Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My kid is cool...

...well, actually they both are cool. But every once in a while, there is an anecdote that bears repeating. Tomorrow is their 6th birthday - that is, 6 years since that fateful night when they cut my kids out of my stomach. It's been an amazing adventure - not easy of course, but parenthood isn't supposed to be easy. But 21 surgeries, 4 shunts, visual impairment, blindness and seizures in foreign countries all add up to some pretty thick skin but also some very good life lessons.

Creed and Zelda are now in Kindergarten. They miss their beloved Ecole of 3 years and their friends that they made there, but are adapting very well to Kindergarten. They have dedicated and attentive teachers and classrooms full of new friends. But with a birthday at the start of a new school in a new school year, it's a bit difficult to put together that list of invitees for the Birthday Extravaganza at Kiddies Acres. Of course, we'll invite their old "amis" from Ecole as we try to sift through 22 kids in each of their new classes and find out who each of the twins calls a friend in only week #2 of school.

With Zelda, it's always a bit difficult to figure out who she likes. Everyone seems to love Zelda, as they call out her name each morning and cheerfully say "Hi Zelda." She, on the other hand, seems quite indifferent to almost everyone except for the teachers.
But with Creed, we try to pull information out of him. Creed had already decided on 2 friends that he wanted to invite.
Joey is his new best buddy - they met the first day of school - and Creed mentions him everyday. So, then I asked Creed, "Who else besides Joey would you like to invite from your class?"
His answer: "Mom, I want to invite Zachy. I know that he'll need extra help but I really want him to come to my party."
Zachy is in a wheelchair. He doesn't walk or speak. He was in Zelda's PPCD class last year (Public Preschool for Children with Disabilities) so we have passed the year with smiles and knowing looks between us and his parents and his sister is in Zelda's Kindergarten. Of all of the kids, Creed wanted to invite Zachy. I love that in him. I wish every kid would feel that way for Zachy, for Zelda, for Fin, for all those kids that are loved from afar but are not always included...I wish for every kid, parent, family and otherwise to have that kind of compassion.

Happy, happy birthday to my twins - I am so glad that they are not "normal"....I love you, C & Z!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tumblr - STOP IT!

...well, I really don't hate Tumblr but I do hate how people use it. There has been this trend around for a while of posting photos - just cool photos, things people like, no words, no reasons, no descriptions, not even photos taken by the poster. They are usually photos found on the internet that people obviously like for one reason or another and want to share for whatever reason. There are entire blogs based on this. Entire magazines. Well, it pisses me off. I guess mostly because people are not giving reasons. There is an ingrained, unspoken and assumed "stamp of approval" without words. It's actually quite egotistical. "I like this, therefore you should." "I see validity in this, don't you?" But I want a conversation - is it the color? The beauty of the sunset? The shape of the clothing? The black and white starkness? The fragile patina of eroding paint?

I like photos, too. I like lots of things expressed by others in a visual medium. But recently I have realized why I need to describe what it is about something and why I like it. Zelda makes me open my eyes, my ears and my thoughts more and more each day. It's not good enough to just take a road trip with the twins and say "Hey, look at those cows!" I describe the shape, the color, how many there are, the sound they make, and the field they are standing in. If I see a cool building or a billboard or the right red ball of the sun coming up this morning - it's too easy to say to Creed, "Wow, look at the sun." The dialogue is needed. Why is it different or interesting or beautiful? How does the color compare to something else in nature? How does it make him feel?

So, I think Tumblr lets people be lazy. People who spend time looking at other people's work...the photographer had a reason to take the photo, the photo is his or her words. They are not yours. Challenge yourself.

This morning as I drove the kids to school, I did it in an almost unconscious kind of way. Usually, Evan and I pull in Circle Drive and I get out and walk with each twin to their Kindergarten classroom while Evan waits in car. The children are used to it. Zelda knows the route to Casis and that curve into the drop-off driveway as well as she knows the hill of our street, the turn down our alley and the slant of our driveway. But this morning, Evan had an errand and I took the kids to school alone. I parked the car on a side street and then began walking them down the sidewalk, up the concrete steps and around the back of the school. Creed was thrilled. He recognized the route and could tell we were entering the school from a back door. And then I heard it: Zelda asking, "Mama, what are we doing?" Shit, I hadn't told her. It was the Tumblr photo. It was the assumption. It was a lack of words. It snapped in me - the beauty of words is just as important, strong and inviting as the beauty of the visual. Have we become more and more steeped in a lazy expression of another person's declaration of their "vision"? Does any of this make sense to anyone besides me? I would appreciate your thoughts...

P.S. Oh, and another thing I have a hard time with is blogs by people that post what they are wearing every day. It seems to be a twenty-something phenomenon. Yes, you are all "super cute" and clever stylists. Bravo. But now really kids, do we really care about how you put together your "vintage find" with last year's belt from a designer sale?
Can you tell I am in a snarky mood?