Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Impressions

im·pres·sion [im-presh-uhn]: noun

1. a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience, etc.

2. the first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind; sensation.

3. a mark, indentation, figure, etc., produced by pressure.

4. an imitation of the voice, mannerisms, and other traits of a person, esp. a famous person, as by an entertainer.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

First impressions can often be misleading. For example, when Katya and I first met, waaaaaay back in college, we both had terrible taste in men and a tendency to be quiet in class. Also, we had different hair. Now we can't shut up and have resorted to starting our own blog in order to keep talking whether anyone is listening or not. Whether we still have terrible taste in men is up for debate, and depending on the day (and sometimes the hour) we could be on either side of that debate, but we're generally pretty happy with the men we trap- uh, married.

 I'm here to start this thing with a brief introduction of myself and the players in my family; Katya will be up next with her own roster of all-stars. My name is Nina, and it's probably safe to say I'm certifiable. Or at least I would be, if I answered those psychiatric assessment questions honestly. I grew up in a semi-rural environment, which meant I spent a lot of time reading books because none of my friends' mothers wanted to drive an hour for a visit. This is probably where I got my deadly grammar and spelling skills, which I often suspect I developed in lieu of social skills; by high school, when my mother went back to college, she was enlisting me to proofread her term papers.

Over the course of finishing college myself I met my husband-to-be, His Kiltiness, appropriately enough at a Saint Patrick's Day party. Given his amazingly great legs (god bless kilts!), his goofball sense of humor, and the fact that he cannot lie for love or money, I consider him the epitome of masculine charm. He LOVES to play with children. At any gathering, he's most likely the man on the floor being pig-piled by every child there. Oh, and he likes to cook. Hands off, ladies, he's MINE.

About a year into our marriage, our son Spidey came along. He has always had a real attraction to comic book heroes, particularly Spiderman (hence his moniker), although he himself has always preferred blondes. I guess we know where he stands on the Gwen Stacy issue. He is now a buoyant 7-year-old who likes to climb doorways, fences, furniture, and any other obstacle you care to name, hopefully followed by science - he declined getting a bike this year for his birthday because he wanted a really big box of science experiments. With all of the climbing and flipping and so on, you would expect him to have a lengthy list of injuries, but you would be wrong. He NEVER FALLS. It's uncanny. I've learned not to faint every time he calls, "Mom, watch! Look at what I can do!" He certainly does not get his coordination from me.

A few years later, we filled out our roster with a daughter. Xena, like most girls her age (4), loves to dress up in princess dresses. Unlike other girls her age, she prefers to accessorize these lovely gowns with a weapon of some sort, usually a play sword. This works out well when Spidey is in the mood for a light saber battle, though not so well when he just wants to sit and read his comics. When Xena isn't allowed to have a sword (out on errands or at the dinner table, for example), she employs what one family friend refers to as "her patented diamond-tipped stare". She has these icy blue eyes that could cut steel. Before she could even talk, she nailed Granddad with that one until he apologized for sneezing. It was pretty awesome.

A little over two years ago, His Kiltiness and I decided our best schooling option was to home school our children. See? Certifiable. But it works for us; although some days are better than others, on the whole we have successfully taught Spidey to read, add and subtract, spell, and argue vigorously for lenient grading whenever the assignment directions aren't sufficiently clear. Xena started pre-school this year, so we're having a fun time learning letters, numbers and shapes. It should surprise no one that she can count much better when it's chocolate chips she's counting. It should also surprise no one that our house frequently looks like some sort of strange nest for sock monsters, hungry bears, and rogue library poltergeists.

So...my hair is different, my taste in men improved dramatically, and I talk too much. What hasn't changed since those heady days of dining hall food and sleeping until noon? Well, for one thing, I still wear the same coat. It's a really awesome coat. I am invariably reading two or three books at any point in time. And when it comes to shenanigans, Katya is still the first person I enlist.


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