Monday, February 23, 2015

Dreams of flying

Walter--often known as Michael, although he's more amenable to be Walter, too, these days--loves Peter Pan.  Sally loves Walter, and she loves music and dancing, so she's game. My feelings about the story are slightly more ambivalent, because of:

  • The way the three female leads fight (ruthlessly, in Tinker Bell's case) for the affection of a boy who, we're told in the prologue, has not emotionally matured beyond the age of 2.  This fighting is the only kind of interaction we see between Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinker Bell. 
  • The way even good casting and heavy re-writes can't erase the stereotyped portrayal of the Islanders. I tend to recommend the version we've been watching with Walter--Peter Pan Live (2014)--as "the least racist version I've ever seen." 
  • The moral ambiguity that makes the story delightful to me and not entirely appropriate for my three-year-old.  Because really: the pirates are the best. Clearly, they are the best.  
  •  The way the hero of the story is more bloodthirsty than the villain. Think about it. 
But don't think about any of it too hard. That's probably the secret to enjoying the story wholeheartedly. And I find myself doing just that, because Walter loves it so, so much. And I love Walter. And I love:

  • The way he sings, and delights in singing.
  • Singing "Tender Shepherd" with him to help him fall asleep. A couple of times we've circumvented naptime drama by just singing that song.
  • The way he uses the characters as a starting point to tell his own stories, and imagine the continuing adventures of the Darling Family, Tiger Lilly, and Peter Pan.
  • Christoper Walken as Captain Hook.  Really, the live TV version is tremendously good. 
We were telling stories last night using Rory's Story Cubes (more about that, later) and one of the stories included a celebration of Tiger Lily's birthday. Walter was delighted by that idea, and as we said goodnight to him I said, "Maybe you can dream about Tiger Lilly's birthday." "No," he said, "I'll probably be too busy dreaming about flying."


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Your parents, in love

Dear Walter and Sally,

Happy Valentine's Day!

I want to record the events of this day for you, but not in the way I usually do.  I usually write these accounts focused on the two of you and what you did.  Tonight, I want to write about what Daddy and I did when you were at the babysitter's house.

"Ewwwwwww!" I can hear teenage Walter and Sally say. "GROSS.  Mom ... no .. just ... no."

Ah, my future teenagers. This blog is now, always has been and ever shall be rated "E" for everyone, including members of our congregation, bishops, your future employers, etc.  I'm not going to share intimate details.  But I will say this: intimacy is really important to the health of our marriage.  And so is cooking.

You know that Daddy does pretty much all the actual cooking in our family.  There was a time, though, when Daddy and I did a lot of cooking together.  It's something we love to do, and something we don't get to do very often anymore.

I even put on eye make up.
Tonight we dropped you off at Jordan's house, and instead of going out for dinner, we came home and made dinner together.  I'd picked out a recipe from our beautiful new Jerusalem cookbook, a Christmas gift from Umma and Baba. Cod cakes in tomato sauce ... a little more complicated than our usual meals, but not too complicated that it couldn't be done in two hours. We also made Israeli cous cous with dried cherries and swiss chard.  I got all dressed up in a new dress, nylons and high heels ... and a cute apron for cooking in.  While we cooked we drank ginger ale made with homemade ginger syrup, and snacked on delicious Dried and True beef jerky (made by my cousin Rachel and her husband, Matt.) We listened to Linda Thompson albums, chopping and stirring side by side. I chopped up a chili pepper, forgot to wash my hands, and rubbed my nose ... I do not recommend it. But it was just a temporary set back.  We also ran out of time, but that didn't set us back too badly, either ... sure, we ate quickly, and burned our tongues a bit, but it was delicious, and the time we spent together tonight was, too.

I realized at some point that all the things I'd asked for tonight ... cooking an elaborate meal together from a cookbook, listening to Linda Thompson, even the homemade ginger syrup ... these were all things Daddy and I did when we were newlyweds, living together in a little apartment in New Jersey. That's when we started this blog, that's when we started thinking seriously and even trying to have children ... and then decided to wait for a few years. It was not a very hard decision to make--it made sense, logically--but it was a hard decision to live with.  We were very sad, and the sadness seemed like another person living with us, for awhile. But we were also happy, and we were building the foundation of love, happiness and, yes, intimacy, that made us the Mama and Daddy you know today.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, or how to sum it all up in a pithy way. I'm way too full, content, and sleepy to ponder it much longer. It was a good day, and a good date night.  Maybe someday you'll think it's gross, and maybe someday you'll think it's cute, but regardless, it's true: Mama and Dada love each other.

And you two, too, of course.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bedtime story

They were about to move on to bedtime book #2 when I interrupted.  "I have a story I need to tell," I announced. "Should it be now or later?"

Now, of course! Walter and Sean both watched me with interest, not sure what was coming.

"I was putting Sally to bed, and she was making sure she had all her friends in there.  Baby, Baby Carol, Moo.  Where was Elmo? He'd fallen out of her crib, between the crib and the wall.  I had to move the crib away from the wall some more and reach, reeeeeaaaach back behind it, and I did it! I got Elmo and showed him to Sally.  She was so happy!  I gave her the Elmo doll and she gave it a big, big hug.

"But then! Then she did something I didn't expect.  I asked her if she wanted to put Elmo down in her crib, and she looked at Elmo and she looked at me and she said, 'Walty!'

"I asked her, 'Do you want to take Elmo to Walter's room?' And she said yes and turned right around and went to your room!"

Walter looked surprised.  He didn't even remember to correct me for using the name "Walter." (These days he goes by "Michael," as in Michael Darling from Peter Pan.)

"I didn't even see her do that!" he said.

"This was earlier," Sean clarified. "While you were taking a bath."

I continued: "She came into your room, and when she saw that you weren't there, she headed for your bed. I asked her if she wanted to put Elmo on your bed for you.  Of course she didn't just want to put him on the bed, she wanted to climb onto your bed.  I helped her do that.  I asked her if she wanted to put Elmo on your pillow for you to find when you went to bed, and then she flipped over your top pillow and ..."

I knocked Walter's top pillow down the same way Sally had, revealing the Elmo doll she'd placed on his bottom pillow, giving Elmo a little pat before putting the top pillow back.

"Ohhhhh!" said Walter and Sean. both smiling, very pleased.  Walter went over and picked up the little Elmo doll. Sean told the story of how, on the night that Sally found the Elmo doll in Walter's room and claimed it for her own, Walter had discovered that he had a second doll, and was so pleased to know that they could both have Elmos he'd wanted to wake her up and tell her about it. Reminded of that story, Walter chimed in and said "I already had an Elmo in my room!"  "Sally didn't know that, though," Sean said. "She brought you the Elmo tonight because she wanted to share it with you."

Walter, quietly, looking at the Elmo doll: "That makes me very happy. Thank you!"

"We'll tell Sally tomorrow," said Sean. "What good kids you both are."

True story!