Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yule/Christmas/that winter celebration...

I suppose aside from "Baby stuff" I should probably post something about why I haven't been online for the last few weeks. I was incredibly busy with stuff for Christmas. My darling husband and I have been making gifts to save money this year, just like we did last year. It was an absolute success, with a lot of help from him.

The Gifts

I managed to get my eldest neice's quilt done just barely in time. I figure that it'll be something she will treasure for years to come. Or at least I hope that's how she will feel about it. She's said that she does want the purple bunting on the edges of it, so I'll be sewing that on when I stop over to teach her how to do the needlepoint projects that I gave her along with it. The girl's father and uncle have been doing their damndest to basically turn her into a little boy. I figure she should have some girly things and that's probably one of the most girly things I remember from my childhood. So, perhaps it will prove something she cherishes as well as the quilt.

We got the cookies done in a marathon streatch of baking from the 19th thru the 24th. On the 24th, my dear husband was in the kitchen following orders like a real trooper. The total on the cookies and sweets were as follows:
  • Sugar Cookies: 5 dozen (1 dozen w/ candy/frosting wreaths; 3 dozen w/ sprinkles; 1 doz. pre-made, frosted and covered w/ candy)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: 5 dozen
  • Rum Ball Cookies: 4 dozen (1 dozen coated w/ powered sugar; 6 coated w/ sprinkles; 6 coated w/ sprinkles & filled w/ candied ginger; 6 coated w/ coconut; 6 coated w/ cocoa; 6 coated w/ cocoa & filled w/ chopped walnut; 6 coated w/ coconut & filled w/ candied ginger)
  • Brandy Ball Cookies: 1 dozen (coated w/ powered sugar; used brandy extract)
  • Liquorice Ball Cookies: 5 dozen (coated w/ cocoa)
  • Home-made fudge: 2 1/2 pounds (mint chocolate with marshmallows and nuts)
  • Home-made chocolate lollipops: 1 dozen
  • Home-made chocolates: 4 pounds (included: ginger filled continental chocolates; rocky road cups; orange tipped chocolate snowflake candies; painted chocolate snowmen; mint chocolates; chocolate peanut butter cups; chocolate coconut cups; cinnamon filled continental chocolates; cashew filled continental chocolates)
There were other items finished before Christmas and given out to people. These were:
  • Kitty Pillows (1 pink, 1 yellow)
  • Candy shop spa bath kit (homemade liquorice scented bubble bath; homemade orange-citrus scented bath salts; homemade chocolate cake bath salts; homemade vanilla bath beads; chocolates; candle)
  • Chocolate-Orange spa bath kit (homemade orange scented bubble bath; homemade orange scented bath salts; home made vanilla bath beads; homemade lemon scented sugar scrub; chocolates; candle)
  • Bakers spa bath kit (homemade lavender bubble bath; homemade orange-citrus bath salts; homemade vanilla bath beads; homemade chocolate cake bath salts; chocolates; candle)
  • Sweets spa bath kit (homemade apple pie bubble bath; homemade orange scented salt scrub; homemade vanilla scented bath beads; homemade orange scented bath salts; chocolates; candle)
  • Kitchen devils kit (homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; homemade tarragon-juniper infused vinegar; homemade pequin chili infused oil; chocolates; can opener)
  • Holiday Home kit (homemade tarragon vinegar; bottle of dry Italian Red wine; homemade tarragon infused oil; homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; dried pomegranate; chocolates)
  • Holiday Kitchen kit (homemade dried chili & cinnamon bundles; homemade tarragon-juniper infused vinegar; homemade tarragon juniper infused oil; bottle of dry Italian Red wine; dried pomegranate; chocolates)
We got started on Christmas stuff in the summer. The total cost for Christmas this year: $200.

That includes the funds spent upon a book for my Grandfather, my Mother's chicken knick-knack, my Father's new puzzle, and the tool kit for my brother.

The Parties

Our celebrations were at the usual locations. On the 25th, we went to my Paternal Grandparent's house. It was good to see everyone again. My brother and his wife were there with the little girls. It was a sight that gave me hope that they will work through the current difficulties and repair their wounded marriage. Just about everyone was delighted to hear our good news about the pregnancy, even if my brothers both laughed at us and called us "suckers."

I'd have to say that the most useful gift we recieved came from the uncle who is infamous for the useless gifts. It was odd. I'm convinced that he was coached as to what to give us by my mother. The new knife/utensil set with revolving carousel is an absolute delight and replaces the 15+ yr old knife set that my mother gave me when I moved into my first apartment a few years ago. I'd also say that the most thoughtful and unexpected gift after that was the wonderful clock that we were given by my brothers. It's a beautiful and very stately wall clock that one would have up in their foyer. It's making me look forward to having a house to put it up in. Generally, the gifts from us were well recieved. My father got a laugh out of the huge pretzel jar full of cookies from the two of us.

The thing that stands out from the party at my Paternal Grandparent's house the most is the screaming monkey toys that my father gave the kids. They turned into toys for the grown men, much to the aggrivation of the women-folk and the delight of the children. The other thing that stands out was the toddler's tantrum during dinner and Mom's suggesting that we announce our good news when her tantrum was over. My darling husband and I both didn't think that was the best time, so we waited until just before presents to let everyone know.

Our next party was over at my brother-in-law's house. I didn't realize just how large their house was until I went upstairs to use their bathroom. That house is *huge* and beautiful. I'm really impressed with it. That party was the evening of Christmas and much more sedate. Ofcourse I don't think we had even half the number we did at the party earlier in the day. We had a small supper of ham and potatoes with greenbeans. I was delighted, because I'd been on a green bean kick for a few days at that time. When it was time for gifts, I was thrilled to recieve a book on needlepoint from my mother-in-law. I think it's kind of obvious to her and maeby the rest of the family by now that I'm a needlepoint/handcraft addict. She has agreed to teach me how to knit, so this is going to just get worse as time goes on! :)

We told his parents in a rather classy way that my mother suggested. He gave his mother a little bag labled "To Baby, from Daddy" with a teddy bear and some baby clothes in it. She lit up in one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen on her face. I think it rivaled the one she had when we announced our engagement or the one she had on our wedding day. We had a spectacular time visiting with his brother-in-law, wife and children after everyone had left. We all speculated as to why my husband's sister gave us the two exceedinly useless gifts. We still have no idea why she bought them. My dear husband is suggesting that we sell them on E-bay. :p

The day after Christmas we attended the celebration that is held anually at his Grandmother's house. It was a *huge* party and a bit of a momentous one in it's own right, actually. This year is apparently the 50th year that the party had been held in that house. There was probably more people present then years the party had been held there. Everyone was in high spirits and thrilled to see everyone else. We recieved a beautiful wooden bowl from his Grandmother. I immediately put it up on display when we got home. I'm still stunned by just how pretty it is and I don't think I'll use it unless I have no other possible choice.

When he announced the good news to his entire father's side of the family, there was a roar of approval. Again, I was reminded of the announcement of the engagement and our wedding day. It was a wonderful party, though rather exhausting for me. At the end of the evening, I accidentally dozed off on my husband's shoulder. His Grandmother was most amused by it and found it to be rather charming. The point that my dear husband finds the most amusing, and I'll admit I agree, is the fact that the family gossip was the last to find out that we are expecting to have a baby.

That, my dear Reader, is the saga of Christmas this year and the reason why I was incommunicato for the last few weeks. I'll try to post more regularly, now that my time is not going to be taken up with sewing or cooking. With making baby stuff, I've got 9 months to work on it. I'm not going to panic.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and that the holidays have treated you as well as they treated us.

Time for Celebrations!

On the evening of the 19th, we learned that I am pregnant. My darling husband and I are both quite excited, absolutely delighted, and more then a little apprehensive about the practical things (like money and health insurance). We know that things are going to be ok, it's just the journey from here to there is always weird and challenging. We seem to have a magnet for that kind of thing, for some reason.

