Monday, February 23, 2009

Bean-girl's first symphony concert

“She’s changed so much in just three weeks!” my mother exclaimed of Baby Legume. Indeed, both children seem to be going through both mental and physical growth spurts. It’s more noticeable with Legume, who’s going through the fabled toddler language explosion. Just last week she learned the word “No”—pronounced more like “Neh!” in Legume-speak. So it has been “Neh, neh, neh!” around here, emphasized with a shaking head. I also swear that I heard her say “mine!” when she was tussling with Bean-girl over some thing. And she has finally learned to say Bean-girl’s name, much to Bean-girl’s amusement. “She doesn’t say it quite right,” Bean-girl pointed out.

The grandparents were in town last week, filling up on grandkid time before they take a month long overseas trip. Legume cried, as usual, when she saw her grandmother’s face. But this time she calmed down more quickly, and was soon sitting on grandma’s lap, listening to stories and playing. My mother is enamoured. “She’s good to me now, she likes me!” my mom kept saying of her youngest granddaughter. And Bean-girl has always warmed to her grandparents, from the very beginning. When she hears that they are coming for a visit she asks for how long, and is disappointed if they don’t stay the night.

Bean-girl went to her first symphony concert this weekend. There is a sleek modern community arts center down the hill from our house, in walking distance. We wandered through an art exhibit there when we first moved to this house, but had never attended a performance there. I saw in the paper that a childrens’ production of “Cinderella” was being staged over the weekend, with music provided by our city’s symphony orchestra. It seemed a good time to introduce the Bean to a little culture. My husband took a nap with the Legume while Bean-girl and I made our escape. The grandparents joined in on the pre-concert festivities—there was a “renaissance faire” (high school kids in medieval costumes wandering the lobby); medieval-themed crafts projects, and an orchestra petting zoo that Bean-girl took zero interest in. But she loved the crafts and the concert itself. I hadn’t realized that half an hour would be devoted solely to classical music from the symphony. Excepting the Police concert this past summer, I hadn’t heard any live music in years. The last time I attended a symphony concert was in grad school. There is something about the swelling of live music that cannot be replicated by any stereo sound system. The orchestra started off with an excerpt of the William Tell overture. “Hey, this music is like the Little Einsteins,” Bean-girl told me, referring to a favorite children’s cartoon series that features classical music in each episode. “Music can tell a story,” the conductor told the audience of children. “What story do you think that piece was telling?” “The Little Einsteins!” Bean-girl shouted from the balcony (I don’t think he heard her).

The conductor did a marvelous job of introducing short pieces to the children and explaining how music could mimic a rainstorm, or the bounce of Sancho Panza tossed in a blanket, or the flight of Baba Yaga the witch. Bean-girl beamed on my lap (although she also covered her ears at some parts of the musical rainstorm). Then the “Cinderella” production started. From the newspaper description I had expected a puppet show, but this “puppet show” was actually a ballet featuring masked dancers and dancers manipulating life-sized puppets. Bean-girl squirmed and got a little restless toward the end, but overall seemed to enjoy it. We went home afterward with her cardboard crafted dragon and sword, and she affirmed that she would certainly like to see a similar show again.

And I was reminded that someday, Husband and I will have to get out on the town ourselves for a full-length symphony concert or bit o’culture. It’s been quite a while. But this past Sunday it was also lovely to share the moment on a one-on-one date with my bestest Bean-girl.

Things have been busy here, what with work, kids, relatives, etc. Blog posting and reading are both taking a hit. I hope to remedy that soon. . . But it’ll have to wait a little while longer. The Bean family is taking a short vacation this Wednesday to a water park resort. Umm, it’s not the kind of vacation I would have planned sans kids. But other parents have all raved about this place.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview meme

The five-question interview meme has been sweeping the blogosphere! Scientistmother asked me these:

1. Are you done with having kids or is there a possibility of more?

I admit that sometimes, holding my no-longer-a-baby Legume close to me, I feel a twinge and momentary longing for another baby. But the moment passes.

I have the two little girls I always dreamed of, and I can’t really imagine adding another to the mix. Husband and I have agreed that we are done having kids. In fact, we’re so sure that next month Husband has an appointment with a doctor to really make sure. (Oversharing? That’s what the Internet is for!)

2. What do you hope your girls want to be when they grow up?

Short answer? Whatever will make them happy and fulfilled.

Okay, that sounds too easy, but it’s true. I want them to be able to follow their bliss. I’m aware that following your bliss doesn’t always work out (sometimes it conflicts with things like paying rent, sometimes it ends in utter heartbreak) but my dream is that they will be able to follow their dreams.

A few weeks ago my four-year old announced that she wanted to be a doctor and an artist. And that she also wanted to be a mommy and take care of her kids as a third job. Lately she has added the position of paleontologist to the mix. I would be thrilled if she could do all that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she and her sister never felt as though they had to sacrifice one passion for another? If, for instance, they could concurrently pursue interests in both science and art without feeling like they had to give one of them up? And if they could feel that it is possible to choose both career and motherhood without backlash, negative career consequences, discrimination or guilt? That’s my dream for them.

Now having said this, if Bean-girl comes to me in 18 years saying she is really torn between medical school, art school, or paleontology... okay, I’d have to say that med school would be a whole lot more practical.

3. What is your favorite drink?

You mean alcoholic, don’t you? I have to admit that I’m not much of a drinker. When I do drink, I favor those fruity girly drinks. I like dry white wines and can’t stand the red stuff. Mostly I drink lemonade. Whenever I go to a restaurant I order lemonade.

4. What would you be doing if you didn't have kids?

Hmmm, reading more novels and watching “Battlestar Galactica” instead of “Dora the Explorer”?
I might actually still be at the lab bench, still trying to fight my way through academic research or trying to make my way in industry. I really don’t know where I’d be. To tell the truth, I really can’t imagine it.

5. If you could invite any person (living or dead) over for dinner, who would you invite?

Gar, this is going to sound completely lame … but the first person that always pops into my head when asked this party-game question is John Keats. Yeah, John Keats the poet. I came across his poetry at an impressionable age. I have a collection of his letters—and in many ways, the letters are even more interesting than his poetry, and give such a vivid picture of an extraordinarily sensitive, passionate, brilliant, and yes, romantic young man. I admit that as a teenager I developed something of a crush on the personality evident in those letters, a crush that (evidently) persists.

Now what would I say if I had young mister Keats at my dinner table? No idea, of course. Ask him to expound upon his literary theories of “negative capability?”

Now it's your turn! Do you want to be interviewed?If you do - here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me" AND leave your email address (or blog link) in the comment!
2. I will respond by emailing you (or commenting on your blog with) five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. (If you don't have a blog, I can post your answers here).
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.