hile I've mostly been a prisoner of Tropical Storm Lee this weekend, I did get occasional entertaining updates from family to distract me from the rain (we had over 11 inches in my neighbourhood) and the haphazard opener of the Notre Dame football season, with its own two suspensions for weather. (Had I known my classes would be canceled on Friday as a precaution and that I'd have a four-day weekend, I might have made a trip somewhere.)
I talked to Joe and Nathan on Skype today, and to Daniele briefly, as she arrived back home. Nate wasn't in a mood to let Dad talk very easily and freely, trying to grab his attention back to more serious matters like reading about Thomas the Train. Joe said that Nate had been adjusting more to preschool, and that he seems to have become a minor celebrity after being shown off to the first graders for his astonishing ability to already read, two months shy of his third birthday. Joe was laughing about how a bunch of preschool to first grade kids were surrounding him when Joe was picking him up or dropping him off, with cries of "It's Nathan!" and requests like, "Spell 'elephant!'" Joe laughed about the sort of ambiguous feeling as to whether Nate was rock star or circus animal....
Dad continues to have more fun and satisfaction with his retirement job – being a first grade teacher's aide, primarily responsible for reading with kids one-on-one each day – than with anything he ever did in his official career. He couldn't stop laughing about something that happened last week with one of his new first grade girls. He and I had somehow gotten on the subject of the odd sort of grooming requirements men have adapt to as they get older. He is actually usually quite fastidious about this, but apparently not enough this time. He was working with this little lady when she said something that he didn't catch. (Dad's far more deaf than he'll ever admit.) So he told her that he didn't understand what she just said. She looked up at him, shook her head, and said, "That's 'cause you have hair in your ears!"
Sophie's cousin Livy had made her a pillow featuring a character from a cartoon Sophie likes, and told her that she would make her another one, featuring another character, if Sophie was a good girl and slept in her bed all night. (This has been a struggle, as Sophie tends to join Mom and Dad more than the other two did, probably because she's the only one in the house with her own room.) A package arrived around a week after the cousins had left, and Sophie was enormously excited to find that the mail contained, "A package for me?!" This was Livy's promised effort and Leslie opened it up with Sophie. Inside the wrapping paper was a box from a faucet assembly. Leslie, having a bit of fun, cried out in faux-excitement about how Livy had sent Sophie this beautiful new faucet for her bathroom! Sophie, completely let down, said, "That's a terrible present." and started to stalk away, until Leslie, laughing, helped her see that that was just the box that had been used. She might be a little entitled or spoiled as the baby of the family, but she can still deliver a line to crack us all up like nobody else....
Grace called me on the phone tonight, immeasurably excited about the weekend soccer tournament that she had just completed. She scored a few goals, has apparently become a very aggressive player who uses her tininess to trip bigger players up, and was absolutely over the moon about how her team had defeated a team that had gone undefeated the last two years. The had made it to the finals of the tournament with a scoreless (and, according to Leslie, amazingly dramatic) game, which fell to a five-shot shoot-off at the end that left both teams still scoreless, and then to a sudden-death ending where the other team won. She was still pretty satisfied with that second place finish, which kind of made me proud in and of itself. But her laughing about the dramatic thunderstorms interrupting yesterday's games (the same storms that caused the first-ever suspensions at Notre Dame), and the fun of just sort of waiting it out in cars, at Chili's, in having a team "party" in one of the parents' vans – it was all just satisfying to see her having so much fun.
As to Haley, her reluctance to talk on the telephone keeps me from giving her much equal space in current reporting. She talked to me, in the loosest sense of the word, on the phone earlier in the week, mostly not paying attention to anything I asked her and coming back with, "What?!" as though I had mentioned I was on the moon for the weekend. When she tried to pawn me off to Lucky, the dog, and talk to him instead, I knew we'd hit bottom for my ability to interest her in conversation.