Evvybody gots PROBLEMZ

Everyone’s got their Stuff right now. Maybe not problems exactly, but somehow everyone in this little family is experiencing something that is very THEM. For the kids, it’s very particular growing up things. For the parents, it’s very particular us things.

M, for instance, has been struggling with Bad Feelings (TM); meaning, he needs to crawl into my bed in the wee hours, or be cuddled to sleep at night, because of dark fears that he is well aware are silly, but they’re there anyway. Dark shadows in the corners. Zombies. (Turns out, Plants vs Zombies is hilarious in the daylight, but the zombies overstay their welcome.) Small boy, big imagination. C’s fears were quite different: she was never scared of monsters, but could work herself into a full panic in nullkommanix over worries that she might get separated from Mommy. M would always be perfectly relaxed and trusting that I’d take care of it; but Bad Feelings in the night, that’s his thing.

On the cuter side, he has put two and two together, Easter Bunny wise; how can Santa and the bunny do their work if magic isn’t real? So, magic IS real. QED.

A has been struggling with his own very personal demons in the form of decision making. God he hates it. It is AGONY. Right now we are working on big plans for the garden, and the house lights, all of which requires a lot of decision making, and maybe that’s why he’s been suffering so very much with the far less momentous problem of choosing a hotel for a weekend break. I do relate. Choices are hard, and because we so rarely go away (not only in plague times), it feels extra important to get it right; I mean, a sucky hotel would be a real waste of an opportunity. But… it still doesn’t deserve that much energy and stress. (No, I can’t take this one off his hands, it’s a birthday present to me, so… he’s on his own.)

My struggles come as a direct result of this: the frustration of dealing with A’s wobbly decision making. He puts a lot of time and research into working out his thinking, which is great up to a point, but then (a) he doesn’t trust his conclusions, (b) he takes so long he forgets his conclusions, and (c) over all this time possibly new information has come in, so he goes back to ground previously covered and reconsiders and questions his thinking and oh goddddd it’s awful. I’m stuck there trying to move him along and get him to commit to a decision and keep him focused, while he comes to me with questions about things I thought we’d already decided, and I want to explode because DEAR LORD WE HAVE DONE THIS ALREADY but that’s kind of unfair and mean so I try very hard not to explode… with limited success. Anyway so we are now at the point of talking to tradespeople about the work we want to have done, which is helpful in many ways – not least, the role they take in pinning us down to an actual plan – but also clearly more expensive than doing it all ourselves. Except that “doing it ourselves” just isn’t happening (and some of it we definitely need help with). In principle I think it’s money well spent, but money is stressful in itself; my unemployment money is running out in about half a year, so our monthly budget** could have to be significantly tightened, and aaaaarghh.

Of all of us, C’s the one doing the best. All she’s been struggling with is adjusting to the quiet period between the Gymi results (woo yay!) and actually starting Gymi (woo YAY!!). Which was indeed tricky for a couple of weeks there; she was completely unable to apply herself in school, and utterly bored at home. Funny how that goes: while studying, she was itching to be working on other projects – art, and learning Japanese, and writing a graphic novel… as soon as she actually had time, she inevitably lost interest. But she does report that she’s starting to enjoy working in school again, which sounds about right.

The growing up has been particularly notable lately. She was thrilled to be left alone for an evening this weekend (we went over to friends for drinks, and M came with for a sleepover; what a treat to be able to hang out as long as we wanted without worrying if she was still happy!). On a more mournful note, she emphatically does not want skateboarding lessons from Daddy, which is breaking his heart somewhat. I am promising him there will be many more things he can still do with his daughter, but he’s taking it hard.

* #Not52recipes: I think I have failed to tell you about these “fantails“, ie fancy dinner rolls, which were a huge hit a few weeks ago. Actually it’s amazing we haven’t repeated them already – I tried to this weekend, before realising we were out of sour cream. There will definitely be more, with flavour variations, in our future. Ridiculously tasty and fun. Also! I made hot cross buns using a tangzhong; the buns were not bad, but I haven’t quite got the oven settings right yet. Much more practice required. And much more tangzhong, that seems very promising for many things. I won’t link to any specific page because I am not sure what’s the best resource, but basically, you cook up a little water roux (using some of the flour and liquid from the recipe) and then mix that into the dough, to get a softer, sweeter, longer lasting bread.
** Switzerland’s unemployment insurance is separate to welfare. It’s generous (calculated based on your last salary) but limited to at most two years. I’m already in extra time, because plague. And while it seems like I should for sure be able to count on getting another job, sooner or later… well, two years of job hunting does make that feel pretty questionable.

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