Saturday, August 21, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

I hated that book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. The small stuff is what causes all the problems!

So many small, but annoying, things have happened recently. It leads to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

On Monday, Loki threw up in my car. It meant a $60 seat cleaning (trust had to be done professionally) taking up my Saturday morning, pre-cleaning (outside of work hours, anyway), driving to backup sitter twice on Monday (drop off and pickup), extra laundry, and arriving late at work on my first day back from vacation.

On Tuesday, I threw up. No work for me, meaning the vacation backload is overwhleming.

Tuesday night, the mocriwave died, costing $120 bucks and Wednesday night at Walmart buying a new one. Oh, and we ate out Wednesday night, because we had no microwave and had to leave the house.

Thursday, an emergency came up at work and I was required to work overtime, even though I had to pick up Loki from daycare in 10 minutes and babysit for my sister, who was waiting at my house.

Friday, I got lost in downtown in heels and a black suit with no car (don't ask), ran late to a meeting because of it, and then found out the meeting was hours longer than expected and had to miss another important meeting.

Saturday, I spilled coffee all over a brand new $26 library book. Neither of my kids would eat the lunch I prepared (crackers and bananas and peanut butter for dipping...why the heck won't they eat that???) and my friend had a sick kid, so our coffee shop date was cut (understandably) short.

Oh, and now we have a broken microwave and a broken tv (from last month) complete with the accompanying electronic equipment and huge furniture to somehow throw out. Sigh.

See, it is the small stuff that sucks.


Friday, August 13, 2010

My Paper Rules (For Myself)

My new paper planner consists of a weekly calendar and a task list. There are details that I need to remember, but it's been almost a decade since I used a paper planner.

1. Put a box around things that need to be copied into next year's planner, like my anniversary. That way, next year, filling the repeating dates in the planner only takes a moment of flipping through 52 pages for boxed events.

2. Keep a list of dates starting August 2011, when the paper planner ends, to schedule things for next year.

3. Write am events in the top half of the day's box and pm dates in the bottom half. Makes it less likely I'll miss something.

4. Cross things out when they are done - or else!

5. On task list, make sure to put dates next to time sensitive stuff. If something is CRITICAL, also put the deadline in the calendar.


Paper Oh Paper

On Wednesday, I purchased my first paper calendar since I bought my Palm pda in 2001. For me, this is a huge deal. I loved my palm. Every date, every address, every task - all of it was in my palm. I checked it everyday. I was a law student, so I synced it to my computer on a daily basis. Finally, palm moved to all cell phones, while I was working in my law office, and I bought a palm cell.

Frankly, I hated it. I constantly found myself dialing a number while I was trying to look something up. The new desktop software would never sync perfectly with my old data (some from 2001) and much of it was lost. It only stays charged for about 9 hours. Ugh.

When I got to my new job last October, we had to use a blackberry. I like the blackberry much better, but I hate Outlook. It syncs funny to my blackberry, so that even though all the tasks are there, they are hard to find and harder to read. You can't just glance and see if a note is attached to the task. I depend on my IT department (rather than myself) to keep it syncing. And everyone at work can see my calendar. Of course, I can make all my personal stuff read private, but what a pain! The twist is that I have to use Outlook for work appointments, so I felt forced to use it for personal stuff. I am a BIG believer in one calendar, but it was becoming clear that if it had to be Outlook-based, I wasn't going to get used to it.

So I'm now a two calendar girl. If something personal is happening during the workday, it will go on my blackberry and personal calendar. That rarely happens, because I'm busy working at work. If something work-related goes beyond work hours, it goes on both calendars. Otherwise, work goes on blackberry/Outlook and personal goes on my paper calendar. Since I always have my blackberry with me, I think it'll work out. And there's just not a good handheld option. All the handhelds now just seem to be extensions of the desktop. And I want to do my calendaring at the parent-teacher conference (when the teacher asks us to bring snacks to class next week) or at the grocery store (when they are out of Tide Free and I need a note to get some on Monday) or at dinner (when a friend wants to follow-up with coffee next week).

The one caveat is that addresses are still all going in Outlook. My blackberry is with me and it does that really well.

Next blog entry: all the crap I need to remember about using a paper calendar!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Discipline in Public

I try to discipline my kids exactly the safe way in public as in private. High but reasonable expectations for behavior. Calm, clear instructions. Follow-through on reasonable consequences. But, damn, it's hard.

First of all, reasonable expectations mean that, sometimes, my kid is doing something that I allow simply because of his development, but I get looks from others. For example, in a restaurant, at some point Loki (almost 2) can get down and walk around. To be fair to others, he certainly cannot go up to people at other tables or get in the waiter's way. But he can walk near the table, after the main meal has ended, while grownups have dessert, coffee, or chit chat. Developmentally, he can only stay in the chair so long. But, and I'm guessing this is because other patrons has experienced little kids disturbing their meals and think I'll let my kids do the same, other customers seem to glare, get uncomfortable, or feel they must entertain him (which totally undermines the whole "don't go by other tables" rules). I think it's absolutely appropriate. He's not screaming, touching others, or unsafe. He can explore, but only in our little area. So I do the same as I would alone. But it's so hard when others are glaring. :/

I also use timeout. With Ander, generally people compliment me. "Such a good boy." "I can't believe he stayed in timeout and then changed the behavior, but he did." "You are so calm and patient with him." But, with Loki, people inevitably think he's too little. They either smile and tease him to cheer him up while he is in timeout (which totally undermines the timeout) or they comment how young he is (though he is almost two and has been practicing in 10 second and up intervals until, now, he knows what is expected). No matter the good result, they don't WANT him to be in trouble, so they are uncomfortable. Also, the public didn't see that I simply redirect when possible (like in situations where no one else is getting hurt and there is no danger to Loki), use tons of positive reinforcement, and don't yell at or hit my kids.

I try to make yelling are rare occurence with my children. I really do, But not yelling at other people for their reactions to my discipline techniques, which are kind, developmentally-appropriate, and, dammit, WORKING - that is a challenge.