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Friday, November 28, 2014

Importance of Washing your Hands - S post

Wash Your Hands!

Everyone knows washing one's hands is important. We see reminders everywhere. Restaurant workers must wash their hands before leaving the restroom. People feeding, grooming, or touching animals must wash their hands. Nursing students studying for a masters in nursing online learn about hand washing. Nursery school teachers show their young students the correct way to wash their hands. Do you know why it is important to wash your hands? Are you aware that you should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes you to hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice?

Non-pharmaceutical Interventions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that non-pharmaceutical interventions help prevent diseases from spreading. The interventions stop the transfer of microbes ("germs") without a person taking medication or getting vaccinated. Microbes — bacteria and viruses — are spread by touching another person. Transfer occurs when you touch a contaminated surface or object and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Infectious diseases — in particular flu, gastrointestinal infections, and hepatitis — travel from one person to another via contaminated hands. A very effective and very easy way to prevent disease is to wash your hands frequently.
Electronic Equipment — Top Microbe Source

If you work in an office or you freelance from home, you have the potential for being exposed to bacteria and viruses. If you are in a work situation in which computers, printers, fax machines, and other pieces of electronic equipment that you use are also used by colleagues, you might put your hand on some microbes and then get a snack from the break room or decide to put your contact lenses in. If you work from home, you might stop to feed your dog or cat without washing your hands afterwards.

The Correct Way to Wash Your Hands

There is an excellent article, "Hand Washing: Reducing the Risk of Common Infections," on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Web site. The article discusses why washing hands is important, when a person should wash their hands, the correct way to wash one's hands, and antibacterial soaps and waterless hand scrubs.

Use soap and running water to wash your hands. It doesn't matter whether the water is hot or cold. Wet your hands thoroughly, turn the water off, and apply soap. Rub your hands to create lather. Scrub your palms, back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Rinse the soap off. You can dry your hands with a paper towel or use an air dryer.


Washing your hands is the most effective way to stop the spread of infection. Use soap and running water to wash your hands when it is possible to do so. The process doesn't kill the microbes. It allows the germs to slide off your hands. If soap and running water isn't available, use a waterless hand cleaner. When you return to an area with running water, use soap to clean your hands again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Story of Boston's Stairwells - Guest Post

A friend of mine is a letter carrier in Boston. During his day-to-day, he began documenting the varied and ornate and sometimes downright odd stairwells he had to climb to get people their mail in the city. It's an amazing experiment that's given the internet dozens of pictures of stairwells as art. He explains the reasoning behind this here. His blog is linked at the end.


This whole series of pictures began as an attempt at proof.

I work as a mailman in a corner of the city of Boston where there are a lot of students, a lot of really old buildings, and a lot of people getting packages too big to just leave outside, and often too big to fit through ancient mail slots or stuff into derelict mailboxes. And one of the few advantages that we mailmen—sorry, letter carriers—enjoy over other delivery service providers like UPS and FedEx, is the fact that we all carry these little arrow keys that give us greater access than them to the interiors of buildings. (Those arrow keys sometimes don’t work, though. But the whole point of them is to give the post office access to buidings without having to carry individual keys to every single building on a route, because I’m sure you can imagine just how awkward that would very quickly become.)

So I took it upon myself to start leaving packages AT PEOPLE’S DOORS. Which often—all too often—meant climbing stairs. This is not, by the way, a service than any other person I work with in my own office woud provide. In fact, I’m fairly sure we’re not SUPPOSED to climb stairs. But some of the people who order things online are older, and don’t have the strength to climb up and down stairs every time someone rings their bell even if they’re home. And sure, a lot of people who live on higher floors and order things online AREN’T that old, but I figure, hey, they deserve to get their stuff the same as everyone else.

I will also freely admit, at this point, that I will absolutely take the elevator if there’s an elevator to take. But there aren’t that many elevators, and even then, elevators will be out of order.

I’m also that guy who will bring in packages that UPS and FedEx and DHL leave outside because they can’t get in and don’t want to leave the usual post-it note. I was raised that way. Blame my mother.

SO: pictures of stairwells. I see a lot of them, and (again) I only work in one relatively small corner of the city. I worked for four weeks this past summer in a suburb, but there weren’t so many stairs there.

Welcome to my blog.

James is a mailman who's working in Boston for eight years now, but before that he was in retail for far too long, selling mostly books and comics. He met a lot of interesting people in that time, however, so it wasn't entirely a waste. He now shoots magnificent photos of stairwells in Boston and you can see them here:


Friday, November 21, 2014

Grad students studying motherhood

In my graduate program, there is a woman studying mothering and the communication and media messages around it.

She's very interested in the portrayed roles of mothers versus fathers, who gets to keep more of their own identity in the media, if roles given by viewers create more or less sympathy for either the mother or the father.

Sounds interesting enough. Certainly she'll be studying a lot of the articles I've shared myself on social media, as she analyzes the content, puts little ones and zeros into excel spreadsheets and runs statistical analyses to flesh out answers to her research questions.

The paper she didn't present to the class was entitled:

"Don't be a boob: Bottles have nipples too"

She said the research looked at anti-breastfeeding campaigns.

First off, I'd need to see a really specific definition of terms for anti-breastfeeding. Are we talking formula adverts or simply mothers advocating formula use in forums meant for support? Are we talking hospitals giving out free samples of formula or nurses pushing formula on new frazzled mothers?

Secondly, the debate is full of emotion, high-strung and deeply-felt ideology, self-image and self-deprecation, and post-partum hormones. Are you sure you want to go around calling these women boobs? Especially if you haven't been there?

I guess, mostly, I was just disappointed to see that the academics doing studies on things like "portrayals of breast and formula feeding in the media" are no different from the commenters on op-eds about the same issue, who read the whole article then type in CAPSRAGE: I WASTED TEN MINUTES OF MY LIFE READING THIS. THIS IS A NON-ISSUE. WHY DO MOTHERS MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT.

Like, I really hate to be all, 'don't talk about what you don't know about,' but if you lack the empathy to gauge the situation appropriately or even see all the key elements of what you should be studying...if you lack the ability to make the connections between media and science in a way that does not entirely drown out the very real struggles of very real people in the process...just, maybe go study something else, I guess?

When your lack of understanding of the issue at hand is so blatant and that's the issue you want to study as a PhD? And these are the papers that get published? These are the studies handed down in layman speak to breast and formula feeding moms everywhere, yearning for validation as their hormones swing them to Timbuktu and back?


Everyone in the classroom laughed uproariously at her jokey title, and they spent a few minutes going back and forth about how ridiculous all the women's feelings were about this and how everyone should probably just calm down about it.

Honestly, I'm probably just curmudgeonly, but I really don't think the phrase 'don't be a boob' is all that funny to begin with--when that was added to the obvious lack of any type of understanding for a mom attempting to nurse, I just checked out and let the side-eye take over.

And this wasn't even the paper this particular woman presented.


The one she presented was on mothers and fathers leaving their children in the back seat. She's trying to tie it to gender violence and is very interested in the roles society foists on mothers and fathers vs. their self-identities.  The first one is ... absolutely ridiculous, and the second one is ground broken so long ago I think my grandma was the academic working on it.

There's no point to this entry.

I'm just really suspicious now of studies coming out about parenthood. Apparently, very sound statistical studies can be run with no intuitive understanding of the topic being studied. And on the outside, that sounds fine. Because wouldn't being totally outside the topic being studied be ideal for objectivity? But in reality, if you are so removed from what you are talking about that basically 'you don't even go here', there are going to be very important correlations that you miss because you don't know to look for them. And there are going to be very tenuous connections you make too big a deal out of because you don't know they're actually not a big deal.

And a study can be presented any way the researcher wants. People say the numbers don't lie, but they can be emphasized or twisted any which way to make any point. May as well make legitimate points based in knowledge, right?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Important Backyard Safety Tips Parents Need to Know - S post

(Photo Credit-

With kids, parents can't help being as cautious as possible. We can go to great lengths to ensure that our kids are safe wherever they may be.

While many of us may feel that our kids are safest at home, this isn't always true. It is equally important to ensure the safety of our kids when they are indoors or out playing in the backyard.
Taking the right safety measures to child-proof your home and backyard will take a lot of stress off your mind. This will especially be helpful in situations where you may have to leave your kids alone at home or if you’re hosting a party and may not be able to devote all your attention to your kids and those of your guests.

It goes without saying that your backyard should be properly fenced. Here are some other important backyard safety tips that you can put into good use.

Tips for Patio Safety

Always be sure to buy good quality furniture for your backyard. Patio or deck furniture should be sturdy so that it doesn't tip over and injure kids. Avoid reclining and folding furniture as they can fold over unexpectedly. If you can't do without such furniture, be sure to teach your kids to not jump over such furniture.

Glass tabletops should be avoided as they can shatter and injure kids. Always discourage kids from playing on such surfaces and around such items. You'll want to keep your kids from playing around garden umbrellas too as they can tip over easily.

Be sure to check your furniture for any splinters or rusted parts that may be sticking out. Broken mechanisms or frayed straps need to be repaired to prevent accidents. Use non-toxic solutions to clean furniture.

If you have a raised patio or deck, make sure no thorny plants are growing around the edge as kids can hurt themselves if they topple over. Additionally, keep the patio free from clutter.

Tips for Playground Safety

It is important for the playground to be adequately cushioned so that it can offer some protection when a kid falls. Use a 10-12 inch deep layer of shock-absorbing material such as rubber or sand for the same.

Grass works well but you'll have to consider mowing it regularly, along with re-seeding in high-traffic areas. You'll also need to use fertilizers and pesticides as required. Synthetic grass is a better option for the play area as you won't need to water, mow, or use chemicals to maintain it. It also comes with a layer of shock-absorbing mulch beneath it. No wonder installing an artificial turf for playgrounds in schools and homes is becoming popular.

Avoid using play sets made of treated wood as it exposes kids to arsenic, which is known to increase the risk of cancer. If you already have a play set made of treated wood, be sure to seal the wood with standard penetrating treatments once a year.

It is advisable to replace high-exposure sections such as deck boards, hand rails, rungs, or steps with other non-treated alternatives. Arsenic can leach from the wood onto other things when it rains, so be sure to store toys and other items in a safe place instead of leaving them under such wood structures.
Play sets need to be fitted securely. Protruding bolts on play sets, slides, swings, etc. should be covered. Avoid play sets that have ropes or cords as they pose a health hazard. Play sets with steps are preferable to those with rungs. If choosing a play set with rungs, make sure rungs aren't too wide apart or too close as kids can get stuck between the spaces. Ladders, walkways, ramps, etc. need to have guard rails to prevent mishaps.

(Photo Credit -

Tips for Pool Safety

Pool safety is important be it summer or winter as kids can easily drown in shallow water too. If you haven't got a fence installed around your pool already, get one as soon as possible that has a self-closing and self- latching gate opening outwards. Be sure to install latches out of the reach of kids.
It is also important to not have furniture or items around the fence that kids can climb up on and get inside the pool. Keep the pool covered at all times when not in use. Drain covers need to be properly fitted so that kids don't get trapped under water.

It will help to have rescue equipment nearby. You may want to consider installing a pool alarm that can alert you whenever someone enters the pool.

Tips for Fire Safety

Whether you're throwing a barbeque party in your backyard or huddling around the fire pit with loved ones, it is important to ensure that kids are safe from fire-related hazards.

Barbeque grills should be on a level surface and sturdy so that they may not topple over and cause injuries. Always stay beside the grill when it is on and never allow kids or pets near it.
If you have the provisions to make an open fire in your backyard, never leave children around the fire unattended. Avoid starting a fire if there's a strong wind; it is better to avoid accidents whenever you can.

Remember to extinguish open fires properly as smoldering flames are potentially dangerous. Kids may try to touch coals too so be sure to dispose coals correctly.


If you take the right safety measures, you won’t have to constantly worry about your kid’s safety. It is also important to teach kids the importance of safety so that you know they’ll do the right thing even if you’re not around to watch over them 24/7.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How I became a crone -- Contributor post

After two unexpected IUD pregnancies, my partner and I came to the conclusion that we'd need to take more drastic measures to ensure that our exceptional fertility wouldn't catch us by surprise again. Abstinence would have ended in divorce, so we looked at the other options and I discovered something called Essure.

Essure is a hysteroscopy procedure that involves placing nickel coils in the fallopian tubes. Over three months, the foreign objects invite scarring, which occludes the fallopian tubes, thereby preventing ovulation (and any possibility of future pregnancy). It's a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure, and my healthcare provider uses general anesthesia for it. I closed my eyes as the IV drip took effect in the operating room, and a moment later I opened my eyes to find myself in a recovery room.

When I first considered the Essure procedure, though, I was torn. Letting go of one's fertility is a big deal. What if I changed my mind? What if fate intended a third or fourth child for me? Was I shutting a door on a bright future?

I was indeed shutting a door on one possible future, and denying it was pointless. I decided to honor my transition from mother to crone by ritualizing it.

I wrote a letter saying farewell to what had been. I took the letter outside where I had an aloe vera plant waiting to be planted. I read the letter aloud, dug a hole in the moist earth, and set the letter ablaze in the earthen bowl I had created. When the ash from the letter had cooled, I placed the aloe vera plant over the top and secured it with the earth I had displaced. This plant of healing and perpetual growth would be transformed by--and transform--the ashes of my identity as a fertile mother, giving birth to my identity as a wise elder.

Kate is the married mom of two precocious tots. When she's not chasing them or dancing around them or singing at the top of her lungs with them, she likes to drink coffee, make yummy food with her hubby, edit other people's writing, pray, and write edgy pieces on religious topics. You can check out her blog, Thealogical Lady, at (And, for the record, that "a" in "Thealogical" is no accident.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rasputin pwns the twins

Thought I'd pop in a movie for my poor, sick kids, so I could clean the kitchen and write this blog.

Wrong. Instead, this happened:

"Mom, is the bat a good guy?"

"He doesn't seem to hate Anastasia, he must be good?"

"How can Rasputin tear his whole body apart?"

"How is he bad?"

"If he can't die, like in the beginning, mom, how come he can die at the end?"

"How can bats come out of his body? I just want you to tell me why? And what is selling your soul? And who is the devil? If Anastasia's grandmother killed him, then how could he sell his soul?"

"What even is a soul? Is hell bad? Where is his blood? Is Rasputin an alien?"

"Why does he hate Anastasia? I don't understand. He looks like a person. Are you telling me he's not a person? Why does he still look like a person then? WHY DOE HIS BODY KEEP COMING APART? Mom. MOM."

"If he's already dead, how can he die again? Is he dead? Is he a zombie? The bad guy, well, is everything broken? His mustache, his lips, his eyes, even his butt?"

"Why would the devil want souls? I don't think the devil is in this movie? Do I have a soul? Can I sell it?"

"Why is the bad guy trying to kill Anastasia? He should be trying to kill the grandma."

"Why is that boy sad now? Why is he scared about Anastasia being a princess?"

"Now she's wearing dresses all the time. When is she going to be in shirt and pants again? Do princesses always wear dresses? Can I wear whatever I want all the time, too? Why aren't I a princess, mommy?"

Guess I'll go do the dishes and tidy up instead.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Why the gumball scenario wasn't really equal opportunity

A recent essay I wrote has garnered me a lot of hate. About three thousand people have called me a lousy parent. That's okay. I'm working on it and have been for long before that essay was published, and things are actually going really well now.

When I wrote about how my liberal views ruined my parenting, I wasn't saying all liberals...or really any liberals other than me...had these issues. I was just saying I did, and some of the reason why is that I tried to instill ideology at an age too developmentally immature to handle it.

My point is that things that apply to the real world do not and cannot apply to parenting. Like the gumballs, which I assert actually works really well as an analogy for what happens to people in the assistance system.

So, let's talk about that. Everyone is so upset that I would redistribute the gumballs. In fact, Fox News called me to go on their show this weekend. That's how serious gumballs are.

They eventually decided not to go with me for a segment. I think my answer to this question is why:

FOX: "What would you make of the gumball analogy and the reaction to it?"

ME: "I think people took the wrong message from that analogy. They were talking about it as if my daughter had lost her gumballs, and it was entirely her fault. But it wasn't. Her fine motor skills aren't good enough for her to be able to open that package without spilling some. So is it her fault or my fault?

In this way, you can see the difference as applies to the ideological systems at play. When a person using assistance, let's talk about the 'abusers' the 'generational users', is there for long stretches of time and cannot or will not get out, we blame their efficacy and agency. But perhaps they don't have the skills, or education, or knowledge of how the successful model works. Instead of blaming the people who can't get out of the system for 'spilling their gumballs,' perhaps we ought to invest more money in 'training their fine motor skills' by implementing programs that teach them how to apply for colleges and grant money, programs that teach them how to use the language, how to address potential employees, and while we do that, yes, they still need to eat.

Was splitting the gumballs up equally the right thing to do as a parent? Maybe not. Is it how many taxpayers feel about their hard-earned wages? Probably. Does that mean the girl who asked me to open her gumballs had equal opportunity to the girl who tried to do it by herself and spilled them? Not really. One had the knowledge and maturity to know to ask for help from the get-go, much like a privileged person networking for a job. One tried to do it all on her own. Much like a person trying with no other support to get off the system. Do these things work in parenting moments? No. Do they work in ideology? I say they kind of do."

So, yes, I stand by it, though I am sorry my writing wasn't clear enough to bring the point through the first time.

Looks like that's another thing I have to work on. Thankfully with writing, you get millions of shots to make it just perfect. With parenting, not so much.

However, I seem to be doing a lot better on both fronts, so we'll just see how it goes from here, shall we?

Empathy is key. Sympathy is key. Understanding fully what privilege and equal opportunity mean is key.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ask a Teacher - What'd you do today?

We've all had that conversation with our kids. You excitedly pick your child up from the carpool line and the first question you ask is "What do you do at school today?" The answer most often is "Nothing."

Why do they do that? You've been gone from them all day and you just want to hear what they did all day. But they just finished a long day at school and they're ready to not be in school mode. Pushing and saying "C'mon, you had to have done something! What'd you do today?" is only going to produce an irritated "NOTHING!" in reply.

Instead of launching into questions at pick up, it's a good idea to give your child a little bit to decompress. When you get home from work, the last thing you want to talk about is work. Your kid is the same way.

Wait until dinner time or when you have a quiet moment to ask, but don't just ask what they did today. If you asked me what I did today, I'd stare blankly and try to figure out which part you want me to tell you. Help them out by focusing on one thing. My go to is "What was your favorite part of school today?" Sometimes this doesn't work and my son just tells me he liked recess the best. You can also focus on one part of the day, such as asking about what book was read in class or what they did in science.

Getting kids to open up can be difficult at first, but it's an important habit to start with your child.


Emilie is a high school English teacher with two children. She holds a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Secondary Education. After completing student teaching at an urban, Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) school, she was placed at another PLA school in the same school district. Her Ask a Teacher column can also be found over at Teaching Ain't for Heroes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Raising kids who don't suck -- Guest Post

#GamerGate. MRAs. PUAs. Jian Ghomeshi. #ByeFelipe. The 2014 Midterm Elections.

I’ve got a stepson who just turned seven and two kids arriving in May, and this is the environment their mother and I will be raising them in. I suppose it’s better than raising them in Europe during the Dark Ages, but I always kind of imagined that humanity would suck less than this by the time I got around to having kids of my own. Since we still suck, though, how the hell are we supposed to raise kids who don’t?

I’ve always imagined that to be the purpose of parenting: to raise kids who don’t suck. Or at least kids who suck less than you. Like, I hope that my kids come around to feminism before they turn 40. I hope they don’t get caught up in the self-loathing and judgement of fundamentalist religion. I hope they pursue their dreams and passions instead of letting other people talk them into doing “the practical thing.” I hope they learn to be comfortable in their own skins. I hope they learn how to be kind and forgiving and compassionate. Most of all, I hope they learn how to think for themselves.

But how do you teach those things? I know that my example has more of an impact than my words, but is setting a good example enough? What if I say all the right things and set a great example and none of it works?

I know, I know...I’m probably overthinking this, but it’s hard not to. I read the comments of angry men in response to feminist issues, and I wonder how many of them were raised by well-meaning parents who said the right things and set the right examples and still ended up with kids who are shitheads. I feel like I have an advantage in that I’m working in partnership with an incredible person; I’m confident that her influence will bring out the best in them, because I see the effect it’s having on the Monkey. He’s emulating his mother’s best qualities more and more every day, and that gives me hope. And still, I worry.

Also? I just realized that the title I picked for this article could have been misleading, and there’s a possibility that someone might have clicked on it hoping to get advice on how to raise kids who don’t suck. If you happen to be one of those people, I’m sorry. The truth is, I know nothing about how to raise children. I’m not even entirely sure that I know how to change a diaper, let alone how to help a child navigate the emotionally and psychologically hostile world around them. I’m reading a lot of other people’s advice and hoping that at least some of it comes naturally. I mean, there has to be something living in the recesses of my unconscious mind about what to do with a kid, right? I don’t think humanity would have lasted this long if we didn’t get some of our parenting skills instinctually.

So here’s to hoping that a combination of accidentally meeting and falling in love with the right person, some instinctive child-rearing ability, and a healthy dose of dumb luck will help me pull this parenting thing off. And if they turn out to be shitheads anyway? Well, I’m sure I’ll still love them. I’ll just make fun of them and bide my time until I can turn the grandkids against them.


Jerry Kennedy is (in no particular order) a fiance, stepdad, writer, actor, director, singer, and web dude living in The Greatest City In the World, Sacramento, CA. His hobbies include reading, skateboarding, falling off his skateboard, drinking, karaoke (especially after drinking), and making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape. You'll find his irregular ramblings about life, the universe, and everything at

Monday, November 3, 2014

Recipe Monday - Easy and Incredible Lasagna

Cooking is generally hard for me, but one thing I've got down is lasagna.

You really can't fail at's that easy.

Lasagna noodles
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Ground beef

1) Start boiling a lot of water and cook 9 noodles
2) Preheat oven to 350
3) Brown the ground beef until cooked through
4) Add sauce to the beef and turn heat to low
5) Mix together all the cheeses, saving some of the mozz and parm.
6) Rinse spinach
7) Put a thin layer of sauce on bottom of lasagna pan
8) Layer three noodles across
9) Put a layer of beef / sauce there
10) Layer of the mixed cheese
11) Layer of spinach
12) Repeat all layering until last noodles are on top and all ingredients used.
13) Sprinkle sauce on top
14) Spinkle rest of mozz and parm on top
15) Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Eat for a week.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

On actually being a parent

Parenting can be pretty hard for me. I worked tirelessly for three years (when the girls were 2-5), entertaining them, teaching them how to use the bathroom, how to eat and drink, how to wipe, how to make their beds. I played with them endlessly. From getting their balls that rolled under the couch, to building lego towers, to pretending to be a scary witch who would lock them in a make-believe tower should they be caught. My entire days, for those three years, basically consisted of me staring at their darling little faces. And they needed that.

Then in their fifth year, they gained a little independence. They would go out and play with the neighborhood kids, they could sit still for a 2-hour movie, they could construct hours-long make believe games on their own.

So, they went off to kindergarten and I started grad school. They joined capoeira and I started writing regularly as a freelancer. I published books, I made contacts, I got into publications. At long last! My life was set to begin again! I filled my to-do list with things FOR ME TO DO, cleaning, housework, homework, writing, pitching, publishing, going to the gym. The time we had for interaction dwindled.

And I celebrated!

It's not that I don't like hanging out with my kids, I really do. It's that I had literally put my life on hold to raise them. And I prematurely thought I was done.

And when I found out that I was wrong, I didn't handle it right.

They started misbehaving. Not wanting to be left to their own devices. They still wanted my attention (being only six, after all), and started clamoring for it by fighting, giving me attitude and resuming the tantrums they had thrown as toddlers.

Instead of nipping this in the bud, I rebelled myself, like I also was a petulant child. I'd finally gotten a taste of freedom, a promise of what my life could be. I didn't want to give it up. I had things to do.

So, I grew snappish with them. They'll literally cry for my attention, or poke each other's eyes out, or look at each other or breathe on each other, you know, all the earth-shattering things little kids can do to each other.

They can no longer play nicely. Hell, they can't even watch TV in the same room for more than ten minutes without attempting to kill one another. And instead of nipping these fights in the bud, redirecting them or funneling their energy into a different activity, I grow annoyed. Why can't they play? What is going on? So I break it up in a negative manner, send one or the other to her room for five minutes, then she comes out and they do it again.

I don't enjoy their company, and I don't get anything done. Then I blame them. Then they blame me. And we all live in a hellish mockery of a home.

So, this week, I restructured. After totally losing it about my kids, and my writing, and my school and my stress, and my illnesses (my body has been breaking down all over the place), I took a step back and re-prioritized.

Yes, it's great that I can "work from home" and "be a writer". That is fantastic. It's great my kids can feed themselves and dress themselves and (sometimes) entertain themselves. But they're not ready to be understanding enough to just go do their own thing, and me pushing them to do that without giving guidance will clearly end in tears.

So, I dialed back a bit. In fact, it's 5 p.m. and this blog is the only thing I've written all day. I started it at 10 a.m., and have been able to get in a sentence here and a sentence there. Very reminiscent of when the girls were three, in fact.

I've toned down my efforts in grad school. Maybe I'll only get Cs this semester instead of As. Oh  well.

Because none of that other stuff matters if I can't bring up children who know their boundaries and have the ability to keep themselves busy and happy without needling me or each other.

To get that, I have to do what is counter intuitive and actually spend more time with them, not less.

And really, it's not that much more time since when I'm trying to ignore them because I'm on deadline, I have to spend nearly as much time disciplining them as I spent with them today...only it's all negative.

So, yeah. More time on the kids, not less. But the time must be spent teaching them how to play without me. By playing with them. On paper it makes no sense.

But based on today, it just might work.

And then, maybe in a few more years, I'll be able to write like I want to write. Maybe. Or maybe not.



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