page 128 of The Big Book of Unschooling (2009 edition)
online chat, November 6, 2012

What is the opposite of humor?
What are the elements of humor?
What would cause someone to describe another person as "humorless"?
What's the opposite of "lighten up"?
Page 128, Big Book of Unschooling Second-best resource, /humor

A quote from near the end of the chat... "We didn't talk about humor so much as to look at what NOT-humor can be like. Doom and gloom and the magnification of things we and our children can't change or control."

Sandra Dodd: Lately I keep coming across (or people coming to me with) negativity, drama, angst, frustration, assuredness that things are at an emergency impasse.

Sandra Dodd : Have you all signed up for Pam Laricchia's intro e-mails?

Marta Pires : Yes!

Sandra Dodd : I'm hoping so. Or if you haven't that you will. Then you'll see how good they are and be wiling to to recommend them to others.

Robin B. : I haven't yet. But I will.

Sandra Dodd : You should. They come two per week on an automated system. They're really great. I think I'm near the end of them.

ReneeCabatic : I am backed up on e-mail so I just read the OCT 29 th. I liked the way she talked about getting unschooling continuously, being present now with your kids instead of looking forward to "graduation"

Sandra Dodd : I have ten of them. I have a smart mailbox set to save them.

Robin B. : Sandra, do you have a link handy?

Sandra Dodd : probably

Catherine Woodward : On the subject of humour, I would like to know what is the opposite of lighten up :-)

Sandra Dodd : Darken down!

ReneeCabatic : get heavy

Sandra Dodd : Whimper and whine like Eeyore

ColleenP (NH) : cry?

Robin B. : Thanks. And done.

Sandra Dodd : Look under every fallen leaf instead of admiring the sky.

Sandra Dodd : Stay stuck. :-)

Sandra Dodd : Resist light.

Sandra Dodd : People choose. And if they choose NOT to lighten up.... they stay where they are.

Sandra Dodd : Resisting joy (which MANY, many people do) is a choice. "I don't WANT to be happier."

Sandra Dodd : "I don't WANT to relax."

Robin B. : Sandra, in reference to your observation above, could it be seasonal, too? Like seasonal depression? Not saying that's an excuse, because if you know that about yourself, there are things to do to help.

Sandra Dodd : There are places where seasonal depression is an issue. There are people for whom seasonal depression is an issue.

Sandra Dodd : And the next thing I must say is "So?"

Sandra Dodd : Each person is a person.

Sandra Dodd : The generality is that if a person resists finding the fun in life, that person won't be as fun as he or she could be.

Sandra Dodd: IF that person has a partner (husband/wife/live-in-partner) the other person might help them, but is NOT (not not) responsible for creating a happy, funny life for them.

ColleenP (NH): that'd be interesting to look at, Robin - like I wonder if there are certain times of year when the posts to Always Learning take on more negative tones... and if so, why... I need way more spare time so I can think about things like that! :)

Sandra Dodd: But Collen, it doesn't matter.

Robin B. : I think lots of people would be happier if they lived in New Mexico! If you resist finding fun, it's an active thing.

Robin B. : So, yeah, it's a choice.

Sandra Dodd : If there's an easy season or a hard season, in a discussion, or in Minnesota or Alaska, the choices still are there for the taking or the rejecting.

Sandra Dodd : And when a person is a parent, they can make or break joy for more than just themselves.

Sandra Dodd : And learning needs joy.

ColleenP (NH) : True - and realizing now since the list is international it's always sunny and warm somewhere :)

Robin B. : Learning needs joy. Yes.

Sandra Dodd : If the kid doesn't care about anything, and the mom doesn't care that the kid doesn't care. that child should be in school.

Sandra Dodd : If the kid doesn't care and the mom wants to berate him for not caring, and insult and pressure him about not caring, maybe the kid should be in school and a foster home.

Sandra Dodd : (I'm partly joking.)

Sandra Dodd : What unschooling requires to work well is something that needs to be done by happy, hopeful people.

ReneeCabatic : after I was on the panel with you, Sandra, at Life is Good Unschooling conference, a woman spoke to me. She said that what we all said was fine but how was she going to do it with her depression. She was very surprised to learn that I have depression and Make happy choices everyday.. Whew long sentence, sorry

Robin B.: See, Renee, I would never think that of you, so you are indeed making happy choices.

