Originally posted April 19, 2005
... but having the same-ol' kiddies isn't anything to complain about, tho' ... just the opposite, in fact.
So! The new news is that Diane is now the proud possessor of a mommy-van (2001 Honda Odyssey EX, if you must know ... it is green to her but to nearly everyone else, it's grey, until we tell them it's green, then they say, "Oh, yeah, it is kinda, um, what colour did you say, again? ... Green? ..."). So, we had our mechanic, Dan, check it out ("I would buy it!"), and I drove it home, all self-congratulatory, because all our neighbors were coming out and pointing.
Yeah, that's right, I'm awesome 'cause I'm driving a mommy-van (amazing, isn't it, how material possessions inflate one's ego, eh?).
Well, the neighbors were pointing because the passenger side tire had flattened down to the rim.
... and we didn't have a spare.
Fortunately, one of our neighbors DID have a spare for their (really) green mommy-van, and graciously lent it to us (after making the comment: "Oh, you have a flat. That's a bad start: it must be deflating." When I brayed a "Ha-Ha", our neighbor realized her double-entendre ... it must be wonderful to be so blissfully un-self-aware. Hey, I'm not sensitive, I'm just fully self-realized. By the way, 'sensitive' is a nuanced word: wimpy, quiche-eating, and so 90s; 'self-realized', on the other hand, is a beat-the-drum, manly term (but from the same era, unfortunately)).
So, after that little problem was solved ("It takes a village ... to change a tire"), we've made many new discoveries: one was that Isabel can hop up into the van, not to sit in her seat, mind, but to worm her way to the driver's seat so she can 'drive' ... while she's 'driving' she looks to me, expectantly, not to see if she's in trouble, but for me to provide the requisite sound effects ("brrrrm, brrrm, beep! beep!"). That little one is developing quite a signature smile, keeping pace with her Ate.
Yes, we've been out joyriding, but I haven't yet done donuts. I'll wait 'til Elena's 16 for that, so I can include that along with her driver's ed.
Poor Isabel had a fever "this morning" (ending sometime around 5 am), and was crying hard (Diane had to excuse herself for a moment, and the little one was wailing in separation anxiety), so I came to help in the nurturing (remember, not at all 'sensitive', please) of the progeny. I held Isabel, while Diane comforted Elena, and the li'l tyke and I walked about the darkened house ("Djadja!" she exclaimed. "Yes," I responded, "that's Mr. Darcy") until she asked to be returned to bed: "Mm-mmm!" [ya see, it's really not that hard to understand baby-talk!] I put her on the bed, and in a few seconds of pointing toward her mama (which I quietly acknowledged with a pensive hum), she was fast asleep.
Ah! My heart is breaking for the bunsoh [littlest one]! [to my dear parents-in-law: Isabel is the /current/ bunsoh, okay? No worries!]
Diane, next to and consolling Elena Marie, wiggled her eyebrows to me in appreciation.
SO, it being about the time for me to wake up, anyway, and having victoriously slayed all family strife dragons (Elena Marie: "Papa, look! There's a dragon!" Me: *swipe* "Got it!"), I covered up Isabel (which I later learnt I should not have done: children with fevers tend to become drenched with sweat when fully covered ... ah, well, libEn und lernEn (I always find the English words of German origin to be so much more forceful than the romantic counterparts: 'freedom' has a more visceral impact than 'liberty'; 'friend' vs. 'companion', 'live' vs. 'inhabit', 'learn' vs. 'apprehend', etc)), and headed downstairs to do my 'dance-dance revolutions' morning regimen. My friend, brother (actually, cousin-in-law by marriage, but since we're both white guys (he of German origin, me of mixed heritage), both from New England, and both 'like' things technological, our Philipino relations label us 'brothers'), and network engineer ('Honey, I'm a network engineer!' he proudly boasted to his wife, because he is) bought a whole bunch of songs, so, besides the 100 or so songs with the two 'games' (http://www.cotilliongroup.com/code/ddr-song-sep.html), Mike's given me another 50 or so more to dance through ... I've got quite a bit of dancing to do here, folks!
