4pm Saturday (T minus 22 hours)
This time, we stayed at the Four Seasons which bears zero resemblance to the Las Vegas I've previously visited. The lobby was hushed and casino-free, the air was verbena-scented and the vegetation was lush and subtropical. And no, I don't want to know what their water bill is.
The first hint of danger came when Luca found this waiting for him in the room. Even the sign was edible.
He turned to us with dilated pupils and said, "Can I have my birthday here?" (Breathe. Relax. Breathe.) In the bathroom, the mini robe, children's toiletries and alphabet sponges which spelled out his name only further convinced him that we'd been grievously holding out on him for seven years.
7pm Saturday (T minus 18 hours)
That night, when Piero left to go see his show, Luca and I went to see Cirque du Soleil's "Mystere." I swear he didn't blink once the entire performance.
10pm Saturday (T minus 15 hours)
After we returned to the room, he stood on his little cot and gazed out at the sea of lights, utterly hypnotized. I kept thinking, all those summers in Europe and this is what sticks? Oh, Lordy.
9 am Sunday (T minus 4 hours)
We woke up late-ish and went down to the hotel restaurant to check out their famous Mother's Day buffet. As soon as Piero and I saw the table of children's food, we knew Luca would be a goner. It was a Roald Dahl fantasy on steroids: tower after tower of mini cheeseburgers and Rice Krispies and cones of french fries and cakes and brownies and rainbow-colored Jello. We realized we needed to brace ourselves for the possibility that someday our son might very well be moving to Nevada.
Here he is, out of his mind with delirium after having ingested a truckload of food.
My smile is masking my fear.
Noon Sunday (T minus 2 hours)
After brunch, it was nearly time to leave for the aiport. Of course, Luca was panicked by the thought and kept trying to push Piero down the hall back to the hotel room.
In an inspired moment, Piero remembered the old "I'll time you" routine and raced him to the elevator. Before Luca knew what was happening, we were in a cab on the way to the airport and back to the safety of Hollywood, California.
Deprogramming starts tomorrow.