In one of my favorite early memories, I’m alternately astride a huge grown-up, trying to pummel him into submission, and then running like mad as he chased me around the house. Said grown-up is my cousin John “The Doctor of Doom and Destruction” Huber, and at our family brunch on Sunday, he introduce young Finn to the power of “The Claw”! Check it out (HTML). 🙂
Okay, I know it’s like pitching one scoreless inning & then claiming a perfect game, but our little compadres have been great travelers so far. We’re in Big G. & the dudes are napping nicely after some walnut gathering (“Grandpa’s got a robot arm!”), golf cart driving, and snack ingesting. Yesterday we stopped by Margot’s Uncle Lyman & Aunt Brenda’s house in Rock Falls, getting to see them and their daughter Kristan. It was great seeing everyone, and later we made it to Galena just in time to see a steamroller & paver (driven by my sister-in-law-to-be’s aunt) resurfacing Grandma & Grandpa’s street; score!
I’m typing fast before the guys wake up, but for now here’s a video of Uncle Ted, a volunteer ambulance driver, rolling up in his big rig. I just regret that I stopped recording before driver Finn explained that “Goonie’s leg is all goofed up. It broke off, and now we have to take him to the doctor!”
Later at the ambulance garage, he was *fascinated* by the fact that when the ambulance is plugged into the wall, turning the key causes the plug to go shooting off lest one drive away with it still attached.
“Hey Dad-O, are you ready to get into me?”
“Uhh… ‘Get into you’? What do you mean?”
“Get in and push my buttons!”
“Uh… what are you talking about, buddy?”
“I’m an elevator!!”
That was the scene outside a Cannery Row gift shop today as Finn & munched corndogs while Henry napped on Mom-O’s chest. Finn & I had just been riding the elevator up and down a bit, and once I figured out his new game, I’d “walk” my fingers into the chest pocket of his overalls, then press the button (a snap) so that he’d rise up or sink down. It was a great way to burn some energy before our car ride home, and I’m happy to help develop those 2-year-old quads. 😉
At risk of over-reporting this G-Man/sugar thing, I have a little addendum.
Today the guys and I went for haircuts, and I rolled them home while Margot headed to Pilates. Finn always celebrates a good trim with a sucker, and today I figured I’d let Henry try one. I popped a sucker into each boy, and each boy into the stroller.
When we got home ten minutes later, I pulled out Finn & his lightly worn sucker (looking just like you’d expect). When I reached for Henry, my eyes widened: the stick in his hand was empty! I was able to fish just the sucker’s chewy core out of the cheek where it was rapidly disintegrating. This kid is The Natural of sweets consumption!
If Henry & I were lost in some parallel-universe desert, where we could survive only by locating underground sources of sugar, I wouldn’t break a sweat: I’d merely hold him in front of me so that he could stretch out, divining rod-style, and vibrate in the direction of the sweet stuff.
This kid has an unbelievable knack for sussing out the presence of M&Ms, Gummi bears, chocolate–you name it. With the M’s in particular, he’s got bat-like hearing for the rustle of the big bag. He starts pointing his whole bod in that direction, whining to be taken up to the shelf & saying “Emmin! Emmin!” Thinking I was clever, I’d started popping a few into my mouth while he’s out of earshot. No joy, though: He immediately smells them on my breath & starts wiggling towards the bag. And the other day I saw him diligently rifling around in a big shopping bag full of paper & empty boxes. It took me a while to realize that Margot had carried home some chocolate in the bag days earlier.
Henry Nack: Cocoa Whisperer. 🙂
…thank God A’mighty our lower backs are free at last! Henry Seamus Nack broke free last Friday and started walking around on his own! No more (ok, well, significantly less) stooping over and trailing him while he pulls us along. In prior weeks he’d been taking a few steps at a time, but nothing worth calling walking.
We are thrilled that he’s finally independently mobile, but our little G-Man doesn’t fully trust it yet. He still spends quite a bit of time grasping one of our fingers for assurance while he tools around. Here’s a little shot of our littlest man-on-the-go!
Edgar and Victor were brothers who grew up on Bear Island, which was in the middle of the sea. Bears like to eat fish, and their island was surrounded by delicious fish, which they would eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One day, while they were out fishing in their little boat, pulling in one fish after another, they both looked up and noticed a big ship on the horizon. “Wow!” said Edgar, “I’ve never seen a boat that big before. And look, it has a big black flag flying from the top of the mast.” “I think that means it’s a pirate ship, Edgar,” said Victor. “We ought to be careful.” But Edgar was such a nice bear, he thought that if the big ship was full of other bears they hadn’t met, they should row their boat over, say hello, and tell the bears where to find the best fishing. Victor agreed, because all bears were friends, and they wouldn’t want a big ship full of bears going hungry if they didn’t help them out.
