George used to be into carabiners and guitar picks, but now he is into bald eagles, plastic bugs, and a long metal watering attachment that goes on the end of the hose. His passions are like a river you can never step twice into. Do not ask George, What’s your stuffed animal/imaginary friend/little toy’s name? He is not creative at naming things, and he is not interested in names. Do not ask George about his dreams; he doesn’t have any. Except one about a bald eagle that tries to scratch everybody. Do not read George a sad story about a kid who gets lost or has no parents; he will cry. Do not open his door for him or cut off the end of his Otter Pop; he wants to do it himself. Go ahead and laugh at George; no f***s given. He has questions for you, and you better have answers. Do not move something or get something new and not expect him to notice. Do not give George a Sharpie, but he is good with scissors. He is fearless and tireless. Remember that his tenacity will one day serve him well. Do not put him to bed early; he runs on food and gusto, not sleep. Do not give into him, even once. He will own you.
Della is trying to stop sucking her thumb. She has a pink Lycra thumb guard that she is so not ashamed of. She is a self-soother. She gives a lot of love and needs a lot in return. She is afraid of moonrats. Do not even say the word “moonrat.” She still loves Aroo, and she also loves Miss Kitty. Della’s bed is like a sanctuary city for outdoor cats. She dances while she skis and sings while she cleans. Do not expect her to remember what you asked her to do. Do not pressure her with milestones. Do not brush her hair. Just embrace her pure, irrepressible enthusiasm for everything from Lunchables to pop ballads. Give her a break when she crumples into a puddle. Do not be surprised when she falls asleep before dinner three nights out of seven. Remember that she hardly moved in utero. Do not laugh at her. She admits that she is not yet good at writing S’s, and she is matter-of-fact about George being the better skier. I admire her for still liking skiing and the letter S and her brother. She will get excited about anything that excites you. She will unconditionally love you.
It was a really good ski day, and Steve did not really get to enjoy it because he was babysitting in the lodge most of the time, George nursing an imaginary knee injury. I got to ski Sisters Bowl for the first time, and Steve was kind enough to say that it was like the story we included in our wedding ceremony about eating a duck.
“…his wife had once gone to Beijing and eaten duck there, and she often told him about it, and he would have to say the happiest moment of his life was her trip, and the eating of the duck.”
But I still think he is deep down jealous.
George likes to help Bappa in the yard. But Della needs some convincing to get outside. She usually says, okay but I’m going to need a blanket and an umbrella.
George: Me and Della are playing baby costume party, and I’m the pet bald eagle, and she’s the mommy fairy.
Della (scribbling in a composition book): I’m studying for kindergarten so things won’t be CRAZY when I get there.
George (tearfully, after bonking heads with Della): If only my head weren’t so big, this would never happen!
Della: George, when I go to kindergarten, I’m going to have homework, and you better not disturb me!
George (looking for something): I’m looking for the Internet.