House & Kid Nattering

I’m think­ing of using this banned books list as a shop­ping list. I’ve read many of the ones on the list, but not all of them. Okay, I have no need to have Amer­i­can Psy­cho in the house (was­n’t that made into a movie?) and I think series like Goose­bumps are pret­ty much dreck. But oth­er than that, just about any of the kids’ books on that list that I have read are good and bring up tough issues that are worth discussing.


The way my throat feels, I’m start­ing to be sus­pi­cious about strep throat. I’ve been gar­gling with warm salt water and I’m brew­ing more tea now. The tea is start­ing to taste com­fort­ing. That’s scary. It does help my throat. The box says it has pep­per­mint, hys­sop, rose hips, cin­na­mon bark, gin­ger, saf­flower petals, clove flower buds, and licorice root in it. All organic.

Dan­git, I want to go to the filk Sat­ur­day night and actu­al­ly have a voice to sing with! I want to see our new friends tomor­row night! And Bren­da on Sun­day! Now Mom says she needs help with a garage sale this week­end. If I don’t go help, I’m a bad daugh­ter. Even if I am sick—anything short of emer­gency hos­pi­tal­iza­tion isn’t an accept­able excuse.

I did man­age to get all of the iron­ing done and sew a miss­ing but­ton on one of Sam’s shirts. The house is most­ly clean, but I need to vac­u­um. I think I’m going to strip the beds today, too. The laun­dry is all caught up and put away. I love it.

G’s room is still a pigsty. It is incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult for me to resist going in there and clean­ing it up. She’s been “res­cued” too many times when she’s got­ten to this state. I seri­ous­ly hope sam­bear does­n’t “res­cue” her this time, either. She has all the tools she needs to get and keep the room clean, but she just has too dan­ged much stuff. There’s still a LOT of stuff that was put into stor­age from her room last year that she nev­er got back out—obviously, she does­n’t miss any of it much. But her moth­er just keeps buy­ing her more and more stuff, so she’s back into over­load again. She has more cloth­ing than sam­bear and me com­bined, and so many pairs of shoes that they don’t fit into the shoe rack I got for her. She hates putting her cloth­ing away so much that she stuffed the clean laun­dry I’d just done for her in her ham­per this week­end. That did NOT fly when I real­ized what had hap­pened, of course.

Add in a bazil­lion stuffed ani­mals, lots and lots of doll stuff, var­i­ous crap­py lit­tle toys (fast food restau­rant-grade things) and mem­o­ra­bil­ia, scads of art sup­plies, and you get lots of mess. And every­thing is mem­o­ra­bil­ia to G—every sin­gle school paper, every piece of mail, even if it’s junk, every can­dy wrap­per, every­thing! No mat­ter how much stor­age we give her, she fills it up—literally—with trash (yes, she has a trash can that’s emp­tied week­ly, but she puts trash in draw­ers and such any­way). Every sur­face is imme­di­ate­ly cov­ered with crap. It might be pret­ty crap, but it’s crap—dust catch­ers. It’s too clut­tered to be peace­ful, and it’s hard to keep clean. I hon­est­ly wish every sur­face in there but her bed was tilt­ed 45 degrees, at least! She can’t find what she wants or needs at any giv­en time—parts of her Girl Scout uni­form are miss­ing, books and CDs are miss­ing, you name it.

On one hand—it’s her room. On the oth­er hand, it’s a health haz­ard when it’s that dirty. Yes, down­right dirty. Not just clut­tered. And it’s hard to walk a bal­ance between let­ting a kid have her own style and insist­ing that things stay accept­ably clean when that style hap­pens to be very clut­tered and messy. We can’t just keep the door to her room closed—it mess­es up the air­flow in the house, and it’s ridicu­lous­ly iso­lat­ing, too. And smells still come out of the room—I’m real­ly sen­si­tive to smells. The last time we cleaned her room for her, we found old school lunch­es she did­n’t eat and “sci­ence exper­i­ments” she’d stuffed away. She isn’t allowed to take food or drinks out of the kitchen any­more because of these habits, but she does so at times any­way if she thinks she can get away with it, and “for­gets” to take the dish­es back to the kitchen—so they’re tucked away in her room to become new sci­ence experiments.

Katie’s per­son­al style is also pret­ty cluttered—but I’ve nev­er once found any­thing dirty or stinky in her room. And she can find what she wants when she wants it, 99% of the time. It isn’t dirty and as long as there’s noth­ing on the floor, the bed gets made, the clos­et door will close and she can store her cloth­ing with­out it get­ting dam­aged or wrin­kled, I’m okay with it. I don’t love it, but it isn’t my bedroom.

I want to pull out the dish­wash­er and see if that’s where the ants are com­ing in. I think there may be some­thing that needs to be unscrewed to slide it out. Alice point­ed out space where the exhaust pipe goes through the cab­i­netry above the oven that needs to be caulked, as well. We have caulk, but I don’t know if we’d need to use some­thing designed for hot places there. And it’s a pret­ty big gap—wouldn’t the caulk need some­thing to cling to? Would we need to use the sta­ple gun to put some chick­en wire around it or something?

I don’t have enough con­cen­tra­tion to stitch—I’m afraid I’d just end up hav­ing to rip out a lot of work lat­er. Hmmm, maybe I could go through designs to pick out some pos­si­bil­i­ties for _starrgirl_ and rasilio to look over for the twins’ pieces, though. I’m not capa­ble of just doing noth­ing unless I’m asleep or hor­ri­bly depressed. Nyquil will knock me out, but if I take it too often it’ll stop work­ing so well.

I real­ize that I don’t talk about home­school­ing much, and it may seem that I don’t do any­thing. Katie is real­ly pret­ty inde­pen­dent, and most of what she needs from me any­more is help in get­ting resources, dri­ving her around to places, and use as a sound­ing board. We dis­cuss things like the dai­ly New York Times les­son plans that come in her email or some­thing she reads about on a news site or in a mag­a­zine. We talk about what she’s study­ing at the moment in his­to­ry or sci­ence, what she’s read­ing, what she wants to do next. I lurk on her writ­ing group’s mail­ing list and see the stuff she shares with them. Every once in a while she’ll need a lit­tle help with some­thing in math because her text does­n’t always explain things as clear­ly as it could (in my opin­ion). But once a kid is a ful­ly inde­pen­dent read­er and has a thirst for learn­ing, she starts mak­ing her own way through acad­e­mia if adults just get out of her way.

She has been much more inter­est­ed in watch­ing TV late­ly than she has been before—especially shows about kids in mid­dle or high school, like Degras­si and 24/7. I was con­cerned at first, but now I see that they’re part of her nat­ur­al curios­i­ty about those schools. She tried ele­men­tary school and did­n’t want to go back. She does­n’t want to be lim­it­ed by some­body’s notion of “grade lev­el” now, but she’s real­ly curi­ous about the social side of mid­dle and high school. So we talk about the shows she’s watch­ing, and if she has to be see­ing some­thing, those two aren’t bad. So far the episodes of Degras­si we’ve seen have dealt with issues like abuse of pre­scribed meds (Rital­in), harm­ful gos­sip, peer pres­sure to have sex, try­ing to change a school’s poli­cies, dis­agree­ing with your friends, and hav­ing a crush on some­one who does­n’t notice you. She likes Daria too. I can’t say that it has any redeem­ing qual­i­ties oth­er than hav­ing a hero­ine who is very self-defined, but it is fun­ny. A Walk in Your Shoes is anoth­er one she likes, and that’s been fair­ly interesting—in each episode, two very dif­fer­ent peo­ple swap lives for a week.

Yes­ter­day’s field trip to the Yerkes Pri­mate Cen­ter’s Field Research Office was resched­uled ’til next week, then can­celed alto­geth­er. The orga­niz­er has­n’t ful­ly explained the can­cel­la­tion yet, which is annoy­ing. We were look­ing for­ward to the tour.

Cur­rent Mood: :-|blah
Cur­rent Music: Gar­ri­son Keil­lor’s Writer’s Almanac on NPR
Cyn is Katie's mom, Esther's Mémé, and a Support Engineer. She lives in the Atlanta area with her life partner, Rick, and their critters. She knits, does counted-thread needlework, reads, makes music, plays TTRPGs, and spends too much time online.
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