How to fix some random kid (and grown-up!) problems

We get a lot of comments, both good and bad, about how much stuff we make our oldest kid do.  Ze, for example, makes hir own lunch for school, has a list of household chores to do (mostly limited only by height restrictions), and is in charge of remembering things like homework and recurring special things like pizza money on pizza day or that Wednesday is special uniform day.

It’s expecting a lot of a 7 year old (and even more of a 6 or 5 year old, which DC1 once was!)  But it’s something we need to do to keep our household running in the absence of a full-time live-in housekeeper.  As full-time working adults with high-level jobs and a 2 year old we just don’t have that kind of mental load.  And DC1 is capable and it isn’t usually that big a deal when we all forget things.

Except occasionally DC1 forgets to wear the special uniform 3 weeks in a row and we get an email noting that if there’s a fourth time, then demerits will follow.  We’re not sure what demerits are going to do, but they sure sound scary.  Or DC1 will forget chores or homework and blissfully spend the evening playing board-games with DH, only remembering long after bedtime or the next morning that there’s an assignment due.

So here’s what we do that works.

Uniform, pizza money, and school holidays/fairs are all put on DC1’s wall calendar.  Each day at bedtime ze crosses off the day and sees what is listed for the next day.  If it’s the special uniform, ze takes it out of the closet and hangs it on hir dresser knob.  If it’s pizza money, ze demands it from DH and puts it in hir back pack.  If it’s a holiday, then we’re reminded.

For that long list of chores, during one of DH’s business trips I made DC1 make a full checklist of all the chores ze has to do each night.  Homework (or workbooks on weekends), piano practicing, making lunch for the next day (if applicable), putting away the clean silverware, loading the dishwasher, feeding the kittens, helping fold laundry (if applicable).  (See, we’re tyrants!  DC1 never gets to do anything fun.)  Once all of those chores are done, DC1 is free to spend hir time as ze wishes on weekends, and can do anything except video games on weekdays (since even the checklist couldn’t help DC1 remember hir chores if video games are an option).

Of course, it’s not enough to do the homework or make the lunch.  Those items also have to make it into the backpack.  So there’s a new rule that they have to go into the backpack as soon as they’re done.  They’re not allowed to sit out on desk or counter where they can be forgotten and then I have to turn back to get them on the way to school and everybody is late.  Because I hate that.

So… calendar, checklist, and automation.  That’s how we keep things together with DC1 during the week and that’s how we’re able to give DC1 so many responsibilities.

Related:  financial diffraction talks about using her calendar to keep track of money

How do you and yours get out the door in the morning every day of the week?  Any tips?

I don’t think I’d find reading about my life to be very interesting

But I do find reading about my thoughts to be interesting.  (I waste a lot of time rereading old posts of ours.  There’s some good stuff in there!)  And sometimes I crack myself up.  (What does that mean about my sense of humor?  Hm…)

On a day to day thing though, meh.  I work.  I spend time with my family.  I do laundry and groceries and occasionally shop at whole foods.  I’m not bored living my life, but reading about it would be pretty far down in list of things to do (somewhere above “things that are really painful” but below “things I don’t enjoy doing but have to get done anyway”).

This lack of interesting stuff going on in my life seems to have increased (widened?) with DH getting a new job and making money.  I just wouldn’t want to read about someone like me.  I was more interesting when we had to scrimp and save for stuff.

But interesting isn’t really what I’ve ever been aiming for.  One doesn’t really want to live in interesting times.  (Though one does.  Which is depressing.)

And I admit, the daycare saga may be interesting to some, but it’s just depressing to me!  My poor little DC2.  Similarly having an incontinent kitten.  I’m sure I will look back on nice kitty’s preference for piles of cloth and laugh some day.

Obviously the solution is to ask #2 to write more about her life.  Because what she’s been doing is tres interesting!  At least, I think it is.

Would you find your life interesting to read about, and is that a good or a bad thing in your opinion?  Do you prefer reading about people like you or people who are different or both or neither?

I used to like people more

I have become quite the misanthrope.  (#2 has always been one and welcomes #1 to the club.)

That’s not to say I actively *dislike* people, just that I’m not seeking people out.  I’m not trying to get to know people better unless we hit it off right away.  I’m no longer curious about what makes most folks tick.

I didn’t used to be this way.  For the longest time as long as a person wasn’t a bully I would like them.  I liked crazy people who were always getting themselves into trouble.*  I liked people other folks would find annoying.  I liked anybody who would put up with me.

I think I figured out why I no longer like so many people.  Part of it, of course, is family life and work demands that lead me to not have as much time for other people’s craziness.**

But the main part, I think, and the part that came as a revelation, is that I used to have a growth mindset about people.  If they did something I found annoying, like constantly making the same stupid decisions that hurt themselves, well, that was something that could be fixed.  That was something *I* could fix.

But I no longer try to fix people, other than my students whose math anxiety I carefully remove as part of my job.  (That’s a healthy level of fixing people, I think, and they’re receptive and it’s necessary.)

And since I no longer try to fix people, that means any annoyingness, any self-destruction… that’s permanent, and not temporary.  It isn’t interesting because I’ve seen it before and there’s no reason to explore the insanity any further because there’s nothing I can do except be silent witness.  And I’d rather not do that.  Not when there’s work to do and family to hang out with.

Part of being older is realizing that I don’t like as many people as I used to… and more importantly, that I don’t really care that much.  (Though I do feel bad that I don’t care, to paraphrase Brittney in The Misery Chick episode.  Daria says that makes me a good person, even though I suspect I’m really not.)

