Mr. Gaga

The weeks leading up to turning two have been heady times for my son.  After a cautious and rather lackadaisical entry into the world of verbal communication, in recent weeks, words — or something like them — have flowed from Isaac’s lips like water, with new combinations and permutations emerging on the daily.  When it comes to music, he sings sweetly and confidently, like Justin Bieber.  On the physical front, the space between attempt and mastery of daring new feats like jumping, peddling a trike and walking the ropes on the jungle gym has shrunk drastically.  Once upon a time, it took him months to progress from a few tentative steps before falling to proper walking.  These days, he sees, he tries, he conquers.  And he’s getting better at mind games, too.  He has perfected the pre-bath stall tactic of constantly asking for MORE to eat at dinner.  He can fake cry with the best of them.  And he knows the power of NO and isn’t afraid to use it.

You could perfectly understand if all these new tricks were going to the little chap’s head. But never in a million years could I have imagined the outward manifestation of Isaac’s growing ego.  In the grand tradition of Eminem and Prince, Isaac has rebranded himself GAGA.  For the past week, he has been sauntering up to the mirror, a wide smile forming on his lips as he recognizes his likeness.  Then he points at the boy in the mirror and says GAGA!

I have tried to figure out if this is just poor pronunciation of ISAAC.  I have noticed that he struggles to pronounce words that start with vowels. YOGURT, for example, becomes GOGURK and OPEN becomes EEPEEN.  But GAGA is such a far cry from ISAAC that one can only conclude that its narcissism.

He doesn’t watch any TV, much less music videos that might gain him exposure to musical divas who take on stage names.  So how has this curious alias developed? As he counts down to his second birthday, is he feeling nostalgic for baby-hood, branding himself with a moniker that only the most nascent of talkers could pronounce? Does he think that he has an identical twin named GAGA? Has he decided that ISAAC has too many letters? Is he trying to get girls?

Dear reader, your guess is as good as mine.

Well, Happy 2nd Birthday, Gaga.  Just try to keep your alias on the down-low in case your much more famous namesake sues you for copyright infringement.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Assam be Thy Name

I promised this long ago. Herewith, my love letter to tea (just another Lovely Thing About Life in London):

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Keeping the faith

It’s the start of December, it’s that time of year…

So went the lyrics last Friday in Isaac’s toddler music group, which we have been attending faithfully for the past three months.  Each Friday morning, thirty naught-to-five’s and their caretakers assemble for an hour-long super-medley of musical skits and nursery rhymes.

As the only continuous sixty-minute period in my week that a) I am with Isaac and b) I can remain seated, toddler music group is special time indeed.  So you can imagine how other details about the group, like the fact that it meets in the local church hall, where a sign on the back wall proclaims CHRIST OUR LORD IS KING, could seem relatively insignificant.  Isaac and I do not celebrate Christmas, but the reality is that we are living in an Anglo-Saxon Protestant country.  The songs aren’t religious, so who cares where we meet and what gospel adorns the walls?

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

getting to ‘bus’

Two days ago, Isaac learned how to say “BUS.”

This was a joyous occasion indeed and the culmination of months of hard work and patience on my part.  In the past six months, while walking him here, there and everywhere, I have pointed out something on the order of 4,875 buses to him.  Single-decker, double-decker and bendy; private coaches, chartered routemasters and local authority transport services; he has observed each and every one with a zeal of a TFL inspector.  But he has never had a verbal reaction to these ubiquitous people movers.  Until this week.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

My summer vacation (so far)

Well, we’re about ten days into our annual summer visit to the U.S. Shortly before we left for America I made a silent promise to myself that I would not engage in that endlessly-entertaining-yet-often-malaise-inducing game of mental ping pong that I so often play when I’m here:

The Relative Merits of Here vs. There

       Oh chilled American microbrew, how I have missed you.

Bloody hell, people here are fat.

The washing machine cycle only takes 30 minutes. What will I do with all my free time??!

    The number of men who should not be wearing shorts (but are) has once again                  exceeded its daily quota.

    Air conditioning, you rule.

   Tea Party, you make the Tories look like raging liberals. Please would you find                another country to torment already.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Mangia, mangia

Fresh back from a long weekend in Milan and Lago di Como, I am reminded once again of how much I adore Italy.  This boot-shaped belle of southern Europe boasts some of the most gorgeous food on earth, sensational coffee, world class wines and a national love affair with gelato — and that’s merely the gastronomic delights (though in my estimation the most logical place to start).  Add to these most palatable pleasures stunning landscapes, amazing art and architecture and a lilting, almost lyrical language and you really need look no further for paradise.  Italia, sei meravigliosa.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Operation Red Hawk

Here’s a feel-good story for you:

Two and a half years ago, I lost my favorite t-shirt.  Actually, I didn’t lose it; I left it at a fairly awful hotel in Siem Reap.  We were in such haste to leave that fleabag place that I forgot that I had sent it through the hotel “laundry service.”  At the end of our stay, I boarded a plane for Vietnam, leaving my favorite shirt to twist lazily in the warm Cambodian sun.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments