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Eric: It's raining in Dover, New Hampshire

It's raining in Dover, New Hampshire. I'm pressed up against a door, and extremely loud children are screaming nearby. I'm writing on deadline, which I'm not serving by writing this, but my head is throbbing and I need to relax, and sometimes venting is the only way to do that.

This is a cafe. The finest in New Hampshire, up until now. It has always been extremely homey, with random, almost junkyard furniture, and table lamps from random homes. College students and professionals hang out here, drinking well pulled espressos.

Only, tonight there is a Bible Camp that has brought the full load of their children in. There is no reason for it -- there's nothing to do here for a kid. There was, before -- in addition to the junk furniture, there were also piles of books and old games and the like everywhere.

That was then. Over the fourth of July weekend, the owner closed and put in all new, matching wooden furniture and uncomfortable wooden chairs. There's still a couple of couches, but they're not as inviting. He painted the walls in maroon and gold, and spruced everything up. The place looks like the bastard love child of Starbucks and Panera Bread, now.

It's night, and it's raining, and I'm writing on deadline, and nine year olds are in the room drinking espresso and screaming as loudly as they can. Screaming for Jesus. I want to tell them I was responsible for Jesus being depicted as a vengeful God casting people out for misusing grammar, but I don't think they'd understand.

There is a very pretty barista on tonight -- the first full on barista I've seen here. I don't just mean she knows how to pull a good latte. They all know that. No, this barista is the incarnation of surl. She has piercings, and tattoos, and cannot imagine what horrible acts she performed to deserve these children, tonight. She seems to like me -- she's mocked me, but that's what baristas do. But I'm an adult and I'm trying to write and I clearly don't like these children, and those are all positives in her book.

I don't have the heart to tell her that she seems every inch as much a child to me as the Biblical scholars. Somewhere in the past year I became old, and college Freshmen are still the same age. I envy her, tonight. I feel my age tonight.

It's raining, and I'm writing on deadline, and I have the same headache I had for three nights running tonight. It's a headache that means fever. I don't know why I've had a recurring fever, but I have. It broke last night and left me bathed in sweat and overheated for the entirety of the night straight into the morning. I should probably be home and asleep, but I have a deadline. And instead of working on that, I'm listening to children scream, at least sometimes about Jesus.

Their grammar is atrocious. This camp may have higher motivations, but effective communication isn't one of them. I mentally condemn them to Hell, one by one. This one shall burn for crimes against the language of Shakespeare and Twain and Faulkner. This one shall suffer for all eternity for desecrating the words that became Churchill's rhetoric, and Holmes's books, and Johnson's sermons. They are all damned, and their wardens -- I can scarcely call them teachers or even camp counselors -- will burn along side them. My God is not only a God of Faith but also Works.

When I was a Manager of Information Technology at our school, I used to mark up the e-mails students would send me and send them back. It was a terrific joke at the school. No one took it seriously, least of all the students in question. They too will burn, but I have faith and works.

And I have a headache, and a deadline, and an internet that's barely working in here. And it's raining in Dover, and my favorite cafe looks like Ronald McDonald was murdered in here.

It's going to be a late night.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at July 22, 2005 9:07 PM

Comments

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 22, 2005 9:37 PM

I shall one day build an empire under the banner of child-free dining.

Seriously. This is my concept. Explicitly no children allowed. They have plenty of places that are just for kids.

I'm okay with kids on principle, but having worked food service for this long and listening to them shriek and wishing death upon the parents who let them keep shrieking... no. It's okay when you're in and out and the kid's being a little rowdy, but if it's for like an hour (which I have had to suffer on several occasions), just... no.

(If I can't get away with totally kid-free, I will have a restaurant with a (soundproofed) "children" and a (much larger) "no-children" section.

Because, just like smoking, it's a life choice that sometimes interferes with the comfort of others. 8'P )

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 22, 2005 9:48 PM

I would be a patron. I would so be a patron.

Is it a bad sign that I finished every sentence I wrote in the last hour with "Aw, who cares, Dale?"

Comment from: Doug posted at July 22, 2005 11:02 PM

I'm not at all much of a one for any religion, but the thought of a God who would condemn you to eternal damnation for misusing a semicolon makes thoughts of turning to the succor worship promises even less attractive.

On the other hand, the thought of a God who could cast your damned soul into a pit of darkness, there to suffer eternal agony, because you brought loud, screaming children into cafe and let them drink highly caffinated beverages... I could get beind that sort of God, you bet!

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 23, 2005 12:00 AM

I don't have the heart to tell her that she seems every inch as much a child to me as the Biblical scholars. Somewhere in the past year I became old, and college Freshmen are still the same age. I envy her, tonight. I feel my age tonight.

There's a new Disney movie coming out with Kurt Russell.

But in this one he's the father.

Don't you talk to me about becoming old.

Comment from: Tangent posted at July 23, 2005 12:00 AM

Heh. Me, after spending the evening with a friend and her son, I went to Friendly's for a Jim Dandy Sundae. Unfortunately I was put in a little cubby to one side and thus wasn't able to people-watch, but the kids were down to a minimum, so I guess I didn't have to worry about screaming mini-Jesus-freaks. (Not saying that Christians are Jesus-freaks, just that kids are freaks in general. *grin*)

Rob, who wonders if coffee icecream counts as "coffee"...

