Originally posted Nov 22, 2005
Okay, so, like, I just got this, ya know, email from Bill and Ocean saying that they were 'thinking' about me, so, like, overusing valley-girl-speak, I've overused my allotted vacation from writing emails to my family.
Sorry, this one is going to be short (ya know: work, 'n' stuff).
We all went to visit Nana and had a fun-taskic time; but not before receiving death threats from at least two relations: 'You tire out Nana, we come to kill you.' ... and these weren't iron-skillet warnings, no-no, these were, 'you like your eyes inside your head instead of outside, right?' kind of warnings. I knew I was Italian; I didn't know I was connected to the Mafia, though. Now I do.
We took Nana to 'Make your own teddy bear shop', and we all had fun. They had six stations install to stuff, to brush and to clothe the new playmates. Please allow me to welcome, officially, 'Emily' and 'Bamboo' [pron: 'ba-bu' by Isabel, or 'Kah(t)' when she forgets the name], two ballerina cats into the family. They are constant companions of the children, even unto now.
Here's the kicker: Nana served Gnocchi. ... and, no, you can't have any. (She asked me: 'How is it?' I asked her back: 'How can I phrase my answer in such a way in that you will serve this when I visit next time?' She laughed. BTW, the 'Italian' restaurants here don't know what gnocchi is. When I ask for vermicelli, they say, "We don't have that." "Do you have angel hair pasta?" "Oh, yes." "I'll have that, then." *sigh*)
Dad took us to the US Coast Guard Academy to watch a 'Pass in Review'. I got really 'homesick' watching those kids march past us. Hm; maybe they have a faculty position open ... ? The pass in review was in honor of a businessman, ex-army, who had donated a sum to the USCGA. That's nice of him; as the Coast Guard is always stretching: overworked and under-budgeted.
Diane recently had a 'Mom's nite out' where she and other neighborhood mommies go on a supper outing and get a break from the kids and swap stories. Poor Elena Marie discovered that she is now very strongly attached to her mother, and started crying as Diane left for her supper (Courageous me: "It's okay, go on ahead; I CAN HANDLE THIS!" (yeah, right)). She didn't stop crying for two continuous hours. This woke the sleeping Isabel, who joined in the chorus for the second hour. Hm, turns out I couldn't handle this situation all that well, so, when I promised the kids that we would go out to find their mother, they sobered right up and off we went (As we were preparing to exit, Isabel's chin began to quiver: "No-no, Isabel, no crying if we are to find Mama"; she found some fortitude so as to press on). We hopped into the van, and we set out for the restaurant.
What do children do in a late night van ride? They fall asleep: quickly and deeply. Hey, dummy Dad, next time think of this option sooner than two hours into the saga! So, I turned toward home and parked in the driveway. ... and waited in the driveway for two more hours for Diane to return. The four-hour outing was a very good one for Diane. She was shocked to see us waiting in the van, but I didn't see an alternative: waking them up by removing them from their car seat would only restart the saga with a new intensity.
Of course, now that Elena Marie has become acquainted with the idea that being apart from her mother is too much to think on, she is now inseparable from her, even for dental appointments, etc. So, I told you the above story to tell you the below one.
Diane had a teeth cleaning appointment during a lunch break. Elena Marie made it generally known that she would prefer to be with her mother. So we settled on a plan of attack that would have me chaperone Isabel while Elena Marie went with Diane to the Dentist's. This worked perfectly: Isabel and I dined at the Macaroni Grill (yes, the 'what's vermicelli?' place), and I have never seen a little girl have so much fun! It helps that she's attached to me, now, and found the prospect of an outing with Papa to be a reason for running in place and giggling ecstatically. The restaurant setting helped, too: they provided us with a rolled paper table setting and, count'm, FOUR CRAYONS! While we waited for our food ("The usual?" Our waiter, J.C., was pleased to know my order and pleased I remembered his name), Isabel alternately drew pictures (these she showed off with a good deal of satisfaction) or demanded I trace one, the other, or both of her hands or draw a new caricature of 'ba-ba!' [her personal pronoun; she calls herself 'baby']. She would have nothing to do with her chicken strips and french fries, instead, she would only take food offered from my plate. She also explored every detail of our booth, prancing, sans care, on the seat.
That is, until she tumbled from her precarious position to land with a solid *THUMP* on the floor under the table. After some crying, a kiss on the hurt, and some hug-time, she was good as new, and good thing this incident occurred at the end of our lunch after Diane had phoned to inform us of her return.
I was concerned that Elena Marie received the short end of this stick, but these concerns evaporated when I saw her, the next morning, line up her dolls, wiping their mouths with wet-naps: she instructed me that she was the doctor and they were getting their teeth cleaned.
The next appointment followed a similar track: Elena Marie informed us of her preference (you do know how children inform parents of a view, right? If you don't know, I'll give you a hint: tears for hours), but this time I accompanied everyone on the visit. The waiting area was perfect: it had a kiddie korner, stockpiled with books and some other toys. So, after Elena Marie's initial reserve, both children came to me in turn demanding I read this or that book (or one of the five or so other books that they grabbed from the pile) to them, and when I paused to take a breath, Elena Marie would very sweetly sing out: "Papa, will you please read?" and punctuate the 'request' with a dazzling smile.
Okay, back to work for me. Ocean, Bill: you can stop 'thinking' about me (I think 'thinking' about someone means 'calling the police to dredge the river for remains', so I'm sorry to cause any concerns). You all have a day that as good as a little girl singing to you and smiling dazzlingly while another one giggles ecstatically while running in place.