Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's the End of the World

I just heard this song on the radio, which revived memories of my college days. Actually, REM, INXS, and 10,000 Maniacs were the background music for the my college years.

As for this particular phrase, freshman year Andy Rosenberg stood on a bench in the middle of Quad 2 and bellowed, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” Why? There was a gush of wind and a storm was acoming. (A little over the top proclamation, methinks)

Then, a month later he swung open my dorm room door and announced “it's the end of the world as we know it!” It was Oct 19, 1987 and the stock market just crashed. This time, we all drew our breaths. But, we all continued going to classes and enjoying our freshman year.

I personally had other moments in college when I thought it was the end of the world. Specifically, there were:
- the MacroEconomics final exam results
- George Bush Sr. getting elected. We had cheered on Dukakis so actively, and my roommate E and I could only look sadly at the TV.
- 1989 US invasion of Panama. Should have realized this was going to be a new trend in US History.
- the Persian Gulf War. My roommate L and I were wondering if our friends would get drafted. Then we giggled hysterically imagining our geeky friends with guns.
- the Valentine’s Day I wore black and other broken heart moments
However, if you come out of college with one piece of knowledge it's that life does keep going on. Actually, I used to think marriage was going to be the end of the world. When it didn't and life actually got better, I was surprised...
And I feel fine!!

Title: R.E.M. - It's The End Of The World lyrics
Artist: REM

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn - world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, the Ladder start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire in a fire, representing seven games, and a government for hire at a combat site. Left of west and coming in a hurry with the furys breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped. Look at that low playing. Fine, then. Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do to Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn. Lock it in, uniforming, book burning, blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle, light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament, tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic, slam bug net, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine...fine...

On the Job Training: Motherhood - Paging the Tooth Fairy

Her tooth is loose! Actually, there are two loose teeth!

She has been obsessing about this for months. “Everyone in my class has big teeth.” “[insert name of current BFF] has window in her mouth.” “Oh, I think my tooth is loose,” as she grabs a molar.

It’s hard to explain to Annika that she’s been on a different teething cycle than the rest of her peers. She didn’t get her first tooth until she was almost 11 months old. However, she apparently had all the symptoms since she was 3 months. Whenever she chewed something or cried a lot, people said, “Oh, she must be teething.” Yeah, teething more gums. That December, I would sing “All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth” to her.

On May 5th, her first tooth was finally loose, she proudly announced it to everyone we met that day. The doorman said hello and she said, “my tooth is loose!” We introduced her to a new friend and she said, “my tooth is loose!”

We went to the dentist a few weeks ago and I saw her X-rays with the next two teeth ready to pop out. It’s just about any time now.

Sadly, when my first teeth fell out, I felt guilty. My parents had always said, “If you don’t brush your teeth, your teeth will fall out.” One day it was wiggling and then.. wow.. it’s really out! Oh no, I haven’t been brushing properly! They were right!

Also, Indian parents don’t promote this tooth fairy business. My second tooth fell out in the car coming back from Jones Beach when I was 6 years old. I was actually eating a hot dog and the tooth was stuck in the hot dog. My aunt was right there, and she told me to throw the tooth out the window. In fact, go ahead and throw the hot dog out the window, too. My American friends actually profited from this?

So, I don't mind if Annika believes in the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. I used to think it was a mean thing parents did, but now I see it differently. Their enthusiasm and delight is really special.

I found a Tooth Fairy Box from a gift shop. It’s a really cute box with a pillow and a small note card is enfolded to capture the date. There’s a mirror so they can see the “window in their mouth.” I chose a purple one with a girl with flowing brown hair on a white horse – all of the elements for a perfect gift. Annika was excited and she placed it on her shelf. She often goes to the box and just looks at it.

Stay tuned for further updates! By the way, I’m sticking with quarters for each tooth. I don’t care what the going rate is for bicuspids or incisors.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Movie Review: 1971

We watched Amit Sagar's debut film, "1971" last night and loved it.

The story is about Indian POW's from the India-Pakistan war of 1971, who in 1977 should have been released. Yet, they were detained in Pakistan and forgotten. This film follows their escape from imprisonment to India.

It's smart and realistic. As military men, they were good at planning and strategizing, as well as combat. The elements of a good action were definitely woven into the film. Again, this is a sample of the new class of films coming from India - side stepping the traditional Bollywood masala. Also, they made an effort to show a balance of positive and negative impressions of Pakistan -- there are people who want to help them.