Marta Pires: Same here Robin, about Renee! ;)

ReneeCabatic: It's conscious decisions in the direction of light and joy, really.

Sandra Dodd : People don't have to just think themselves out of sadness, or will themselves to be happy.

Sandra Dodd : One choice can be to watch comedies. Or to listen to humor, parody---Weird Al, Flight of the Conchords, Smothers Brothers (for older folks who will get the jokes :-)

Robin B. : Gangnam Style!

Sandra Dodd : I've been clinically depressed four or half a dozen times in my life.

Sandra Dodd : Each time, I've known more about how NOT to make it worse.

Sandra Dodd: Some people throw themselves into the depression and say "OH, woe, it's biochemical, I can't help it, everyone has to take care of me now, and everyone SUCKS."

Sandra Dodd: But they can learn to feel the first little still, odd twinges of shut-down, and they can step UP and away, and think lovely thoughts. They can count blessings instead of cataloging ills.
Sandra Dodd: They can say "bad moment" instead of "bad year."

ColleenP (NH) : when our power went out last week in the storm, we put the radio on to hear updates. As we sat and played games, I was getting crabbier and crabbier and I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized it was the music - it was a station that plays lots of slow/sad songs. It dragged me down. I turned it off and it was amazing how quickly I wasn't crabby any more. This to say, simply paying attention to what folks surround themselves with can happy them right up!

ReneeCabatic : Colleen- yes, so true and that applies to the people I am around as well

Serah : This is the part that I am struggling with sometimes. There are moments that I know I am feeling crabby and I don't want to do anything about it, but wallow in my despair

Sandra Dodd : That's fine for young single women, or older women whose children are gone.

Sandra Dodd : It's group poison for mothers of young children, though.

Serah : then I see my kids and how it affects them and try to change something to make me happier

Sandra Dodd : It's Jim Jones Kool-Aid.

Sandra Dodd : By "fine" I don't mean "great!" "Wonderful!" for single people to wallow in depression. They don't have to. But they're not harming the future generation by doing it.

Sandra Dodd : And in the case of someone who wants unschooling to work, it's not an option.

ColleenP (NH) : people - I totally agree. We've had 2 deaths of close relatives in our family this year, and I have very, very much come to appreciate a couple friends who right away filled our life with funny emails, cute photos, jokes - it was like they knew we were going to go thru a tough time, and what we needed was joy way more than we needed "sympathy." Smart, smart women they are! Our healing was faster, I really do think, because of them.

Sandra Dodd : I started to say that wallowing was a way to screw it up, so I went to look and see whether that was on the "Screw it up" list, but it's not.

Sandra Dodd : /screwitup

Sandra Dodd : Maybe I should add a little list at the bottom, about depression, negativity, cynicism, pessimism, political attachment.

Serah (a Canadian) : speaking of which, who won the election?

ColleenP (NH): Obama won

ReneeCabatic : Yes, Colleen, after my Ma died we got sympathy cards from many people we weren't close to. I understood why but I didn't like being reminded. What I liked was a steady stream of comedies and jokes and funny stories about my Ma.

Sandra Dodd : Obama's win shouldn't affect anyone's unschooling one way or another.

ReneeCabatic : agreed!

Sandra Dodd : One of the splits in "the unschooling movement" came over something that happened the morning after an election.

Sandra Dodd : Should I tell you a story?

ReneeCabatic : Yes

Catherine Woodward : yes please

Serah : yes, do

Robin B. : No. (for comic effect, only!!)

Robin B. : Yes, please!

Sandra Dodd : Once upon a time, there was a thriving unschooling forum. One regular topic was "sensitive children."

Sandra Dodd : It was big, there, to discuss how to deal with children who were sensitive. That was fine, and there were lots of great ideas, all the time.

Sandra Dodd : We didn't talk politics there much, which is right and good.

Sandra Dodd : And the morning after Bush was relected, having beat Kerry, which was a November morning in 2004, right?

Sandra Dodd : A mom came and wrote at length about how her children had helped her campaign for Kerry, door to door, rallies, lots of campaigning, and she had told them that everything would be better if Bush wasn't president anymore. EVERYthing.

Sandra Dodd : And that when Kerry lost, they were terrified, and they cried themselves to sleep, and the woke up afraid, and she (and her husband? maybe?) were distraught too, and they didn't know WHAT they were going to do, and they were thinking of moving to Canada. And OH, woe!! And how TERRIBLE! And her children were beside themselve.

