Updates from Talkeetna #4

Date: 1 June

Location: Talkeetna

Daylight: 21h

Photo Updates:

The most interesting thing this summer is observing the state of consciousness of children. Today Lisle and I went to the library and playground. She was initially nervous about the kids and hung back munching on Cheddar Bunnies. (Animal crackers are not vegetarian. No way.) She commented, “Girls, girls, girls. Girls are girls!”

“What do you mean?”
“Girls like to chase boys.”
“Why?” I inquired.
“Because they don’t like them.”
“Do you like to chase boys?”
“Not on purpose.”

She proceeded to chase boys for the next two hours along with the other girls her age. One of the littlest boys at one point toddled to his mommy weeping because the girls had stolen the boys’ “Master Plan.”

It was also interesting to hang out with the moms and dads. They were chatting about their spouses, their kids’ growth, and for the pregnant moms and moms with newborns about their pregnancies, their bodies, their spouses, etc. It felt very strange to be around so much mommy energy. All of these women (and to some extent the men around) had gone through this experience that had such a huge impact on their bodies, on their marriages, on their lives. Pregnant and recently pregnant women are hyperaware of their bodies, yet have little outlet to share this part of their lives that has become so huge. On a subway car, most people will be thinking about work or relationships; pregnant women are likely to be more aware of their bodies. Other mommies, their own mothers, sisters, and aunties, and spouses are the only real camaraderie. Their children never even know how intimately moms know their bodies. Aside from pregnancy and infancy, moms see when their child is growing (width or height); they know their children’s sickness and health; they know their children’s emotional cycles and how they change over time; and they learn to trust their children to manage their own bodies, their own safety and health and nutrition, their own lives. Parenting is amazing – especially the parts we children don’t see and don’t remember.

Tonight Mommy mentioned to Lisle that she might do a preschool soccer camp. Lisle was initially excited but suddenly broke out in screaming and tears. After about five minutes of “NOOOOOOOOOOO! I DON’T WANT TO!!!!” she said “I’M GONNA LOOOOOOOOOSE!!!” Mommy said it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about learning to play the game. Probably Lisle is remembering a kiddie soccer match from a few years ago when she/her team lost and is experiencing the extreme emotional response she had then, permanently (at least for now) deeply associated with soccer.

In my kiddie T-ball, softball, and hockey, they would never tell us when we scored or who won. I found this incredibly frustrating. I wanted to know how we were doing! I did see the reasoning behind it, though I found it incredibly overprotective.

Lisle is really into pink, fairies, Disney princesses, and stuffed animals. It’s surprising – her parents hardly encourage such things. She likes books and movies that are extremely emotionally reactionary. I think kids are naturally drawn to such extreme expressions, and it’s not only games and movies marketed towards kids that promote such things – even supposedly benign children’s books emphasize emotional extremes, fantastical storylines, negative stereotypes, and anti-intellectualism and anti-mindfulness. Ridiculousness sells, not consideration, and just a taste of the thrill of ridiculousness totally hooks kids. There are certainly kids’ books and media that are more on the considered side but not far enough over for my tastes. I worry that Lisle is totally hooked on video games and TV and is 100% sucked in whenever a screen is on – but I was that way when I was little and I turned out okay. (I didn’t start when I was four, though. I remained uncorrupted šŸ˜‰ until age ten or so.)

I had an awesome bike ride this morning, thirty minutes to and from local yoga, rocking out with Sanga Kirtan. The weather was cool and cloudy and I was completely undisturbed, in my own little world, just me and the wind and the holy name.

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