This afternoon, I especially enjoyed not having a commute (besides the one from the downstairs office to outside). I took S outside to play in the new sandbox, cranked up a playlist via the apple tv and sent the music through our rockin downstairs stereo. I worked on putting some new Ikea chairs together in the sun while watching my boy play happily. Domestic, enjoyable multitasking.
Our oldest boy will be two next month. Here’s a few things I’d like to remember:
- He loves lawn mowers but hates getting his hair cut. So after he started crying when we pulled out the scissors a few days ago, we told him we’d pull out the “hair lawn mower” (electric clipper) and he loved the entire haircut.
- After dinner we’ve been having dance parties to the “toddler” station on pandora. Surprisingly good music for the entire famiy.
- Been very encouraged at how quickly he is learning both Hungarian and English and can switch seamlessly. We think this is very good for his brain development and recent articles (NY times and others) have been describing how helpful it is for kids to be bilingual at the youngest age possible. In fact, I was happy to realize today that the smartest kids at my fairly elite high school in Silicon Valley were nearly all bilingual: speaking Japanese, Farsi, and Chinese at home.
It’s been stormy here in Budapest for almost five days straight — several trees have been uprooted around our place and a big fence nearby was blown over. It’s nice not having to commute out in this and we’ve been enjoying time with the bambino who just turned 10 months and definitely will be walking within a month or two. He’s doing well.
Over the weekend we saw Agi’s grandmother and other relatives. Her name translates as Sophia (Zsofia) and she is a good, honorable, kind and hard working woman. She also feels that Agi is the direct embodiment of the all of these good qualities and has referred to Agi a number of times as “the golden branch.” We all got a good laugh when I told Agi (this was translated for grandma) “it’s true — and this must make me the golden caterpillar.”
When the little man was just a few hours old it struck me that he looked very similar to Val Kilmer (in his slim, Top Gun years). And a few friends still call our nino “Iceman” from time to time. Now, however, our boy has ballooned out to proportions just like the middle aged Val.
Classic Iceman line: “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”
Our little hombre will be 9 months old in just over a week. This Easter weekend he made a Great Leap Forward (communist style) and is very close to genuinely crawling. He mainly scoots around and pushes with his arms back up into a seating position — about 1000 times per day. My Dad told me he has video of me walking with a basketball at 9 months so the pressure is on.
Also, our little man is talking aggressively and we’re starting to pick out both Hungarian and English noises.
I often think of the day he was born — how Agi and I were emotional & crying as we saw him and then very impressed & pleased when the first thing he did was pee on our doctor. He truly has exceeded our expectations in every way.
We found out today… we'll be bringing a baby boy into the world. The nurses were marveling over his striking profile in his ultrasound pics and want to add him to the Hot Babies of Portland calendar the last week of July, when he's scheduled to arrive. We're very excited and very thankful.
We've been having lots of fun with our two nephews (the kids of my sister Melissa and brother in law Mark). Several days ago we we enjoyed a picnic dinner in the park and watched a swarm of rare "vaux swift" birds make exotic funnel patterns in the sky. There were hundreds of families out there with us–it's the Portland version of a Nascar race.
We also watched the VP debate over dinner the other night and chuckled as their boys went up to the TV with their measuring tapes and measured out Palin and Biden's heads.
We babysat them on Friday night and Will cracks us up because his favorite color is pink (he is two) and he loves his pink toothbrush.
On Sat afternoon, Ivy and I went to see an imax movie in downtown San Jose (at the Tech Museum) called "Mystic India." It was a beautifully-photographed forty-minute overview of Indian geography, history and culture. One thing that stood out was how communal the Indians are, and that that like many non-Western societies, people genuinely take care of each other; specifically, in families, the young look after the old and vice-versa. (You'll see how this thought ties in with other things in a second…)
Yesterday, Ivy and I woke up (kind of painfully) at 5.30am and drove over to Dodge Ridge near Yosemite for a day of skiing. Ivy is an excellent skier and better than me (she's skied a lot in Austria and Slovakia) but now that she is learning how to snowboard, our pace has been perfect and about even.
Driving home last night we stopped for dinner and were touched with how a father and his grown-up daughter made a point of taking their elderly (in his late 80's) grandfather out for dinner as well. The grandfather moved slowly but was having a great time and definitely appreciated being out and about and with his family. You got the sense that this family had their priorities right and that all three generations were very kind to each other.
Later on, Ivy and I had a good discussion regarding how unfortunate it is that Western countries are so bad at spending time with their families and taking care of each other. Yes, the U.S. and Europe are "wealthy" in terms of our ability to produce and consume material goods, but we are poor and lacking in terms of the amount of time we spend on each other. The India movie we had seen on Sat reinforces that poorer countries are richer than Western ones in many ways and you won't see many Indian or Asian families (even if money was no object) carting off their grandparents to old folks homes.
Also, although we don't have a good idea of what an Indian funeral would be like, Ivy and I suspect that many countries would spend much more time grieving and celebrating and honoring one's family members than what happens in the U.S. and Europe. For example, a co-worker of Ivy's dad died and her co-worker took a day or two off but was then back to work, plugging away. A longer period of time to celebrate and honor your parents would seem appropriate if we stopped to think about it.
This past weekend Ivy and I had a great time visiting my parents up near Sacramento. It was filled up with ping-pong in the afternoon (my dad is an amazing player and great athlete and he kept crushing my brother Matthew and me), poker in the evening and then we watched a few episodes of 24. (Ivy and I have become addicted to it–we just started the first season with Netflix and will find a way to continue it for sure when in Hungary).
Matthew burnt me a c.d. of a band he likes a lot and I've become a big fan myself of several of their songs: the German group Rammstein. Our German-flavored drive home back to the bay area will forever be ingrained in my head–it was very memorable: cruising along in our German Audi A4 (I love this car; we bought a used '98 version a year ago in place of our Honda accord and it will hard to go back to anything else; the quattro all-wheel drive is fantastic, the stereo is superb and the handling is amazing). So in addition to cruising in our German car we rocked out to Du Hast and other songs by Rammstein. It was exhilarating. As happens with most songs, I'll get tired of their stuff if I overdo it–but this song really pumps me up. http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=59698809&s=143441&i=59698811
Thanks to my lovely wife for throwing a Surprise Bday Party this past Sat! I was truly surprised and it was fabulous seeing a bunch of friends show up at City Beach in the evening. A number of people drove a ways to be there–including my wonderful family from Sacramento and Yardu from Santa Cruz. The MDT award (Most Distance Travelled) definitely goes to Cameron F who came up from Fresno. The man is the epitome of commitment and dedication.