child effects

Kids make us old. Mostly this is because we tend to be getting old anyway. But also where they have a unique ability to give us a close-up of how fast it’s all going by–the burst and fade of their firsts, the immovable depths of doneness as we sort through outgrown onesies. It’s as if the lightning pace of their development marks everything in its vicinity. Nowadays, I am often startled by a voice; it tells me to turn off that re-run of 90210, because, after all, today is not practice for some other life when I can do it again without the bad tv. This is it, show time. And besides, I already know who killed Dylan’s father and if I really wanted to investigate a mystery I might look into how a dour thirty year-old won a part playing a sensitive, teen hearththrob.
So things here are speeding along, as nature insists they must. Edda, for instance, before reaching even two years of age, has been taken by the dance. The crescent legume she calls a torso begins to bob, such that it is impossible to say whether she means to go up and down or side to side. Then, without warning, her arms fly out flailing, one with zero regard for what the other is doing. And yet, in spite of this motley din of motion, that she is dancing is clear.
Partly it is clear is because she is watching The Wiggles. And by she, I mean we. Yes, I have gone from indecipherable foreign films to overly simplistic kids show. You’ll be relieved to learn that the mind numbing boredom they conjure is very similar. The Wiggles is the only show we let Edda watch with any regularity. The Wiggles collective is comprised of four Australian pre-school teacher/musicians named Greg, Jeff, Murray, and…Bill…Ben? The one whose gag is that he overeats.
They sing Jewish folk songs, songs about camels, and about mashed bananas. The rumor in my head is that they are funded by a cabal of elderly Orientalists. But as they also sing about dinosaurs and pirates, it could also be paleontologists or those hipsters who are obsessed with pirates. Or is it cupcakes. Or robots. Or moustaches. Or eighties aerobics gear. You see, I am too old to keep up.
In any event, the leader of the band, who wears a yellow shirt and a lopsided smile, has come down with a degenerative, neurological illness. This also makes me feel relatively old. She watches bursts of color and happy faced songs. I watch a sad narrative completeness to their tale.
It seems though, watching the sky, the elegant compromise between screaming gulls and updrafts, that a little eternity seeps in through the cracks of discrete moments, of events. She will have always danced a first, bumbling jig. I will have always clapped along, smiling. That things which are done cannot be undone, are both over and ossified, is a discord that depends on perhaps which lobe we happen to inhabit at the moment. The narrative lobe or the continuum. If time is really more a map than a trajectory, then our footprints are cemented in the springtime of its perimeters. Next door, our memories, insect sketches of hovering, personal pasts, with our footprints holding down the perimeters. I wonder, which of these moments between us will make the grade. That our moments held in common will not translate into common recollections, particularly with the onslaught of puberty.
I heard in an interview today that neuroscientists claim our proud rationality functions mostly as de facto rationalization of behaviors and beliefs with myriad motivators. That there are many correct conclusions seems unsurprising to me; that we think we can apprehend some ultimate among them, an ironic irrationality, perhaps a bravery or a fear or most likely that indistinct thing of living that we collectively flee.

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One Response to “child effects”

  1. Nicole Says:

    We’ve watched those Wiggles intermittently. I was unaware of the bad news, though. Sometimes we watch Sesamstrasse, or Yo Gabba Gabba, all via the Youtubez. (YGG, now that’s a good one). I can probably count on both hands, however, how often we’ve let her watch television. I even dislike doing computer work with her in the room. Something about that vacant stare (the same mind-numbing of indecipherable foreign films?) gets to me. I make unscientific postulations in my brain about correlations between screen-time and underdeveloped frontal lobes and wonder about those spikes in Autism around the globe. Seriously, TV really does rot the brain, right? Thank you for reminding me about today not being a practice run- I tend to forget that part… I send you all the loves!! All!

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