03 July 2008

Yo, Yo!

Early in her pregnancy, when Ianqui was thinking about a nom-de-blog for her baby, she saw a news item about yo evolving as a gender-neutral pronoun. It became the perfect blogname for the baby, and when she announced it, I thought, a) “how cool! bookmark that news item for future teaching use” and b) “Yo, Yo!” would be a great name for a blog post. Great title, but what to follow it? Recommendations for good children’s music (starting with Dan Zanes’ Family Dance, which contains “Yo Yo, Sweet Yo Yo”) or good books (starting with Chris Raschka’s Yo! Yes! and Ring! Yo! leading into Irene Smalls' Don’t Say Ain’t, the beginning of a list of kids’ books that are about language)? I couldn’t get those ideas to go anywhere…but I realized that the best baby shower game I’ve ever played is a great way to welcome Yo, and it’s in keeping with the title-in-search-of-content and Ianqui's carbon-footprint-reducing ethos (a game that generates no stuff!). Now that Yo has arrived, it’s a fine day to teach you all the best baby shower game ever—and Ianqui and Super G can pass the results on to Yo whenever they want. There are already tons of happy comments over at Ianqui's own posts on the subject, and I suppose Ianqui won't be blog-reading quite so frequently. But some of you might want to play along here, and I trust Ianqui won't mind an uninvited burst of bloggy enthusiasm for her wee one.

I learned this game when Uncle Quiet and Tante Mississippi were expecting Curly Haired Cousin, and their department threw a shower, so it has especially sweet memories for me. We also played it at Historian Friend’s shower. In real life, you’d use index cards, one for each guest, numbered 1 to however many you need for everyone present. On this post, we can just use the order of comments. All you have to do is tell a memory from your life from the age on your card/comment position (or something about what your world was like, if you don't remember anything from that year) and then make a wish for Yo for when Yo turns that age (so if you have card #7, or are commenter #7 on this post, you’d tell a memory from when you were 7, and offer a wish for Yo for when Yo is 7). I’ll do age one in the first comment, and anyone else who wants to join in can just do two, three, four, whatever. This is a cool way to learn a little more about other people; it’s interesting to see what different childhoods were like and what kinds of different wishes people offer, corresponding to different ages.

So Yo, Yo! Some wishes for you to soak up are in the comments. Welcome to the world.


susan said...

One: I turned one in the summer of 1963, and while we still lived in the city, that was the first summer I spent at the beach. My parents rented a bungalow in the town they’d later move to. I don’t remember much about that summer myself, of course, but John F. Kennedy was still president, space exploration was in an exciting phase, and the civil rights movement was developing. My father and his brothers were inspired to political activism, and my favorite uncle was on a Peace Corps stint in Nigeria. As you turn one, may you have already be connected to a place you’ll remember with happiness as a grown up—perhaps the sounds and smells of the city will trigger a smile no matter where you are, perhaps the sand or the birds or the beaches nearby will make you laugh. And may you later look back to realize that there was an American president who filled your parents with hope and some optimism in this crazy world!

Dawn said...

When I was two we lived in Novato, CA, where I was born and we were about to head across country to Boston where I would gain a little brother in three months time.

What I remember about two is feeling deeply, deeply loved and cherished by my mom. I remember feeling like the central member of our family (despite having an older sister) and I was surprised to learn that the world went on without me even when I left the room.

For baby Yo Yo, I wish for the same feeling of being adored and of being important because I know that this early security helped get me through difficult times. Always at the core of me are those memories of connection and love and I wish these for Yo Yo (and for every child).

liz said...

I don't remember three very well, but one memory I do have is of playing with two friends of mine, twin boys, on our tricycles and how much fun that was, and how much I felt like we were a team.

Baby Yo, I hope that you have friends you love and a bright red tricycle with ribbons on the handlebars.

kathy a. said...

four: i had a best friend in preschool. one day, we bit our graham crackers into exactly the same castle shape, without planning that! that friend ended up in college with me.

baby yo, i hope you have friends you know forever.

timna said...

When I was 5, I got to ride the school bus from the farm to kindergarten in town. It was so exciting to be leaving home by myself and to return after a whole day's adventure.

Baby Yo, here's to wishing you many adventures!

peripateticpolarbear said...

When I was six, I learned how to read. I remember the exact moment all those squiggles became words. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I still do.

