Friday, April 1, 2016

A few notes

This is mostly a story about a parenting moment, but first a few links.

I was on Marketplace's morning report being the voice of a trend (Stay at Home Dad's not in the workforce) on Monday.  If you want to hear my kids being cute, the story is here.

Speaking of Links, I put together a bunch of SFF links recently.

I also tweeted some thoughts about how my reaction to reading women in fiction has changed.  Embedded after the dad story.

So, this morning I took Tadpole & Sprout (5&2) to the grocery store, and for the first time in a while they didn't want to ride in the shopping cart but instead wanted to push kid carts ... the parents among you are cringing already.

Fortunately the store wasn't very crowded on a Friday morning, so I OKed, and we went through three basic phases that had as much to do with me as them.  First, they wandered after me, enjoying the carts, occasionally bumping things or people and behaving exactly as you'd expect while I got increasingly frustrated that they weren't following directions.

Let's just unpack this for a moment: by not bringing my own cart, I didn't really leave myself much out.  I could (and eventually did) pick up Sprout & drag her cart along, but there wasn't a way to corral the girls.  The thing to do here is to engage with them, give them tasks, and focus on making them want to go where I want them to.  Praise the marching and pushing of carts, let Tadpole lead us on a circuitous route, have Sprout practice marching.  Accept that we're going slowly.

But I don't like grocery shopping.  I actively dislike it, always worried that there's going to be difficulty finding an unfamiliar ingredient, and so I tried instead to insist on obedience.  Follow me or else.

This brings us to stage 2.  I realized, later than I should have, that I was losing my temper in particular with Sprout, so I bent down, gave her a hug, had Tadpole join in, then picked Sprout up & carried her.  She didn't really like it, but I can manage a squirming 2-year-old one-handed.  Tadpole managed well enough.

So, now we're on Stage 2, the "let's get out of here as quickly as possible without more damage" phase that many parents will recognize.  The one piece of this that was absolutely good was that I've trained myself when tempted to yell to just kneel down, hug the girls, and absolutely put a stop to the thing within my control that is the most stressful.  I wish I'd done it sooner, but we all got a hug and Sprout stopped being silly with her cart.

Then a miracle occurred: walking down an aisle looking for something I wasn't quite sure was there, a dad in front of us knocked his shopping cart into a stack of soup cans knocking 10-12 over.  This was wonderful.  We stopped & I immediately sent Tadpole to help pick them up.  She's great at helping put stuff away.  (Thanks R for training her at home & her Montessori school!).  So she got to help.  I got to stop worrying about stupid groceries and instead be proud of myself for helping a stranger in need.  Sprout got to wave at the kid in the shopping cart.  Another family was walking by and praised our good deed, so two different people expressing gratitude!  More importantly, all of us got out of the semi-frustrated headspace we were in.  After that moment, Tadpole went from managing to keep up with me to actively being helpful.  The end of our shopping trip was genuinely fun for all of us.

So anyway, that's my story about frustrating shopping expeditions and the kind stranger who knocked over some soup cans and made my grocery run this morning much better.

And now on an entirely different note and prompted by reading a story where "living it up" meant two different women finding sex and a first chapter where a woman's friend was a young thing in a slinky dress is a Storify of a few tweets from this morning on casually objectifying women in fiction.

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