Monday, May 22, 2006

Eli 4.9

Here are several Eli 4.9 anecdotes that happened recently.

"Hey Eli, doesn't your mom look pretty today?" Gloria was walking down the stairs, looking particularly fetching.

"Oh yeah," he said. "Prettier than last week."

"Last week?" I asked.

"Yeah, her arms were looking a little hairy last week," he said. I burst out laughing. 'NO!" he shouts. "I'm TOTALLY SERIOUS. Her arms were HAIRY last week."

It was one of Gloria's finest moments, obviously. And just so she doesn't kill me, let me verify that her arms are, in fact, not hairy.

This week.

Kidding. But I'll gladly take a punch in the arm to be able to write that.

I've said this before, but at 4.9 Eli is really between worlds--the egghead world of the budding science expert and the totally naive, simple world of a child. And those worlds co-exist just seconds away from each other.

Today we went to lunch at the mall and then went to Pottery Barn, because for some reason he absolutely loves the toys they have there. He saw a mobile with the planets and immediately said "Daddy, look! It's the solar system." Thirty seconds later, he pulled out a little stuffed monkey from a baby bed, held it for a few seconds, then tucked it carefully back into bed, making sure the blanket didn't cover its face.

Eli doesn't really like to try new foods, but he can't live on chicken nuggets, waffles, and Smarties for the rest of his life. So I set up what I marketed as "The Ultimate Food Challenge," as kind of a spinoff on the series "Viking" (which is on ESPN 2, and it's pretty funny). If Eli tries a new food for every letter of the alphabet (part one), I'm going to put together a long obstacle course (he loves obstacle courses), and when he passes that, we're going to Sea World in San Antonio as a prize.

While we were in Disneyland, Eli tried popcorn shrimp (S) for the first time. He doesn't usually like new food, but he loves popcorn shrimp. So on Saturday morning, we went to the Pancake House for breakfast and he said he needed to go to the bathroom.

I was standing in the bathroom, he was doing his business in the stall, and he just broke up laughing. I had no idea why he he would be laughing in a toilet, and 90% of the reasons I could think of involved some kind of disaster. So he came out, washed his hands, and said "Daddy, do you remember when I tried popcorn shrimp last week?"

"I do," I said. "You really liked them."

"Well," he said. Then he started laughing again, and it took him a while to stop before he could talk. "I finished POOPING and my POOP looked like POPCORN SHRIMP." Then he cracked up again. He's doubled over from laughing so hard. That's high comedy for a four-year old.

We went to see Emily (our babysitter) graduate from nursing school last Friday. Eli 4.9 sat very patiently for, oh, two minutes, then he said "Daddy, when are the GRADUATERS gonna be here?"

Some tremendous windbag came up to give a speech, and it reminded my why I skipped my own college graduation. It was torture. Eli leaned over to me and quietly said "Daddy, this is just blah blah blah."

That's exactly what I was thinking, actually.

Last week, during his bath, Eli said "Daddy, what are these? They're squishy ovals, like Play-Do."

At Disneyland, Eli got to meet Ariel (The Little Mermaid) in person.

If you've been reading this column for a while, you'll remember that Eli had an incredible mermaid crush for at least a year. At first, it was the mermaid in a Wiggles video, but then he switched to Ariel. He had an Ariel doll that he took everywhere with him. Every night, we had to dry her with a towel (her lower half was soft--we had to wring it out), because he'd take her in the bath, and he went to sleep with her right next to him on the pillow. We actually bought a backup doll, just in case he ever needed a replacement.

He's outgrown the doll now, but he still has a huge crush on Ariel. So it was a huge deal to see her in person. She was sitting on her "shell" in Ariel's Grotto, and they did quite a job of making her look like the Ariel in the cartoon. Eli was so bashful that he wouldn't even get within arms length of her--he could hardly even lift his head up. We took a picture, then headed back to where we parked the stroller. While we were walking away, Eli turned to Gloria and said "Mommy, sometimes dreams DO come true."

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