Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No Complaints

I have a bunch of little tidbits, none of them big enough for a post of their own. So I'll put them together even though they don't have anything more in common than the fact that they are bouncing around my brain at the same time.


Every now and then, one of my kids has what I guess is a developmental leap. It seems strange to be using that term, which I associate with the baby and toddler phase, about my 5 and 7 year olds, but I think it is accurate. Anyway, I always feel about three steps behind when this happens.

We're in the midst of one of these periods with Pumpkin. My little baby who screamed if you tried to stop interacting with her for even a few minutes, the one who became a little girl who never wanted to play without an adult keeping her company, is now pushing for more independence. She wants to get email on her Kindle Fire. She wants to know when she can walk to and from school on her own. I struggle to explain that these things are complicated, and require us to work out new guidelines for her.

Mr. Snarky and I are trying to figure out what freedoms to give her, and what rules to have. And what potential bad things to explain. This is hard, and requires time we don't really have right now.

So what we'll probably do first is leave her alone in our house for a short period of time while I run up to the store. I told her she needs to practice answering the phone when I call, and then we'll work out a time to try this out.

Still, this is better than screaming every time I try to go to the bathroom. Come too think of it, she's even stopped barging in on me when I'm having my shower. I call that progress.


I've decided I need to experiment more with advertising. I've run some campaigns for Tungsten Hippo in the past- it is my learning project, after all. But the results were sometimes hard to gauge since I'm not really selling anything on that site. I did some analyses based on number of hits on the website, or number of new subscriptions to the weekly digest newsletter, but I wanted something with more direct measures of what might make people actually spend money. So I decided to run an AdWords campaign for Navigating the Path to Industry. It hasn't been a direct financial success- I've spent a little more than I've made in additional sales. But that is itself an interesting piece of data. I've also learned about which keywords have performed the best, and I can take some of that information and tweak my other marketing material (namely, the book description on Amazon and the book's webpage).

So, maybe I need to set myself a slightly larger budget and do some more experiments and focus on the return in useful information than the return in dollars, at least for a little while.


I need to do more yoga. There are all sorts of problems in my way. I can't find the right kind of class near me. This strikes me as ridiculous- I live in Southern California! There are yoga studios all over the place. By the fashionable yoga style right now is a very vigorous yoga, sometimes even combined with Pilates. The goal is exercise. That is not my goal. My goal is deep soft tissue healing. I prefer a yoga style that is sometimes called "restorative," in which the poses focus more on stretching and blood flow and you hold them for longer periods of time. The last class I had was with a bunch of septuagenarians (I am not exaggerating) but it is in a very inconvenient location for me now. I'm sure I can find a class. I just need to search harder and maybe accept a less convenient time or place.

In the meantime, I'm trying to restart my own practice at home. But my kids have other ideas. They construct elaborate "houses" out of our ottoman-like things and various toys. I never know what to call the ottoman-like things, so here is an old picture showing them:

Ottoman/coffee table things, with half of Pumpkin at 9 months
Once the kids got old enough to be a threat to the TV (or to have the TV be threat to them, before we upgraded to a wall mounted flat screen), we moved two of the ottoman things in front of our entertainment center. They have stayed there because we shove the cubes full of "kitchen stupps" (Petunia's mispronunciation of "kitchen stuff") under them, which  makes our living room look slightly less overrun with toys. But the kids pull them out and construct houses, and then there is o floor space.

I can't be bothered trying to describe a "house," either, so I posted a picture to my Crappy Things I Made to Stop the Whining tumblr, which also occasionally hosts things my kids have created. That particular house was from last month.

We don't typically make the kids clean up the living room every night, but since the living room is literally the only place in our house big enough to do a proper reclining twist position... this may need to change. If we do go ahead and add on another room, there will be space for some yoga in there, I think. But that is at best five months away from completion (and hasn't even been contracted for, let alone started). I don't think I can wait.

Along those same lines, I need to come up with a temporary solution to the storage problem in our current office, so that I can work at my desk again, instead of the dining room table. The light is nicer in the dining room, but the ergonomics are better at my desk and ergonomics needs to win. I have a old repetitive strain injury, and it is starting to flare up. I have finally learned to take the early warning signs seriously and make changes before I am unable to hold things that I can't afford to drop in my right hand.


