Tuesday, October 30, 2007

He's Walking!

A while back, Mommy rushed to make an appointment at a hair salon and, in her haste, stuffed a couple of Hesperos' toys into her purse which didn't make it out until a short time later. When finally seated in more-or-less relaxation, the stylist noticed the toys, correctly assumed that they weren't Mommy's personal playthings, and took the opportunity to prattle on ad infinitum about her own children. (It's of continual amusement to Mommy that people find almost any opportunity to talk about their reproductive and parenting experience as though it's something entirely new and has benefitted from some recent innovation - rather than being a process that pretty much all mammals of the Animal Kingdom share. But, who is Mommy to comment? She does, after all, author a blog specifically dedicated to her children's lives. And so, we leave this little interlude and return to our regularly scheduled program...)

Mommy, bound by good sense to not interject into this heated soliloquy while the quality of her hair style was at stake, sat in peaceful silence, listening to an exhaustive list of the stylist's children's accomplishments.

Included in this litany of milestones was the stylist's claim that both of her boys were walking fully unassisted by 8 months. Eight months?! Helios was rolling around like a dung beetle on the floor at that time, barely able to crawl -- due primarily, we think, to stubbornness since he was perfectly able to stand and climb into the dishwasher (climbing into the dishwasher being one of those strange interests my children happen to share).

Hesperos is finally trucking along at 15 months, although he's been walking with the assistance of people or stationary objects for several weeks now. And just to prove it, here's Mr. Hesperos himself, semi-live, semi-nude, and in person, walking around the foyer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"My First Homecoming"

Helios and Hesperos, along with Daddy, went "home" to Kumquatville with Mommy recently for college homecoming celebrations. Kumquatville is typical small town America, with festivities that last a week long, beginning with speeches and choral performances, progressing through yell night, and proceeding to a homecoming formal dance, homecoming parade, homecoming tailgates, and homecoming football game, concluded by homecoming barhopping which is capped off by homecoming hangover on Sunday.

The boys, being unable to procure the requisite identification to demonstrate their legal ability to imbibe the local firewater, instead relegated themselves to the more wholesome homecoming activities, including watching the parade and going to their first ever football game. Aunt Elspeth and Cousin Andrew were also in attendance, gathering beaded necklaces in school colors and catching freely thrown candy. (Homecoming is like pre-Halloween in Kumquatville. And where else could a person see a middle-aged cowboy dressed in school colors twirling the hula hoop around his waist on a public street?)

Afterward, the boys marched off with us to the football game. Helios really took to football in a surprising way, turning the mini football he received during the parade into a 3-year-molar teething toy.
Hesperos was a bit bewildered by all the people and, perhaps typical of "today's children" chose not to watch what was happening live just a few yards away, but instead chose to watch the same game on the super-wide TV screens 40 feet above (while eating lunch, of course).

Following the game, we all went to Grandma Joan's and Grandpa Wil's home to hang out for a little bit and get warm. While there Cousin Andrew tried on his Halloween costume for us. Unfortunately, the sight of Cousin Andrew dressed up as a super-sized mouse was simply too much for Hesperos to handle as he became simply petrified. In violent reaction, he crawled away as quickly as possible into the closest and largest hole he could find ... Grandma Joan's dishwasher.

That night, we went back to the hotel exhausted and cold from the day's activities. After baths, Hesperos, apparently very concerned about the availability of TP for the BH for the long ride home, piled large quantities of unraveled toilet paper into the wagon we had brought along with us. (The two-seater Red Flyer wagon, in case you didn't know, is the double-stroller of the here-and-now for today's yuppy parents with a small brood. While not as compact, it's infinitely more sturdy, functional, and fun so it tends to go with us now on many of our daily jaunts and shorter road trips.)

After a slightly incomplete night's sleep (periodically interrupted by cheers and hoots from the locals proud of the winning home team), we pulled ourselves together the next morning so we could make the long trek home (along with a studious Aunt Elspeth who drove along with us).

Hesperos, being ever sensitive to Mommy's and Daddy's needs for rest from driving, offered to help out a bit with the work of getting us home. Unfortunately, because he's just a little vertically challenged and can't reach the gas pedals, we didn't get too far.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

At the end of the school day in Helios' room, the few remaining kids gather in the central play area to watch musical videos, either designed for education or physical activity. One of Helios' favorites is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a book/video that we'd never heard of until recently.

