Monday, March 31, 2014

Edith's First Steps

It finally happened: Paul witnessed one of Edith's firsts ... first.

Who cares that she spends 90 percent of her time with me? Certainly not Edith! That's obviously why she decided to take about 10 consecutive steps in front of Daddy during their weekly trip to the library together to give Mommy a break. And to rub salt in the wound, she hasn't yet done it again.

I'm truly not angry; Paul and I have been equally anxious for Edith to conquer this next (literal) step. But sheesh -- give a Mom a break! I don't need a ribbon or trophy for caring for Edith, but would a few stumbles toward the woman who gave you life really hurt?!

Ah, well. I guess she has a mind of her own. And we all know where that came from.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brunch at Melt Bar & Grilled

I could eat a grilled cheese sandwich at least once a week. I don't because I can't make them very well. I either don't use enough butter or oil and fail to get that satisfying crunch, or cook it too long at too high of a heat and get a far too blackened crisp. When I heard that the Cleveland-based Melt Bar & Grilled would be opening a Columbus location for their grilled cheese sandwiches, I knew it was something I would have to try.

Paul, however, isn't a huge grilled cheese fan, although he does honor my request to make a cheese sandwich about once a month or so, for a lazy weekend lunch. But when we initially went to a restaurant a few weekends ago that didn't have high chairs, we needed a back-up place for lunch fast. Melt was nearby, so we decided to try it.

Good choice.

Despite the "bar" in its name and the wide variety of beers it offers, Melt is actually very kid-friendly. Plenty of high chairs, and the level of noise was just perfect for covering up typical toddler noises. There was a lit candle as a centerpiece on every table -- a nice touch for such a laid-back restaurant, but not great with a one-year-old in tow. But it was easily moved to another table.

Melt offers your standard grilled cheese sandwich, but most of the options on the menu go far beyond it. There are burgers, soups and salads, but of course I immediately began perusing the grilled cheese menu. I finally settled for the Backyard BBQ -- pulled chicken, beef brisket or pulled pork (I chose pork), topped with giant onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese.

This was hardly a grilled cheese sandwich. It was a fully meat-lovers sammich that happened to include cheese. But I was far from disappointed. The Backyard BBQ was one of the best sandwiches I've ordered at a restaurant (those onion rings -- yum!), and big enough that I easily could have split it with someone else. In fact, most of my french fries went into a doggie bag.

When I'm in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich, I probably won't go to Melt. My nothing-special sandwiches are good enough for a simple craving. But I'll definitely return to Melt when I want a delicious sandwich at a family-friendly restaurant with a better-than-average atmosphere.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Edith, 100% Ohioan

My Brooklyn baby has become a Columbus toddler. As of two days ago, she has officially lived in Ohio longer than New York.

I find this a little bittersweet, although putting into words the reason why is difficult. After all, she essentially became an Ohioan through and through the day we moved here in July. It could hardly be otherwise. She was only eight months old when we moved, so she was far too young to have any memories of actually living in New York. And with two Ohio natives as parents, she definitely has Buckeye blood.

Maybe it's because she had the potential to be a New Yorker. Growing up in the country, I always wanted to live in the big city. New York was my castle in the sky (the Baby-Sitters Club books set there were my favorites), but I wasn't picky -- Chicago would have done nicely, too! So maybe that's it -- Edith could have lived my dream.

I know, I know -- the last thing you're supposed to do as a parent is live through your child. But it's hard for me not to wonder if she'll one day regret leaving Brooklyn, if she'll wonder what might have been if we would have stayed.

Or maybe, as a city girl herself, cornfields and amber waves of grain will end up being more her speed, and her own dream will be to move to a farm. That would bring it full circle, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Date Night at the Grass Skirt Tiki Room

Date night.

I hate that phrase. It seems so forced, so contrived. But I've learned that when you have a one-year-old, every night out alone with your spouse is contrived by necessity. No going out on a whim. Everything must be planned.

So I happily accepted when my parents offered to visit for the express purpose of giving Paul and me a night out to ourselves. I felt only a bit of compunction when I realized that this would be the first evening that Edith would be put to bed by someone other than one of her parents. But it was quickly overcome by the anticipation of a dinner in which I didn't have to convince a little girl to stop throwing her glass of milk to the ground.

It took Paul and me about two minutes to decide where we would eat dinner: the Grass Skirt Tiki Room. It's not the fanciest place in Columbus, but we both really wanted to try the food and drinks, and they don't have high chairs. The Hawaiian-themed restaurant is all about atmosphere -- even the restrooms.

And the food ain't bad either.

We ordered a couple of fancy drinks and four small plates. The pulled pork in wonton cups were my favorite, followed by the sweet potato wedges and the fried pineapple with a honey syrup dipping sauce. The coconut shrimp served in a coconut was good for the kitsch.

We arrived about 8 p.m. and were seated even before our drinks arrived at the bar. The small room was pleasantly crowded the whole time we were there, and I'm not sure I ever noticed anyone waiting. The mood is pleasant, and the decorations so complete that I barely realized the restaurant doesn't even have windows until we were almost ready to leave.

We finished dinner way too early to go back home so soon, so we followed up the meal with drinks at Seventh Son in Italian Village, followed by the Crest closer to home. And to complete a great night, Grandma got up with Edith when she woke up the next morning, letting me sleep in an extra hour. Perfect!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Turning Point with Edith

Almost overnight, things have gotten easier.

