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December 2010 entries


A drowsy Gabrielle climbed on my lap this morning.  Noticing she was dry (a feat for a 4-year-old, let me tell you!), I praised her for not wetting the bed.  Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, Gabrielle informed me, "My pee knew that these are my new Tinkerbell pajamas, so it didn't want to get them wet."

Black Market Enamel

Ever wonder why the "tooth fairy" would even want your teeth?  What, pray tell, does she do with them, exactly? 

At any rate, I had the special honor of yanking my son's first loose tooth from its orifice today.  The darn thing was nearly parallel to his jaw, and I decided to call its bluff.


Aidan was so excited to go to sleep tonight . . . he can't wait to see what the tooth fairy puts under his pillow!

Never Let Me Go

Santa left a Barnes & Noble "Nook" (e-reader) at my parents' house for me.  (He must have missed the change-of-address forms I filled out when I married Michael.)  And of course, I've already read a book on it -- Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go.  Called "the best novel of the decade" by Time magazine, Never Let Me Go explores the complexities of cloning. The book is now a major motion picture.

[Denise stops typing, opens a new tab, goes to the Netflix website . . .  and adds the movie to her queue.]

Ishiguro, author of Remains of the Day, offers a different perspective on the controversy of cloning -- the perspective of the clones themselves.  I don't want to reveal too much of the plot here because I believe the book is worth reading, but I will say that the clones that are the foci of this novel are raised in a boarding school atmosphere and are given a liberal arts education.  The students, growing up in England in the 1990s, are encouraged to cultivate their creative selves -- essentially so that the sponsors of the school could prove that the clones had souls, that they were real, living human beings and not "just" collections of cells made for organ donation. 

Because the clones changed the quality of life for people, because "suddenly there were all these new possibilities" and "all these ways to cure so many previously uncurable conditions", scientists in the novel lose sight of the basic laws of humanity, the fundamental tenets of life.  And as one character astutely asks, "How can you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable, how can you ask such a world to put away that cure, to go back to the dark days?"  Indeed, wouldn't humankind be tempted to eliminate terrible diseases like cancer by any means necessary? 

But -- where do we draw the line?  For me, cloning is not a viable option, morally speaking.  Human beings were not meant to be fields from which to harvest organs. 

I've been most interested in the part of the book which suggests that the arts -- literature, painting, music, dance -- reveal the soul of person.  I encounter a lot of people who either question or deny the existence of God.  Do the arts prove, in even a small way, that human beings have a divine spark?  Does the fact that we create outside of the realm of utility prove that we are connected to a higher power? 

I like to think that the various forms of human expression do reveal a soul -- the image and likeness of God, in which we're said to be made.  Why do we write poetry and essays?  Why do we sing and dance?  Why do we paint and sketch?  These go far beyond function -- art speaks to and from the soul.  And, really, though I've nearly dismissed the idea of cloning without much support, the idea that art comes from the soul reinforces the immorality of cloning.  We aren't Creators.  We are creators.  We make art in the likeness of our souls; we do not make people in the likeness of us.  Only God can create and destroy life, in my humble estimation.

Never Let Me Goadds a contemporary voice to dystopian literature.  Its cautionary message is thought-provoking and beautifully written.  And yes, when the DVD comes available (the movie was just released), I'll be sure to compare the two on my blog!  Happy reading!

Yuletide Cheer

This Christmas has been wonderful -- from the beautiful liturgies to the delicious meals to the fun-filled gatherings with friends and family.  While the Mass schedule at Lourdes has been slightly demanding (since Christmas was on a Saturday, our regular Sunday masses appeared out of nowhere, it seemed, the next day!) we've been able to have some down time the past few days.

Aidan's latest excitement has been small-sized Legos and Pokemon cards.  Despite my hopes for the contrary, Aidan's interest in Pokemon has only grown since he started kindergarten and began bartering cards with "the big kids" on the playground.  I will say, though, that the cards' point system has taught Aidan subtraction and addition skills.  Santa and various loved ones showered Aidan with awesome presents this year.  He's having difficulty trying to choose which one to play with first each day!


