Meet Ariel. Born ever so overdue, my belated Valentine came into this realm on February 16, 1984 with a cast of thousands looking on. Being a month old when he was born, he got off to a roaring start and impatiently tackled all of the human baby milestones (creeping, walking/running, talking) so early that it seemed almost impossible for someone so tiny to be having coherent conversations with everyone. For example, he would be nestled comfortably in my arms while I was talking to a friend, and when it came time to say goodbye... he would reach out one of those sticky little paws and place it on his or her arm and watch them leap with surprise as he said in all seriousness, "Give me a call. We'll do wunch." Thank God, he hadn't mastered L's or it would have been too frightening.
Ah, but the soft palette proved impossible to overwhelm with intent. His earliest name for me was not Mama or Gaga or anything resembling a child's interpretation of Mother. It was RIBASUS. It took me a while, being sleep deprived and soft in the head, to divine what he was saying. He would get red in the face with frustration, repeating this word over and over. It finally dawned on me. He was doing is best to say Elizabeth.
I should have known...
Ariel would prove to be ahead of the curve on many things. Why settle for Mama when you know her real name? Well, he conquered the pronounciation and found it disappointing somehow. He went for variety instead in his variations on Mother. These have included saying "Mother" (and you can hear the quotation marks around it...) and the ever popular, "Hey, Lady!" which worked very well at the grocery store or some other public venue. But friends and most of the children I meet now call me Ribasus. I like it. I answer to it.
And how about Ariel? Is it any surprise that my little angel is pursuing a career in entertainment? Where will the big break come? Who knows? In the meantime, he is honing his standup comedy and performing live as much as possible, appearing in the miniseries Doc West, reading for roles and flashing his dynamic presence on the runway. GO ARIEL!!!!!