Petunia has been on a cleaning rampage (except of the current house in the living room, which she wouldn't take down so I had to do it). Last night, she wouldn't go to sleep. I gave up at 10 p.m. and came out and had a beer. As I was heading to bed a little before 11, she came out of her room, handed me the Kindle case I had left by her bed during my unsuccessful attempt to keep her company while she fell asleep, and then joined me in my bed for some more tossing and turning.

When we got up this morning, she showed us what she'd been doing between 10 and 11, when we assumed she was sleeping. She had cleaned her room.

Then tonight after dinner, she demanded I put a swiffer cloth on our swiffer and she swiffered the entire house, then berated me for not having a kid-sized broom so she could sweep, too.


In short, my life is full of wonderful things and problems that I can only consider good problems to have. No complaints here.


  1. Anonymous5:15 AM

    NPR had a thing on kids' freedom yesterday morning. It was really depressing. It basically said, don't even think about doing this until your kid is 10 if you don't want "concerned citizens" to call the CPS... except maybe if you're white and live in a nice neighborhood you'll be ok. Except people may still call the CPS.

    We have a kid-sized broom! Can you send Petunia this way? DC1 still needs to finish unpacking from when his room was painted and he could use a little cheeriness about it. (He doesn't like the: you can get rid of this stuff, you can put it in the attic, or you can *put it away* options.)

  2. I should get Baguette a kid-sized broom. She likes brooms. I've started having her help me make her bed (in time, I'll step out of the way and have her do this solo) and feed the dog (we keep the food on top of the refrigerator, so I'll have a role in this longer), and so far, both are going well.

    I'm so frustrated by our societal fear of an untended child. I had more freedom at almost-5 than Baguette does, and our current neighborhood is very similar to the one we lived in when I was her age. But our assessment of her freedom levels is based on not just her age, but her autism--and that is specific to her. I am aghast that, as parents, we are unable to make these determinations for our children. Certainly at age 7, I was home alone while my mother was at a neighbor's house for a short visit. You and Mr. Snarky should be the ones determining what Pumpkin is ready for, and I hope you're able to let her develop the skills she's ready to develop.

  3. I'm trying to figure out when a boy is allowed to go to a public men's room by himself. He's getting too old to go to the ladies room.

    (And here's to kid cleaning!)

  4. Alexicographer8:07 PM

    Gosh, what fun. We're facing some of the same issues (desire for more independence) though thus far they've been pretty minor -- our son seems to have embraced the school district "policy" (not, I don't think, enforced) that kids must be "walked to school" (not solo) until 3rd grade, but I am no longer allowed to walk *into* the school nor to say "I love you" or hug him (I sometimes break one of those rules). Once (but only once) I was "required" to drop him off by the crossing guard and not cross the street with him -- the guard told me I was a "good mom" when I did that (but hasn't commented in any way -- positive or negative -- on my resuming the walking with, though that is also at DS's request).

    @Laura I'm pretty sure mine's been using the men's room for about 2 years (so since age 5 or 6), though we mostly frequent fairly calm, family-friendly spots (not crowded/confusing). I don't insist on this, but I do give him the option and increasingly, that's what he chooses.

  5. Zenmoo12:57 AM

    I'm currently reading 'Ramona the Pest' with my own little Ramona. Mrs Quimby was certainly down with the free range parenting. Ramona was walking herself to school at age 5. Not that it always ended well... I do love Ramona. I am so looking forward to re-reading the series.

    I definitely use child labor for cleaning skirting boards and pulling weeds from between pavers. Sometimes I have to pay a couple of 10 year olds, but they're pretty good.

  6. Huh, I swore I replied to comments yesterday! The motivation to move off of blogger grows... but not enough to get onto my actual to do list.

    I didn't have anything profound to say. Just that the worry about someone calling CPS is part of what keeps us from having Pumpkin walk home alone, and I'm struggling to explain that to her. Starting out with some time home alone seems like a better route right now.

    @Laura- Pumpkin started preferring to go to the women's room alone rather than accompanying Mr. Snarky when she was about 6, I think. In some ways, it is easier with little boys, since women are always in stalls in our restrooms- so I'd just let your son take the lead and tell you. I'll also say that I've been asked by a stranger to keep an eye on a young girl heading into a public bathroom alone. It doesn't happen often, and when it does it is always at the beach or bay. Something about those restrooms creeps the dads out, I guess. The most I've ever actually had to do to help one of these girls is turn on the tap, though!


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