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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Marta's Second Birthday

Wow, could it already be two years since little Marta popped out to say 'hello?'

The morning of December 30, 2005 started with the sound of Epp hustling and bustling on a fresh caffeine high as me and the now 2-year-old Marta slept soundly in my old room at my parent's house.

I have to say I was a little annoyed when Epp woke me up and I took a quick shower to put a dent on the daily layer of grease that accumulates on my body and get ready for what looked like a very packed day. We planned to take the 10.10 am train into Manhattan and take Marta to the Manhattan Children's Museum on West 83rd Street for her birthday fun.

Because none of my cousins nor my brother have any kids, and Marta's sole first cousin lives about 3,500 miles away in Tartu, Estonia, we sort of had to compensate by treating Marta to a whole three-story "museum" brimming with violent youth.

But back to breakfast - we had cake. Marta got some bath bubbles to feed her need for "more bubbles, Issi, more bubbles." She also got a doll which bears something of a resemblance to her. My mother was very worried that her anti-social son and daughter-in-law would reject the doll, but I think it's a good doll, and it's better than those "learn to be a ho" dolls they sell that wear skimpy clothing and have dumb names like "Kimber." Have you seen these brainwashing commercials? "Kimber likes to shop at the mall and talk on her cell with her friends. Kimber likes to brush her hair all the time. Sure Kimber reads books, books about brushing her hair and shopping at the mall..." VOMIT. Not for my daughter!

But God did we have to rush! The train was scheduled to leave at 10.10 and we had to jam a whole bunch of new Christmas shit into different bags and contend with alternate plans being laid out by my father and organize, organize, organize, dress Marta. And then when we were almost to the train station, we realized that we forgot Marta's stroller(!) Ugh. We had to turn around and go back. Then at the train station we realized I had left my bank card in Epp's coat at home. We only had X amount of dollars in cash and a credit card. I thought it was going to be one of "those" days. But it wasn't. marta did well on the train, and the trip didn't seem to take that long. Instead we played with finger puppets - a pig, a zebras, a panda, and - yes - a duckbilled platypus.

We took the 2 Express train by accident and got out at 94th Street instead of 79th, but we enjoyed our long walk down the Upper West Side, which is REALLY nice. No wonder it costs so much to live there! I'd live there too if I could. Definitely beats provincial Hoboken. Eventually we came to the museum which was just a normal brick building with a big ramp. Now, all day long I had been feeling awesome about being a parent. I wasthinking about how rewarding it was, and how emotionally full I was and then I went into the Children's Museum where there was this cacophonous avalanche of screaming children and mother's with abrasive New Yawk accents disciplining their insolent brats.

In that atmosphere - hot, loud, claustrophobic - I started reconsidering the joys of parenthood. My nerves tingled in irritation. Eventually I checked out coats and we went into the melee. Marta took off. She was very aggressive in thier elbowing her way around the exhibit - Alice's Wonderland. It was very well done, my favorite part was a surprisingly empty room where the Cheshire Cat was painted in glow-in-the-dark paint, and I remembered that Lewis Carroll poem Jabberwocky - "'twas brilling, and the slithy toves, did gyre and gimble in the wave/all mimsy were the borogroves, and the momeraths outgrabe." I haven't shown Marta Alice in Wonderland yet, and I am sort of reluctant to do so. I am not sure when she'll be "ready."

Upstairs, Marta had fun playing with a bus and running around more rooms. Eventually we went to see a concert from the "Winter Wonderland Singers" who were pretty good. When I paid eight bucks a piece to get us in I thought the museum would rip us off every step of the way (like most museums) but the eight dollars covered everything - even the concert. During the concert I looked at the other parents. This was fun. There were parents there that looked REALLY old (gray hair etc.) You wondered, did motherhood just age these women a lot in five years or are they late menopausers? Then there were couples that looked like they were from a 1980s after school special on teenage parenting. They looked much younger - I mean the father looked like he was barely shaving. There were Hippie children with long hair and parents with dreadlocks, and Asian families, and quite a few mothers that had one in the oven while they dragged their first borns around. Altogether it showed that basically anyone that CAN have a child often DOES have a child ;)

Eventually, Epp's friend Kärt showed up with her son Aaron, who is three years older than Marta. Aaron is very energetic, but Marta tried to keep up and she did something bad to a bunch of kids building a wall out of rubber field stones - she ran up and knocked them down...just for the hell of it.

Then she ran through the exhibit "Dora the Explorer" doing more damage. She even went up to a Sikh guy (with a long white beard who she may have thought looked like Santa Claus) and gave him a hug. Part of the Dora Explorer exhibition is in Spanish and all the time I was learning more Spanish words as Marta ran around. I have a feeling she learned NO Spanish words yesterday.

After a lot of activity we left the Children's Museum and went to Central park for a walk. Marta was really hungry but by the time we got food, she had passed out. So Epp and I went for a really nice walk through Central Park. We were going to go to FAO Schwartz when Marta woke up to indulge her, but Kärt advised against it. Ultimately we flipped a coin and Central Park won. It really makes the city what it is. So much of New York City - most of the four OTHER boroughs - are ugly and crappy. But Central Park is well groomed and relaxing. It's quiet in their - and the glacial rock croppings that were fun to climb when I was a kid are still fun to climb as an adult.

Eventually we left the park to meet up with my parents down in Rockefeller Center. It WAS a nuthouse. Like a larger version of the Children's Museum. "The Tree" itself is magnificent. You can hardly see the green because of the lights, which blur into this great vision. It was SO crowded though and a bit corporate - though not in a bad way. But that's just how those places make their money - they sort of graft the spirit of Christmas onto material things - so that it's not just a sweater, its imbued with spirit of Christmas!

The night ended up back in Hoboken. It was so good to be back in our apartment. Marta came in and looked at me and said "Ooh Mõnus" (oh cool). We then went out to dinner with Ian and his friend Suzanne at Margherita's around the corner. It was good food but I was stuffed. Somewhere in the middle of the meal, Marta caught her third wind and started singing. First it was "Mary Had a Little Lamb" but later it turned into her just screaming (really loud) "Quack Quack Quack." And you couldn't get her to be quiet. Somehow the staff found out it was Marta's birthday and everybody in the restaurant sang her "happy birthday." I remember the waiter asking if we were Polish, I guess because Marta is a common Polish name. Anyway that was a good piece of apple pie and i have to say this had to be one of the best birthday's I've ever been to.


Blogger Eppppp said...

It was interesting to read me because I just finished the ovoewview of that day... Mostly we were talking about the same things but sometimes in different ways,
anyway, you have a mistake - Kärt`s son is Aren (not Aaron).

6:20 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

I love being filled in on Marta's life! I hope this continues until she can keep her own blog :)

8:33 AM  
Blogger Martasmimi said...

I was happy that the doll was an okay present for Miss Marta..
I felt that my baby girl should have a doll from her Mimi on the occasion of her 2nd birthday
It was good to hear that you wern't offended...
Mimi loves you Marta!!!!

2:05 PM  
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2:07 AM  

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