We all do it. We live for - or at least, savor - the weekend. My weekends are now Sunday through Tuesday. That means I get to spend all day Monday and Tuesday alone with my baby, Grace. It's a magical couple of days, and I'd like to report that we spend the entire time doing constructive and educational activities - activities so productive and development-oriented Albert Einstein himself couldn't help but endorse them (or perhaps build an entire DVD collection around them). But alas, occasionally... there's some downtime that may... inevitably... turn to... turning on... Oprah.* I like Oprah - always have, always will. She's just so real, compassionate and relevant.
So anyway, today, Gracie and I were enjoying the "productive" activity of simultaneously playing in her Exersaucer while watching Oprah, when Aaron Sorkin came on the show. Now, for those not familiar with Sorkin, he's the ever-so-talented screenwriter and man behind "The West Wing"... and, most recently, the Oscar-nominated movie, "The Social Network."
Today, he appeared on Oprah to talk about his fantastic career and the pinnacle of that career, his Oscar nomination. But you know... it wasn't his insights into his writing or work that impressed me... nor was it his savvy use of the English language that impressed me... today, it was his reference to fatherhood.
Oprah asked Sorkin about his Golden Globe acceptance speech - in which he told his 10-year-old daughter "smart girls have more fun." In response to Oprah's question, Sorkin said something along the lines of how much his daughter means to him, ending with this phrase: "Fatherhood, it lives up to all the hype." The moment he uttered those humble words, I suddenly realized this masterfully gifted screenwriter and I had something pretty significant in common: our complete infatuation and love of being a parent.
Yes, I'm still so thrilled with each and every day with my NOW 9-month-old. (I can't believe she's truly that old... a phrase I know I'll utter entirely too often these next many years). As I wrote in my blog last week, every day - literally, every hour - is so enjoyable right now. She gives and gives and gives at this age. It's just a delight.
But what's especially delightful is just how she "gives and gives and gives" at this age. She has discovered her innate and powerful ability to communicate through through facial expressions. I realize some babies may be uttering full sentences by now (actually, I don't think that's true... or is it?)... but Gracie - verbally, at least - is still limited to "mum, mum, mum" consonant sounds (yes, I love that it's "mum" she mumbles), shrieks and cries of pleasure... or disappointment... or excitement... or crankiness... You get the picture.
But what Gracie lacks in verbal language, she more than makes up for in twinkling eyes and playful eyebrows. And Gracie has something else she also throws into the mix... something quite communicative, actually, and certainly very expressive... and that's her tongue. She seems to especially love making funny faces that feature her little pink tongue (hence the attached picture to this blog). Seriously, who knew how much could be communicated by sticking out your tongue? For example: I'm feeling silly, mommy (stick out my tongue); I'm frustrated with this carrot and sweet potato combination, mommy (stick out my tongue); I'm really excited daddy's home, mommy (stick out my tongue); the cats just walked by - how cool, mommy (stick out my tongue). I think you get the drift. Now admittedly, at some point, I'm going to need to discourage her from sticking out her tongue. It's not the most "polite" expression (and on that note, the attached picture doesn't really set a great example, does it?). But I do appreciate what Grace's new found animation has reminded me: that simple expressions - those featuring a tongue, and those highlighting a pair of twinkling eyes - can communicate the world... especially when the person doing that communicating means the world to the recipient.
*To those worried that my daughter is inundated with T.V., have no fear - her time in front of it is limited, and she takes no note of the colorful screen. In fact, she's fortunately a lover of books... books she hardly understands, but enjoys nonetheless. And I promise to have a "Top 10" list of children's books coming soon...
Now, before I sign off, two quick notes of recent media consumption. First, I mentioned Sorkin's "The Social Network." I just watched it a little over a week ago. And then I watched it again the following night. It's that good. Not kidding. It doesn't matter if you have a facebook account, or not, the movie is pure genius. Yes, it profiles a genius - and prodigy, the likes of whom our generation hasn't seen before (there's a reason TIME Magazine named Mark Zuckerberg their 2010 "Person of the Year"), but the movie goes sooooo far beyond that. It portrays a heartbreaking story of a young man yearning for acceptance, and in his attempt to achieve that acceptance... he just happens to create a multi-billion-dollar business. Admittedly, some would argue Zuckerberg didn't stumble into creating facebook at all, but that the company was instead the product of either his very deliberate and immense intellectual fortitude OR his very deliberate ability to craftily steal ideas from others... (hence, the movie's plot), but you get the gist. Bottom line: this movie is a MUST see. Highly relevant, incredibly entertaining, and poetically haunting. Good, good movie.
And from a must-see-movie... to a must-read-book... I'm two books into the Stieg Larsson detective series. If you haven't heard of it - and I'm guessing you have, perhaps without realizing it - Larsson is the now late Swedish author who wrote all those "Girl..." books. You know, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played with Fire," and, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest." His books - so incredibly addicting. Now, I do have two warnings about his books: the violence (and for that matter, personal relationships) can be a little graphic. Not scary along the lines of a Stephen King novel, but edgy - very edgy - nonetheless. And two, the books are translated from the original Swedish. So the writing isn't always exquisite. But I think the entire series falls into the category of books in which the writing takes a backseat to the plot. And the plots... well, they're definitely enthralling - to the point, I too often stay up until the wee hours reading to find out what's going to happen next (not recommended when you have a little one).
So now you have my recommendations for what to do on YOUR weekends. Yes, we've come full circle. And because I am still on that little ol' weekend of mine, I'll go ahead and sign off. I wish everyone ALL the best right now, despite that new layer of snow. Remember what I blogged last week? The snow really IS beautiful, and if we have to have the cold, why NOT have the gorgeous white blanket, too?
Until next time, please take care. And in the words of Mike Wallace, "do well, and do good."
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)