Posts tagged with "children"

parent time

When Karen’s at yoga, Aaron and I take turns cook­ing din­ner and play­ing with Ryan and Ruby (read: keep­ing them occu­pied and out of trou­ble). Then we gin­gerly con­vince them to eat what they can (good days involve uten­sils), make sure they’re bathed, and put into bed with a story if they’ve been good. Everything is man­age­able as one but eas­ier with two, espe­cially when the sim­ple act of get­ting rice into a child’s mouth can turn into an ordeal.

This is when I get to expe­ri­ence the joys of hav­ing chil­dren in man­age­able doses. That means not hav­ing to deal with dia­per changes, and read­ing the same 30-word book only four times instead of 400.

Ryan and Ruby

The new lap­tops were presents from Nana and Papa at Christmas. Now they can send/receive e-mails, and blog about the awe­some poop they just took.

Ryan used to be par­tic­u­larly excited to see his Uncle Jeff, leav­ing Aaron and Karen to won­der what got into him when I was around. Now that he’s a bit older, his face doesn’t carry the same glow when I arrive any­more, and he’s hap­pier to see the mar­bles I brought. But Ruby is begin­ning that phase of enam­our, and con­stantly clam­ber­ing into my lap to involve her­self in what I’m doing. Recently she started ask­ing me to carry her (which I’m told means mem­ber­ship in an exclu­sive club con­sist­ing of her par­ents and me), even though she’s just learned to man­age stairs by herself.

They seem to grow by inches every week, and they’ll soon be old enough to take care of them­selves. I’ve learned to appre­ci­ate the lit­tle chances I have to be truly part of a fam­ily like this, espe­cially after decid­ing last year against ever hav­ing kids of my own. And I don’t feel the need for chil­dren any­more cause this will always be enough.

Baby talk

One sum­mer in my teenage years, I vol­un­teered at a kinder camp1, and that filled a gap in my knowl­edge about any­one under 10. Unfortunately, that gap only spanned chil­dren between 3 and 5, and aside from that range, I knew noth­ing about kids.

So inter­act­ing with chil­dren who’ve yet learned to speak I found espe­cially awk­ward. I never under­stood how to talk to some­one who didn’t seem to under­stand what I was say­ing. It was like talk­ing to a stuffed ani­mal, which I’m pretty sure can’t be done by any sane per­son with­out feel­ing creepy.

Rosella in the car

 

Not to men­tion how phony it sounds. Why do peo­ple raise their voices, as if a child trusts them more if they sound like them2? They don’t nor­mally talk like that.

Then I real­ized that I do kitty talk, with the boospy, and the schmoopsy, and the pokey of the belly. I talk to my cat all the time, a habit I’ve prob­a­bly picked up from liv­ing by myself for the last three years, com­bined with the fact that I’m an extreme intro­vert and stay in my house for the major­ity of my time.

Which is strange because Dolly doesn’t under­stand any­thing I’m say­ing (though I’m sure cats are intel­li­gent enough to evolve to talk if they believed any­thing a human had to say could be impor­tant). And this is after I wrote an entry seven years ago, specif­i­cally about how awk­ward I found it to talk­ing to cats.

Maybe I’m com­fort­able enough with cats now to hold a con­ver­sa­tion with one. Or maybe I’m going crazy.

Rosella with tongue out

 

I’m get­ting more com­fort­able with kids too. Not just talk­ing to them, but the idea of hav­ing them myself, maybe because my friends are get­ting mar­ried and giv­ing birth and I’m spend­ing more time with a few adorable boys and girls. I can talk to them even though they only respond in monosyllables.

Jodie Foster once described hav­ing chil­dren as the most cre­ative thing she’s ever done, and I com­pletely under­stand that now. I can’t think of any­thing more cre­ative than nur­tur­ing growth, curios­ity, imag­i­na­tion, and ideas in another human being. One day, I’d like to expe­ri­ence it for myself.

  1. Cause I had noth­ing bet­ter to do. Seriously. []
  2. Though it worked for Owen Meany. []

Ryan's First Birthday

A video I shot as a Christmas present for Aaron and Karen. This was the first day I tried my “poor man’s steady­cam”, and aside from a few shaky shots from fid­dling around while try­ing to cap­ture every­thing, the pan­ning works very well.

I was think­ing about sav­ing the video for when Ryan gets mar­ried, but fig­ured I may be dead before that hap­pens, so I decided to give it to them now. There are so many notes in the pro­duc­tion of the video that I feel like I need a 10-minute direc­tors com­men­tary to cover all the details. Alas, I’ll leave the insight up to the viewer.

How can so many peo­ple love one lit­tle boy? It seems almost impossible.

Chip Off The Old Block

I don’t know what’s worth fight­ing for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I insti­gate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I’ll never be alright
So I’m break­ing the habit
I’m break­ing the habit tonight

—Linkin Park, Breaking The Habit

Studies have shown that kids with divorced par­ents are much more likely to end up being divorced them­selves. As role mod­els, we take the way their par­ents treat each other and use this as a model for our own rela­tion­ships. And even­tu­ally, our kids end up treat­ing their kids the same way because that’s all they know1.

I used to take my girl­friends for granted. It could have been a way for me to dis­tance myself to pre­vent get­ting hurt (as ther­apy has shown), or it may have just been what I thought rela­tion­ships were like.

I can recall my par­ents doing the same thing to each other. They didn’t marry out of love, they mar­ried because it was the thing to do when you reached a cer­tain age. Eventually, they merely inhab­ited the same house, not even sleep­ing in the same bed or room.

It’s a cycle, a trap. But that’s not an excuse for me.

I refuse to be like them. I refuse to end up like they did. I’m going to do my best to change that about myself.

And I will break the cycle.

  1. At least, that’s the excuse my mom uses. []