Brute force

Recently I’ve been thinking about the fact that I have come a long way in terms of my behavior with my kids. I am far better at reacting. I’ve had practice. I’ve developed much greater patience. I think I have managed to do it through simple brute force. I’m feeling kinda proud of myself because I think the person I was who taught in a high school ten years ago is not the person I am now. I had distinctly more limited patience at the time. I’m doing what I want to do.

I don’t know another way of learning. I’m not good at the subtle. I’m good at broad strokes and insistent demands: “No, not like that. Like this.”

I am shocked at the ways in which I have changed my behavior. Pleased, yes, but shocked. It’s only when I stop and think about how far I’ve come that it really hits home. When I think about myself in the present I feel impatient with all the ways I am still failing to meet the metrics I set for myself.

I honestly believe that having my children mirror back my behavior is the single most… motivating experience of my life. I want to do better because I want to give them better because I want them to be able to do/have/be better.

At Stanford they started asking Eldest Child about adult goals. What’s your plan A? Be president. What’s your plan B? …. crickets.

I talked to her yesterday about this. I said, “You know… being president is a lot of pressure and work. You could instead help elect presidents” and her eyes grew wide. Yessssssss. She’s very excited about this prospect.

I think maybe she absorbed a bit too much The West Wing as an early child. She’s kind of ridiculously interested in politics. She is very clear that she wants to be in government because she wants to help people and government is a way to help huge swathes of people at once. She’s given up on being a doctor. “You can only help one person at a time that way.”

I understand, kiddo.

She is both a lot like me and a lot more subtle than me. I hope that having a mother like me isn’t a deal breaker for a future political life. I won’t apologize for existing nor for writing about sex for decades.

Oh, in other news, speaking of family embarrassments: my in-laws are coming to town. Thankfully not to our house. They are coming to San Francisco. For one night on their way to a four month cruise. Because they enjoyed the last cruise they were on so much. The one that was like 2-3 weeks after ours. Ours that they said they couldn’t go on because they couldn’t be away from home.


Bon voyage motherfuckers. It’s ok with me if you don’t come back.

Would I have been happier with them on the cruise with us? Probably not. But I feel like I truly don’t ever need to put effort in again. I’ve done so in a variety of ways. I’m… getting what they feel like back which is mostly a middle finger. I’m done trying. It’s throwing good energy after bad.

I don’t think I’m going to get anything positive back from them this lifetime. They’ll send the shit they feel like sending whether it works for me or not. They will request attention when they want it and I don’t need to care. Hey, they will be on their cruise ship through their Christmas/anniversary/birthday rush this year. Maybe we don’t have to send presents.


In a side note, this lady makes kids music that works in the same way as a lot of my little songs I sing with the kids. Yay for not having to invent everything for yourself.

I’m feeling weary. This remodel won’t be done till Thanksgiving. I’m so tired. I want to be able to clean my house in a way that is low stress and easy. That requires getting more space. Somewhere to put all this bathroom and closet stuff. Erf and uggg. (The towels will be living in the bathroom.) The linens will probably have to be stored in the garage, which won’t suck for laundry simplicity. I love my garage. I feel like the garage amount of space is what makes this house usable. I think I would go bananas if I were actually limited to 960′ sq (approximately). Our house is just a bit under 1,000′ sq. I measured but I no longer remember the exact number. It’s very early in the morning. I am back to not sleeping that well. But with the garage, and the new bathroom addition we will be up to 1, 520′ sq. Practically a palace.

Hey I lived in a one car converted garage with my mom. My house feels… full of potential and space to me. It’s all about what you’re used to. Auntie’s houses were bigger… but there were so many more people. Sure they had a 3,000′ sq house… but twelve people lived there. It didn’t feel spacious. It felt dirty all the damn time.

Auntie isn’t the sort to make other people do things.

One of my friends has a saying: “Do you want a lazy mama or a crazy mama?” Whereas I don’t say it to my kids… I do think it on a regular basis. My kids work. I can’t be Auntie. I’m raising workers, not shirkers.

We have a fun Busytown: What Do People Do All Day book. It is… hilariously Marxist. “Everyone is a worker!” It includes how Mommy works and how a kid is supposed to work. There is so much indoctrination material available if you just cull stimuli properly. I feel downright Machiavellian sometimes when I think of how I’m constructing my library.

Kiddos “found” a “new” book yesterday in the house cause I’m getting some shelves freed up so I am spreading the books out so they are more useable again….. It’s a process.

But library tending: I’m serious about my library. I have all kinds of books designed to be valuable in a wide variety of settings for people of diverse personalities and ages. I pretty much have something for everyone. I back a lot of Kickstarters for interesting books. Things you can’t buy in stores (yet… hopefully someday they make it).

And I got to absorb Sarah’s library. That was a diverse thing of beauty. She’s been collecting fabulous books for longer than me. I understand why carrying it around is hard at this point. She can visit it anytime she wants. She can have anything she wants back, forever. But I get to read them in the meantime. I’m pretty thrilled.

I have the next few years cut out for me. That feels so lovely.

Guess what Eldest Child doing academics means? It means… I sit next to her, prodding… for the whole time… or…. there are some fantastic doodles and no work done when I get back.

It’s a good thing I have worked with a lot of kids who need similar support. It’s not that unusual. There was a boy I hometaught when he was suspended from school for behavior violations who needed to be forking spoon fed everything but then he could perform just fine. He was in a bunch of low level classes because he couldn’t pay attention to save his life… but he was bored. He could have been in harder math, English, science… but he had to have someone spoon feed him. It’s an attention problem.

When these kids are learning something because they want to learn it… they are flippin incredible. When an adult tries to say, “This is what you must learn now” then… it comes in painstaking inches.

I had the worst time trying to learn multiplication tables. I think that they started trying to teach them in grade four but I didn’t pick them up until… grade eight I think? Not until I started doing more interesting math and I started multiplying more often and I just picked them up.

I need exposure through use instead of sheer memorization. I need to develop the ability to picture a larger story in my head so I can replay it and watch my hand form the answer on the paper. I visualize my memories like that. I don’t remember hearing things all that well. If I just read something it is better than hearing it…. but I learn best when I remember doing something myself.

And sometimes… I need to be spoon fed or I just can’t learn something. Because I just can’t keep my attention on it.

I took an ADD test yesterday. I stared at a computer for twenty minutes pressing a space bar. I made a lot of mistakes. If the dude sitting behind me was taking notes he heard the progression through shoot to fudge to crap to shit to fuck. I started out trying to be good. And I was pretty much dancing in my chair. Because I do that when I’m just sitting and trying to focus like that. My body twitches and jerks and I hear music in my head and I wiggle accordingly. (In my head I was hearing: Try Everything from the Zootopia soundtrack. Shakira gives me life.)

Given that a lot of the test is about measuring movement…

I don’t get my results for weeks. Because an expert has to read the printouts and I don’t have an appointment for a while. Wheeeee.

I should schedule a follow up for the nose surgery. There’s something a little weird on one side… and I’m still producing blood every day. I’m so sick of medical appointments. And then I want to get pregnant?!?!?!

I’m… not thinking. Baby fever makes you stupid. Biology is a bitch. I’ll do it. I’ll go. I’ll do what I’m supposed to do.

Baby. Baby. Baby.

It’s truly not a sane urge.

Having kids with Noah is wonderful.

There’s so much I want to do and try. Time to get busy.