Baby yo, may you always find good books to keep you company. entertain you, and make your world bigger than your eyes can see.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Seven ---

I remember being six and wanting, very badly, to be seven. Seven sounded so very old. I think that my 7th birthday was the first time I realized that turning a new age didn't make me completely different.

As a seven year-old, my parents were still married, I had a 4 year-old sister to boss around and a couple of dogs to swim with in the lake. I think it was a golden year... I suspect your 7th year will be different from mine, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it anyway.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Susan, this is such a great idea.

Eight: my dad used to take me and my friends out to the local state park on the river, where we'd swim and picnic and goof around all day long.

Baby Yo, you'll probably grow up in the city (and one of the world's greatest cities at that), but I hope you have many opportunities to swim and play and get to know rivers and trees as well as you know your friends.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Nine~When I was nine we moved from the place in the south where I was born to the mountain state. It was hard leaving my grandparents behind, but moving to a new place seemed like a Big Adventure--everything was new and different and exciting, and I remember exploring and imagining and seeing things in new ways with great delight.

Yo, may you have many Big Adventures in your life, and find joy and wonder in experiencing them.

Ianqui said...

This is SO WONDERFUL! Thanks everyone so much, and I love reading these stories!

Do I get to play?

When I was 10, my parents took me to Washington DC for the first time. I have a terrible memory, so I think it's the first trip I really remember. I remember loving some of the museums, especially the Air and Space Museum. I also got to see the real version of a Picasso picture that had always hung in my room.

I hope that by the time Yo is 10, he'll still have the opportunity to travel and see the world. Although many aspects of travel don't conform to our attempts at eco-consciousness, I also really believe that travel is one of the most important ways for us to have an open mind about the world.

Suze said...

When I was 11, we got a dog, who everyone in my family grew to love very much.

I hope Yo has dogs in his life as happy companions, at 11 and every age.

Elizabeth said...

When I was 12, I got to go to a school where I wasn't bored most of the time, and where it was considered normal to be interested in your classes.

I wish that Yo may have a love of learning, and people to share it with.

Arwen said...

When I was 13, I learned - after years of feeling awkward and scared of other people - that if you approach people with self-respect and respect for them, it hardly matters what other barriers are in the way. Arms open to the world make you a little more vulnerable, but a lot more able to catch the wonderful.

Baby Yo, I wish that you will always know how to respect yourself, and that you can always catch the wonderful.

Scrivener said...

[I agree that this is a great idea.]

Fourteen - When I was 14, I started the ninth grade. I went to visit an English class at the local community college and when the professor said that everything ever written on the subject of teen love was complete crap, I raised my hand and asked about Romeo and Juliet. He and I spent the next hour arguing about that play and a few other works and no one else spoke up at all. I left there thinking that college was going to be all sorts of fun.

Baby Yo, may you have a lifetime of interesting discussions and amicable disagreements.

LilySea said...

When I was fifteen, I fell in love for the first time. It was a nice, innocent love that I didn't even recognize as "love." It was just that whenever the object of my affections came into a room, my heart went kathump and I thought about her all of the time when she wasn't around.

I hope that when Yo is fifteen, he will have plenty of things that make his heart go kathump and I hope he will have lots of courage and love himself first and foremost. Fifteen is a hard age, but a sweet age, too!

justcallmespiro said...

When I was sixteen, I lived away from home for the first time. It was scary and wonderful and awful and the greatest thing ever. I lived in a dorm for seven weeks and then stayed with my cousins for another two. Sometimes I look at that time in my life and remember it being one of the happiest summers I've had.

I hope that at sixteen Yo can strike out on his own and have a blast, and that he always has a cousin who will let him live in their basement.


seaglass said...

When I was seventeen I had my first job as a "bread girl" at a restaraunt. My job was to prepare fancy butter and then serve it with raisin, oatmeal or white buns. As the bread girl, I was supposed to bus tables to help the "bus boys" who weren't all boys. I refused upon learning I would not be tipped. It was the first time, in a public environment, I spoke up to my boss about something unfair. O.k., I cried my eyes out but I quit rather than bus tables with not even a penny from the tips.

So, my wish is a world of equality, especially in the work world.

Sea Glass Girl who LOVES this game!

winterskeeper said...

When I was 18, I was a beginning freshman at a liberal Northern California university. That was the year I learned to fuel my passion and compassion for animals, the environment, women's rights and yes, world peace.

I came to realize that the power to care DOES make a difference and that humanity is not defined by legislation, politics, and wars.

My wish for Yo Yo is that she always knows, and feels the strength of, the power that is within her.