"Writing" Day

Hmm. The past two writing mornings seemed to disappear without me writing one actual word of fiction or poetry. This must change. Next week school starts and I resolve to take my writing ambitions seriously starting then. I will head into the writing morning with a clear idea of which story I would like to write (I've got dozens of ideas floating, and the only way to get anything done is to pick one and commit to it till it's written out). I will not check email or Facebook or read blogs. Instead, I will make things up out of my own head!

Oh dear. Thought I'd picked a calm moment, and instead, conflict just broke out in the living-room over a piece of plastic the size of my fingernail (Playmobil: the most vacuumable toy on the planet). Ah, parenthood. How to help my children work through their arguments on their own, which seems to be the ultimate goal? Sometimes just leaving them be is the solution. Kids can work out quite a lot if left to their own devices. However, there's a certain shrillness to the tone that alerts the mama-ear that a child-based solution is not forthcoming. Another possibility is showing them how to negotiate. This helps a bit, but probably more in a long-term, down-the-road-they-might-put-this-into-practice kind of way. Then there are the techniques of distraction: removing anyone who is being mean or intractable or screeching or whining or hitting or lying on the floor declaring his/her extreme boredom (time out); suggesting alternate play ideas (this only works if everyone is in a generous-enough mood); or sometimes just offering two options and forcing them to pick one, even if neither option is exactly what every child wants to do. ie. upstairs to your room, or outside to play, I'll count to ten, then you tell me which. Neither is not an acceptable answer. This is all assuming it isn't time for mama to stop what she's doing (aagh, blogging!), and do something with her kids--which for me would be to read them a story or organize an art project or sit outside in the front yard and people-watch.

Just now I went with the modelling-how-to-negotiate technique, which turned into insisting that A and AB negotiate. Which worked out, kinda. And I'm back at the blog.

We're now doing "quiet time," my favourite time of the day. Next up will be a walk to buy A's school supplies, and get some exercise and fresh air ... even if it starts to rain.

I have a canning question: can someone tell me whether a jar is spoiled if, when pulled out of the canner, it was bubbling, ie. air bubbles looked to be coming up out of it? All the tomato lids seemed to have "popped" successfully, but I'm remembering that one jar came out of the canner doing that--and I can no longer tell which one it was. Also, tell me, please, does canning get easier? Do you start to assume the lids will pop, that bacteria don't lurk invisibly within, that you've sterilized enough surfaces, and all the rest of it?

Can canning become casual?

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