Having an infant always reminds me that humans are animals. I feel so mammalian, nursing my young, smelling them, knowing them by scent. I'm constantly kissing their heads and breathing in through my nose. I can smell when other people have been holding them, can sense the alien on their skin.
I'm also so aware that we are primates. I feel best when my babies are on me: asleep on my chest, in my arms, hanging on me in a baby carrier. Like all primates, babies are social. It fascinates me that babies this young are already aware of being alone. When they realize they are alone, they fuss. "Hey, I'm alone over here! Doesn't anyone care? It's not right!" They want to be picked up, held, rocked, talked to, sung to, those powerful affirmations of togetherness. And we respond instincitvely. A baby makes eye contact, and we look back. A baby smiles, and we smile. A baby coos, and we coo too. A conversation! Every bit as important as any college campus dialog or theatrical reparte.
Speaking of theater, I had the opportunity last week to see a university student one-act play adapted from my book austenland. It was an interesting and somewhat surreal experience to view people playing characters I made up speaking lines I wrote. It was my story...and yet it wasn't. I finally put my finger on it. It was like getting a glimpse inside the head of a reader, seeing the story they tell themselves when they read my book. It's famililar yet looks and feels a little different than it does when I imagine it. Just one reader's experience. Thrilling! I think this is a good way to think about movies-from-books as well. Sure, the movie is not what was in my head when I read the book, but it's getting a glimpse of another reader's experience, having a chance to experience the book in another way. It shouldn't replace our own reading experience, but can be fun and fascinating too.
P.S. I'm the online host for Nickelodeon's ParentsConnect Fairy Tale Party on Dec 10.