I'm not entirely sure what else to post here. I ran out and bought copies of What to Expect when You're Expecting, the What to Expect when you're Pregnant companion journal, and the Expectant Father. I've been talking to my parents and his parents, writing down notes about all of the conditions that run in the family. I think I've spoken to my Mother more in the last week then I have over the last two months. Our family and friends are all ecstaticly happy for us. I've girlfriends from college just about ready to hop on the next flight to come up and give the two of us (well, technically the three of us) hugs.

At the same time, I'll admit some nervousness here. I'm concerned that I won't be the best mother that I can be for this little baby (or possibly babies, I'm in line for twins!), while at the same time I know that I'll do my best. I'm struggling against some of my own expectations for what I should be like as a mother and a wife. I realize that I've set some of those expectations far too high and it's not good for me. I'm just struggling to break the habit of expecting perfection from myself 90% of the time. I realize that placing that kind of stress upon myself is not going to be good for me or the baby(ies).

So... how on earth do you manage to make yourself chill out when at the same time you want to make sure that the kid(s) have all the possible benefits and advantages that you didn't have as a kid and be the most loving and supportive parent you can possibly be? This is going to be interesting.

I know it's going to be alright. It's just getting from here to there is going to be weird. I'm filled with so much joy and gratitude that I really don't have words for it. I've got the words for the anxiety and the pragmaticism, even for a generic description of what we're doing. I just don't have the words for the joy. I wonder if this is how most mothers feel when they learn that they are expecting a bundle of joy?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy holidays... yeah, right.

Ok, I'll admit it straight off. I absolutely hate the "holidays" for a laundry list of reasons. I'll tick that list off for you in a minute. First, I just have to get something off my chest:

I don't care if you love the "holidays" and I don't care if you think I should too. I'm not going to put on the "holiday cheer" for you or any body else, so shove off.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. I know that some where, some one is going to take offense to what I'm writing. I might as well get the offending part done already this way they don't bother with the rest of this post to rant about later in their comments. And a quick aside, on the matter of comments, while I do moderate comments, I will publish non-spam comments. If you're blatantly offensive but fail to be amusing or interesting, I won't publish your comments. If you choose to go after me via personal attacks, and fail to be even moderately interesting, I won't publish your comments.

Aside from that, go ahead and comment on what I say. I'm curious as to how the rest of the world views my ramblings and rantings.

Ok... that done, back to the main theme: how much I hate the holidays and why.

Point one: I hate the holidays to the point that I will go out of my way to avoid the disgustingly cheerful holiday music that has been played for at least as long as my grandparents are alive. (Bing Crosby was a young man the same time my Grandfather was a young man, sorry people.)
I utterly despise the forced atmosphere of false cheerfulness and plesantries. If you're going to despise me or not think me worth the time of day, don't change it just because it's cold and getting on towards the month and a half after Thanksgiving, alright. Just stick with your misanthropy and stop lying to yourself and the world about how you feel about me.

For that matter, I hate the whole damn idea that you have the decorate your home and I will do my best to avoid putting up decorations untill shortly before Yule. The decorations I do put up are fairly sparse and usually do not go along the lines of the yards of garland, faux furred stockings, and enough red and green felt to choke a horse, never mind all of the glitter, beads, and bells tacked on to it. I generally dread family gatherings this time of year because of the two faced game played by damn near everyone. So, I hate this time of year.

Point two: Some reasons I hate this time of year. (This goes beyond what I mentioned earlier, folks.)

  1. The gross consumerisim foisted upon us with the attendant guilt complex for not having the shiniest and most expensive gift for each person on your list.
  2. The repulsive "keeping up with the Jones's" game that is played by all of the people around the neighborhood for the most obnoxious and bright light pollution.... I mean light display.
  3. All of the children (and most of the adults in their own silent way) demanding, crying, screaming and throwing tantrums for what ever object du jour that will feed their greedy lust for more random crap to say they own, contributing to the entitlement/instant gratification generation.
  4. The desecration of the holy days of the season of many religions through the above actions.
  5. The failure to observe the special gift of family and the joys attendant upon having your loved ones still with you this year by the heart felt demonstrative displays of affection.
  6. The continuation of old bullshit arguments from last year/last holiday/last month/last week that serve only to hurt the people who you love and could easily lose within the next five minutes due to some unknown and unforseen calamity.
  7. The insane expectations for people to bottle up their pain and play nice with people who hurt them for the sake of making everything look like it's ok.
  8. The pain of attempting to brave the mall or any other shopping expidition for holiday or non-holiday purposes (with out any gurantee of safety of life, limb, or property, or success in your venture).
  9. The headache of making sure that you have the right gift for the person who claims they want nothing, when they feel too self conscious to admit that they want you to do something special for them.
  10. The heartache of having all of those subtle hints you dropped to some one ignored and getting yet another ugly tie/sweater/mixing bowl/blender/etc.
  11. The migraine inducing insanity of having some one give your children the exact thing you said not to give them (ie: toys with out batteries; finger paints for toddlers; etc.)
  12. Going to office parties, work related holiday functions, or simmilar "social obligations" when you really don't want to be around these half drunk bumbling blowhards any more then you have to, and you've no choice because failure will make you look bad and thus cost you that raise you need to put your kid through college.
Yeah, I hate the holidays. I'm a real Scrooge about it all, I guess.

Look, I loved them when I was a kid. Then, my family stopped celebrating being a family. It turned into the mess I described above and an obligation to attend. I hope that I can get past this misanthropy and general malice that I feel towards the "holidays" by the time I have little ones. Some of my most cherished memories are of sitting by a roaring fire opening gifts at my Great-grandmother's knee and singing Christmas carols, or laughing at some silly family story as my Dad cracked nuts for my brothers and I to eat. I'll treasure those memories for all my life and I hope that when I'm an old woman Alzheimers won't rob me of them. I also hope that I can maeby provide something more lasting for my children, maeby make it where they don't hate the holidays when they're my age.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why I hate Popular Culture... (attitude rant)

Now, I'll presume that you've read my television rant. One may wonder what I do with my time, as I have a whole third of my life free to do anything I wish with it (when I finish the dishes). I listen to an incredible amount of music. I write. I do needlepoint, sewing, and other things that are traditionally known as the womanly arts. I read many books.

I'm generally socially isolated because I don't follow the cult of the idiot box. I can't have the conversation about the O.C. or who's trying to get into the pants of Dr. McDreamy. I don't particularly enjoy being socially isolated, but it's hard to have a conversation with some one about a subject that may require thought. Most people are frightened of discussing the pros and cons of the philosophies espoused by the educational system or the different implications of new translations of the Old Testament which seem to imply that the early Hebrews were actually polytheists. For some reason, big words scare these people. And I work with individuals with college degrees, most of them have Master's degrees in their respective fields!

The general attitude that I encounter in the popular culture around me is the following:
  • All females must be size two with blond hair and at minimum a C-cup bra.
  • If you violate the above rule, you must strive to meet it and wear the fashion industry proscribed clothing appropriate to your body form (provided that your size is 14 and under).
  • All females must feel that their boobs are not big enough, their skin is not perfect enough, and that they must compulsively wear suggestive clothing and vast hordes of make up to correct this 'flaw'.
  • Males must treat females as objects of both praise and revulsion; most explicitly adhering to this standard in the environments of mixed genders.
  • Males must remind females of their place in the social construct.
  • Children are allowed to be 'cute' until they reach age 5. After this age, they must initiate the development process into a sexualized object. Failure to do so will be viewed as a violation of the mandated growth process.
  • ...
I could go on, but you're starting to get the picture, I think. One thing that rings true in this entire thing is how false it is. The other that should be blatantly obvious is how harmful it is to people. Is it just me, or are we turning into prey animals? Prey animals practice a herd mentality and when confronted with objects of fear, will group together and follow blindly one that shows some spark of initiative or dominance. These behaviors seem to describe humanity at large in the region I'm in, dominated by the popular culture mindset.

Soo... are we screwed? I hate to say it, but I think so. Sorry guys, but popular culture is destroying our species. There's not enough of us who are not of the prey animal mindset to reverse this effect. Perhaps we should hit the big red button and nuke the whole world back to the stone age. Maybe that'll cure it.

Why I hate Popular Culture... (television rant)

I suppose the title of this does sound a little bit too much like the essay question for a high school English class. That said, the title does fit very well and I'll only change it upon an overwhelming influx of individuals who are arguing that it is a terrible title and proposes new ones. Until that time, however, the cheezy title is going to stand. Digression about the title aside, let's get to the meat and potatoes of this post, shall we?

I do hate popular culture. I don't watch television because it gives me headaches. My headaches are not spawned by the cycle of the flicker of the screen or some other related item explained by neurological deduction. It's not like my migraines that are triggered by florescent lights. No, my headaches that come from watching television are directly related to my aggravation over the amount of banality and trite horse-shit that is shoveled into our homes through what my family affectionately calls the 'idiot box'.

Over the last year, I have watched approximately 24 hours of television. That is roughly 2 hours each month. If you wish to include the occasional times that my husband and I watch television at our friends' and families' houses, then I suppose that number would edge close to 30 hours in a year. The national average is 2555 hours per year. I got that number from a little bit of simple math and the data on this website. Just to put that into perspective, that is roughly 106 days of watching television for a full 24 hours. That comprises nearly a third of the year. Sleep takes up approximately 144 days of the year, just to let you know. Work time, based on a standard40 hour work week, is roughly121 days in the year. That leaves you with no other time for anything else, and that you're probably overlapping some of your work time with one of the other two.

One may wonder why I have chosen to be watching less television by a couple of factors of ten. Part of it is so that I have time to get things done and not live in a hovel. I'm sorry, but I'm not one of these people where I can watch television and wash dishes at the same time. I'll wind up ignoring something, and I really don't feel like getting food poisioning because my dishes or food preparation equipment wasn't clean enough. I don't like wasting electricity by ignoring the television as I'm doing other things. So I don't even bother turning it on.

I'll watch the news from time to time. It's gotten almost painful to watch even that. Look, I don't have a problem with the fact that you're reporting the latest scandal in DC or how Brittney Spears must be reported to the fashion police. But I would really prefer to hear something of more substance. I'd be thrilled if you just did your jobs, actually. Just report on the issue, don't pander to the ratings by adding your opinions on it or how you feel about the images that are shown to go with your bit piece. Please, for the love of John Campbell, just do your job! Let me make up my own mind on the topics presented. All of the miserable business of having the reporter in the sportcoat telling me how they feel or view the topic (there by attempting to influence my feelings on it) is insulting to my intelligence. I have enough gray matter upstairs in proper working order to decide if I should be scandalized, amused, or bored with Britteny's presence or lack of undergarments in public. I really don't need some mouthpeice to bet telling me how I should feel or trying to influence it.

I don't bother with soap operas, reality television or sitcoms. They're pretty much all the same. People are stabbing each other in the backs, attempting to generate a succession of high drama moments, and pandering to the prevailing trends of fashion and the contemporary sterotypes. Maeby it's just me, but I find the paper thin plots and over blown 'drama' of it all to be disgusting. If I wanted to witness that much angst, I'd be continually subscribed to all the blogs of teenagers and their related webcams. The whole business is a glorified angst-fest that puts the hallowed halls of the high school hell to shame. There's so many prima donnas in one room that I think it violates some law of physics, thus some of them must be virtual images or filmed separately and parsed together to prevent the entire group from hitting the Chandrasekhar limit and collapsing into a black hole of irony. After all gravitational mass requires substance and these are generally vapid characters we're discussing on celluloid. Maybe it's all the mass of the photons, but I doubt it.

On occasion, I will watch educational television. A large amount of the selection on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel can prove interesting, if it was written just a little bit more towards a higher educational level. This, however, is not something I expect, because I think the national average for reading level is about 5th grade. Reading level has a direct relationship to word comprehension, which is vital for one to understand terms stated to them in a discussion. In short, they dumb down their shows so that the audience can keep up with them. I'm glad that these options exist, but they're rather buried under the 5 million other channels of fluff that's out there. I know, ESPN and the other sports specific channels aren't 'fluff' per se, but they get rather repetitive rather quickly. Especially if you're not interested in sports.

Now, popular culture, as I have been subjected to it, seems to insist that the fluff channel discussion how to paint your nails properly or the latest gossip from Hollywood (which I hope that someday those poor viewers will realize is manufactured gossip) is the thing to watch. The bread and circuses of our era can be found in how pop culture upholds fast food and television where you get to see people:
  • act as greedy, self serving bastards
  • prove themselves to be wonders of the world, for they have enough intelligence to breathe and walk upright, even as they have not enough to understand that placing a bottle-rocket up your rectum is not a good idea
  • as objects of mental (and physical if you so choose) masturbation via sadistic voyeuristic fantasies lived out in reality television; specifically if you have a fetish for humiliation of others
  • express a distinct lack of regard for the consequences of their actions upon others, thus engaging in behavior that proves denigrating to the society as a whole
I don't know. Maybe it's just that I'm too much of an ignorant heathen and I am suffering for my lack of initiation into the cult of the television. The idiot box makes my brain hurt because there hasn't been anything of substance on it in many years, all that there is I have described above. I am not going to waste my time watching on television what I see in the street everyday in the first two points I listed. I am not a voyeur. As well, as I find the implied support of the final point via giving it my attention to be repugnant and would mark me as a hypocrite.

Here's the really good part, I still get to hear about all of the tripe that's thrown up on the television for us all to debate if we can choke back the vomit rising in our throats or force it down by shoving a twinkie in to absorb the acid and physically force the regurgitation process to reverse. I have the wonderful joy of being told all about it by the people around me. I get to hear about Britteny's latest stunt, the current moron who's grandstanding for glory on this week's 'hottest' reality show, and be told how frumpy I look because I'm not dressed in the latest fashions. I can't escape it, no matter how hard I try, unless I completely isolate myself from all other people. Even then, I will still be subjected to the supporting materials in the form of advertisements and other miscellany that litters the world around me.

I hate having this stuff shoved down my throat. I don't want any damn part of it and it's getting forced on me.

What the hell.....?

Before you read this post, please read this news story from the BBC.

I'll wait a few seconds...

Ok, I'll assume that you have read this particular article. Now, on one hand, you could say, "Wow, that's horrible! Who would do something like have their kid arrested for filching their Christmas gifts early?" and on the other hand, "What the hell is so wrong with a child that they need the 'lesson' of being arrested for filching their Christmas present early?"

I think the important part of this story is not the Christmas present, like it is designed to read. The important part is:

The boy, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is already facing an expulsion hearing at his school for attempting to hit a police officer assigned to the school last month. The boy's case will be presented to York County's Department of Juvenile Justice, which will decide what action to take. Ms Ervin told the Associated Press she hoped the authorities could scare her son into behaving himself. "It's not even about the Christmas present," she said. "I'd rather call (the police) myself than someone else call for him doing something worse."

Now, maybe it's just me, but doesn't it strike you as somewhat desperate to have to take these measures? Please, don't read that as a slight against the mother. But, the act of reporting your child for petit larceny after they have gotten into the Christmas gift is rather extreme compared to something such as grounding or taking away said gift. Perhaps this is a sign of a larger problem, one that perhaps extends beyond the child's ADHD and into how it is handled by the people around him. Is it perhaps a sign that our society's efforts to avoid teaching discipline via the application of discipline when children misbehave is not working?

