Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not Yet

Theo is just starting to grasp the ideas of time and place. He understands Now and Later and When and Where. This means he comes up with questions like, "Where I going, Mama?" just before we walk out the door, and replying "Not yet. I playing," when I ask him if he's ready for lunch. Every night before he goes to bed he asks, "Tomorrow a play day?" meaning he's wondering if he'll get to sleep in (a "play day") or if I'll rouse him out of bed to take him to day care. His attention span is expanding and he has been known to settle in with some cars or a book for twenty minutes at a time. Last night he grabbed my hand and led me into his room, asking me to "Play a game with me, Mama." He also gets excited about taking his vitamins, and his latest favorite book is Olivia ("Read Livia to me, Daddy!"). I can't wait to see what goofy new thing he does to make me laugh as I lift him out of bed after his nap - lately when I stick out my hand, he says, "I'm DeeDee," to which I'm supposed to respond, "Nice to meet you, I'm DahDah." Don't ask me how that is supposed to make sense.

Every stage in his life is interesting to me, but now that the physical growth has slowed down a bit and his intellectual progress is faster, I am more fascinated by him than ever. He's started making jokes, and remembering directions ("We going left?"), and trying to figure out what day it is ("Today Tuesday?"). Of course he's also bossier than I ever imagined he could be, and he has a real problem remembering that everyone deserves a turn on the slide and that blocking it with his body and just hanging out at the top really isn't acceptable playground behavior.

So isn't it just my luck that, just when he's at his most charming, I've up and got myself a full-time job? It's true. I start next week. I'm excited about it. I've really missed the intellectual stimulation of working. I always liked my work and now that I've had a four year break, I know for sure that it really was the right field for me. So I'm going back.

Before I had a child I suspected I was not stay-at-home-mom material, and although I am beyond grateful that I could hang out with Theo for as long as I have, I still believe I'm happier when I'm working. I do not do well with unstructured days and hours alone with my toddler. I do not enjoy housework, and I just feel guilty that it's not getting done while I'm trying to re-assemble a broken dump truck. I am terrible at arts and crafts. My patience for whining is severely limited.

Of course this new plan is kind of breaking my heart too. I am savoring our sleepy mornings this week, eating breakfast in our PJs and wandering over to the library and the park. I don't like thinking about the post-nap cuddles I will miss, or the quiet weekday visits to the zoo.

But it still feels like the right thing. I'm happy with our child care situation. Jeff and I are both looking forward to caring for Theo in a more balanced partnership. And it's a financially responsible decision for all of us.

But I'm not looking forward to giving up our play days either.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dreaming with the Stars

I hate to follow up a post about a dance-themed reality TV show with another post about a dance-themed reality tv show, but...I don't really hate to do it. I love it.

Did you see the new cast of Dancing with the Stars has been announced? And, according to the headlines, its most exciting member is Tom DeLay. Wha? I can't wait to see what John Stewart has to say about this development (don't tell me, we don't get to watch him until a day later).

My predictions:
-Final three = Mya, Marc Dacascos, Donny Osmond.
Mya and Donny both have dance/performance backgrounds. She was in the move musical Chicago, he was in Joseph & The Amazingly White Teeth (or something). Somehow it doesn't seem fair to pit a professional dancer against, say a snowboarder or a rodeo cowboy but then again, Lil Kim didn't get voted off because she was a bad dancer. I'm most excited about Marc Dacascos who plays the Chairman on Iron Chef America. He is a martial artist and I really hope they pair him with someone besides Karina because she scares me.

-Possible spoiler = Aaron Carter
Also has a performance background. But, based on his bizarre family reality TV show, might be kind of a jerk. Which could hurt him. He's no Cody Linley in the wide-eyed ingenue department, is all I'm saying.

-First to go = Macy Gray or Chuck Liddell
Have you seen Macy Gray move? Yikes. And I just don't have much hope for the Ultimate Fighting Champion. I'd say DeLay might get kicked off early but the Republicans are fired up and like to get out the vote.

