Wednesday, June 14, 2017

7 quick takes


I know I haven't been posting a lot lately.  I'm worried people will think I'm sick, or dead, or depressed, or pregnant, but that's not the case at all.  I'm actually doing pretty well, but the keyboard on my tablet is broken.  The h key doesn't work, but sometimes h's appear when I hit other keys.  Probably got spilled on one too many times.  I use the onscreen keyboard for my facebook posts, but it's maddeningly slow so I've had to be a lot quieter on the internet.  Which is very frustrating to me because typing is one of the main ways I get my thoughts out!  I could switch to vlogs, I guess, but I find my own face and voice embarrassing.

I'm on John's computer at the moment, but that's not a very good solution because it's a desktop and I can't stay in one corner of the house for very long.  Especially not when it's the non-air-conditioned corner!


I really want to fix or replace that keyboard, though, because I am starting to get ideas for stories again!  That's always a good sign about how my life is going, when I stop worrying about practical problems and start wondering about different methods of faster-than-light travel and their effects on plot development.

I don't know if I would have time to write any of this stuff out, but I still enjoy planning it out.  The stuff I'm working out right now is easier than my previous writing, because it isn't historical fantasy.  Working with history demands research.  I enjoy the research, but it takes a lot of time and the trouble is, if you don't write anything right away, you start to forget key details.  The two stories at the top of my mind right now are one about an alien coming to earth for the first time, and one about a girl raised in a post-apocalyptic survivalist cult.  They're both very exciting and I hope I sometime get a chance to write them all out.


Maybe after the boys start school.  I am still a little mixed about it, but mostly looking forward to the first day of school in the middle of August.  I'm hoping it gives me time to pay attention to Miriam and Jackie, as well as giving Marko and Michael some extra attention and interest.  They have been both acting very bored lately, which results in them either being at each other's throats or all over me.  I know they need more stimulation in their life -- more play dates, more outings, whatever -- but that just isn't in me right now.  As it is I'm taking them places at least twice a week!  It's fun but Jackie misses naps and I can't get the housework done if we're always running around.

Marko has agreed to give school a try in return for a reward.  After the first month of school, Marko will get a video camera and Michael will get a remote control car -- that is, they will each get the thing they've been wishing and dreaming for for years.  Michael didn't really need any motivation, but you can't reward one kid and not the other.  Marko has decided one month of school is worth it, but once he gets the camera, he says he's not going to school anymore.  I'm hoping by then he's found out it's not so scary after all.

I still have to get them physicals, take them school shopping for backpacks and lunchboxes, and find out what supplies they will need for school.  What do you have to do to get ready for a year of school?  When do I find out who their teachers will be?  I feel really intimidated by the public-school scene -- I feel, just like when I was in school, like everyone else knows all the rules and I don't.


Jackie continues to get easier.  She sometimes takes a good long nap, and when she's awake she often is okay lying on a blanket.  She can roll over both ways and sometimes even gets on hands and knees.  She grabs toys and can sometimes put her pacifier back in if she drops it.  I'm so on top of life right now that I'm actually using cloth diapers for part of the day.  Which goes to show how my standards have shifted and how many things I used to think were important I have had to jettison.  But, so long as I eventually get back to those things, it's not so bad.

She took TWO hour-plus naps today. Pretty sure this is the first time that's ever happened!


Miriam is mostly a delight and sometimes terrible.  John calls her Destroyer of Souls because of how exhausting she is, especially at night.  She's almost three and still wakes most nights, sometimes several times.  And her bedtime can be really long.  However, last night I convinced her to let me sit with her for fifteen minutes and then leave, and she fell asleep on her own!  Fluke or the beginning of a wonderful trend?  I hope the latter.

