April 2011

We’ve had a really nice time together this month. Life just is in a very good place. Marcus can put his shoes and socks on all by himself, and can put on and take off shirts by himself too. He loves playing “Ring Round Rosti,” as he calls it, in the living room with Robert. He’s been sitting with us in church sometimes instead of going to the nursery; he likes both, but he chooses where he wants to go. When he’s in church, it’s a very active service for us, but it generally works. Good Friday he trotted off to the nursery, for instance, but on Easter (pictured above just before leaving for church) he sat in the sanctuary with us ("Mommy, look that big instrument!" at the orchestra).

He also carries on long, definitive, and sometimes surprising conversations. Here is one from the beginning of the month:

Me: Marcus, do you know where we're going now?
Marcus: Yes.
Me: Where?
Marcus: Uh. . . playground!
Me: Um, no, good guess, though.
Marcus: Post office!
Me: Uh, no, not there either--we're going out to brunch! Do you know what brunch is?
Marcus: Yes.
Me: You do? What is it?
Marcus: Um. . . no!

On Palm Sunday weekend, after racing around seeing Helena after a swimming lesson and then doing assorted errands, we ended the day by going to Kiran's fifth birthday party at the Brookline Puppet Showcase Theatre near the D line. We actually drove there, since we were coming straight from the north shore, and Marcus fell asleep in the car fifteen minutes before we arrived. We were sitting outside the place while he slept, when we noticed that the car next to us was doing the same thing--Declan's dad was reading the paper while Declan slept in his carseat, after another action-packed Saturday. The party was supposed to start at 5:15, so at 5:13 I popped Marcus into the sling and Declan's dad draped him over his shoulder. Three other children were carried into the party sleeping, and another 5-6 had been woken up by their parents before getting out of the car. Robert found all the sleeping children very amusing. Some remained sleepy/cranky for the entire party, but Marcus woke up like a shot once he cracked an eyelid and saw Ellery (pictured below). They sat together in the theatre, kissed and hugged each other ("Is this what they do all day long at school?" I wondered), walked out hand-in-hand for a bathroom break, and ate their pizza next to each other, bite for bite. All the children loved the puppet show--everything from the muffin that sat on the stage in one of the stories ("A muffin! Ha ha ha ha!" the children would laugh loudly. Robert wasn't quite sure why the muffin was so funny) to the different bells that a sheep started playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on in another ("I want the yellow bell!" one child yelled; "I want the blue one!" another said). All in all, the party was a huge hit. Marcus had walked around singing "Happy Birthday dear 'Ran" for several days straight, and was able to join in when we actually did the singing. He slept very well that night, after all that enormous fun.

The first weekend of the month, we went to Flora for brunch in Arlington—really delicious, nice atmosphere, very kid-friendly (there’s a whole cabinet of toys), and not overpriced at $17 for the buffet (kids pay their age in years in dollars). From Flora we went straight to the Peabody School in North Cambridge for a performance of “Space Opera” by the North Cambridge Family Opera Company. Based on “Star Wars: A New Hope,” it’s a two-hour long, entirely sung show with a community cast ranging from seven-year-old kids to a few eighty-year-old chorus members. Our plan was to go and leave if Marcus either got tired or bored or fractious; we had no idea how long he’d be willing to sit, so were ready to walk out any time. Well, he made it through the entire show: he spent virtually the whole first half on my lap, clutching the chair in front of him, eyes glued to the stage (pictured at left). After every song he’d clap raturously. He got a bit restless in the last ten minutes of the first act, but intermission—with lots of running up and down the aisles—came soon, and then for the second act he and Robert went down and sat on some gym mats they had right in front of the stage for kids. Again, he was enthralled for all but the last ten minutes or so of that act: he loved everything from set changes to the kids in the chorus to the singing and dancing R2-D2. “Why that man put that heavy thing right there, Daddy?” “Where that white robot going, Mommy?” The last ten minutes, he was really tired—it was almost 3:30 and he’d powered through without a nap for the day—so he came up and rode in a sling while I stood in the back. He cheered and clapped for everyone during the curtain calls, though, and it was just a great day.

Later on in the month, we went to Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's with Sarah, Miriam and Garrison, Howard, and Debbie and Chris. Afterward, we hit up McCormick & Schmick's happy hour, and Marcus downed half an oyster on the half shell and a half dozen steamed mussels (as well as french fries and mac and cheese--a nice varied diet, especially after so much ice cream). He ordered his ice cream by color: "White one, mommy!" (Vanilla) "Brown one, daddy!" (Chocolate) "Yellow one!" (uh. . . Mango?)

We had some cozy weekend afternoon naps on the couch. Robert (he's just jealous) wonders when that whole sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps thing is supposed to end.

We watched the marathon on Comm Ave near Mass Ave; first we sat all bundled up (chilly in the shade) and watched the wheelchair finishers. Marcus was an excellent cheerer. "Yay! Yay!" he'd yell, and comment on the beauty of the riders' wheelchairs or helmets. "That one PRETTY yellow one!" he'd say. Then Debbie, Liwen, Nathanael, and Madeline met up with us and we watched the men's and women's elite runners finish. Afterwards, we hopped on the T downtown to beat the post-Red-Sox rush and met Chris and Robert for Vietnamese food. Robert's pork chops were a disturbingly big hit at the table.

There's been a lot of Daddy-Marcus bonding time this month, too, whether in the house or out. Marcus wears underwear at school and often asks to use the toilet when he's home; Robert (with his help) installed a new toilet seat in the little bathroom so Marcus can manipulate it himself and not have to balance so precariously on the big seat. Still, using other people's bathrooms is a big novelty, too ("I pee in SEAN'S toilet!" Marcus proudly said, after we met to divide up a cow and then had a clean-out-your-freezer potluck at Sarah and Sean's house). Poor Sarah--I guess it's not her toilet.

Robert also tried valiently to repair a leaky faucet in our big bathroom. Marcus breaks out his own set of tools everytime Robert does a home repair. Marcus also loved the temporarily empty under-sink cabinet, in this particular case. We took the camera out to snap a shot of him, but he turned it around and took this shot of us sitting on the floor of the bathroom laughing at him.

We've taken the balance bike out a few times, including up on our newly refinished roof deck, and Marcus is starting to get the hang of it. His last two swimming classes have also gone fabulously well: we hand him over to the instructor and he does everything for her, blowing bubbles, going underwater, kicking, scooping his hands, playing with the toys, floating in the lazy river. Just last weekend, he had his longest, happiest time in the water yet, and then came home with Robert to the delightful chaos of our Greek Easter celebration, with seven kids (Nathanael, Miriam, Lily, Madeline, Marcus, Amalia, and Garrison) and fifteen adults. He'd helped me make kouloudia a few days before, and the cookies were a particular hit with the kids. On "regular" Easter, celebrated the next day with Helena and Dick, Marcus started singing "Happy Easter to you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday," breaking into song everytime anyone said "happy Easter!"

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Created: 4/26/11. Last Modified: 4/26/11.