Sandra Dodd : And some others said "tsk" and "tut" and "poor you" and "soothe soothe"

Sandra Dodd : And I said that knowing as she did that they were sensitive, WHY did she involve them in something like that? They're not even old enough to vote, and surely it didn't do anyone any good for them to have been wound up for such a reaction. Anyone who votes should be prepared for either candidate to win. That's how democracy works.

Sandra Dodd : And the other mom (who was prominent on the board, and had her own fans) flipped OUT and frothed, and was too angry to continue there, an changed all her posts from her name to anonymous and demanded that I take her articles (which I had hosted) OFF my site right away.

Sandra Dodd : Because it wasn't so much about helping others, I guess, or being clear and sensible, as it was about seeming wise and right.

Sandra Dodd : But if a person can't apply what she knows to her own life, and had created (at some expense and witha great deal of time and effort) an environment, that election season, that culminated in the inability to be calm, or to sleep, or to wake up happy to live in a nice house in the United States of America, *I* think that wasn't very responsible parenting-of-a-sensitive child.

Sandra Dodd : So that caused a split.

Sandra Dodd : I could have said "oh, poor you" or "You're right; the world will never be the same," but I probably said it's just four years and Canada isn't magic-world, and probably doesn't want frothy, crazy immigrants. Probably didn't say it like that.

Sandra Dodd : The end.

Sandra Dodd : So not only did that response to that election cause grief within one family, it split a forum. Or maybe MY response to that caused it.

Sandra Dodd : But one was about unschooling, and one was not, at all, in any way.

Sandra Dodd : And if the other mom had been able to say "I'll think about that; maybe you're right, maybe we shouldn't involve 11 year olds in politics" that might have been good for a forum and her family.

Sandra Dodd : Two people wanted me to take fifteen minutes or half an hour to help them decide how to vote on a single little issue. One was Holly, about a statewide minimum wage increase. The other was a stranger, about school funding (so very local).

ReneeCabatic : I have a question about politics and children's involvement.

Sandra Dodd : I didn't want to spend that much energy on that. So I spent about two minutes on each one, reminding them that they themselves weren't making the decision. Their vote was very minute, and it wasn't worth disturbing the peace of their mind, soul or digestion about (not in those words...)

Sandra Dodd : I told Holly that her vote in a local election was like a drop of water in the hot tub (400 gallons, in this case, which might be making her vote larger than it actually is) and that in a national election it was like a drop of water in the Rio Grande. She felt better.

Capn Franko: depression, negativity, cynicism, pessimism, political attachment... So we're talking about me today? (wink)

Sandra Dodd: It's bad enough for people to become distraught over things they CAN control, or change, or make personal choices about. But to stir up and spend the kind of emotion that should be reserved for an automobile accident with injuries on a vote that is one in millions is unhealthy. Physically unhealthy.

Sandra Dodd: Emotionally unhealthy, spiritually unhealthy. Systemically unhealthy and bad for children.

Sandra Dodd : Exactly, Frank. We are wallowing in depression. :-)

Capn Franko : Glad I had time to join in, then.

Capn Franko : No, no, not "glad" merely "accepting"

Sandra Dodd : There is a Bill Cosby routine that has somewhat mean parental behavior, but then he was born in the 1930's, so let that part go by as historical detail, but it's called "Chicken Heart."

Sandra Dodd : And if you can hear and understand "chicken heart," then you can deal with any political or social problem that's on TV or radio or the internet in the future.

Sandra Dodd : Renee, are you going to ask that question?

ReneeCabatic : I'm not sure how to formulate it. Maybe it's not a question- just some swirly thoughts .

ReneeCabatic : Xander and XuMei are 11 and have friends who are in school. They came home recently asking to learn about history and the election, lots of things that came up with their school friend.

Sandra Dodd : Telling them is one thing.

Sandra Dodd : Assuring them that if they dedicate time to distributing flyers that they can save the entire planet from war and ignorance is another whole thing.

ReneeCabatic : I am very aware of their sensitivities. Historical Documentaries on Netflix are often too scary/painful for XuMei in particular. And yet she is mad that this school friend knows more than her. It's not so much a question or a problem just where we are.

ColleenP (NH) : Robbie (9) is currently finding politics and politicians fascinating, which has led to all sorts of talking and thinking about how the process works, etc. But he's not "campaigned" one bit - that'd sort of sully the process of learning for him, I think. If sully is the word I'm looking for...

Robin B. : Yes. Discussion and telling and talking through things is different from "saving the planet" by distributing flyers

ColleenP (NH) : But he does show a strong preference for Biden and Clinton, who he thinks are funny :) He likes watching speeches, going to events, and thought the debates were truly a riot. The election is over now, but maybe rather than history, current events might be of interest to your kids (or maybe totally not :-))

Robin B. : We talked about moving back to Canada as a possibility depending on the outcome of the election here, but we can. And we have been discussing the likelihood anyway. It was just one more factor, but not *the* factor.

Robin B. : It was good to discuss the whys and ifs and maybes.

ColleenP (NH) : My son heard people mention going to Canada depending on election outcome and he whispered to me "but mom... I don't think Canada wants extra people, do they??" Cracked me up.

Robin B. : Snort!

Capn Franko : Yeah, I discussed the possibility of buying a diving shop in Belize, mostly because I'd enjoy moving to Belize and have been trying to talk the kids into moving to the Caribbean for a decade. Unsuccessfully.

ReneeCabatic : it's not about the interest so much as a frustration with the friend who has lots of information , details, etc that they don't have.

Robin B. : A town in Manitoba does!

ColleenP (NH) : Manitoba - I will keep that in mind to suggest to folks next time :)

Sandra Dodd : Marty showed that to me. And if people really believed global warming was going to sink all shorelines, they'd be wanting to buy that land in Manitoba!

Robin B. : Renee, does XuMei have an interest that the other kid doesn't have tons of information about?

Sandra Dodd: Renee, maybe talk to her more about local politics. Voting for buildings and roads and medical-services improvements, or whatever's being voted on that she can actually see.

Robin B. : Only a $1,000 deposit. And you get $990 back if you build a home within a year.

Sandra Dodd: A home or a business, I think.

Robin B. : Yes.

Capn Franko : But, Robin, we own our house here, about 100 feet above sea level. Maybe the tropics will come to me and I'll have warm beachfront property. Soon?

Robin B. : There ya go! I'm too far east for that to happen soon :-)

Sandra Dodd : I'm going to quote Just Add Light so I can show you a comment. It applies to humor and joy.

Sandra Dodd : Me: I had only been online a couple of years when someone on AOL wrote one of the best things ever, and it changed my life the moment I read it. She said she didn't think of a day as "bad," as she didn't want to condemn or write off a whole day. She said she would just think "I had a bad moment."

wrenandstitchyNovember 7, 2012 7:58 AM
I remember you talking about this somewhere online years ago, Sandra, and it was one of those things that "clicked" for me, in a good way. It never fails to amaze me how what seems to be a small tweak in one's way of thinking can make such a big impact on perspective/mood =).

Laura Zurro : it's interesting but every election I have an uptick on sales of my Moving to Argentina ebook...everyone wants to get away. I guess right now I'm getting those who want to escape the Democrats

Capn Franko: I do like that "bad moment' instead of "bad day" or "horrible life"

Sandra Dodd : I think people who will move away based on an election shouldn't be allowed to vote. Only those who understand the fact that a vote can go either way and they're mature enough to accept that should vote.

Robin B. : I've used that phrase with my own family and friends.

Serah : trust me! Canada has it's poltical problems too... there is no safe haven!

Robin B. : I'm not allowed to vote.

Robin B. : :-)

Capn Franko : Voluntaryist Unschooling Island, Robin! (ducking)

Sandra Dodd : For a few years I had quit voting because I didn't want to read up on the issues, and I was doing other things.

Robin B. : Serah, that's true. I'm Canadian and there are things I love about both countries.

ColleenP (NH) : when is that island going to start up? And will it have a reality show? Because I'd like to see it, but not live there :)

Robin B. : Nah, Frank. I wouldn't do well there.

Sandra Dodd : A couple of times people tried to shame me about that, and said that if I didn't vote, the ills of the world were My Fault.

Robin B. : Eww.

Sandra Dodd : I wasn't naive anough to feel the least bit guilty, but unfortunately they were naive enough to think that what they were saying made a bit of sense.

