Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Volume 3, issue I July 2007

Blue Eyed Beauty

Eric always says that Peter personifies the word “cherubic” and this has never been more true than when he tagged along with us on our recent trip to Connecticut for Eric’s Grandpa’s funeral (the John in our Caleb John). Peter’s blue eyes lit up when they met their likeness in the eyes of his Great-Grandma Divine for the first time, the color and brightness in hers being echoed in his. And he was angelic during the funeral service, sitting calmly, and reminding us about life going on.
At the airport in New York, when we gave one of the attendants our boarding passes, he smiled at Peter in his stroller, and said with a thick accent, “I like him. He’s poofy.”

The Bowl-shavik Revolution

Our 10-month-old gerber gourmet has been turning up his button nose at anything we’ve chugga-chugged his way, preferring the Mommy menu instead. We’ve tried everything in the culinary alphabet from applesauce to zwieback, but all of them have produced only gags and pursed little lips. Eric’s dad (aka Grandpa Rex –as in T-Rex) had made some soup for last Sunday’s dinner, and in desperation, I let Peter try some. The soup was un vrai potage—a recipe handed down from Eric’s grandmother, Babonne, full of European vegetable goodness in the form of fresh leeks, carrots, and potatoes pureed and left to simmer for hours. Peter sampled his first spoonful, and it was as if his little Belgian tastebuds had been awakened. He reached for the bowl, flapping his chubby a rms, and swallowing down bite after bite, barely able to wait as I heated his second bowl. If I paused to rest my serving arm, he grabbed it, and forced it back to his mouth again and again. And even though Peter won’t be able to actually pronounce the Jean-Francois in his name for years to come, I could almost hear his little DNA sighing a “Merci” because Maman had finally clued in to the fact that this is a baby in a long line of genetically programmed gourmands. Our petit Anton Ego gave me a look that said, “What were yew sinking, you ignorahnt Amereechan Muzzer? Babee-food? I laugh in zee face of babee food!” And now our baby bourgeois won’t open up his sweet mouth unless it’s that soup on the spoon. He sniffs at anything else and then rejects it, but when I produce the potage, his smiles says, “2007. Yes. . . A very good year.”


Christmas in July

Ethan had been scavenging for loose change throughout the house, lugging around his findings in a ziploc bag. He begged me to take him to the Fireworks stand, insisting that he’d pay for anything he got. After he plunked down the nickels and dimes for his purchase of a Spaceship-shaped explosive, he and Caleb pleaded for permission to climb aboard one of those air-filled trampolines. I had noticed as they climbed inside that there was a sort of net made of rope at the entrance to stop any free-flying jumpers from trampling on the kids climbing in. About a minute later, with no warning, no noise, and no commotion, Ethan was standing in front of me, holding out his hand and giving me a gappy, bloody grin. He calmly said, “Look. I lost my teeth. Mom.” It took me a minute to tune in to what had happened because Ethan was so matter of fact. Sure enough, one of his front teeth lay nestled in his palm. Ethan informed me that he needed to get back in the big balloon/tooth extractor to look for the other one. Ethan had made a flying leap onto the net at the entrance of the balloon, and had caught his front teeth on the rope when he slipped. He looked for the second tooth with no success, but I convinced him that the tooth fairy might be willing to give him a “two-th” for one deal. On our way home, he lisped with thoughtful wonder, “Ya know the song ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth?’ Well, now for me . . . it’s true!”

Gas from the Past

Later that night, we trekked up the street to the still vacant lot where Hafens of Independence Days’ past danced with sparklers and lit bottle rockets from a paper cup filled with the gas Uncle Dave had bought for his mo-ped. And after dark, we headed back to that self-same garage where years ago that gas-filled cup, so innocently perched on the freezer leaked out, causing little Hafen voices to chant, “Eeeeew. . . gas bread” at mealtimes until my mom was forced throw away all of the bread in the freezer.

Accessory to the Crime

As Eric was getting ready to work one morning, he was waving his belt around, teasing the boys that they needed some discipline. As he made cracking sounds with his wardrobe weapon, Eve gasped. As we were about to explain to our little Mother Theresa that her dad was only joking around and would never hurt her big brothers, Eve exclaimed, “No Daddy! It’s your belt!” Never mind the brothers in danger when there are accessories at stake!
When Eric and I returned from Connecticut, our babysitter, Wendy, recounted how the kids had run to her in an arm-waving frenzy because they had discovered a spider in the house. Eve was especially dramatic, and led Wendy to the eight-legged threat, begging her to kill it and to save them from the imminent danger. Wendy reached for the nearest thing she could find to squash the intruder, and Eve let out a piercing scream, “Noooo! Not my shoe!”
And when Eve comes to dinner, she often arrives clad in a hat and scarf combo to help remind us whose great-grand-daughter she is.

Sweet-talker

Tonight, after licking the sugar off of his fingers and lips, Ethan said sincerely, “Mom. . . that was the best dessert made by woman’s hands.”