Sunday, July 8, 2018

Animal jam

We showed up late, as usual, though early by our standards since they were still passing the sacrament. After the end of the sacrament Sylvia and I slipped into two seats in the overflow area. After a few minutes I looked over at Sylvia, just to see what she was doing.

Sitting on the chair behind her was a gecko.

Pausing here for a moment. For those who haven't been around my house in the last year, let me fill you in: Sylvia is obsessed with geckos. She's always loved animals, and from the time she learned to write she's been making lists of the tens and hundreds of pets she wants. And not in a theoretical, little kid dreaming of the future when she gets to make the rules kind of way; in an earnest, literal, this-is-my-life's-goal-and-I'm-going-to-chase-that-dream-now kind of way. (She's a bit headstrong.) As a parent interested in keeping my sanity I've put the kibosh on most pets, though we do have a dog and four fish, all of which are (curiously) my responsibility. When Sylvia learned that there were geckos down in the park she could catch and bring home as her pets, well, let's just say we've had a lot of geckos visit our house.

I tried not to make a scene. I think I managed to squash my squeaking without unduly disturbing the meeting. I made Sylvia get up so I could grab the gecko, at which point I spotted a second gecko on the chair.

That's right. My daughter brought not one, but two geckos to church.

I dragged her and the geckos outside and made her release them. Sylvia was thoroughly annoyed, we both yelled (though I did try to be firm and kind for a good 10 minutes. I just don't have the patience for more than that) and in the end I went back in without her after I'd judged the geckos had a good head start.

After sacrament meeting was over I collected Sylvia from outside, took her to class, and then went to my own classes. All fine, all good.

After Relief Society I went to pick up Sylvia from the Primary room. She was standing at the podium with one of the other girls in her class.

Both holding geckos.

(We had a playdate with the girl, who lives down the street from us, the next day. Yes, there were geckos involved.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sittin' on the dock of the bay

So, I was going to write something about things I think about, since my words are not precious and my thoughts need someplace to go. Maybe I will later, since there are many things I find interesting to think about. My brain turns my thoughts over and over in my head, which would polish them and hone them if there were any place for them to go. Since they stay in my head they just get smaller and smaller. I really should put them down so they don't all disappear.

Today, however, I need to record events.

Kip woke me up. He came in and asked me to help him take his pants off. I asked him, "Did you pee in the bed?"

He said, "No. My pants are boring."

Uh-huh.

Turns out he wasn't the one who peed in the bed, Paul was, but Kip was the one soaked and wet. After I dropped him in the shower with Derrick I took Rosie down to the park, though Paul came down with me to the oval. When I told him I was intending to walk more than just to the oval he went home. It was nice to have his company for at least a few minutes.

I got ready quickly when I got back because I'd stayed too long, talking to Rick and letting Abby play with Rosie. As soon as Derrick left, though, Paul begged to ride his scooter to school. It didn't take much to convince me to let him and Sylvia go. Yesterday (or maybe Monday?) Sylvia refused to let me inspect her bag (which I now know contained a frog in an ice-cream container that she didn't want me to confiscate). Rather than let me take away her frog, Sylvia and Paul walked to school. They claimed they were "one minute late" though Rick said he'd seen them after 9. Regardless, since they'd made it once and were close to on time I felt like I could probably let them go again, especially since they were on scooters instead of on foot and should have been faster.

I did some dishes, then took Kip to Pri's house, and then headed to work. Just as I was finishing talking to Mark about the work for the day I got a text from the school informing me that they'd recorded an absence for Paul. I was annoyed, but figured they'd walked slowly and spent too much time looking for geckos, and thought I'd give them half an hour more to get to school. Oh, and a few minutes for me to drink some tea.

So, after finishing my tea and talking to Cesca and to Mark about the drama (in my totally undramatic, I'm sure everything's okay but man isn't this annoying way), I called the school. They confirmed that Sylvia and Paul weren't at school, wanted to know where I thought they'd be, and immediately sent a couple of staff members out to look for them. As soon as I informed them that Sylvia and Paul should have been there but weren't it was like they went to defcon 4. They wanted to know where I'd left my kids and where they usually walked, and if they couldn't find my kids they wanted to call the police, and, AND I had to talk to the principal about it.

Fortunately, Sylvia and Paul were easy to find--they were on linear park, just where I expected them to be, and just where I'd told the school to look.

Unfortunately, thanks to this, I now have a meeting Monday morning with one of the school administrators to discuss Sylvia and Paul's path to school. It sucks that when my kids do something bad I'm the one who gets called on the carpet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

richness

My words are not precious.

When I was a kid I told my sister that she only had a certain number of words she could say in her life, and once she used up all of her words she'd die. For the next few days she barely spoke at all.

I was a jerk. (Still am.)

Probably the opposite is true--the more words I use, the happier I'll be and the longer I'll live.

I'm stressed. I don't know about what precisely, though it seems like this time of year (the end of the semester) is just stressful. Derrick's super busy and absent, and even when he comes home at a reasonable time he sits on his computer and works, so even when he's home he isn't really home. Finals are next week, so at least he'll be done soon and back to his more reasonable absenteeism.

It's also my birthday this Friday. My 40th birthday. I know it's just a number and I'm only as old as I feel and 40 isn't that old and blah blah whatever. I feel like a loser. I used to have ambitions. I really just don't anymore. I'm too tired. Too depressed. I finish things slowly, if at all. I should feel happy this week--yesterday I finished (more or less) the growth chart I started when Kip was a baby. Since he's almost 4. Because it's taken so long, though, I'm underwhelmed by it. I'm underwhelmed by myself.

