Chinese New Year


Happy New Rabbit Year!

Image by jijis via Flickr

As I have totally pushed the silliness about my zodiac sign disappearing into some unpronounceable and decidedly undesirable “lost sign” out of my mind (despite the fact that my husband thinks the new one suits me better), I must confess that I much prefer the nuance of Chinese astrology anyway.

I am a Rabbit, so this is sort of my year. Born in a water year with an ascendant Dragon (that’s the equivalent of a rising sign), I have found that the Chinese seem to know me a bit better than the Greeks. Though my daughter persists in her belief that I am a daughter of Zeus when she’s not reimagining her family as an alpha wolf pack.

Alpha, not Omega.

“Omegas are just silly and play all day, Mom,” she said.

She was born in the year of the Horse. A cause of great despair to have a daughter born in a Horse year. Sis’s youngest was born in the sign of the Horse and having observed her from birth to college – I am going to have to agree. I shudder a bit at the future.

Curiously, in both astrological universes I tend to gravitate towards completely unsuitable mates., a Virgo born in the year of the Metal Ox and a Scorpio Water Ox. Oxen though are grounded, stubborn and get the job done types and Rabbits? Probably not so much. I must be pretty awesome for anyone to pick up the cross that is me.

But today is the beginning of the new year in many Asian cultures and countries. It’s so much more festive and fraught with symbolism and possibility than the staid Western new year, in my opinion. There are dragons and parades and predictions for everyone and thing.

In the West we get top ten lists up the ying-yang and drunkenness.

Hmmm. I think we get gypped.

So anyway, I read that life in the year of your Chinese sign is anything but smooth. Up and down. Conflict. Possibly pestilence and revolution. Which confuses me because these are all things that Rabbits avoid like the second coming of another Bush dynasty. But Rabbit years have a mixed history.

Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in the summer of 1963, a Rabbit year, but JFK was assassinated that November. And I was born in the last weeks of the year though that’s probably neither here nor there.

1975 saw the end of a horrific recession. Score one for the Rabbit. But 1987 saw one of the first Wall Street crashes that have plagued us ever since.

Hard to tell what might happen this year. But with fascism’s slow creep across the United States and it being the kick off of yet another election cycle (its small wonder that no actual governing is ever accomplished in a country where officials mostly run for office and never really settle in long enough to work), things look bleak. And that’s minus the Four Horsemen like weather that’s occurring at the moment.

Oh yeah and there’s that revolution thing that appears to be sweeping the Middle East.

Conflict.

We hates conflict. Witness my tooth issues as prime example number one. I changed dentists because I loathed the hygienist I was assigned to instead of simply risking hurting the guy’s feelings (it was a sure risk by the way because the guy is very sensitive), I tried out someone new.

The hygienist was awesome. The dentist screwed up my bottom molars and I am probably going to lose the back one at the very least.

And I am still ducking the question of having my teeth cleaned. They ask. I hedge.

This is how much of a Rabbit I am.

Rabbits look cuddly. But they are not. Although some Asian cultures refer to the sign as The Cat. I think cats are too aloof and disinterested to really convey the personalities of those of us born in those years.

Although I love that old Al Stewart song, Year of the Cat, don’t you?

I secretly like to think I am this incredibly awesome, but sadly, I think not so much.

Middle daughter, Mick, has a rabbit. Cunning and destructive. She could be a character in a Stephen King short story. The rabbit. Not Mick. However if Mick were a character in the story with the Rabbit, it wouldn’t end well.

Mick’s rabbit “escapes” periodically and disappears.

Nothing could induce me to drop an animal out the window of a moving vehicle on a deserted Range Road faster than a bunny that occasionally turned up missing and then just as creepily – reappeared.

But despite the bunny’s destructive ways and eerie vanishing acts, Mick believes that one day it will come to love her.

If it doesn’t dispatch her one night as she sleeps and then opens the window to let the magpies in.

Shudder.

But back to the Year of the Rabbit. Don’t get comfortable. Don’t imagine Peter Rabbit. Think something along the lines of fur balls returning from the Pet Semetary. And you’ll probably be okay.

 

 


Cartwheel

Image by tanya_little via Flickr

All the world and just about every piece of furniture in the house is an opportunity to practice great feats of acrobatic daring and skill. This is according to my daughter. Because though she is afraid to walk down a flight of stairs without gripping the railing or resorting to scooting on her bum, she thinks nothing of hurling herself through the air as she leaps from love seat to ottoman to recliner where she will dive arms out-stretched into the cushioned seat flipping her legs over the high back and catching herself securely with her slightly crooked knees. Once in this decidedly upside down position, she will rock the lazy-boy with such force that it comes very near to losing its balance and spilling her onto the floor behind it.

 

Tonight as I was working on the hyperlinks for the new photo albums, and frustrating myself far more than was necessary since I could have just read the directions again, she called me into our furniture-lite living room to watch her perform her “acrobends”.

 

“They are very hard and sometimes they hurt.”

 

Although she usually adheres genetically to her late father’s theory that “if there is pain; there isn’t much of use to be gained”, this doesn’t apply to the twisty contortions only a preschooler is physically capable of performing. The more painful or potentially injurious it looks, the more it appeals.

 

I watched her for a few minutes before she tired of her cartwheel attempts and began to demonstrate her ballet moves which include “peelays” and something that looks like a top spinning out of control.

 

Later, after she had moved on to the swings in the backyard that she doesn’t yet grasp we will have to leave behind when we move, I sat at the keyboard and recalled some of the new vocabulary and facts she has acquired in preschool this year in addition to her growing agility.

 

January was an enlightening month. I was solemnly informed of the importance of “Dr. Luther King” for the entire week preceding and following his holiday.

 

“He died, Mommy. He got a shot in the park.”

 

February was packed. There were valentines and the Chinese New Year.

 

She was intrigued by the idea that years could be animals.

 

“What year were you born?”

 

I told her I was a rabbit and that daddy had been an ox, which made her laugh. She was born in the year of the horse, I told her, like Frankie. The Chinese despair of a daughter who is born in the year of the horse. I never did find out why though being a mother to a little horse for nearly five years now, I have a pretty good idea.

 

Presidents loomed large in February.

 

“We learned about presidents today, Mommy.”

 

“Which ones?

 

“George Washington and Hammerman Lincoln.”

 

“Are you sure it’s not Abraham?”

 

“No, Mommy, it’s Hammerman.”

 

She speaks slowly to me at times like these and in a tone that makes it clear I am not as smart as she is though,

 

“I really want to be wrong sometimes, Mommy, so you can be right.”

 

I have a feeling she won’t remember that conversation in ten years, but for now I will accept the sentiment behind it and wish myself a Happy Mother’s Day in advance.