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Language Log

Friday, Apr. 15, 2016 - 1:18 p.m.

Yeah, I dunno. I keep thinking about her. Partly because she looked a bit like me-- tall, white, brown hair. She is where I so easily could have been. Expecting better from life and not getting it. She gave her children stern, pointless directives. Told her daughter to put the leafy branch in the trash at once. Don't leave those shoes there, bring them over here. Told me earnestly how they want to hold the little girl back before starting her in kindergarten but she told them the girl was smart, she could do it. I wanted to tell her my opinion about that but I didn't. I guess I fancy myself a potential source of information about a better way to do things-- not that homeschooling would be a good choice for her, but gentleness. Confidence to be gentle. Not that she was I gentle, but. Which if she were another race would be a racist thing to think but instead is just patronizing, I suppose. I hope I see her again and get a chance to tell her it's ok. You're doing great. Keep doing your best. Which is, again, patronizing in its bland supportiveness. And yet one does want to hear that sometimes. It might not be meaningless. I would keep my opinions to myself.

She told me the ex and his new girlfriend were coaching the kids to say "don't hurt me!" And I told her about how u says that when we are stopping him from doing something, even when we are holding him as gently as can be. Or when he is ramming himself into us and we are just standing there. Not to say that the kids haven't been coached, but as hard as it is to get the behaviors you want to see when you are on it full time...it seems unlikely. Kids have a way of knowing what will get under our skin, I said. She seemed to feel better.

Who knows.

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