Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dancer's Feast

I came across this on the web and am enthralled-- it's just done so well!  I love dance and choreography and think this is the bees knees! 

Here is why it works so well (in my opinion)

Anticipation-- They wait a full 30 seconds to reveal the lighting. 

Patience--The choregrapher builds the scene slowly by revealing bit by bit how the costumes can be used to create interest-- first by highlighting different parts of the costume, showing speed, showing depth with multiple planes and finally by showing volume-- there are a lot of these guys!

Complexity--  I can't even imagine how to go about choreographing something like this-- the idea of someone disappearing is just incredible!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Brave New World

We recently spent a week traveling to Virginia and Florida to spend time with our far away friends and family.  It was a great retreat for us and in James' opinion-- any chance to go on a plane is a worthwhile endeavor.

On the plane ride home, there were a couple pre-teen boys who sat behind James and who were openly discussing his hearing aids.  We could hear them debating whether or not he was listening to something or if they were some sort of mechanical device.   At some point they figured out they were hearing aids and they started mimicking my chatty, chatty son.*

Adults will often ask about James' hearing aids-- usually saying something about how their child had tubes. . . and then saying something close to- 'but it's not permanent, right?'

I don't mind these interactions at all-- in fact, I think it's great. I like the honesty, the curiosity and the genuineness of the inquiry.  I also like that everyone assumes the best.

The interaction usually ends with them commenting on how well adjusted he is to the aids.  Yep- they are part of his uniforms-- shirt, pants, socks, ears.*** 

Smaller people are also noting the hearing aids now-- and up until now they have all been an honest question. Usually I just describe them as eye-glasses for the ears.  Most of the under-five crowd seems to understand this analogy, bless it as cool and move on. . . . However, I have been dreading the day when it was no longer 'cool.'

James didn't realize that he was being made fun of-- which is probably a blessing at his age. . . but wow folks, how do I prepare for this?   I know all kids get made fun of-- it's what kids do. . . but it breaks my heart to see my baby have such a conspicuous excuse for teasing.

Be strong my bionic baby.

*James was repeating** 'Excuse Me, Daddy' over and over again.  If you are going to be the butt of the joke-- say something polite.  We are so proud.

**Repeat= at least 100 times.

***It took us a long, long time to get to the point where a toddler wearing hearing aids wasn't a constant fear-- but we made it.  High fives all around. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On a Closely Related Topic

I thought this was oddly appropriate as I have been talking about my changing emotions post-Deirdre. 

How I Went from a Heartless Bitch to a Sappy Cry-Baby (via Jezebel)

Becoming a parent is a life-altering experience. Or so we're told by like, all the parents. The way that people talk about it, I was under the impression that as soon as you have a baby you gain a membership into the Divine Order of Parenting, a not-so-secret society in which you instantly earn the wisdom and knowledge about big deal things like love and life that you could never have even begun to comprehend back when you were childless. But it's not like that. At all. If anything, you're more confused about everything, mostly because you're so tired. Still, there are some significant changes I've noticed in myself, like how I can't watch the evening news anymore without crying. And no, it has nothing to do with hormones. It's because all the stories are super sad and terrible things keep happening to people. And I no longer see them as "people" anymore — they're other women's babies!

I'm able to recognize now that prior to having a child of my own, I was a pretty desensitized and apathetic person. The dreadful kinds of news stories that routinely get airtime and newspaper inches were, for the most part, like wallpaper to me, something of which I was aware but, unless it directly affected me, my family or my friends, easy to ignore. Upon hearing something terrible, like about a kidnapping or an accidental death I would occasionally say, monotonously, "That's sad." It's kind of like when you type "LOL" with a totally straight face.

Now when I hear horrific stories—like the two-year-old little girl that was baked to death in a hot car after daycare providers forgot she was in there — it feels like someone is ripping my throat out through my vagina. I physically react by putting my hands on the sides of my face, pulling the skin down until it hurts and crying, "Nooooooo!"

And I'll seek out deplorable shit, too. That's really nothing new. I've had a fascination with the macabre for years, reading about serial killers and massacres online before going to sleep to scare the crap out of myself so that I was too afraid to walk past my open, dark closet in the night to go pee. But now my interests have shifted slightly, and they mostly have to do with children and pregnancy. I Googled "youngest mother to give birth" thinking I'd get some Guinness Book of World Records type stuff but instead found one of the most depressing and horrendous Wikipedia entries in existence listing all the youngest birth mothers in recorded history. The youngest one was five! FIVE! And there are so many others. And they're all little girls. And they were mostly impregnated by family members or neighbors. It's awful! They should be playing with dolls or running around on a playground. I cried real tears over their loss of innocence and sense of security.

I'm sorry if I'm bumming you out. Maybe this is how normal people react to terrible things and I was simply a heartless bitch before. But, for me, this is all part of a newly acquired, very prominent instinct to protect the defenseless, which extends beyond humans. My mom told me this story recently that still haunts me: She had taken the dogs for a walk and upon returning home, noticed that one of them, Jax, was in the corner whimpering. Since it was odd behavior for him, she approached him to see what was wrong. She realized he had something in his mouth, told him to drop it, and then picked it up. It was a baby rabbit. That's what was making the whimpering sounds. And Jax had killed it.

My mother was like, "It was mushy and disgusting! Thank God I picked it up with a plastic bag. And then your father's shouting at me to flush it down the toilet. That would screw up the pipes!" For her, it was just a gross anecdote about dogs bringing wild vermin into the house and how my father says annoying things that don't help. For me, it was about a baby bunny that was kidnapped and tortured and murdered and there's a mother out there who doesn't know what happened to her baby! Just the thought of it still turns my stomach.

Weirdly, though, my new sensitivity is arbitrarily selective. Other things that are universally known to kill appetites barely even faze me. I can sit on my couch and eat a bowl of cereal while I watch my husband give my daughter an enema on the ottoman. It's not like I'm blocking it out, either. I'm actually giving color commentary — analyzing the consistency, shape, and volume of the shit as it exits her anus — through mouthfuls of Cinnamon Life. But when I hear dialogue about killing a fictitious infant on a fantasy TV show, like on the premiere of the second season of Game of Thrones, I shut my eyes and cover my ears, because I couldn't bear the sounds of a mother screaming as a baby was ripped from her arms, even if it is all make-believe.

While my mom is a little harder than I when it comes to carnage, baby animal or otherwise (she worked as an R.N. in the E.R. for 25 years), I still remember something she said about 10 years ago while flipping through a copy of People, with a missing, pregnant Laci Peterson on the cover: "That girl's poor mother. I can't even imagine that kind of grief." At the time, I thought, "Oh that must be a mom thing." And now I know that it is. And I can totally relate to her on that. It's one thing to lose a family member, friend, sibling, spouse, or pet. I'd be super sad, but I'm confident in my ability to bounce back and get on with my life. Losing a child, however, is unfathomable to me. Becoming a mother has forged this new emotional connection to other mothers — including my own mom — because it's the first time in my life that I have a visceral understanding of another person's nightmare.

Just thinking about how inconsolable I'd be if something ever happened to my daughter makes me understand why my mom was such a bitch when I'd stay out all night or take off for a weekend in high school with my older boyfriend and not call. She was probably in agony with worry. I was the bitch! I can't believe I did that to her. She loves me so much! Oh my God, I'm crying right now typing this.

I don't know if these developments and my new-found empathy has made me a better person, but I'm pretty sure it's made me a better daughter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Laid To Rest- Part 1

Having a daughter has done some funny things to my emotions.  I feel much more thoughtful about the actual act of motherhood and much more thoughtful about my own mother.  There have been times during the stresses of the newborn phase where I have thought in a very visceral way: 'I want my mom.' 

That phrase isn't ordinarily mumbled by my inner voice- but lately it has been on repeat. 

It's two am and we are still rocking, 'you get some rest, I'll take the next shift' . .  I want my mom.  Matt's at work again and James is whining about wanting milk and my mom nodding in the knowing way 'you were like this too'. . . . I want my mom. Standing at Target wondering how exactly you dress a little girl. . . "Do you like the pink or the purple better?" I want my mom.

The act of passing on the art of mothering generation to generation is something that I won't experience first hand at this point.   With James, it hadn't crossed my mind too much-- we had amazing family support from Matthew's extended family and I have some pretty kick-ass friends.  But with the birth of my own daughter, I am starting to feel some pangs -- for any sort of faint connection that would tie me to my own mother.

Raising children is so much more than I ever would have thought.  More joy. More sorrow.  More love. More work.  It makes me much more appreciative of the sacrifices that my mother made on my behalf and wishful that I could thank her now that I understand so much more.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

Sweet Sweet Deirdre.  Or should I say. . .. Diedra, Deedra, Diedre, Dierdre.  Who know this would be a challenge?!

Ok, I maybe did a little bit. . . . but it has turned out to be quite a bit more unique than I once thought!  We looked at a lot of unique Irish names including Moira, Maeve, Siobhan, and Saoirse-- all of which have pronunciations that could be confusing. (It almost make Deirdre seem easy doesn't it?)  We were under the assumption that once people got it in their head once- it would be smooth sailing.

We didn't realize that there could be problems if people got it in their head incorrectly. . . and continued to think of it as that way!  Oops!

So all together now:  Deer-Dra, Deer-Dra, Deer-Dra.

Incorrect: Dee-Dra, Dee-Dree, and definitely not ok-- Dee Dee.*

I do really love the softness of Deirdre and I love that Irish legacy. As you can imagine, both sides of our family are very into the Irish lineage "thing" and it seemed to fit us to have a name that reflected that.  I also loved having a unique name growing up and wanted our daughter to have a similar gift-- (Sorry about those possible complications.)  We have a close relative who just can't seem to get it down.  We have considered setting up a college fund jar and having him put in a quarter every time he calls her Deedra. (Deidre)

Matt and I have known a couple Deirdre's growing up and all of them have been beautiful people with really interesting perspectives and a profound feminine strength.   Who wouldn't want that for their daughter**

Perhaps she can think of the spelling and pronunciation of her name as her own little mini ice-breaker.

"Hi, My name is Deirdre, no Deer-Dra. with two r's.. um.  No, E before I.  I know the rule isn't like that but. . . whatever I am an awesome super cool girl with a kick-ass name."***


* I had someone call me Dee-Dee once.  I was young (11), impressionable, self-conscious about my freaky emerging height. . . and have since strongly decided that it isn't the right name for me (or my beautiful daughter.)

**I do think it's funny how people's experiences with people with the same name shapes their preference.  There were a couple names where one or both of us said absolutely not-- there was the kid who lived in my neighborhood who was super rude. . etc. etc.  

***Let's hope our daughter handles initial conversations with more grace than her mother.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2 Cello's

At one point I was a mediocre cello player.  (you may have noticed the general trend with most of my musical abilities!)

I have always been a big cello fan--so check this out now-- 2Cellos.  These guys rock!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2 Months

Here she is at her 2 month photo.
We are 2 months-- I know!  Our girl is tracking along just as fine as can be.  She completed her first air travel a couple weeks ago and was able to meet many friends and family members on the Fitz National Tour.   (coming soon to a city near you).

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Back

Today I am back on a couple levels. 

I am back to work and back to blogging!  I didn't have a lot of free time for computer work during my maternity leave (not surprising, I know).  It felt right to not spend my days in front of a screen, especially since so much of my work is computer based. I decided to wait until I returned to work (today) to use blogging as a little break. I will be blogging a little here and there based on my schedule.  Welcome (again).