After class, we fooled around in the pool for another half-hour. During this time, he likes to make friends with the personable young lifeguard who must be bored out of his mind watching a half-dozen toddlers and their parents in the pool. The pool is in the basement of the Berkeley Y, and the water is so warm it's halfway to a jacuzzi. Perfect for little ones - their teeth never have a chance to chatter!
Then for the next stop on our swim day routine. We headed to Amanda's for french fries, dipped in lots of ketchup (it appears Elan takes after his Zayde in his love of ketchup), and a burger for me. I am a little bit in love with this place. In the middle of the strange mix that is downtown Berkeley, it's a clean, fast, green, healthy, and cheap place that makes a really good little burger and baked fries. It's just right to satisfy the burger craving without much grease or sense of having overdone it afterwards. And their all-natural handmade sodas rock.
I sat there dipping french fries with my little guy boosted up nearly to my eye level in a good old-fashioned booster seat. He has started to actually enjoy going out with me for meals again, at least to this place. It's not just a race to get the food in and get out before he melts down, as it was for a while. We sat and watched the people walk by - the loud, colorful high school students off campus for lunch, the business-casual Berkeley working set, homeless guys asking for change, women pushing strollers, college students and professors, tourists and visitors.
After lunch, we strolled over to the half-price bookstore and spent a while in the children's section. He wanted to look at books "by yourself." I sat on the red rug watching him, thinking how these days we're in a nice spell when there's breaks in the troublesome two-year-old routine and Elan seems like a real person - someone I can spend time with, not only manage. Just a Wednesday afternoon date with my guy.