Monthly Archives: November 2011

Finito

I heard noises in the hall above as I was finishing my breakfast and thought ah, good, Jamie's woken up before I came to get him and that'll mean one fewer child to roust out of a sound sleep, which will save time.  So I finished my last few bites and went upstairs and discovered that Katie had apparently translocated to the hallway, bedding and all.  She must have woken up and decided to drag her duvet and pillow out into the hallway and make a bed for herself there, and there she was, all snuggled up.  I wish I'd thought to get a photo.

Since I had today off, I'd expected it to be one of my easiest NaBloPoMo days, something to look forward to during all the days on which I struggled mightily to find time; if I could find time for the first twenty-nine, I'd be home free for the thirtieth.  The strike, of course, put a crimp in that – Jamie's school was closed and, as our childminder was rather understandably not keen on having him dumped on her for the day, I had him at home.  Fortunately the nursery, which Katie goes to on Mondays and Wednesdays, was still open, so at least I could get some stuff done while Jamie played on his computer, which was lucky as I'd planned today as the day of the Great Annual Clothes Swap-Over from the outgrown to the new ones, and they're both so obviously outgrowing their old stuff I didn't want to leave it any longer.  So I've been sorting out what can be saved (of Jamie's clothes) or donated (of Katie's) and what should simply be culled, and getting the shop labels off the new ones to put them in the drawers.  I haven't done all of it (still need to finish sorting through Jamie's saved hand-me-downs for age 4 – 5 to decide which ones to save for Katie) but have done the bulk of it, which is a major relief to have out of the way.  I managed to read a couple of old journals from the Journal Backlog Pile as well, so, all in all, it has been a passingly productive day.

And, of course – holy cow – I've also completed NaBloPoMo.  Bloody hell – I actually made it.  Crack open the champagne, start the trumpet fanfares and drum rattles, bring on the dancing horses.  Oh, yes, and remember to hit 'Publish' here so that I don't actually fall at the very last fence.  Aaaaaaand… done.  Goodnight, and wishing one and all a happy December.

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Penultimate

"Why can't children say all the words?" Jamie wanted to know.

"What was that, sweetheart?" I was pretty sure I'd heard him, but he was chewing his dinner and I wanted to check.

"Why…" Jamie's brown eyes locked on mine, his face serious with concentration as he tried to figure out how to phrase the idea he was trying to get across.  "Why are there words that children can't say till they're eighteen?"

"You mean like on the telly last night?" A word in a speech shown on the news had been bleeped out, and Jamie had wanted to know why; I explained to him that there were some words that children weren't allowed to say until they were eighteen, and so they wouldn't put them on the telly in case children heard. "Well, there are some words that people think are not very nice, that might offend people – that means upset them – and it's harder for children to know when the times are that you shouldn't say those words, or to remember when not to say them, so it's better for children just not to say them at all until they're old enough to know more about when they can say them and when they can't."

Jamie seemed to accept that.  I'm sure we'll have further interesting conversations on the subject over the next few years.

……………………………………………………………

Katie continues to approach life with unabated enthusiasm.  This evening, running up and down the hall before her bath, found a red-painted shell lying around.  I can't even remember where we got it from – it's one of those little trinkets that you collect like fluff on the journey through life.  Katie reacted to it with a passion on the level of that girl from Twilight going on about that boring vampire hero Whatsisname.  "I love my shell so much!  I'm going to take it to my nursery and show my teacher!  I'm going to take it to Christine's and nursery and everywhere I go!  And if I go somewhere else I will take it with me there!  Because I love it so much!!"  Who knows – she may even remember its existence by tomorrow.

Later on, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of Katie's many favourites.

"In the light of the moon," I started out, "a little egg…"

Katie flopped onto the open pages, curled up into a ball.

"Are you being a little egg?" I inquired.

"A little egg on the moon!" she told me.

We moved on to the caterpillar, which Katie illustrated with a wiggly finger that she poked into each of the holes in turn and which, on the last page, duly hatched out into a butterfly made with linked hands flapping.  (She used to flap her arms when we got to that page – the caterpillar/butterfly hand is a new development these past couple of days.)  Then the caterpillar/butterfly was still hungry, so he had to keep on eating his way through the different items in the book while I took Jamie to use the toilet and get into his pyjamas, and then go for a crawl around the room (the caterpillar, not Jamie).  Eric Carle seems a positive amateur by comparison.

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Evening routines

Pushing against the clock, always pushing uphill.

As soon as the first child has finished pudding, I whisk them off upstairs and start them on the bedtime routine while waiting for the second child.  If it's Jamie, I can usually persuade him to get undressed and put his clothes in the laundry basket quite quickly and then get him into the bathroom to use the toilet, have me brush his teeth (must teach him how to do it for himself, must get round to doing that, but somehow every morning and every evening it's too much of a scramble, never enough time to teach anything), get him into the bath and have me wash him.  If it's Katie, it takes rather longer to distract her from wanting to run up and down the upstairs hall/do flumps on the beanbag/defeat Bowser in order to get her clothes off her and get her into the bathroom, whereupon she insists on taking up long-term residence on the toilet.  She's going to grow up to be one of those people who take the Sunday Times in there and sit there for half an hour reading the whole thing.  Then we have some negotiation around getting her teeth brushed and then I get her into the bath and wash her while she tries to play pouring games and whisking the water with the eggbeater (which she used to call an eggdbeater but can now pronounce properly).  Katie gets her hair washed every day; Jamie gets his washed Tuesdays and Saturdays, and rinsed off on the other days when I shower him off, and he's also a bit simpler to wash because I can use the same soap all over him instead of negotiating eczematous areas with medicated lotion.

As you can imagine, I prefer it when I can get Katie upstairs first and at least get Jamie ready for bed while she's sitting on the toilet – the time works out better that way – but she's also the one who usually takes longer over her dinner and pudding, so it's usually Jamie first.  At least that means he can use the toilet and get it done without having to compete with Katie.  But they'll compete for my attention while Katie sits on the toilet and Jamie in the bath.  Apparently the bathroom contains an invisible remote on-switch for Super Mario monologues, because Jamie will invariably start up during the getting-ready-for-bed process with 'Let me tell you about the different worlds in Super Mario 64…' or something similar, and keep going on and on and on and on and on.  Katie will promptly start screaming about something random, which is partly because she's learned perfectly well that once Jamie gets started she isn't going to get a chance to get a word in edgeways any time soon and partly because she just plain doesn't like the idea of anyone who isn't her getting my attention.  Both of them start screaming at each other and I have to calm them down somehow, make a joke out of it, or try to discuss things.  Or just get out of the bathroom for two minutes and leave them to it while I get a bit of space.

When Katie's washed, I try to get her to stand up so that I can lift her out easily – we have a game where she pretends to be a seed and I water her with the blue measuring cup and get her to grow into a plant while chanting "It's growing, it's growing… it's biiiig" (her script).  She likes the game when I can get her started on it, but all the other fun things to do in the bath are too much of a distraction and it can be quite difficult to get her to do it.  If I really can't, I just lift her out.  Jamie has usually got out himself by now and gone into the bedroom to wrap himself up in the towel I hang on the end of his bed and climb up onto his bunk, often with a continued Mario-themed monologue drifting back towards us.

On to what I think of as Phase 2 of getting ready for bed.  Jamie needs to have his night-time nappy on (and I get him to go to the toilet one last time beforehand – the nappies are no longer enough for the night and I'll be in his room changing him a couple of hours later before I get to bed myself, in hopes of keeping him from leaking through before morning) and then get into his pyjamas.  Katie needs to have her hair brushed and her pyjamas and night-time cream put on her and she wants three stories, so, since Jamie will usually entertain himself with a book or continued Mario monologues, he's unfortunately the one who gets short shrift at this point.  (I'd be happy for him to come and join in the stories, but he just isn't that interested.)  I go back and forth between children, trying to get the bits done that need to be done and avoid either of them being left alone for long enough to decide to start getting a game out or inventing something exciting to play.

Lights out time. There's a 'so near and yet so far' feeling now.  If it's a day when I wasn't working in the afternoon, there's a good chance I'll be sort of kind of vaguely close to on schedule for when they should get to bed.  If I was working in the afternoon, there won't be a hope – I always overrun, Barry has to collect the children, and by the time he's finished work and driven to pick them up and got them home and got dinner cooked and the children have eaten it and been through the above, it's going to be later than it should be and that's all there is to it.  By then, it's damage limitation, trying to get them to bed as soon as I can, knowing I'm facing the double whammy of losing my evening time and having a struggle to get them woken up in the morning when they haven't had enough sleep.  If they could just settle down quickly now, it would help, but they don't want to – Katie is bouncing around and wanting me to watch her hang on the side of the top bunk and then slide down and in to drop onto her own bunk.  Jamie may well be on his bunk and ready to settle, but, if he's wandered off and found something he wants to play with, I've got practically no chance of redirecting him.  Sometimes it's quicker just to send him to the study down the hall to play while I at least get Katie into bed.  But usually, by this stage, both of them are in bed, with Katie insisting that she's not ready for me to put the lights out and me telling her unsympathetically that she can hurry up and get ready then.  I count down from five before putting the lights out, but somehow that never seems to work out as planned – instead of the countdown being the warning it's somehow become part of the ritual, and she insists she has to be ready (whatever that means – some arrangement of stuffed animals, herself snuggled under the duvet, and random variations that she comes up with on the spur of the moment) before I can start counting.  OK, enough.  Five, four, three, two, one, zero.  Too bad, Katie, you had plenty of warning and you could have done whatever it takes to get ready more quickly.

I settle down on the ground next to Katie's bunk for a tiny little sleep with her, as she always describes it.  (I used to lie on the bunk next to her, but then came the evening I staggered through from the bathroom with Katie in my arms and sat down heavily on the side of the bunk and it cracked under our combined weights landing on it so abruptly – Barry managed to screw the wood back together, but he's forbidden me to put weight on it in future.)  It's usually just a matter of waiting now, waiting to make sure they do settle down.  They've mostly grown out of the stage of setting each other off into an escalating spiral of overexcitement the way they used to.  Mostly.  I can't ever quite exclude the possibility that one or other of them will decide to kick off.  For two years, I had the cot in our room as backup to put Katie in if she did get too noisy, but by now Barry and I are more than ready to reclaim our room as our own space, and as Katie approached four I felt she was getting too old for a cot anyway – so I've deliberately avoided that fallback for the past couple of months.  There's always the spare room – I'm not wild about using that option, but I have put Katie in bed there a couple of times until she settled and it's worked out OK.  That's what I had to do tonight.

But mostly by this stage it's just waiting them out, waiting for them to settle.  Past a certain point it's OK – tiredness takes over, they can't summon up the energy to start kicking up a fuss or to get out of bed – but it's never very clear when that point's been passed on any given evening, so I just wait and hope.  Katie's the wrigglier one, but usually also the quicker one to fall asleep, younger and more tired out by the day.  Jamie will usually be quite happy to stay in bed and read or just lie there, turning his hand-held light back and forth in slow hypnotic rhythms that he stares at, but in recent days he's been prone to getting out of bed wanting to know how long it's been since he went to bed and insisting he's not tired – an unwelcome development, I do hope it's just the effect of the bad cold he had last week keeping him awake.

Settled enough that I think I can leave them.  I sit on the floor outside their room, ostensibly waiting to be sure neither of them gets up but actually snatching a bit of time to sit and read before having to summon up the energy to face the rest of the evening's jobs – I'm drained.  If I'm feeling virtuous, I might tackle some of the eternal journal backlog – more usually, it's whatever piece of fiction is handy.

Finally, finally, they're asleep.  I manage to make myself get moving, which takes even longer.  Still the lunches and drinks to get ready for tomorrow, the kitchen counters and dining room table to wipe down, laundry to be put in the washing machine/dryer/hung on the clothes horses.  A few minutes for myself, time borrowed from my sleep time, knowing the price I'll end up paying in tiredness is probably going to be higher than I want.  Browsing the Internet, putting off the final effort to get up and finish the evening.  Shower.  Bed. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll start earlier, finish earlier, find some extra depth of organisation.  Always more days.

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Sundries

Katie's actual birthday was on Friday – again, we didn't do anything much to mark the day after having had the big present-giving occasion the previous weekend, but she did get one present on the day (a Peppa Pig top from our childminder, who had previously given Jamie a Transformer's T-shirt for his), and cards from the childminder and from Jamie, as I hadn't been organised enough to get him to write in his card for her in time for last week's festivities.  Actually, I wasn't really organised enough to get him to do it for this week – I just took advantage of the fact that he had as usual finished dinner before her to haul him into my study (an extension of the dining room) and thrust the card and a pencil in front of him as unobtrusively as possible.  Katie was pleased with the card, anyway – a picture of a dinosaur holding up a large number 4. 

"Look!  He's etten a bit of the 4!" she squealed in delight.  So he had – I hadn't actually noticed, but the designer had drawn a large bite mark in the top of the 4, which was a rather cute touch.  Katie certainly appreciated it.  "It must be made of cheese!"

She chose her birthday cake the next day at Sainsbury's – a giant chocolate hedgehog, though we didn't bother with any candles this time around in the general Saturday evening kerfuffle of getting the children fed and upstairs to bed – and we also gave each child one last present on the Saturday morning, the new Cars 2 DVD for Katie and the Wii Super Mario Galaxy game for Jamie.  And that's that over for another year.  I really must get round to doing something about Christmas.  Present lists, please, family members of mine!

The walk that Barry's workplace had planned for today was, unfortunately, cancelled at the last minute due to general lack of interest, so we went for a stroll in a local scenic village instead, where the kids had a great time climbing on the stone constructions in the village centre.  Jamie decided to have a climbing competition but wasn't very clear on what the rules should be, so the two of them ended up running round the central stone steps a few times instead.  Katie was most proud of herself for managing to climb up on the other stone marker.  "Would you like to see me climb up there?" she wanted to know (I'd been with Jamie on the central stone construction while Barry was with Katie).

"I saw you from over here," I explained.

"Would you like to see me do it closer up?" Katie suggested, clearly not about to take no for an answer.  So I watched her climb up several more times, and we had a lovely time walking through the village and enjoying the end of autumn.  Now we're all back home in the warmth, with Jamie busy playing Super Mario Galaxy and Katie snuggled up with Barry on his armchair playing games on his phone and looking at pictures on his computer.

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Nablopo…

The Britmums weekly prompts this week include a couple of questions to tie in with NaBloPoMo – is it realistic to publish a post every day?  And, when it comes to blogging, how can we find a happy medium?

Is it realistic?  Hell, no.  I cannot tell you how many times this month I have cursed the whole concept of NaBloPoMo as I sat up late to write some unnecessary post when I needed to be getting to bed, as I let something else go undone to write a post, as I felt my stomach twist into a knot of tension at the thought of having one more thing to do, dammit, on the already-too-long list of the day's jobs.  For a month, I can just about stretch to it; but I'm going to be bloody glad to see the first of December.

So I'm probably deluding myself when I say that I'm still glad I chose to do it.  Nevertheless, for all the stress it's caused and is still causing me… I am still glad I chose to do it.  Sometimes, the right course of action just isn't the one that seems to be indicated by logic.  I needed something to kick me out of my near-terminal writers' block, and this did the trick.  I've faced up to my phobia of posting mediocre work, and discovered that nobody actually seemed to object particularly and some people liked it.  I've committed myself to a challenge I initially thought I just couldn't manage, and I've found out I actually can.  I've posted some sheer drivel, but I've also posted some stuff I wanted to post and wouldn't otherwise ever have found time for.  And the anecdotes about the children seem trivial in the short term in the face of everything else I ought to have been doing with that time, but maybe not so much in the long term – ten years from now I won't care exactly what date I got round to getting this month's bank statement reconciled or the laundry put away, but I'll still enjoy going back and reading what Jamie and Katie said when they were on the cusp of turning seven and four.

So… coming down the home stretch of NaBloPoMo, and with a reasonably good chance of actually making it through to the end, I have to ask myself where I'm going to go from here.  Am I going to be able to carry my new habit of non-perfectionism forward into non-NaBloPoMo-ing months?  After all, the thing about NaBloPoMo is that it's just substituting one form of perfectionism for another – instead of perfecting the quality, I've been focusing on perfecting the quantity.  When I no longer have the challenge of writing something, anything, each day, am I going to be able to hang onto the knowledge that it's OK just to type a quick account of something funny or cute or memorable without agonising over every word?

I suppose time will tell.  But I'm not going to be imminently putting it to the test, because, come the first of December, I'm really looking forward to a few days of not blogging.

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Bigger

I now have children of seven and four.

Back when Katie was a baby, I used to daydream wistfully of the days when my children would have reached interesting fun ages like – say – six and three.  I looked forward to that so much.  I would be able to have proper conversations with them!  Hear their ideas about things!  Do interesting stuff with them!  Oh, I had one child who'd reached that sort of age, and that was good, and I was thrilled to have my second child, my family complete – but, still, I looked forward to having a six and a three-year-old as some sort of distant Mecca.