-Other possible nightmares: Joanna Krupa and Kathy Ireland
Models seem to have a hard time with rhythm and movement on this show. Except for Brooke Burke, of course. Because she was BORN TO BE A DANCER!!! according to the judges.

Now I'm on pins and needles, wondering which professional dancers will be cast with the celebs. Any predictions? Hopes? Dreams?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So You Think You Can Come Up With A Better Name For This Show

I try not to be embarrassed about the number of hours I spend watching reality television, but sometimes it's hard. I have sworn that I will not get caught up in The Biggest Loser this fall, not because it's emotionally manipulative (even though it is) but because it consumes four full hours per week of my precious post-bedtime evenings. I'm just not that committed to America's weight loss trials and triumphs. I'd all but sworn off American Idol until Paula Abdul went down in a blaze of glory and now, well, I might have to watch. But NOT during the audition rounds. At least not all of them. I wish I could quit Dancing with the Stars but I'm not sure I can resist. I'm not proud of my weakness for the Paso Doble.

I am proud, however, to announce that I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance. When I saw it for the first time I couldn't quite believe that real dance - not fake ballroom, not Michael Jackson video ripoffs, not the Nutcracker on PBS - was on network prime time. I loved it but I was sure it wouldn't last. Was the country that made The Swan a hit really going to support choreography starring electronica and a crash test dummy narrative? Would anyone tune in to a show with such a cumbersome title? Would we get it?

But, apparently, we do. The gorgeous host, Cat Deeley, manages to seem geniunely sweet and goofy and like the anti-Seacrest. The judges are nerdy and over-Botoxed but do seem to know what they're talking about and generally don't sound like they are on drugs. Well, except Lil C. The contestants are jaw-droppingly talented, and instead of being sold mainly on their back stories (The Widowed Church Guy! The Country Girl Whose Daddy Is In Prison!), they are featured for their talent. The prize, though nothing to sneeze at, matters less than the performances and the exposure the dancers receive. And, most thrillingly to me, the choreography is sometimes strange and inaccessible but always interesting.

Don't tell anyone, but I think we, as a television-viewing public, are appreciating Art. And it's on Fox. Please make every effort to keep this development from Rupert Murdoch, because this is a slippery slope. What's next? Opera?

P.S.
I wanted Janette to win. I think Kayla was thwarted by her own weak choreography in her solos, but she absolutely rocked the stage whenever someone else gave her something to do. I believe it's unfair that they split the competition along gender lines until the end, because at least three of the women should have made it to the final four. I loved the Butt Dance. Mia Michaels needs a new makeup artist. I've downloaded half the music from this season. I can't wait until the new season starts.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night

I went to the dentist last week and smugly came home and announced that the hygienist told me I had pretty teeth, therefore validating my devoted flossing. And then I mentioned that I had to go back again to have a cavity filled and it didn't even occur to me that the whole thing sounded sort of stupid. I mean, a tooth with a big ugly hole in it isn't very pretty, is it? Especially to a dental hygienist. I think she was just trying to make conversation.

So today I had my cavity filled and the dentist had to dose me three times with the anesthesia and by the third try I just stopped reacting when the drill hit a nerve (sorry!) and dug my fingernails into my palms a bit further. Obviously I must have been somewhat medicated or I would have involuntarily shrieked at high volume but still. You're not supposed to feel the drill, are you?

Anyway, the medication kicked in about an hour later and suddenly my whole head felt numb and everything on my right side, including my eyebrow, was rendered immobile. So my plan to go to the mall and hit up the MAC counter for some new blush was foiled and I just went home instead and tried to eat ramen. You can imagine how that went, with my droopy lip and half-numb tongue. I'm going to have to do extra laundry tomorrow. And then I baked my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Mainly to celebrate the temperature finally remaining below ninety degrees after a ten-day heatwave. But not inside my house because when you turn the oven on, it heats up the house.

Not my best day. But hey! I have a new bionic tooth and chocolate chip cookies and this week is the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance and after six hours or so I can finally feel my face again. Life is good.