ENZO & NICKY'S
Papa’s Guided Tour
Enzo's birthday celebration began on Friday morning with the opening of several presents that were sent from "California Grandma" and his girlfriend, Ruby, who is quite an artist herself and made her beau a very special card. Grandma had sent him several books, a sock puppet theater making kit, a “lap-top” educational game computer. Ruby and his Aunt Michele each gave him a box of craft supplies; construction paper, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, dancing eyes, stickers, confetti, and glue. Would later use them to make another half dozen stick paper puppets including a frog, rabbit, a carrot, a ducky, turtle and dragonfly.
The visiting Golfing Grandpa got him the telescope as promised. Along with a trumpet, which he loved playing. I tried to teach him revelry a few days later, but he did not take to such structured activity, Nicky seemed to like it, and in fact he seems to bear a certain rhythmic talent, because I’ve heard pound what sounded like a beat on the high-chair table and when he dances (jumps really) on my lap he feels like he is moving to a distinct pattern. Perhaps, it is just the Quija board effect. He also coos almost like he is singing, I swear I do not recall Enzo ever having such talent.
Apart from the creative birthday cake Mama made for the birthday boy, we treated him to the Liberty Hall of Science. Well, actually it ended up being his grandfather that treated him to the science exhibition hall, and endeded buying him a Hoberman sphere and a flying airplane. Enzo‘s favorite exhibit of the entire four floors of display was the one where a giant cockroach fro the Amazon was allowed to crawl up his bare arm. He also mesmerized by the IMAX film at the end of the day, Ocean Oasis, but so was everyone else. The experience was awesome, the picture literally surrounds you or at least extends beyond your normal peripheral vision.
When we returned and had cake for Enzo, he was allowed to open more presents from us including a special toy chest which I created for him the evening before, cutting and pasting a good two dozen photos of the IBM astronauts. It was supposed to go along with a certain theme we had going which included two sets of space pajamas, a Tescher robot and spaceship picture book, and the telescope. Other gifts form us included a kaleidoscope, a pair of roller-skates, a box of bugs (plastic of course), his very own office supplies and another book, Explosions, and incredible book of illustrations which you just have to see to believe.
Today, we also began to take apart a rusted electric lawn edger which the previous home owner left behind. Enzo got to have an inside look to the motor and all the copper wires and helped me unscrew the casket in which it was held.
He has his way with me
Org! so gentle it can pin me down
Org! takes me from the rut I'm in
Org! oh, you three letter cry,
Org! please spare me the guilt
Org! oh, don't make me laugh again
Org! really now, what have i
I also noticed something else when I was changing Nicky's diaper. He starred at it and the colorful characters imprinted on the waistband. This was significant because he usually just bites into it immediately after I had hand him the clean one to hold for me. I do believe this indicates that there was some pattern recognition forming on his part.
Enzo's newest fascination has been with the block construction set that his Godfather "Nino" Danny (my brother) sent him for his birthday. It consists of colored sticks which attach to pinwheels and double-sided pin connections.
I came home to discover a wonderfully well built tower as tall as Enzo standing in the center of our Sunroom. I was quite impressed. I asked Enzo "Did you build that?" Enzo smiled and replied, "No, mama did!" Oh.
When Enzo woke up this morning the first thing he asked me was "Papa, what are we going to build today?" So far, as per his specific request, we've made a construction paper scarecrow with strips of shredded paper hanging out as his hands and feet, as well as jetting out from under his hat. Enzo wants to "stick him in the garden to scare away the crows." For some odd reason though he has consistently referred to him as "The Snowman" throughout the day.
After the "snowman," we made another plaster or Paris mold and stuck Enzo and Nicky's right feet in it. We then decorated it with blue, orange and purple fabric glue.
Later on this afternoon Enzo and I were sitting in the den reading Dr. Seuss's "I Can Read with My Eyes Shut," which he had been read at least a hundred times, along with the rest of the good doctor's work. Upon closing the book Enzo surprised me with "book-cook, that rhymes!" I took his cue and told him "Okay I'll say a word and you tell me one that rhymes." His proficiency with mono-syllabic ryhming surprised me, sampling of which follows:
Of course, there were a few were also a number words made up along the way:
ant "bant"April 28:
First thing Enzo said to me this morning was "R is for Rubber, Papa" We tried to extend this to other letters, but all I got was his trademark "I don't know, tell me."
