This past week, Mommy had the experience of being the one to drop off and pick up the boys from preschool every day (a job that normally falls to Daddy by virtue of their preschool being closer to his employer). This afforded Mommy the rare opportunity to watch the boys in action, interacting with their teachers and classmates, and their reactions to the daily activities. What Mommy wasn't prepared for was the sheer adulation that greeted the boys upon their arrival.
When we walked into Helios' room, one little girl (remembered dimly from a birthday party as Anna) rushed up to me and said haltingly, "are you Helios' mommy?" After I said yes, she replied with, "oh, wait right there! I've been coloring pictures for him all morning!" (All 45 minutes of it?) So while Picasso-in-training rushes off to collect her offerings to my son's pyre, a little boy comes up and says, "I made this clay truck for Helios. Will you take it home for him?" Sure, why not? Meanwhile, Helios is hanging up his jacket only to be besieged with adoring fans pestering their preschool Messiah with requests: "Helios, come play puzzles with me!" "No, Helios, come over here and let's jump!" "Ohhh, Heeeeeelios! I'm painting over here!" "He's my best friend! He comes with me!"
Apparently, my son is something of a demigod to this clamoring clan of kidlets. I speculate that some time around Easter, they'll sacrilegiously greet him with some palm fronds and a white ass.
A few doors down, Hesperos was getting some star treatment of his own. Whereas he initially clutched onto me with a surprising grip (not just due to strength but also because he's a known Daddy's boy so rarely does he plaster himself to my body), Hesperos managed to somehow with bizarre homing acuity use my body as a launch pad. He flew the short distance to the closest, prettiest, and bustiest preschool teacher, wearing a little smirk on his plump cheeks. While she held him, the other rug rats gathered around her shins. Their arms were raised beseechingly, like they were hungry zombies caught in quicksand, making little baby grunts and whimpers. When the teacher lowered Hesperos to the floor, they encircled him with their pudgy arms, enfolding him in the 2-year-old equivalent of a group hug, every child patting the back of the other. (Some day, when these children are in adult self-help groups, they'll already have some of the requisite skills learned from these early days.)
Where do my sons come by this powerful magnetism? While I have some charm, it's definitely well-hidden under a polished layer of off-putting sardonic humor ... and to even experience that humor, you'd need to get past my very large bubble (whatever you do, please don't hug me). Daddy has charm of his own, but he's not a big-toothed Tony Robbins who's going to win friends and influence people through the sheer force of his charisma. Yet our sons are adored, beloved, cosseted, revered by others through the beauty of their personalities.
We don't know what it is that they have...but we hope it lasts at least long enough until those children have some "toys" of substance to offer up to Helios and Hesperos (I'm thinking Lamborghinis, ear drum destroying stereo systems, extra homes off the ocean, etc.).