Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Now Here or Nowhere

I can't keep up anymore. I feel like a kid walking through the Exploratorium for the first time saying, "Oh man, this is the coolest thing ever. No wait - this is the coolest thing ever..." Only now it doesn't take science or illusion  to impress me - just Amari babbling nonsense or pushing a ball across the floor. The other day, when Carrie said, "Hi, Amari," and tilted her head to the side, Amari mirrored the tilt and I was certain I'd never see anything that cute again. The next day she she outdid herself by singing along with me as I played a little tune I wrote called "Ba ba ma ma da da." She's not harmonizing yet, but she's on her way.

When summer break began two weeks ago, I vowed to write more, to capture the tiniest details of Amari's daily changes. I was inspired by an old friend's renewed commitment to writing, her raw honesty, and her funny - sometimes random - daily updates. Check her out if you have time.

I also still cling to the illusion that I can retroactively slow the passage of time by describing it in detail. The theory is: the more I remember, the more I must have lived. The reality is - the longer I live, the faster time appears to move, and there's no slowing it down whatsoever. Also, in order to actually remember, I would also have to go back and read what I wrote. And who the hell has time for that? That being said, I would like to play catch up by writing:

Top Ten Things I Might Forget If I Didn't Write Them Down 

10. Babbling: Also called twaddling, although I'm not sure why. At around seven months Amari began to say things like "Baba, mama, dada." Of course I did some research only to learn that although she may say "Mama" and "Dada," she doesn't equate those things with us. In lieu of her equating us to her words, I proceeded to equate her words to us. During a disagreement between her parents one day, I quickly recruited Amari's all-important tie-breaking vote saying, "Amari, if you agree with your dad, say Baba baba." Carrie argued that the additional "Baba baba" that she added in her response indicated that she was only placating, perhaps even mocking me.

9. Sleeping: This is still an adventure. And by adventure I mean like backpacking through Europe in your twenties with no itinerary or money or aversion to spending nights in train stations. Although timing and duration of naps is inconsistent and sleeping through the night a distant memory, there are two things that I have grown to count on just as Amari drifts off to sleep. First, her left arm will rise and fall in rapid succession as though it alone is the last defense against sleep. When the arm finally submits, her hand reaches up to her hair and begins to pull gently on a tuft of hair as her eye lids finally close.

8. Godzilla: Once Amari got crawling down she started to make destructive noises akin to the Japanese monster making its way through Tokyo. Awesome.

7. Acoustical Engineer: A few days ago I watched Amari crawl from the carpeted living room to the kitchen hardwood making her Godzilla sounds. When she reached the kitchen she looked around, noticing a new resonance to her voice. She looked up at the ceiling, opened her mouth as wide as she could and began growling.

6. Battle of the Amari(e)s Continued:. A follow-up to the blog written on December 13th of last year. Two days ago on Amari B Fishman's eight month birthday, the other Amar'e (Stoudemire - the one Carrie said, "No one knows who that is," when she presented me with this potential name for our daughter) left the Phoenix Suns and signed a five year $100 million dollar contract to play with the New York Knicks.  On the same day, Amari B demonstrated her superior loyalty by continuing to play for team Fishman where she has signed an eighteen year contract extension with an opt-out clause contingent upon college scholarships.

5. Music: Amari loves it. She hammers on her little keyboard to no end while I play guitar, although she prefers to interrupt my playing by grabbing the strings or moving my hand. I'm not sure what she's trying to say. The other night as I pretended to sleep while trying to get her to do the same, the last words out of her mouth were very clearly an attempt to sing herself to sleep. So freakin' sweet.

4. The Magic Poo Chair: This really exists, and is a classic example of something that is a staple in a child's life one minute, then completely obsolete the next. The chair was originally an appliance sent to Granny C's for childcare days. When she reported back-to-back days of giant dumps being taken in said chair, we decided to bring it back home. Within a few days, this seemingly normal, musical, vibrating infant seat adopted the well-deserved title of "Magic Poo Chair." With an almost ninety percent success rate, the soothing sounds, the gurgling bubbles, and the vibrations were like Amari's strong cup of morning Joe.


3. The Backpack: Carrie and I have been taking epic walks since the summer began. We recently discovered a trail that runs from a street near our house down to the ocean. It's a seven mile round trip, but it's ecologically diverse and beautiful. We started in the Pygmy Forest and descended through the redwoods to the ocean. This gave us an opportunity to try out a backpack carrier we'd been given recently. Amari fussed as we strapped and snapped her in, but about fifty feet down the path she was already asleep.

2. The Beach: Amari's look of wonder at the sand and the water, and the excitement of her taking her first steps. That's one of the best things about being a father is reliving the novelty of everything through the eyes of my daughter.

1. Waking Up: It's the best. Amari isn't strung out on coffee or overwhelmed by lists of things to do. She wakes up free and it's contagious. I have a hard time transitioning from work to vacation and back again, but Amari has eased this by reminding me constantly that there is nothing more important in the world than what is right in front of us right this moment. I was recently looking at the word Nowhere and noticing that it is also Now Here. I remember Jack Kornfield saying, "We are either now here or we are nowhere." Amari is my little, portable Buddha.

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