Saturday, January 14, 2006

I have nothing to say

So Jeff tells me (yesterday?) that it's been about three weeks since I've posted, and I feel very guilty, but at a loss as to what I should talk about. I have this weird thing (maybe a type 4 thing) where I feel like if I don't have anything deep and heavy to say, it's better to keep quiet (in this format, anyway). I find the intimate details of my day to day life fairly dull, so I have no reason to believe anyone else is waiting with intense interest for me to post about it.

I'm up to my maintenance dose (200mg) of lamictal now, and it is working very, very well. So well that the three weeks of sunlessness we all just suffered through hardly registered. Mostly I just felt a little tireder than usual, wanting to sleep in, or maybe take an afternoon nap. It beats not being able to get dressed and being intermittently suicidal, which is how I usually feel during December and January. I'm a bit irritable in the morning and evening, but since I'm not by nature an early riser (my kids are), and evenings here are chaos, I think that's perfectly normal and not a manifestation of mental illness.

Allie got into the magnet school that I wanted for her, and she's very excited about kindergarten. She keeps asking why she has to wait till fall to start. She likes her preschool, though. The other day she dictated a note to me for her teachers. I will reproduce it here for everyone's amusement:

Dear Mrs Rhodie and Mrs Greer,

I like my Christmas present you gave me and I would like another one. I want all four of my teachers to come to school again. When I go to kindergarten, I want all the kids in my class to come with me.


Part of me loves that she is so direct and isn't afraid to ask for what she wants, and part of me is mortified. But I'm sure they're used to it, and anyway, they love her to death.

Speaking of Christmas, the kids got mostly gifts that I approve of. Jeff will tell you- I am a gift nazi. There are toys that are ok with me, and toys that mysteriously disappear around springtime (I don't throw them away- they get donated to the Lupus Foundation). I'm not a complete meanie- if a toy I hate is especially beloved by one or more kids, I grant an exemption. But it is pretty rare that I have to. Thankfully. We have so many toys as it is (four kids and three grandmas who all go overboard with gift-giving will do that) that I go through every two or three months and get rid of some of them anyway.

Their favorite gifts this year are the Melissa & Doug cooktop set, birthday cake, and pizza party- my mother-in-law bought the first one, the other two they got from us. I'll admit I have a bias toward wood toys (Little People and teethers being exceptions- all my kids play with Jonah's teethers. Go figure). Ok, I'm really just nuts. My dislike of plastic toys borders on the irrational.

But there's also an element of practicality in my derangement. It's not a matter of educational value or noise or replacing batteries or anything like that. What it comes down to is that we don't have a ton of money to spend on gifts for anyone, our kids included. If I'm going to spend $20 on a toy, it better be something my kids are still playing with on Valentine's Day, or I will feel it was money wasted. Ditto if it gets broken a week after Christmas, like the fire truck Gabe got from his great-grandma that is already missing two wheels. And so many of the plastic toys you get at Target or anywhere else feature licensed characters, which, as far as I can tell, about doubles the price, with no corresponding increase in quality. It makes me really angry, so I refuse to buy them, and instead, I buy a lot of Melissa & Doug stuff.

I guess, upon reflection, it's not what the toys are made of that matters to me, but what kind of values they represent. Are they an extension of our throwaway culture's love of passive entertainment, violence, brand names, and flashiness? Then I'll probably hate it. If, on the other hand, it encourages imagination, improvisation, movement, or interaction (even if said interaction ends with one party crying, as is often the case here)...then it's pretty likely that I'll adore it. It's just a sad coincidence that plastic toys are usually of the former variety, and wooden ones almost exclusively the latter.

Honestly, I bet I'm the only person you know who could start a post titled "Nothing to Say" and write this much. G'night.

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