Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Atlantic City Sirens

We're in Atlantic City. Our first night sandwiching quality family time between billboards of half naked women and lights glowing in the shape of TRUMP. Our hotel sponsors activities like T-shirt painting, scavenger hunts and adult romantic swims. It's all on the weekly schedule.

"What's that sound?" I murmer in an annoyed tone, to my half-asleep husband.

"Sounds like someone set off the fire alarm."

"Can you call the front desk and see if someone's going to turn it off soon?"

"Brring brrring."

"I guess it's real."


"That's what they say."

Attempting to wake Nika is like pouring sustained effort into awakening a bear deep in hibernation. I try anyway. A slight, irritated groan was her best response to me shouting, "Fire Alarm" straight into her sleeping little ear. So I strap on my Baby Bjorn, put Baby Avriana inside, hoist Gabriel onto my hip and watch my husband heave Nika into his arms. Just one day shy of five, Nika is big.

We walk down five flights of stairs. Some people had to walk down thirty-two. Later found out, someone walked from the top down carrying a small baby. People mill around the lobby; grandmas in nighties, probably just finished gambling away a nice retirement; college kids chase each other with a water bottle; middle-aged people meander in tight clothing; a man on crutches complains; an east Asian couple with a baby, the mom clearly pregnant sit and wait.

The firefighters tromp casually around in their cool rigs; I figure this can't be a big, major fire, but I hope there's at least a tiny fire where no one gets hurt to warrant this late-night outing with the kids.

Nika wiggles like a worm in David's arms. Avriana sleeps. Gabe nuzzles her head, and eventually makes friends with the east Asian baby.

Apparently, it was a kitchen fire.

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