I didn't realize I hadn't blogged in 11 days! Bad blogger, bad!
A bunch of stuff has happened since that day -- H. had his very first birthday party, both boys spent their first nights away from our home at their grandparents', and both had their very first American colds! Yay!
We traveled on a trio of ferry boats to get to my parents' place to spend Thanksgiving and celebrate H's b'day. The boys met my extended family on my dad's side (aunts, uncles and cousins) for the very first time, and it went as well as it possibly could have. My dad's family is SUPER laid-back. No one forced a hug or kiss, everyone let the guys be until they were ready to interact, no throwing them around and spinning them (what is it with people spinning boys around, anyway?) The boys had a great time, looked comfortable and interacted happily and appropriately with everyone, and didn't melt down. They even got to watch football for the first time on a giant television. We have a tv the size of a mid-'90's M@cintosh computer, so this was a Big Deal. They were transfixed. And surrounded by men, which they think is the bee's knees.
For some reason, I burst into tears upon seeing my aunt (the hostess) upon entering the house. I haven't seen any of these beloved relatives since we came back from Ethiopia. Spending the holiday with them, like I do each year, but this time with two kids -- well, it knocked me down, emotionally. Fortunately, the aunts all hugged me until I could stop and put a few words together.
Another wonderful thing was that the boys napped AND slept through the night at my parents' house. Miraculous you ask? Yes, I think so. H. told me it was "much easier to listen" at Nana and Poppie's than at home, because it was "more specialer." He really was a dream, as was his little bro. He had a wonderful birthday celebration with only the normal amount of ultra-activity for a little boy, and glowed with happiness all day long -- Lire was a bit miffed at not being able to share blowing out the candles, but hey, who wouldn't be? Funnily enough, Lire had asked Habtamu all the previous week if he could help blow out his "Happy Bird-day" candles. Every day. During every car ride. At every meal. Habtam finally took to saying, "Sssshhhh! Enough!" (it's what we say to the dog when he barks too much), or "Stop it! Lire too much asking!"
Everything was great until the final stretch to home in the car. With only a half hour to go, I became frustrated with H's kicking of my seat. Literally, I had kindly asked him to stop at least 20 times. I'm not exaggerating. When it became obvious that it was intentional, I took his birthday balloon hostage. I held up a pen and threatened to pop it unless he stopped kicking. Unfortunately, H's sense of humor isn't fully developed yet, and I hadn't realized how prized the balloon was. That was it. Every insult he could think of was thrown at me (including the ultimate put-down, "Daddy more careful-er driver (than) Mommy!").
I surrendered the blue balloon upon reaching home, thanking him for restraining himself from kicking my seat, and all was healed.
Until the next day. Can't remember what happened that time, but there was a blow-out. I guess he had held it in for all those days, he had to release a little tension.
Happy Birthday, Habtam! You and I have our moments like the one with the balloon, but ultimately, we have "too much fun!" You have grown SO MUCH in the past 7 months. You go to school and are learning to write your name, you discuss the sizes of engines amongst all of the cars we pass each day and how much gasoline they use (soon we'll be discussing the US's refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty), and you amaze me all the time with your ingenuity and creativity. You are a kind and loving older brother. Lire wouldn't be who he is today without you, I am sure of that. We love you dearly, our Little Big Man, just don't grow up too quick!
A couple pics of junior artists at work: