Wednesday, May 30, 2007
After packing and leaving the hotel, during which Helios helpfully wheeled out the luggage he shared with Hesperos, the family went to the local Denny's to meet Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel for brunch and make our final farewells.
Although it looks quite like a routine brunch here, it was punctuated by visits to the restroom approximately every 10 minutes as Helios announced to the entire restaurant, "I need to go POTTY!" Sometimes he would put the phrase to music, occasionally telling us exactly what he needed to do in the restroom. While the format of a blog doesn't lend itself to notating music, you can share in a small part of our dining experience if you imagine the tune of "Happy Birthday" but with the words instead of, "I need to go potty, I need to go potty, I need to go water yucky, I need to go potty." When he wasn't rushing back-and-forth to the restroom, he was busy building bridges and trains with creamers and cutlery, before becoming bored with that activity and comparing teeth with Grandpa Mel.
Hesperos, on the other hand, eschewed such frivolities and simply kicked back on Daddy Jane's lap while munching on a handy spoon. He wasn't much for talking that day, preferring instead to enjoy what may have been the last few moments of attention that was totally devoted on him and his accomplishments, however minute. Does he eat a bite of applesauce? He's such a good eater! Does he lunge for a cup of scalding hot coffee? He's so fast! Does he drool incessantly and cough up a fur ball? He's just the cutest thing ever! Does he make a dirty diaper? He's...going back to Mommy and Daddy. Yes, even the love of grandparents has its limits. (Although we count our blessings that at least Hesperos doesn't sing about the substance that issues from his nether regions.)
After brunch, we all made our farewells to the sadness of all, but particularly for Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel. We trundled ourselves off to the airport to make the 10-hour flight home. Once in the plane, Helios was mellow and fell asleep quickly. Daddy slumped over and took a snooze. Mommy read another excruciatingly dry book. And Hesperos just giggled at it all.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The museum is two stories of activities for children of about 6 and younger, including a "grocery store", farm, treehouse, and family kitchen, all appropriately pint-sized. Elsewhere, there a flamingo-and-chipmunk croquet game (from Alice's Wonderland), a two-story slide, and a fishing pond. To the left is a picture of Helios doing some grocery shopping in the supermarket. After he filled the cart, he went to the checkout stand where Mommy played cashier. In a manner that is surely intended to prepare us for his teenage years, Helios turned to Daddy and said, "I need money, Daddy! Get out your wallet!"
Hesperos had a good time at the play farm on site where stuffed livestock and plastic produce can be found. Apparently, he developed a liking for plastic turnips in his course around the farm area, which may feature prominently in a future meal. Hesperos started to get pretty cuddly with the resident sheep, too, taking a bite or two out of its hopefully-recently-cleaned ear.
After checking out what it's like to be Farmer Hesperos, it was time to see what the finer style of life was like during a visit to Alice's Wonderland. Hesperos enjoyed tea time with the March Hare and Mad Hatter, but upsetting a few teapots along the way.
While Hesperos was supping, Helios was at the other end of the building doing his Bob the Builder imitation as he nailed planks to the side of a treehouse and connected some water pipes. Occasionally other children would run around the treehouse, trying to help. It got a little tense at one point because some other tow-headed youngster thought he could help out with the hammer but a single scowl from Hesperos let him know that his contractor's license was no good in this town. Daddy Jane was apparently the only helper Helios could tolerate, probably because she was cast in the role of "adoring fan."
Later on, Helios tried out his transportation-related skills. First, he pretended to pump gas in a wooden vehicle. This was true fantasy because Helios lives in the People's Socialist Republic of the Pacific where pumping your own gas isn't allowed (supposedly due to a fire law, although it's probably because the state is trying to preserve minimum-wage, no-value-added jobs). Afterward, he tried his hands at driving a SEPTA train car where his vertically challenged little body was quite incapable of seeing out the window while keeping his feet on the pedals.
While Helios was scampering around like an endangered rabbit, Hesperos was winding down, spending the last half hour or so of the day simply looking at the good looking baby in the mirror and practicing standing on his own two feet.
The day ended with the obligatory visit to the museum gift store that is conveniently placed between the attractions and the exit, and concluded with two very sleepy boys passed out in the backseat of the car dreaming, no doubt, of being little adults.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Hesperos helped beat the heat by keeping his head wet and hair spiky. Meanwhile, Helios did "suicide runs" down the hill toward the creek behind Grandpa Mel's and Daddy Jane's backyard, daring Daddy and Uncle Scooter to chase him.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
- Bring lots of dry snacks. Crackers, dried fruit, cereal, etc. are relatively easy to clean up and you can apply the "five-second rule" to them in the event of spillage.
- Bring your own blankets. Baby fleece is softer and prettier than airline blankets, plus I know for a fact that one was used (not by us) as a baby changing pad. So, need I say cleaner?
- iPod, iPod, iPod. Helios looked like a computer geek in the making with his eyes glued to the video iPod while he watched Disney's "Cars." Although he wasn't very interested for more than 30 minutes (it was only cars, after all, not trains), that was 30 minutes of relative quietude.
- Triamenic. Hopefully no one from Child Protective Services will read this, but it really is a good idea to dope your kids up a little bit before a flight. I know what you're thinking. I know! Hey, I don't even take aspirin. But, their little ears suffer with the pressure and taking a light decongestant before a flight helps with that. The fact that it helps put them to sleep is just a little bonus.
- Booze. Ideally, the adults should tip back a shot or two in the airport lounge. While you're at it, buy a cocktail for the pilot. He's had a rough day and probably needs it. (Just kidding!).