Comment from: Polychrome posted at July 23, 2005 12:05 AM

I think the environment there is probably hampering your concentration. I think you would be better served to go somewhere else.

Comment from: Doc posted at July 23, 2005 12:13 AM

I would totally go to KS's restaurant, but I fear anywhere that is explicitly adults only would only serve to attract the drunken barely legal sort who I find only slightly less tolerable than children themselves. Might be able to scare them away by, here's a shocker, not playing a continous loop of top 40's or indeed any kind of music at all. Sorry that last ones just a pet peeve of mine, I'll move on now.

Oh and on an incredibly invasive note, Eric: when you *were* Manager of IT? I thought thats what you were now? Or was it Sys admin? My old school had one guy who just kind of did it all (and had the most excellent beard to boot) so I might have just subconciously assumed you did all that at once.

Or am I right that you have migrated to greener, or at least differently placed, pastures?

Comment from: Doc posted at July 23, 2005 12:14 AM

Ech just read over that post, sorry for the legions of grammar and spelling errors therein, in my defense I too am in fever country.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 23, 2005 12:16 AM

Doc -- I voluntarily swapped jobs with the school's System Administrator a year ago. It saved my sanity and, among other things, gave me sufficient mental capacity to start writing Websnark.

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at July 23, 2005 12:42 AM

You have an impressive talent for written scenery, Eric. I've got the place pretty well visualized in my mind.

Including, unfortunately, the Screaming Brats for Christ. Oy.

I recommend pulling one of them aside and explaining that the majority of Christian mythology - that which was not coopted from Judaism - was stolen either from the pagan religions of Northern Europe or from the cult of Mithra which dominated Roman theism before Constantine's institution of Christianity, and that therefore by worshipping Jesus they're in fact following the myths and methods of the heathens, and possibly condemning themselves to hell in the process.

But maybe I'm just bitter.

(Oh, and a story, the memory triggered by the emperor's name: My then-significant-other and I went to see Constantine (is italicism correct for movie titles? I can never remember) back when it came out. About five minutes into the movie, she goes "Oh! Wait a minute... I thought this was going to be about the emperor!")

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 23, 2005 12:48 AM

I have a small child. He's 3 years old, and is bright, articulate, and (generally) adorable. However, he is still THREE YEARS OLD. Do I take him to the kind of restaurants that have waiters with napkins over their arms, where they whisper by on silent feet and expect enormous tips for the amazing service they provide? Heck no.

There are rules for this sort of thing. You don't go to Chuck E. Cheese's and expect to get some writing done; by contrast, the crowd from Chuck E. Cheese's should not go to, for example, the coffee shop down the street where there are business persons and students and writers trying to get something accomplished. It's.. well, stupid. Not to mention rude. Did I mention it's stupid?

One pre-teen child in a place such as Eric's coffee shop isn't actually a problem, although a bored toddler, IMHO, is a disaster waiting to happen. An older child or teenager is likely to think such a place is "cool," or whatever they're calling it now, and thus tend to behave themselves. Note, that's ONE child. When you add other children into the mix you're multiplying the potential for screaming freaks-are-us.

Besides which, did I mention it's stupid to take children to a place which has a) nothing really for them to eat or drink and b) no entertainment value for them? You're asking for trouble. Obviously whoever was corralling these kids was not a parent, or at least, not one who generally handles such things as scouts or day care outings or birthday parties.

There are two reasons parents take kids to abysmal places such as the aforementioned Chuck E. Cheese's: 1) there are things for the pack of wild things (which is what any group of more than 2 children becomes) to DO, and thus keep them from tearing each other apart, and 2) no one who does not HAVE to come here to entertain said pack of wild things is going to be there to be traumatized by the experience. Also, it's easy. Easier, at least, than spending your evening fighting with them to be still when they're of an age where still is impossible for more than 5 minutes at a time, to be quiet when they're just beginning to learn the difference between "inside voices" and "outside voices." Easy isn't always better, of course; there are times and places where said battles are necessary, and I do believe that all children should be educated in how to visit a nice place without being jackasses.. but not at 3. And not with 20 kids at once. Never.

Which, of course, leads me back to people, in general, being stupid. Doing stupid things, not thinking through their actions, and generally not planning ahead, all of which inflicts suffering not only on those around them, but also on themselves.

At any rate, sorry for your pain, Eric. For despite being a mother, and generally enjoying the company of my child and my sisters' children, I too am likely to go berzerk when a group of children invade my quiet space because of a clueless teacher/counselor/parent's inability to determine what venues are appopriate for them. In fact, I've been known to walk over to such individuals and say "excuse me, do you realize that there are people trying to STUDY and work here? That's what we come here for. Please, either keep the ravenous horde down, or take them to Cici's next door, where they, and we, will be happier. Thank you."

Ah, well. Better times in the morning, I hope. Good luck with the deadline!

