Thursday, August 16, 2018

In the earliest days of caring for Ender and Remy, they were only able to crawl. And climb the baby gate. Ender would crawl over to the baby gate, pull himself up, and stand with his feet on the lower bar. He would be quite content up there, perched two whole inches above the world, but when he decided he wanted to get down, he wasn't able to and he would start crying until I got him down. I got tired of that pretty quick, and began to take him down immediately and tell him "No!" After a few dozen rounds of this, I concluded that it was only right for him to suffer the consequences of his actions. He'd climb the gate, hang out up there, and when he'd start crying, I wouldn't help him down right away. First I let him cry for one minute and get him down. He'd crawl around for a little bit, then decide he wanted up on that gate again. I'd let him cry for two minutes the next time, and so on. Three minutes. Then four minutes. I thought he would crack after being stuck up there for five minutes, but he did not.
The boy was stubborn, but so was I.

The final count: 20 minutes.

His record-breaking round had exhausted him, and when I took him down and laid him upon a pile of blankets, he kept crying quietly until he fell asleep.

I hardened my heart and told myself I was doing the right thing and that the world was cruel and he'd have to learn the consequences of his actions.

The boy slept for about an hour.  Even as he slept, he'd still let out an occasional quiet sob. The boy was unconscious, yet still he suffered. How could a person learn if the suffering continues so far beyond the action?

I doubt I could have articulated it at that time, but I think that was when I made my choice. There are consequences for our actions, but the world is a flawed teacher. In order to protect them, and to train them, I would have to become those consequences.

I threw out any grand notions of how the world should be, and I accepted this burden of authority. When they did something I didn't want them to do, I would pinch their shoulders. My authority came with a caveat; I rejected any pretense of moral authority. Maybe I was right, maybe I was wrong, that could be discussed whenever they wished. In practical terms, if they did certain things, I would do certain things. Why, who knows? But they could learn to navigate this for now, and the lessons of the world would have to wait their turn. These boys were under my care, and my training, and will be until they don't need me anymore. Maybe even longer, if I'm lucky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Staring at an empty screen. Wary of being misunderstood. Not so wary I can't stop and say Hi.

Went to Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen last night. They have a small bar, and a man and a woman sat there drinking and eating appetizers. He was watching sports, and she had a tablet and was watching cartoons. Technology is bringing us together in more ways than it is pushing us apart.

Lots of good music. Have a Google Music station based on Daughter, and it's brought me to Meadowlark, and AURORA, and Tom Rosenthal. I worry about sinking too deeply into melancholy. Hasn't happened so far. I enjoy the quiet wanderings of memory. Like a museum after hours, the night watchman, shining light on the exhibits. Can take them in in bits and pieces, and not be overwhelmed.

The phrase "slipped in and out of heaven" has been running through my head. From Peter Pan, I think. When it's talking about the hidden kiss. Something like "They that find it have slipped in and out of heaven."

It's a useful concept. Heaven exists, but only for small moments.