Monday, June 23, 2014

Diary of a Manhattan Toddler—Part One

I just got home from a week of  following granddaughter Amalia, who’s nearly three, on her daily rounds on New York City's Upper East Side.  I served as social secretary, carriage pusher, snack provider and diaper changer, and although I was exhausted every night, (check out “How to Put A Toddler to Sleep in 100 Easy Steps”—I think “Honest Toddler” is eavesdropping on us),  I realized that—while New York toddlers can’t run out into the back yard for unsupervised play or catch tadpoles in the nearest pond,  Manhattan has more opportunities for toddler fun than anywhere else.

Here’s Amalia in her new (bigger) apartment—in the same building as before, but on a different floor.  After breakfast with dinosaurs, she’ll make her plans for the day.

Yoga at the nearby children’s store “Sprout” happens on Tuesday mornings and some Thursdays, and Hip Hop Dance plus Yoga happens at 4:30 on Mondays, with the same teachers: Rachel and Samara.  They can be found at

Toddler Story Time, ideal for rainy days, is at 10:30 every weekday morning at the Metropolitan Museum’s Nolen library, and it’s free and open to all!

Barnes and Noble on 86th Street is also popular on bad weather days—there’s a whole play area with toys as well as books on the lower level.

Here’s Amalia sitting in on a trial visit to Kidville, at 163 East 84h Street between Third and Lexington, which has every kind of lesson and playtime for preschoolers (for a price),  even summer day camp.  This lesson was called “Messy Lab” and while it was indeed messy, it was meant to teach about various properties of water.

Central Park is Amalia’s personal playground every day that it’s not raining. She’s crazy about the penguins and seals at the Zoo and has worked up the courage to ride on the chariot on the carousel (not the horses.) 

One day we encountered Nathan the Bubble Man who was making giant bubbles in front of the Band Shell.  (He says his secret is “Dawn” dish soap.)

Amalia was so excited about chasing after the gargantuan bubbles and popping them that we got Nathan’s phone number in case he might be available for Amalia’s next birthday party.

On the way back, we stopped to look at a horse and carriage and Bethesda Fountain—Yiayia Joanie’s favorite spot in Central Park.

And we threw bread to the ducks in the Toy Boat Pond.  (This is probably illegal.)

On another day in Central Park we managed to get an inflatable kite (featuring Doc McStuffins) up in the air.

As Amalia climbed rocks in her patriotic dress, passing Asian tourists snapped her picture.

With the hot weather—at last!--the sprinklers have been turned on in Amalia’s favorite playground in the park, and the little ones are flocking to them. 

One day Amalia came wearing her bathing suit and carrying her friends Nemo and Boots to see if they could swim. (They couldn’t.)

She changed into dry clothes and introduced them to the sandbox…

where she buried Nemo, but we managed to find him and dig him up.

After so much exertion, she wanted ice cream and we had to go to the front of the Metropolitan Museum to find it.  She chose the Hello Kitty ice cream bar (because it’s pink) but when she got it, she wouldn’t eat it, because the ice cream didn’t have yellow eyes like the picture on the wrap.

But at least we got to enjoy a free live concert.

Back home, Amalia had lunch and decided to take a power nap in her new bedroom before embarking on the afternoon’s activities, while her animal friends watched over her.

Next: "Diary of a Toddler Part 2"--Amalia's tips on restaurants and museums. 

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