• Music Rocks (Except When It Is All The Same)

    The relationship between music and humans is a love story. You have to wonder about the first person who technically “made” music, but I am sure they were inspired by the existing music of nature. The music of rain, the music of thunder, the music of the ocean’s waves, the music of wind, the music of breath, the music our mouths make when they mingle in the soaking veil of dancing tongues… oh… wait… sorry, I got carried away.

    It is human nature to move our bodies to music with its soothing repetition daring our hearts to synchronize with the rhythm. Babies instinctually know to bounce and sway to the beat.

    They love music and they also love singing.

    Okay, but this is where things get kind of queer. Babies do love singing, but they have seriously crappy tastes sometimes. If I try to sing The Beatles or Zeppelin to The Munch she is pretty ambivalent… but “itsy bitsy spider” or “the wheels on the bus” and I feel like Adel she is so overcome by my talent.

    So this is what I noticed. All these songs have the same stupid tune!!!

    ABC (The Alphabet Song)
    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
    Bah Bah Black Sheep

    This spider wasn’t so itsty bitsy, but The Munch LOVED her

    October 6, 2011 • 1 year old, Education, Playing • Views: 1892

  • Do It Again!

    Think of something that you really really like… is there a limit to how many times you want that thing to happen? Okay fine, if you are a guy, you have to wait a half an hour before it can happen again, but do you find as an adult you are emotionally prepared to let good time be just that? You don’t have to repeat it again and again and again and again and again and again…

    This is the problem with kids. You do something they enjoy or think is funny and they want you to do it again. You would think it wouldn’t be as humorous the 27th time I made the stuffed bear sneeze into the dolly’s face… but it is…

    The Munch either lives in a time warp of extra dimensions where everything is happening both simultaneously and continuously in infinite space, or she has the memory of a goldfish. I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone because her reaction of joy never seems to diminish no matter how many times I repeat the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

    Now this is where things get kind of twisted…

    The Munch is REALY into reading books right now. Let me rephrase, she is really into ME reading books to her. Okay. Theoretically this is great right? It is a sign of intelligence that she will sit down and let me read to her for an extended period. That or she is smoking weed behind my back and wishing I would just let her watch TV already.

    But this is my problem. Baby books are about as exciting as waiting in line at the DMV. Sometimes I feel like if I have to make another freakn’ animal noise I am going to shove a fork through my nose and into my brain to give myself a lobotomy.

    I tried to explain to her “Look Munch… it really isn’t going to get you anywhere in life to know that a pig goes ‘oink’ or what color the ducky is. For all we know what you see as yellow is what I see as green, you dig? You see how colors don’t really matter? Besides, when you grow up you will have the internet implanted into your brain. Why don’t we just take a break from reading this and go play in the toilette for a bit?”

    But no… If I stop reading before she is ready it is as if I scraped her soul with the broken shards of unicorn horns she is so distraught.

    So I started hiding some of her books.

    I know… I know… it is wrong of me…. And besides, she is so sneaky she found them anyway….

    “Okay Munch… that is a Tiger… not that it matters to you because they will all be extinct soon anyway…”

    October 5, 2011 • 1 year old, baby brain, Behavior, Books, Education, Parenting, Playing • Views: 2495

  • Good At Lots of Things, Excellent At Nothing

    Are you excellent at anything? Could you consider yourself to be seriously top notch amazing at one specific skill? Are you child prodigy violinist, the most talented dancer, a gold medal Olympic athlete, the utmost sought after brain surgeon, or a master at bating?

    Can you imagine the focus, dedication, and commitment it takes to truly be the best at something? If I am being honest with myself, which I often regret doing because I tend to be oversensitive to criticism…no I don’t….yes you do… no I don’t and stop saying that Toni you big dumb jerk… I would have to admit that I am good at lots of things but excellent at nothing.

    I can play sports, I know how to throw a football, I can skateboard, surf, knit, cook, dance, edit video, stand on my head, do a backflip, and text message with my eyes closed. I am pretty intelligent, I know enough about politics, I have some ideas about math and science, and am able to recognize a song after hearing the first 4 beat measure.

    But there is nothing that I am the best at.

