Sunday in the Park with Madelyn

by Alison Friedman in Madelyn & Friends, Marvelous Madelyn

For an outdoor activity that allowed us to enjoy some fresh air in this Southern California “winter,” we met up with Brian and David for a little picnic and playtime in the Valley. We had no idea this gem of a park existed! I hesitate to marvel at its perfection and publish this blog for the world to see because it’d be a shame if riff raff came to ruin it, but it’s darling! With real, historic adobe houses still in tact, a working blacksmith shop that has living history demos on certain weekend days, a duck pond, and a big grassy field, there’s lots to see without it looking like a generic “kiddie” park.

It's no Smithsonian, but Los Encinos Park is pretty cool.

It’s no Smithsonian, but Los Encinos Park is pretty cool.

We enjoyed our burgers and hot dogs in the shade at a picnic table. It was quiet except for some passing cars on the narrow neighborhood street, and the sun felt good as it canceled out the “freezing” temps in the high 60s. Hardly anyone was around so we had the whole park to ourselves. After we ate, it was the Madelyn show where Uncle Brian played fetch with a very excited little girl who, up to this point, had no interest in her blue bouncy ball that had been in our house for months! Score one point for Uncle Brian!

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Teach a kid to fetch...

Teach a kid to fetch…

The boys — Bryan, Brian, and David — played frisbee with Brian’s DARE frisbee circa 1997 that he just happened to have in his car. While these shenanigans happened, I chased after Madelyn who had made a friend. A neighborhood girl, 2 years old, came to play with her as her dad chatted it up with me (my husband was oblivious! Figures!). I don’t have any photographic evidence of Madelyn sharing her babydoll or ball, but she did. Even though this picture says otherwise:

Today it's bouncy balls... tomorrow it's boys. Girls are so mean.

Today it’s bouncy balls… tomorrow it’s boys. Girls are so mean.

It was cute to see Madelyn interact with another girl she’d never met before. The little girl was a chatty one and kept asking Madelyn questions. As I’ve said before, Madelyn isn’t really speaking human English… she speaks her own Madelynese. So she never answered anything that the girl asked, but they communicated through body language and facial expressions. I felt like all I needed was a boots and binoculars and I was watching the greatest National Geographic special never created. Toddlers are amazing, you guys.

The little girl went bye-bye and the big boys got tired, so we took a stroll over to the ducks. But first we had to get Madelyn’s baby’s stroller down from a tree. Thanks to Uncle David for giving her a boost.

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At the duck pond, Madelyn proceeded to flip out because the geese were extremely vocal. They hissed and squawked and honked at Princeton who was just as confused about these feathered dudes with the long noses. It was an interesting mix of species and thank goodness there was a fence between us because these fowls were foul.

I love her little profile. So very toddler.

I love her little profile. So very toddler.

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We sang song about ducks and watched another family feed them, but Madelyn wanted no part in this and figured that running away would be her best bet to end this experience. She was right. We found ourselves instead at the adobe that used to house some famous Encino ranchers. There was a little museum inside and everything!

On the outside, we took photos.

We took silly ones that DO put Baby in the corner (I love having fun friends!).

They had the time of their life.

They had the time of their life.

Seriously, how cute are they?!

Seriously, how cute are they?!

Then Madelyn got curious and wanted to know what was behind the big adobe doors. I love the colors and her little body trying so hard to shove that door open.

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Madelyn was getting tired so we decided to quickly walk around the rest of the park. We ended up at the little blacksmith shop and Madelyn was fascinated. Nothing was even going on in there, but she was very attracted to the machinery. Or just very confused by it. Probably the latter since she’s a nice Jewish girl from Ventura County.

I could stare at those back curls all day.

I could stare at those back curls all day.

The big lawn also had a corral where, we learned, is where sheep did their thing. We let Princeton off the leash there — sshhh!! No one saw! — and he loved life. I never get sick watching him run. He’s such a good dog.

Princeton channels his inner herding skills.

Princeton channels his inner herding skills.

Madelyn got whiny so we fed her. That’s the best thing to do for a kid when you need to extend their time just a little bit more. So there she stood on the corral, held up by Uncle Brian, with a delicious pouch of pureed fruit in the middle of the park. It was a great moment and we all got pictures.

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Did she have a good day? I don’t know. She’s on the fence.

Ok, that was really bad, I’m sorry.

We had such a fun afternoon with Brian and David and we can’t wait until our next get together where we will likely play Name that Tune with musicals and talk about movies all afternoon. Those are the best days.

  1. Krissy
    3/28/2013 1:46 PM

    I don’t know how I missed this one but it is both ADORABLE and HILARIOUS! I can’t believe how big Miss M is…. We need to get the babies together again. 🙂 xoxo

  2. Grandma
    1/26/2013 8:29 AM

    I took Bryan to that park when he was just about Madelyn’s age. Such fun! Looks like you guys had a great day!