Note Smuggled Out of a Tibetan Fortune Cookie Factory

April 16, 2008

Various commotions (to the point of crisis) seem to be coming to a head in my life at the moment. I will probably be blogging less for a while and concentrating on dealing with these “issues” until I can come up for air. Please don’t feel neglected or ignored. Including David, Pete, and abarclay and everyone else.

A brief summary of what’s going on until I get more time:

1) My idea of what should be happening in my job and my bosses’ ideas of what should be happening in my job differ dramatically. Trying to decide who is “correct” and who is not correct is difficult and ambiguous. In the meantime, the golden rule applies: “Those that have the gold make the rules.” As I don’t have enough gold to carry on without my job for the nine months until I retire, I better follow their rules, as much as I don’t care for them. This is going to take a lot of my time, leaving me little time to write about my angst, even in my secret blog.

My employer (as a benefit) offers free mental health “counseling”. (This seems only appropriate for an employer that seems bent on driving at least some of its employees…well, crazy.)

At various times in my life, I have taken advantage of various kinds of therapy, starting in my 20s and continuing at various intervals to the time a few years ago when I had a bout of clinical depression (leading to a funny episode I haven’t had time to write about). I am not the first comedian (I am sure) to find merriment in my own episodes of depression. Anyway, I have made an appointment to go see a counselor in a couple of weeks. I hope the coming session does not produce too much comedy. Given that the counselor is a) female and b) has a Jewish last name perhaps does not bode well in this regard.

2) My daughter was going to quit her job and start graduate school again in the fall. Her decision to leave her job seemed to make her employer appreciate her more. They asked her to work on revamping her job and on training a successor. They offered her more money to do so. She decided this is worth taking a year to do a good job on helping with the transition. She is postponing starting graduate school for a year (with the University’s agreement and permission).

3) Random Granddaughter has been taking swimming lessons, which she enjoys. The mommies have decided that lots of exercise and physical activity are good for her, so she has started gymnastics lessons as well. I am sure that soccer will be on the menu soon. Surely she will not be the first child in America with two soccer mommies?

In the meantime, the pre-school crisis continues. As mommies work on making other arrangements for day care, RG is striving to be a pre-school juvenile delinquent. Mommy (my daughter’s partner) called last night and said that RG’s return to pre-school (after being away for several days) did not go well.

Apparently she has joined the “bad boys” I wrote about earlier who are always being put on “time out.” First she did something “disruptive” with her chair in the classroom. Time out #1.

Then when she went outside to the playground she began climbing on a box of safety equipment (which is apparently not safe to climb on) and refused to stop when asked to do so. Inside for time out #2 went RG. I don’t know if the bad boys kept her company.

When she got home, she cried a lot but refused to talk about her feelings. “I feel so bad for her” said Mommy, talking about her feelings at least.

Mommy asked if I would be willing to spend some time with RG. Apparently even Grandpa is considered a better influence than pre-school. I have to be careful now; I used to be able to schedule my vacation time fairly casually; under the new regime at work (motto: “Making the world safe for bureaucracy”) I have to schedule my vacation days well in advance and get them signed in triplicate.

However, I will spend a day taking care of RG in May to protect her from pre-school or protect the pre-school from her. Grandma will schedule some time for a similar purpose.

This message smuggled out inside a fortune cookie from a Tibetan fortune cookie factory where I am being held captive by the Dalai Lama (who apparently escaped from where Indiana Jones had been holding him captive).


7 Responses to “Note Smuggled Out of a Tibetan Fortune Cookie Factory”

  1. Cameron Says:

    I’ve generally never understood the wisdom of punishing children who are playing with a time-out. Generally, their energy is part of the problem, and playing is a constructive outlet for that, while sitting in time-out often increases restlessness. Seems like redirecting RG might have been a better option–if they could get her down in order to put her in time-out, then they could redirect her play elsewhere. (Disclaimer: the above does not apply to children in serious danger of hurting themselves or others)

    But I don’t have children, so my musings can freely be ignored or critiqued.

    But I do have several years experience teaching high school, and I have seen the results of children (especially boys) not given constructive outlets for their energy and creativity.

  2. modestypress Says:


    When our daughter was little, we did time outs a few times as an alternative to other punishments. We didn’t feel especially good about it then, and don’t particularly in retrospect. As a small ingredient in an “armory” of child discipline techniques, it may be a bit useful at times. At her home, if RG is being especially difficult, Mommy asks her to sit on the “thinking step” (bottom step of the stairs) until she comes up with an alternative to whatever she is stuck on (such as screaming) and then she moves on. It’s not a stay there for five minutes type of deal. That may be reasonable.

    As I’ve mentioned, mommies have become uncomfortable with RG’s pre-school for a variety of reasons, so the goal is to get her out of there as soon as they reasonably can. For the meantime, she doesn’t go there every day. One of the temporary expedients will be the uncertain mercies of Grandpa and Grandma from time to time. We will have to come to her place as she isn’t old enough to take the ferry by herself yet. 🙂

  3. pandemonic Says:


    The extra activities might make RG more even tempered during her other activities (like school) but it might not. My son was the same. He was a problem until high school. 😦 Sorry for that comment. Perhaps RG will not be a whirlwind of action for that long.

    The worst mommy of all is the hockey mommy, so unless RG takes up skating, the situation appears within the normal range.

    Have you considered music lessons? She sounds extraordinarily precocious (and precious) and may be that is her true calling?

  4. Pete Says:

    I loved Cameron’s comment! I (Speaking for me) am an expert on raising childern, and I have none! I catch myself doing that occasionally. I can see what’s wrong with the way parents raise their kids, yet all I have is 2 dogs, a rabbit and a bunch of chickens! But let me tell you I KNOW how to raise chickens!! :+> And pandemonic makes a good point…Often times (I see this in dogs!) the rambunctious, or precocious ones turn out to be the most talented and successful at whatever it is they set their mind to. It is getting through the younger days that can be tough. I would have returned our german sheperd to the breeder (And lost the $400 even) if the breeder didn’t live so far away. Now that he is 3 he is my wife’s very favorite! So tell Mom and Mommy to hang in there. RG will make them proud!

  5. 1) I promise I won’t feel neglected.

    2) I’m so sorry that things are still such a mess at your job. I hoped it would get easier, though knowing how things work, I didn’t really think it would get easier. But I hoped so anyway.

    3) I predict at least one good story about the counselor.

    4) We know things are bad when you’re considered a better alternative than the preschool, green eggs and ham/other irresponsible mischief notwithstanding.

    5) There’s such a fine balance between teaching a particulary lively child to respect appropriate safety/interpersonal boundaries and making said child feel “wrong.” I’m very glad I don’t have to figure out how to do that with a child, because I’m sure it would kill me. RG is very lucky to have the mommies she has, and the family she has, who are obviously dedicated to finding ways for her to be completely herself, while keeping her safe in the world (and keeping other people safe from her).

    6) Pan has a good point … if there’s something she is passionate about, be it music or drawing or whatever else it may be, that thing might serve as a good “channel” for her abundance of energy. Finding that thing isn’t always easy with a small child, though.

  6. modestypress Says:

    Random Granddaughter generally behaves well at home and with her friends. She has strong opinions on various matters and is not easily convinced by directives and commands because they come from someone older or in authority. However, she can concentrate and occupy herself constructively for long periods of time. Her instincts toward others generally seem to be kind and generous.

    All in all, if she is behaving badly a lot in a certain situation (such as pre-school), I am inclined to suspect the problem is more in the situation than in her.

    As far as talents and passionate directions, art more than music seems apparent, though she likes music as well. She’s got good genes in both, probably, as Mommy majored in music and is a pretty good classical violinist, while sperm donor /dad works in graphic design and non-profit organization wheeling and dealing. RG shows talent in wheeling and dealing as well.

    I think the basic instinct in our family is to encourage her to be good and cooperative and competent, and to give her the opportunity to discover and express her gifts whatever they may prove to be. Fire chief is still a possibility. When we discussed this once, Mama expressed support for the possibility; Mommy expressed some concern at the danger involved with such a career.

  7. truce Says:

    I have the same comment for both you (at work) and RG (at pre-school):

    “Don’t let the b******s get you down”

    Hang on in there, both of you, things are bound to look up soon… 🙂

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