Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Big Eyes and Perpetual Smiles
Jacob just turned two on Saturday. And such a good little two he is. If you ask him, "How old are you," he replies, firmly, "No."

But he's really a very sweet little soul, and I can't imagine my life without him. Last night he was wandering around the living room greeting everything that he could imbue with a personality (me, Emily, the cat, the couch, his blocks, and so on) with, "Hi, cutie!"

We went up to Storyland for the weekend, it was my nod to birthdayhood without throwing a party for him. We just don't know enough kids his age - I can think of three that might have come, but two of them would have had to drive over an hour, and most likely that means their parents would have had to bring them because most 2-year-olds can't drive more than 45 minutes without getting tired or lost.

So we rented a hotel room and went away for the weekend. Which is apparently unheard of and offensive to my mother-in-law, who left four messages on the answering machine within a 24-hour span, all increasingly whiny and entitled. Starting well enough, with "Hi, it's me, I wanted to wish Jacob a happy birthday..." to "Well, for all I know, you're all lying dead on the side of the road and nobody bothered to contact me..." Seriously, the woman must be psychic, to know that if I was dead on the side of the road she wouldn't be the first person I would contact. I recognize that we are morally and spiritually and guilt-ally obligated to inform her of our every move, so that she can forget about it all and ignore the parts she doesn't like anyway, and so by daring to go away for the weekend without notifying her we were offending her down to her bitter, angry core. How dare we.

She also sent a birthday package to Jacob, addressed to Emily. Just thought I'd put that out there. And people wonder why I think she favors Emily.

Anyway - that's a side note and didn't actually impact the weekend, since she doesn't have my cell phone number and we didn't get the messages until we got home.

We were able to wrangle Emma, a friend of Emily's, for the weekend, so we ended up with two 6-year-olds and a 2-year-old in the minivan, and once there we met up with Jenny, who has a 4-year-old and a 16-month-old. Lots of children. Looooooots of children. But they were, in all honesty, all wonderful. There was never a moment when I had to step in and bang two small heads together, and that whole industrial-sized jar of pediatric Valium that I packed just took up space, it never got used.

The whole crew of short people falls right into the ideal age range for Storyland, old enough to not be freaked out by the rides and big-eyed smiley characters but not so old as to be worldy and jaded and whiny about it. Emily and Emma are both fairly intense, strong-willed kids, but instead of sparking off each other they seem to understand where each other was coming from - in other words, they seemed like actual friends, not just comrades thrown together by a fluke of age similarity. Wild stuff.

And now we're all home and settled in... Jacob is settled into his big-boy bed, and we got this Thomas the Tank Engine tent type thing which right now is on his bed but I think will be moved to the floor for easier access. That, along with his Elmo sheet set and various trademarked stuffed animals, has created a shrine to toddler capitalism that is truly a sight to behold. Big eyes and perpetual smiles from wall to wall.