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Sunday, August 6, 2006

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that three adults would be able to keep four kids under control. Wouldn’t you? Well, for the most part it worked out fine, although the volume level was a little out of phase, if you know what I mean.

Dakota had a party today to celebrate his sixth birthday. I wasn’t invited to that, nor did I make any attempt to get invited. It was a dinosaur party, and even the small portion of it I witnessed sounded a little like an outtake from Jurassic Park. There was a lot of roaring and braying from toy dinosaurs, and any silences were filled in by the six-year-old humans and their brothers and sisters and friends.

But I didn’t show up until after the party started winding down and the children were all leaving. (Except the four who had to stay because they belong to us, that is.) Suzanne was baby sitting the rest of the evening, and John was there to help her, and I wanted to see Dakota and drop off his present, so I hung around with them after Tammy and David left for a concert.

And while the rest of the evening was mildly chaotic, it was never so out of control that I would have been ashamed if a social worker had shown up. It’s just a good thing I didn’t have to watch all four kids on my own. Lesson learned. Don’t sign up for solo combat duty.

Dakota was actually in pretty good spirits, considering the amped up level of stimulation from all that activity. He was very happy with all the new toy dinosaurs he got and wanted nothing more than to tell everyone about them. And I was more than happy to listen. If there’s any subject where Dakota has more than his share of credibility, it’s dinosaurs.

With D.J., it’s not so much having something to talk about, but knowing where one topic leaves off and another begins. You have to pay pretty close attention to keep up with his wandering stream of thoughts, but we kicked the soccer ball back and forth for several uninterrupted minutes today, and I read him a whole book in one sitting. And he read one to me, too. This is a breakthrough of sorts.

Aiden was everywhere at once, as usual, and narrating the ebb and flow of life around him like an ESPN sportscaster. Nothing escapes him, and he wants you to know about it. And everything is either a big joke or so very serious that you get drawn into his world.

He picked up an empty box and motioned for me to take the other end. “You have to help me put this in the back of my truck, Uncle Mike.” And so we did, carrying this small box all the way through the house and across the patio and into the middle of the back yard, where he showed me very precisely how he wanted it to fit into the bed of his toy pickup.

When Dakota was opening one of the many toy dinosaur presents he got today, Aiden asked quite seriously, “Could I use that dinosaur?” Well, yes, one of the reasons we got Dakota so many was that he’d have enough to share, and I’m sure that’s how it will work out, one way or another.

6 August 2006

Dakota and T-Rex in the back yard.

And Kylie, I think, is finally warming up to me. Maybe it’s because I was sitting on the couch eating a sandwich, and when she very sweetly pulled herself up and stood with one hand on my knee, I couldn’t resist giving her little bites. She’s a good eater and will pretty much clean up anything in front of her and anything else people are willing to give her. I made her chortle a few times by exchanging sounds and making faces with her, but it was Suzanne who made her giggle. She loves her grandma, and I love that giggle.

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The anemic Giants offense finally showed signs of life today in the sixth inning, when they strung together five hits and scored three runs, on the way to a 6-2 win over the Rockies. Matt Cain struck out a career-high twelve in seven innings, and newly-acquired Vinnie Chulk threw two perfect innings to secure the win. Cain even contributed an RBI single, the first of his career. It was a big victory for the Giants, who had lost eleven of their previous twelve games and now head out for a ten-game road trip within their division. It’s definitely make or break time.

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