Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Break Part I: Logizomechanophobia

Wow. English might be a difficult language to learn, but its attention to detail is flabbergasting (literally to flap around with surprise). If you ever find yourself unreasonably or excessively fearful of something - anything - just click on the link below to normalize your feelings with the knowledge that enough people share your worldview that there is a word for your experience. Sometimes just naming it makes you feel better...

Here is an example of three phobias in a row taken just from the P's:

Pteronophobia - Fear of being tickled by feathers
Pupaphobia - Fear of puppets
Pyrexiophobia - Fear of fever (this last one doubles as "Fear of glass cookware popular in the 1920's")

In his first inaugural address in 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered hope to a nation mired in economic depression by reminding us that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror." Turns out that fear of fear, or Phobophobia (that's ridiculous), isn't nameless after all. Nonetheless, good quote, great speech, even better president - despite my handiphobia (fear of crippled people).

But enough about words - let's hear about the much anticipated, greatly deserved first official Fishman Family Vacation. Just like the Griswald's in 1983 (holy shit I'm old), our family piled into a station wagon and headed south (then east and north) with the hopes of some day making it to Wally World - or at least my dad's house in South Lake Tahoe. Last Saturday afternoon we packed and prepared as best we could and headed out on a six hundred eighty mile adventure. Although Carrie was a little nervous about Amari being in the car for such long periods of time (also known as infantoclaustrocarophobia (kidding)), I was confident that with our powers combined we could ensure a relatively smooth trip.

Our first stop was Marin County - my old stomping grounds, my childhood home - where we spent two nights with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Jessica. Although I've grown used to Amari taking center, left, and right stage to everything in our lives, I was a little surprised when Carrie asked, "So is it Jessica's birthday party tomorrow?" referring to the BBQ planned for Sunday afternoon.
"Actually, it's mine," I said.
"Oops," Carrie replied, "I got you a baby. Hope you like it." Fortunately for her, I love it - Amari is the prototypical gift that keeps on giving. See "Spring Break Part III" for our romantic wedding anniversary later that week.

Sunday morning Carrie, Amari, and I went to see my friend Sara's newest addition to her family. It had been nearly five years since I'd seen Sara and it took all of five minutes for me to remember why I've always treasured her friendship. She is the perfect balance of funny, thoughtful, intelligent, and down-to-earth. It was more than just picking up where we'd left off, it was this seamless integration of these monumentally new people in our lives - spouses and children - coupled with the effortlessness of being with a true friend. As we drove away from her house I turned to Carrie and said, "I'd forgotten how much I love Sara. She's definitely in my top ten favorite people of all time." I paused, then quickly corrected myself, "Actually, top five."

When we arrived at Sara's, her three month-old son, Aleksandr, was sleeping peacefully in a swing. He looked so handsome in his grown-up clothes and although his face was serene, his body was so straight - arms tucked neatly by his side - that he initially reminded me of a baby-shaped nutcracker - an image that quickly disappeared when he woke up and smiled. Papa Kiril returned from work shortly after we arrived and we spent the rest of the morning snacking on banana bread (that Sara fully intended to make from scratch) and catching up on birthing, parenting, and life in general. I hope we will not let five years pass again between visits, Sara. Here's a picture of the beautiful Roditi family.
Although the afternoon would be hard-pressed to top the morning, the Freedoms arrived with their children - Hero (age 5) and Poet (nearly 3) - whose boundless, free-spirits offered endless entertainment for us adults and a sweet contrast to the acrimony lingering between some of the guests. Hero, sometimes suffering from incurable buyer's remorse at having a little brother, developed a very strong, sororal affection for Amari. At one point, towards the end of the evening, she hugged Amari tightly and said, "I will take her home and make her my little sister." She didn't even recant when I reminded her that she would have to change her and feed her. "No - Mommy will change her and I will feed her," she said confidently.

As is often the case, the most memorable event of the day was also the most traumatic. Upon returning from a trip to the grocery store I found a very distressed Carrie holding a somewhat damaged Amari close to her bosom. Amari looked distressed, a fresh scratch on her nose and the imprint of something on the side of her forehead. Apparently, while looking at pictures on a laptop with Hero, Amari took a nosedive into the keyboard, then onto the ground. Carrie had only turned her back for a moment, assuming that Hero was clinging to Amari as she had been all day. Two seconds later, she turned to see the back of Amari's head followed by an onslaught of shrieks and wails.

Although Amari had calmed down completely by the time I returned, Carrie was clearly still traumatized by the whole ordeal. With the exception of a poke, a nail clipping accident, or a self-inflicted scratch, this was Amari's first injury. "I was worried you'd be mad at me," Carrie said. "No, of course not" I comforted, but if Amari develops logizomechanophobia (excessive fear of computers, not kidding) as a result this experience I'm definitely making her pay for therapy - plus the 5.6 million dollars Amari would have made had she not been terrified by the thought of a degree in computer science. 

These before and after pictures really say it all.

            Before: Happily air swimming without a care in the world

After: Afraid of both technology and becoming an indentured sibling

Poet tried to cheer Amari up, but instead just added herpetohallophobia (fear of reptilian Halloween costumes) to Amari's quickly growing list of phobias.

Stay tuned for Spring Break Part II - Snowbody's Business or The Wonderful Thing About Tigers

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