Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Sunburn

Yesterday we shopped on Haight Street and sat outside Whole Foods for a little lunch. It was unseasonably warm and the sun on my face had me thinking I need to carry sunscreen, even though it’s December. Of course, it’s a short step from that thought to fear of climate change, a topic that is— and/or should be— on everybody’s mind. Such thoughts can be paralyzing in their scope and leave us feeling hopeless or empowering and determined to work to turn things around. And often both at once.

If, like me, you need some reassurance anywhere you can find it, watch the movie White Christmas. It takes place in Vermont where everyone is expecting snow— and yet it’s 60 degrees and there isn’t a speck of white anywhere. And this was 1954! (Of course, you know the snow will come when Bing Crosby starts singing White Christmas and Hollywood does not disappoint.) Not to use this as Republican repression that all is fine, but just interesting to note.

Meanwhile, we took advantage of the balmy weather and went boating on Stowe Lake with Zadie. Such a joy to have her here in San Francisco and in our home. She’s playing some hot harmonica, painting with watercolors, building blocks, delighting us with intriguing conversations and monologues— and also getting her share of time outs when her considerable energy overtakes her and she explodes into throwing things or kicking or ear-piercing screams. After writing so convincingly about not stooping to spanking or candy to manage behavior, I find myself promising ice cream if she has a time-out-free day and reminding her about Santa’s naughty or nice mandate. Let’s face it, survival demands whatever it takes and the unbridled energy of a three-year old can be enough to defeat the mighty amongst us. The old nursery rhymes comes to mind—“When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid!”

 But yesterday was a good day and Zadie was charming, fun, cooperative (she walked two miles in Golden Gate Park without once asking to be carried) and adventurous. She loves doing little jobs like opening the car door, answering the telephone, helping put up the stockings— and equally loves the fantasy life of cooking us pancakes using coasters. We’ve had some piano duets, drum jams and singing with the guitar. At the end of the day, she completely forgot about the ice cream.

But if tomorrow is as hot as today, I think we should go get some.

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