March 20th, 2005


Chicago Weekend

I visited Chicago last week with my family. We were there to celebrate both my mother's and my nephew's birthdays. Although they were both born in January, we didn't get around to making it out to Chicago to celebrate until March.

For my mum's birthday, we got a babysitter for the baby and all the rest of us (mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and me) went to see a one-man play called Gershwin Alone. (Chicago people, and anyone interested, click the link for a review and information.) That went incredibly well, much better than I could have hoped. First of all, the show was extremely well done. The writer and star of the show was very skilled, charming and expressive, both on the piano and in telling the story. I definitely enjoyed the show. Also, my sister managed to get us front-row tickets!

After the show, the audience joins the star in a sing-along. The pianist pulls out a stack of music, Gershwin's collected works, and then he takes requests from the audience. One of the first few songs was Summertime, I believe. We were all singing along (well more or less, he was trying to feed us the words, but we still struggled with more than the chorus), and then he paused, smiling.

"That's lovely," he said. "Whose voice is that I hear?" It was my mom! She does have a very pretty singing voice. So he asked my mom to stand up and she did a few lines solo (according to the review, he often picks out soloists). He was very pleased and complimentary, and I'm sure she appreciated it.

As she sat back down, I informed him, "She's here celebrating her 60th birthday!" So without being overly embarrassing he made a small fuss over her, even eventually leading the whole audience in a round of "happy birthday" later on in the sing-along. It was really the perfect birthday present, and totally unplanned!

My nephew's celebration was much more low-key. We played with him, gave him some presents, then played with him and the presents. I gave him some Thomas The Train toys, which he really liked (he's a big fan of trains). We also gave him some cute clothes (in which he showed no interest, but his mom really liked).

I gave him a cool pair of wrap-around sunglasses. At first he seemed interested, but when my sister put them on him he quickly decided he didn't like them. It's a bummer, because I came hurrying over to take a picture but he'd already removed them. Every time we tried to convince him to put them on again, he would shake his head and exclaim "No no no no!" (Can you tell we were celebrating his second birthday?)

On the other hand, I found that every time I put the sunglasses on, he would laugh. I had a difficult time getting him to smile for the camera, and an equal challenge trying to catch a smile when he happened to be looking in the general direction of the camera. So that's what this photo shows. He was happily playing with his trains (he's holding a Thomas, but not the one I gave him). I pointed the camera at him, focused it, put on the sunglasses, and called his name. He looked over -- as soon as he started laughing at me, I snapped the picture! So yes, this is a photo of a two-year-old mocking me....but isn't he adorable?