Oh, I know, I sound like a curmudgeon. It doesn't change the distinct possiblity that I might be right, here. It may seem a little crazy, but perhaps the reason why this child gets into so much trouble is because his behavior is tolerated. One could argue that a policy of continual capitulation to "problem children" on the part of the schools is a dramatic part of the problem of excessive permissiveness. Oh, I know, I know, one of the wits reading this is going to say that I am taking to hard of a stance and that there's nothing that can be done to resolve this problem.

I challenge that assumption. You would have no concept of self-discipline if you were not educated by having been subjected to some form of discipline when you were younger. Children learn by things such as what happens in their environment. If a child is raised in a place where there are high standards for behavior and appropriate consequences for failing to meet those standards, eventually it will become habitual to operate close to the standards to avoid the punishment. One habit has set in, it becomes very hard to break. In the case of self-discipline, it is a continuation of the habit of avoiding the problems associated with poor behavior.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers, but perhaps we need to rethink our strategy on disciplining children. Being their "friend" rather then their parent or the authority figure in a relationship is clearly not working. This whole concept of having a parent concerned if their children "likes" them or thinks they're "cool" parents... the more and more it stinks of an avoidance behavior and an effort not to take responsiblity for being a parent.

I understand that raising children is hard work. It's probably the hardest job on the planet next to that Alaskan deep sea fishing job.. (Is that still listed as the official 'hardest job in the world'?) It may sound ignorant as hell for a woman who has no children to be saying these things too. I'm planning on having kids, though, so I need to think about them. From the models of child rearing that I have seen thus far, I am inclined to argue that very few of the 'popular' ones are working and the country is just going to get progressively worse the more people attempt to avoid doing the hard and painful work of disciplining their children.

I've worked with toddlers. It does tug at your heart strings when they are crying over the fact that they don't get that dessert after dinner because they decided to beat the snot out of another child. It makes you feel bad to see a child crying over anything. That doesn't mean that you try to make it all better by giving them a cookie "just this one time" or a new toy. You can't bribe children to behave. It does not work. They will view it as a reward to their efforts and thus you have reinforced the behavior you don't want to see.

The disgusting thing is, people at large forget that this practice holds true at no matter what age a person is. The toddler given a cookie after being told no dessert for beating up other children and crying until you feel your ears are going to bleed is no different from the teenager out after curfew. You can't say to yourself "Oh, well, if I ground him, he's going to hate me. Some one may say I'm a bad parent if he complains." and then not punish them with the stated consequence (grounding for staying out after curfew). It tells them that your rules are optional.

It undermines your authority and takes away your ability to maintain it as well. It may be less work to say "Ok, you're only 15 min late getting in. I'll let it slide this time." for a full week of the child getting in late, but it will lead to the child pushing the envelope and that time stretching out to something like 30min, an hour, or the whole night over time. You need to hold the line on your rules and commit to following thru on them.

Here's the other half of this... you need to also be good on your word for the good things too. If you tell Junior that you're going to go to the baseball game with him, then make time and do it in the near future. Schedule the time into your day planner and write it on the calendar at home where Junior can see it too. Failing to be the person who is also going to be supporting and encouraging via positive reinforcement and keeping their word will erode your crediblity as a parent just as fast as being a lax diciplinarian.

But.. what do I know? I don't have any kids and I am out of touch with popular culture.

stupid quizzes

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)Extreme
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very High

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

And now for the personality disorder quiz from the same website...

Disorder | Rating
Paranoid: High
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: Very High
Antisocial: Moderate
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: Very High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: Very High
Dependent: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

amusing... been a while since I took it. i guess my borderline numbers came down and the antisocial numbers went up


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

no inspired title today... sorry.

Quick update, I'm working like a mad woman. Perhaps soon, I'll have enough time to finish the updates on everything else I'm working on. :p

At least I'm semi-regular in updating this.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I blame my husband's blog for this one too

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sorry, couldn't help that. :)