Pencils, Children (not related)
Aug. 9th, 2011 @ 09:42 am
My new pencils finally arrived! Staedtler Mars Lumographs - a tin set of 12 (one in each grade from 8B to 2H) plus a 4H and a 6H. Because :EU: the entire back of the tin is taken up with the label of: |
Soft pencils of premium quality for professional sketches and drawings. The finely graded degrees from (8B to 2H) generate diverse effects with varying contrasts and effective shading.
Mars Lumograph pencils are especially break-resistant, easy to sharpen and erase. Mars Lumograph pencils are available in 16 degrees, ranging from particularly soft (8B) to very hard (6H), obtainable as a set or individually.
In really quite small font, you understand - it's just printed in German, English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Japanese.
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon I babysat for a one-year-old boy. And I found myself doing something I'd never had to do before, in all my time spent supervising small children, and which I felt weirdly conflicted about.
I babysit J. regularly, and he and I get on very well. He seems very fond of me, and I adore him utterly. It has reached the point of familiarity where in a range of circumstances I am utterly unmoved by him crying, but I'm not conflicted about that.
To explain why, I shall give you an example set of events:
1) J. is playing with blocks on the tiled floor of the living room. One is round, and rolls away from him, under the couch. I hear it click against the wall, and conclude that I probably can't retrieve it without injuring myself, so I'm not going to. Fortunately, J. is unconcerned by this.
Summary: Through no fault of his own, he loses his block for the foreseeable future. He does not seem to care.
2) Some time later, J. tosses another block, one that isn't round, into the corner between two couches. He can see it, but can't reach it. He seems somewhat unhappy about this. After a few minutes, I retrieve the block for him, because I can reach it.
3) J. picks up the block and tosses it towards the couch. It lands halfway under the couch. He picks it up and tosses it in again, then reaches under the couch and pushes it further, until it is out of his reach. J. cries because he's lost his block.
I am unmoved. So is his mother (who got home a few minutes before this incident).
I'm not nearly as expert in his cries as his mother is, but the nature of familiarity with babies is profoundly exemplified by her. When she's home while I'm babysitting, her reaction to the sound of him crying is usually to ignore it, if she's not in the room, or if she is, to tell him why he's okay; if he's crying because he wants to be carried all the time that day, she will inform him that he is not a prince to be served at his whim; if he's crying because he threw his toy where he can't reach it and that makes him sad, she suggests that perhaps he shouldn't do that again.
If he falls over and startles himself or even experiences slight pain, if she's there, she'll soothe him (gently telling him he's all right, if he is), and be very loving. If she's not in the room, she'll leave that to me, because it's covered.
On the other hand, last week, while she was doing stuff in another room with an eye to sorting things out so she could rest for a while (she's also quite, quite pregnant at the moment), he fell over and faceplanted on one of his blocks. He started crying an I-fell-over-cry. I had of course scooped him up immediately and was being all comforting - and then I saw the blood, because it turned out he'd cut his gum on the corner of the block. He, too, clearly realised that a mouthful of blood (gums bleed a LOT) was not a normal or okay thing, because his cry sharpened abruptly.
I had just drawn the breath I needed to call his mother when she emerged from the corridor at speed.
Of course, he's still a baby. He didn't want to open his mouth so she could look at it - the point at which she was able to get a proper good look at it was when she was still on the phone to his father, discussing whether they thought she should take him to get it checked out, and he was opening his mouth to laugh gleefully less than five minutes later.
Anyway, yesterday, he was supposed to have a nap. He doesn't like afternoon naps, a lot of the time (and may be transitioned shortly to just "afternoon quiet time", supplied with a toy, but he really needs to rest and chill a bit or he becomes a somewhat unhappy baby for the rest of the day anyway). Yesterday afternoon, he spent the entire period he was supposed to be napping grizzling, except when he decided to escalate grizzling to crying to a full-blown tantrum. He worked himself up into such a state that he cried so hard he choked, and then was hyperventilating.
Obviously, that's not something I ignore; I ran to his cot, scooped him up, and soothed him until he was calm. But I did it sitting next to the cot, in his father's computer chair (for complicated, but *extremely valid*, reasons, J. is currently sleeping in his portacot, set up in what was, until recently, his parents' study, rather than his bedroom). It was actually time for him to be allowed to get up, and not be in the hated-only-in-the-afternoon cot.
... And then I put him back in, and left him there for another fifteen or twenty minutes. (During which he was relatively quiet. I think he may even have slept, although briefly.)
I knew he didn't want to be there, and in theory, he didn't have to be, any more. But I couldn't let him out, then - he'd just thrown a baby tantrum, and I couldn't let him think that that was what got him what he wanted. The only thing giving in to a tantrum does is generate more tantrums, because the kid then knows that it works. As a friend to his parents, I can't teach him that lesson - and hell, as his regular babysitter, I don't want him to throw tantrums at me when he wants something I've refused him.
But I felt really bad about it. This is what children do. They make you feel guilty for looking after their long-term interests when it conflicts with their immediate wants. Children are evil.
I have a video I took yesterday on my phone that kind of hilariously demonstrates this: it starts with J. halfway across the room. He looks towards me, his face lights up, and he charges towards me, crawling at speed, clambers up my legs, and, giggling, appears to attack. It's adorable, but if you imagine that a child is some kind of deadly monster, it could be terrifying.
(J.'s personal evil was clearly demonstrated the first time I ever babysat him, when he was a few weeks old. His mother dropped him off at our place so she could go to an appointment. In theory, he was supposed to sleep the whole time. In practice, he woke up literally seconds after she left. I spent about an hour and a half trying to get him back to sleep; he went back to sleep five minutes before she came back to collect him. He was totally trying to pretend he'd been an angel baby, sleeping soundly the whole time; I was having none of that, and told his mother *exactly* how much he hadn't slept. (Because mothers of newborns need to know that kind of information.))