Monday, December 20, 2010

An Early X-mas

Since this past weekend was when we could have the maximum amount of family members around, we celebrated yesterday. A lot of the gifts were for Ms. Maya: a new car seat as she quickly has outgrown the infant one with her off the charts height. This one should be good until 60 lbs, a weight that Shanna was when she got out of the hospital when she was 10 although she probably would have exceeded the height requirement long before that. We got her a Circle of Neglect i.e. baby exer-saucer where she can sit and bounce and be amused with various activity stations before her giving Naomi a break. Shanna would plop her boys into one briefly and named it thus. Their Circle of Neglect was out-grown and given to charity. She also received clothes and toys.

And as for Naomi and Dontae, it is quite easy to buy things for people when they have close to nearly nothing. It was a nice evening with the ones I love. We of course missed our loved ones in Boston but they were here for Thanksgiving.  Ms. Maya was at her most charming smiling broadly at whomever she was passed to.Julia had made a very good dinner and decorated the house nicely. Josh had asked me to contribute a homemade cherry pie apparently without clearing this with his wife who had made her own dessert. Naomi came over earlier to help make the pie.Making pastry is something one has to practice. I hadn't been too diligent teaching the kids to cook as they grew up. The only one interested was Josh who stood beside me asking for opportunities to 'help'.He was in charge of 'beating': making whipped cream and meringues. Although he is charge of BBQing, I think Julia does most of the cooking with him helping upon repeated request. Shanna expressed little interest in cooking saying she would put herself in a situation in which she would not have to stoop to cooking. Naomi is trying to learn now at this late date though has a long way to go.

Earlier in the day, I was back at the Y. This time I spared myself the tedium of running in circles and concentrated on lifting weights. As I was doing my stretches, I was overhearing a conversation between two teachers. Oh, I know one of them! He was Shanna's middle school science teacher and also was the science enrichment person for the Y camp. In the past, I had arranged for demonstrations for his classes. In my past life, I would go into the schools (or in some cases the schools would come to my lab) and I would teach the kids the wonders of science. He is an excellent teacher who is especially gifted with connecting with the kids. He was promoted beyond the classroom. He remembered Shanna although that was almost 19 years ago. Anyway, he wants me to help him with his current project, environmental education, as he knows that at least for small windows of time, I can connect with kids too. I pointed out that my specialty is physical science, not life science but he asked me if I were smarter than a fourth grader So I may help him. I did hold him responsible for ending Shanna's swimming in bodies of water that are not pools. At the Y camp, he had a turtle pit containing some impressive turtles. One, judging from its enormous shell, was a hundred year old snapper. Shanna had asked him where it came from. Oh, the lake pointing to where the kids swam. Shanna decided then and there she would not share swimming space with snapping turtles or any other creature. In one of my triathlons, I had swam a mile across this same lake unmolested by snapping turtles. On our cruise, I could not get Shanna interested in snorkelling either. Swimming with jelly fish, barracuda, sharks and stinging coral just did not excite her though Naomi went with me.

Today I go to a neighborhood X-mas tea for moms whose boys were on a particular baseball team nearly 20 years ago. Josh is still friends with many of these boys and shares with me their lives. A couple of weeks ago, Naomi insisted on watching old movies. In one of them, Steve had filmed the baseball team during  the year of her birth. . How young and skinny the boys were! One of these former boys is now close to weighing 300 lbs. I had taken him, along with others, on our cross state bicycle rides. To make my life easier, I had screened the boys to make sure they were capable of riding 300 miles. Not all of his friends were. This one was on a swim team swimming for more than an hour at a time so I figured he had the endurance. So he did! But probably not now. I haven't seen many of these moms except at a distance in a year but still I look forward to it.

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