25 May 2007

My daughter as the embodiment of 2000 years of philosophy

Yesterday, we drove to Knoxville for my stepbrother's high school graduation from the Tenessee School for the Deaf. In the fall, Andrew is headed up to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology to learn graphic design. We're very proud of him and know he'll do well.

This was also Eleanor's first big road trip. She does great in the car and did great all the way there. But once we got there it got difficult. Between all the activity, new people who wanted to see the baby, and getting thrown completely off schedule, she was all sorts of fussy. We had to leave the graduation ceremony because she was being fussy and had to drive around for 30 minutes to get her to go to sleep. Even then, she didn't sleep well, which caused Sarah and I to both be tired and grumpy.

Eleanor needs routine -- all babies do. But she also needs to see and experience new things in order to stimulate that growing brain of hers. Yet when she gets too much of that stimulation, she gets very upset. That, I think, is the case with all of us. Sameness, routine, patterns are all necessary for us to function. Habits of action and thought allow us to get through the day, not just with a degree of efficiency, but with a comfort level that keeps us from fraying apart. But too much of that leads to inanition, stagnation, lack of growth -- which is pretty much the same as dying. We need the novel, the unexpected, to prod us to think and act differently upon occasion, to force us to think and adapt. It's a delicate equlibrium between these two forces -- habit and growth -- that we all must maintain.

Certainly that's true for our daughter. Since almost everything is new to her, that balance is even trickier and more important. The results of a lack of equlibrium are also probably more severe. But we're going to keep trying, giving her new experiences while maintaining a routine that gives her comfort and stability. It's hard.

What's also hard is getting her to take a bottle. I keep telling her it's the same stuff just from a different container, but so far she's having none of it.

Coming soon -- The return of the Lost commentary!!

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