One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

September 4, 2010

Lovely Awkwardnesses

So life has been going quite beautifully. Yesterday I came into the livingroom and beamed/crowed “Holy shit my life is amazing.” And then I raved to Ian, “Like yesterday, when we were doing our budgeting? Did you ever think being a boring, responsible grown-up was going to be so fun!?” “It’s the smart-phone apps,” he told me. Indeed, we’re using android apps to track our spending. FUN!

And I’m really enjoying work right now. We’re winding down on one project and winding up on a new project. The last project was horrifically over-budget. And looking at the next project, I’ve already said, “there’s no way we’re hitting that budget.” Regardless, I feel good about the work we’re doing. I feel like the work on the last project was positive; I feel like we made a big difference to the code-base in terms of making it cleaner and easier to work with; I feel like I made a lot of management mistakes, but that we were able to identify most of those mistakes in positive ways and none of those mistakes seem to have hurt the morale of the team so I’m positive about our ability to do it better next time. And with the next project, I feel like even if we can’t hit the budget, we can identify at the outset which parts of the budget are reasonable and what, specifically isn’t reasonable. We can still set some hard goals and push ourselves to reach them.

And I feel great when I leave work to pick up the kids. I feel so positive about where Hannah is now. Her new day-carer is just careful about things, and conscientious. And when her last daycarer would go on about how kids don’t need to be fussed over, I did agree. And yet- you know. Kids don’t need to be fussed over. But I obviously still want my kids to spend the day with people who are willing to- if by fuss you mean always have an adult in the room whose purpose is supervision of the kids, set up some crafts and activities, take the time to call and check in with me when a worrying symptom presents itself, discuss discipline strategy with me, etc.

I do agree that kids are way more resilient, resourceful and independent than modern, western childcare philosophy allows for. And, having three, my own system is generally a form of benevolent neglect. It is the “I love you so much I would kill for you but for god’s sake just leave me alone for FIVE MINUTES” form of parenting. Totally.

But, a mother fighting for five minutes alone is not the same as a hired carer writing herself a ticket for care by benevolent neglect.

Though I suppose being the product of a daycared childhood, I have a rational bias against daycare neglect. Neglect at home leaves a child to her own devices; neglect at daycare leaves a child to the mercy of other children. Also, neglect at home, so long as it is benevolent, is really just a temporary barrier against the natural state of children demanding every bit of attention they can get from you, having already learned from infancy that they can depend on your attention. They will still come to you in need. Where carer-neglect, no matter how benevolent, hasn’t established through infancy bonding that they can depend on you. It’s just different.

So anyhow, we’re three days in, but I just feel positive and comfortable about picking Hannah up from there. I feel pretty positive about Ethan and Rachel’s after-school care, though I suspect Ethan isn’t loving it, it has also been more positive for him than I expected. And we still have some options to reduce his time there or take him out.

So all the family stuff is winding down and life is returning to a little bit of quiet. Actually, Saskatoon is becoming downright empty, family-wise.

My youngest aunt has gone back to Edmonton. My mother and her new husband are in Vancouver on a honeymoon. My little cousin, Meredith, and her mother (my other aunt) are leaving on a road-trip tomorrow to return Meredith to Toronto.

So we had my aunt and two cousins over for Pad Thai and gingerbread tea and gluten-free cookies tonight, to say goodbye before the road trip. It was nice. Smaller and quieter than some of our recent family gatherings (mainly because we only had one loud child here). Of course, then Ian and Meredith and I all ended up playing with our phones – the three of us having new smart phones which are all less than two months old to us. So we were boring.

Meredith had borrowed my Micra while she was in town. She was telling us how today she was filling it up with gas, and this guy at the gas station said to her, all smooth like, “Heading out for the long weekend?” And she replied, “Nope! Just, uh, being a good cousin.” And then he was like, “uh?” And so she had to explain, “I’m filling up her car because she let me use it while I was in town.” And then he said, “Oh, you are a good cousin.” “Well,” Meredith said, “Not as good as she is, since she did let me use her car.” All the while thinking, ‘why didn’t I just say, “yep!” I am going on a trip. But then I would have said, “Yep, but not in this car.”‘

I love that story. Oh man, I am SOO good at turning other people’s innocuous small-talk into awkwardness. I feel like small-talk is one of those things I always automatically fail. Sometimes because I can’t help expanding on things that the other person obviously didn’t care about, sometimes because I awkwardly can’t agree with the supposed safe generalizations that small-talkers like to make, sometimes because I am making hilarious facetious remarks that small-talkers can’t differentiate from sincerity

Just this morning, I was filling up my own car at the gas station, and a guy called out to me, “I bet you don’t have to do that often,” nodding to my little subcompact. “Uh, actually, it has quite a small gas tank,” I told him. “So I fill it up quite often. But, yes, it does get good gas mileage.”

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  1. gish

     /  2010-09-08

    I always fail at small-talk, too. Almost every time I walk away from such a discussion, I think to myself that I should have ended the conversation at least two sentences earlier. Oh, teh awkward…

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