Saturday, July 29, 2006

We're Outta Here

We'll be leaving for the beach in a few hours and will be gone for a week. I'm pretty sure we will not have an internet connection there so I guess I will be on forced blogging hiatus. Perhaps that is a good thing seeing as it is a FAMILY vacation and sometimes blogging can be a bit of a...distraction. I look forward to coming back to all of your blogs when we return and perhaps I'll even have something thoughtful to say. You know, the ocean can make ya thoughtful sometimes. Have a wonderful week and let's hope that for the drive to the shore Sam looks like this (he likes to drive with the windows down):

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ah Mazing

Well, we flew home late yesterday afternoon. Sam. Was. Awesome. I can't believe it. Somehow he woke up without a fever that morning. Our flight was on time. We got there at the perfect time. My parents watched him as he crawled around the airport for a while as I stood in the bathroom chanting my mantra: "You can do this. It will be over soon. You can do this. It will be over soon." You'd think I was in labor. We stayed with my parents as long as possible and then went through security, arriving at the gate just as they started to board. I was worried about not having a seat next to us, and truthfully the woman next to me did not seem interested in moving to an empty seat (was she insane? My parents say it's a Southern manners thing). But right before take off the flight attendant came and told me we could move to the front - that's right, the front row! Where there's room for Sam to stand and play on the chair like it's a table. Two empty seats in front and they were mine, all mine...all right, ours, all ours! And Sam was great. The one lone guy across from us was great, giving Sam high fives at the end of the flight, which I guess will have to suffice for the deserved applause.

And now everything we were dreading is done. No more airline travel. Sam is getting over this cold thing, as am I. And Hubby has completed the Bar Exam. Today is our 3 year anniversary. We leave for the beach on Saturday, or, as people say here on the east coast we are "goin' down the shore." Everything is good.

Here are some highlight photos from our trip - all taken before the illness hit him. All in all I think it was a pretty good time.

He loved the swing Grampy put up for him...

He loved the corn on the cob Grammy made for him...

And he loved his little wading pool...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

He Got It

Well, Sam caught this horrible thing that I have. He came down with a fever yesterday, along with some pukiness, potentially a stuffy nose (hard to tell with a non-verbal baby), and a whole lot of miserable. He had an awful time sleeping last night and ended up in the bed with me for most of the night - just like when he was very little. It was kind of nice. I'll always wish the co-sleeping had worked out for us better than it had.

Today Hubby is taking his first day of the Bar exam (go Hubby!). This proves it was a good thing for us to come out to my parents' afterall. As hard as it is to be away from home and away from him with both of us sick, it would have been horrible for him to have this to deal with on top of the exam.

The plan is still for us to head home tomorrow. Remember I mentioned I should fear the trip home with every fiber of my being? Yeah, let's add a fever on top of that. Those horse tranquilizers are looking pretty good. Of course it could be worse. I could be writing essays about law for 8 hours each day.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Absentee Blogging

Well, with my last post I broke two of my very own blog records. The first was my all time high number of comments. That’s right, 16 baby! And that’s not including me adding my own comments to your comments; it’s a solid 16. Not that I’m counting, of course. I blog for myself…of course…

And the second record was the extremely long period of time that I left that rather pathetic/complaining post up there. But I have a reason, which I probably should have mentioned earlier when I had the chance. Sam and I are away. Hubby is studying for the Bar and is taking the test early next week. So Sam and I decided to escape before he went all Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" on us. Since Thursday we have been in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains visiting my parents.

I had big plans to write a sarcastic and ridiculous post documenting a horrible airline experience, but much to my dismay the trip was great. This was the second time that I have flown with Sam by myself, the first one being that lovely trip we took from Chicago to Philadelphia for the move. You remember that, the time I had to drag the car seat through the airport with absolutely no assistance and then install it into 2 different seats on the plane because the flight attendant made me move just before take off? Yeah, we all remember that trip.

My little cherub was perfect, though. I believe the key to my success was that I arranged to be moved so that there was an empty seat next to me, imperative to the happiness of all. Of course, that didn’t stop all of the people in the vicinity of our seats to moan and murmur, “Oh crap” to each other as Sam and I approached. But then Sam was awesome, the snacks mommy brought were awesome, the secret toys mommy had hidden for a week and saved for the plane ride were awesome, and no one had a leg to stand on. By the end of the flight Sam was still happy and started waving to everybody, who, now that the flight was over and they saw they would not be bothered by a screaming baby, were happy to wave and smile back. Seriously, when a mom gets though a flight with so little disturbance to those around her, I think she deserves applause at the end. When I stood up with him to get off the plane it was all I could do to not turn around and bow, waiting for their ovation for my totally AWESOME MOMNESS. I did get in trouble though. We had a fasten seat belt sign on because of some turbulence (nothing like clutching your child on the bumpiest plane ride you’ve ever been on). When I thought it was done I put Sam back down in the empty seat next to me and immediately the flight attendant came on the intercom with: “Will the lady with the lap child please be sure to hold the child in her lap?!” I blushed like a 6th grader getting busted passing a note. People actually turned around to look at us.

As soon as we stepped off the plane I pretty much checked out. I’d been fighting a cold since Tuesday and after the flight it pretty much took hold (the air sickness from the turbulence certainly didn't help), leaving me in a snotty funk and so very glad to be with parents who could take care of Sam while I wallowed around feeling sorry for myself. Hubby and I weren’t sure we’d made the right decision as this trip approached. I felt I was abandoning him in his time of need, despite the detailed meal plan I wrote out for him. And when lone air travel with a child looms in the future, it’s hard to not second guess one’s decision. But once I started getting sick it was clear we had done the right thing. Now Hubby could study in peace, sans needy baby and sick wife, and not feel bad about how much time he needed to spend working. And like I said, I’ve checked out. Today my mom asked what I wanted Sam to have for lunch, a question that normally would be met with a detailed menu incorporating just the right balance of vegetables, grains, and fruits. I believe my response was something along the lines of, “I dunno. Whatever you want.” Yeah, absentee mommy here.

So the blogging and the commenting may continue to be a little sparse until next week. Then Sam and I come home for 2 days and we all go on a celebrate-the-end-of-the-Bar-beach-extravaganza, where I am not sure we will have internet access - oh, the horror.

In the meantime though, I am totally convinced that the flight home is going to be horrendous. In my experience so far, if one flight goes well, the other one fully deserves to be feared with every fiber of one’s being, and I am fearing it. I’m convinced we will not have an empty seat next to us and Sam will be forced to sit on my lap for the entire 2 hours. From the short time he had to stay on my lap on the flight out, I learned that trying that for any period longer than 15 minutes would not be wise. So what are your suggestions for entertaining a baby on one’s lap on an airplane? I didn’t buy him a seat because of all the trouble we had on that trip that must not be named with the car seat, but now I’m really wishing I’d sprung for the promise of a seat for Sam. Any suggestions? And don’t even try to suggest that I try and get him to go to sleep unless you are also recommending that I inject him with horse tranquilizers, because there’s no way it’s going to work any other way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hum Drum Days

I’m struggling lately. I know it has to do with being in a place that still doesn’t feel like home. It has to do with trying to meet other moms and having the opportunity to see how other moms parent their children. It has to do with loads of laundry. It has to do with planning the meals. It has to do with questioning my choices, spending maybe too much time on myself, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, worrying about Sam’s development, worrying about Sam’s education, worrying about Sam getting sunburned, wondering if I should go to another playgroup, if we should spend more money to buy more organic food or if we really don’t have that money, if I do enough during the day to keep Sam intellectually stimulated, if we are doing the right thing for his sleep problems, if we are dealing with his new screaming fits the right way, if he will scream on the plane ride on Thursday when it is just the two of us, if I am too late on so many things we already made decisions about in Sam’s first year, and if I will always wish I had made another choice, a better choice, a more informed choice, a more proactive choice…wondering already, if it is too late. It has to do with being a mom.

I never, ever saw myself as a stay at home mom. Frankly, for all of my life up until about one year before getting pregnant with Sam I never saw myself as any type of mom. But once I got the mommy bug, I wanted that baby immediately. I remember holding my friend’s one year old daughter thinking to myself as I rubbed her back, “I want this baby IN me…now!” I probably squeezed her too hard at that point. And now, here I am, a mom. And doing what I never could have predicted: staying at home. All day, every day, we are staying at home. And all day, every day, I wonder if Sam is getting everything he deserves. Lately I am immersed in the frenzy of trying to read parenting books, education books, baby food books, all books that will make me feel that I am doing a good job, doing the right things, making the right choices. And just as often I am immersed in the pool of tepid, stand still nothingness called Boredom. The routine. Dear God, The Day In, Day Out Routine! The dishes, the cooking while a child screams at you only to be screamed at once the food is prepared, the picking said food up off the floor, the laundry, the nap preparation, the diapers, the trash, the cat litter, the grocery shopping…the routine. How do we do this?

How do we deal with these challenges? How do we spice it up, make it interesting, keep ourselves motivated? I know that Sam is my motivation in the bigger sense, but I mean practically speaking. How do we keep on keepin’ on and how do we do it effectively, happily, in a way that sets an example, that makes us feel proud of what we do, every day?

And on the flip side, how do we not go crazy with trying to do what’s best at all times, forcing us to constantly try to figure out what best is? I sit in the living room with Sam playing by my side. He’s got a puzzle and a car that he’s banging around that I’ve just been driving around all over his back and his head. Now, do I keep playing with him? Do I try and read a chapter in any one of the 5 parenting books recently borrowed from the library which will potentially make me much more useful the next time I play with him? Which one? The one about emotional intelligence, the one about developmental stages, the one about age appropriate games, or the one about how to make “Super Porridge,” the most important of the Super Baby Foods? Or do I go and try to make the stupid brown porridge so that he has no time to start flailing around at lunchtime, resulting in me getting more food down his little gullet. Do I read a few blog posts and perk myself up mentally and emotionally because a happy mommy is a better mommy? Do I pack us up and get us out of the house for yet another trip to an empty park so that Sam’s world is as big as possible? Run an errand? Do I fold the clothes? Eat some breakfast? Close my eyes for 2 minutes? Too many choices, the same choices that are faced every 15 minutes or so of every single day. It’s enough to make ya wanna sit there and do nothin’.

How do you do it? And I’m not saying I’m unhappy with this set up; this is exactly what I want to be doing. I just mean what I said: how do we do the repetition of the day in, day out in a way that sets an example, makes us feel that we are good mothers, makes us feel like we are making the right choices, from what we do for the next fifteen minutes to how we parent our babies. I guess I just feel like I’m flailing around a bit. I look up and see a lot of question marks, not nearly enough periods.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sam's First Meme

Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing very kindly tagged me with this meme recently. I’ve kind of been feeling like lately I’ve been writing way too much about me, me, me and not nearly enough about Sam, Sam, Sam though. When I saw that Jamie from All Things Avery had done this tag from her daughter’s perspective it was the perfect solution. Now I get to refocus on Sam, do the meme, and you guys don’t have to keep reading about me. So, Sam would like you to know the following things about his personality:

3 Things That Scare Me
Loud children.
The flying circus tent in Teletubbies – the one that houses the dancing bear.
When mommy makes strange noises to keep me awake in the car when we’re just a few minutes from home.

3 People That Make Me Laugh
Tyler & Maki (our cats)

3 Things I Love
Obstacle courses
Figuring out something new

3 Things I Hate
When I try to escape to the place behind the potty and get caught before I can pull the cap thing off of the base.
Being picked up and taken away from an area I am exploring.
When Mommy doesn’t share her food.

3 Things I Don’t Understand
Why I can’t grab the stream of water poured from a cup.
How to fall asleep by myself.
Why I’m not allowed to push through the screen door

3 Things On My Desk/Table
Car puzzle
Geo Trio
Nesting cups

3 Things I’m Doing Right Now
Plotting my next potty escape…or my next waking.

3 Things I Want to Do Before I Die
Mommy’s not even willing to discuss me in the same sentence with that word so I guess we have to skip it.

3 Things I Can Do
Hammer – watch my video. I’m REALLY good at it.
Make mommy laugh.
Stand for a few seconds all by myself.

3 Ways to Describe My Personality
Impatient, especially when it comes to people making my lunch too slowly.

3 Things I Can’t Do
More than I can list. Walking and talking are pretty high up there right now.

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To
I like songs with lots of drums.
Anyone who is saying “Bye bye.”
Mommy, but only if she is talking about nummies or trucks.

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To
Anyone saying the word “no.”
Babies that yell during playgroup.
Anyone saying there is “no biting.”

3 Absolute Favorite Foods
Toast with peanut butter
Grilled cheese…cheese of any kind
YoBaby yogurt - blueberry

3 Things I’d Like to Learn
How to catch the ball
How to catch the cats
How to read my books

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly
Milk from the nummies
Whole milk
Apple juice

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid
Sesame Street
Lots of tennis, but I don’t pay much attention to it.

3 People I Tag
I want to tag all of Mommy’s friends that she thinks have one child. That way, if the mommies want their kid to have a meme, they don’t have to choose between their children. Or the mommies could do the meme about themselves. Or they don’t have to do it at all, and that’s ok, I won’t be offended. So I tag:
Baby A

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What's grosser than gross?

Originally this title was going to head a post about how much I hate yogurt, and how my willingness to let my son cover me in it at lunch time proves my love. But something much worse has crossed my path today.

Hubby reads that Slate website all the time and today came across this article about a fairly controversial artist who has been discussed on the internet a lot lately. So I’m late in addressing this today, but I’m not writing about it because I want to be part of the hype anyway. I need to write about it because I’m disgusted and have to clear my mind so I can go to bed.

Lisa Greenberg takes pictures of sobbing toddlers. She instigates these sobbing tantrums in her studio by doing things like giving the child a lollipop and then taking it away with no explanation. In fact, she does not speak to them at all. Once she has successfully produced a crying child, she takes their picture. I realize there are so many issues here, and I’m not going to cover even close to all of them and when I start clicking around on this subject I find that there are a lot of people who have already said a lot with which I agree and done it much more articulately than I ever could. Supporters are arguing that this is great art because it is getting people talking and has sparked debate. The debate, however, is not about the quality of the photographs but rather the method she is using to get her subjects, babies, to do what she wants them to do. Just because the art achieves a strong emotional reaction from its viewers does not mean that it is good, not when the reaction is attributed to the viewer wondering what the artist did to these kids to make them so unhappy. You know what, blah! It doesn’t even matter if it’s good or not. I wouldn’t feel any better about what she is doing even if the art were amazing and whatever message about Bush she is trying to convey actually came across (yeah, she says the pieces are about Bush and the future of the world for our kids) because its quality still would not rationalize the way in which she takes advantage of these children.

Other Greenberg supporters, including the “artist” herself, are saying that this is not abuse and these kids will forget about it within 10 minutes because children this age cry "all the time for no reason", and it is “normal.” Ok, yes, children this age cry. They cry because they are hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, want attention, scared, and sometimes they cry because they have been totally wronged and have been offered no explanation for why an adult is treating them so unfairly. That they may forget that lollipop in ten minutes may be true. But the lesson they learn about life and the world probably will stick with them a bit longer. They are taken into a room by their parent, who sits by and watches while a woman mistreats them, and then they see that their parent does nothing to make it right. What have they learned from this? We spend so much time when they are babies teaching them to trust us, to depend on us, that we will be there to take care of their needs. What could these kids possibly think when mommy sits by and does not stand up for what is right on their behalf?

These are children. They are not old enough to give consent for this exercise. They have to depend on their parents to make good decisions for them. This could never happen this way if the subjects were adults because adults can make decisions for themselves and can choose whether or not to allow someone to abuse them for the sake of art. These babies didn’t make that choice. They don’t even know what’s going on, and it can’t even be explained to them in a way that makes sense because it is so ludicrous. They get nothing from this experience except that one day they will get to see a huge photograph of themselves with a broken heart, sitting in a room not understanding why the people who are supposed to care for them are giving them absolutely no respect. And that’s all I see when I look at these photos – brokenhearted, confused, miserable, and scared babies who did not choose to be there, have their picture clicked, and certainly not displayed in a gallery. I hesitate to even link to these pictures because I feel like it just perpetuates this violation…so I won’t. You’ll have to use the link in the article I mentioned above and find them for yourself. While there you can also link to her interview where she comes off as completely unsympathetic because she is not causing any "psychological damage." Gross. Grosser than gross. I have to go kiss my baby now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Exhibit A

Just in case there is any question about whether or not the parks around here are tuly devoid of mommies, I'll provide some proof. Here are some pics of a recent trip that Sam and I took. Do you see anyone else? Didn't think so.

To entertain himself, because you can only swing for so long, and slide the car down the slide for so long, and stare at Mommy for so long, he decided to clean things up a bit. I won't tell you how long he spent crawling around looking for acorns (and one twig), but I think you'll get the picture. Find an acorn, hold it up to show Mommy excaiming, "ichsh," ("this"?), hand it to Mommy who throws it over the fence, move on to the next acorn as Mommy tries to stop baby from scraping up his little knees.

And now you know how we spend our days. Unfortunately we may have many more like this. Yesterday was our first playgroup with "the club" (and yes, I was kidding about the various duct tape items I was meant to bring - that was my little hazing joke. Sorry it didn't come across in the writing) and I'm a little worried. Let's just say between Sam's screaming and sobbing because he was scared to death of one of the other babies that kept screaming at him, it was kind of hard to get involved in the various conversations about flashcards for babies and which gym classes would be better to accelerate motor development...oh yeah, and which preschools would start taking kids as early as 18 months. I know, I'm being a snob, and I'm supposed to be all about refraining from judgment of other moms because we all need support and motherhood is our common bond and blah blah blah, but I am also not exaggerating - these were the topics covered, the very ones I JUST took issue with in a very recent post.

And I don't know if it was so much that I was judging them, because seriously I was just trying to soothe my sobbing son who has NEVER cried like that, or if I just felt really out of place so now I'm lashing out. Regardless, I think it was Kate who used the term "kindred spirit" recently; I'm pretty sure mine wasn't there. It probably doesn't help matters that I was dressed like an adolescent boy. I had just decided I was going to be myself since if I had to put on a little show I wouldn't really end up being friends with the people there anyway. Meeting people who are "like you" when "you" are a really liberal and fairly crunchy mom disguised as a 9th grade skater is hard. There's another playgroup tomorrow. I'll try again.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's official, I'm a frosh pledge

Desperate times call for desperate measures…and I’m officially desperate. Since moving here things have not been going well on the social front. Sam and I have been the only living humans on the playground pretty much daily. I have made phone call after phone call to parent child centers and community centers where no one returns my calls, several nursing groups to find out that they disbanded over a year ago (why they still have a listing in the paper I have no idea), and multiple music/gym classes to find out they are either too far away or right smack in the middle of naptime. Since moving here I have had exactly 3 conversations with other moms, 3 different moms, each lasting roughly 3 minutes, with the exception of one. One lone mom actually took the time to talk to me, answer my questions, and give me her email address, ultimately convincing me to join my first. ever. club.

Among the failed phone calls, empty parks, the super fun stroller-cise classes , people who want to charge me money just to come and sit at their house for 45 minutes while they “facilitated” discussion, and the deserted book clubs, I had also sent out a few emails to a club for moms that had a listing in the free paper I picked up. After a few days went by I was sure nothing would come of that just like everything else, but on day 5 I received an email back from a very helpful woman who had been out of town. She told me about the upcoming events this club had and said I could come by and see what I thought before joining. So after some difficulty in finding a time that worked (yet again everything takes place at 10:00 when Sam naps) I settled on a park day meeting one afternoon the following week. When the day came I received an email from my contact saying that she would not be able to be at the park that day because she had an ultrasound, but that she had sent out an email to the group telling anyone who was going to be there to look out for me.