So, I gritted my teeth and hung on in there through the night feeds and the insane toddler stage and the toilet training, plus all the good bits (and there were lots of those along the way, don't get me wrong – they just somehow seemed to be mere floating bits of debris to grab at in an overwhelming torrent of exhaustion and frustration and boredom), and the years went by.  And I made it.  I got to the point where I had a six-year-old and a three-year-old.  Throughout the year, every so often, I would stop for a moment to think to myself in awe – this is it.  This is the future I longed for, dreamed of, during those exhausting days and broken nights.  I'm actually here. 

And you know what?  It didn't disappoint.  Oh, parts of it weren't exactly what I'd expected – I hadn't anticipated quite so many monologues on Super Mario, or so much time sitting on bathroom floors while my daughter used the toilet (I hadn't realised that some children insist on company in the bathroom even after they're technically quite able to manage for themselves).  But I do indeed now have two children who can hold conversations with me or with each other, who go to school or nursery respectively and come home having done interesting stuff totally independent of me, who have thoughts and opinions and disagreements and are not afraid to voice them (volubly).  Two fascinating little minds unfolding as I watch.  Six and three was a really, really good year.

And now we're on to the next stage.  Seven and four was the kind of Nirvana I didn't even dare to have more than fleeting dreams of – children that old?  Seriously, did I dare believe that was ever going to happen?  No freakin' way!  It was just too good a life to dare to picture, mired in struggling with a baby and a three-year-old.  And now I'm there.  My son is seven, my daughter – as of today – is four.  The year's adventures lie in wait.

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A hundred coughing babies and a possible skull fracture

Not literally, but that's about what my afternoon on call feels like, looking back over it.  It's been mad busy and I finished late, and now I'm going to get to bed.

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Divided we stumble on

Thanks to Jamie's obsession with electronic media, I've probably had rather fewer problems than the average mother of two with having to deal with them both wanting my attention at once, but tonight was a doozy.  As Jamie finished off his spellings and started thinking of sentences for the week's words (which he agreed to do right off after getting in!  No fighting over it!), Katie decided she was going to do spellings for homework as well, and insisted on paper and pencil, while I was still sitting with Jamie to help him with his sentences.  That was just par for the course; a typical minor conflict, the kind you deal with a dozen times before breakfast on a routine basis.  But then she insisted I should stay with her and help her, while Jamie wanted me to come and watch his Legend of Zelda game that he has for his new Wii, and I had both of them yelling at me simultaneously wanting my attention.

I wanted to do both.  I wanted to be able to pause each child in turn so that I could have my fill of spending time with the other one.  I wanted to see what funny made-up words Katie was coming up with to spell (she thought of 'flinge', which is apparently a thing covered in hair with one wheel, and 'elden', the definition of which we didn't actually establish), and to seize the chance to sneak in a bit of educational play by showing her how letters could go together to make words.  I wanted to acknowledge that Jamie was trying to reach out to me for company and share something he loved doing with another person and that this is a big thing for him, and I wanted to watch his game, which looked a sight more interesting than the Sonic and Mario ones he usually plays.  Oh, and I wanted to get dinner into the oven on time, and clean out the lunchboxes so Barry wouldn't be stuck with that job later, and it would have been nice if I'd had time to make the lunches for tomorrow so that I wouldn't be stuck with that job later, although that last clearly wasn't even going to make it onto the list of options.

But I did what I could.  I went back and forth between them for the first few minutes, and then picked Katie up and hauled her into the living room so that I could have some sort of contact with both at once (she promptly lost interest in making up words to spell, which was a pity, but at least I was managing to talk to them both about what they were doing).  I nipped into the kitchen for a few minutes when I could.  And, later on, when Jamie was in the bath after dinner and Katie was sitting on the toilet and wanted to play a guessing game with me, I managed to get Jamie involved in that as well ("Jamie, Katie's thinking of something that's rectangular and has two legs and is attached to the wall." "Well… is it a radiator?" Blimey, so it was, I'd been stymied by that one – good job I'd had his input!) and, for those few minutes, we all managed to play together successfully.

