Going back to normal?

Well yesterday I was down to 55 hits. Does this mean the cackling hens have moved on to other targets? Let us hope.

For the record I consider myself a cackling hen. I don’t really mean huge insult by saying that. Just describing what I see.

Ok, I am pissed off at myself. Why did I think it was important for me and the kids to see our dentists on the first god damn week of December?! We could have waited. But… it’s hard to reschedule. So I get to drive to Cupertino twice this week.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

It’ll be ok.

I scheduled phone appointments for my shrink this month. I’m not going to drive 2+ hours roundtrip to her office this month.

I… don’t want to sort books twice. And Sarah told me I could come over and go through the boxes of books she has stored since she moved out because she really isn’t going to have space for displaying any year soon here and anytime she wants one she can come over and just borrow it. So having me store the books isn’t like getting rid of them it is like off-site storage you don’t have to pay for.

I can live with that. Access to books, hey.

I’m making Noah do that with me for our date this week. I’m not driving, but I’m heading to Oakland. I know that this book re-integration is coming so I can’t bring myself to start sorting the new books. I don’t want to do it twice. I’m tired.

I helped decorate the tree by spreading ornaments out on the couch so the kids could see them and by putting half a dozen highly breakable ornaments up. Otherwise I let Noah, housemate, and the kids do the work. I was proud of myself for the level of non-work I managed. Mostly I watched. *pat self on back*

One of the things I liked a lot about being a classroom teacher as opposed to being a home schooler was the planning period. As a classroom teacher you sit down and with mellow time to fill you decide how you will spend your time over the days, weeks, and months to come. You can get ahead of the work cycle. You can do things to create time periods where you are coasting.

Home schooling… I haven’t found a coasting period yet. As soon as I sorta catch up in one area I’m behind somewhere else again. Yes, some of these complaints include things like food all over the floor and sweeping because home schooling is much different from classroom instruction… but ugh.

I feel like I never catch my breath. Too many big things happening all the time.

I’m going to be super bummed when the house mate moves out. I mean, I’ll like having more quiet and more space… but I’m going to miss them a lot. This is really nice.

I feel tremendously bad a lot of the time because I’m aware that part of the reason this is going as well as it is springs from the fact that I learned a lot living with Sarah. I don’t want to make those mistakes again. I’m really angry with myself for not being able to make that work. On paper it really solves a lot of my problems.

But my expectations are the problem.

We can all only do what we can do. I am not good at keeping my expectations humble and then I get angry. That’s my fault and something I work on. But it’s still an issue.

Had a great conversation with a friend recently about parental expectations, reactions and reactions. Meaning what the parents want, then what the kids do in reaction to the parent demanding (or asking, I suppose) for whatever then the parents react to how the kids react. Oh golly.

In particular this friend was saying that sometimes when a child cries in response to a demand/request she feels manipulated and she doesn’t like that feeling. She feels angry.

I pointed out that sometimes I feel anger, but it’s always about my internal load of what I’m carrying. I get angry because my internal sensor says, “I’ve given too much today and I can not be supportive right fucking now” which really isn’t the fault of the child. But it happens.

She thought about that.

I see the crying as manipulation, but without a tinge of negativity based on the word. It is largely a subconscious way of asking for attention/support/love. I’m ok with my kids crying to communicate that their bucket is empty and they need some love to put in it. That doesn’t make me angry inherently. I get angry when I feel empty. That’s not about whether or not they should ask that is a reflection of what I have to manage because sometimes the request is awesome and sometimes I struggle.

That’s about me and not about the request.

She reflected and realized she only sometimes gets frustrated. I kind of nodded in my faux-sage way.

When I feel calm, peaceful, relaxed, and like I have energy to burn…. a child crying just triggers the desire to love the child.

When I’m frazzled, anxious, tired, in pain, or just generally done …. a child crying triggers me to want to punch holes in the wall.

This is not about the child.

For the record, I haven’t punched a hole in the wall in a while.

I’m getting better. But I grew up with siblings who put their hands and heads through windows as part of their temper tantrums. Punching the wall is so… mellow.

I will never get as far with my self control as someone who has never had my difficulty with control. That’s just… probably true.

I feel really happy about how things have gone since we got home. I know we are still in the honey moon stage. I do love a good honey moon stage. I’m schmoopy in love with my husband. I feel like my kids and I have such an extraordinary personality match up that it blows my mind. We just get along.

I think it is kind of funny that I’ve been working with the kids on sarcasm a lot lately. I am not usually a particularly sarcastic person. When I am sarcastic I like to go for the Hey. I’m. Being. Sarcastic. angle. I don’t hold back. Mostly my sarcasm involves turkey poop.

We have a hilarious kids book where a turkey eats a bunch of sheep poop because of a prank. So turkey poop is just kind of a thing around here. I talk about turkey butts too. When someone is annoying me they are acting like a turkey butt. I don’t call people brats. I don’t call people harsher names. I say, “Stop acting like a turkey butt.”

I wouldn’t call it civilized. I would just say it isn’t very traumatizing. My kids think it is funnier than shit.

And we all know that shit is hilarious so that’s a big statement.

Potty training continues to go well. There are occasional accidents but mostly she’s pretty potty independent and it has been just over a week.

