Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days. Heck, the street repairs being done in my neighborhood alone are enough to make a person want to give up her car keys forever. I've learned the hard way, more than once, that when a sign says "Closed to Thru Traffic" what it really means is "Turn Back If You Want To Emerge With Your Undercarriage Intact."
But a video making the rounds last week reminded me that seasonal roadwork does have its ardent fans.
The 38-second clip of her two-year-old son going gaga over the mess on Highway 151 bought back a flood of memories from when my eldest was the same age. It was the summer of '99 and he in a stroller, and me on some very sore feet, would canvass the neighborhood in search of a sewer line being torn up or a major excavation project going on. Once we found one, I'd lay down a blanket on the sidewalk and break out the goldfish crackers and sippy cup; we were in for the duration.
Pretty much every construction worker in the neighborhood that summer knew us, not necessarily by name, but more as the slightly strange woman and her truck-crazy kid who stalked their every work site. We would follow their projects from location to location, oohing, ahhing and oogling every time they got the rigs up and running. In essence, we were heavy machinery groupies; there's nothing we wouldn't have done for a chance to just brush up against the side of anything sporting the name Caterpillar.
My son's love of construction vehicles ran so deep, it may have even bordered on fetish. Because after we got home from an afternoon of truck stalking, he'd whip out his impressive collection of vehicle books and videos. Picture books like Richard Scarry's Car and Trucks and Things that Go and Peter Sis' Trucks, Trucks, Trucks were always popular picks at night before bed. But truth be told, he probably liked the non-fiction even better. I think it was one of those Dorling Kindersley (DK) reference books with glossy photographic depictions of diggers and cherry pickers that he slept with under his pillow.
I guess I always assumed my kid would grow up to be an engineer or to go into one of the skilled trades. He was just so captivated by each and every truck and its specialty purpose. Cranes he knew were for lifting heavy objects up high and a bulldozer's responsibility was to push dirt around. Loaders were there to scoop. An excavator's job was to dig. Backhoes could do both.
It was an early lesson in the concept of division of labor. Come to think of it, maybe he'll end up an economist.
So next time I find myself getting frustrated by the construction chaos around the Capitol, I'll take a deep breath, channel my inner two year old and just re-imagine the detour as a different take on "Live on King Street."
This downtown summer outdoor concert series, though, isn't featuring rock bands. Instead it stars folks in fluorescent yellow vests making beautiful music (at least to some very small people) with the mammoth construction vehicles they maneuver and the jackhammers they wield.comments powered by Disqus
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.