birthdays

Wherever we go, we are preceded by Evan’s self-made celebrity status.

We step over the threshold of our beloved café and before we’ve shaken the snow off our boots Evan calls out, “HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!” and trots off to survey the treats behind the glass, marvelling at the CHERRY EXPWOSION BAR! and the WOCKY WOAD BWOWNIE!, asking and repeating the name of each as though it’s the most unbelievable thing he will ever see in his whole entire life.

As he weaves through the tables patrons smile broadly, and he stops to tell them all of circus trains and breakdown trains and cranky trains and twubblesome twucks, counting fingers waggling in mid-air, Sir Evan Toppem Hat status reporting for the benefit of everyone in a hundred-foot radius.

“Oooooo, MOMMY! Looooook! Beautiful dewicious! Oooo, dat’s my most favourite, ya, dat right dere,” as he points earnestly at a double chocolate cookie the size of his own head. He scurries around to the kitchen door and pipes out, “Hey nice lady, can I have a cookie, pweeze? A-dis one, right dere, pweeze. Yup.”

He’s mine, and of course he makes me smile, and my emotional investment in him amplifies how I see the smiles of others and all but smothers my registering of anything less. So is it bias, my perception of his curb appeal? Doesn’t matter. We want the world to see in our children what we celebrate as sassy, or determined, or relentlessly engaging. But in truth, we’re too busy giggling amongst ourselves, all like heh, there he goes, the little Juggernaut, to really notice.

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Today, Evan turns three years old and Ben, eight months old. As Evan leaps circles through the house squealing “3-2-1 BLASTOFF!” Ben is agog. Seeing it turns my heart to mush, two brothers slipping into big and baby roles. Evan thinks Ben is hysterical. Ben thinks Evan is a superhero. I think what they say about the capacity of hearts is true, that the mathematical effect of procreation is measured not with division but with multiplication.