Are we all still lying awake at night, going through our entire mental rolodex and trying to figure out who is a sociopath? This will pass as the information is absorbed. But in the meantime I am a little bit over-stimulated.
I propose a new term. (Aw. Remember Sniglets? Yes. We remember Sniglets.) The term is "recreational anger." Recreational anger is the kind of anger that is fun or entertaining or enjoyable to participate in. The kind of anger that people SEEK OUT because they like the exhilaration of being angry, not because the anger makes anything different. Recreational anger is not SUPPOSED to fix the anger-inducing problem, because if it DID fix the problem, there would no longer be the fun of being angry about it. The POINT is "being angry about it."
Recreational anger ties in to The Giant Internet Hand of Spanking: people who work themselves into a large and exciting froth over some small and often accidental/unintentional violation are participating in Recreational Anger. They are outraged not because the violation is so outrageous, and not because the outrage will change/fix/improve the violation, but because it is so much fun to be outraged in a group. Recreational anger is a hugely bonding and exciting and fun activity for participants, but causes a backlash of both recreational and genuine anger from others.
I am neither FOR or AGAINST Recreational Anger. Or rather, more accurately, I am BOTH for and against it, depending on whether or not I am participating in it.
Rob is 5'6" and is getting a suspicious pre-pimpley reddening around his mouth and nose. He will be 13 on his next birthday. His best friend is dating someone. One of his homework assignments this week involved asking a parent about the Gestapo. My friend's son is a year older than Rob, and his voice has changed and he is SHAVING.
Elizabeth is so shy in class, she can't talk to her teachers. I asked her what she does if she needs to ask a question, and she said she tries never to have to do that. At Open House, the teacher asked "Oh, who did you bring with you tonight, Elizabeth?" and Elizabeth was unable to answer or to even look up from the floor. At home, Elizabeth is confident to the point of bossiness; we have to say to her, "Elizabeth, you are not the grown-up." We've just learned that things are different at school. (OH NO. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE HER TEACHER IS A SOCIOPATH!)
I'm supposed to help Elizabeth and Edward practice their spelling words. After three nights of practice, Elizabeth could spell all the words. Edward was still spelling them as if we'd never practiced them a single time. (Example: spelling "pencil" spelled "pesl".) But Edward is comfortable in his classroom and with his teacher, and that makes this a sub-fret to the Elizabeth shyness fret.
Henry has on two occasions bitten another student. I used to work in a daycare and I remember how serious an issue biting could be. When the teacher reported it to me, my mental circuits got too overloaded for me to say my PERFECTLY EASY AND SCRIPTED LINE ("Thank you for telling me. I'll have a talk with him"). Instead I launched into a pained, awkward, slightly-crazy series of remarks and facial expressions, in which I was trying to subtly communicate everything that was overloading my circuits ("I believe you! I am on your side! My mother was a teacher, and I will not flip out and defend my child like I know other parents do!! I used to work at a daycare and I know how serious this is and I am nervous I will not be able to stop him from doing this and he will get kicked out because you will think he might be a sociopath!") without coming out and saying any of it, so that I accidentally communicated things that were blathery, awkward, ambiguous, and hard to respond to. Now I keep going over it in my head, comparing The Way It Should Have Gone (and so EASILY, too!) with The Way It Did In Fact Go. Woe.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 1 of 2 - I have TWO 8-year-olds to buy for, so I’m going to split it up into two posts. Today will be the things we’re getting for Edward. I dislike saying “Gift id...