Pretty But Caustic/Some Thoughts on Community

There’s a beautiful tall white and green native annual Euphorbia (marginata) coming up all over the veg garden.  You’d never know by looking at it that its sap is caustic and the whole plant must be handled with care and gloves, or you can get burned.  Hmm, what botanical metaphor for real life could I be suggesting?

Yesterday was one of “those” days over at the Avdi’s.  Ironically it wasn’t so much S this time.  It started out fine; E accompanied me grocery shopping for A at two stores, and helped a lot.  I should say, I helped them!  We accomplished our goal successfully, stopping briefly at my apartment on the way home (E’s first time there).  We delivered the groceries, then things went downhill from there.

Y was in one of her common volatile moods toward E, sometimes erupting into yelling and hateful cussing.  I think she tries to compete with E and S for attention and validation.  Twice I cleaned up the kitchen after baking “projects”, and then another operation would start up.  I try to just stay safe out of the way with S while they conduct culinary experiments.  Actually, some good confections do result, and we get to sample them.

I was staying overnight so Avdi could get a rare opportunity to go out and unwind.  Turns out everyone else decided to stay up all night, loudly gaming or cooking up stuff in the kitchen.  S finally crashed on the sofa, and A went out.

After giving up on sleep downstairs while K did his noisy thing online all night, I crept upstairs to share a corner of the sofa.  That’s when the “squirrels” decided to amp up the volume and activity in the kitchen again, accompanied by clanging and loud talking.  We’re talking like 1:30 or 2AM.  I gave up on the sofa and crawled back downstairs, where K had finally subsided, and got a few hours at most, with some disturbing apocalyptic dreams.

Meanwhile, due to all the delays managing kid issues, Avdi was too late for his evening events, and had to turn around, come home, and stay up managing kids some more.  So both of us were exhausted and not ready for today.  He let me go home to rest up a little ’til later, something he doesn’t get to do.  I felt really bad for him, and not very helpful.

I’m sure eventually things will fall into more of a consistent routine, once the kids realize they need to fit into the needs of the whole household.  I admire Avdi for letting them feel free to try new things and take more responsibility.

Myself, I’m not good at dealing with the resulting chaos and disorder.  I grew up in a world of absolute discipline and sterility.  I’m also not good at taking command and delegated authority.  I had compliance and submission beaten into me for decades growing up, so I sucked at management, supervision, and taking initiative.  These kids fortunately won’t have that disadvantage, at least.  Self-discipline and impulse control will need some work, though!

Folks, word to the wise, having kids is a huge undertaking.  They are not mini-adults, or personal accessories.  It’s not like buying (or selling) a house or car.  It’s not a Disney movie, or the “American Dream”.  It’s a major lifelong process, with lots of pain, exhaustion, and loss of personal boundaries and mental health!  Be prepared to never be the same again, or at least to never get enough R&R.  The goal is to train stable, healthy adults who can eventually live responsible, free-thinking, interdependent lives.  All while trying to hold down full-time jobs to support all the expenses.

As clichéd as this will sound, I’ve come to believe it does take a village.  That is, in societies where many villagers or extended family are always around to pick up the slack, cultures seem to thrive and raise strong, well-socialized kids.  No one individual has the strength and time to do it all.  That whole rugged individualistic nuclear family myth is a load of crap, in my humble opinion.  In reality, people change and split up, and end up raising a whole herd on their own, while struggling to stay afloat financially.  And that’s not taking into account neuro-dev issues that have to be managed.  As naive as we hippies were, I think we were on to something about community.  It may be how we will survive and adapt to a changing world.

So much for catching up on sleep!  Here are some illustrations.






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