Yay!

It’s ok to have accidents when you are learning a new skill. Life is like that.

I feel really angsty to get outside and start cleaning up the yards, but not yet. The house isn’t fully settled yet. I still need to find a bunch of stuff. It’s driving me nuts.

The reason I need my house tidy is because I have a whole crowd of people turning to me to say, “Where is _____.”

I DON’T FUCKING KNOW.

Which I’m not supposed to say at top volume 300 times a day. So I need to go fucking find everything so I can start god damn answering with something other than a muted shriek of frustration.

I love you all. But I’ve been gone a long time. And you bastards moved stuff while I was gone. You say that nothing moved while I was gone and that’s a lie. What happened was things were moved then never put back.

THAT’S DIFFERENT.

I love you though. I’ll find everything. It’ll be fine. I just… need a few more days. By this weekend I will know where everything is.

Sometimes I love that I can hold all this in my brain. I just need to carefully look through the contents of every drawer and cabinet in the house then I will just know where everything is. I’ll remember. I will be able to close my eyes and visualize whatever object they want to find and the background picture of what is touching it will fill in the blanks and I will just know.

I love being a visual person.

There are lots of parts of me I don’t like so much. I really like being visual.

Today is going to be awesome. I want to take the trailer hitch off so I can go up my driveway again. Right now it would scrape the whole way.

Then I want to take the van to be cleaned. It is nasty. Then I get to install more car seats. Whee.

hate car seats. I’m just forking saying. HATE car seats.

Bonus kids mean I have a minimum of five more years.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Ok. I can do it. Seven years down. Only five to go.

I need to take stuff to the post office (sorry Jenny, I’ve been an absolute lazy bones about getting stuff moving so far) and bags to the thrift store and extra packing peanuts back to UPS. My inlaws send me about five big black garbage bags worth of packing peanuts every year.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Because they don’t want shit to break.

And a dentist appointment this afternoon on the other side of the valley. The day starts with therapy.

And Pam is coming over tonight. She used to be our steady Wednesday but Wednesday night is the only evening our baby sitter has free. So Pam switched. *phew* Glad that worked out.

Anything else to remind myself of for the day?

One of my dear friends has a horror of living in a house with as many books as I have. Her parents had issues around stuff management and there were too many books in her childhood home and things weren’t really… kept up.

I bring that up because I reflect on the fact that I’m not many years away from having my roof supported by stacks of books and I was wondering if I am doing a disservice to myself or my children by having so many books.

One crucial difference, I hope, is that I plan to read all of these books. They aren’t for show. I desperately want the knowledge contained within. And I’m shit at libraries.

I worry about creating problems in my kids. So I pay attention to where my friends have problems. I pay attention to why.

I’m not just focused on sexual abuse. I pay attention to a lot of metrics. Not sexually abusing my kids is one of the easiest things I’ve done parenting. I am incredibly lucky that I feel absolutely sexual attraction to children. It just doesn’t exist for me. So maintaining appropriate contact in that arena doesn’t take time, effort, or work for me. I monitor my children a lot more than average, but that’s so global that the preventing sexual abuse part doesn’t read as work.

I consciously and seriously worry about causing a lot of issues. I worry about a lot of kinds of abuse.

It is fascinating to me that in many languages there just aren’t words for talking about abuse the way we do in English. There are cultures that don’t have a concept for what you mean when you say abuse or incest. Even if the concepts exist… they aren’t discussed in the same way. They aren’t thought about in the same way.

What is abuse in one time and place is completely normal or even mild in another place and time.

I tell my kids that part of what is hard for modern parents is that times are changing faster than ever in the past and as a species we are usually slow to change. People of my generation are trying to learn to adapt at a rate that would have been entirely unthinkable to our great grandparents.

We are changing the world faster and faster. The most important skills to be teaching now are adaptability and innovation. Use whatever is available to make something new.

These skills have always mattered but not like they do right now.

It is hard getting that pause to figure out what you should be doing. That pause I miss so badly from lesson planning. I was good at lesson planning. I had binders. I miss my binders.

By my third year of teaching I had shit down. I had detailed lesson plans. I had created quizzes, tests, alternative assessments, essay prompts, study questions, vocabulary lists…. Every day I just had to show up and do what I had laid down for myself.

I miss that.

But I’m not a sustainer. When I left I gave my binders to my favorite guy in the department because he wanted to switch from what he had been teaching to my primary area. He was elated that I’d done all the work for him.

Time to start the day.

2 thoughts on “Going back to normal?

  1. RT

    I ping on the word “libraries”. 🙂 I’m curious as to why you are “shit at” them. Is it the supposedly-quiet environment? Or the ritual/rules of checking things out and bringing them back? Not wanting to take on responsibility for the books’/DVDs condition? What have been the barriers to your comfortable use of them, and what would be helpful changes or accommodations the system could offer? I’m not trying to talk you out of it (’cause why? Also you’re incredibly knowledge-driven already and have the resources to get the info you want), but I would of course like to encourage more people to use my library/any library, and I think you would have useful insights.

    I have a tiny non-profit library collection stored in my garage right now, and I have to do some broad inventory by next Monday. :/ I’ve been putting it off.

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