So, they rowed their little boat over to the big ship. They looked up, and they looked down, and when they looked up again, they saw Pirates(!) on the deck of the ship! The pirates said “Why hello little bears! What fine fish you have. We’re going to steal your boat and your fish, and you’re going to tell us where to find more of them so we can sell the fish for lots of money!”
“Oh no!” cried Victor and Edgar, as two big hooks were lowered from the pirate ship and hooked onto their boat, which was then lifted up up up and over onto the deck of the ship. Edgar and Victor wouldn’t tell the pirates where they found the fish, and that made the pirates mad. They said “we’re going to lock you up in a little room until you tell us where we can find more fish!” But the brothers still wouldn’t tell, and were locked away. Meanwhile, the ship was pulling into the Hamburg harbor because the pirates needed to sell the stolen fish. The bears saw that the ship was pulling into a pier, and slowing down, so they decided to escape. They found a black pirate shirt and used it as a disguise. They hid under the shirt and snuck off the ship unnoticed, because no one would expect to see a pirate shirt escaping from a big ship.
Once they reached the pier and peeked out from their disguise, they noticed that they were standing right next to Mom-o! She looked down and said “Hey, guys, what are you doing?” They told her their story, and said they had no idea how to get back to Bear Island since they were so far from home. They said they were looking for a nice family to take care of them and be their friends. Mom-o was so thrilled, she told them that she had two boys, Henry and Finny, who would love to be their friends and feed them as much fish as they liked. She carefully put them (and the pirate shirt) into two nice, big, comfy cardboard boxes so they could travel safely back with her on the plane.
Author’s note: The dark brown bear is Edgar, and the lighter one is Victor. The pirate shirt is the symbol of one of Hamburg’s football (soccer) teams, St. Pauli. On the flight home from Germany I worked long and hard to come up with a good story about how the Steiff bears and the shirt made their way home with me, and when I presented the boys with their presents, I spun the tale of the bears to a rapt Finny, who has made me recount it over and over to him while he clutches Edgar.
It bears repeating: Man, how great is the Internet? Mom-O is off in Hamburg, Germany, this week, and I woke this morning to a little travelogue she’d written to share with our guys:
After arriving at work, the entire team took a tour of the Hamburg harbor by boat. I think I might’ve seen Captain Salty [A Richard Scarry character –J.] on the dock getting ready to get on board and steer us around. We got to see bridges, huge cargo ships, cranes, and other vehicles moving cargo around. We also got to see several tugboats and barges making their way towards various piers. There was a huge cruise ship in drydock being repaired, and lots of little passenger ferry boats going back and forth across the harbor.
Best part: After the cruise, we walked over to a big round building with a dome that is the entrance to a car & pedestrian tunnel that goes under the harbor! The cars drive onto a special elevator that takes them down to the tunnel entrance, and then they drive through to the other side, onto another elevator that takes them back up to the surface. Pedestrians/bicyclists take a smaller elevator and walk on the sidewalk alongside the cars going through. It was very very cool.
Finn was enthralled, wanting me to repeat the story. Then he asked, “Can we see the tunnel?” I had no idea, as Margot hadn’t been carrying a camera, but after about 30 seconds searching YouTube, we got our own little tour:
How cool, right? When Finn sees the lady walk by, he says, “There goes Mom-O! I see some curly hair!”
Ooh–maybe I can use Google Earth to give the guys a tour of the Port of Hamburg. And a-Googling I go… [Update: Here it is!]
Over the last few months, we’ve been charmed that Tyler (our little Tuesday-Thursday babysitting pal) has been calling everything “Bus!!” Living in San Francisco, he’s quite taken with the big busses that rumble past, and he calls anything vehicular (little toy shopping carts, garbage trucks, walkers, whatever) “Bus!”
Little Henry’s become quite the impressionable little myna bird, so now he goes around saying, “Bus, bus!!” If I’m holding him and he catches sight of our Richard Scarry Cars & Trucks book, he lunges sideways and paddles the air like Michael Phelps until I let him down to paw the pages. “Bus, bus!!” Good times all around. 🙂
Cable TV is stuffed (pardon the pun) with shows about people who cram their homes with more & more stuff. Our cheeky guys have a similar, albeit much cuter & less debilitating, tendency. Here we see Henry at the sushi joint, packing his jowls with tofu for winter:
And then of course there’s The Original Squirrel (he of the airbag cheeks), seen here going college-kids-in-a-phone-booth with a faceful of grapes:
A couple weeks ago, John stumbled upon a really great find for the boys–a set of black and yellow construction vehicle-shaped utensils: spoon, fork, and bulldozer/pusher. They’re from a company called “Constructive Eating” (hah hah), and were so cute in the pictures, we knew we had to order some for our truck-crazy tykes.
I surprised The Dudes with them at breakfast this morning, and they both went completely bananas over them. Finny has not had them out of his possession except to allow us to wash them off after eating. In fact, they accompanied him into the bath, to take in the garbage cans, and now he is sleeping with them clutched to his chest. Here are some shots of the guys enjoying their new tools: