RBOC

  •  Solution to the CSA turnip problem:  veggie spears with dip.  Turns out raw turnip is pretty inoffensive.
  • MIL was being reticent about accepting our portion of the cabin/hotel costs (or even letting us know what said costs are– thankfully there’s google to give guestimates based on posted website prices), so we just sent her a check for $800.  She cashed it.  Victory!  (I hope that means it was a reasonable amount and not that we low-balled the costs.)
  • I took a whole bunch of “what anime should I watch next” and they all said ouran high school host club even though they all had different questions.  But I’ve seen it literally three times.  I do own the dvds… maybe I should just give in.  I kind of want to rewatch yamato nadeshiko shichihenge and I also own that so maybe.  I bet the kids are old enough to enjoy scrapped princess.
  • As I often do when I can’t figure out an anime to watch, I read some manga.  This time around I found Kimagure Orange Grove since I last saw the anime like 20 years ago.  What gets me this time around is how current some of the 1980s fashions look (even though my closet is full of brand-new 60s-style print dresses!).  In the past 1980s manga/anime has seemed really dated by the clothing, but no more!  I guess everything old is new again.
  • DC2 is really into books about people (kids, cats, etc.) behaving badly.  Hir favorites were David of No David! fame and Bad Kitty (of Bad Kitty fame).  Hir swimming instructor recommended Junie B. Jones, which I purposefully never ever got for DC1… but we picked one up at the library for DC2.  I’m hoping that the explanation that Junie B. Jones does NOT behave well (and DC2 would NEVER behave like her) will be sufficient.  After all zie hasn’t behaved like David or Bad Kitty… I worry a little because when I was little I would sometimes pretend to be book characters, but some of that was me not being mentally stimulated enough, and we work hard at getting our kids mental exercise.  But DC2 is ok with but not crazy about Magic books (like The Magic Treehouse), unlike DC1 at this stage, and zie isn’t yet into mysteries… so if one wants DC2 to eagerly read chapter books, one has to supply what DC2 likes.  (I forget when DC1’s love of mysteries suddenly and mysteriously started, but I think it was closer to age 6.)
  • Nice kitty has learned how to play fetch with her favorite toy– a thick shoelace that she wants us to drag on the ground so she can chase it.
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30 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Cardinal Says:

    May I recommend the Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker? Clementine occasionally gets into trouble but the story is told with a lot of compassion for her, unlike Junie B, whose author always seems to be winking at the parents. And the adults in Clementine’s life understand her challenges. The language is probably a little more challenging than the Junie B / Magic Treehouse level. We first read them together before setting the kids loose on them.

  2. xykademiqz Says:

    Can I bitch and moan a bit here on an unrelated topic? Feel free to tell me I am being a jerk, but something is bugging me, and I can’t pinpoint why; maybe it’s a legitimate issue but maybe I am just being a judgmental jerk; possibly both. Here goes. I have a work friend who always talks about her kids, which is fine. But she specifically doesn’t talk about anything other than academics, i.e., how much accelerated in math her kids are; that’s all that ever comes up, like they have no other facets to their life or personality. She never mentions any of their friends, or any interests other than academic pursuits. I hadn’t seen the kids in ages, and then finally saw one of them recently at an event where I was with Eldest, who’s that kid’s age (upperclassmen in high school), and they used to play together when they were little. There were many other kids the same age at the event. I admit I was shocked by how different the colleague’s kid both looked and acted than his peers (I know a lot of various kids that age, and they are far from cookie cutter kids); he is painfully nerdy and socially awkward. It was very uncomfortable conversing with him and his body language was one of distress; he is very far from what I would call socially adjusted. I don’t think the colleague thinks anything’s wrong (I don’t think the kid is on the spectrum, or the colleague never brought it up with me). Obviously, I didn’t say anything, but even Eldest commented when we came back from the event, “What’s wrong with XX? I don’t remember him being so weird.” Maybe the kid is accelerated in math, but he is so severely lacking in social graces and eloquence when compared with peers that I cannot imagine he will have an easy road ahead for them. It’s probably not my place, but I felt so sad for the kid and I felt so angry that someone didn’t help him integrate better with the world (of course, I don’t know what the parents did or didn’t do; but I know life will be very tough for this kid and I feel like perhaps it wouldn’t necessarily have to be). I guess my question is: am I being a judgmental a$$hole for believing parents should, among other things, make sure their kids end up with varied skills that they need to succeed in the world, many of which are soft skills that involve being able to communicate with other people?

