Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aruba 2007 - First Post

I have to say I’ve been looking forward to this post since starting “I think this world is perfect…” last May – we are blogging from Aruba! It was a very early morning yesterday but we got out OK. Gwen and I had been up packing and attending to last-minute details – charging the cameras and iPod, dividing up the Play-Doh, cutting up vegetables for the flight – until about midnight Tuesday, we took what amounted to a glorified nap and were up again at 4 a.m. to get things moving. The car pulled up at 5:15 a.m., we loaded in and were on our way.

On the drive to the airport Gwen says to the girls, “When we get there we have to say, “Bon Bini!”

Ava asks, “Why?”

“Because that’s how you say ‘Hello’ in Aruba,” Gwen responds.

Ava thinks about this for a second and replies, “OK, but ‘Hi’ is even better.”

At which point Madison chimes in with, “You could also say, ‘Konnichi wa,’ if you want to say hello in Japanese. We learned that in school.”

It was a perfect little demonstration of how our girls are different. Maybe it’s just their ages and the fact that Madison has two years on her sister, but it was not entirely out of character for Madison, confronted with the notion of “Bon Bini” to take it one step further and correctly prepare us for a trip to Japan, and for Ava to let us know that she was grateful for the information, but perfectly happy and comfortable with “Hi!”

The flight got off as scheduled at 8:05 a.m. and was a dream compared to previous years. At one point Gwen and I sat back for a brief review of fun moments in air travel from previous installments of the trip – the year Ava SCREAMED virtually non-stop from take-off to landing, even after we had tried to time the flight with one of her established naps. The year the older lock-jawed woman sitting in front of Madison turned around before the plane even left the gate and said, through a forced smile and gritted teeth, “I know it’s hard traveling with children, but she’s kicking my chair. Can you please make her stop?” Absolutely, we'll get right on that. And if you are this aggravated, this early, please know that we will be more than happy to help the EMTs haul you off the plane after your stroke.

Everything seemed easier this year, a function of the girls getting older and more self-sufficient. This was our first trip without a stroller, for example. Our luggage was lighter and there was less of it. I’m not making the flight out as the best four hours of my life or anything, but compared to previous years it was nothing short of a tremendous and uneventful success.

We hit our hotel room and after a few minutes of jumping up and down with Ava, Madison says, “This would be fun to live here, like for real Dad, live live here! Every day, wake up, go down to the pool!” Just a little more precious and unassailable wisdom from our 5-year-old.

As Madison was putting on her bathing suit on she told me, “Daddy, this is the kind of bathing suit that, when Mommies wear them, half of their boobies come out, like this,” and she made little crescent-shaped arcs where the cleavage should be, “it’s true, half of their boobies!”

When we got down to the pool and eventually visited the swim-up bar, sure enough, there was a woman – I can’t vouch for her “Mommy” status – across the way wearing a similar suit, with fairly ample “boobies” filling up the gap between the cloth triangles. Could have been one of Dr. Rey's patients, I couldn't immediately tell from where I was floating. Of course Madison noticed this, and proceeded to point across the bar area, saying, “See Dad, that’s what I meant, see the boobies?!”

Luckily the woman was out of earshot, and when she looked over in an attempt to understand why this little girl was pointing at her chest from across the pool, my Mom, who had not been privy to the earlier exchange, called out, smiling and nodding with familial pride, “My granddaughter likes your bathing suit!”

[Madison fights her way through the paparazzi at JFK]

[Aruba baggage claim. It's only fun if you touch every single piece of passing luggage and say, "Is this one ours?"]

[What it's all about]


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