Miss Gabrielle has -- and we all knew the time would come -- been introduced to the world of Barbie.  I am slightly impressed that some Barbies actually have flat feet (it only took 30 years . . . ) and if you search hard enough, it is possible to find clothes that aren't for "Streetwalker Barbie".  I had to laugh, though, when Gabrielle received a "Baby Doctor" Barbie from a family friend.  Dr. Barbie is wearing a tight white dress that stops mid-thigh and high-heeled hot pink sandals.  I've had three children and NONE of my OB/GYNs ever dressed like that!  Sigh.  I suppose I can't keep her locked in a tower like Rapunzel all her life. . . though, she really likes the "Tangled" Barbie dolls.  Maybe she'd go for being locked away in a tower, if I spun the idea the right way . . .


A few days before Christmas, the kids saw Santa at Bostley's.  Gabrielle sat on his lap and asked for "a baby that eats and drinks and goes potty".  I told her, "Perfect!  We already have one of those -- named Liam!"  Our little guy will be 4 months old on January 10, and today, he rolled over.  I was cleaning in Gabrielle's room and I put him down on the carpet nearby.   He was facing up.  I turned away to put some dolls in a storage bin, and when I turned back, he was on his stomach.  I called the family into the room so they could see it happen.  We were so excited -- clapping, yelling, cheering -- that we frightened the poor baby!  He rolled over and started to cry!  He enjoyed Christmas as well.  And the big kids were more than happy to unwrap his presents for him.  It won't be long before he's crawling around the house and playing with his new toys.


What I'm most happy about is that when friends of ours stopped by last night, Aidan and Gabrielle explained to them, "Christmas is not about presents, you know.  Christmas is about Jesus and love."   So even though "Santa" in his many forms thoroughly spoiled our kids, they are still grasping the important message of the season -- peace on earth and goodwill toward men upon whom His favor rests.  Merry Christmas to all! 

Christmas Fun!


Aidan is in the process of losing his first tooth (hence the hand in his mouth . . . )

Michael was being a total goofball in these pictures; I guess I don't have to tell you that . . .


These great photos were taken by Michael's talent uncle at the Connor Family Christmas Party.


Backseat Philosopher Strikes Again

On Tuesday night, I took the kids to Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates not only the sinless birth of Christ but also the sinless birth of Mary.  Yes, it's a touchy subject that Protestants and Catholics don't agree on.  In a nutshell, the Catholic philosophy is this -- God wouldn't send His Son to the world in an unworthy vessal, the same way you wouldn't prepare your favorite recipe and serve it in a dirty dish.  On the way to the Church, Aidan was thinking out loud again.

"Mom . . .if all people start out as babies, then where did the first baby come from?  I mean, Liam was in your belly and came from you.  You were in Grandma Hershey's belly and came from her.  How did the first baby get here?"

I segued into the Adam and Eve story, explaining the God made the first people who then were able to have babies.  He pondered that for a moment (literally . . . the drive to the Church is only about 5 minutes long) and asked, "Does God make everything?"

"Yes," I replied.

"He made our car?"  Aidan asked skeptically.

"Well, no."

"But I thought you said that he made everything."

"Well, it's like this, Aid.  God made people smart enough to make things like our car."

"Ah.  I see.  Is that why we go to Church and talk about how much we love God all the time?"

"Yes, basically."

"But, I get a little tired of talking about God.  I like a lot of other things, too.  Like my Pokemon, my Bakugan, my Legos, my friends, my . . ."

"Right, I get the idea, bug.  The point of going to Church to talk about God is to learn about Him and to thank Him for all the things He gives us, like your toys and friends."

"Oh, I get it.  I'm just saying, it gets a little boring."

Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Liam have remained silent this whole time, soaking it all in -- on different levels of awareness, of course.  Gabrielle interjects, "I love God.  He gave me my pillow pet."

Aidan:  "No, that was me and Dad."

Sigh.  These philosophical discussions are only going to get deeper, which is great.  But, they will have their challenges, like when Aidan starts to question Mike's explanation of how Santa can live in what Aidan called "an uninhabitable place like the North Pole".  Mike told him that Santa built a special habitat for himself and his elves and that is how he can live on the North Pole.  I can see that logic wearing thin next year . . .


was absolutely amazing!  I couldn't be prouder of my students and their performances.  It was a beautiful play, and now that it's over, we're all pretty bummed about it.  All good things come to an end, I suppose.  Now, I'm thinking of comedies for next year . . .

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