Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (16)

These are the happy ending to my gardening adventures - Tiny Tims, sweet golds, and Juliets. I didn't think the Tiny Tim plant was producing, because its squat determinate plant got buried under the monster indeterminate vines of everything else (especially the sweet golds.) But I poked under there, and it had a bunch of teeny tiny Tims! They are such a weird cherry tomato - they taste just like a big, meaty beefsteak (not sweet at all) but are sooooo small. It's actually been very interesting to taste these cherry varieties next to each other, makes me feel like a tomato connoisseur. The sweet golds are definitely the sweetest this year, the Juliets taste and feel very much like a roma, and the sweet 100s are just your average tomato (this year.) I have three larger tomatoes ripening, can't wait to put them on a sandwich!
This is a before picture of my weed harvest. I don't recommend letting your garden grow to look like this - it takes hours to change it's appearance. And when you put in those hours, the plants you wanted will be stunted, sad, and less than productive :(
As I weeded, I disturbed at least 10 nests of these little red and black beetles. They didn't seem to be hurting anything, but it was creepy to lift a plant out, and see them swarm out of the cracks in the ground.
Here's the "after" picture of the back half of my plot. Dying corn because we didn't water, dead potato plants we should dig up soon, anemic bean plants with overly mature beans that were not picked, and a few cucurbits also suffering from lack of water, with a few flowers, but no fruit.

I don't have any pics of my kinders helping me garden this week, but Bean has been eating peas from the garden (he likes the edible pods more than the peas inside, which actually I do, too.) He also helped me kill some of the slugs that I find feasting on my cabbages every morning - what can I do about slugs? The BTK isn't meant for them, only the looper caterpillars. As the nights get longer and cooler, I feel summer slipping away, and after the weeding fiasco, I've given up on any upkeep, only harvest!

Please check out everyone else's updates at Kim's blog! Hopefully this next week I'll sneak away one morning (when I'm not exhausted by waking up with a newborn) to do her early morning photo assignment :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mama Bean often doesn't mind the 45 minute drive home at all

When I left work, the clouds were pale yellow. Fluffy in a cartoon way, the way that spells rain, and backlit by the setting sun, with bright white edges. An actual silver lining. A swoosh of cotton ball storm came out from the east. There were too many layers of weather happening at once. By the time I turned west, a thick rain cloud had squatted itself directly in front of the sun, its silver lining blazing like burning metal, sunlight streaming through cracks in the rafts of cloud, and to the north I saw the flat gray paintbrush of rain and wind, a backdrop for lightning. If I was the type of person who thinks saccharine things like, "This must be what Heaven looks like" that's what I would have been thinking. If I were that type of person...

It can be heart-rending to see that big sky every evening I drive home. When I am tired from giving to my work, and annoyed by some who take too much, and a little worried about what the night may hold, in terms of interrupted sleep, in terms of inane minute-counting, I don't have a mind big enough to really see so much sky. But my soul, emptied in the peculiar way that my soul-fulfilling work has (It's hard to explain, but I think parents understand. Is it weird to equate how I care for my patients is like how a mother loves a child?) is desperate for the view. And so I pull over to the side, internally berate myself for leaving my fancy new camera at home, and drink it up.

The cartoon clouds around the sun are still white-edged, and the cotton swoop is bearing down, filtering out the heaven-streaks. Along the horizon, an edge of storm gray has gathered, is gathering, feeding into that north and east expanse of single layered heaviness. Below this bank, the sky is orange, dusty. It is the sky of the setting sun, if the clouds weren't getting in the way. It is a reminder that the sky still happens behind, above, around the clouds. We may not see it, except in glimpses, but somewhere on that side of the storm, someone is enjoying a gloriously bright sunset. I have people on the other side of the storm, and I send up a little prayer for them, and drive on.

When I turn northward, the storm is all I can see, but I turn to follow what's happening to the light. It is progressively crowded out, now only a shaft of yellow is reaching onto the storm. It is like a flashlight seeing how far it can reach into the forest. It shows the texture of the storm - this one is woolen and slate, and if I could, I would curl up in it to sleep. I want to turn west again before the light is totally gone - when I get there, all I can see is that strip of orange below the cloud bank, and then, the sun comes below the storm. All above and behind me is gathering dark, but the sun is still setting, and I don't understand how I can be blinded by light and dark at the same time. Everywhere I look, I can't see. By the time I reach the city, the streetlights have turned on. And the lightning has begun.

The weather is making people drive like idiots, or moreso. No one is doing the speed limit, they are all gawking. I scoff (only a little) because what can you see of the sky in the city? It is bounded, by roads and light noise, and buildings buildings everywhere. Even the low profile of this Prairie Valley City is enough to get in the way of Prairie Sky grandeur. I just want to get home, before the rain starts (oh please let the rain start.) My soul is full now, I want to see my children.

The rain starts. In sheets, driven. The back spray off the pavement hazes the road, and there is steam, because the ground was hot today. I can hear my garden sobbing in relief. My husband worries how my tomatoes will handle it, but I don't care.

It's amazing what can change in forty-five minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mama Bean and Papa Bean listened to Sprout scream for an hour last night (also, some thoughts on heart pantries...)

When my kids are happy, and being cute, my love for them is right at the surface, it's "easy." I don't have to dig too far into my psyche to feel it. I just look at their smiling eyes, and it's right there, reflecting back at me: Pure. Love. And those moments, oh how they feed a mother's soul, am I right? We store those moments away, in the heart's pantry, for a rainy day... ("the heart's pantry"? Did I honestly just write that?!)

Ooh those rainy days. When my kids are unhappy, or being less-than-cute, I have to dig a little deeper. I have to look down, past the (mis?)behaviour and the feelings, and really pull up on my love for them, and heave it up up up to me, and sort of internally inhale. Re-oxygenate my mothering soul. And then exhale (slowly slowly) the frustration and the exhaustion and the mother hurt.

Okay, examples. Bean has lately discovered spitting out liquids. For fun. He dribbles water onto the floor, onto his lap, onto his parents, whatever. He doesn't find it uproariously funny or anything, he's just kind of... exploring? Seeing what happens? He's being a(n almost) 2-year-old. I don't really think he's doing it for a reaction, and we're trying not to give him one, but it's so ugh. Like, I can handle pee and poop but for some reason saliva makes me squiggy? I'm weird. And I'm trying to go all Positive Parenting about it, and look for the underlying reasons or feelings or unmet needs or whatever. And I'm thinking, as I wipe it up, that in this moment, that Pure Love reflection is a little clouded, a little slimed, y'know? I have to dig down and pull up...

Last night, Sprout screamed for an hour before falling asleep. We don't know why, maybe burps, maybe farts, some incarnation of the Eeeeevil Gassesses. She hasn't had a bad evening for a long time, and this time definitely felt like one of the most (if not The Most) intense. She gets so upset, she chokes on her own teary mucus :( We tried swaddling and not swaddling, soother and no soother, upright and tummy and laying back and in between. I gave her a tummy massage. Mostly, we just held her until it was over. We all have evenings like this, right? And it was hard, to dig past the frustration and the ugly thoughts and the please-just-be-quiet, to pull up the love...

Have you ever been the jerk that tricks someone into pulling and pulling and pulling on something and then suddenly letting go, so all their effort rolls over them and they fall backward with the force of it? I have older brothers, so this happened to me a lot. Or that trick where you push your arms against a door-frame and hold hold hold and then suddenly step out and your arms float up involuntarily with incredible weightlessness?

When I carried Sprout up to bed, and marveled at how her long body no longer curls against my body, but rather curls around me, so big and stretched out and five-months-old (gah!), it was like whatever I was pulling against suddenly let go, it was like stepping out of the door-frame. All the love I was digging down for just rushed up and smacked me in the face and soul and heart (and yes, even the heart pantry /sigh.) I nursed her and brushed her sweaty hair from her face until her dark eyelashes rested on her cheeks again, and thought about the calm after the storm. The clarity. The Love Rush.

We always love our children, but we don't always love parenting. When I complain about some parenting thing, and some status bubble burster comes along to remind me to "cherish every moment" I kind of internally scream (or externally, Papa Bean can definitely attest to some external screaming...) Because, like, yes of course I always cherish my children, but sometimes this parenting gig is not all that cherishable.

And we already know this from all our other relationships - from our family and friends and spouses. I always love my husband, but I don't always feel it. When PB is being sweet and handsome, my love-y feelings for him are very immediate and present and right there, at the surface of my smiling face. But when I'm tired and out of resources or patience and I'm annoyed with him, oi, those bad feelings can really cloud over my decision to love him.

But I do think it's different with children, the effect is maybe more pronounced, because my relationship to them is so much more permanent. As in, there is the possibility within the universe that PB and I could decide not to be spouses anymore (it's a microscopic possibility, don't worry ;) but no matter what, my kids are my kids. So that undercurrent of love, whether surface-immediate or sunken-deep, has a unique constancy.

I hope you're having a bubbly, happy kind of day, but if you're not, if you're having a dig-deep, pull-up kind of day, well... I hope you get to step out soon, and stop hold hold holding, and feel the weightlessness of Love lift your arms, and make carrying your child (physically and metaphorically) easier. Soon.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (15)

I will try to be less depressed than last week. Who can be depressed when beautiful cucumber tendrils are snaking across sunlit leaves, promising... promising things?
On the other hand, who wouldn't be depressed with this weed-ridden garden plot? If you have a particularly keen eye, you can sort of see rows of bean plants in there - lots of flowers, but because we've had no rain, and because I am too busy and too lazy to haul buckets for an hour every day to water my plot, nothing is turning into beans. But I am undaunted. I think I'm learning that every year of gardening is going to be unique in it's own way until I'm many more decades into it, and one more rainy year or one more hot year won't feel like The Worst Year Ever anymore. Ha!
Bean likes to help! Here he is helping Papa Bean wrap up our row-marker tool. I'd left it marking the final row of carrots I planted and just never cared enough to wind it up. And then when we visited this last week, the line was getting overwhelmed by weeds and some carrots, too! Tell me something - do carrots from a dry year taste different? Like cucumbers without enough water are bitter, and radishes with too much water are spicy, so what about carrots?
Papa Bean accosted my new camera and took pictures of me picking peas. They're pretty tasty, just not many of them. We'll have to get in another picking tomorrow, maybe. You can see Bean on the side there, helping by pushing Sprout in the stroller. It's one of his favourite things to do. He only gets completely a little bit in the way while he's doing it.
These are the flowers on the volunteer cucumber plant by our BBQ. Fingers crossed they'll fruit in time to mature before cold weather hits. The other volunteers seem to be acorn squash, but weirdly hybridized and spotty/stripey. I've had a slew of male flowers with no females to put their pollen onto, now I see a bunch of female flowers coming up, but I'm not sure if any males will be around for them (gah!) I love to eat cucurbits, and I love the way they grow, but they do seem so prone to whims of... plants. The whims of plants are not that whimsical, turns out.
This is another volunteer I just noticed today by our compost bins in their new location. Yes, I only noticed it when it got this big. Let's say I'm good at filtering out the plants I don't want to see - my eyes see, but my mind ignores. Anyway, there's no way this will flower and fruit in time, but I would've liked to see what kind of tomato it was that held on so tenaciously in our compost.
I finally have an eggplant growing! At least, I think this is a viable, growing eggie. So far all the pretty purple flowers have just bloomed and shriveled. I don't know how to nurse an eggplant, but I'll do whatever I can for this little guy. At least for my plot at home, watering is easy and close and, most importantly, happens.
Don't these leaves look like a cartoon? Our front shrubs flowered crazily this year, and now they're shooting off all these new branches with these crazy cartoon coloured leaves. I've got to trim them soon, the branches are blocking our front door, and Bean gets scared, in that little two-year-old way, of long grasses and branches touching him. He'll go fearlessly wandering around some plants or something, then realize those very same plants are now blocking his way back to mama, and gets all antsy and agitated. It's pretty cute, but don't tell him that ;)
After taking the pictures of our shrubs, I noticed our neighbour's shrub, which is a totally different type of plant, also has crazy cartoon colouring this year. Weird, right? Like, these bushes have different branching, different flowers, different leaf shapes, different... weird. I have to say I've really appreciated how KinderGARDENs gives me a focus for my picture taking. Like, when you're just running around with a camera, kids and life give you any number of things to photograph, in a really undirected way. But having a project (creating a post each week) gives me reasons to push the shutter, it directs me eye, y'know? I really like it :) And I'll miss it when it's over for this year.
Sprout likes to play with her toes. That's all. I mean, she likes lots of things. I just meant that's all I have to say about this. Without gushing about how cute she is and how much I love her nose and and well, you know.
I pick tomatoes every day, three types so far, Juliet, Sweet Gold and Sweet 100s. They are all rather thick-skinned this year, maybe from the heat (?) The sweet 100s are not as sweet at the first year, the Juliets are like small romas (so maybe I can sauce them?) and the sweet golds are truly little jewels, if I leave them to ripen to a deep, rich, goldenrod. I am trying to teach Bean to only pick the colourful ones, but a few green ones come off the vine regardless. He loves to pick them, and bites into each one, even though he doesn't like them. My son, the optimist, "Maybe this one will taste good. Maybe this one!" I also planted a Tiny Tim plant, but it's getting shaded out by the bigger vines, so the teeny tiny tomatoes under there may not ripen. I've also seen, deep in the tomato jungle, some of the Ultra Sweets, they look the perfect size, I'm so excited. Sadly, our pepper plants are also being shaded by the tomato monsters, so no peppers this year.
This is his face after biting into yet another one. He is also perturbed by the seed fluff on top of that green tomato. It's another of these new little toddler freak out things - they pick the strangest things to be scared of.

Kim's on vacation, but everyone else is still posting their garden updates - check it out!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mama Bean's Chiropractic ego is a bit bruised tonight

I am having an off week en generale and in specific at work. (En generale because Sprout had a bad night before my early work morning and that just made everyone tired and cranky...) Yesterday and today, I've had a string of patients return for second treatments of problems they presented with last week (Thursday and Friday of last week, in particular). They are returning because their problems are not better or have worsened. Tonight, after the fifth or sixth such incident, I started to take it a little personally.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, it's just that usually I make people feel better. That's, like, my job. (Oh oh Chiro friends, please don't lecture me about Innate. For the purposes of this post, it's my job, okay?) Usually, if people come back for a second treatment, it's a week later, and they tell me they feel better but it's still there a bit, or they feel better but they just want to be sure. Or they come back in a month for a regular tune-up and tell me how great they've felt. Or they don't come back for awhile, for whatever reason, and that's just life. But overall, I do my job, and folks come back and tell me I've done it well. Good for the ego, my job is.

Except when it isn't. Like when a gobsmack of patients come in after four days and tell me I didn't do squat. Oof.

It's hard not to question myself - what was happening last week? Was I not paying attention, was I not fully present, was I half asleep? (I have a baby, I am frequently tired, this is not beyond the realm of possibility...) I have doubts, and then I feel terrible. These people trust me, with their money, with their health, with their bodies.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons why this has nothing to do with me. Sometimes (often) one treatment is not enough. And for some of the folks this week, we're dealing with significant injuries that I should know will take more time to resolve. It is much more likely that this is all a case of bad timing, because in any given week I'll have a patient or two with persistent or stubborn situations, and they don't cause me a crisis of self doubt - it's only that all these cases seem to have ganged up on me in a few short days.

This is a paradox of Chiropractoring for me. My Chiropractic education drilled into me that people are their own healers - that this is what our bodies are designed to do! Fix! And so the Chiropractor cannot get too proud or too invested in their abilities, because fundamentally, the patient is the real Healer. On the other hand, I don't do nothing! (Obviously, I hope...) Chiropractors move things that need moving, remove Interference that's getting in the way of Healing. We do Something! (How's that for a professional motto? "Chiropractors: We Do Something!")

Paradox. On the one hand, I wield influence over people's health. They come to me requesting aid, and I know I do Good. On the other hand, I am only one tiny part of their life - ten minutes in my office is followed by the next ten days of where they work and where they live and where they parent and where they have hobbies and where they sleep and where they wake up to do it all again. I have no control over all that other stuff (all my suggestions about ergonomics and stretches and icing aside.) So in that grand scheme of things, I bear comparatively little influence. It is a paradox to mentally balance my perceived impact on people's lives versus their expectations of my impact versus the realities of their daily lives. And somewhere in there is the true change an adjustment can bring. Which is real. Which is what they pay for.

Anyway, I continually find this to be the hardest patient education lesson to teach: I do Good for you, but you are responsible (and able! and naturally designed!) to do much more Good for yourself.

It is especially hard after a day like today. However! Tomorrow = new day, new opportunities. Tomorrow also = my day off (Huzzah!) And maybe that is exactly what my bruised self-confidence requires, so I can face Thursday with a bit more verve. And whatever it is that shadowed last Thursday will not re-create a dismal Tuesday like I had today.

(The picture is bachelor's buttons and poppy seedpods from a neighbour's plot at our community garden. This year, before we leave the garden, I am running around asking folks for seeds from their wildflowers - poppies, bachelor's buttons, borage, cosmos, lavatera, all of it!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (14)

I think I'm in the summer doldrums, folks. Is it the (unending, insufferable, relentless) heat? Oh probably. When I think of gardening these days, all I seem able to focus on is failure, and I feel like maybe this happens every year (in my soooooo grand total of three years gardening) around this time. Things have been growing long enough that I've forgotten the miracle of sprouts (oh those green specks against all that dark dark earth are so incredible!) and enough summer has passed (the days are shortening ack!) that I become convinced we'll have nothing to harvest.
This picture was taken after a brief rainfall one morning. Squash blossoms are beautiful, but almost none of mine are turning into fruit. That little green globe at the bottom left has already yellowed and shriveled from lack of pollination. Despite tonnes of bees around! Despite this particular plant growing next to a bush of lambs' ears that attracts swarms of bees every day! Ugh. The cucurbits at the big garden are not growing, not flowering, not fruiting. They need water, and I have no time to provide it. I love cukes, squash, and melon, all of it, I love them, and I was so excited for the haul this year. Last year, it was the unending, insufferable, relentless rain that got me down - this year, the lack thereof. If every year I'm to suffer beneath the tyranny of weather, I may simply be unsuited to this level of melodrama.

Those evil looper butterflies are going MAD this week, they are every. where. Can you see the tiny eggs on the leaves in that upper picture? All over my cabbages! I wiped those off with glee, GLEE I tell you! mwahaha The lower picture was taken after that same brief (why why so brief) rainfall. If we can all ignore the holes in the leaves, can we all agree that's one beautiful cabbage right there? /sigh. We've been treating them with BT (I'm telling myself it's almost natural...) so I think maybe there's no new damage to the heads, and the holes in the outer leaves are just from before we started treating. I'm trusting the inner parts of these cabbages will not be mush and worm poop by summer's end. And I'm daydreaming what to make with them, to lift my spirits - I think some coleslaw, and some cabbage rolls, and some corned beef and cabbage, and maybe some "spring rolls" with cabbage skins instead.
This is one of my edamame - they seem too flat to me, but I'm hoping they plump up, and I'm not at all sure when to pick them. Cute little fuzzy thing, though. The legumes at the big garden suffer from the dryness - the beans were flowering, but I haven't even been out again to see if that's turned into beans yet, and they're so overcome with weeds, who knows if I could see the beans to pick them at this point. The peas flowered briefly and made flat little snow peas. Except I didn't plant snow peas. So I assume the lack of water is to blame for that, also. Maybe this evening, I can pop out for a picking.
This is one of several (like, twenty or so) funnel webs on my lawn - the spiders love the dry weather, and it has driven the ants back underground (during last year's wet conditions, all the ant hills emerged above ground, making infuriating mounds in the grass). It's amazing how gardening makes you so much more aware of insect life in your yard - I've been enjoying the other KinderGARDENers photos of their buggies. My remaining update is this: we'll have no corn this year, and the plants didn't grow high enough to be the wind break they were intended to be. Our potatoes were not hilled, which will compromise our yield, and they'll be small from lack of water, but potatoes we will get, and at least one row of them was grown to be donated. Our beans remain to be seen lol. Our onions I think are okay, and we have some at home doing fairly well; a row of them will also be donated. Our carrots are patchy and I have no idea if the lack of water is making for small roots, but we'll see. My cucurbits, as mentioned, do nothing. I have tiny kohlrabis, I have some basil, I have lots of chard, actually. What should I do with chard? And the peas also remain to be seen.
Here's one of the (always) bright spots, my sweet boy. Even when we turn our backs for a minute and he uncaps his breakfast smoothie and proudly pours it all over himself (all the better to lick off himself, of course) he is a bright spot :)
And here's the other (always) bright spot, my sweet girl with her sweet pursed lips and tiny button nose. I get lost in those eyes, and I forget about weeds and rain, and just smile at her smiles.
If my tomatoes grow like this every year, I can almost forgive the rest of the garden for being stupid. These plants have been amazing, the branches are bending to the ground from the weight of the fruit. They're all cherry plants, so they mature early, and I eat a cup or so every evening. But I think that's about to explode, because there are an awful lot of green ones all at the same stage of ripening, so I'll be drowning in sweet 100's soon enough. This is a good problem to have :) Thank goodness for the tomatoes, or I'd be giving up on gardening for sure (no not really. I'm addicted. It's a sickness, perhaps you're afflicted, too?) And, because my little monkey man must monkey-see-monkey-do, I had to teach him to only pick the yellow or red ones, and surprisingly, he has listened. Won't eat them, though haha. His dad is to blame for that.
This was a salve for my gardening ego, as well. I went searching back through my photos for the first few pics of the volunteers that sprouted where the compost bins used to be. From L to R, that's June, July, and August. They probably won't make fruit, but it is amazing just to see what has grown - a miracle! Gardening is humbling in so so (so so so) many ways, and maybe these August doldrums are precisely meant by God to remind us of that. At least that's what I'll tell myself!
(Did you even know chickens and hens flower?! This stalk is over a foot tall. Apparently the blooms can be red, but ours were not, unless the heat/dryness somehow shocked this one out of its normal progression. It's been very fun waiting for it to bloom. Also, I got a new camera. All of this week's pics were taken with a Nikon 3100. I don't suppose it's a very obvious difference in the pics from our Canon point-and-shoot, but it has been a pleasure to use, and that's really why I bought it.)

Please head to Kim's for the other Kinder posts! Also, over forty pounds of food have already been donated!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mama Bean is all Reinforcement-ed out

My Intro to Psychology course taught me that Reinforcement is the way a person's reaction to a behaviour encourages repetition of that behaviour - it reinforces continuation of the behaviour. Basically, we all like to get a reaction. And when we do, it encourages us to keep doing That Thing That Got The Reaction.

(For example, when I blog, and you write a comment, I like getting that reaction. So I keep blogging! Now hopefully, when you comment, and I keep blogging, you like that reaction, so you keep commenting. Reinforcement can be Reciprocal! W00t :P)

There are different flavours of Reinforcement, Positive and Negative. Positive Reinforcement is when we react to things we like, to encourage continued performance of things we like. (See above re: blogging and comments.) Negative Reinforcement is when we react to things we don't like, which encourages performance of things we don't like, and that's why it's Negative and Bad.

And so Behaviourism 101 tells us: react to things you like to encourage things you like (Do Positive Reinforcement) and don't react to things you don't like, so you won't encourage things you don't like (Don't Do Negative Reinforcement.)

Reinforcement has turned this momma upside down! It's this weird parenting reinforcement paradox around here, and it makes me want to scream, except I can't because that would probably negatively reinforce something-or-other-idontevenknowwhat!

I cannot be the only parent going through this.

On any given day, I am going out of my mind with excitement for things that, in the Real World of Adult Interactions are normal and natural and nothing to get excited about. I'm going cuckoo for Pleases and Thank-yous. I'm going gaga for Sharing and Not Hitting. I'm jumping up and down and all around for Listening to My Words and Using Your Words. I am cuckooing and gagaing and jumping up and down because I want to Positively Reinforce all these lovely behaviours from my Bean. And it's become so ingrained in everything I do, I excitedly positively reinforce things from Sprout, who understands few motivations more complicated than, say, Hungry and Tired. So I'm grinning and mugging for Good Nursing or Sitting Quietly While Mom Makes Dinner.

And on the flip side, I am quietly and carefully having internal fits over things that, in the Real World of Adult Interactions are not normal or natural and are forsure something to get excited about. I'm calmly providing food to a mouth that Spits it out or Throws it on the floor. I'm placidly wiping poop while legs Continually Kick Me. I'm oh-so-gently carrying the Cranky and the Crying and Won't Go to Sleep up to his bed to sleep anyway. Without reacting. Because I don't want to reinforce these less-than-lovely behaviours. And again, it extends to Sprout, so that I suppress my reaction to anything unpleasant, like the poop explosions or the fussypants or the spitting up down the back of my nice shirt that I just changed into for going to work, even though she has less than zero concept of what Reinforcement is even about.

It's like living backwards, amiright?

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like I gave up half my brain when I gave birth. Sometimes I find cynical thoughts running through my head, "I have a university degree. I have a doctorate! People rely on me to make life-changing decisions about their health! Why am I dancing like a clown because he ate two more bites of green beans than he ate yesterday? Why am I crowing in victory over unintelligible "words"? Why for the love of Pete am I pantomiming for this tiny tiny human tyrant?!"

Oh right. Because I gave up half my brain and gained a couple extra pounds of Heart-bursting Love. /sigh.

Anyway, it's not that it's so so infuriating, more like a disembodied feeling at the end of some days, when I feel like I actually have not Been Myself, because instead I've been participating in this parenting paradox of Reinforcement Win. And I know it's all worth it in the end, that eventually they will do the Pleases and Thank-yous and Sharing without needing a Cheering Section. And they will learn to self-regulate negative behaviours, too. And by then we'll be trying to cheer them on in more sincere ways and they'll be adolescents who no longer care about our opinion lol. Not to mention, by that point, solving negative behaviours will be so much more complicated than simply quietly ignoring them ha!

Oi. Parenting. Please tell me about the silly things you go crazy about to positively reinforce - or, even better, tell me what you've been trying to ignore to avoid negatively reinforcing it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mama Bean stews in Disappointment, and blogs for your edification

You know, there are so many things we do differently in this electronic age. We communicate differently, we spend our money and our leisure time differently, we raise our kids differently. It's all so different. For so many of these new things, the rules are still being written. It feels like some kind of Brave New World. And as a momma, I wonder how I'm going to teach my kids to navigate this world, and still behave in a proper and respectful way. Sometimes I wish there was just some sort of Guide or Book - Here! Read this! And you will never make a mistake on the Internet EVAR!

Haha. If only.

Let me present this scenario, which is woven through and through with Sour Grapes, so keep that in mind - but let me present it anyway, for the google searches of the future, for the people out there looking for the Dos and Don'ts of this Brave New World; When you're selling something on kijiji, don't tell someone they can buy your thing and then sell it to someone else. (In fact, when you're selling something anywhere, but for the sake of this post, we'll talk about the great K.) If the Great Rule Book of the Interwebz is ever written, I think that should be in there.

Shall I get more specific? I shall. Let's say Seller wants to sell a Doodad, and lists it on kijiji for $45 OBO. Let's say Buyer A offer $40. Let's say Seller says, sure I'll take $40. Let's say Buyer A asks for a pickup location and time. Let's say Seller doesn't answer. Let's assume (accepting the inherent risks of ass-making of u and me) Seller has received a better offer from Buyer B. Let's say Buyer A asks again for a pickup location and time the next day. Let's say Seller has already sold the Doodad to Buyer B.

Let's say Buyer A feels angry.

Just for an example.

When you're selling something on kijiji, don't tell someone they can buy your thing and then sell it to someone else.

There are no rules in the wild wild west of the online garage sale that is kijiji. It's all Seller and Buyer beware - we're all flying by the seat of our pants up in here! But I think there can be an appeal to human decency, and here it is, my appeal, "Please, don't do that! Don't be a jerk!" I know there isn't some Terms of Use that was clicked on without being read (because nobody reads those things, srsly) that says you have to be nice. I know we're not business people, and there's no public way in which buyers can offer feedback about sellers, and there's no obligations for anyone to do anything but buy and sell their crap. I know. But in the interest of Keeping the Peace...

Shall I get specific again? I shall. Let's say Seller heard from Buyer B(etter offer), but had already agreed to sell to Buyer A(waiting purchase). Let's say Seller is excited about the better offer, but realizes it's necessary to chat with Buyer A first. There's no rule that says Seller must abide by the terms with Buyer A, but there's also no rule saying Seller can't negotiate new terms. And in the interest of Keeping the Peace, with a little effort, new terms are easy enough to secure. Let's say Seller tells Buyer A about the better offer, and Buyer A is unwilling to pay full price (or match the better offer, whatever). Buyer A says no thanks, Seller still sells Doodad. Let's say Buyer A is willing to pay full price, or more out of gratitude to Seller for being such a nice person. Buyer A is a happy camper, and Seller still sells Doodad. A little extra effort for the sake of Keeping the Peace, and money and goods still exchange hands.

To be fair, there's a disappointed party in each scenario. But it's my blog, so I'm writing from Disappointed Scenario A(ngry). And I realize the caveat "OBO" gives sellers plenty of leeway, in the online and offline worlds of business. I totally agree that any Seller has the right to get as much money as possible for their Doodad. I wouldn't be writing this if I hadn't been told my offer had been accepted. And I also wouldn't be writing this if the solution to avoiding disappointment and hurt feelings wasn't so simple as whipping off a few extra emails.

Bottom line, I just don't think it's okay to tell someone they can buy your thing and then sell it to someone else.

So, Buyer B(etter offer), I hope you enjoy your Doodad. I'm off to search for a different Doodad to buy. And at least this situation has provided the Internet with one nugget of Webizen etiquette for all posterity. Say it with me, kids! Don't tell someone they can buy your thing and then sell it to someone else.

/ end rant.