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 Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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