Sunday, September 28, 2014

More High than Low

Ginger over at Ramble, Ramble occasionally posts "Bring Back the Words" writing prompts, to help people (including her!) blog more. Even more occasionally, I join in.

One of this week's prompts felt like a good topic for me, so this is one of the weeks I'm joining. The topic is "Highs and lows." That fits perfectly with some things I've been thinking about.

My younger daughter is about to turn five. I look at her and wonder where my baby went. I have no desire to go back to the baby and toddler days, with their sleep deprivation and overall neediness. But sometimes I see an old picture of one of my kids as a baby and miss having a little baby to hold. Petunia is still a very snuggly little kid, but snuggling a five year old is not the same as snuggling a baby.

I've said before that while parenting is physically easier now (OMG, soo much easier- I get to sleep! Sometimes I go for hours at a time without a child attaching herself to me!) it is intellectually harder. Pumpkin's problems, in particular, are starting to be of the sort where I actually have no idea what to tell her. I suspect there is another round of parenting book reading in my future, as we start to figure out how to help her through the age of friendship drama and the like. My parenting lows feel less desperate (again- I get to sleep!) but also a bit deeper. My kids still think I should have all the answers, and it sucks to disappoint them.

But, oh the high points at this age are wonderful, too. I came out to the living room recently and saw Pumpkin and Petunia snuggled together on the sofa, with Pumpkin reading a story to Petunia. They will invent games to play together with their little princess dolls. And each of them can do some pretty amazing things. Pumpkin is almost fluent in Spanish at this point . Her Spanish vocabulary isn't as large as her English vocabulary, but then, her English vocabulary is pretty impressively large. Petunia is learning how to read, and is in that fun (if a bit frustrating) phase where she basically knows how to do it but doesn't trust herself yet, so tries to guess from context clues. She can write words better than read them right now- if I tell her to write the word "hog" she does it without trouble. If I write it and ask her to read it, she's likely to stumble. But still! It is amazing. I love watching kids figure out reading. I love it so much that I'm considering looking for volunteer opportunities to provide me with my fix once Petunia is reading well on her own.

I have another birthday to celebrate this week, too. I launched my Tungsten Hippo short ebook review site a year ago. I wrote a bit about that over on the Tungsten Hippo website. That is another story of highs and lows. I am proud of myself for getting that site up and running, particularly since I was working full time while I created it. I am also very happy that I've been able to keep this project going for a year, and am happy that I've helped some authors sell a few more books than they might have otherwise. I'm a bit bummed by how hard it has been to build an audience for Tungsten Hippo, though. I may change my "content is the hard part" mantra to be "finding your audience is the hard part." Or something like that. Still, the major emotion related to this project is happy, so I'm definitely celebrating the one year birthday. I even made a t-shirt. (I absolutely love the print quality from Galloree and I love that their prices are way more reasonable than Zazzle's... but their website is a bit basic, so if you want to see a good picture of the t-shirt, go to the post on Tungsten Hippo. Once I figure out how to take really good pictures of t-shirts, I'll replace the picture on the Annorlunda Enterprises site, too.)

I've got plenty of highs in the writing department- Navigating the Path to Industry is out and doing reasonably well. The illustrations for Petunia, the Girl Who Was NOT a Princess are awesome, and I'm excited for the book's release on October 20. But... I think Navigating the Path to Industry could be doing a lot better than it is. Once again, the hard part turns out to be finding its audience, or more accurately, getting its audience to notice the book. I have never been the type to laugh at marketing people, but I am now seriously in awe of the good ones. Marketing is hard, y'all. That's OK, though. One of the things I want to do with Navigating the Path to Industry is find out if I can make a short ebook with concise advice aimed at a well-defined market profitable. I'm not there yet, but much like the Tungsten Hippo project, this is a learning project for me. Therefore, I'm trying various things. I had a Facebook ad up, but it ended up rejected due to the fact that the image I used (the book cover!) had too much text on it. I'm thinking about how to change that, and then I'll try again. I'm also looking at other marketing ideas.

Of course, there's also the broader project of starting my own company. It is very early days on that. Even in my initial planning, the rest of 2014 was mainly for learning some skills I'll need if I'm really going to make a go at this, and trying things out to see what I like to do most. I'm having a lot of fun with this experiment, but I'm not yet convinced it will be sustainable.

I really hope I can make it sustainable, because I am loving the lifestyle of getting to prioritize my time globally, instead of in local "work" and "home" containers. I get more exercise now. It is interesting that this is the main thing that has changed, both for me and my husband. The time I've freed up by not having to drive into an office every day has essentially gone to give us time to exercise again. Mr. Snarky is taking advantage of our more relaxed mornings by going for a run almost every day. I am taking advantage of my increased schedule flexibility and daytime proximity to nice scenery by running twice a week by the bay. I've also started rollerblading again. Sadly, the increased activity has yet to translate to me losing those stupid five pounds I put on earlier this summer, but I am fitter than I was, so I'll have to settle for that.

Looking back over this post, I'd say there are more highs than lows in my life right now. I certainly can't complain overall, although I reserve the right to complain about the sucky parts of getting older. What about you?


  1. Zenmoo10:59 PM

    I'm in a really good headspace at the moment. My baby is now 9 weeks old and is SO MUCH EASIER than my first. I'm not sure how much of it is additional confidence/lower expectations, but I suspect not a lot. My 4.75yr old is a lot of fun too and i'm loving that i'm not too tired to enjoy it (most of the time at least) I know what you mean about the fun of learning to read. We're in the rhyming words phase so there is a lot of nonsense being talked!

    I love that B#2 is so different to her older sister (in fact, they seem like polar opposites so far - fair & dark, tiny (20th%ile length) & long (80th%ile), one that hated the stroller & car - one that SLEEPS in both… I am still touching wood, but so far, life as a parent of two seems pretty good. (I will say though, that I have been TREMENDOUSLY lucky to be well looked after by first my parents and then my MIL so this week coming is actually going to be the first where DH & I will be flying solo in our own house.)

    Also my husband is working 4 days a week by choice so we have more time AND more money than he was earning for 5 days last year. His day off coincides with M's swimming lessons so from next week I should be able to get a swim in myself.

    I also discovered that I am actually eligible for the Australian government paid parental leave scheme which makes me feel like I'm getting $11k worth of free money!

    Oh, and the weather right now in Perth is just lovely. Not too hot, not too cold, sometimes rainy but mostly sunny. It's my favourite time of year.

    Overall, apart from feeling overweight & unfit due to being post-baby - life is great. And I feel confident the overweight/unfit will be addressed eventually. In fact - I started addressing that today.

  2. Marketing *is* hard. I consider myself somewhere on the journey of this long, hard path and learning a lot as I go. And yes, I do think that making time to exercise is one of the first things that ditching the commute enables. Also, not having to look totally presentable at certain times is key.

  3. Love hearing about your "highs" from this year! And oh yes, watching your kids master reading is so much fun! There are so many fun things as they get older--riding bikes! reading together! seeing the kids interact with each other as best friends.

    But yeah, I know what you mean about the baby snuggles. I am going to miss it so much when my youngest stops. . . (her older sister already considers herself too old for much more than a goodnight kiss)


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.