I am making a series of children’s books for Baby Grouch. It just sounded like a good idea, when ideas kept popping into my head during a jog or whatnot. I’m trying to act more on my ideas instead of just thinking about them so I decided to give it a go. I’m also trying to not NOT do something if I don’t think it’s as good as it should be. Which is hard. Because sometimes you just end up completing a bunch of crap. But, hopefully one of these times something amazing will turn out. Won’t know unless you try, right?
What I have learned from this process is:
1) I suck at illustrating. I think if I waited a year, Baby Grouch could draw better. Maybe I’ll hire her when she turns 2. Also, I think a big part of children’s books are the illustrations….right….
2) I have no idea when kids begin to understand metaphors. Or similes. Maybe this book will be for when she’s a teenager. Or a parent.
3) I can never remember the difference between a metaphor and a simile.
4) I’m impatient. I guess I already knew that, but it was re-confirmed.
5) I don’t think anything is ever good enough. But I’m trying to let that go. So here it is. All that’s left is to laminate and bind it up at Kinkos.
1. The sheer beauty. Being able to behold the smooth skin, big eyes, and oversized head on a bitty frame is a luxury. Unselfconscious and unaware of just how perfectly formed they are makes them even more delicious.
2. The absolute happiness. It is impossible to not smile when your child is smiling, to not laugh when she is laughing, to not play, when she is playing. Everything is new and exciting. Happiness is contagious and your child is the most infectious.
3. It makes you become a better person. You want your child to be kind and caring and happy. You want her to exhibit strength and grace. There are no shortcuts for making this happen – so you work on calmness and patient feedback and love with limits. You work to demonstrate kindness and strength and grace to your child, your spouse, your friends and family, and yourself. (Note that I didn’t say you would actually achieve this each and every time). It is somewhat shocking when you realize raising a child really means having to grow up yourself.
4. It makes you want to remain healthy. They see what you’re eating and see what you’re doing and no one wants their child to imitate them sitting on the couch eating vats of orange chicken and wontons day after day. No matter how delicious that may be. You want to be around for the long haul. As a result, you might just find that even though you’re sleep deprived and lacking in core strength, you’re paradoxically the most fit you’ve been in years and you feel better than ever. It will not mean, however, that you ever lose your intense cravings for orange chicken and wontons or wine paired with Doritos.
5. The physical affection. I think we underestimate the healing power of physical touch. Snuggles and cuddles and hugs and kisses. Even though you might get the occasional headbutt or scratched cornea from a tiny finger, the positive aspects far outweigh the dangerous ones. The beautiful weight of a child on your lap, leaning their back into your chest or the feel of a small hand resting on yours, is the ultimate comfort.
6. The hahahahhas. You laugh all the time. You see your face in photographs that were taken without you knowing and are shocked by the person who is smiling in the image. That person looks so cheerful! And you realize you weren’t ever this joyful before. Babies are silly and kooky and hilarious. You are constantly har-de-haring at their goofy faces and snorty sounds and primitive dance moves.
7. It makes you appreciate your hobbies. No matter what they may be. As adorable and amazing as your child is, you still need a little bit of alone time. You will never again take for granted a half an hour of jogging, an hour of crafting or a quiet evening spent sipping wine and watching trashy television. A happy parent makes for a happy child.
8. It makes you feel complete. You realize you don’t need to stay up late and go to the bars. You don’t need to go out after work every day for coffee with friends. You still might do these things sometimes, but 90% of the time you don’t want to do anything else but hang out with your family because a hole you didn’t know existed in your heart has been filled. It’s a little startling to discover that a wounded, gaping hole you weren’t even aware resided in your chest before, is now stuffed to the gills.
What do you think the best thing about being the parent of an infant is?
The Greek Dance group is practicing at my house. Apparently they decided to use my house since I have enough space, and I have many rooms in the shape of circles. This is convenient, since most Greek dances are circular in nature. It is a particularly important dance practice because the group has been invited to travel and dance ON THE MOON. Exciting. There is one girl in the dance group that everyone hates and who is constantly doing things contrary to the Greek Dance Group Code of Conduct. She has already been kicked out of the group once. She is late and so the dance group is discussing whether they should kick her out again. In order to travel into space, to dance on the moon, there is a lot of teamwork and trust involved, and they are worried that she poses a safety threat. People in the group are afraid of confrontation and don’t know if they will follow through on kicking her out, even though they know they should. They ultimately decide they will indeed kick her out, but say they need one more person for the Kalamatiano (something about needing enough bodies and gravitational pull, since you don’t really need a certain number for this dance on Earth). I offer to fill in, but I am worried that I am a little bit sick. The girl everyone hates comes very late, after it has been decided that I will dance. She says no one is stopping her from going to the moon. The dance group calls a scientist/doctor who is an expert in traveling through space. He confirms the idea that a team-based approach is needed and this girl won’t work. He is concerned about our safety. She continues to practice with us anyway. He then turns to me and asks if I am experiencing a lot of tension, because he notices my foot and leg are constantly moving. I tell him they are always moving, this is nothing new. We then start talking about my illness and he looks in my throat, asks me some questions. He says he is worried I might have mono. I gasp, and tell him I’ve had mono in the past. He nods solemnly, as to confirm this diagnosis, since mono can reemerge after lying dormant.
Ok, this is a dream with some attachment to reality! My husband and his family have participated in traditional Greek dancing since they were young, and his cousins and sisters still perform. I do know how to dance the kalamatiano. I constantly move my leg/bounce my knee. I have had mono (and it can come back). And, there must be a kernel of truth to the idea that dancing on the moon’s cratered surface without the correct configuration/velocity/whatnot would result in people flinging off into the abyss. I don’t know if I have ever had another dream with so many ties to my waking life.
SPACE: Dream Forth tells me that to see or dream that I am in space indicates that I am a very inquisitive person who enjoys seeking the truth and that I form my own opinions and beliefs rather than adopting those of others. I would like to believe this is true, even if the only evidence I have is my disagreement with my husband about how often the bathroom needs to be cleaned (Truth: Not as often as he thinks) or my own opinion about how often the lawn and bushes need to be manicured (Truth: Never. Lawns and shrubbery are not important). I refuse to blindly adopt the believe of my husband snooty neighbors in this matter! I’m such a obstinate wife truth-seeker.
DANCING: Dream Moods informs me that dreaming about attending or going to a dance indicates a celebration and your attempts to achieve happiness. Hooray! Celebrations are good (unless they are fake celebrations, like the kind we have at the beginning of staff meetings). Let’s celebrate scrapbooking! And samosas! And bacon! And fuzzy kitties that snuggle! And coffee – oh glorious coffee! And yoga! And Girls Weekends! And wine! Oh yes, lots and lots of cheers for wine! All things I indulge in for the sake of sanity. And all synonyms for happiness.
MONONUCLEOSIS: Dream Forth says that to dream of an illness signifies despair, objectionable adjustment, and an emotional collapse. The illness may be a way out of my incompetence in coping with a situation. In this case does that mean my incompetence in coping with the weak gravitational pull of the moon whilst kicking up my heels? In reality does it mean constantly being crouched in the shadow of the black dog? Wait, wait, wait. Celebrate happiness, remember?! That merriment seemed incredibly short lived. Hm. Maybe my attempts are futile. Ah, to hell with it. Let’s still celebrate a crack at happiness with some wine, shall we? Or, should we just drown our sorrows in it? Either way, cheers.
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