Robin B. : I do like that Canada's election process is 6 weeks long.

Sandra Dodd : I think people who don't care should NOT vote. And those who care too much should be disqualified for insanity.

Sandra Dodd : My life happens in my house, not in Washington, or Santa Fe.

ReneeCabatic : I think I have a tendency to get too upset about injustice. I keep it to myself now but too upset in my head is probably visible to my kids - something I need to work on.

Sandra Dodd : It is kinda cool, in a snapshot way, that I was alive and coming into political awareness in the late 60's and early 70's, and that right now in my life there is a Black president and a female Hispanic governor of New Mexico.

Sandra Dodd : She's a Republican loon, but still... I said snapshot.

ReneeCabatic : Lol

Robin B. : :-)

ReneeCabatic : there is humor for you

Marta Pires : :)

Laura Zurro : and even gays and disabled people

ColleenP (NH) : the fact that someone black or gay or female couldn't hold office or run until recently came up today in the car, when Robbie wondered out loud why everyone was making a big deal out of certain election outcomes. He could barely comprehend the idea that the world thinks like it does (did, sometimes). So interesting to hear myself try to explain something that - he's right - was never grounded in good logic!

Robin B.: Renee, Senna has been more aware of politics this year, but in a personal kind of way wrt to gay marriage measures. Mostly because she knows gay and lesbian folks who would like to marry, if not now, at least in the future. She's a human rights kind of person, but other than that, she's not much interested.

Sandra Dodd : Not everything is funny. We need a roof repair. That's not funny.

Capn Franko : I sympathize with that one, Sandra.

Sandra Dodd : But I'm not planning to describe in detail to Holly and Marty how much damage could be done if that ceiling comes down in a big snow this winter.

Sandra Dodd : WHY!? It's enough that I know.

Sandra Dodd : And I know Keith hates to spend money and would just ignore it.

Sandra Dodd: So rather than fill the house with visions and images and threats and negativity, I just asked Keith not to make a double mortgage payment this month, because the roof needs a repair, and that I'll call for an estimate.
Sandra Dodd: I'm glad we can afford that. Years back we couldn't have.

Laura Zurro: when my mom was growing up she wasn't allowed to vote and made way less money than the males at her job"s"

Andrea : Colleen--Brooke asked me this morning if I was going to go to Washington, too, since all the other NH women are going.

ColleenP (NH) : Andrea - super cute :)

Andrea: Then she asked me how Jesus died. It's been an interesting day!

ColleenP (NH): interesting - definitely sounds like it!

Sandra Dodd : But within a particular family, if the gloom can be contained and the joy can be amplified, that's good!

Sandra Dodd : In too many families, joy is extinguished and gloom is glorified.

Marta Pires : So true...

ReneeCabatic : Robin- I think what's happening for XuMei has more to do with the middle school aged friends glut of information. XuMei is happy learning at her own pace about what she finds interesting but when this friend lords her knowledge base over XuMei, she gets frustrated.

Robin B.: So, it's not so much the knowledge as the "lording-over", maybe?

ReneeCabatic: Robin- yes, it is a competitive friendship....

Robin B.: Oh.

Andrea : One of my girls seems fascinated by gloom.

Capn Franko : Being a person who suffered from depression most of my life, I did make an effort not to show that to the kids when I was in its throes. No need to burden them with that stuff.

Robin B. : Yes! I think of a friend of mine whose family has been in dire financial straights for some time. She's upbeat and doesn't put any of her worries onto her kids.

ReneeCabatic : Andrea-has she seen Ruby Gloom?

Andrea: no, Renee.

ColleenP (NH) : The other day, Robbie went to the closet to get the pasta he wanted for dinner. I heard a crash and a cascading-type sound, and then a totally deadpan 9 year old voice saying "well... there went the spaghetti." If he's in a place in his life where spilling is humorous and nothing to worry one second about, I'm happy :)

Marta Pires: Sweet Colleen :)

Robin B.: :-) Colleen.

alexPolikowsky: That depends in personality Colleen. MD sometimes gets very upset if he spills something.

Andrea : Her reaction has made me much more aware of what I say and has helped me focus on keeping things happy and joyful.

ColleenP (NH) : Renee when Robbie plays with school-friends who share knowledge from school with him, we google up a quick wikipedia page or something similar so he can get a quick run-down. It seems he's happy if he can get some facts "for next time just in case" - maybe that would help, if she's interested?