    • Anu Says:

      I don’t think you’re being judgmental for believing that parents should make sure their kids end up with the skills they need to succeed, such as soft skills, but I do think you’re reading a lot into your friend’s comments about her kids’ academic success. At work, there’s a lot of pressure to basically put out an optimistic perspective. Unless you were very close to her, you’re likely not in a position to know whether they’re concerned or not, or what they’ve tried to do or not regarding the kid’s social skills. It’s quite possible that she is quite concerned, but feels the need to only say good things about her kid publicly – some people don’t like to talk about these things outside the family. Also, I think you might be overestimating the extent to which parental interventions can actually make a difference – if the kid is nerdy and awkward, there may be only so much they can do as parents (speaking as a kid who was fairly nerdy and awkward herself, I just needed to grow out of it).

      • Rosa Says:

        This! And also you have no idea how much effort the parents have put into teaching those soft skills. Some people are just very bad at them.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      No, not your place. And at some point, the kid’s personality is the kid’s responsibility, not hir parents’.

      One of the best things about the high school that #2 and I went to was that it was ok to be socially awkward. Almost everyone was. Therefore we all fit in so long as we weren’t mean. And very few people were mean. Some of the nerdiest went on to found companies you’ve heard of and have had monetary success the rest of us can only dream about (some of the most socially ept flunked out of college but eventually landed on their feet). So I think varied skills may be a bit over-rated. Some folks will min-max, some folks will be well-rounded. It takes all types. And the amount of control that parents have over personality is pretty limited.

      So as long as the kid isn’t a raging bigot ahole gamer-gater type, everything is probably fine. When it’s a white guy, awkwardness is often taken as proof of brilliance.

      (Also, one of DC1’s best friends is on the spectrum, but we only know that because it came up in a specific conversation when the mom was asking us for advice on something. He’s tremendously socially awkward. DC1 isn’t socially awkward but enjoys hanging out with his friend just the same. They can dive deep into minecraft minutia.)

    • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

      Parent can only do so much. And also very much this: “the kid’s personality is the kid’s responsibility”.

      I have cousins who are academically BRILLIANT but there wasn’t a darn thing the parents could do effectively to push them to be less weird / awkward. I watched them try and ask for advice but in the end, the influence of their peers was far more powerful in nudging them through that phase of their lives and grow into the next, or not. Some clung to the awkward phase and stayed there, others moved through it and past it. Heck, I’m still somewhat awkward in my way.

      As a parent now, I see that I can teach JuggerBaby skills but I cannot guarantee that ze will use them OR that ze will decide the same way that “normal” (non-awkward, I guess) people do when it’s appropriate to apply them. Zir personality is already incredibly strong and determined, and not easily swayed. It doesn’t mean we would give up or stop trying, it just means we have to work with it, and not against it.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        Heck, I’m still somewhat awkward in my way.
        I think we collectively may be overusing awkward to denote an overly broad range, much of which means, at least when one is an adult, “I feel uncomfortable/out of my depth,” but which is barely perceptible by others and not a serious social impediment; e.g., I sometimes feel awkward, but I don’t look or act awkward. I believe that most teens would say about themselves that they are awkward, even though on the outside they look and seem and act pretty unremarkable for a teenager. But then you have a kid like the one brought up, who I believe is quite far from the norm, and who looks and talks and acts in unsettling ways (e.g., there are tics involved, choppy speech/stuttering, etc.). As I said, I am around a broad range of preteens, teens, and young adults, and while I appreciate that the kid should be left alone, his state wasn’t obviously something he’d just grow out of, at least not without help. But yes, I suppose it’s ultimately none of my business. I wish him the best of luck.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The speaker I’m listening to right now has a tic. One of my colleagues has a stutter. Deirdre Mccloskey (famous economist) has a stutter. Depending on the cause it is likely not much can be done. I bet if you wanted to be nosy she can tell you what the kid’s doctor says about it.

        (Which is to say, just because she hasn’t told you about her kid’s health status doesn’t mean she’s kept him from seeing a doctor. Just because she only tells you about his academic strengths when he does something special doesn’t mean the family isn’t aware of and seeking medical help for any medical problems.)

  3. CG Says:

    I’m interested in your two kids’ different responses to Magic Treehouse. Our oldest loved them (and my patient mother read them to him at length–I couldn’t stand to read them, they were so boring). Our middle doesn’t find them very interesting, but he’s also super picky about what he reads. I’ll have to check out Clementine for him.

  4. Cloud Says:

    Yeah, my younger kid doesn’t care for Magic Treehouse, either. She loves the Humphrey books, though. The Humphrey’s Tiny Tales are at the level she can read to herself. She also likes My Happy Life (Swedish book, but in English from Gecko Press and available at our libraries, by Rose Lagerkrantz and Eva Eriksson) and its sequels. She can read those on her own now, but we read them together first. Those are like Junie B. Jones in that they are from the point of view of the little girl, but a little less indulgent in misbehavior. However, you might want to skim them first: some of the topics can be a little heavy (e.g., in one her dad gets hit by a car while he’s riding his bike).

    • CG Says:

      Thanks! Will check those out.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have Humphrey! They’re in the future for dc2, but dc1 liked them a lot.

      • Cloud Says:

        Ah, but have you looked at the Tiny Tales? They are shorter, easier Humphrey stories, aimed at someone reading at the Magic Treehouse level. Petunia isn’t quite up for the “regular” Humphrey books yet, but loves reading the Tiny Tales on her own.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I have not seen them! I will take a look.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I wonder if older children identify with Jack but younger children don’t want to identify with Annie.

      • CG Says:

        Hmm…interesting thought.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Annie is both irritating and unrealistic

      • becca Says:

        *I* identify with Annie and think Jack is both dull and unrealistic. ;-)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Huh, you don’t think she’s a manic pixie dream girl?

        Or do you see yourself as a manic pixie dream girl?

      • becca Says:

        Manic Pixie Dream Girls wish they could be Lizard Queens.

        However, in the absence of an obnoxious heterosexual love interest, I don’t know that the MPDG phenotype is so negative.
        I actually do agree that Annie is pretty implausible- I don’t find any of the characters to be very realistic in MTH books, which may be why I don’t love them. But if there were an Annie, I could definitely be friends with her. If there were a Jack, he’d be kind of “meh”.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Her main purpose is to do something foolhardy in order to move the plot forward. Also she’s the Katherine Hepburn to Jack’s stodgy Cary grant, just as a sister instead of romance. Complete with baby tiger.

  5. Crone Says:

    ?? Ivy and Bean?????

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    To be clear, it is the misbehavior itself that DC2 loves in these kinds of books. Zie also likes my one remaining childhood rotten Ralph (rotten Ralph’s Christmas) who unlike bad kitty has zero redeeming qualities. Fortunately it seems to have gotten shelved someplace hard to find.

  7. ChrisinNY Says:

    We grate equal amounts of raw turnip and apple and then add scallions to taste. Mix with your choice of may or sour cream or a mixture of both. Add a little salt. It’s a faux slaw and tastes pretty good.

  8. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I’ve wondered if JuggerBaby’s taste will run the same way because zir favorite part of Where the Wild Things Are is to yell NO MAX!!! BAD MAX!! at the first pages. Or it’s just zir thing to scold others for being bad.

    Faux slaw sounds pretty good, actually.


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