Friday, July 20, 2007

One Isn't a Lonely Number Here!

July marks Hesperos' first birthday, and yes, the time really does fly! It really doesn't seem like it was that long ago he was the tiny, little six-pound swaddled bundle we brought home from the hospital. Yet, it simultaneously feels like he has always been the size and age that he is now. That must be how it is with time -- it all proceeds so gradually that one is never aware of changes until looking back over a large chunk of time.

Hesperos was thrilled to have for his birthday a special visitor. No, not a clown or magician, although she is capable of making people laugh, doing some tricks, and there may be some unusually large red shoes in her closet. Daddy Jane made an appearance for the entire week, ostensibly to celebrate the boys' birthdays, but we really suspect it was because she didn't have anyone else to play trains with. (The quilt show 150 miles away might've been small incentive, too.)

To celebrate Hesperos' first of many, we had a very low-key celebration with Daddy Jane that consisting of opening gifts, eating wrapping paper, and then visiting the local theatre to see Ratatouille. Let me tell you, after a dinner of milk, sweet potatoes, apple-raspberry sauce, and coated wrapping paper, little rat Chef Remy had absolutely nothing to offer Hesperos in terms of dining excitement.

Hesperos received some tasty books from his Uncle Scooter and uncle's girlfriend, Mavis, which have been enjoyed greatly by both children. Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel, and Mommy and Daddy tried to give Hesperos the experience of having his own trains to play with by giving him a pint-sized zoo train. It was a great idea in concept, but probably all in vain since the train was rapidly confiscated by big brother Helios who insisted that he was "just checking it to make sure it works!" (Uh-hunh.)

In a couple of weeks, there'll be a real birthday party to prolong the fun and to celebrate with the rest of the family on a non-weeknight. In the meanwhile, Hesperos can continue to munch like the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Grouchy Ladybug (two of the books he received) while he waits for Helios the Train Inspector to conclude his investigation and hand over the goods for some playtime fun.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Summer Splashing

Today was one of those fleeting and all-too-rare beautifully summer days in the Pacific Northwest where the temperature is just right and the sun is a glowing orb in the sky. What better way to enjoy it than with a kiddie pool?

Helios picked out the pool (color choices were blue and purple) and we carried it around the store to Hesperos' delight (apparently it's very tasty). Once we got it home, Helios yammered non-stop, "pool, Mommy, pool. We need to put water in the pool!" With all appropriate haste, clothes were shed, sunscreen was slathered, and swimming trunks were donned.

The pool was filled with very un-summery cold water, which deterred the boys not one whit as they splashed and giggled. (As shown in the video below, Helios doesn't quite get the gist of swimming pants which are supposed to get wet; he kept demanding to take them off and get dry pants.)

Bug-Bug Plays with Bugs!

During a visit to Home Depot yesterday, we learned that they sell packages of lady bugs as a natural, organic form of pest control. While we're skeptical about their efficacy, for only $3.49, it seemed worth a shot.

Until we got home to set them free, we had no idea how misconceived this idea was. The lady bugs had nothing to do with pest control. Instead, it was the best $3.49 investment in childhood amusement ever.

Helios (whose nickname is Bug or Bug Bug) adored having the not-so-creepy crawlies inch all over him. There are about 1500 to a package, and he was on a mission to find a home for each and every one. He stopped by the fledgling cauliflower plants, the youngling tomato plants, and the mature rose bushes that we have no idea how to maintain and dropped a few wherever he travelled. Several of them flew away while we were "working", and they are probably all gone by today (either onto other roosts or, eek, the meal to another creature). But, for the time they were here, Helios was all smiles.

The Catholic Community Welcomes...

Here is, what is so far, my most entertaining recipe for fun.

1 10-month-old, water-loving, hungry, breast-fed baby, un-napped
1 2-year-old, fire-loving toddler, un-napped
1 Mommy dressed in a top that apparently entices said breast-fed baby
1 hard-of-hearing elderly priest with a kooky sense of humor
1 baptismal candle, lit
1 atheist sister
1 agnostic brother-in-law who really hates sitting
1 early evening baptismal ceremony

Combine all. Order doesn't matter. The result is...Hesperos' baptismal ceremony from a couple of months ago.

Hesperos was welcomed into the Catholic community in early May, an event delayed initially for lack of a godparent and then due to that pesky event called Lent, during which marriages and baptisms may not occur (apparently deaths are okay).

His baptism was, a bit sadly, much lower-key than Helios', who had been baptised on Christmas morning with many family members in attendance. But, we had no time for sadness as we were busy managing the other challenges of the evening -- such as Hesperos doing to get to what he felt must be the only viable food source around. (Mommy can't remember the last time she was man-handled so, but is fairly certain it was when she was taking public transportation on a full train.)

Aunt Tiffany and Uncle Igor were present, which was surely done through kindly family duty, since the last time they saw the inside of a church was when Helios was baptised. (The time before that was when Mommy and Daddy got married, leading Mommy to believe that the surest way to ensure Aunt Tiffany has exposure to any faith is for Mommy to keep creating events where sacraments are given.) Their presence had the side benefit because Aunt Tiffany was able to act as unofficial photographer, a role which apparently consists of her taking pictures of Mommy's not-so-small rear end as she mounts the steps to the baptismal font while trying to wrestle with a child. (Thanks, sis.)

Hesperos was all over the place, being a regular wiggly worm, and becoming totally unhinged when he saw the water (water being among his favorite things, after eating). He threw his not-inconsequential body weight to and fro, finally coming to rest when he was tipped backward for the holy water to be dribbled down his head. Lest anyone suspect that it exorcised any tyrannical spirits from his now-blessed corpus, Hesperos pulled himself upward and attempted to latch onto Mommy's nose (as if to say, "that was fun, now let's get down to business"). Mommy was not amused.

The officiating priest, who regularly likes to have side conversations with himself, lit the baptismal candle and handed it to Daddy. Unfortunately, Daddy was then also holding Helios who insisted that he should be allowed to hold the fire. (Think Ren and Stimpy right now and imagine Helios' glazed-over eyes, saying "fire, fire!") One child lunged for water, one lunged for fire. At worst, had both succeeded, they would have cancelled each other out (small solace though that is to the victims of their destruction). While this was going on, Father Tom did what might, in a lesser man, have prompted a heart attack as he lifted 23-pound Hesperos (it sounds like he's a Thanksgiving turkey) and moved him about in the shape of the cross. It is no exaggeration to write that Father Tom asked for some divine intervention to help steady his elderly arms while elevating him (specifically, "Dear Jesus, don't let me drop this baby").

After the ceremony was over, Hesperos got to have his afternoon meal and he promptly spent the rest of the service thoroughly relaxed. And what did Helios think of all this to-do about his baby brother, you may well ask? Helios celebrated in the way that little boys have celebrated church (and leaving church) since time eternal by rushing outside to the slide where he untucked his shirt and got in a few quick "whooshes!" before going to the family dinner. Daddy (himself a recent Easter-confirmed Catholic) and Hesperos stood by the sidelines and watched.