Elliptical Year

Greetings 2008. You are so full of soft, elliptical shapes. It will be a pleasure to write you all year long, as opposed to your older sibling 2007, who ended with such a sharp and jagged number.

We spent our New Year's Eve quietly, watching Ratatouille (using the Arabic subtitles, I was able to more or less understand the heavily French-inflected English). We let the kids stay up late and eat butter-smothered popcorn as a reward for not breaking anything really expensive in 2007.
The calories were too much for Halen; he pooped out by 9:00. Savannah, however, has the gift of staying awake indefinitely if permitted to do so and thus had no trouble lasting until the movie ended. And that reminds me of a story supporting my claim of Savannah's insomniactic gift. Here goes.

The day we flew home from Syria -- Savannah was 16 months old -- we had to leave for the airport at 12:30 a.m. We all, including Savannah, had been awake since 7:00 in the morning -- nearly 18 hours. The airport was too interesting for Savannah to sleep: shiny objects were everywhere. She busied herself puttering around and charming all the tired Arabs. Shannon and I busied ourselves taking turns lumbering like zombies after her to ensure she didn't wander onto any runways.

Our plane left at 5:00 a.m. Savannah was a bit slap-happy by that time, but impossibly lucid for having been awake for nearly 24 hours. All the bleary-eyed souls in line to board the plane stared vacantly at her, distant smiles draped across their faces, as she meandered through the maze of legs and luggage, offering the occasional observer a happy grin. Shannon and I were certain we'd been given a child with super-hero powers. I suggested we dub her "Speed" and send her off to the X-Men academy with all the other mutants. Shannon balked, citing the exorbitant costs. I agreed in the end, afraid the other students -- who could do things like fly around using jet propulsion from their toes -- would mock her for her comparably docile super-power.
Savannah eventually caught a nap or two while we waited for our connecting flight in Istanbul, but it was clear to us we had a phenom on our hands. Unfortunately, "America's Got Talent" doesn't really cater to the type of talent our sweet little Sue possesses. Oh well. Their loss.

Back to New Year's Eve: after savoring the cinematic genius of Ratatouille, we put Savannah to bed and fell immediately asleep. It was, after all, nearly 11:00. Married people with children can't stay awake past 11:00, or else we spontaneously combust. I've seen it happen. Very messy.

Our wealthy Arab neighbors, in typical wealthy Arab fashion, celebrated the New Year loudly. Everything they do they do big and they do loud. Fireworks shook the windows, jolting me from sleep. Shannon, my dear wife, snored on unperturbed. The fireworks were accompanied by unrestrained group yells and chants. "1-2-3 AAAAAAHHH!!!" screamed a bevy of 'tweens next door, uncreatively. I can think of like 32 better chants without any of my neurons even firing.