January 31, 2012


I go through phases of obsessive curiosity, learning and exploring. In high school, it was music and theater. Every afternoon and evening was filled with play rehearsals, jazz band, jazz choir, concerts, performances, hanging out with band and theater geek friends.

In college, I was obsessed with the gender, sex and relationships, and filled my course load with career-boosting courses (NOT) like Men & Women in American Society, Biology of Human Sexuality, Sociology of Human Sexuality, Sex & Violence in Asian American Literature, Art & Literature Depicting Women During the Renaissance, etc, etc.

Then the travel bug hit me before I studied abroad in London my junior year and I obsessively researched European countries to plan my travel itinerary and spent hours and hours pouring over travel guides to France, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, etc. For at least 2 solid years after college graduation, the only books I read were travel memoirs, and the highlights of my mid-20s were vacations---A 14 day solo trip to London, Manchester & Paris and a vacation to Ecuador to stay with a close friend and his family in Quito.

Somewhere in the last 5 years, life and the financial commitment of living in NYC has me focused less on international travel and more on other, newer obsessions like wedding planning, immediately followed by "oh crap, I'm pregnant!" baby planning, immediately followed by research into education methodology, parenting philosophy, and slew of related topics that I never thought I'd care about. In fact, when I was pregnant and first read the phrase "parenting philosophy", I was like "Huh??? People label their parenting styles? That's insane. Free range parenting? Attachment Parenting? People think too much."

But now I'm the poster child of a mother who thinks so much. This latest parenting obsession makes sense - I am a mom after all - but it goes way beyond what an average parent needs to know. Parenting is instinctual for the most part - it's not like you need to study. But I'm addicted to the research component of it all - I want to learn everything there is to know about raising a child from various points of view, all the different theories on discipline, every method of sleep training, play-based learning philosophies, at-home project ideas to build fine motor skills, increase confidence, etc, etc.

In my free time, I read blogs like Play at Home Mom, Tinkerlab, Modern Parents, Messy Kids, Penelope Trunk's Homeschooling Blog and various mommy blogs, I see what my virtual mommy friends are up to on Twitter, and I scope out Pinterest for cool project ideas to add to my For Savvy board. I've read all the books. In fact, I'm expecting a shipment from Amazon that includes How to Raise and Emotionally Intelligent Child, which I'm sure isn't rocket science but I'm DYYYYINNNNNG to read it because it is referenced so often in all these silly articles and blogs I read.

When I stop and think about it, it's clearly insane to be doing all this additional research when parenting has come incredibly naturally to me. Half the time, I read some piece of advice and pat myself on the back because it highlights something I already do naturally. Parenting my sweet Savannah already occupies my brain 99% of the day - I should probably use the remaining 1% of my mental energy to focus on ME.

So I need a new obsession. I WANT that obsession to be living up to the goal of this blog to explore the world through NYC. I just need to figure out what to explore FIRST.

January 3, 2012

Possibly My Favorite Minute of 2011

I have intense blog envy for mommy bloggers that manage to write the narrative of their family life on a daily basis. Every time I read Dear Baby, for example, I'm inspired and super jealous. Anyways, there are a lot of wonderful memories from last year, my first full year as a mother, that are sitting up in my noggin and need to be jotted down somewhere so I don't lose them forever. Here is one that might just be my favorite.

My friend Melinda and I took Savannah to Lido Beach. It was a short trip and I tried to photo-document as much of Savannah's first warm-weather "beach experience" as possible. I often find it hard to live in the moment during these "firsts" because I'm so occupied with normal parenting responsibilities like feeding, nursing and diapering PLUS taking photos, telling Savvy about what we're doing, making sure she experiences the sand and water, etc, etc. (In fact, during this 2-3 hour stint at the beach, I vividly recall not lying down and relaxing one single time--my own fault.) The day could have been stored in my subconscious as a fun day at the beach, but there was one moment in particular that made me stop and feel the gravity of this particular first. It also reminded me to pause sometimes to see life through Savvy's eyes.

Savvy was cruising at this point and able to walk steadily if I held both her hands, so I took her for a walk to the water sans camera while Melinda read a magazine. Usually I had to contribute to her forward momentum by pushing her forward a bit, but as soon as her toes hit the ocean she dashed forward and I had to speed up my pace to keep up. She was practically running! She did not want to stop - she loved the water so much; just wanted to go farther out. I stopped her when she was about thigh deep because I'm a scaredy cat. I was so taken aback by her speed that it hit me: Her desire to run into the unknown was a metaphor for her life. Not even a year old, she had her whole future in front of her just like this vast ocean and she wanted to explore it all. I was so intensely proud of her. She had no fears, nothing holding her back (well, except for me...).

I crouched down behind her and put my hands on her waist. "This is the ocean, Savannah. Do you feel the breeze on your face? Do you hear the waves? Isn't it amazing?" And we stood there.

This photo was taken that afternoon during a different trip to the water. You can see how far we were able to walk out before getting to the waves. My girl ran quite the distance!

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