cup or toy and put it in its rightful place.

This is basic stuff, but it’s light years from where I came from.  Even tough I learned the original lesson in college, I went through The Dark Years (where dirt and procrastination where my best friends. )

The Shower

Before Baby Mojo came into the picture Mommy Mojo and I were dating and she was over at the house.  She had to wash her face, went to turn on the hot water and was aghast that there wasn’t any.  “Your hot water isn’t working, how long has it been out?”, she asked.  To hear her tell the story, she was under the impression that it was something that happened a day or two ago.

“Oh, it’s been out a couple of months”, I answered with all seriousness. 

“A COUPLE MONTHS?  How do you shower?  Can’t you get a plumber in here to fix it?”

“Oh, it’s not broken, I’ve got the parts to fix it in the other room….”.  In hindsight I realize how silly it was to not have hot water in the bathroom.  It was the worst case of procrastination I’d ever accomplished,  I was busted and without an excuse.

“How do you shower?”, she said, which was quite a reasonable question considering.

“Well, I shower very quickly.”

“Why?  When there’s hot water readily available?

“It’s not the worst place I’ve ever showered”

The worst place I’d showered was this hostel in Beijing.  It was in the middle of winter, there was no hot water and there were multiple holes in the wall where I could look out onto various, smog covered buildings .  It was cold, had broken tiles on the floor, a flimsy curtain with rips and one of those prison mirrors that cast a reflection but wasn’t really a mirror. 

So, whenever I’d shower at home, I’d think of that awful, cold shower that I had in Beijing for that couple of weeks and it wasn’t that bad. The house was under renovation and the cold showers were a small price to pay for not getting on my stomach to light the pilot when it would go out.

Mommy Mojo didn’t see the logic in my story either and suggested that I stop procrastinating and get that hot water flowing ASAP.  

The Dirty Towel

A couple of weeks after the hot water in the bathroom was fixed Mommy Mojo was washing her face and asked me to hand her a towel.

“Eww, this towel smells”, she said.

“oh.  I might have accidentally given you the towel that I cleaned up the cat pee with”, I sheepishly said.  She screamed and promptly threw away all of my towels. It was then that she washed her face for a second time and took a shower with our newfound hot water, using her towel.

On the positive side, I no longer have to clean up cat urine and we have all new towels.

Mommy & Me, A camping we will go

03/30/2010

April 1, 10:00 at The Southern Museum.    Learn basic camping for ages 3-5, sing songs, free with museum admission, $7.50.