Sandra Dodd : Andrea, maybe you could find cartoon gloom. Scooby-Doo. :-) Or humorous spooky stuff. Young Frankenstein.

Sandra Dodd : Frank, we talked some about depression in parents up above (Renee, me)

ReneeCabatic : Ruby Gloom is great. So cute and gloomy!

Laura Zurro : I got Caitlyn the new Skylanders set the other day so she can enjoy it while I'm packing the house rather than waiting till Christmas or her bday the day after Xmas. I sold some games and somethign on Ebay to get the money but now she wants to start buying new characters and I don't have the extra money and don't want to make a big deal about it. Normally I'm pretty relaxed about getting things she likes whenever I can. suggestions for talking to her about it? remember she's just coming to 6 years old. Sandra you finally met her :

alexPolikowsky : Monster High dolls for girls are pretty cool!"

alexPolikowsky : Gigi and I are big on them!

ColleenP (NH) : It does depend on personality too Alex, I agree. But I also remember being shamed for spilling, as does my husband - so we've been very conscious not to do that. He also announces "I MADE LAUNDRY!!" if he spills on himself - he is apparently a-ok with his personal participation in making messes :)

Andrea : My daughter loves the Monster High dolls.

ColleenP (NH) : Andrea, Ruby Gloom is on Netflix in our instant queue - we haven't watched it yet but maybe we could check it out next you guys are here if you want!

alexPolikowsky : MD goes from laughing and thinking how funny to very upset. You just never know. He just is upset with himself for spilling or knocking something 

Robin B. : Laura, have you put those characters on a list for her?

Andrea : Thanks, Colleen. I had not heard of her. Just reading at Wikipedia now.

Sandra Dodd : Laura, maybe make a list of what she wants, as a Christmas-possibility list, and any relatives or friends who ask what she wants could be told one of those.

Sandra Dodd : Lists can help lots.

Sandra Dodd : But don't make it "the list of what you can definitely have."

Sandra Dodd : Maybe "The list of ideas for what we might choose from to get you for Christmas."

Robin B. : Lists always helped here. Still do, actually. It says "I've made a permanent note of that!"

Laura Zurro : we def do lists, but I'm trying to figure out how to talk to her about waiting a bit without making a big deal that all the funds are wrapped around the move and she is so excited that she wants new characters to play already

Sandra Dodd : I love "I made laundry".

Laura Zurro : LOL alex, I have one of those too

ColleenP (NH) : hanging the lists in important places helps here - not tucked away, but right in the living room etc. - makes my son feel like he's being taken seriously with his requests, I think

Capn Franko : Airplane, megayacht, trip to space... waitaminit! Did you it's stuff I CANNOT definitely have? Well, crap!

Sandra Dodd : Laura, just say "can't right now."

alexPolikowsky : Gigi is adding lots to her list. You can make a cool list on Amazon wish list just for her.

Sandra Dodd : You don't need to explain why.

Sandra Dodd : "Can't" is real. If it's NOT real, that's a different issue.

alexPolikowsky : She can search stuff or browse and just add to her list

Sandra Dodd : But if it's real, then you can say can't now, will when we can.

Laura Zurro : okay will try the amazon wish list as a different angle

alexPolikowsky : that is what I say. When we can.

Sandra Dodd : Frank, you can have them in a future life. And the hovercraft.

Jihong : I have a question too :)

Robin B. : A real "can't" is different from "I don't feel like spending the money on that".

Capn Franko : Or in the unspecified future. Like you said, Sandra, "can't" is not the same as unattainable right now. Maybe later...

Sandra Dodd : Laura, try distraction, too. Rather than encourage her to play that game all up, find other related things she can do. Youtube videos, or art projects or something.

ColleenP (NH) : even something simple like putting extra pocket change in a jar to add up toward a figure might help - could take a while to add up, but it's concrete

Laura Zurro : its' a tough time right now Sandra - I'm packing the entire house by myself since Stephane won't be coming home till the day before we actually leave.

alexPolikowsky : But my kids are aware of our very small budged. I just came back from Barnes and Nobles because Daniel wanted a book and I gave each a book but had to put off the Super Mario chess game to the Christmas list. WE do have a chess set at home

Jihong : my daughter who is 4 can play on her own for hours, she always find things to do. It gives me time or excuses to do other things, but I feel bad not doing things with her...should I feel lucky that she can always occupy her time without me participating, or I should be doing things with her (meaning leading)

Robin B. : I like that idea, Colleen.

