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to explore strange new worlds - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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to explore strange new worlds [Jul. 10th, 2018|01:59 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

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, 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.

  1. 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.
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