Home For The Holidays

Riku arrived on my doorstep at 9:45 this morning. I invited his parents upstairs for a minute before dashing off, to indulge in some freshly baked gingerbread cookies, made this morning and still warm. They went off with a couple of extras (Bryn took a couple for Brent too) and Riku enjoyed two of the little ones I had made for the two little ones in my life.

After waving goodbye to Akane and Bryn, Riku discovered the tiny wooden town set on the living room table (eight houses and a church), that had belonged to his Daddy. He quickly took them down, carrying them in two trips to the kitchen where he sat happily playing with them on the floor, while I finished off the cookies. Nap time after hot cereal and a thorough look through a British ABC book Doug had found for him ages ago; it seems to be a favourite right now and each time he looks at it he discovers something new.

After a forty minute nap Riku woke just in time for us to dash to the airport to pick up Doug. His flight was early, but thank goodness his bags were not, so he was patiently waiting for the bags when Riku ran up to him and grabbed his leg from behind. Riku gets so much attention as the minute someone smiles at Riku, he beams that 1000 watt smile right back at them, winning them over immediately. Riku's a charmer for sure!

Of course, we went on the free train that travels around the airport from the various terminals. We managed to get the front seat on the first part of the trip so that Riku has the best possible view. The last time we did this trip Riku pointed out the "tunnel" ahead of us, several times, and each time we told him that it wasn't a tunnel but a big roof. Today, as we came upon the first one of these he looked at me very seriously and said "roof... not a tunnel". We were astounded that he had not only retained that information but wanted to let us know about it too. Wow! as Amelia would say... this is one of her favourite words right now.

On the second part of our train ride, we had to share the big roomy platform with a man and his bag. Riku touched his bag and said "man's bag" and I said "yes, the man is going on a plane ride" to which Riku said "Canada." Of course the man heard him and turned to chat with me for a minute, asking if that was where we were going. Later on I told Riku he was going to Japan with his Mommy and Daddy; he processed that and then put it right back to me "Riku plane with Mommy, Daddy. Japan" nodding with certainty that this was correct.

On my walk home with Amelia the other day I had discovered a huge excavation site that I thought Riku would love to see. We stopped by there on our way home; Doug walked him over to see the huge flat lot of dirt with a digger, a pile driver (LOUD" Riku reported later to me) and a grader. It was like a Richard Scarry page come to life; perfect for this boy of ours.

We stopped at the grocery store for a few minutes; Riku and I stayed in the car. Today he had chosen to take a rat hand-puppet along to the airport with him, and while we waited Riku had the rat on his hand, facing towards the front window and saying to it in the sweetest voice "See??? ... cars." and then giving it a kiss. Then he turned it towards me, put it up to my face, and said "I'm hungry"... the first time I have heard this word from him. And he was obviously pretending for the rat too as he himself had just finished a container of yogurt while we waited for Doug.

Back home for lunch and then playtime with a new set of his Grandpa's old blocks, plus some that belonged to Auntie Kelly and Daddy too, not quite so old. I had organized his room yesterday so that three puzzles are at hand for him... his ABC puzzle, a rubber sorting peg set that used to belong to Bryn and Caillie, and a wooden set of puzzle pieces... heads, shirts, and pants that go together in various ways. Riku is very good at this and enjoys putting the sad face, or the worried face together with the various outfits. Fun to have these old toys being used by yet another set of children.

After a short afternoon nap I popped Riku into the tub for some water play, which he had asked for after lunch. He started off by getting out his favourite stick-on alphabet letters and stacking tub toys. Then Doug sat with him for ten minutes while I cleaned up the toys and he was very specific as to just what he wanted in his tub next. He asked Doug for a "bab", so in went the little doll from Caillie, and then he asked Doug for the "big baby" and Robin joined them. After playing with them a bit he told Doug to take them out. And by the time I joined them, the boat, that had gone in after the dolls, was also out. He used to just have the tub filled with things floating but not today... a new era.

Doug and I drove Riku home at 5:45, taking along a big bag of gingerbread cookies for the family, and then went off to "Home for the Holidays", a concert by the Gay Men's Chorus" of San Francisco. We used to attend this every Christmas Eve when we first moved here but of course when Brynnie was born started going to Toronto for Christmas. This year, for the first time, they held a concert the week before Christmas so we were able to attend. It's hard to explain what a wonderful evening this is, but the voices of the men are so beautiful, they sing both traditional carols and hymns, tonight threw in some Hanukkah and Kwanzaa music as well, and of course camped it up a bit for us too, making spirits light indeed! It always makes me a bit verklempt, as Mike Myers would say.

Four more sleeps...


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