The last two or three weeks have brought what I would consider a major turning point for Edith from babyhood to toddlerhood. It's not one specific thing, but a combination of changes that I have noticed.
  • I can interact with her like a girl and not a baby. If I ask her where her socks are, she can point to them. If I give her two glasses to choose from, she will pick one. We can play games more complicated than peekaboo.
  • She can say several words, most notably mama, dada and dog (although that "dog" may also be a cat). I can actually foresee the day in which we can have simple conversations.
  • She sits in a booster and not a high chair, and she eats off a saucer and not the table. She can use a spoon if I load it up first. Is it really true that a year ago she hadn't even tried solid food?
  • She has favorites. Hide the graham crackers if you don't want her to be eating them all day long!
  • We have a schedule. She's easy to put to bed for naps and nighttime. Finally. It was a long time coming.
  • She will play by herself. When I recently noticed this, it was a major coup. Suddenly she only sticks to my side for half of the day instead of the full 100 percent. How freeing!
I know many parents love the infant months, and I did too. But I love this even more -- seeing her grow up into the girl she is becoming. It's rewarding.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Edith Can't Get Enough Of

Cheerios have jumped the shark. Our little girl is almost 16 months old, and the things she enjoyed as a baby have largely been replaced by very toddler-like favorites. Here are a few of the things that top the list nowadays.
  • Graham crackers. Replaced Cheerios weeks ago as the go-to snack on the run.
  • Books. A girl after my own heart! We can easily go through a dozen books before breakfast.
  • Crawling. She can cruise like a pro and make circles around the living room with a push toy. But walking on her own? As they say in Brooklyn, fuggedaboutit. 
  • Being left-handed. Paul's a southpaw, so it shouldn't be so surprising that she eats almost exclusively with her left hand. We'll see if it continues.
  • Carbs. Bread, tortilla, rice, whatever. Can't have enough!
  • Climbing up the stairs. Who knew a toddler could crawl to the second floor so fast?
  • Carrying something small in her hand. The square from the shape sorter, one of those silly Little People, a teaspoon, whatever.
  • Shredded cheese. A holdover from babyhood. Mozzarella, cheddar -- it's all good. To give her cheese is to be her friend for life.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Layout, Not-So-New Blog

I haven't lived in New York for nearly eight months now, so it was time to get rid of the New York-centric design that this blog has had almost since I started it more than six years ago.

Although the blog looks different, its theme will remain the same as it has been since we returned to Ohio -- the places we're visiting in and around Columbus and how this compares to the way we lived in Brooklyn, as well as regular posts about Edith.

This new layout also highlights some of the blog features that have been available before now but perhaps not as visible, such as subscribing to blog updates by email. Enter your email address in the box to the right, and blog posts will be delivered to your inbox, generally the day after they are published here.

Please let me know if there is anything specific you do or don't like about the new look. I may be tweaking it over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Church with Edith

Ash Wednesday seems as good a time as any to talk about church. Namely, that sometimes I wonder why I even go.

Long gone are the days in which Edith would remain asleep in her stroller throughout mass. I miss those days. Now nothing keeps her quiet -- not toys, not Cheerios, not standing, not sitting. Not for long, anyway.

This wouldn't be quite so bad if our church had a cry room. It doesn't. So when Edith gets loud, she and either Paul or I are banished to the vestibule to listen to the service. Or worse, the entryway, where you can't here anything at all.

We are making some progress -- we once made it all the way through about half of the mass before we had to take her out.

So why do we go? Because one day she's going to stay quiet for the entire hour. I hope.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dim Sum in Columbus, Ohio

When we moved from Brooklyn, one of the things I regretted was not eating dim sum more often. One of the best Chinatowns in all of North America was within walking distance, and I ate dim sum a grand total of once.

I like dim sum not only because of the tasty food, but also for the novelty. Employees push carts around the room, diners pick out what they want, and the worker marks the bill with the price. Most of the dishes are a few dollars apiece.

Spicy octopus, and our dim sum bill

Paul took advantage of dim sum more often in New York -- he had clients in and around Chinatown and went to a dim sum place about once a month. And when I first visited East Harbor Seafood Palace almost three years ago, I thought I'd be returning often. But the lines are long and the lack of English (while exciting) could be a bit stressful. Then I was pregnant, and eating food that I didn't recognize seemed a questionable idea. And then Edith came along, and adding a baby to the mix seemed like an even worse thought.

So my return visit never happened. When we moved to Columbus, I thought my dim sum days were over.

Then I heard about Sunflower Chinese Restaurant. Sunflower, located just off Interstate 270 in Dublin, offers Saturday and Sunday dim sum. In fact, it may be the only place in Columbus that does so.

The verdict: Good food, good for kids and much more accessible than some of the Brooklyn dim sum joints.

Taro and tea

The food I was really craving -- and my favorite of the entire lunch -- was the pork buns, seen in the top photo on the far right. The pork was sweet, and eating the bun was like biting into a cloud. Edith couldn't get enough either.

We also got some taro dishes (which I believe are like turnips), shrimp dumplings, corn-shrimp cakes, octopus, and at least one or two other things. Our wait for a table was nil, although that might be because the snow kept patrons away. The place was busy, however, and the perfect volume to cover up toddler noises. Not that Edith squealed much -- there was so much to look at and so many people to waive to.

The takeaway: I'll return, and hopefully with a larger group so I can try more dishes.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...