Comment from: Flower of December posted at July 23, 2005 1:38 AM

Somehow the whole "old" thing elude my mind. Despite the years that have passed I still feel like some fifteen year old, except for a pile of bills which my adolescent mind does not quite follow the workings of, but I pay them nonetheless.

Comment from: alienpriest posted at July 23, 2005 10:07 AM

EGAD! What are nine year olds drinking espresso for!?! Thats what you do just before you return a child to its disliked parents, but if youre herding a whole murder of kids, you want the horse tranquilizers, not the freaking espresso!

Comment from: Grumblin posted at July 23, 2005 10:27 AM

Well, the grammatical skill, or rather the general level of the use of english by "native speakers" encountered in their natural habitat or abroad (and any putative divine liguistic wrath), can be a laugh to us poor furriners, who spent a good number of years learning and using said language, yet are not allowed to class their linguistic ability in the language of Shakespeare, Poe and Lovecraft higher as "vocational competency" by the Powers that Be.

And can someone explain to me how teaching children in their formative years to "scream for jesus" differs from "terrorist indoctrination" as globally practiced by the other judean-derived religion on this ball of dirt, from a pavlovian educational point of view?

As for kids screaming in ...inappropriate places, Silverlark basicaly said it all already.

Mind, that would actually entail that said parents/guardians would have to take responsibility for their actions, and those of their spawn. Which seems to be against the First Amendment and the American Way, nowadays.

Comment from: Grumblin posted at July 23, 2005 10:33 AM

grrrr... can someone tell me which tag, if any, is currently available for the old [strike][/strike] tag?

Curse those dogooders that deprecated, then annihilated the best [sarcasm] tag ever.. :-(

Meddling fools...

Comment from: Miklon posted at July 23, 2005 11:13 AM

You have an impressive talent for written scenery, Eric. I've got the place pretty well visualized in my mind.

He's got it dead on too. Just saying it's a coffee shop in Dover can only mean one place to a Dover High Alumnus. It was the trendy hang out on Friday nights. I've never been one for coffee, but seeing Orangina in the drink cooler always made my night. I haven't been the since the summer of graduation, but I'm sad to hear the couches are gone. Those were good couches.

And I also vaugely remember reading about a murder of some McDonald in Foster's at some place near there. ;)

Comment from: PatMan posted at July 23, 2005 2:23 PM

You're lucky, Eric. My neighborhood was taken over by a legion of little blond clones who scream every sentence, usualy in an angry tone of voice. They also shriek for minutes on end just for the hell of it. This even happens in the middle of the night. And their parents aren't blameless either. One family is obsessed with noise. They use a leaf blower to sweep the driveway, and bought their son a motor bike, ATV, and air gun. And let's not forget Ma, who took to calling her kid in for supper, baths, and homework just like that other lady used to.

And just be glad they never started their own band using their father's band equipment.

And they frequently run into cars. On foot.

Comment from: Lindsay posted at July 23, 2005 4:25 PM

I'm new here and so far have enjoyed what I've read. However, while my inner-stickler rejoices to see so many people prepared to violently defend the standards of written English grammar and its punctuation; under constant and increasing threat of erosion, as they are. On the other hand, though, the linguistics student in me, and the part of her that was taught to take an anti-prescriptivist approach to spoken-language variants and respect diversity in language, cringes whenever she reads the words "proper English", or "good English", particularly when applied in a remonstrance against how someone speaks.

There is no singular set of rules and standards for "good/proper English", they vary by region, in regards to spoken variants, and usually by nationality, in regards to written English. Besides which, spoken language and written language are two very different animals; the chances that your spoken grammar and lexicon will exactly resemble those of the written standard variant wherever you live are slim. Generally, that's the case only if your home language happens to be that of whatever socio-economic class/regional sub-group of the population traditionally has enough political power to impose a version of its language variant as the written standard.

All of THAT being said? In regards to small children in coffee shops . . . I love kids, I really do, but if there were such a place as Hell, I'd like to believe it'd have a special place reserved for anyone who thinks it's a good idea to expose a large group of nine-year-olds to coffee. -_- I have a nephew around that age, myself, and -- as much as I love him -- he's usually too much for me to handle when he's hopped up on sugar. The thought of the boy on espresso? *shudder* I reiterate, if you give coffee to a large group of little kids, there should be a place ready for you that's filled with nasty things waiting to lunch on your entrails for all eternity, or something equally appropriate.

(Anyone looking to respond to this, please be gentle, again I'm new. ^_^)

Comment from: MattHock posted at July 23, 2005 4:38 PM

re: Strike Tags

Depends on where you're using it, but CSS is probably the best way to accomplish it if you're wanting to put it somewhere you can use arbitrary HTML - [span style="text-decoration: line-through;"][/span]

Comment from: John Duncan posted at July 23, 2005 5:20 PM

Baristas:

I have 2 at the Starbucks on Comm Ave at BU. One is a lovely Middle Eastern girl who is the antithesis of baristisas. The other is the epitome: surly and there because she has to be :) I stopped in today and surly was working the weekend. Made my day :)

Comment from: John Duncan posted at July 23, 2005 5:21 PM

^^ the surly one

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 23, 2005 5:44 PM

Somehow the whole "old" thing elude my mind. Despite the years that have passed I still feel like some fifteen year old, except for a pile of bills which my adolescent mind does not quite follow the workings of, but I pay them nonetheless.

It's not about yourself feeling old. It's about the world aging around you, taking you unawares.

It's about your sister-in-law becoming a grandmother last week and yourself becoming a [step]grandfather in September.

It's about Doctor Who getting cast with an actor younger than you - twice now.

It's about in the 1970s having seen Phil Foglio's cartoons in Star Trek fanzines, and now he's almost fifty.

It's about guys eight years younger than you blogging about how old they are...

Comment from: Grumblin posted at July 23, 2005 6:53 PM

Baristas:

I've read about this fenomenon left and right and it never ceases to amaze me.

Here in the Old Countries baristattitude equals "you're fired".

Then again, given that the americans still have to invent proper coffee... ;-P

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at July 23, 2005 8:36 PM

Ah, a cheap excuse to quote Mitch Hedberg (RIP) on the benefits of being an uncooperative franchise owner:

[W]e are not affiliated with that clown. He attracts too many children.

Comment from: miyaa posted at July 23, 2005 10:34 PM

You know what really urks me about children? It's their parents.

It's really late at night, oh, say 1'o clock in the morning, and I go to the local Walmart Supercenter for some late-night munchies. (Surprisingly, they make the best lavoshes. Yes, surprisingly.) And there, you see a family with their children shopping at Wal-mart at 1, 2, even 3 o'clock in the morning. And the kids aren't asleep.

Why the fucking hell are you dragging your kids to a Wal-Mart at 3 o'clock in the morning?!

I've seen this sight several times around my humble college town (Columbia, Missouri home of the University of Missouri - Columbia and half-bitter Journalists everywhere). The worst was at an all-night diner once where a couple and their 6 kids huddled around the largest corner bar at this local diner. At 2 am in the morning. They didn't leave until nearly 4 am.

This I think is the crux of the problem with children these days. Adults have gotten so mesmorized (and warped) by the Whitney Houston line, "I believe our children our are future/teach them well and let them lead the way" that they've decided that they are going to help them every waking moment until their 18. Or at least try to while working three to four jobs and leaving all of the 'growing-up' moments to someone else "qualified." And then the parents wonder why after the age 25, many of their children end up going back home after failing miserably at finding a job with their 2-bit Bachelor's and/or 4-bit Master's Degree they've spent six to eight years slacking away.

This is why there are "amateur"ish little league games for children as young as age six, with all of the trappings of a major-league game.

This is why children's networks such as Nickelodeon and Disney are making more money with their Nick Jr. and Playhouse Disney wings than with anything else they do.

This is why we have the soccer mom syndrome.

This is why by the time their children are late teenagers and college students, many of them are spend more time playing video-games and doing very little else.

This is partially why we have the whole "indy/emo/gamers" sub-cultures that webcomics are so famous at harping.

I'm not saying we should go back to a time when "children are meant to be seen and not heard" kind of discipline. I would, though, would like to see parents let their kids be kids more often than not and not automatically be forced to drag their kids along to everywhere they go just because it's a dark and scary world for kids these days.

Comment from: PatMan posted at July 23, 2005 10:50 PM

Because every thread needs to have someone taking unintended offense at something:

You do realize that some of us are 25, have a Master's in Mathematics, no job and live with our parents, and it's not because we are slackers. It's because every job I've applied to for the last year has turned me down. I had one government employer tell me I was going to be hired for six months before I gave up asking. I am currently waiting to hear back from an employer who admited they needed to go on vacation before they could finish choosing a candidate.

So you shouldn't go around using "living with your parents at 25" as an insult. Especially in an economy that has lost over 8 million jobs in the last few years.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at July 24, 2005 12:21 AM

It's six thirty am. His plane left half an hour ago.

We got up at four am. The last night we spent together, and it seemed much too short.

The bed still has a little of his smell in it. I'm going to curl up in it now and have a nice long cry.

Comment from: miyaa posted at July 24, 2005 5:01 AM

I seem to be having problems posting a reply.

1. Pat, I didn't mean to insult you. I'm sorry. I messed up what I had meant to say. What I was trying to say is that to a quite a few parents, even now, to them having your grown children to come home and live with you as a means of survival is looked upon as a failure. It is not my opinion, it sounds like it is not your parent's opinion and it is certainly not your opinion. You have to do what you have to do.

2. Meagen, may you one day be reunited with your child, and may you be able to laugh with him or her like you never have before. I will certainly be praying for you and your child.

3. I'm ready to talk about something else completely different.

Comment from: William_G posted at July 24, 2005 5:07 AM

So you shouldn't go around using "living with your parents at 25" as an insult. Especially in an economy that has lost over 8 million jobs in the last few years.

Almost every culture in the world sees it as strange that you DONT live with your family until you either :

1)get rich

or

2)get married

I personally see no shame in living with your family until 25 as long as you're contributing to the house. Now, if you're just sitting there, mooching, eating the fridge empty, keeping the lights on all night... Then you should be ashamed.

But, unless a person is one of those social mess-ups, or someone who stopped aging when they were 16, they should see the time a person spends with their family as a good thing. I know it's a cliche, but they aint gonna be around forever.

And kids scream... that's what they do. They're not fully developed people yet, so getting pissed off at them is like getting pissed off at water for being wet.

will say this though: Being a teacher of kids has made me determined to never have one of my own.

Comment from: Aerin posted at July 24, 2005 5:56 AM

Of course kids will scream. I think Eric's point was more that there are places to let them run around and scream, and a coffee house isn't one of them.

I've personally never subscribed to the idea that children should be little adults. It's true that they're not fully-developed people, but they should be developing. They don't magically turn into civilized members of society once they break four feet in height or get their driver's licenses or what have you. It's foolish to expect children to have mastered the rules of society, but also foolish to think that they shouldn't be learning those rules, even from a young age.

Comment from: Merus posted at July 24, 2005 9:04 AM

God, now every time I see someone rail against kids, I think of the "Childfree Hardcore" LiveJournal group, who actively take offense at the Cult of Child and try to strike blows against children.

The Internet is proof that: a) there is always someone worse than you, and b) natural selection was kind of handy.

Comment from: kirabug posted at July 24, 2005 10:54 AM

--on a totally different note, although I lack kids (and plan to continue to lack), the "mother-hen" in me just came out...

Night Sweats are Bad News. Fevers mean something's gone haywire, but a night sweat means it's moved on from haywire and is heading straight for ominous. I sleep next to someone who gets them when the Cystic Fibrosis is winning.

If you haven't already, you should be taking Tylenol (yes, specifically) to control the fever... and if you're getting frequent night sweats, please call your doc.

As for kids, well, I don't have any. When we got married we specifically had an adults-only wedding reception because we wanted our childbearing friends to have the opportunity to take off their parent hats and hang out for an evening. Some folks were hurt (ironically, the ones with rammy kids) and the rest were grateful for the opportunity.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 24, 2005 12:46 PM

For whatever it's worth, for those who worry, Eric seemed to be fine yesterday. (There was total deadline going on.)

One of the reasons why I absolutely do not want children is that I wouldn't be capable of raising a child that didn't scream, at least up to a point. I worry of going too far in one direction or the other: either I would do everything within my power to indulge the child and make it happy and calm and sated and not the least bit upset (which would inevitably spoil the child and cause annoying screamage, escalating the cycle), or I would snap.

Snapping is unacceptable. I become quite torn at supermarkets, in shopping malls, when the mom on her last frayed tether starts screaming straight back at her child.

On the one hand, Snapping Is Unacceptable, so the urge to confront parent is strong. Child! Sacred! Damage risk! Won't it tear them to shreds?

On the other hand, piercing, bratty, bright white screeches. Walking optical migraines on full broadcast. Rage-palpating machines on tiny little legs. Reason doesn't work. What's left?

I'd make a wretched mother.

Comment from: iconoclast posted at July 24, 2005 3:45 PM

can we really murder ronald mcdonald? is that legal?

*is hopeful*

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 24, 2005 4:17 PM

Ronald is fair game. However:

Nothing can kill the Grimace.

Comment from: Pseudowolf posted at July 25, 2005 11:14 AM

Okay. Where does the phrase "Nothing can kill the Grimace" come from? I've heard that Grimace comment numerous times from some of my friends, so I thought it was an in-joke, but if I'm seeing it other places I'm wondering if it's a reference to something.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 25, 2005 11:24 AM

It's from the very brief (6-episode) Clerks animated series (which you can find on DVD very easily for like ten bucks, if I recall correctly, and I know Comedy Central's aired the series at least once)

See also "Big American Party" and "Who's driving? Oh my god bear is driving HOW CAN THAT BE!"

Comment from: Pseudowolf posted at July 25, 2005 12:11 PM

I've only seen a few pieces of episodes of the Clerks series. I'll have to get to that sometime. The Grimace was always my personal favorite McCharacter and it's nice to know he's indestructable. ^_^

Comment from: brightmeadow posted at July 25, 2005 3:43 PM

Dover? huh. Well, with any luck at all I'll be posting similar things to my blogs from Durham in a few months.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at July 25, 2005 3:54 PM

2. Meagen, may you one day be reunited with your child, and may you be able to laugh with him or her like you never have before. I will certainly be praying for you and your child.

*pfft*

...

BUAHAHAHAHA!! XD

I'm sorry, I really am. I suppose I was asking for it, posting a cryptic out-of-context thing like that. It was a sort of "you think *your* day sucked?" response to Eric's musings. I don't know why it sounded like I was talking about a son. I don't know how it is to have a son at all.

Scott and I are still divided by a whole ocean most of the year, except for brief and expensive trips that always end much too soon. We've known each other for four years, but we've only been together four weeks in total. I hope that one day, time spent together will be the norm for us rather than the exception. Maybe then we can spawn little podlings that will cause me much happiness and distress.

Thank you very much for the concern and the unintended laugh - it really lightened my mood. What makes it even *more* hilarious is that it's the second time in two weeks I've been mistaken for a mommy. The previous time was in a crowded train where some well-meaning lady said: "Perhaps you'd like to sit next to your kids...?", indicating two cute little girls who were being taken to the seaside by their grandpa. Scott was still sitting right next to me. Good times.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 25, 2005 4:01 PM

"I'm sorry, I really am. I suppose I was asking for it, posting a cryptic out-of-context thing like that. It was a sort of "you think *your* day sucked?" response to Eric's musings. I don't know why it sounded like I was talking about a son. I don't know how it is to have a son at all."

You... were... discussing... how you were separated... by an ocean... from your significant other... to... one-up... me?

Heh.

Heh heh.

Heh heh hehahahahaaAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!

Heh.

Good luck on getting back together soon, by the by. It's a suckful thing.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at July 25, 2005 4:16 PM

Yeah it is. Sorry for hijacking your comments, this has sort of been on my mind a lot recently.

Comment from: abb3w posted at July 25, 2005 4:37 PM

Three semi-random thoughts from the comments.



First, there is a special place in Hell for those who give expresso to nine-year-olds. Even if the parents deserve it. I've done it, and it was worth it, but my fate is sealed.



Second, it's not quite true that Chuck E. Cheese type places are only populated by those there to entertain Wild Things. Some of us without kids will occasionally go out to such establishments, sit back, order something marginally edible, and watch the chaos, thinking to ourselves, They're not my problem... they're not my problem...



Third, many major changes have happened since marriage was a prime reason to stop "living with the parents". One notably being: premarital sex is a lot more common. I suspect the increase in (non-local) college bound students, combined with the "not under my roof!" phenomenon, has some impact on the demographics. Of course, where cause and effect lie in this tangle is beyond me.

Comment from: jpcardier posted at July 25, 2005 4:52 PM

A couple of thoughts....

From Flower of December:

"Somehow the whole "old" thing elude my mind. Despite the years that have passed I still feel like some fifteen year old, except for a pile of bills which my adolescent mind does not quite follow the workings of, but I pay them nonetheless."

Well, to combine the two parts of the post, have kids. Trust me Winslow, you'll feel old soon enough. (I love my child, but honest to goshen, children are living proof that psychic vampirism exists. Them: tons of energy. You: no energy at all. This happens with an indefinite amount of adults / child.) Really, it's not the years, but the mileage.... ;)

From Wednesday:

"On the one hand, Snapping Is Unacceptable, so the urge to confront parent is strong. Child! Sacred! Damage risk! Won't it tear them to shreds?

On the other hand, piercing, bratty, bright white screeches. Walking optical migraines on full broadcast. Rage-palpating machines on tiny little legs. Reason doesn't work. What's left?

I'd make a wretched mother."

Believe me, every parent who is worth a damn has moments like this. We all fail with our patience. We all feel like wretches, undeserving of the tremendous responsibility we have. If you don't worry, you aren't parenting much.

But realise that every little tyke has the capacity to bounce back from when you lost it. Children aren't nearly as fragile as we think of them. They need love, and discipline, and stimulation. Give them that and they will recover from when you snap. But believe me, it will take you longer to forgive yourself than it will for them to forgive you.

This isn't to state that screaming isn't a good reponse. Sometimes, it's the only one, generally when it involves knives and fire.

My child is waaaaay too bright sometimes. I find that it is very hard with someone who is barely verbal to get my point across. Someone who also happens to not *want* to get my point. But it is very interesting.

Finally, my sympathies Eric for your Deadline Hell. Good luck and may your fever break permanently soon.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 25, 2005 5:33 PM

S.O., nothing. Distance, nothing.

My muse is in PERU with ridiculously limited internets.

As in two e-mails in a month, one only a couple sentences, and he can't access the pictures I try to send him which means I have less impetus to draw.

And he's not back til this time in August.

Distance I can handle, because we're almost never in the same state, but the lack of connection is reeeeallly getting to me.

Just, you know. As long as we're sharing.

(Distance still sucks all around, tho. My sympathies.

LDRs seem to be a big thing among the comics crowd, though. Also a moderately significant amount of endogamy, from what I can see. Funny, that.)

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 25, 2005 7:01 PM

jpcardier: But realise that every little tyke has the capacity to bounce back from when you lost it. Children aren't nearly as fragile as we think of them.

I'm unconvinced on both counts. Observation suggests that it doesn't take much to screw a kid up pretty much for good, and I worry that I'd get past that little bit right quick. This suggests that, until I'm confident I wouldn't do that to anyone, I shouldn't take the risk.

Kate: LDRs seem to be a big thing among the comics crowd, though. Also a moderately significant amount of endogamy, from what I can see. Funny, that.

Mmm. Geek-creatives often do well with those of like mind, and you can't necessarily find that in your local social pool.

Comment from: jpcardier posted at July 25, 2005 9:51 PM

From Wednesday:

"I'm unconvinced on both counts. Observation suggests that it doesn't take much to screw a kid up pretty much for good, and I worry that I'd get past that little bit right quick. This suggests that, until I'm confident I wouldn't do that to anyone, I shouldn't take the risk."

I will respectfully disagree based on first hand experience. I would argue that if screwing up children "for good" were that easy, our species would not have survived.

It is a truism that good people come out of some very bad home environments, and that conversely, some children with all the advantages turn out messed up. I don't think anyone knows why. All we can do is play the odds. Love them, give them discipline and structure, play with them and enjoy them. Let them enjoy you. And hope.

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 26, 2005 2:27 AM

Oh, boy. There's so much in this comments thread to talk about.

Wednesday: Reason doesn't work. What's left?

There are things you can do to help you not get to the screaming point, as a mom, or even as a favorite auntie. Like not taking a kid to the grocery store who's tired, or hungry. Not that it's always possible to avoid those situations, but even then, there are coping mechanisms. That said.. sometimes, they're still brats, and we have to be tough. And once in a blue moon.. we lose it. Because, well, mom is still a person, dangit, no matter how superhuman we try to be.

Of course children are delicate. They're also incredibly resilient. It is possible to screw up a kid for good... but that takes years of neglect/abuse/indifference/etc. And for the record, uncontrolled permissiveness? Abuse. But I digress.

If you ever meet a mother who claims not to have a "I completely lost my temper. I didn't dare touch him, for fear I'd kill him." moment? she's either lying, or she's been replaced by a Stepford robot. Or.. she's a sucky mom, anyway, who ignores her kids.

The tricky part is to find the discipline method that works best for your kid. Mine? Hates it when I just stop. For instance: he asks for something, I say no, he gets frustrated, and screams. And mom stops talking. Just stops. All those other people around him get so worked up when he loses his temper, either thinking it's funny (ARGH! it's so not helpful when they laugh), or pandering to him, but not me. Not the mom. I just stop. If I'm pushing the basket in the grocery store and he kicks me, I just move to the other side of the basket and pull.

He hates it. HATES IT. And so, it's a form of non-screaming discipline that works. I don't ever go away, of course. I'm still Mom, and I still love him. He's entitled to his mad, he's even entitled to be mad (and say so) at ME, on occasion. That's part of the Mom territory, unfortunately. He is NOT, however, allowed to scream in my face. Or kick. Screaming is something he can do in his own room, darnit, with the door closed.. and for my son? This gets boring quickly. Doesn't work for all kids, naturally. Just my way of illustrating that, should the little stick ever turn blue (surprise!) on you, you would make do. For if I can come up with a creative solution to dealing with the angry (then)2-year-old? You, being far more creative than I, would do so as well.

All that said... if you're not comfortable bein' a mommy, then nobody says you hafta lol. I wasn't sure I wanted one of my own until the big moment when the little stick turned blue, and the universe turned upside down. In a good way.

Eric:

Uhm. Sweats. Fevers. Other stuff in the night? I'm sure your MD has thought of this, but if this is a recurring problem... have they checked your response to glucose? I've a friend who has borderline hypoglycemia (sp?), and when he lets things get a bit out of whack, he wakes with shakes and night sweats, and a mild fever. Just a thought.

Chuck E Cheese's and not my problem:

One of my favorite sayings back when I was the favorite Auntie, free to spoil the nephews and one niece with impunity? "Not the mama."

Children as little adults:

Of course they're not small adults. There is, as with all things in life, a balance: encourage them to learn the rules of behavior in society, including giving them opportunities to model said learned behaviors, while not stifling the kid in there. The kicker is this: if your three-year-old can't get through the grocery store without at least one drama fit (totally normal for 3-year-olds, btw, they're alllll about the drama), then they shouldn't go to the 5-star-restaurant with you, for crap's sake. Or the coffee shop.

On Commenting on Websnark posts:

Why is it that my livejournal, intended to be the place where I post my art and help keep the families (his, mine, ours) up to date on what's going on, sees about a post a month, while websnark gets me all fired up to write half a freakin' novel two or three times a week? oy.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 26, 2005 2:42 AM

Lark--

I have a form of dumping syndrome, called latent dumping. Sugar is a Bad Thing for me. It's a hallmark of my surgery -- there's no stomach acid to break the sugars down, so they go straight into a lower part of the intestines than they normally would, and from there straight into my blood.

Some post-Gastric folks have "dumping," wherein the sudden elevated sugar levels make them very ill, very fast (high fat can cause the same effect.) In ways, that's actually convenient -- you're negatively reinforced away from bad food from the earliest stages of post-surgery refeeding.

I didn't have that. I have latent dumping. Two or three hours after I have sugar, my blood sugar levels drop through the floor. And produce any number of nasty effects, including faintness, weakness, trembling, heart-jackhammering, blood pressure skyrocketing....

We didn't know this for almost a year. The cumulative effects had led to some rather unpleasant side effects. After discovering it, sugar went far, far, far out of my life.

Which is all to say it probably wasn't a hypoglycemic reaction, because I'm pretty good at avoiding sugars to begin with. But thank you. ;)

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 26, 2005 12:04 PM

Lark:

I'm flattered by your generous assessment of my creativity, but I'm not prepared to rely upon it. Too many observations of kids who'd gotten cocked up by single-instance traumas, sometimes quite minor. It's not a gamble I'm prepared to take unless and until I can guarantee I won't either snap the one time necessary to generate that, or provide a useless environment for the child to recover from it as a result.

Besides, I'd expect the kid to be reading MacLean's magazine by three and conversant in Canadian politics by six. Apparently this is unreasonable. *grin*

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 26, 2005 11:20 PM

Eric:

Holy frijoles, man. That's.. ouch. But y'see, in Tim's case, it's not a matter of eating sugar. It's that his body doesn't maintain itself well. He doesn't partake of sugar either, although not for your reasons. However.. he gets those sweats, and oddly enough, solid food (NOT sugary) is what stops it. Which is why your fever thing made me think of him. It was a thought. /universalmommode OFF

Wednesday:

I dunno. Kids are sponges. At 2, my nephew could tell you everything there was to know about the differences in the dental/bone structure which help archeologists determine what a dinosaur ate, etc. Reading came a wee bit later, at about 4 1/2, but hey, you could probably stretch out your deadline that long, aye?

As for discussing Canadian politics with you? Of course they could do that.. but at that age, they would most likely be generally just spouting your own opinions back at you. If you're into that total agreement thing, well that's allright then. hee!

And I have it from my own experience that small children like tea just fine.. so how could you go wrong?

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 27, 2005 10:59 AM

Nope. Four is the cutoff point. In fact, four is probably the Being Way Too Old point. But I read these days about kids who aren't literate until five or six, which I don't understand.

And would want a proper conversation. And at least a working grasp of the major federal parties (provincial politics we can leave a couple of years).

It's all moot, really -- my intention is to prevent the stick from turning blue.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 27, 2005 2:39 PM

Perhaps it's a sign of age, but according to the tv ads I recall it's denture cleaner that turns blue.

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 27, 2005 3:09 PM

hehe aye, Denture cleaner turns blue too. But in this case, we're talking about the test wherein if the 2nd window gets a blue line, you're knocked up. Preggo. Hosting an alien. Bakin' a bun in the oven. With child. Perpetuating your screwed-up gene pool. Performing an act of cruelty, according to some, and participating in a miracle, according to others. Becoming a mommy. Doomed to never having an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom for at least 5 years; shower interruptions will continue for at least 5 additional years. Destined to watch your sex life blossom and improve during the pregnancy, and then take a nosedive after the kid gets here. Headed for the land of diapers, potty training, snot, late-night runs to the emergency room, tantrums, preschool, grade school, paying for college, the drugs talk, the sex talk, boyfriends (or girlfriends), and eventually, empty nest syndrome. Fun! Danger! Drama! ohyeah, LOTS of drama. Heck of a ride.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 27, 2005 3:16 PM

It's also tampons, diapers, and disposable menstrual pads, at least if you believe the television. (Don't believe the television.)

But surely the stick turning blue simply means you're pregnant, not necessarily that you're planning to carry to term and therefore Destined for Drama. At least, if one has the legal and financial/insurance recourse and personal ethics permit, anyhow. It's by no means a foregone conclusion.

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 27, 2005 3:17 PM

Wednesday, I'm not trying to convert you to the land of the Breeders or anything. It's just that I hear non-moms saying (as I once did) that it looks terribly hard, etc.. and it is. And yet, it's not so bad. Most days, the kid is less trouble than his dad, for all that I love them both.

That said, if you don't want the stick to turn blue, for goodness' sake, don't let it! Always, our bodies, our choices, aye?

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 27, 2005 5:53 PM

Sometimes, choice loses to device failure or other circumstance. So, not necessarily.

I'm not trying to convey "it looks so hard" so much as "I am not willing to take this gamble."

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 28, 2005 2:45 AM

Two cents, or why the idea of having a child scares the ever-living shit out of me:

Let's take a basic example: food. Your child needs nutrition. It needs this nutrition to be as good as possible, which as a reasonably affluent American (I have no idea what ecomonic circumstances I'm proposing with this hypothetical, so we're putting the lower limit at "doing fine" for now), you can certainly afford to manage. So, fine, feed the kid. Thing is, it's really important. Whether this kid eats right will determine crucial things about its health for the rest of its life, possibly its intelligence, energy level, god only knows what else. The thing is? To do it right, you have to separate the simple task--nourish the kid--into chunks. Very small chunks. In order to fulfill this goal, I would need to arrange proper nutrition in increments of several times a day for the next 18 years. Several times a day. Every single day. For the next 18 years. And not just throw something down the kid's throat; it needs to be an overall balanced, healthy, varied diet that suits the kid's tastes well enough that they can choke it down.

That right there? Sounds like the most difficult thing I can imagine. I can't take a damn pill once a day, much less arrange nutrition in three daily increments that likely involve purchasing, storing, preparing, serving and cleaning up the food.

I cannot BEGIN to see myself doing this. I barely feed myself and I know I don't do it all that healthily.

More complicated tasks? Social balance? Education? Providing a stable environment? Lord help me, no way.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at July 28, 2005 5:03 AM

Oddly enough, I think the problem here is that everyone is thinking TOO much.

Though personally, I think that anyone who is actually thoughtful enough to actually be CONCERNED with screwing up a kid, might actually make a good parent. Actually.

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