In the daytime she is mostly very good for a kid her age.  She is a good talker and negotiates for what she wants.  Occasionally she has a total meltdown where she rejects all comfort and screams loudly over whatever you try to say to her.  She'll be screaming that she wants a cookie, and you can be trying to explain that she totally can have a cookie, and she won't listen to you.  This can go on for nearly an hour -- or, you can hand her the baby and she'll instantly calm down.  Nothing else in the whole world works, but her sister calms her right down to where she snuggles the baby and says in a sad voice, "I love my sister so much, I was so sad, I was crying, I had a sad face, Jackie makes me feel better."  It's super adorable.


As I write this, Michael is trying to look at a magazine by himself and Marko is trying to get up in his face for no apparent reason.  I have exiled Marko to one side of the couch and let Michael be on the other, but Marko is whining that he wants to get closer to Michael, and Michael is screeching at me that Marko is still too close.  Ugh.  These two.  Marko can be downright compulsive in his need to say over and over some ridiculous thing that upsets his brother, while Michael is amazingly oversensitive and goes bananas about the repetition of some innocuous thing.  So they had a fight a few minutes ago where Marko kept repeating "knights didn't have newspapers" and Michael was screaming and sobbing about it.  Sometimes it's just a noise Marko makes.  I hardly know who to blame for these fights because both are being so unreasonable!

The real solution is for them not to be with each other, but both are completely unwilling to be alone.  What they want is for me to lock up the other one so that they can stay with me.  But that's hardly fair, is it?  Especially when I too am getting annoyed by them.

And Michael is just really, really unhappy a lot of the time.  I don't understand it.  Some days he says his head hurts, which is something I'm definitely going to consult the doctor about.  But other times he's crabby for no reason and insists he's not feeling bad, it's just that everyone is being mean to him ... even when they're not.  I just don't get why he's always so unhappy!  But if I look back on his life, he's usually been like this.  He was a fussy baby unless he was nursing all the time, whined most of Miriam's first year of life because he wasn't getting to nurse and be held all the time, and while I thought he was cured of all that, I have to admit that he's getting awfully whiny again.  When he's happy he's just a delight -- he loves to help out, is super affectionate, and is always looking for new experiences and challenges.  But he often isn't, and I don't know why.  Not enough sleep maybe?  He gets the most sleep of anybody in the family, but that doesn't mean he doesn't need more.

Of course while I've been writing this they stopped fighting and collaborated for a bit -- to throw water on the dog.  I put a stop to that (no water play indoors, that's a hard and fast rule obviously) and now they are fighting because they both want to watch TV but can't agree on what they'd like to watch.  Marko wants a documentary about chromosomes and Michael wants a cartoon.  If I put on something Marko wants, Michael and Miriam try to watch it but get bored and start fighting (why don't they just go play???), but if I put on something Marko doesn't like (which is most things) he claps his arms over his ears and shrieks lest he accidentally hear a bit of a show he doesn't like.  These kids, I tell ya.


I forgot to mention that my family came to visit recently.  We had a really wonderful time.  It was just my mom and sister this time, but Juliana got along swimmingly with the kids.  Marko says she is his best friend now.  I really wish we could see them more often.

How have y'all been?


Cristina said...

Your line about not knowing all the rules when everyone else seems to is exactly like language learning! And I'm afraid that the best way past it is through it: That is, the best way to master the rules is to expose oneself as totally ignorant of them.

My favorite language blogger has as one of his mottos: "Aim to fail." As he explains, if you aim to succeed, you'll only go for the sure things, and this will limit both your experiences and your ability to get any better. But if you jump in even when things look uncertain, you'll at least learn something. He also points out that the greatest athletes, those who hold the records for big successes (like most homeruns), are also the ones who hold the records for big failures (like most strikeouts).

