Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Springtime, tidying, tonsils, and strangers.  §

So last week the kids spent a decent amount of time while I was working “excavating” the back bedroom—getting everything out of the closet, unpacking every box they found, and generally distributing clothes and previously forgotten objects evenly across the furniture and carpet.

© Engraver / Dreamstime

In the last ten or twelve minutes before we left for Taekwondo, and after that mom’s house, they managed to bring most of their toys into the living room, and to open a few juice boxes and leave them lying around for good measure.

They also thought it would be nice to rearrange the shoes in the hallway from a nice row into a nice dispersal, partially on the stairs.

And they’d already had a particularly productive week of clothes-dirtying. For example, on a good day my daughter is able to go through three pairs of socks (she compulsively changes them), but on a really, really good day she can go through five.

So when I woke up yesterday morning, there was a decent amount of housework to do—but I needed to spend some time actually reading books for a change and actually making notes and doing some planning for a change, so nothing got seen to on Saturday.

— § —

Today, I spent the entire second half of the day cleaning and tidying. And I swear, I’ve just managed to beat things back to “cluttered” from “warzone.”

Every other weekend when the kids aren’t here, it’s the same story—hours and hours of cleaning and tidying to try to catch up. But I don’t ever quite catch up; I’m slowly losing ground. I’ve told the kids we’re going to have to do some “spring cleaning” a couple of weekends when they are here, putting in entire days tidying and cleaning.

It was a very popular idea. (I jest there.)

Basically, two kids, single dad who works from home, and large-ish (by the standards of my childhood at least) house just don’t add up. When I’m actually able to afford things again (say, next snowstorm in hell), I’m going to buy a small house in a far more central location. Someplace where it’s harder to make a giant mess and easier to get things to and from home.

— § —

Speaking of affording things, the boy may have to have his tonsils out. This is not a prospect that makes me happy.

  • Surgery is invasive and hard, especially on a little kid.
  • There is always some element of risk, and I’m tired of risk; I need to save all of my risk-taking guts for actual life, where despite my extreme accumulation of risk events over the last few years, I need to take more of them to actually gain any ground.
  • There will be a nice, big bill involved, thanks to the health care plans on the ACA exchange getting worse and worse, year over year. (We have one of the best plans available in our state because my employer reimburses, but where the annual deductibles were $250/$500 the first year, they’re in the thousands now.)
  • They cite a week of “not fun or easy” recovery time. This would have been a PITA before the divorce. Now it’s going to be a PITA, not to mention a minefield as well.

Every kid is high-maintenance in their own way. DD has never required much in the way of health care, but has a reasonably high-maintenance personality in terms of her rather critical fastidiousness, forceful character, and singular vision for, well, everything (this all drove my ex-wife absolutely nuts). DS is tremendously flexible and accepts whatever comes his way, but the saga of asthma that (as it turns out) may always have been sleep obstructive apnea thanks to gnarly-huge tonsils means that he has been tremendously expensive. Worth every penny, but a oh, what very healthy number of pennies.

Hopefully the de-tonsiling maneuver will mark the end of this particular series of issues once and for all.

— § —

Seeing your kids enjoying activities and in photos with other people when you’re not invited and will not have any collection to, or narrative of, the event in question is one of the strangest sensations on earth.

It’s not painful, exactly, but it is vaguely disconcerting, especially when it happens in real time (say, on Facebook) and they’re not around and won’t be for hours or days.

It’s like you are seeing someone else’s children that remind you of your own children that you’ve lost. That sounds worse than it is, because of course you haven’t actually suffered the loss—they’ll be back shortly—but they are not present, are not accessible, can not share with you the context of the photo, and won’t remember it when they return, because of course they’re kids.

I suppose this is what it must be like to have grown-up kids to some extent—you see that they have a life, and you see that they do things, but you’re not connected to, nor do you really understand, any of it. There’s an uncanny element of “strangerness” in it—you experience them as people that you don’t know.

Though I suppose when they’re older, they’ll be able to narrate some of it for you. Of course, they won’t, because while with age the capability is no longer an obstacle, necessary individuation will become one.

— § —

When I was younger, I was very much against judgment. Tolerance, tolerance for all! Embrace everything, etc.

You have kids, and this changes. If you are going to be a parent to your children, if you are going to protect them and care for them and do right by them, you quickly realize that you must judge. You must separate the good from the bad, the safe from the unsafe, the good influences from the wayward ones. Tolerance is for singles. Parents are judges, and their judgments are draconian.

They say that parenthood changes you. I can vouch for this.

— § —

I know spring isn’t for another few days, but based on weather and the general feeling in the air, I declare springtime to be here nonetheless.

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