Wednesday, August 15, 2012

...Love is a Universal Language...

I don’t remember whose dumb idea it was, but about half way through the day I was regretting my choice to go along with it.

Somehow, I ended up watching infants over the weekend. I was told that I wouldn’t have to handle more than two at a time but since they were all under the age of one, two babies felt like seven.

I ended up with four.

So basically I had fourteen high energy babies on my hands. Frankly, I think they were multiplying as the day went on, so there might have been like 30 or 40 of them… a hundred or more.

That’s what it felt like anyway.

That night was the earliest I ever went to bed and probably the hardest I’ve slept in years. Those kids ran me ragged. But I will never forget their toothless grins and semi-creepy – group- giggling- at- nothing-in -particular thing they do.

I think I can admit that most of what I don’t like about kids, probably has more to do with what I don’t understand or what I find strange about them.

That’s how it starts, you see.

There’s a group of people with their own culture (culture being their ideas and behaviors born out of their experience and environment) and we can’t relate to their culture (being products of a different experience and environment) so we suspect and shun those people.

Yes it does sound ridiculously simple but we do it all the time without thinking about it. We end up missing out on a lot because of it, too.

Personally, I don’t necessarily want to know and hang out with people who are exactly like me.

Sure it’s nice to have some things in common. You would have to love music, enjoy movies, and read some type of literature on a regular basis to be around me, but for the most part I have always preferred meeting and getting to know people who are very different from me.

One of the coolest people I’ve met in the last year came to America in her teens. She has great stories from her home country, funny stories about adjusting to this one, and can share those stories in two languages.

Her perspective on things is interesting and the cool accent makes hearing her perspective even more interesting.

I sometimes struggle with accents but my mom has always been able to understand anyone. Some accents are so thick, I can’t be sure if they are using any English words at all, but my mom can always answer back with words and sometimes gestures and you can see their relief at being understood and going away with whatever they needed.

Mom swears the trick is simply to listen. Don’t try to hear what you think they’re trying to say; listen to what they are saying.

What an amazing concept, this whole “listening” thing. It allows us to open ourselves to expression instead of sitting with our (sometimes misguided) impressions.

Impressions are important, but they only tell part of the story. It’s like reading a book and then assuming how it ends. Absolutely, you could be right about the ending, but only in the bad, predictable books.

Only some people are bad, and a few are annoyingly predictable but nearly everyone else has a cool story, be it a psychological thriller, a classic, family- friendly, or something resembling science fiction.

The same could be said for babies. They are all at once very much alike and incredibly individual.

And I learned a lot from them even if our communication styles were different.

For example, I learned that very stinky smell means, “change my diaper,” Or that gushing fountain of “spit up” means, “I shouldn’t be so active so soon after a bottle.”

The crawlers love to tap me on the ankles to be picked up. Once I pick them up they tap my shoulders to make me walk. Then they remind me that me walking too fast counts as too much activity after a bottle.

I learned that babies like to put their face to yours or kiss you. The one with the teeth coming in also likes to bite so I learned that two teeth can be surprisingly sharp.

I found out nap time is as much for the adults as it is the kids but I haven’t yet learned how to get them all quiet at the same time (God bless the parents of multiples).

I still don’t automatically think that all babies are cute, but even the funny looking ones have a certain beauty to them and personality shines like nothing else.

I learned that the Dave Chappelle skit on what moves people musically is absolutely true.

Babies, like everyone else I guess, respond well to affection, warm thoughts, and smiles. Even the tiny ones will try to squeeze you back if you give them a good hug.

And I think I learned- and this was very important to me on a personal level- even though it feels like otherwise, kindness is not wasted. It’s appreciated. Sometimes it’s even returned.

So even though sometimes it feels like everyone is angry and rude, and nasty, and vicious and self-serving, some people still like to just see you nod and smile. Small, sincere things can be enough for those people.

Being yourself and trying hard even when you’re feeling inept and overwhelmed is enough to get someone to show you love.

And even if showing love leaves drool down the front of your shirt, it’s still love, and it’s nice.


Madonna – Jump

For my dad, whose birthday would be today. I still miss him. This was his favorite group growing up.

The Temptations – You’re My Everything

This song always makes me think of cartoons so how cool is this video someone made for it?

(The Maestro Juan Garcia) Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha

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