Posts Tagged ‘consistent’

Steady State

1 February 2011

Dear J-

When I’m starting off on the bike and it’s cold outside — cold being a relative terms for San Diego — I have to layer up into my usual two shirts and a jacket and even then stepping into the outdoors is unpleasant. As I get farther down the road I’ve reached a kind of equilibrium with the surroundings and I don’t notice the cold until I start heading down the hill, which not only has the speed effect but adds the cold air trapped in the valley too. On the climb back out, though, I quickly warm up past all thoughts of cold and that’s when the sweating and frantic layer stripping begins.

Sometimes life is like that. You have your routine, and you know what to expect but still the depth of it is going to surprise you. I am generally in charge of figgy Mondays after I get back, as theVet is usually either too worn out or too fed up after a whole day with the two of them (just you wait, I think, until Calcifer becomes mobile, that’s when things started getting interesting with figgy).. I understand this and expect it but am constantly surprised where my patience rubs thin even when I know what I should be expecting. Remember, you choose your reaction, it’s not someone else making you mad/sad/tired.

Silently or aloud I’ll start counting to five. She knows what five means and usually it’s enough to break her of whatever’s caught her attentin at the moment or whatever’s she’s decided to do (lately it has included licking inanimate objects and biting animate ones). Sanity is knowing how you want to react and then reacting differently anyway. So control that impulse, it’s not that bad — whatever that particular that has been lately — and remind yourself of the age and the stage. Stay predictable and discipline makes sense. Setting uncertain boundaries encourages exploration of those borders, after all.

Mike

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Paper Tiger

22 December 2010

Dear J-

I keep adding sites to Google Reader; based on the items I’ve already fed it, it pops out a list f recommended items, one or two of which I can’t seem t resist passing on or keeping a closer eye on. I realize that there’s little logic there — it crunches the items I’ve seen as interesting in the past along with popularity and linking rates combined with secret Google sauce but for some reason it keeps talking about both Android and CR-48, the Chrome OS-based netbook. Hey, no one ever accused Google of being subtle. I’ve run across Passive Aggressive Notes, where (I think) I saw a replly to a Facebook status (“Oh man I’m so busy lately”) that while over the top, rings true (“Everyone’s busy, get over yourself”). Other sites talk about the idyllic life of parents with calm kids who help out around the house, politely say ma’am and thank you, and pick up after themselves. I’m not sure I’m buying that vision given the whirlwind that is figgy.

She has become expert in reading our emotions and actions; I roar easily and volubly but with no lasting force as part of the changing moods while theVet, steadier in temperament, snaps less frequently but more decisively — if the line has been crossed, then there’s no taking it back. She had scheduled a tea with her sister next week; as figgy adores her cousin, they’d tenatively sketched it in for Monday so that they could go together, the hope being that figgy would see the example and behave the part rather than shock the rest of the tea patrons, theVet and her sister would both get a mutually enjoyable, relaxing tea, and Calcifer, along for the ride, would hopefully sleep (catch him between feedings and he’ll be all right; just before and the inconsolable hunger will surprise you).

Based on yesterday we had to pull the nuclear option and reschedule tea for when figgy’s in daycare; it’s our frustration and fear (no one wants to be those people — the parents of the crying baby in the restaurant/theater/tea) in that figgy is able to read us so well yet act in a way to spin us up further rather than for mutual benefit. I suppose that this is another transition to get over — not only has our attention been divided, I’ve returned to work and am missing a majority of the day. I don’t want to turn this into some place where readers can consistently hear me complain about everything — there’s an Andy Rooney for that already, and it feels like that’s all I’ve done — but the truth is that this is the part where we have to become unpopular with her in order to avoid raising a sociopath. Here’s where no becomes part of our vocabulary and specificity counts (i.e. you can’t just say “be good” — explain why the behavior is wrong, and what the right thing to do is, and be consistent and patient). It sounds good on paper. Let’s see how it translates to life.

Mike