I am a good cook, and really, that's where I've put so much of my time and effort. I've become expert at cooking.

Whoop-de-freakin'-do.

I like cooking, so there is that, though today I've felt stressed while cooking. Like I can feel my abdomen tensing up when I stand in front of the stove, and when I eat. It's like I know I've squandered my life standing there, chopping and frying and stirring; creating ephemeral monuments that nobody else cares about. Sure, some people enjoy them (not my kids), but hours and hours and HOURS of effort and at the end of it all I have is the promise of another job. It's so hopelessly domestic, so hopelessly, eternally feminine of me to sacrifice my time on making something that will be consumed in a matter of minutes and then forgotten.

In case you were wondering, there is no actual end to this post. It's simply a catalog of my complaints and negativity today.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Shape of you

I can not fix them, I can not teach them, I can not train or cajole or badger them into submission. I can only survive them and love them as best I can while we travel along together for a time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Put your shoulder to the wheel

I'm so proud of myself. I gave a lesson on Sunday that I absolutely detested, and managed to not rant my whole way through it.

The lesson in question was lesson 13 in the Gordon B Hinckley manual, "blah blah temporal SELF RELIANCE." You know why I hate lessons on self reliance? Because invariably they're given by rich white guys who have no idea what it's like to be poor. Case in point, the lesson tells us that,
“My father had an idea that his boys ought to learn to work, in the summer as well as in the winter, and so he bought a five-acre farm [about 20,000 square meters], which eventually grew to include more than thirty acres. We lived there in the summer and returned to the city when school started.
I only know one other family that had that kind of work experience. The dad in the family I know is the CEO of a company. Going out and buying a five acre farm simply so your kids can learn the true nature of hard work just reeks of privilege. 

There are dog whistles around every corner. The most blatant, of course, is the 

Those who have participated as the recipients of this program have been spared “the curse of idleness and the evils of the dole.”

I'm pretty sure President Hinckley didn't know many poor people if he thought they're idle or if he thinks asking for government assistance is an evil thing. The quote itself, "the curse of idleness and the evils of the dole" comes from President Grant who was the president of the church during the great depression. That statement is one that was used widely at the time to indicate a resistance to the New Deal and expansion of welfare to help those made destitute by the combination of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. It's a phrase that's continued in popularity among republicans.

And it's a phrase I hate.

Why do people go on the dole? Right. Because they want to eat. I am all in favor of working hard and contributing positively to the society in which we find ourselves. But I also recognize first, that there are those who can't for reasons beyond their control (disability, age, etc.) and second, that there are a lot of jobs that simply aren't compensated at a level that reflects the importance of that job to society (mothers in particular, but really all low-skill, low-wage labor. Low-skill is not equivalent to low-importance).

I wish that we as a people would, instead of talking about the value of self-reliance, start talking about the social contract that binds us together as a society and that only works if everyone (or most everyone) holds to it. It's true that everyone needs to contribute, and everyone should be striving to contribute at least as much as they take out as long as they are able, but at the same time when you're contributing to society the society then has an obligation to compensate people. A stable, free society can only come from a system where people feel their contributions are adequately and appropriately valued. Undervaluing people, and then compelling them to work through fear, is only a short step removed from slavery, particularly when we produce so much and are so wealthy as a whole.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I'm Wide Awake

I am the lamest mom ever.

Fortunately, my kids don't care. They know I love them anyway. Or so I hope.

Kip's birthday was about as uneventful as could be. I took the dog for a long walk in the morning, then spent the rest of my time before church frantically preparing for a lesson I was teaching in Relief Society (Families as the basis for a righteous life or something like that; terrible lesson, but that's a different story).

All three kids were reasonably behaved in church--I only had to get up three times to take care of issues (toilet, argument, toilet) and everyone went reasonably happily to class and stayed there. In nursery they sang to him and drew him a card, which I would like to point out is way, way cuter than any other store-bought card my kids have ever gotten, and because nobody knew it was his birthday that was it. Half an hour after church I managed to get everyone into the car and we drove home. I made pizza for dinner while the kids played minecraft (Paul and Sylvia on the new Xbox and Kip on my laptop) and we had banana splits for dessert because that was as close as I felt I could get to the banana cake Kip kept requesting (I only had green-yellow bananas. Can't make cake with those!).

Then everyone went to bed. Kip didn't get any presents, I didn't make him a cake or do anything really out of the ordinary for the day. I don't think he cared. Next year he might, the year after he probably will, and the next year he'll certainly expect more. So, I suppose it's good I've taken advantage of the ease of this year's birthday. Regardless, happy birthday my littlest one.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Syl-vi-a

When Kip says 'Sylvia' it comes out something more like eea, with a slightly guttural sound before the e's and some other irreproducible vowel-ish sound before the a. It's a bit like when Sylvia says, 'no' these days, which is very much in the Adelaide style and sounds more like noe and almost has two syllables. 

The problem isn't the 's' or the 'l' sound; he's perfectly capable of pronouncing those sounds correctly in other words. When I try to reproduce the way he says it he tells me I'm saying her name wrong and shows me the correct pronunciation, and will only accept when I say her name correctly. I think it's pretty cute, but then I'm the mom.

That ended today. He looked at me while we were in the car driving to pick up Sylvia from school, and after pronouncing her name his normal way he said, "No, Syl-vi-a." Like a little language lightbulb went on in his brain, and now it'll stay lit forever.