Friday, December 18, 2009

in a pear tree

A friend at a client told me this great story about when she was little. At Christmastime, during the twelve days of Christmas (which, she was quick to point out, begin Dec 13), every day a present would appear on the front porch for her and her brother. It was from a Secret Pal - nobody knew where it came from! It was something little - a pencil, some stickers, a candy bar. To this day, even though she's moved away from her home town, a big box full of presents for each day arrives just in time. She looks forward to it every year.

Well, an amazing thing is happening - now there are presents from a Secret Pal appearing on our front porch for Aidan every day. We don't know where they're coming from! The first day was a board book about the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since then, something small every day. This morning there was a Spider-man toothbrush! Very exciting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

he gets it, he gets it not

I've been trying to figure out whether Aidan "gets" Santa, Christmas and such. Last week his grandma had me tell him that Ike, their dog, was waiting for Santa. He said, "Ike wants Santa to come? He wants presents? He wants bones?" I thought to myself, "he gets it."

I asked him if he was excited for Santa to come. He said yes, and I asked what he wanted. "Presents." "What kind?" "Yellow with strawberries." "Strawberries you eat?" "Yeah." He gets it not.

This week we talked about it again as we were getting presents for our Adopt-a-Family family (I'm in on a group with my client to help another family have a Christmas.) As though a light went off, he said, "They need help to get presents."
"We have to help them because they need help."
"That's right, Aidan. We're very lucky."
"They want toys." He gets it!
"Yes, Aidan - what do you want?"
"Presents." "What kind of presents?"
"Toys." "What toys?"
He gets it not.

Friday, December 4, 2009

notes on a trip to St Martin

Took a day or so to settle in to being on vacation - usually takes a little while to wind down - and now I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow. We've settled into a routine, built around naps and other two-year-old requirements, in which we spend one day at the resort, more or less, and the next day away. We're very lucky that Aidan travels well, watching movies and coloring or napping on the planes, and able to sleep just about anywhere - poolside, beachside, in a strange bed in the condo - no worries. Eating, not so much...

The resort here has a nice beach that's in a cove, so protected from big waves. The ocean's 78 degrees and lovely. It also has pools, which are very suited to a two-year-old, but not really to bigger people for swimming, but that's okay. We're the target audience. We rented a car for the week and have done a general excursion, to get a feel for the island. 37 square miles, so it doesn't take too long to get around, though the only maps available have no street names on them, which can be a challenge.

The other day we went to Marigot, capitol of the French side of the island, to look around generally and see the market; then up to Grand Case, where we spent the rest of the day at a gorgeous little beach with even clearer water than "ours." We were next to a little restaurant and juice bar. The boy loves juice of all types, especially fresh juice, so he loved it there. Yesterday we got outside and Aidan asked where "the Lady" was. I asked what lady, and he said, "the milkshake lady." Took me a minute to realize he meant the woman who'd made fresh pineapple juice for him - he thinks blenders (and juicers that look like blenders) are principally for milkshakes. I have no idea why.

We've had varying degrees of success with meals, often because for some reason our son is eating almost nothing. There are a few solid go-tos, but we're trying different places to get a literal and figurative flavor of the place. Highlights are Zee Best breakfast place, a lovely French bakery, but expensive, and The Green House, which is located next to the pool of our hotel, though unrelated. There's a little grocery across the street, so we've eaten in a few times too.

A certain little man has had his ups and downs in the water. The first day we were off to a wonderful start, with his floating (a little) and ready to try much in the ocean. Swirling around with Mommy and Daddy and kicking his legs, he was very proud. "His" pool (he'll announce to passers by that it's his) is no problem - it's about 2' deep, and he'd likely stay there all day. The ocean's been a bit more of a challenge. He has ups and downs, no pun intended. He alternately loves the "rollers" (tiny waves coming in to shore) or is scared of them, and alternately is excited to try things in the water and is afraid of going in at all. Yesterday, in a trimph, he held onto his dad's neck and took a very long ride. He climbed from Daddy to Mommy, and we played the tossing game, in which one of us tosses him up in the air or to the other, and we catch him before his face goes in. No face in yet. Must get Aidan involved in swimming lessons at home; he seems a natural, as long as his fear doesn't overtake him.

We've heard such classic lines as, "That's not fair!" (with emphatic pointing - I believe I saw the origin of that in Toy Story 2); "I can't do it. Sorry;" "Mommy, you're making me crazy!" (?), and the more direct, "Mommy, you're crazy." Lovely.

It's truly beautiful here; warm breezes through palm trees and soft, white sand are everywhere. Driving is a little treacherous, but worth it to see everything. Much like other Caribbean islands I've seen, there is amazing wealth and splendour right next to abject poverty. Literally, next door to it. There are wild chickens and goats wandering around, and my favorite street sign maybe ever says, "All directions -->". I'm not sure how that's possible, as we're at neither pole, but I've seen it on the Dutch side in English and on the French side in French.

a horror story

In which the father of a two-year-old awakes to the phone ringing and someone asks if he has a son named Aidan.

We were in St. Martin this week, wonder of wonders. I got up early the first day and went downstairs to get some exercise, also wonder of wonders. We had been careful to chain the door closed, more to keep Aidan in than others out, but when you leave, you can't chain behind you. The boys were both fast asleep, so I left a note on the counter letting Steven know where I'd be.

Downstairs on the treadmill, Steven walked in carrying Aidan, and I couldn't figure out why they'd not wait for me to finish. Turns out that Aidan woke up before Daddy and decided to go looking for Mommy. He opened the front door of our condo, on the 8th floor, and went to the elevator. Luckily, he pressed floor 1, which took him to the lobby. When he got there, another mommy saw him, and started asking questions. She was pretty impressed with how he could answer - what's your name? ("Aidan") Where do you live? ("With Mommy & Daddy") What's Mommy's name? What's Daddy's name? The woman asked enough questions that the desk was able to find out who we were, and they called. You know what happened next - my husband awoke to a horrible phonecall on the first morning of our vacation. Luckily, if a "breakout" was going to occur, it happened under the best circumstances with the best outcome.