So This Happened

So I realized I haven’t put up a new post in about three months. There’s really no good excuse for this, other than the fact that I had a baby two months ago. Baby S arrived in the world a couple of days late, with a head full of what promises to be very curly hair. So far, she’s been a champ eater, sleeper, and pooper…what else could you possibly ask for?

In the past couple of months, I have become quite prolific on Twitter, probably because my thought process doesn’t go beyond 140 characters these days.

It was first on Twitter that I started writing some observations about being a parent of two children.

I want to compile them here in one easy list that will surely grow as the years go by. I’m sure these thoughts and observations are in no way, shape, or form original or earth shattering. But they’re mine and this is my blog, so I get to write them.

1. After having a second child, I realized that we had no idea what we were doing the first time around. From the 20 wipe diaper change to every freak out concerning a rash… Goodness we were completely clueless.

2. There really is such a thing as forgetting to eat. I always thought it was a dainty person’s way of saying that they were dieting. Alas, no.

3. I’ve already been disabused of the notion that second children are a lot mellower than first children. But I still can’t help feeling that it is true in some way. Things that S does that P just did not do very well: eat, sleep, be chill.

4. Before having a second child, I was somewhat worried that the amount of love that I would feel would be somehow less than for a firstborn. Man, was I wrong.

5. Once human cloning is an actual option, mothers of multiple children will be first in line for that technology. All of a sudden I am needed everywhere at once. I foresee this being the case for the next 18 years.

6. My oh my how do people handle more than two kids in a household?

Anyway, so far these are the only observations I can think of. If you have any nuggets of wisdom, please feel free to share in the comments section.

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My Good Friend

I was rummaging through some old stuff, looking for a birthday card, when I found this paragraph below. It was written sometime when I was in fourth grade. This essay wasn’t dated, but the one right before it (on how to make an ice cream sundae) was dated February 2, 1987. That means I wrote the “essay” about six months after we moved to the U.S.

Honestly, it broke my heart a little. And I can’t imagine what my teacher must have thought when she read it. That’s all…no deeper thoughts for now.

The Bet

A’s best friend, Ettore, became the proud papa’ of a girl today. Aida was born in Venice, Italy, and although I don’t have any information other than a text announcing her entrance into the world, I’m sure she is a breathtaking little free spirit. How else would you describe the offspring of a freelance photographer and a belly dancer?

Now, about A and Ettore. They’ve been best friends since they were born exactly four months apart in the same hospital. Ettore was born on April 20, 1974, and A came along on August 20 of the same year.

Their connection is almost cosmic. In kindergarten, if one went to school and saw the other one was home sick, he would run back home. It was no use being in school if your other half was at home.

In fifth grade, their teacher called a parent-teacher conference, saying the two boys’ connection was “unnatural” and that they should be separated. (Way to go, small-town Italy, for marking two little BFFs as potential gays.) A’s mom told the teacher that there was no way those two boys would be separated. Go mama.

Ettore was the reason A and I met fifteen years ago. I was living in the same apartment with Ettore in Venice, when A and five other friends from their hometown came to visit for Carnival. A and I met, and the rest is, well, us.

They do crazy things for one another. During one visit to Italy, we barely got to see Ettore and his wife, Camilla. Leaving to come back to California, we had a crazy early morning flight, and had just gone through security at around 5am when A heard Ettore calling him from behind the security line. He’d gotten up at the crack of dawn to come have a last coffee with us and say goodbye.

When we moved to the U.S., I think leaving Ettore was more difficult for A than anything else.

So the news that Ettore had joined the joyful tribe of fathers left A a little giddy today. At dinner, he said, “Just watch. Our little one will be born on April 28.”

Me: “Huh?”

A: “April 28. You’ll see. The two girls will be separated by exactly two months, like Ettore and I were separated by four.”

Without thinking, I said, “If she’s born on April 28, we’ll move back to Italy. Because at that point, you and Ettore really are meant to be together.”

Honestly, if it happens, it means their connection is truly cosmic.

Here’s to you, Aida. Let’s see if your little American counterpart is exactly two months behind.

On Music

If you thought that you couldn’t be moved to tears (tears of pain, not laughter) by a cartoon, then you’ve never been an Iranian expat watching Persepolis.The movie-length cartoon, based on the graphic novels (or comic books?) of the same name, tells the story of a young Iranian who lives through the Revolution, moves abroad, moves back to Iran, and goes back abroad again.

There are many poignant and unbelievable scenes, but the one that always makes me dissolve in a pool of tears is the scene in which Marjane is walking around, trying to buy some music illegally on the streets. If you’ve never seen it, here it is on YouTube:

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Anyway, many things in the movie seem surreal, but none other than the sight of a teenager on the prowl for some Bee Gees, Stevie Wonder, and “Jichael Mackson.” The scene may be comical (it is), but it is also a really painful snapshot of how things really were in Iran.

For my sister and her cool friends (and by extension, moi, because what little sister doesn’t annoyingly follow everything her older one does?), it was always A-Ha (you may remember my post about Iranians’ obsession with blonds). However, my parents wouldn’t DREAM of having their 13 year-old (my sister, not me) go out and get in trouble by prowling for illegal music. So my mother would take it upon herself to head to the seedy parts of town, asking for any new A-Ha tapes. Little did we know that A-Ha released very little new music after their huge hit, “Take On Me.”

So my mom came back one day with what I believe was a U2 tape…Joshua Tree maybe? You know the song “With or Without You”? The part where the chorus goes “with or without you ahhhhhh haaaaaaaa, I can’t liiiiiiiiiiiive”? Well, I (or was it my sister?) pretty much convinced myself (ourselves?) that the “ah ha” in the middle of the song really meant that the band singing was, indeed, A-Ha. And we would sing along without abandon, with our nonexistent English skills, while my parents (who, you know, actually knew the language) would try to correct us by telling us the real words. All the while we’d continue singing phonetically and declare that they were the ones wrong in their word choice and pronunciation.

That is a very long trip down memory lane, and all things I’ve been thinking about as P gets more and more excited about singing and dancing, and music in general. At this point, I’m leaving all the preschool songs to my parents, while I slowly indoctrinate her in all things Beatles.

This has been surprisingly easy, since there are so many animal-themed Beatles songs. She loves “Octopus’s Garden,” but isn’t that crazy about “Piggies.” “Blackbird” is a bit slow for her, but she tolerates it pretty well since I insist on belting it out at the top of my lungs. Her favorite though? Definitely a non-animal themed song: “Michelle.” She requests it every other day, and insists that I sing it to her every night to say goodnight.

She even knows the words and sings along. Sometimes, she sings by herself. One time, we were walking in San Francisco, and she was singing “Michelle” with very little help from me. We passed a cafe, and a woman looked at P singing, and couldn’t contain her excitement. “Yes,” she said, “start them early!”

She even tries to sing the French parts…you know, “sont le mot qui vont tres bien ensemble, tres bien ensemble.” (Forgive the incorrect spelling, but I’m working on high school French here.) Her French sounds like you would expect a 2 1/2 non-native French person sounding: pretty rough. She basically just mouths the words really theatrically, looking at me with wide eyes to see if she’s saying them correctly.

She probably sounds like my sister and me about twenty years ago, as we tried singing along to U2. The obvious big difference being that instead of going to horrid parts of town and risking arrest to get some music, I just turn on my iPod.

Strange how seeing your child do something triggers a whole flood of different memories from your own childhood. And makes you respect what your parents did when you were growing up.

I’ll try introducing P to A-Ha (maybe) and U2 (definitely). And have my mom tell her stories of what it was like trying to find those tapes in the seedy parts of Tehran.