The 10-hour cross-national flight (plus 3-hour time change) resulted in us arriving at the hotel around 3am. Helios was just energetic enough to run through the hotel, turn on all the faucets, and jump on the bed before passing out.
Friday, May 11, 2007
If you thought something else was going to be written here, then you need to find a different blog.
Helios and Hesperos are huge fans of Robert's American Gourmet Veggie Booty. This is a (somewhat) healthy snack of rice and corn puffs blended with spinach, kale, cabbage, and carrot. They're naturally tinged green and uncomfortably bring to the forefront an immediate reaction that is reminiscent of how Sam's victim felt in the epic, tell-all biography, Green Eggs and Ham. But, like Sam's victim learned, snacking on something green isn't necessarily all that bad and neither are these (although who wants spinach/corn breath?). They're a favorite snack for the kidlets, and always illicit a rivulet of drool and clamoring for "green popcorn" whenever they're seen.
These pictures show them hunkering together to share a little bit of the "green gold" which they greedily hoard to themselves. Helios is a relatively delicate eater who joyfully pops one in at a time in rapid-fire sequence. Hesperos isn't nearly as dexterous or playful yet -- at only nine months, his eating practices are strictly utilitarian -- so he ham-fists 3-4 pieces into his mouth simultaneously. After feasting, Hesperos toppled over like a Weeble (actually, Weebles wobble but they don't fall down, but just go with me on this anyway) and proceeded to drop Veggie Booty on his belly and giggle as it fell. Helios, on the other hand, decided to flirt with the camera and drape himself in chain links (that he hasn't been interested in since he was 16 months...until Hesperos started chasing after them).
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
We arrived at the hospital with a little smattering of applause from Helios who recognized it as the "baby store" where we got little brother Hesperos. For anyone wondering, yes, Helios has asked for "more Hesperos, more Hesperos come home!" No, there won't be any more. Helios will just need to get a dog, cat, gerbil, hamster, or boa constrictor to satisfy his big brother desires.
After checking in, Helios got down to his underpants and socks and was garbed in a gown of his choosing, blue with sea creatures (preferable to the one with green dinosaurs). It delightfully matched his blue fleece jacket, which he models here for your viewing pleasure. Notice how the dark blue embroidery around the zipper complements the stenciling of the sea creatures and the iris of Helios' eyes. Oh, wait...that's another blog.
Helios was given a liquid sedative which made him a little sleepy. He was then wrapped in a heated blanket and taken back to the operating room, carried by the anesthesiologist. The two tubes were inserted, and he was then taken to a recovery room where he slept for another 45 minutes without the aid of anaesthesia. The medical staff were quite impressed that he was out for about 90 minutes and didn't wet his underwear (they recommend diapers for the operation up to 4 years old). The nurses kept trying to wake him up but he was probably enjoying the snooze. It took Mommy suggesting that they offer him food and orange juice. Surprise, surprise, he woke up immediately.
Upon returning to the prep room, Helios chilled for a little bit before he developed the shakes and started crying. He got over that within about 20 minutes and then we proceeded back to the car where Helios feasted on orange juice, veggie bacon, Cheerios, and toaster waffle before going to daycare.
The unfortunate side note is that in the mere two weeks since Helios got his ear tubes, he already has had one ear infection. But, we hope to see more improvement in the weeks to come. The next step is ear replacement surgery.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Anyone who has spent much time with the boys would probably agree that Hesperos is the dog and Helios is the cat.
The Dog's Diary
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!The Cat's Diary
Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Evil people!!
7:00 am - You're changing my diaper? I love you! Oooh, those wet wipes look so delicious!
7:15 am - Yay, a drive into daycare for the next 45 minutes! That makes me so happy! Daddy is cursing at the other drivers. It makes me giggle! Helios is staring at my toy because he wants to wrench it from me. Here, Helios, have my toy! Oh, look...feet! My favorite thing!
8:00 am - Daycare, you say? The next 9 hours in a room with a bunch of other babies, none of whom who are as happy as I am? Yay, my favorite thing!
8:30 am - Diaper change! My favorite thing!
8:45 am - Oooh, green beans for snack. My favorite thing!
9:15 am - My face is getting scrubbed. My favorite thing!
10:00 am - Crawling! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Napping! My favorite thin...zzzzzzzzzzzz....!
Day 880. Every day is a new exercise in agony. Today I was warm and ensconced in blankets when the parental unit who calls herself "Mama" wrenched me from my warm cocoon and forced me into clothing. We walk to this torture unit called "the potty" where I take great satisfaction in leaving behind remnants of the unworthy meal they fed me last night. It never fails. No matter how stinky and disgusting I make it, that harpy of a woman and the oaf who is called "Daddy" continue to prattle on about how proud they are of me. Do they have no sense?
Later, I allow them to garb me in clothing befitting my station as an engineer-in-training: jeans and a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt. They mutter some incantation about "putting left foot in, taking the left foot out, shaking it all about." What does this mean? Must learn this strange voodoo they sing.
Ah, yes. Time for the car which the Daddy-oaf has warmed pleasantly for me. At least he has done something correctly. I'm lifted into my chair and pinned in by belt straps. No matter how much I examine them, I can't yet figure out how to break free. Will continue to contemplate. Meanwhile, that drooling buffoon who they tell me is my brother continues to stare at me while gnawing a teether. Strange. I never noticed that teether before. Give it to me! That's mine. MAMA! THAT'S MY TEETHER! Ah, yes. Clearly recognizing my superior intelligence, the cheerful imp hands over the teether. Mmmm...HEY! There's drool on this. Disgusting! No, no, I didn't say take it away. I'll still keep it. Now, drive, Daddy-oaf, drive my chariot.