Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of


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Still on StayCation

Philippe took Monday off to have a stay-cation day with us. We headed out early to the Museum of Science and Industry to beat the crowds. I had “scored” a museum pass from the Chicago Public Library, but it turns out that the MSI is free all weekdays during October. The place was empty.

We started with You! The Experience, the newly reinstalled permanent version of the Body exhibit. According to the website, it celebrates the connection between the human body, mind, and spirit. It’s totally interactive and loads of fun.

We started with the Giggle Garden, an installation about the importance of laughter. We learned that laughter is good for the immune system, the heart, and all kinds of things. Charlotte learned that the more she moved, the more the people on the t.v. screens giggled.

Next we learned about the importance of sleep. I liked this exhibit–we got to lie down and watch cartoons about sleep! The interactive display asked questions about our sleep habits and then played different videos about maintaining a steady bedtime, having a dark bedroom, and getting enough sleep. It didn’t judge us on our bad habits’ answered.


The exhibit stresses the importance of human connections. This installation allowed Charlotte to “build” her support system by answering questions about who she turns to for help in a variety of situations. I’m not sure she quite understood it, but she loved typing in names and touching the computer screen. Here’s one iteration of her support system. She chose the names with no (or very little prompting). We had to ask her sometimes if she wanted to choose a friend, family member, teacher just to get the concept across.

On the way to lunch we checked out the trains and planes (sorry, no automobiles).

After lunch we had one last adventure in the Lego room. Philippe enjoyed the Lego architecture Falling Water construction while Charlotte built a tower. Maybe we’ll get Philippe back there on January 23 when Adam Reed Tucker, Lego architect in residence, will be building on site.

Charlotte spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Kids’ Kastle while I wrote. She had a blast, made another pumpkin, and rode her bike all the way there and back.


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We’re Still on Vacation, in Chicago!

Today was the perfect day for an outdoor adventure. We headed to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to “tree peep” and check out the haunted railroad garden.

Cloudy with a 30% chance of rain morphed into sunny and too warm for our fall jackets. The gardens were explosively gorgeous, shades of orange, red, yellow, and green. As you can see above, the gardeners have been beyond creative in using natural materials to makes things that haunt, crawl, creep, and wow.

Charlotte, of course, has no idea of how exciting it is to see this exhibit as landmarks of the United States. Philippe and I did not know that the model buildings change every now and then. But, mostly we were excited by the dragon made of leaves, the spiders, the pumpkins, and all the other ghoulie things.

I think Charlotte was excited.

Oh, and she got to make a gift for Miles, a cat mint plant. Miles likes to eat our plants. Our hope is that he’ll eat this plant and not the houseplants. If it grows. (It did tip over on the way home.)

Behind my “big” and “little” are obelisks made of red mums. Stunning.

After lunch, we took a scenic car ride (read: let Charlotte nap in the car) and headed to our synagogue for a concert by Dan Nichols. The true highlight was that our friends Mhari and Ava were accompanying Mr. Nichols with their temple choirs. Charlotte could barely contain her excitement and had to be convinced not to interrupt the concert to say hello. She’s never been so close to celebrity (the girls, not Mr. Nichols). *I’m not posting a picture because I never post other people’s children without explicit permission, in case you’re concerned after reading today’s New York Times.

After a very early dinner, Charlotte was so excited to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Dad and I got rated “as fun as Karley” because we took her out after dark. Woo hoo! I’m finally as fun as Karley!

p.s. Thanks to Philippe for the great photography!


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We’re Staying on Vacation!

Fall Break at Charlotte’s school began on Thursday afternoon. To quote Charlotte, “We’re staying on vacation” this week because “vacation is coming to us.”

California, here you come: We began our break with a visit from my friend Kath G. from Palo Alto. Kath, Charlotte, and I went to the Art Institute. It was Charlotte’s first visit to an art museum. She enjoyed the Impressionists for about 5 minutes, lingered in front of Seurat’s Sunday on the Grand Jatte for another 3 minutes. Her interest in Seurat is courtesy of the wonderful book Feed Matisse’s Fish. She’s seen the painting dozens of times in the book. Seeing it face-to-face and looking for details that we can’t see in the reproduction held her attention for a few minutes.
The Thorne Miniature Rooms really captured her imagination. Sixty-eight tiny reproductions of period rooms from different eras and locales across the United States, like little dollhouse rooms. We made a game of finding items in each room and deciding what rooms were fit for princesses.
I had not seen Kath G. since Charlotte was about 8 months old. She and Charlotte clicked and had a great time. At lunch Charlotte asked if Kath was coming home with us because she wanted to play more with my friend! Visiting with an old friend (ancienne, pas vieille), was delightful, even more so because Charlotte was angelic most of the day.
Stay tuned for more of our “stay-cation”. We’re planning fun excursions and we’ll have exotic visitors by week’s end.
And guess what? No doctors’ appointments all week. I think that’s a first!