Here is a video (warning: about 5 minutes long!) of Helios singing and swaying to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom on YouTube, while Hesperos looks like little Kilroy and watches on.

Little Zax Playing at the Mall

The boys live nearby an open-air shopping mall with a small playground at the center, the better to occupy the children who, almost invariably, cavort unattended by their parents. The parents instead shop at the nearby stores, creating for themselves a little bubble of probable deniability should they hear screams of havoc issuing from the outdoors. Lest we become too critical, though, let me say that this kind of parenting does become more attractive the longer we have children, if only to go through a store once without yelps for the bathroom, attempts at grabbing $300 sweaters with grubby hands, and whimpers for trains. (It's for this same reason that as a parent, I now understand why my dad needed a beer or two to unwind in the evening when we were all kids. Previously I suspected Dad had a mild case of alcohol dependence, but now I appreciate it was a coping mechanism.)

But I digress. During yesterday's visit to the mall, Helios and Hesperos capered about with the rest of them, wildly enthusiastic at their little outdoor excursion. Hesperos increased his walking experience ten-fold by holding hands with Helios and Daddy, striding with bumpy steps around the perimeter, and Helios was able to literally climb the walls, which is an appropriate activity for a child of his energy levels.

For the first part of their playtime, the boys played separately. Then, they learned the delight of playing together, doing the same thing at the same time, but opposite. It reminded us of Dr. Seuss's North- and South-Going Zax, but without the acrimony, since both boys were very willing to pass to the side for the other. That isn't to say that the two boys always get along this well (and certainly stubbornness is a family trait on both sides of the genetic tree), but at least this time, the boys were willing to compromise (no doubt a quality learned from Mommy!).

The Zax, by Dr. Seuss

One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.

And it happened that both of them came to a place
Where they bumped. There they stood.
Foot to foot. Face to face.

"Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said, "I say!
You are blocking my path. You are right in my way.
I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!"

"Who's in whose way?" snapped the South-Going Zax.
"I always go south, making south-going tracks.
So you're in MY way! And I ask you to move
And let me go south in my south-going groove."

Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
"I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!"

"And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
"That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Of course the world didn't stand still. The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Field Trip!

Last Tuesday, Helios went on his very first field trip to a preschool-sponsored pumpkin picking event at a local pumpkin patch (say this ten times fast: preschoolers pick precious pumpkins at local pumpkin patch). When he got home, he was full of stories, shared with characteristic energetic solemnity and without taking a breath (making puncuation, therefore, optional and interpretive).

"Mama I went on a field trip today and I got a pumpkin, see? For lunch teacher gave me a cheese stick at the pumpkin patch after I got my big round orange fat pumpkin. Look at the pricklies on the stem see? Oh no the prickly stem is broken. Here Mommy get scissors and fix it. Cut off the pricklies and the broken stem okay? *inhale* Kristofer [his friend] got a pumpkin, too! Tomorrow I'm going back to school but I won't be going on a field trip tomorrow. Teacher Judy said that tomorrow is just a normal school day with NOOOOOO pumpkin field trip. *inhale* This is my Halloween pumpkin Mommy because it's Halloween time. Thank you Mommy for fixing the stem. Look my pumpkin is green and brown and yellow and orange! Can I sleep with my pumpkin Mommy?"

Happy autumn!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We're Too Sexy for Our Shirts

Don't you ever find the press of clothing confining? Do you ever just want to let it all hang out, be uninhibited and fancy free? Maybe dance on a table every now and then? No doubt you sit there thinking, "Sure, who doesn't?!"

Clearly Helios and Hesperos feel the same way or perhaps they're starting their fledgling career as Chippendales dancers for the toddler set.

Recently, after a particularly sloppy eating process one evening at dinner, Daddy and Mommy stripped the boys of their clothes before any further mess could be made. Hesperos waddled and crept along, reveling in his nakedness and freedom from clothing. Helios is a little more exuberant, sliding on his belly across the coffee table, jumping up and down on the table, and turning around in circles singing, alternately, "I don't have my shirt on, I don't have my shirt on!" or "On Top of Spaghetti." (We're pretty sure the second song is a popular choice because Helios just learned it in pre-school, rather than an imagined similarity between toddler potbellies and meatballs.)