I liked seeing the diversity of the Indian army. It's made of Indians - Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Chrisitans. Each soldier mentioned his home, scattered throughout India, indicating the diverse communities. Yet, their love for their country was the strongest. The characters are human and credible.

The heartbreaking part is to recognize POW's are still not home. They said there were 54 Indian POW's in Pakistan who were last seen alive in 1988.

My husband's family has suffered the loss of one member who was in the Indian military. He died on a mission and was duly granted the Indian Air Force's Vayu Sena medal of honor in 1968. For us, the ache of military life comes close to home. To know that a family member is alive and is unjustedly imprisoned would be unbearable.

At the end of the movie, they list the POW's who have not returned home. While the rest of the movie may have been fictionalized, it is moving to put real names and faces to the story.

Here is a great Mother's Day card I received this weekend. The pictures are definitely cute with butterflies and flowers - a running theme among all her artwork; the princesses, mermaids and friends from school are noticeably

The pink form is a sample of "kid writing" that both of her KG programs are encouraging. Children are supposed to write the words phonetically. Whatever they spell is acceptable and it gives them a chance to work freely on their letters. I asked her to read it aloud for me.

My Mother
My mom is 26 years old.
(hey, this is creative writing..not math. So, she's off by 10, but I'm happy!)

My mom's favorite color is blue
(don't have a particular favorite color, so this works)

My mom's favorite food is salmon
(We had salmon at my sister's and we all enjoyed it. Just recently she saw me eat fish, as I'm a vegetarian)

My mom likes to swim and cooking
(I'm not a big swimmer, but we spent some time in the pool together and had a lot of fun!)

My mom is special
(Just to hear her read that to me was wonderful)

My mom is good
(Whew! So all those "bad mother" moments have been forgotten!)

I have to add that I didn't see the importance of Mother's Day until I became one. I remember dubbing it a "Hallmark holiday" when I was in my 20's and frantically searching for gifts.

Now, I understand why my parents always refused the extravagant gifts we wanted to give them. There is no way a child can repay his/her parents for what they've done. These tokens of appreciation make you happy as a parent and ensure you that you are on the right track.

Until I became a parent, I did not realize how much hard work it was. Being a father is demanding, but women make more silent sacrifices. We know if we don't do it for our children, no one else will.

My girlfriends and I celebrated Mother's Day with a spa day this weekend. One friend had her husband and family babysitting her little girl for the day. She still received numerous phone calls. It struck me that in her situation 5 adults could not take over the job of 1 mother for one day. No one realizes her contributions until she is absent.

To all the mothers, you are remembered!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Girl's and Self-Esteem

I've mentioned before that I'm the anti-Bratz mom. I was sent this article, "Are Bratz Dolls Too Sexy," which raises some interesting points: The Bratz Web site is rife with examples that seem to play to that point. While waiting for the transition from one screen to another, the message flashes “Please wait … it takes time to look this good.” And included in the “profiles” of the dolls is each one’s “favorite body part.” “Little girls shouldn’t be thinking of their body parts in that way,” says Linn. “Plus, the very idea of a ‘favorite’ part encourages you to think about your least favorite.”

I haven't let my daughter onto this site at all. The sites she does visit are:
NickJr, Noggin, Sprouts Online, StarFall, Playhouse Disney, PBS Kids and I will be honest and admit she likes However, we'll balance it out more. **

As a mother, I'm concerned about my daughter's self esteem and how she will develop an attitude towards her own body and those of others. I'm very conscious about not talking about fat, but steering the conversation to health (e.g., it's important to exercise so you can stay healthy and live long). Annika's perfectly slender - actually too thin, per my mother. But who knows what she's going to hear and see from friends.

I came across Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty site, which has a mother-daughter decoder. I loved it because some of the translations are right on target. I think as a parent we shouldn't forget what went through our minds when we were on the other side. When I assure Annika that she looks attractive no matter what, I remember my parents saying the same thing. However, I used to wave off their comments because they HAVE to say I'm pretty.

Also, the Dove site is good because of the anonymous forum where young girls can reach out to other women for guidance and input.

This is one more challenge we have as mothers.

** Side note for kids on the computer: I created a separate Guest user ID for her without ability to download programs. Also, the password is her name so she enjoys typing it out. Lastly, I made all of her sites shortcuts on the desktop. So she can open directly to the site. This works for us now. We'll see what security measures need to be in place when she can actually read!