Friday, August 23, 2013

Seeing Stars

What a difference a month makes. I can't believe that I'm only just now sitting down to write. I've had a dozen blog posts running through my head over the last few weeks and each one slips through my fingers before I have a chance to capture the inchoate thoughts and set them down for posterity. It makes me sad to think of all those small memories already half gone in the fog of exhaustion that is two-time Mommyhood.

Cally has transformed from a mostly asleep larva to a sweet, smiley girl with an oft-earnest expression. She's so peaceful, serenely surveying the world around her but then you make a sudden unexpected sound or funny movement and her whole face is awash with glee. For weeks now I've been trying to make her belly laugh, but it was Taran who finally succeeded yesterday and how good it felt to all sit together and laugh and laugh.

The window of opportunity to laugh with her is incredibly small as the child sleeps 18 hours a day. On a bad day. I have a whole post about sleep, and it's actually written, not just in my head, I just haven't put it up yet for public consumption. Soon.

One of the reasons I have written so little is that we were with family for 15 days and for the first eight I had no husband to co-parent which left little time for leisurely blog writing and for the last 10 of them, I had no internet connection. We returned a few days ago and I have to say... I need a vacation from my vacation. I made the trek to Ithaca via plane solo with my two kids in tow, prompted by a research trip that Joe had to Canada for 8 days. I just wasn't up for single-parenting a 15 week old and a wild child and I was sorely missing my family. The plan was to stay with my Mom for the time that Joe was away and then have him join me in Ithaca where we would move the kids into a boat house on Cayuga Lake that a friend of my Mom's had offered for our second week in town. The first few days in my mother's tiny condo was more chaos then I could have possibly imagined and after 3 days, I was a woman on the verge. My baby monitor was on the fritz and I couldn't keep Cally in range during her naps while playing with T man outside which meant we were dreadfully cooped up most of the day (Cally has a 50 minute awake period, MAX, before she is ready to conk out again). Taran was reluctant to go anywhere without me so there were very few occasions when Grammy was able to tempt him out. As a result, Taran was an absolute maniac and completely rebelled to the constant "Taran, inside voices, Cally is sleeping". On numerous occasions, he went out of his way to wake her from her naps and I was ready to hang him from the rafters.

What, me? I'm just a calm and collected guy.

I can't tell you how relieved I was when we received a call mid-week informing us we could move to the boat house 5 days early. The property sits directly adjacent to one of my Mom's close friends and two houses down to one of her oldest and dearest friends (whom I consider family and who married Joe and I). My point to all the particulars of the social network surrounding the boat house? Taran had ample outdoor space to roam and explore across all three beaches and a bevy of loving company, and I could wander along with him from beach to beach with a constant eye on the boathouse and a monitor that was always in range (After one day of ours not working, I caved and ordered a new one which arrived the day after our move to the lake). We kayaked

and collected shells; played bongos

and watched the rain come down;

skipped rocks and swam in the cold lake - him riding on my back like a baby dolphin; caught toads and fed the ducks (although personally I was not thrilled with the aiding in their domestication); and hosted many, many dinners dockside with numerous friends and family.

I even had a chance for a couple of early morning adventures with Taran while Cally was sleeping, including a climb up the Cornell bell tower to hear the chimes. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. As a morose and always-pining-for-romance teenager, I remember standing under the gonging bells on the cold balcony at the top of the tower, looking out on stormy clouds and dreaming that someday I would get married at the small chapel below and the bells would ring for us that day.
Eventually, this is exactly what happened, and so, standing there with my son two decades later, I was brought to tears. He on the other hand was just terrified by the incredible din and wanted to go below.

So we went one level down to watch a young man named Eli playing the bells on the clogger which Taran was absolutely enthralled with and determined to learn to play. Right now.

The other highlight was a conversation I had with a friend that inspired me to sign Taran up for Capoeira upon our return. I was discussing his love of dance and music and telling her that  while he enjoyed gymnastics and movement, I was reluctant to immerse him in dance and gymnastics culture because, in my experience, they are extremely competitive and promote twisted body image. She asked me if I had considered Capoeira which is an awesome combination of drumming, singing, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, language, and community. Although I am familiar with the art, it was sort of off my radar. When Joe arrived I discussed it with him and he seemed game. When I showed Taran a youtube video, he was absolutely hooked. And has been doing his own version of Capoeira ever since.

In a few weeks Taran and I will be starting a parent/child class together and I can't wait. I used to dance for years: ballet, jazz, modern, tap, African and I miss it like crazy. I get such a high from the feeling of power that comes from being connected my body and expressing myself through free movement and it pleases me to see Taran share in this experience. Plus honestly, I just laugh my ass off over some of his inventive moves.

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