Sunday, October 25, 2015

Charlie and Lindsay's Most Excellent Adventure

Not sure if you guys heard, but I have a nephew. I know I never talk about him and I never ever post pictures on social media. But he exists. He's three and he's awesome.

Now, I've babysat Charlie many times. In fact, I'm his favorite babysitter. I'm also his only babysitter, but I don't see how that is relevant.

When my sister called and said they would "sponsor an adventure" for Charlie and me so they could attend an event all day Saturday, obviously I said yes.

On our frequent Facetime chats, Charlie often asks when he can come to my apartment. I like to think this is because he wants to spend quality time with me, but I'm pretty sure it's because he sees the TV in the background of all our calls and wants to watch my tiny, discount, non-cable TV.

No matter what the reason, I decided to fulfill the kid's wish and have him over to my neighborhood for what will forever be known (probably just by me) as Auntie Adventure Day!

Now, there are limited adventures you can take with a three-year-old, especially when you're an adventure-averse aunt. Adventure to me is going on a hike, but like, the kind that's on a trail and can be done in a day and ends with a pretty view but doesn't require me to touch much of nature.

Where can you find nature in a controlled environment? The Zoo!

Fortunately, I live just a few blocks from Smithsonian National Zoo, so that was our plan. Throw in a tour of my building (pro tip: three-year-olds love trash chutes), a quick stop at the library, lunch with friends, and frozen yogurt you've got a three-yr-old-friendly and Lindsay-approved day of adventure. 

Here is the scrapbook of our day:

We started out the day with a tour of my building. He has only been to my apartment a few times, one of which was my birthday. That explains why he walked into my kitchen, looked confused and said, "Where are the cupcakes?" Fortunately, to a three-year-old, trash chutes, elevators, and roof-decks are just as exciting. 

And then...we were off to the zoo! Well, sort of...

At the rate we were moving, it was going to take us approximately four days to walk to the zoo. Charlie insisted on carrying that tiny umbrella. "It's really important that we have this, Ninny. Don't worry, I'll carry the tiny umbrella." (Oh yeah, I'm Ninny. That's probably important to know.) Then, we found lots and lots of acorns that needed to be collected. Fortunately, I was able to bribe him into the stroller with a graham cracker. And then we were really off!

We arrived! The zoo doesn't require ties but Charlie likes to look dapper at all times.

Overall, the zoo was a hit. The elephants, ducks, sloth bear, and, surprisingly, plethora of benches and trash cans were the biggest attractions for Charlie. Then, as any good auntie does, I let him pick whatever he wanted from the gift shop, which, thankfully, was a $4 tiger-on-a-stick 

"Charlie, I think you can put the tiny umbrella down in the stroller while you look at the birds. It will still be safe."

Next, we stopped by the puzzle table at the library. Charlie learned how to open all different kinds of locks on this particular puzzle, which seems like an odd skill to teach a toddler. You're welcome, Melissa and Pete. 

After working up quite an appetite, we met my friends Adam and Joe for lunch and frozen yogurt. (Actually, I'm not sure if Charlie had an appetite because I'd been bribing him with graham crackers all morning.) Charlie got really shy at first and just kept sticking his hand in the barbecue sauce. That's always my move when I'm shy too, perhaps that's why I go on a lot of first dates and minimal seconds.  
All good adventure days end with some relaxing TV time. This is us watching some show about a talking truck named Chuck. You parents probably know what I'm talking about. It was far superior to the episode of Barney we watched immediately afterwards. Did y'all know Barney is still a show kids watch? Who knew that purple dino would be the Madonna of kids' characters and stand the test of time?  
Now, I leave you with this gratuitous belly shot. (Wardrobe change brought to you by juice mishap.) Note how this kid excels at relaxing: Arms behind his head, laid back, watching some shows. I know I'm just the aunt, but I'd like to think he gets his "chill" from me.

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