Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Language Class on the Crying Baby

On my way to my second class this morning, I walked down the hallway of the languages department. There were signs on the door for all sorts of language classes, including sign language. In particular, there was a mildly clever sign that said "End noise pollution - learn to sign."

A little more than a month ago, our house could hardly be accused of noise pollution. My husband and I are both quiet talkers who spend the bulk of our days in our heads. Now, our newest little roommate has made our once quiet house a house of rampant noise pollution. Newborns cry. A lot.

I cannot quite describe the first month with Atticus mostly because I was too tired to really experience it in any cognitive way. But every day, Atticus grows and changes and develops and we grow and change and develop with him. I am finally starting to understand the language of his crying, little by little.

His short little stunted cry, the "eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh" cry where it sounds like he's revving up for his next breath is my favorite. It's so desperate and passionate and fully committed. I love it.

He has a little pathetic cry that matches his sweetly sympathetic eyes perfectly. That cry makes me want to hold him forever and just kiss away every imperfection in life. It's a quiet cry, usually murmurred into my shoulder.

It's the open volcano of a cry that I still cannot always interpret. Sometimes it's a cry for hunger, sometimes for sleep, sometimes for belly aching. But sometimes, there's that loud pissed off wail of a cry that cannot be comforted away or translated in any productive way. It just needs to storm thunderously out of him and there's no amount of walking or back patting we can do to relax his rigid body as the cry tornadoes its way forth.

The only cry I hate is the random, quick shreik that jolts him from sleep sometimes. The first time we heard it, my husband said it sounded like night terrors. It's so sudden and high-pitched and terrible that I don't want it to belong to Atticus. There's just something prescient and unkind and knowing about it. It doesn't belong to a baby. I don't want it to belong to my baby.

I want him to have different cries that have meanings and declensions - cries that can be discussed for their past participability and contribution to the greater vocabulary of crying. I want to break down his cries like language and hear them for what they are. I want to know what they mean so I can have a conversation with him that shows I am listening and that I want to respond to him in an appropriate kind of way. I am learning little by little Atticus's language and as sweet as some of his little cries are, I cannot wait until the cries are replaced by words.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Atticus's Next Dance Crew

My husband and I have a new guilty pleasure: Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew. It has nothing to do with Mario Lopez's abs, the ghetto fabulousness of Lil' Mama, or the questionable charisma of JC Chasez. We just like to watch the bizarre athleticism and weird quick twitch muscles of the male dance crews mainly. How they get their bodies to polarize and stop motion in such inhuman positions is a source of constant wonder for us.

Here we submit our son for the next show. We're not sure yet, but we're thinking of calling Atticus's crew "Polska Baby." We're looking for other talented Poles to join him, but only the best need send audition tapes. Age not a consideration.

(If you can't view this on Facebook, go to http://www.mollyjorose.blogspot.com/ for the original posting).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why I Love 80s Movies

I know my first official post as a mother should have more import than this, but this is what I'm thinking about this morning.

1. Fat and/or Unattractive Dudes Wearing Sweatshirts: Seriously, check out any movie from the 80s and you'll find a lead dude who could never make it into any other decade of film. What was it about the 80s that allowed us so much aesthetic generosity? Is John Belushi responsible for this? Or Bill Murray who was attractive for reasons that had nothing to do with his looks? No matter the motivation, all hail the 80s film and its acceptance of the fat dude in ugly clothes.

2. Ugly Clothes: No one cared what they were wearing. They really didn't. Sure, there's the occasional Valley Girl film with a whole lot of bracelets and taffeta and pink lipstick, but very few 80s films had fashion as a main character. Oh, well, I do have to give props to Pretty in Pink where fashion was central, but a majority of the films featured jeans, ugly tennis shoes, and those sweatshirts - usually dark green sweatshirts for some reason that I'm pretty sure were made by Hanes.

3. Delayed Adolescence: Nowhere is there a greater commitment to the childish man than in 80s films. How old was Bill Murray in all those films? There was no celebration of the teen as evidenced in just about every popular television show and film in modern "culture." Instead, men in their late 20s and early 30s reflected the apparent 80s fascination with tee-peeing and scavenger hunts.

4. The Scavenger Hunt, Summer Camp, and Fraternities Situation: The ubiquitous nature of the scavenger hunt, the summer camp scenario, and nerdy, social outcast fraternities in 80s films suggests a commitment to play that is lost in current cinema. Instead we have a bunch of shows and films where teenagers act like adults instead of the other way around. (See: Beverly Hills 90210 and Gossip Girl).

5. Molly Ringwald and the Charming Life of the Poor: We were concerned about nothing so much as which side of the tracks we lived on. It was our major crisis in the 80s as evidenced by every Molly Ringwald film. Whether she was the rich, snobby Clare in The Breakfast Club or the poor Andie in Pretty in Pink, Molly Ringwald represented the social strata of the 80s in a way that no documentarian has been able to capture since.

6. Nerds: See Goonies, Revenge of the Nerds, Animal House, Lucas, etc ...

7. Simplicity: Life was easier in the 80s. It must have been. Film was not interested just yet in unusual narrative development or untrustworthy narrators. We knew Jennifer Grey would learn how to dance. We knew no children would die on Elizabeth Shue's watch. We knew Duckie and Andy would be friends forever.

8. 80s Music: Oh, you synthesized heaven, you. Bring on those dancing horses. John Hughes, recently deceased king of 80s cinema and ruler of Molly Ringwald's career was the Wes Anderson of his day, pairing music with film in a way that can only be described as genius. I remember reading an article in Jane magazine (yes, Jane magazine!) where Molly Ringwald claimed some responsiblity for the music choices, which makes her even cooler which hardly seems possible.

9. Horribly Problematic Racial and Sexual Characterizations: I know this shouldn't fall under why I love 80s movies, but the lack of attention to political correctness is refreshing even as I recognize how awful it is. Think: C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man ("This is the Cosby decade. Everybody loves black people"), Data in Goonies ("Booby traps!"), Fisher Stevens playing an Indian in Short Circuit ("Who is knowing how to read the mind of a robot?"), Meshach Taylor in Mannequin ("Two things I love to do is fight and kiss boys"), etc ... Think on these things and let yourself laugh about it.

10. Fagabeefe and the Miracle that is Midnight Madness Which Embodies Pretty Much Everything in This List: