Tag Archives: kids

Gratitude: Age

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Here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Unless you are The Man. Sometimes he gets pretty close.

This is a weird, hard one for me, because we do live in a culture that worships youth and denigrates middle age, particularly when that age is exhibited in people who appear female, and also because my own internal childhood pretty much lasted until the age of 35, so I only had 5 years to adjust to adulthood before middle age started kicking me in the face.  Among other body parts. Although they’re faint in this picture, the vertical lines above the inside corner of each eye are the ones that make me feel it. They’re worry/squinting lines, and the older I get, the more worrying/squinting I seem to do.

So I remind myself that age has its privilege. Nearly everyone over 30 rejoices in what I call “over-30 brain,” which is a phenomenon that hits most reasonable people around their 30th birthday. Basically, by the age of 30, if you have been paying any attention to your surroundings for most of your life, you find that you have achieved general life competency. That is, whatever happens around you, you realize that you have either seen something like this before, or heard about it, or read about it, and that your experience gives you the necessary information to know what to do next to handle that situation. It’s way better than being 20 and just pretending you have any clue what you’re doing. (I guess 20-year brain is the one that’s thrust into grown-up roles and responsibility despite the fact that it knows it’s still not fully developed, and is desperately trying to convince the other brains around it that it’s competent and grown up.)

Today’s events reminded me how great it is not to be a child. I mean, being a child has a lot of great perks, but probably an equal number of drawbacks. Consider homework. You’re a kid; you probably hate it. You probably don’t want to do it. You probably try to get out of it. You probably fail. And then maybe you end up with 8 days left in the semester with 3 weeks’ worth of work to catch up on if you’d rather be promoted than attend summer school, and now you have this insane weight of awful work on your plate.

And if you are the kids living in this house, you are both on indefinite electronics restrictions until you finish the pages and pages of work you blew off in the last couple weeks.

Of course, being the adult in this scenario, chained to the supervision of sullen and probably crying adolescents, your situation is not optimal, but all in all, I’d rather be the supervising adult than the crying kid.

So, I’m grateful that I don’t have attend to all the steps leading up to the acquisition of a high school diploma. (Now, if someone wanted to pay for me to go back to graduate school, I’d be pretty excited about homework, but that’s a totally different situation.) I’m going to make myself grateful for my age.

A Perfect Circle

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Of course, in 30 years, they’ll teach it in  completely different way than you learned, but at least you’ll be able to empathize with your child’s frustration.

There have seriously been moments in my marriage when the greatest stressor we faced as a couple was the elementary math curriculum. I never mastered anything beyond algebra myself, and of course mathematics education just looked a lot different in the ’80s. The Man is pretty good at math—he can do calculus—but he doesn’t know how to teach little kids like I do. So sometimes the only way for the Girl to get her homework done is for The Man to explain it to me so I can explain it to her. I wasn’t sure how funny this joke was, but I told it to one of the volunteer moms and the librarian at my library and they both laughed.

Presumably, knowing algebra is something of an achievement, because I still scored in the 66th percentile on the math section of the GRE despite being, of course, a liberal arts major. That means I’m better at math than 66% of all people who have, or are about to have, completed a bachelor’s degree and hope to attend graduate school. This tells me that most people must not know any math at all.

There’s also a little joke here about the kind of helicopter parents who would call the school to challenge the basic curriculum because their kid didn’t like it, because these people exist. They are not uncommon today, but that’s another thing you didn’t see too much of in the ’80s.

Playhouse

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All things considered, the results are pretty pleasing.

This being one of my favorite stories in the book, I wanted to really do it justice. Unfortunately, today was the day that all my equipment decides to rebel: both the computer and the Wacon tablet failed over and over again, in a variety of new and enraging ways. I must have unplugged and replugged the tablet a hundred times, and closed and opened Photoshop fifty times, and rebooted the box twenty-five times. Hundreds of times I had to go back because the tablet either did something I didn’t tell it to do, or didn’t do something I did tell it to do, or just didn’t do anything at all because the power cable is frayed and sometimes disconnects. It was the perfect storm of resistentialism. At least I’ve learned my lesson about saving everything all the time. If only I didn’t require so much technological assistance.

At this point, I’m leaning strongly toward using my savings to invest in entirely new machinery.

Despite all that, the comic seems right. Not sure if there will be a comic tomorrow. Gotta work out these gremlins before I spend another 8 hours cussing at a hunk of metal and plastic.

Special thanks to the Bear, who didn’t mind me freaking out on him and invading his home for tech support just before midnight.

ETA: I went back and fixed the 2 typos pointed out to me oh so gently and lovingly by the trolls at Reddit. I also gave Pinky some eyelashes in panel 6.

Superkids

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No adults were irrevocably scarred in the making of this webcomic.

Pop Quiz!

You are in your house. An adult is in the kitchen, cooking dinner. There are 3 burners lit on the stove, which is 5 steps away, in various directions, from the 3 separate counters where the ingredients have been prepared and the utensils are stored. You feel the need to wash your hands for a full 60 seconds, for the 4th time in 2 hours. Do you use:

A) The bathroom sink

B) The sink in the perfectly functional 2nd bathroom that you decided 7 years ago was creepy even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but you still refuse to you use it and have only ever set foot in its vicinity under extreme duress

C) The kitchen sink where the adult is attempting to drain a boiling pasta pot into a colander

If you answered C, congratulations! You may possess one of the myriad superpowers of childhood. You likely have the ability to look directly at a person who is holding a knife in one hand, a spatula in the other, and stirring a pot over a gas flame while walking back and forth between multiple points in the kitchen, and decide that that very best place for you to observe the action is the mathematical center of the room. You may even develop the extreme power of not having any idea that your actions are inconvenient or dangerous, despite having been told as much repeatedly over the entire span of your conscious life, including 3 times in the previous 3 minutes.

Ha ha. I exaggerate. But aren’t they so adorable when they’re asleep?

Goth Mom Knows How to Suffer

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You don’t understand me! You’re probably not even my real mom! You probably kidnapped me from my real mom! My real mom is probably Marilyn Manson! Or Bela Lugosi!

It’s slightly troublesome to me that I really have no clue where this comic came from. Usually there’s some gamete of an idea–an event, an action, a memory–that spawns each comic. Yeah, there was the sort of goth PTA mom in last week’s cannibalism comic, but that connection came to me afterward. First was just the idea of a goth mom offering an upset kid absinthe and laudanum (the eyeliner idea came later, too, on the realization that even goth mom wouldn’t start with the hard stuff). Then the thought of how the kid of a goth mom would respond (exactly like the kid of any other mom) and then the Taylor Swift thing (her music is just so joyful, even when she’s petty or angry) and finally goth dad, who, naturally, will always assume the worst. Maybe that was a line out of an Addams Family movie or something like that. But what could be worse for goth parents than a kid who listens to upbeat pop?

Not sure what they’ll do now that they assume the worst. Search the kid’s computer for evidence of a Pinterest account? Arrange an intervention? An exorcism?

I happen to know a fair number of goth parents and they all seem to be doing a pretty good job of it. They can dress their kids in skulls and pentacles until they’re about 5, and then the kid turns around and only wants to wear polo shirts or pink tutus or something like that. It’s hard to rebel against goth mom. But goth mom expects your betrayal. She’ll love you even if you become an investment banker or a priest. Goth mom understands that the world is cruel and nobody understands you. Goth mom understands that better than anybody.

Dragon Comics 140

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Or unmelted cheese, I would imagine. Any cheese, really.

Another little slice of life here in Dragon’s Cave.

By the way, the trick to homemade mozzarella sticks is to freeze the cheese after you’ve breaded it but before you fry it. Otherwise, it melts before the outside gets crispy and loses its shape and leaks out everywhere. Of course, some people like that sort of thing.

The experimental breading is basically just pakora batter without the spices: garbanzo flour, water, and salt. Very tasty. Makes light and fluffy mozzarella sticks. Pleasing to children and other cheese-eating organisms.

 

Brave Back-to-School Bulletin Board

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The great thing about this is that, the more you doubt it, the truer it is. Theoretically.

Once or twice a year, my insomnia gets so bad that it comes full circle and after a week of falling asleep around dawn, my circadian rhythms get pushed back so far that I literally miss my window of opportunity for that night and never get to sleep at all. Last night hurt. Probably by 10 a.m. or so I could have slept, but at that point it makes more sense to power through for another 12 hours and get back onto a schedule that puts me in alignment with the majority of humans.

But I had to make a bulletin board! On zero hours of sleep! Fortunately, I had hung the orange background Friday and cut all the letters Monday, so I just had to reinforce the background, space and attach each individual letter, and then get some graphic elements. Due to the no-sleep, walking-around-basically-hallucinating situation, the lion cubs somehow came out half the size they were intended to be but by that point my brain was done. I scarcely felt competent to hold scissors, let alone pilot a car, and I really needed to use the reserve for the driving part, since The Man randomly stopped by, hung out for a while, and then left the Girl in my keeping.

So, I feel like this design could have been 10 times better but I also feel like it’s good enough, and if I get tired of looking at it I can change it later. School starts Thursday in my district (the kids to the south went back last Thursday; the kids to the north, including the Boy and the Girl, start next Thursday). The teachers all seemed to like it.

Normally this is a weird color combination for me. I don’t care for orange unless it’s food and typically I only like secondary colors if they’re right next to their primaries, but it’s just as with the mandalas: I forced myself to choose a different color (orange, to go with the yellow lions) and then convinced myself that purple would stand out against orange, and it really did.