And now we have a new Pope (habemus papam). Diane, Elena Marie and Isabel watched a video of his first blessing, and little (feverish) Isabel pointed to the screen and exclaimed: "Papa!" Diane was so pleased: "That's right, that's our new Papa!" But this confused Elena Marie to not end, so Diane had to explain that, no, that wasn't Elena's 'Daddy' Papa (although, he is that, as well, I suppose), but the new Pope, to which Elena Marie replied: "Oh, Pope John Paul II!"
Diane was so pleased, again!
She also had to go out this morning to register her new mommy-van (any excuse for a joyride; I know the drill), so I volunteered to watch the knee-biters while she did that. The two girls and I breakfasted on cheeze, mostly consumed by Elena Marie, so I got out three more slices: first, just one for Isabel, until Ate said, "And one for Ate!" Me: "How do you ask?" Ate: "PLEASE!" Me: "Hokay." and then, until Ate said, "And one for Papa!" So, Elena Marie, being a big girl and the Ate, got to open her own slice, but, Isabel, being bunsoh, demanded my help: I sectioned the cheeze into bite-sized nibbles for the chickadee, and when she "MM!" for more, I said, "It's cheeze, Isabel, can you say: 'cheeze'?" Isabel: "Ztheeeezth!"
*sniff* my baby's growing up!
Well, after much applause, she got her cheeze, and then we all went outside to play. Elena Marie's favorite outdoor game these days is to exclaim: "Papa, it's raining!" so that we all duck under our cypress, until, magically, two seconds later: "Papa, it's not raining!" and we all run out and cavort about the yard. Diane, a couple of days ago, challenged my patrimonial skilz (yo!): "Maria's father throws her up into the air!" [Maria's a year older than Elena Marie; Maria's father is half-a-decade younger than moi-self]. So, in our cavorting, I threw Isabel high-high into the air, and then Elena Marie demanded: "My turn!" So, as a manly, 'self-realized', man, I took her into my hands and launched her high into the air, again, and again.
I'm typing this email with a pencil in my mouth from the hospital bed. The doctors say in 3-4 months I'll be able to move my left index finger again.
Right [no, Mother, I'm not paralysed, okay?].
I called Diane when I learnt we have a new Pope, and, the children, hearing that it's (one of their) father(s) on the phone, demanded some quantity time (and, as my sponge-cake-like heart was breaking over Isabel's fever, I wasn't one to ignore the opportunity). Me: "Hello, Isabel!" and, right away, she responded: "Papa!"
*WOW* That's a first! She hasn't, up to now, talked on the phone.
Elena was all lady-like on the phone: she informed me that she was with "Mama and Isabel and my friends" and about to have supper. On the same topic, Elena Marie has become quite the story-teller! Sometimes, when I'm driving, she asks me 'to read' her a story, which is not a literal request, so I begin: "Once upon a time, there was a girl named Elena Marie ..." and then she picks up the story from there, weaving in her experiences and thoughts for the day ... I thought only Bill and Ocean's children could do that!
She, like them, also is very good at coming up with new words for traditional melodies on the spot. We start with "Intsy-wintsy spider" and after the first verse she weaves a new tale over the next several verses. Cool! Isabel as also started to sing in these last few weeks. Her first songs were "Maaaaa-maa, Maaaaaa-maaa!" [I didn't realized she was singing out these calls until Tita Femme remarked with surprise that we have singing children] but then she also watched her Ate and started humming along with more complicated melodies.
This all puts me somewhat in a bind. Being a bear of a very little brain ("Run, Forrest, run!"), shepherding these two smart kids will be a daunting task, indeed! Ah, well! My daily prayer is that I be a good husband and father, and my daily thanks is one of awe for all the blessings raining down on me in this torrential downpour of joy.