As I approached the park, for the first time since moving here, I was walking toward other moms. Let me rephrase that: I was walking toward a mom. There was one woman there at the swings with her baby, who looked to be about 8 months old. As I came up to the gate the woman greeted me and asked if I was Sam’s mom. She had me at hello, dude. She had me at hello. Never mind the fact that this is supposed to be a club and there was only one person there. One person is 100% more person than I have seen at any swing at any park so far.

She told me about the club, the message board, the activities. All of it sounded pretty good. And it sounded like it would be really helpful for a person who just moved here because I can post questions on the message board asking about doctors and babysitters and so forth. They meet at parks, have playgroups for different age groups, a book club, a mom’s night out once a month, lots of stuff. And so, I joined my little club. I paid my twenty dollar membership fee and bought myself some friends. Please understand, I am not a club/organization/sorority/institution type a gal. I’ve always felt a bit of disdain for any type of group that included the special some and excluded most others. It’s just not my style. In fact, I specifically sought out a college that had absolutely no fraternities or sororities of any kind. I just didn’t want to be in a place where people segregated themselves by choice. And my feelings about this have grown exponentially since becoming a mom because we need all the support we can get, (some of you may remember me yelling about this at length in the Middle School of Mommyhood .)

I guess I feel like this situation is a bit different because there was no process by which I had to be chosen. I chose them and then gave them my twenty smackers. So if anyone who has twenty bucks to spend each year can join, I feel like this is pretty inclusive. I like that they do at least some work for the community and seem to be very supportive of each other, particularly when a woman has just given birth – I saw a sign-up thing for women to take meals to the new mom’s house. So I feel like this might be a good thing. Touche to me. Or maybe I am just rationalizing this because I’ve just paid money to have the opportunity to meet people. Don’t care. I’m happy. I’m in the club. And as I said before, desperate times.

But does anyone think it’s weird that they told me to bring some duct tape, a swim cap, and several jars of honey to my first meeting? They said that traditionally they like to give new members a nice, warm welcome…:)

The end of an 80's Sunday era

So I think that 80's Sunday is going to have to take a summer hiatus. I knew this might be the case last week when I felt a bit of relief that I didn't need to stop our packing to do it, but I figured it was just because we were busy so I didn't feel I had the time. But then yesterday I felt a little pang of stress when I realized I had to get everything together for an 80's Sunday the next day. Part of the problem is that with the new video thing it is much more time consuming and to a certain extent requires Hubby's assistance. But Hubby is studying for the Bar exam and there is no way I am going to bother him when he is studying to come and do some video of Sam staring blankly. And then there's the downloading and uploading and posting and it's all just very computery, which, for me, is sometimes difficult, particularly when doing it while watching Sam. I'll also be out of town with Sam the week before the Bar and then away again with Hubby and Sam the week after. So the next month was going to be scattered at best. Anyway, blah blah blah. I think the kicker was feeling a little stress about it, because we all know that's not why we blog. So I'll see if I feel the impetus to start it up again in the fall. For all I know I'll start it again when we get back from the second trip in August. And I apologize to any of you that are crying, longing to hear that unknown 80's riff playing in the background while Sam eats Cheerios on your screen.

But we cannot forget our second time winner, you guessed it, that Crazy MamaD, who blew everyone away with her Little Red Corvette guess 2 weeks ago. Congrats to Mama D, who I assume will still be doing her "Say What" game on Fridays where you get to guess an 80's movie from a quote. So be sure to go there to get your 80's weekend fix.

And she's got a new profile pic for your viewing pleasure.

I feel bad doing this with no warning. I can't get the whole video thing together right now, but I will at least leave you with some obscure lyrics to ponder. I also remember vowing to stump you guys, so I can't possibly admit defeat so easily. So here are some lyrics for ya. Let's see just how good you guys really are.

I see your face every time I dream
On every page, every magazine
So wild so free so far from me
You're all I want, my fantasy
Look what you've done to this rock 'n' roll clown

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My baby needs a Superman

The airplane full of passengers, after hurtling through the atmosphere in flames, comes to a screeching halt just a few feet over a baseball diamond. Thank goodness, Lois is safe and Superman has saved the day again. The whole crowd is on its feet at this spectacle. When they realize what has taken place, that Superman is back, they burst into applause. Hubby and I burst into tears. We, like the audience at that baseball game, were so happy to see Superman again: “Thank goodness, I’m so glad he’s back. I’m so happy to be HERE, at a movie, with YOU.” This is only the second movie Hubby and I have seen since Sam was born, not including the 2 that we tried to take Sam to when he was younger because, well, they just don’t count. And we used to be a couple that would go to a movie and on the way out decide we wanted to see another. So it was a big deal to be at the theater, a few hours that made the trip to visit the in-laws well worth the travel in the car with the infant, even though the fireworks were cancelled.

And it’s not just that we got to see a movie, but we got to see Superman Returns. To be fair, it’s really not that great. But that’s not the point. That first action sequence makes it worth it, because I think for anyone of my generation we’re going to feel nothing but complete joy when we hear that music (yes, they keep the awesome music by John Williams) and feel that relief when we see that he’s done it yet again. We grew up with Superman, the amazing Christopher Reeve. We grew up with Star Wars, the original trilogy before all of the crap was added. We grew up with He-Man, Thundercats, Indiana Jones, and E.T., everyone’s favorite extra-terrestrial. What will Sam grow up with? Who will his heroes be? When he is about to turn 30, who will return to make him think, “Thank goodness, I’m so glad he’s back in my life again – I really missed him”?

It makes me sad. I want my son to have all the things I had growing up. I really feel like our generation benefited from a fabulous burst on the scenes of Hollywood just as we were getting old enough to appreciate it. Some of what we had as children has become a quintessential part of our culture today. There are moments from these films that still will give you the chills when seen again. Just watch Elliot riding his bicycle at that beautiful moment before they lift off the ground and you’ll know what I am talking about. Elmo, Dora, Sponge Bob for goodness sake! They just aren’t comparable. And I realize that to Sam they will be totally and completely comparable. And I suppose that to some extent one could argue that Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy are comparable. But…well…I want Sam to love what I loved I guess. I want him to see Star Wars and realize how amazing it was for its time, not be distracted by what he considers to be poor special effects. I want him to feel the joy that his father and I had as children from seeing something new and loving it innocently, without cynicism or criticism.

I want Sam to be able to enjoy the world in which I grew up, and I am starting to be afraid that he can’t. What if we can’t find a house in a neighborhood where it is safe for him to go out on his bike for hours with his friends? Do kids even get to do that anymore, leave for the afternoon and be free and independent? Or is the world already too dangerous, too scary? I don’t want to raise my child to be afraid of the world, but…I just don’t know…if I can.

On the drive home today Hubby and I were talking about Kim Jong-Il developing nuclear weapons and my gut reaction was, “Oh my God, what if something happens to our planet before Sam gets to live his life?” I can’t even bring myself to watch Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth because I already feel so amazingly powerless when it comes to the fact that I know we are destroying our world. I don’t want to be afraid, but it is so much, SO MUCH harder now that I have him. I have no control. Who will save the world for my baby? Even Superman can’t stand up to the radioactive material from his home planet.

I don’t want my son to be afraid of the world, to lose his childhood to fear. I want Sam to play with his friends in the street without me watching him out the window every moment. I want him to have some clean air left to breathe, some fresh water to drink, some sunlight safely touching his face. I want for him to have some superheroes, both real and fictitious, in whom he can place his hope. And yes, I want him to have some truly awesome movies too.