Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, I was aware of Star Trek: The Next Generation and sometimes watched with my parents when it was on TV. I liked it fine, but I didn't really follow the show, and throughout my adulthood, people have made references to the show that I didn't get.
Sylvia was born last July, and while I was still on maternity leave, the idea came to me of watching all of TNG, start to finish. I think having a child made both Alex and me a bit nostalgic for media from our childhoods. In his case, it was The Muppet Show; for me it was TNG. My Netflix viewing history reveals that I started watching on September 20, when Sylvia was just eight weeks old, and that it took me until December to get through season one.
Starting in January, I picked up the pace a bit as we began to settle into a regular bedtime routine with Sylvia. Around 7:30pm, it's
Bedtime :: Maybe Bath -> Pajamas -> Reading -> Nursing -> Bed. Most nights, she's asleep or nearly-asleep by 81, and then I watch an episode or two of TNG.
So, I've been watching the show (having now made my way through most of it) and enjoying it quite a lot, and there's a lot I could say about that, but right now I want to tell a different story. One night this spring, it was getting toward 10pm, and Sylvia just couldn't seem to get to sleep after repeated attempts. So I held her in my arms and sat down to watch TNG with her on my lap. She stared wide-eyed at the screen as the iconic title sequence ("Space: the final frontier.") came on.
About eight seconds into that title sequence, a bright light, a star or comet or something, passes by the camera. By this point in my TNG-watching adventure, I had seen the title sequence lots of times (although Netflix offers an option to "Skip Intro", I generally don't, preferring to have an Authentic '90s TV Experience™), not to mention all the times I saw it as a kid, of course. So I wasn't especially paying attention to it. Then Sylvia suddenly flinched backward into me as that bright light hit the camera.
It's hard to explain all the feelings and thoughts I had just then, all at once:
- Oh, my God. She thought that was going to hit her!
- She is having this experience for the first time ever. For her, every moment is a strange new experience.
- She doesn't know that things on TV aren't really there. I mean, why would she know that?
- What does it even mean for something to be "there", anyway?
- She's more perceptive than I am; that was a totally reasonable human(oid) reaction. I should be worried if she didn't flinch.
- Oh, my sweet baby, I love you so much. I'll protect you from the giant burning space rock barreling toward us.
Every day is magical.
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- Lest you think that our child is a particularly good sleeper, please know that even now, at eleven months old, she's still waking up a couple times a night every night to nurse -- usually around midnight and 4am. She usually only wants to nurse for five minutes or so each time and then it's right back to sleep, but I still have to get up and deal with it.