    It makes me wonder what it would be like to raise a Michael Jordan, Hemmingway, or Martha Graham. Is the sacrifice of thousands of hours to pursue something with that extreme amount of dedication worth all you would have to give up? You cannot lead a “normal” childhood if you want to accomplish that level of achievement, but wouldn’t it all be worth it? For the glory of it all? Is that moment of ultimate success more meaningful than the leisure of being a regular kid?

    The Munch is 1 now, and if she is going to be the best at anything she better get serious about her practicing. So far her skills are pointing at rocks, grunting at things that she wants, poking me in the eye, and finding her nose. I am going to be one proud Mama some day.


    September 9, 2011 • 1 year old, Education, Musings, Parenting • Views: 1704

  • Talking Is Overrated

    Do you know what your first sentence was? I believe mine was “My teddy bear is having an existential crisis,” but I could be wrong.

    The other morning The Munch was patting my head and she said “Pat Mama!!!”

    That is totally a sentence right???????!!! It had a verb and a noun… fine, no adjectives or adverbs, but it still seemed very sentence-y. I didn’t say she had the most impressive vocabulary or syntax mind you…

    As exciting as this is, I am also kind of terrified of actually finding out what is on her mind. There is a comfort in having no tangible clue what she thinks about. I can make assumptions like she likes her feet tickled because she smiles or she does not like her car seat because she screams in my face and pushes her pelvis into the buckle, but there is still an element of mystery involved.

    Perhaps our ability to communicate verbally to each other makes us feel more intimate, but does talking really make us closer? It may give us the ability to distract each other, but aren’t all the mysteries of the universe too complex to explain? Doesn’t everything that has actual meaning impossible to define?

    For instance can you really describe emotions, colors, or someone’s personality? Isn’t most of life really just abstract sensations that are beyond our ability to distill into language? Maybe the relationship we have with babies is the most profound one we will ever experience because we are not limited by the expectation of language and instead must rely on the messaging of energy. Maybe we should speak more from our hearts then we do from our minds… and probably a lot more grunting too… that seems to get the point across.

    I am thinking her next sentence will be “fuck da police”

    September 6, 2011 • 1 year old, baby brain, Behavior, Education • Views: 2114

  • Reading Rainbow

    I remember once sitting on the train while I was living in New York City, and this Japanese girl was looking at a card across from me. On the front of the card were all these Japanese characters, and I noticed she was looking at it for what seemed to me an absurdly long time. I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t she just open the card and read it?” But then I realized something… She was still reading the front of the card!!!! For me the Japanese characters were just pretty pictures to glance over, but to her they were actual letters that formed words for her to read! Nuts!

    When you think about how much reading is a part of our modern western culture it is hard to believe that for most of human history very few people were educated enough to read and write. Girls in particular were rarely taught these skills and instead learned the oh so important tasks of sewing, weaving, churning butter, and giving blow jobs. What!? Where did that come from?

    Being able to read empowers you in so many ways. Not only does reading allow you a sense of freedom to manipulate and maneuver in the world, but it also empowers you to take control of your own education. Think of the difference of being totally dependent on other people to learn from, and the independence of reading something yourself and having the capacity to determine its meaning from your own subjective analysis.

    Socrates, however, was very much against the written word because he believed that too much was left for misinterpretation. The author cannot defend their points to the reader, and there is a danger to how people can bastardize what they read. For Socrates, dialogue was the supreme form to pursue knowledge and philosophy for it honors the quest of questioning rather than the concretization of thought through writing. But would we even have known any of what Socrates had thought if Plato hadn’t written it all down? And what if your community is full of douchebags and the most intellectual stimulus you have is through what you can expose yourself to through reading?

    So considering the complexity of reading vs dialogue, I figure the best practice for me to engage The Munch in both is to read to her and then talk about what we just read. This is the problem I have encountered thus far, however. The Munch is a freaking baby and reading to her is retarded. Although she seems to enjoy it, she turns the pages too fast, flips around from the front to the back, closes the book, and then re-opens it in the wrong place. Not to mention the fact that children’s books are boring and repetitive as fuck, and when I try to talk about what the brown bear saw all she says is “ball… ball….ball…”

    August 24, 2011 • 1 year old, baby brain, Education, Parenting • Views: 2092