On Sunday, we celebrated Owen’s 4th birthday with inflatable swimming pools, slip and slides (plural!), and lots of bubbles to chase. All available adults worked feverishly up to the moment when guests arrived. Erin and Stephanie had stayed up late the night before adding layer after layer to a rainbow jello. Along with the hot dogs and ice cream cake, it was a big hit with children and parents. As Erin tucked Owen into bed that night, he told her that he had had a great day. Alas, none labored in vain.
Among other bits of knowledge, yours-truly learned that he has a future in children’s television programming if the whole Latin American/ Caribbean History thing doesn’t work out. As Owen and Stephanie were perusing some 30 second home videos on her computer, Owen expressed deep interest in a particular piano recital. Matt was hamming it up to his piano version of “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee.” The video ends with a sudden burst of flailing arms and an uber-expressive “Ouch! It stung me!” In the 48 hours since discovering the video, Owen has asked to watch it numerous times. He is also fond of chanting “Ouch it stung me” in moments of solitude.
“Guests are like dead fish,” so they say, “in that each begins to smell after three days.” But this guest-blogger is hoping that Hawaii’s reputation as the land of fresh seafood will afford him (and his wife) a special exemption from the old adage. Metaphors aside, I like to think that all parties have benefitted a bit from this visit. Some low-impact babysitting has offered a brief reprieve for Erin and John and a dose of hands-on parenting education for Matt and Steph. We’ve witnessed how John’s level of detail and intellectual approach to the cosmos on a grand-scale is matched at the household-level by his interactions with his two sons. Let me tell you. Nothing is an accident. All has been carefully planned. Chaos can be understood and subdued with the right theory. Erin’s indefatigable patience and ability to know when to go with the flow and when to change course are not things easily learned, only easily admired. Does she ever take breaks? Methinks not.