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The Happiness Project and Lori Gottlieb

A few weeks back, Atlantic.com carried an article about parenting by therapist Lori Gottlieb by the intriguing title How To Land Your Kid In Therapy.  I may or may not ever get round to blogging about Gottlieb's views on parenting and how they match with mine (which they do, for the most part, though I don't know if I'd agree with all her points).  But I do, however, just need to point this out: she has totally misrepresented Gretchen Rubin

Rubin, as many people will know, is the author of The Happiness Project, in which she chronicles her year spent working on increasing the happiness level in her life; a month each of focusing on eleven different life areas or aspects of happiness (energy, marriage, children, fun, etc.), wrapped up by a final month of attempting to put into practice everything she'd learned in all eleven areas. She did this by means of working on several resolutions each month, many of them delightfully prosaic – the first month's resolutions included getting to bed on time and decluttering her apartment.

Although I'm always a bit baffled by the concept of needing to work on being happy and don't feel any need to start a Happiness Project myself (plenty of other potential projects, but not one on happiness – I'm happy already, thanks, so I'd rather spend my time and energy conquering some other mountain), I still loved the book.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, obviously; it is, essentially, the story of an exceptionally privileged woman painstakingly teaching herself how to stop whinging about relative inconsequentialities and enjoy her privilege, and I do get that this is not everyone's idea of an interesting read.  But I was fascinated by the concept of working on the different areas and resolutions, I loved reading about her successes, her backsliding, and her general experiences throughout the year, and I'll often get the book off the shelf to reread a few pages for inspiration and/or sheer fun of reading.

Here, however, is what Gottlieb has to say about it:

The American Dream and the pursuit of happiness have morphed from a quest for general contentment to the idea that you must be happy at all times and in every way. “I am happy,” writes Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project, a book that topped the New York Times best-seller list and that has spawned something of a national movement in happiness-seeking, “but I’m not as happy as I should be.” …Still, Rubin writes, she feels “dissatisfied, that something [is] missing.” So to counteract her “bouts of melancholy, insecurity, listlessness, and free-floating guilt,” she goes on a “happiness journey,” making lists and action items, buying three new magazines every Monday for a month, and obsessively organizing her closets.

Minor point: Rubin does, indeed, as I said above, organise her closets along with the rest of her apartment.  However, I'd hardly call it 'obsessive' – she spends one afternoon on the project early in the year, and then goes on to make something of a thing of offering the service to any friends of hers who are having difficulty doing the job but would like to, but there's nothing to indicate that she spends any time re-organising her own closet during the rest of the year.  A one-off afternoon project is hardly what I'd call 'obsessive' – hell, I've spent twice that time this year on my own closet (so of course I may be biased, but I really don't feel obsessive on the subject and, believe me, I know obsession).  This comment just left me feeling that Gottlieb was looking for a bit of an easy shot as a way to discredit Rubin.)

At one point during her journey, Rubin admits that she still struggles, despite the charts and resolutions and yearlong effort put into being happy. “In some ways,” she writes, “I’d made myself less happy.” Then she adds, citing one of her so-called Secrets of Adulthood, “Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.”

Modern social science backs her up on this. “Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing,” Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College, told me. “But happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster."

Only one little problem with this interpretation; although Gottlieb conveniently omitted to mention this little fact, Rubin's project actually worked very well indeed.  Far from being a disaster, it did exactly what she'd hoped – left her feeling far happier with her life by the end of the year. 

So why that comment about having made herself feel less happy?  One of Rubin's aims, throughout the year, was to work on behaviour that detracted from her happiness by leaving her feeling guilty about having done things she knew she shouldn't, such as gossiping or eating junk food; inevitably, this was often difficult for her in the short term, as she had to focus more on the behaviour of hers that she felt worst about, and the need for changing it.  In the long term, of course, it was worth it – she did manage to cut out a great deal of this behaviour, and this was one of the biggest factors in feeling a lot better about her life by the end of the year.

I don't know whether Gottlieb deliberately misrepresented the book; more likely, she just skimmed through it in search of a couple of lines that appeared to work well to back up her point when taken out of context, and didn't bother looking more closely.  But what she says about the book simply doesn't represent it fairly, and that annoyed me.  I may agree with a lot of what Gottlieb says about parenting, but, on this one, she strikes me as just plain out of line.

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Imagination

Tonight, Katie built a set of steps with her Duplo for one of the Duplo people to walk up and jump into the cab of his lorry (through the front windscreen).  It reminded me that I don't think I blogged about other things that she's made in the past, out of her Mega Bloks:

A place for children and donkeys to get their hair cut (the donkeys ran back and forth along a ridge at the top)

A garden of multicoloured carrots

And a sign to show to babies to let them know what they're supposed to do.  Apparently the idea was to show it to them when you want them to stop crying.

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