Thursday, August 27, 2015

Starting Strong

Stop me if you’ve heard this one (from me):

Aiden has been off-the-charts cute this month (what’s new?) Unlike all other babies on earth, he has learned to walk, and eat table food, and wave. Uniquely, he kisses us on request, “plays” piano with Yaj and Sher. No other baby who ever lived says “mama” the way he does (also “nana,” and I’m positive he means me). He does this thing where he points to ceiling fans with a dramatic intake of breath (“ooohhhh!!”) as if God created ceiling fans just for his enjoyment.  Can you name another tiny one who does that? Didn’t think so.

I HATE to rub it in, but Aiden is super special. We hit the infant lottery with this guy. Did I tell you he carries the TV remote with him everywhere, and knows how to use it? Well, at least to turn the TV on to the “static” channel? And also he puts random objects up to his ear (even pieces of paper) à la iPhone, whenever we say to him “Helloooo”?

I know, I know. Baby Einstein. But we’re waiting to apply to Harvard until he’s in kindergarten, because we want to be fair to everyone else.

Aiden is carried aloft, daily, on a magic carpet of love. His incredible parents have given him such a great foundation, teaching him that the world is a beautiful place of endless possibilities. Ya-Jhu reminds him that he is never far from her arms, her comfort. Sheridan teaches him that Daddy can be a goofball, making the MOST bizarre faces at him, crawling around with him as if he, too, (a 31 year old man), is still a toddler at heart. His aunts and uncles shower him with affection and attention. Grandpa Steve rates “pick me up” gestures (when said Grandpa is working on the tempting computer).

My heart breaks wide open when I hear of babies who are hurt, abused or neglected. These are the most vulnerable of all humans. But some parents just can’t do it. They are stretched beyond the breaking point with mental health issues, with severe financial woes. And so we hear of the tragedies. I’ve heard people say, “You need a license to drive, but not a license to be a parent.” And it’s true.

I can speak as the mother of five children, who for the first seven years of marriage didn’t want children. I waited until I was emotionally ready to nurture a child from conception to—well ,let’s face it, till forever. It’s a life sentence, this parenting thing, and not everyone can, or should, attempt it.

And so I rejoice that my little Mushroom (I know, I know, I am the queen of cringe-worthy nicknames) is here and is so loved by so many. And I pray that every baby coming into this crazy mixed up world is a wanted baby, a cherished baby. They deserve no less.

So happy 15 month birthday! Love you, Mushroom!

So much love!

Friday, August 14, 2015

To the Left, To the Left

Mirror image. That is my LEFT hand.
Well, true to form, I missed National Left-Handers Day (yesterday). We Leftys are too busy saving the world to be bothered by random celebration dates!!

Seriously, though, I am left-handed, and proud of it (though annoyed by the right-handed world in which I live and try to cut with scissors). It was pretty obvious from the start, and I was lucky enough to come into existence after the Great Lefty Purge of the early/mid 20th century. My mom Joanie was a victim in the 1930s, when her attempts to write were roundly chastised, then systematically broken by the Ursuline nuns (who, to be fair, were just following orders). As a result, Mom not only had atrocious right- handed penmanship, but I swear it affected her brain. You’ve heard of Left Brain and Right Brain functions? Well, there was also Joanie Brain, the woman who never forgot ANYONE’S birthday, but also left the burner hot on the stove with a glass pan of lasagna on top of it. Fourth of July fireworks had nothing on that explosion of pasta and sauce!

As a child, I noticed that it was impossible to execute a smudge-free thank you note. As an adult, I struggle with everything from coffeemakers to can openers. It was a small thing, this attempt to re-orient myself to What Everyone Else Can Do Easily, but it really bothered me. And of course, I gave birth to two Leftys out of five children (Evan and Rose). Sorry, kids!  I do notice that I do some things righthanded, like playing tennis (or would if I did, which I don’t). In my way, I have Joanie Brain, too!

Looking back at history was not a heartening endeavor. The Latin word “sinister” means “left-handed.” Left-handedness has been traditionally allied with bad luck and the wrong choices. It was no fun to go through life as a synonym for a horror movie, let me tell you! And now we have the political Left and Right. I’ll let you sort that out for yourselves, but I will admit to a preference for my handedness in this area.

There are so many famous leftys!! Barack Obama and Bill Clinton (surprise, surprise). And George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan (to be bipartisan). Albert Einstein and Jerry Seinfeld.  Paul Mc Cartney and Maurice Ravel . Strange bedfellows if ever there were some!   Google “leftys” and be amazed. We may be only 10% of the population but we are mighty!

I didn’t ask to be born left-handed. I can’t control that part of myself. The world seems to be oriented against me and my ilk. But I remain proud of who I am, and so should you, righty or lefty.

Does that sound familiar?

Maybe it’s time to finally admit that we are all different. And that different is OK. More than OK.  Part of the Divine Plan.

So the next time you see a lefty, slap him/her five (and let them dictate which five). It’s all good.

My favorite leftys