Positive aspects: Saturdays with children in Charlottesville

One of the things I enjoy best in the world is putting both kids in our double stroller and walking the mile and a half to Charlottesville's downtown mall. My three-year-old daughter loves to go so much.

"Downtown, Daddy! I want to go downtown!"

You hear that a lot at the house. There is so much to do and see downtown! And, looking outside the window it appears that today will be a great day to make a tremendous circuit. I reckon we'll head down about 1:30 PM or so. It will take us about 30 minutes to get there.

We'll first stop at the Ice Park and watch everyone going around and around. I'll tell my daughter about how she'll be going ice-skating when she's bigger and she'll look up at me with wonder. I'll tell her how she'll start off leaning on a bucket, but that eventually she'll drive the Zamboni. She'll look at up me with a quizzical look and will repeat "Zamboni" with an uplift on the last two syllables to indicate she's not sure about the pronunciation.

Then today I'll take one last look at the current downtown mall, before all the rebricking begins. I'll have Jo run down the runnels one more time. She's been doing that since she was little. She just takes off and runs down them. I'm so proud of her when she goes off on her flights of fancy.

We'll stop at that statue place next to Miller's and she'll jump off the plinths, giggling the whole way. Her 11-month-old brother will look up at her in wonder, no doubt taking mental notes for when he's old enough to jump around.

We might then swing up to the library to get a refill on books. I'll likely take back the two books on koala bears that I got last time. Jo likes koala bears, but I think we've exhausted that meme for a bit. I'm not sure what we'll get out of the library. I will try my best not to get anything out, though I'll of course walk past the comic section to see if there's anything I've not read. I love that my library has comics.

It should be noted that I am hoping my daughter will appreciate the comic arts. She's going to inherit my comics. Sam will as well, but she's already reading them. At this point, he's more prone to tearing them to shreds. Josephine likes the pictures, and she's already asking me questions about Superman. I gave her a copy of an old Marvel handbook that lists all of the characters, and she perked up every time she saw a picture of Spiderman.

Anyway, after that we'll go to the Discovery Museum for at least an hour. I'll need to renew our membership. For $60, we'll be able to drop by all year, something that will pay for itself after the sometime in March or so. We go there a lot, and I'd like to get more involved with the museum somehow. It's a great little space and Josephine loves the toddler room. We'll also go back and play in the fake doctor's office. We'll play with the skeleton puzzle. We'll do some exercises. It will be grand.

Of course, there will be time on the carousel. Maybe I'll put the boy on if no one is there. If the chalkboard is clean and we still have time, we'll write some things. Jo is drawing faces now.

Then we'll begin our trek back home, which includes a stop at Vita Nova. We prefer Vita Nova to Christians because it won't be as crowded. The selection won't be as great, but I think the pizza tastes better. And I should know. I have worked as a pizza cook at no less than five establishments during my life time.

Then we'll head home just as it gets dark. I'll tell Josephine about how it is getting lighter and lighter every day, and I'll point out the planets as they begin to appear on the horizon. She knows about Mars, but tonight I'll tell her about Venus. I'll begin pushing the stroller faster and faster to get home before it gets too dark, and too cold.

Then we'll have bath-time, followed by book-time, followed by song-time, followed by requests to leave the light on. That part is new, as our routine is changing as she gets a little older. Somewhere in this time I'll put some hot water in Grommet, the hot-water bottle. Our gas bill hit $300 last month, so the addition of a little thermal energy might help me keep the thermostat down a little.

I've written all this out to show that even though things aren't optimal in my life at the moment, I know what is of chief importance to me - raising my children. I will have a tremendous day in Charlottesville.

And tomorrow? I'll have one then, too.

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