And I have found that "aiming to fail" applies to more than just a skill you want to get good at. Just last night, for instance, I was having dinner with several good friends whose "light conversation patterns" I have become familiar with, and one friend whom I rarely get to talk to and who still struggles a little with English. (She's Swiss.) Early in the evening, someone mentioned an online community of tea lovers who refused to consider tea made with teabags "real" tea. I jokingly snapped, "Those snobs!" And my English-learning friend quickly jumped in with: "No, no, no! They're not snobs. They're just used to doing things a certain way and maybe they don't know it's a little different in other parts of the world. You're not a snob just because you prefer your own customs to others, because you can still respect others after you learn." Well, yes, of course. I agree completely. But that was totally beside my point!

I'm going to guess that she's still sensitive about the time we had another Swiss visitor. One day he was served powdered milk for breakfast and he said, "Oh, you drink this here? In Switzerland, this is what we feed to pigs." Now, he meant absolutely no offense by it. He was just telling us something interesting about his country! But there are still Filipinos who remember that incident and hope he never comes back. LOL! So it may have been that when I said "snob," my friend heard "typical European racist," when all I meant was "I hope those geeks have social skills to balance out all the awesome specialized knowledge they must have."

It was not the last conversation "failure" of the night where she and I were concerned. (I'm sure there were a few that flew past me but were clear to her!) So it wasn't the most comfortable social outing the group has had, but if she and I ever hope to converse smoothly, we're going to have to go through a few more of these. But soon I'll learn the "rules" for talking to her and she'll learn the "rules" for talking to me.

And this is why I'm sure that you'll pick up the "rules" of public school quickly enough! It's just going to be a bumpy road getting there. ;-)

Sheila said...

I just want the kids' first experience of school to be positive - not "my mother delivered me to the wrong classroom on the first day of school," you know? (In my memory my mom had me walk to school alone on my first day. I was old enough, but I was pretty clueless and could have used an adult to help me out. I guess she was as clueless about school as I am!)

I'll probably end up asking a lot of questions! Luckily I do know some of the teachers at school already, so I'm hoping they'll help me out if I call. The only real worry is the unknown unknowns - stuff I don't know that I don't know, and won't think to ask.

Cristina said...

Your story somehow reminds me of the episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory has her first day of school at Chilton. Do you recall that one? Lorelei doesn't bother to change out of the old T-shirt and denim shorts she slept in, but throws a coat over them and drives Rory to school. But then Rory says, "Mom, are you really going to let me meet the principal on my first day alone?" (Or something to that effect.) Now, my own answer would have been: "Um, yes. You're a teenager now and I can't hold your hand forever." (Granted, it's different for children as young as Marko and Michael!) But Lorelei is guilted into accompanying Rory anyway.

Only to find that Emily is already there with the principal! Naturally, the principal invites Lorelei to take her coat off and have a seat, and Emily further guilts her into it. I will never forget the look on Emily's face when she sees what's under the coat! LOL! When I think about what I would have done . . . I would have really liked to take the coat off, too, to get back at an overbearing mother. But I probably would have taken the high road, made some excuse, and left. Not ideal, but definitely the lesser evil.

I really felt for Lorelei in that episode because of how all the other characters reacted to her. "You wore that to take Rory to Chilton???" Was it really so bad? When she left the house, she didn't think she'd have to get out of the car; and when she did walk with Rory, she didn't think she'd have to hang out at the principal's office. Then later, when she did her hair and wore a suit, everyone made a point of saying, "Now, that is what you should have had on this mornining!" Really, guys? Where is it written, please?

Sheila said...

The point with the Chilton stuff is that if you don't already know the rules, you don't belong there - because knowing the rules is a sign of class and you need to be upper-class. Upper-class mothers are very involved in their kid's education, they would never wear cutoff jeans for any reason, and they would already​ be expecting to have to impress the principal on the first day. Lorelei may have been raised that way, but she never really caught on (or, for that matter, wanted to) and Emily, with the help of Chilton, is perpetually trying to make her feel bad about that.

Ah, love that show. (Did you see those four new episodes? I didn't entirely like them.)

Luckily our local school is on the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum from Chilton. But still, no matter what class you're in, knowing the rules without having to ask gets you social capital, and I never do.

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