One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Monday, April 18, 2005

it's not about the streamers

Am I one big whiner? I was shocked that so many comments left on my last post were offering consolation for our rough trip to Chicago, when I swear that in my mind the whole thing had gone off swimmingly. Has complaint become a habit for me? How unpleasant. Take, for instance, the issue of a digital camcorder. I've been hinting around for one for several months now, having enjoyed taking little mini-movies with my digital camera, but always so disappointed with the dismal lighting in most indoor situations. Joerg does not want us to become the parents that view every event through a tiny LCD screen, rather than watching, and participating in, the event itself. Having convinced him that I'm more of one for videoing short segments to capture the mood of a particular age and phase rather than actually trying to record Life, there was still the issue of the money. Like most people, we can't just decide to buy something and then go buy it. If we decide to buy something, we then need to decide what will therefore not get bought, like, for instance, a printer that actually prints without blurry blue lines appearing haphazardly throughout the page. Having convinced him that the items given up on my wish list will not magically reappear 2 weeks after the camcorder purchase, we then needed to settle on a budget. We went through a similar process 16 months ago, when we decided to finally buy a digital camera for my Christmas/Birthday present. I have been very happy with the camera we bought. Not my dream camera, by far, but the dream camera was clearly leagues out of our budget. But who can complain when it gives me shots like this: fabfrankie01 and this: 07fishmouth and this: paint9 and this: DSC00373 and this: DSC00485 and this: DSC00519 and this: DSC00632 Evidently, I can. Joerg pointed out that he was hesitant for us to settle simply on a camcorder that we could afford because I complain all the time about how slow the digital camera is, or how it blurred this shot, or missed that shot. Imagine my surprise. Of course, I denied it. I didn't actually deny that I complain about the camera, but I reasoned that I give equal air-time to positive comments, too. Like how handy it is, and how much money we've saved on film and film developing costs. And how I've gotten pictures that I never would have gotten if I'd had to pull out the big, bad, wonderful film camera. But then I got to thinking, and it wasn't pretty. For a few days last week, I thought I was going to have to get a new bike. Well, not have to, but my bike wasn't working and I couldn't see spending money on fixing up my cheap Huffy rather than simply garage selling it to some teen girl with a mechanically-minded dad; a girl who would park it in front of her best friend's house when she visited, right there in front so everyone could see it, and love that bike all summer long. So I started telling Joerg how it would be so great to finally get a better bike, a bike that I could take to the local bike shop without blushing. And then my own mechanically-minded dad visited and had the bike fixed in approximately 5 minutes. Approximately 30 seconds after he pronounced the bike "fixed," Annika was clamoring to take a ride in the bike trailer. Ah, the bike trailer. Yes, I had had my heart set on a Burley bike trailer, but ended up with a used InStep that I got for $15 at a garage sale. But the girls buckled in gleefully, shrieked when I rolled down the driveway, and yelled, "Hi, doggie" at every passing canine, or any vaguely canine-like animal, for that matter. It was joy in motion. "What in the world is wrong with me?" I thought. I am going to turn my girls into mad little competitive consumers if I keep this up. But then our neighbor Sabrina showed up, and asked if she could ride with us for a while. She was sitting proudly on the brand new shiny bike she had just gotten for her seventh birthday, and couldn't wait to show us how much faster she could go now that her wheel size had increased from 14 inches to 18. When we got back home, Sabrina asked Annika if she would like her old bike. Anni, too stunned for words, just nodded her head. But when Sabrina ran off to get it, Anni turned to me and began to wiggle a little as she breathlessly repeated for me, who had stood there through the entire conversation, that Sabrina was going to give her her old bike. If you remember, this bad-ass bike was the one Anni had fallen in love with at the store. But when Sabrina brought over her old beat-up bike, with stubs where the streamers should be and strange orange marks on the seat, Anni saw stars. Of course, the bike worked perfectly and Anni could not wait to hit the pavement on her new wheels, not really new but blessed by the incomparable coolness of Sabrina, The Older Girl Next Door. Clearly, I have not screwed my kids up just yet. I am a lucky lucky woman. From our perch of a comfortable life here in the flatlands it should be easier to remember the old truism that it's not what you have, but what you do with it that counts.

11 Comments:

Blogger Yankee T said...

These kids and their photos are beautiful! What fun!

4/19/2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

I think what we were reacting to in the previous post, Moreena, was the thought that some of us cannot pull off a trip to the grocery store without inflicting more trauma on our kids than you do on a trip to the hospital for tests. Materialism strikes me as the last thing you'd be transmitting to your kids...

And also: what Yankee Transplant said.

4/19/2005 1:48 PM  
Blogger ocelot said...

Great snaps! Makes me think i need a new camera (already!). :D I'm a horrible electronics consumeraholic, and I need help.

Not to sound encouraging, but we got a great miniDV JVC cam new on eBay for $225. Definitely does the job and firewires the content to the computer. All the better, we sold our crappy generations old never used camcorder for $150 on eBay, so it only cost us $75 net to join the current age. That's the trick for me, don't buy anything new until i sell something old on eBay. :)

Also, we got a laser printer for around $100 at one of the office supply type stores, and it should pay for itself in around a year as far as not needing to replace inkjet cartridges. It's so great, we couldn't figure out why we didn't do it years ago (probably because they weren't $100 years ago). ...er... again, not trying to be encouraging of feeding the consumeristic beast... but isn't this what *-aholics do to help justify/mask their addiction?

4/19/2005 3:02 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

That's so cool, and I must say, you take mahhhvelous photos. It helps that you have gorgeous kids, but still.

4/19/2005 10:24 PM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Ocelot,
My camera is actually the older, less fancy version of the one you have now (we have the Sony DSC-P72).

Yes, the ebay advice is good. I'm trying to keep it under $200 while still buying one that has good low-light performance (my primary complaint with the little movies from my digicam). It looks possible.

4/20/2005 7:14 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Thanks for the compliments on the photos. I admit I love posting my favorite kid pics.

And thanks, phantom, for the reassurance about the complaining bit.

4/20/2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I love those pictures! I've seen them all before, but I love to look at them again! You have such beautiful girls.

4/20/2005 9:33 AM  
Blogger Scrivener said...

Those are all beautiful photos. Damn I need a digital camera! ;)

4/20/2005 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Justice's mom said...

Moreena...you are NOT a whiner. I think it's more along the lines of what phantom scribbler said...I don't think I have it in me to do it myself. I think it was more of a introspective cringe at the thought. That said, Justice is more of a vocal protester than physical assailant when it comes to needles and scans now so progress is being made on our home turf as well.

Your kids are gorgeous!!

P.S. God bless hospital gift shops and McDonald's for tacky toys! :)

4/21/2005 9:13 PM  
Blogger Bettie Bookish said...

Your post about the trip to Chicago for tests brought me back to my own childhood when I was on the child-end of the hospital equation. Thanks for giving me the mother's perspective.

And I can tell you that, looking back, I'm more amazed than ever at the things my mom handled and how well she handled them. And if your experience is anything like mine, you and Anni will always have a bond to each other like neither of you has with anyone else.

A bond that you can document with your shine new video camera!

4/22/2005 12:32 PM  
Blogger PPB said...

oh, yes.
lucky, indeed.

4/22/2005 6:04 PM  

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