Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic (Reya) Gold

A few hours ago the closing ceremony  in Vancouver, British Columbia wrapped up an historic Winter Olympics. The Americans took home more medals than any country at a single games, Apolo Ohno won his record sixth medal (then his seventh and eighth), and our hockey team nearly reproduced a miracle on ice against the Canadian juggernaut. I'm finding I enjoy The Games more and more as I get older - not just the competition and patriotism, but the inspiring emotional dedication to excellence by the athletes, the coaches, and the families. The media also does a bang-up job plugging human interest stories.

The past two Olympics have family memories attached to them, and I imagine as Amari gets older I will watch  The Games with her, sharing stories of Michael Phelps run for gold in 2008 or Michael Johnson's blazing speed in '96. At one point, I even imagined Amari as an Olympian and wondered how I would feel about that. I think in terms of time commitment and danger to her health I'd be happiest if she took to Olympic Curling. Maybe then I would have a shot at understanding both the rules and how it ever became accepted as an Olympic caliber sport. If I were Walter Ray Williams I'd feel cheated. That's a famous bowler joke for those of you scratching your head.

In honor of the Olympics, I present to you the gold medal winners in this weeks Local Infant-Toddler Olympics.

Gold Medalist in Best Cute Incoherent Rant (long program): Reya Gold

Last Friday I watched Reya for a couple of hours. Reya is a month shy of two and her vocabulary is multiplying daily. Unfortunately, I don't speak Reyanese fluently yet, so many of her new words are like a foreign language wrapped around words that only come in English. "Bonjour. Cava? Avez-vous un Starbuck's Mochaccino s'il vous plait?" At one point Reya begins talking to me, and for about three or four minutes she's speaking this Renglish language that only she, Nicole, and Noah understand. Mostly her, I think. It's cute and it's awesome and she is totally engaged in her story and what she is telling me. I decide it would be rude not to respond, so I seek out words I understand and say them back.

Reya: Ab-sha di blah boo and then Daddy sha do blee blah.
Isaac: Really? Daddy?
Reya (super excited): Yeah, Daddy! Bloo blee blah and in the car mine Granma shoop di do.
Isaac: No way! Granma?
Reya: No way! Granma! Bloop di bloo di blah
Isaac: Wow that's very interesting.
Reya: Yeah! That's inter blah blah.

And on and on. It was fantastic and I worked hard to keep a straight face. Then, out of the blue she jumps down from her chair walks to the alter in our bedroom, points to the bronze statue behind the burned incense and says in the crispest English I'd heard her speak, "Buddha?" It still makes me giggle.

Gold Medalist in Best Use of Song Lyrics while riding a tricycle: Liam

We spent this morning at the Golds. After brunch, we were all out on the porch taking in the novel, springtime sunshine. Susan and Williams boys were racing up and down on Radio Flyer trikes and Liam, who just turned three last week started singing as he drove back and forth. At first I didn't notice, but then I wondered why this song was suddenly stuck in my head. Then I listened more closely as Liam sang - in very good tune - "Life's on a highway, I'm gonna ride it all night long." The song is still stuck in my head.

Gold Medalist in Air Swimming and Tummy Time Inspiration: Hunter Calvert

Earlier in the week, Jim brought his six-month old by for a visit. As we placed our children on their tummies, the much stronger Hunter pushed into an upward dog that would make Baron Baptiste jealous. In response, Amari raised her head higher than she ever had and held Hunter's gaze. So excited by this enchanting encounter, Hunter tried desperately to crawl towards Amari. Unfortunately, he can't crawl yet and ended up with his arms and legs flailing in the air while his stomach held firmly to the floor. Had he been in the pool, his form would be perfect, perhaps giving Phelps a run for his money. Nonetheless, his efforts at this completely made-up event secured the first gold medal for the Calvert household.

Gold Medalist in Physical Motor Coordination Development While Simultaneously Impersonating Famous Actors: Amari B Fishman

As Amari got better this week, she also became increasingly fascinated with her hands. She will now lie on her back or her side for ages and reach out with one hand, then the other, and struggle to clasp them together before bringing them to her mouth. In the moments before her hands meet she looks like a cross between Adrian Monk and Michael J Fox, searching and shaking. Yes, I'm going straight to hell, but if you laughed I'll see you at the barbecue.

Watching Amari get well the past couple of days has been a joy. She looked so sad and confused by her sickness, uncomfortable with the congestion, the aches, and the fatigue. Her appetite is back and with it her radiant smile. It appears we may have another genetic anomaly to go with her hazel eyes - dimples. She also get's gold medals for Newfound Neck Strength, Novel Vocalizations, and all-important Cutathalon down at Big River this afternoon. The competition was thick, replete with previous year's champions, but thanks to the weather conditions, some beginner's luck, and the executive decision of the hometown judge, Amari took home the gold.

See you in Russia in 2014.

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