*Disclaimer:  #2 was crazy when I met her, but I liked her because we shared hobbies and world-views and she was smart and funny and definitely not because I found her craziness interesting, because I didn’t find her craziness particularly interesting because it was too self-destructive and was definitely beyond my ability to even to try to change, though I did get her a book.  She helped herself with the help of professionals.

**Of course, we always like you, gentle readers.  Our readers are AWESOME.  Or at least our commenters are awesome.  We assume our silent readers are as well.  They at least have great taste in blogs, which is a good sign.

Have your views on or desire to hang out with random members of the human race changed over time?

RBOC

  • The internet thinks I have one of three things:  1. LPR or silent reflux, 2. a twisted colon, or 3.  an appendix that is planning to burst in a few days.  Fortunately the symptoms are supposed to get a lot worse before my appendix actually bursts.  If we fail to post one of these days it’s probably because #2 is en route to her new home and it hurts for me to sit up.  (See, it’s not GERD because the symptoms go away completely when I lie down instead of getting worse.  My symptoms most match LPR.  LPR is difficult to diagnose and most of the treatments are ineffective, so…)
  • Mint tea seems pretty effective.  Tums not so much.  Baking soda somewhat.  Mylanta, surprisingly not so helpful.  I’m not sure what to make of that.
  • And…. after three days of awful heartburn only soothed by lying down or constantly drinking mint tea… I’m back to normal.  Maybe it’s some kind of virus to go along with the cold.  The body is a mysterious thing.
  • And four days after that, my normally 5+ week cycle (or non-existent cycle, depending) has shortened to 2 weeks.  Peri-menopause?  Thyroid?  Cysts?  Weird reaction to weird illness?  Night weaning?  Who knows.  I guess I’ll wait another 2 weeks to see what happens.  I much prefer non-existent to every 2 weeks.
  • We made the mistake of buying bed-wetting sheets at the grocery store (either for DC2 or for the kitten who pees, or maybe both, we don’t remember), so now every time we’re at the grocery store we get coupons for adult disposable underwear.  Boy have they got our demographic wrong.
  • One of my friends has been trying IVF but the first cycled failed.  It’s very sad.  :(
  • It’s a busy week!  Hopefully we will be more entertaining in the future!

Eeeeeeeeemail

Makin up a song about email in a chat log

#1:  my brain is exploding with email, I don’t understand
whyyyyyy
whyyyyyyy so much email

#2:  why are you getting so much email?
who is sending it?

#1:  many peeps

#2:  networking peeps?

#1:  all sorts of peeps. Some is forwarded from [university]. Some is colleagues. Some is friends, some is listserv, some is “your order has shipped”, some is my mom

#2:  “your order has shipped” is always nice.  Does your mom have an unsubscribe button?

#1:  hahaha unsubscribe mom from sending me stuff she thought I might like that is either irrelevant or I thought about it 3 years ago. Sigh.

[begin music]

My password expires in 30 days…. would you please allow us to use your stimuli (sure!), would you like to read these books or attend this sale or be a co-author, the conference information has changed….. eeeeeemail.

The third co-author needs to talk to you, here is your lease, here is the name of a headhunter, our baby is cute….. eeeeeeemail.

(Bridge:  Here’s your receipt; would you mind taking this survey?)

Your review is due, someone’s changing their email address, times for riding….  eeeeeeeeemail.

Sing it with me, y’all!  (#2 also has 200+ emails to go through right now…)

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Before and after: Housing edition

Before:  big, cheap, stupid, and located in hell

After:  small, expensive, smart, nice and in walking distance to everything– restaurants, parks, shopping, grocery stores, public transportation, THE LIBRARY

I think Imma need these.  You put them under your bed frame legs to get your bed up higher so you can store more stuff under there.   I have some plastic drawers that I can stick under there.  I might get some cardboard ones for sweaters (so they can breathe). or I might put books under there. Or general stuffas! I feel like “random crap” should maybe go in there rather than valuable shelving. Good times, good times

Downsizing sucks.  It’s work. Boring and tedious.

That’s it.

I refuse to talk anymore about apartments. You don’t even know how burned out I am.  It’s MY apartment and even I’m tired of it.

I have one.  It’s nice.  Though I won’t really know how nice it is until we’ve lived there for a while.

The end.

Next up:   I refuse to talk about moving.

How does your toilet paper roll?

My first roommate that I shared a bathroom with took me aside one day, exasperated, and told me I was putting toilet paper rolls back all wrong.  I’d been flipping them under without even thinking about it, possibly because that’s what they do at my house.  My family has always been a bit different (my father is an immigrant), so I figured I wasn’t doing it the American way or something.

The next year, I had a different roommate.  After a few weeks of conscientiously making sure the toilet paper was flipped over when I put in a new roll, I noticed the toilet roll flipped under.  So I asked my roommate about it, and she said not only had she been putting in rolls flipped under herself, but she’d been changing my rolls because I was *doing them wrong* and found it seriously annoying but didn’t want to bring it up with me.

The next two roommates I had, I brought up this question the first day because I figured this was something I didn’t care much about, but a lot of people have strong feelings about it.  (Me, I’m just happy that the roll gets replaced at all!)  They both thought I was crazy for even thinking about it.  (And indeed, with them, sometimes the roll would be over, and sometimes under, almost at random.)

How about you?  Is this something you have strong feelings about?  Are there other kinds of habits like this where your way is the right way but other people do it wrong?  (Squeezing toothpaste from the bottom is my hobby horse.)

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