Tuesday, December 28, 2010


We're having some sideways rain here at the moment. It's less traumatic here than in Southern California, mostly because Northern California is actually meant for human habitation. (We get more rain naturally, and we don't build cities on steep hillsides made out of dust that turns into structurally-unsound mud when wet.) I'll happily take the above-average rainfall, though; our water situation isn't going to get less precarious with time.

I'm adjusting more. I finally powered on my MacBook Pro, which was good because my trusty netbook's Linux installation stopped working when I tried to upgrade it, and it's probably not salvageable. After using Windows and Linux for 9 months, I'd forgotten how aesthetically pleasing computers can actually be if a company makes that a priority. The quality of the graphics on the Mac is pretty stunning: I just want to stare and drool at all the smooth details in the Alt-Tab icons. This is a pretty old and worn-down machine, too, so my eventual new one will be extra shiny.

School is on winter vacation, so we're seeing a lot more of J than usual this couple of weeks. It's nice to have some family time, and for him and me to get a little more used to each other. He's an incredibly sweet and affectionate human being. Sample dialogues:
"Hmm, if you would like to play, why don't you ask me?"
"Mama said you'd be tired."
"Well, that's sort of true, since I just got home from being away. But Mama and I are also different people, and I play differently than Mama, so you and I need to figure out ways to play together that work for both of us."
In his drawn-out syllables: "Weeeell, that's good, I've been wanting to find some new ways to play."
Or, out of the blue at dinner:
"Chris, it's great that you're back."
Or, 10 minutes after I told him I was glad to be home and it was nice to see him:
"It's good you're not on the other side of the world any more."
Or the time Anna and I were meditating and he came out for the morning snuggle, and failing that, went and plopped down a blanket and pillow and started sitting with us, which was just cute beyond words. You get the picture. He's pretty awesome.

He's also 6, he eats about five different foods, and he's a total drama queen about things like his difficulty with writing. Also, we live in a one-bedroom apartment: it's too small for Anna, who spent years and years living in tiny campers full-time, so that's really validating for me. (I'm highly motivated to get a job and move us to a bigger place.)

I think it's a standard family life, despite the somewhat non-standard kid: cuteness, affection, moments of frustration and anger (he has a lot of stress from an inconsistent schedule and his social difficulties, and he's got a lot of rudeness going on right now). I still have no idea how I fit into J's world. He's created a category called "Chris," which also contains his grandfather and seems to involve "gentle men in my family." Anna redirects him when I need time to myself, and there's also random playtime, including my favorite game, Let's Sit Next To Each Other On The Bed And Quietly Read Our Own Books. I try to do the behavioral stuff, too: I got annoyed with his rudeness last week, and boy howdy, did he notice. That's when we also had the "But Mama gives the time-outs!" conversation, which Mama helpfully clarified soon afterward.

(I made him sit on the bed and breathe with me to try and let go of our frustration, which either made him more frustrated, or helped him see his frustration more clearly, but either way he decided to clomp off to spend a few minutes in his room with the door closed, which is a fine outcome.)

I have frustration and sadness floating around: I need a job, the apartment is too small for 2.5 people, and I have flashes of resentment at losing my nice quiet sanctuary that I worked so hard on, to these barbarian invaders, with their noise and their endless piles of Legos.

But as you might guess, the truth is that I like the boy, and I'm quite fond of my intelligent, cute girl, and it's an excellent life we're all building together.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year, Chris, Anna, and J! I hope this year brings you a good job, a bigger place to live, and flavorful food!