A few minutes later:
After releasing the window shades from their nocturnal slumber, Nicky, Enzo and I sat in the sunroom and watched the birds play in the rain amongst the evergreen branches perched outside our window. I brought my pocket version of Rimbaud and recited poems out loud. I was pleased to see both listened attentively. Enzo asked for explanations at every turn.
Rimbauld's Dawn was particularly spurring:
Before the palaces, nothing moved. The water lay dead.
I walked, waking warm and vital breath,
Almost every word and phrase and peer of sunlight through Rimbauld's venture prompted a question. The last sentence was particularly fruitful however.
"What means 'while stones watched, Papa?"
It is quite like the phrase for the song "El Rey" I have explained to you before: "Una pierda del camino, me dijo que mi destino, era a rodar y rodar." A stone in the road told me that my destiny, my purpose in life, was to roll and to roll. That is to be alone, his own. To live by his own rules, just like Rimbauld.
I continued to read:
I laughed at the blond Wasserfall
Then, one by one, I lifted her viels.
Another round of curious inquiry followed, ending with a request. "Papa, can you get me something to write with and write on? I want to write."
I was quite pleased to oblige.
Enzo was scribbling furiously when Mama, like the shades, would likewise rise from her slumber, and when she came into the room to greet us good morning, Enzo boldly said "Now, go somewhere, by yourself, because I'm wriitng."
He then again curled up in the corner of the couch and asked me "Papa, what do you think I'm writing?"
Later that afternoon Nicky, Enzo and I would ourselves take a refreshing walk in the woods. Upon our return from mass and lunch, a voice in the mist on this foggy day was calling us into Brookdale Park which opens at the end of our block. Enzo slept through most of this hour-long promenade, while Nicky and I explored the textures of the the dew on leaves, the rivers of tentacles sprouting out from each leaf's stem, the rough bark sighing with relief as it was soothed by the clinging moisture.
Towards the end of our walk, Enzo awoke. I placed Nicky back in the jogger stroller, where he would take his turn at slumber, while Enzo took my hand. We came to a fork in the path and I leaned down to tell Enzo "See how the path splits? It reminds me of my favorite passage in a poem. It's called 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost." I repeated the title and its poet, so that he could repeat it after me and then proceeded to recite (twice):
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
As joyous it was to take this opportunity to share these words with these two tabula rasa, I was equally ecstatic simply to have an excuse to read (poetry) aloud, something I rarely get to do.
While at mass I tried to stimulate Enzo's senses with a brief discussion on sound. I told him "Listen...there are a number of sounds that you can tell what they are just by listening." The church bell rang noon and I said, "See that is the ring of church calling us, there is no other sound like it. And how about the whoosh of wheels whirling water against wet pavement? Or the one and only scrunch of velcro parting on your jacket?" Inside I whispered, "Listen mijo, that's the mumble of the crowd. And soon you will hear the song of the choir rolling over us, as if God's people were receiveing His Word from on high, like angels singing to us whilst perched in their clouds."
Admittedly, encouraging him to be aware of the environment, at times was just a way to keep myself awake. For the whole going to church thing is such a paradox of experience for me. On one hand, I tear up when conveying to Enzo the Message of the Lord, to Love. And on the other, I resist. Because the pain of the process, irks when i have to deal with the anxiety "getting to church on time" spurs in some.
But it really is the message that keeps me coming back. Loving, giving, sacrifice of oneself all cumulatively worthy of the effort when played against a world that often asks for the opposite.
Lately, Enzo likes to talk about "guns." And even though I try hard to steer his thoughts to other things, I have to believe that to a certain point my diversions are futile. A parent cannot control everything, he can only do his best to enlighten and illuminate alternative paths.
One of my favorite monologues from Edmond's Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac bears worth repeating here:
But to sing,