About a month back, on a whim, I ordered Finding Nemo for Elan.
It's a hit.
I am not proud to admit that he has watched this movie (or part of it) every single day for the last two weeks. Okay, maybe three. I've lost count. Thank god for Ellen DeGeneres. Her Dory is hilarious, my salvation. And the part with the sea turtles is awe-inspiring; I always advocate skipping to the turtles. The other thing I've noticed, as this movie forms the background to my early mornings, is how impressive the score is. The moments where the music shifts to contemplative remind me to take a deep breath, the quick beats remind me to eat breakfast and drink my coffee, the soaring melodies remind me to savor the quiet and appreciate the fact that he's not obsessed with Barney.
The other benefit of this movie entering our lives is that now Elan, Mikhail and I have alter-egos. Elan is Nemo, fittingly enough (he even has a "special toe" - two webbed digits on his right foot - just like Nemo has his "lucky fin"). Mikhail is Marlin (pronounced "Maw-in"), the devoted (and neurotic, which Mikhail is actually not) father who searches the ocean for his lost son. Elan used to call him "Chuck" before he picked up on the fact that was just a made-up name I pulled out of a hat one day naming his three toy fish. And I am Dory. She is a great alter-ego for me. Dory, a "natural blue", who suffers from short-term memory loss, is of the glass-half-full mentality. She can't remember enough to be stressed or worried. Her motto is Just keep swimming, sung with much gusto as she twirls into the darkness where lives the scary monster-fish sporting a light-up spinal column. Dory is happily ignorant of the existence of such threatening creatures. She bounces on the tops of jellyfish, not remembering that the tentacles sting. She certainly does not wake up at four in the morning unable to go back to sleep because she's worrying about the what-ifs in life. I find her a good balancing force for me.
And so current conversations in our household often go something like this:
"Nemo, let's go on an adventure out in the ocean now."
"Okay, Dory. That's a good idea. Is Ma-win going to come too?"
"That's right, Nemo. We're all going. Put on your fishy shoes and let's swim out to the car!"
And later at REI, we picked out a new rust-orange fleece for Elan, which won instant acceptance as his Nemo-jacket. Mikhail (temporarily) donned a bright orange women's XL rainshell and ran around the store after our wandering boy, literally finding Nemo, while I searched the racks for a suitably bright blue Dory-coat (but alas did not find one in this aquarium's budget).
On another topic, this weekend, we FINALLY had our one-year-later housewarming party. (And if you live locally and we forgot to invite you, mea culpa mea culpa, check your email junk box for an evite, and then call me up and berate me and let's get back in touch.) It went swimmingly. All those months that we thought we'd get around to having a party in our new house and then something else went wrong so we never did: you are over now. I really like to host gatherings, and luckily I'm married to a man who loves to socialize once he's in the midst of it (just never thinks to plan it), and we've got a child who is starting to understand that parties = cookies. Now I'm thinking about all the excuses to have parties coming up: Elan's 3rd birthday, Hanukkah, Mikhail's and my 34th birthdays. I'm imagining dinner parties for grown-ups after kids go to sleep, crazy child-filled afternoon rampages, and quieter playdates with hot (spiked) cider for the mamas simmering on the stove. After all, fall is here. There's a new oven range in our kitchen, and it's time to reap the benefits of our ugly but indestructible wine-colored carpet.
And if you're looking for a mantra for the week, may I suggest Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming...
And if you're in the mood for seven minutes of sea turtle (and baby sea turtle!) inspiration, click here.