Meanwhile.

by Alexa on May 10, 2013

I was going to post about my business trip, but now it has been so long that it seems silly. Why has it been so long, you ask? Well, as dictated by natural law, the children got ill just as I was leaving, and I came back sick and have more or less stayed that way until now—really, I don’t think any other cough I’ve ever had has lingered so long. I was starting to feel a little Camille-y.

My trip was not all business. I had a lovely dinner with @Amy_Rey (are we referring to people by their Twitter handles, now? It seems we are) at my hotel the first night. Alas, I began the meal by ordering what turned out to be the single most phallic dish in existence, with the exception of, say, an actual braised penis. Thankfully, my main course was both delicious and neuter. Amy is a professional crossword puzzler, and I’d been perversely afraid she’d…I don’t know, quiz me or something (LITTLE RICHARD, FOUR LETTERS) but she didn’t, and all was well.

The next afternoon, I took the El (Whee!) from Evanston back city-ward to drink wine with the incomparable Mimi Smartypants (her real name is Griselda!) (No) (OR IS IT?), whose Online Web Journal was the first I ever read, and whose writing I have been enjoying for about a decade. It turned out to be one of those pleasant occasions wherein you meet a new person and yet feel entirely at ease (a rarity for me under the best of circumstances) and as if you know each other quite well already. This isn’t wholly unheard of, but usually it is someone I’ve chatted with online in one form or another, and this was not that, as I’d previously been too shy to correspond with Ms. Smartypants, online or otherwise. But I knew she’d read my book because I’d seen as much on Goodreads, so when this trip was planned I gathered up my petticoats and sent an email proposing we get together. I wasn’t sure how the suggestion would be received (especially as I may have gone on about beheadings a smidge in my “come meet a stranger!” email, which could potentially have been off-putting), but it all worked out and the evening was so much fun that it made me think I should really look into making friends in my OWN town as well.

Now here, watch this video of my baby singing.

While Simone and I were out one day, Scott put on Kathleen Edwards, and Twyla made a beeline to the source of the music, revealing vocal stylings uniquely reminiscent of a drunken Muppet*. My husband, bless him, managed to capture a bit of it on film.

Twyla Sings from Alexa on Vimeo.

*The phrase “drunken Muppet” made me remember this video, which remains the only thing I like about St Patrick’s Day.

Leave a Comment

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie May 11, 2013 at 8:52 am

look at Twyla standing up there singing… absolutely delightful.

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Martha May 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm

This video of Twyla is just adorable. How lucky parents are “these days” to have the technology to capture these moments so readily available. We borrowed a video camera exactly twice during our years of raising four children, and treasure those videos so much. And that’s not to say you treasure your videos any less, not AT ALL. Just saying how great that you have so much to treasure!! It gives us “old folks” a chance to relive our own babies’ cute moments when we look at yours. (And I’m amassing quite a collection of my grand children’s cuteness BTW)

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zigzag May 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

This was a comment on Slate about STFU Parents:

Here is the thing with kids that parents forget: they grow up.

And some day, they will (hopefully) be entering college, the workforce, the military or a combination therein. And maybe, just maybe, they might not want these details about them when they are trying to craft their identities as adults.

These posts don’t bother me because they are gross. They bother me because they are about people who have no control over their image online and are being exploited by the people who should care about them the most.

Parents: your kids are not a prop and they will not be kids forever.

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Mariana May 13, 2013 at 5:15 am

Wow. While I do get your general point, zigzag, I fail to see how a very cute video of a not-yet-year-old baby doing normal baby things could be seen as damaging or embarrassing by anyone. Even army commanders wore diapers once, why pretend otherwise?
I’d be delighted to see such a video of my wee self, on or offline.

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Martha May 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

I don’t see how this has any bearing on this post, nor, for that matter, on anything Alexa has posted. We were all babies once. It’s part of everyone’s identity.

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Fran May 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Are you new here? I don’t understand how video of a super cutie singing and balancing be damaging? But, to each their own. Don’t like? Don’t read.

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Alexa May 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Zigzag: Thank you for being civil. It seems a silly thing to have to thank a person for, but I am always appreciative when people manage to offer criticism online without being mean.

I think this comment deserves a longer and more thoughtful response than I have time for at the moment, frankly, but I have discussed some of the issues associated with writing about children online before, here: http://flotsamblog.com/2011/03/29/only-slightly-shorter-than-the-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner/

It is a (very) long post, but the end especially gets at some of my thoughts about why I continue to write about my life online. I agree that writing about one’s children is a delicate business, and I suppose this is part of why I write about them so infrequently these days. I write more about the baby because (with no disrespect to babies intended) babies are fairly interchangeable. “Twyla did funny things as a baby!” is hardly going to provide much meat for future playground bullies or fodder for future workplace embarrassment. And while I certainly acknowledge my responsibility to limit my children’s exposure and consider their feelings about what I write, I don’t consider it my responsibility (or even possible) to keep them from ever being embarrassed by me.

The issues raised in the comment you quote are valid ones. But I’m not sure I’m doing much to shape my children’s online “images” or their identities, at least not as anything any more specific than children.

Finally, far more hairy an issue, to me, is the question of how much parents let their children share online once they are old enough to want to be on social media but while they are still technically minors. I can’t imagine my mother having posted my baby picture having much impact upon my employment prospects, but I can easily imagine things I wrote myself at, say, 15, being more than just an embarrassment if I’d had the ability to make them public. What responsibility to parents have to keep their children from damaging their own future online reputations? Do children have the right to express themselves publicly in ways that they will almost certainly regret?

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KeraLinnea May 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

The video was darling, but I was distracted by the fact that your infant is standing up throughout. Sometimes, she even let go of the baby corral! Who authorized this very advanced behavior?

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Alexa May 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

It was ENTIRELY unauthorized. She has been fined accordingly.

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courtney May 15, 2013 at 10:47 am

okay, am I the only one who’s dying of curiosity over what you ordered?! I must know! especially since I live in Chicago & may have to seek it out myself. (full disclosure: I come from the kind of household where my dad once uttered the statement “unwrap the meat phallus” re: a pork tenderloin.)

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Tina May 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Absolutely ADORABLE singing from that wee lass! I had to show my husband TWICE–the second time because I didn’t think he was paying enough attention. Hmph. HILARIOUS!

Also? I need to know what you ordered.

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SPD May 17, 2013 at 6:22 am

Teef!

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kda May 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

OMG–could she be any cuter! It does sound like she got into the hooch!

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Rachel June 11, 2013 at 6:19 am

She is such a cutie! My little boy is nearly 7 months old so hopefully I have similar behaviour to look forward to. Re Zig Zag’s comments – I don’t think this was oversharing. I have seen a lot worse parent posts – particularly on Facebook. I do agree with Zig Zag in many instances, but this is not one of them.

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