Monday, March 17, 2008

Olympus as you never knew it...

When we only had two, of course we spent a lot of time inventing nick names for our young prodigy. They were wonderful, these two, Apollo and Athena. Why Greek gods? We thought them that promising and enjoyed the compare and contrast of their temperaments that such names allowed. And besides, we were comic book collecting, RPG playing, LOTR loving star trek watching geeks –this is what geeks do.

Apollo, god of music and light and reason, of course fit our gentle son’s personality. He was not a fighter, at least not with his fists.

Athena, pensive, tempermental and seemingly low maintenance until displeased, helped us to create our favorite phrase for describing her, like a goddess, easily amused, but also like a goddess, more easily perturbed. She also had her father’s heart wrapped around his finger.

Then Artemis showed up, and a cloud shadowed Athena’s face for a time. I have to share Dad? This is so wrong. While Apollo shined on…benevolently looking after his two sisters and indulging their daily competitions with each other –you know…girls. Artemis was also inscrutable, she'd be sweet and easy going one minute, and shut down another. She loved Athena but also loved driving her nuts by squirreling away time with Zeus. How come I never get fought over? Apollo remained unbothered by this sisterly rivalry. He’d roll his eyes with the smug knowledge of understanding that only a five year old could muster.

Then Hermes showed up. From the get go, he lived up to his Greek namesake, driving his older brother quite mad. He disassembled Lego models that had stood for years, made deals with his brother to not touch magic card decks in return for additional allowance, (yes a two year old can run an extortion racket, or at least this one did). He ran around the house at lightning speed, screaming to the point of inducing panic, causing his mother to ponder whether he was in fact the god of Nature rather than the swift footed glib brother of Apollo.

Alas, such were the golden days of Olympus

Hermes’ next sister showed up and he didn’t forgive us until a brother showed up two years later. Apollo actually thought this was great and regularly pointed out that “the replacement baby” had shown up because Hermes was so uncooperative. Zeus and I had to intervene. With her endless love of all things sparkly, pink, girlish and pretty, no one had any doubt who this blonde blue eyed goddess was. She got a glimpse of the ocean at the tender age of 1. The money quote sealed her as having been born of the water. “Mine.” Arms outstretched in a sign of hugging the whole Atlantic. Aphrodite claimed her title.

The next son, we struggled to name to continue the template. We hadn’t thought this far. Ares, Poseidon, and Hades, none of them seemed appropriate or terribly desirable. Bacchus also struck a wrong note. Fortunately, our son solved the problem for us by becoming addicted to the Disney video that became his Greek god name. The only problem was, when I read him the actual story of Hercules, he demanded to know “Where Pegasus was?” and telling him that Pegasus belonged to a different Greek hero of mythology didn’t satisfy.

With the birth of our next two daughters, the structure began to break down. We were out of goddesses that fit our daughter’s temperaments. Demeter? No, she’s mine. Hestia? No, that was mine too. Hera? Also mine. (Trust me, I need the harvest, hearth and wrath of three goddesses to get through the day), and the left over demi-goddesses were limited in appeal. Eris –goddess of discord? Thanks, no. Nike, spirit of Victory –debatable as to the gender. Persephone –raped and carried to the underground …ew…no. Helen of Troy, Penelope? What to do…and then…as before, the children solved it for us.

The two year old cupie doll came to discover her inner goddess name –the other day, in the early hours of the morning, she awakened. She went downstairs to the kitchen. After emptying the Cinnamon toast crunch and dancing the flakes into the floor, she channeled other artistic muses and scribbled on four walls using red marker, and filled in the window pane on the front door with black. Hungry from her artistic endeavors, she opened the freezer and got out the ice cream and had that for an early breakfast all before waking us up by pushing the panic button on my car keys.

Loki anyone?

The baby still needs to discover her moniker, but honestly, I’m not in any real hurry.

P.S. sorry this is a day late, but yesterday I did taxes, so by the end of the day, nothing was funny. For less taxing humor, try!

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