Sandra Dodd : Can she visit friends, Laura. Can another family take her on an outing?

Sandra Dodd : Or can you buy those other characters on a charge card to keep her happy while you pack? Consider it a moving expense?

Andrea : We have a change jar for family outings. The kids really like it.

Sandra Dodd : You should feel extremely fortunate, Jihong.

alexPolikowsky : Jihong if you are attentive to her while she is playing I would feel lucky.

Laura Zurro : yes and we are def trying to do that and I've got friends who are comign with their kids to help pack. Oh and yes...I thought STephane would have a problem with the price of the starter pack but he said consider the time she allows you to pack, less money we have to pay the movers to pack! I love my husband's way of thinking!

Sandra Dodd : If she really is content, then that's contentment!

Laura Zurro : and she is like Jihong's daughter, and is content to play by herself a lot!

Sandra Dodd : Well then just buy the other characters instead of waiting.

Sandra Dodd : Even if it costs the price plus interest, if it makes her live better while you're packing, it's not so bad.

Laura Zurro : I think I can pony up one more...damn that is the best marketing scheme I've seen yet. Don't know if anyone else is doing Skylanders but...

alexPolikowsky : Gigi is like that most times, not always but she is pretty content. Playing right now with her Monster High dolls and singing

Jihong : great, that makes me feel not too bad doing my own things...she also enjoys playing with other people. When my sister-in-law was here, they played pretend game for hours, which I couldn't do and didn't do well

Laura Zurro : we got a used Monster High doll Alex...and Caitlyn thinks she's so much cooler than Barbies

alexPolikowsky : now she is hitting me!

alexPolikowsky : and laughing!

Andrea : Thanks. I'm making a list of gift ideas.

alexPolikowsky: I do do Laura! Which one she has ?

Laura Zurro : I think it's Draculaura

alexPolikowsky : Gigi just read Draculaura! HA! She asked which Draculaura.

Laura Zurro : hang on let me look it up

alexPolikowsky : We built a Monster High doll house and it is almost done.

Jihong : now she asked me to make candle with her...:) happy to do that, since I have all the ingredients, color, wax, lavender oil..

alexPolikowsky : We built with things we had so we spent very little money!

Sandra Dodd : I think to move toward humor, live lightly and not so ponderously.

Sandra Dodd : Problems can be seen as temporary setbacks instead of life-ruining horrors. IF you remember to choose to live lightly.

Sandra Dodd : And that will help with a lot of these specific kinds of questions, about buying an add-on, or whether to play with a child or let her keep playing contentedly alone. See it as a moment that doesn't have the power to ruin the world.

Marta Pires: It's been wonderful to realize that it is a choice, because I always thought of myself as a not-so-fun person.

Marta Pires : And by choosing to do funny things every day, I think I'm getting funnier and more relaxed and less stressed, etc.. ;)

Sandra Dodd : But remember that your reaction has the power to improve the world where you are--the world of your child.

Sandra Dodd : You don't have to "be fun."

Sandra Dodd : You can just choose not to be a bring-down.

alexPolikowsky : You can be attentive, sweet, suportive present and focus on positive.

Sandra Dodd : If your choice is negative or neutral (rather than neutral or joy), it's still a choice toward the happy side to go with neutral.

Andrea : Very true, Sandra. You can also choose not to share too much about the bad things in the world when they ask big questions.

Sandra Dodd : YES. Shelter them from your fears and from ugly images when it's easy to do that.

Sandra Dodd : Shelter your husband too, while you're at it. And me!

Marta Pires: :)

Sandra Dodd: It's not always possible. So save the "not possible" times to be exceptions, and not the norm.

ColleenP (NH) : You can choose to let a negative thought stay just a thought - doesn't need to be something you share out-loud. I think that can be important to remember.

Sandra Dodd : That's a big one Colleen. I need that reminder myself.

Sandra Dodd : I don't need to mutter my objections and complaints aloud all the time. It's like leaving a trail of something stinky. :-)

ColleenP (NH) : I do too sometimes - my husband is good at reminding me - he's the ultimate in positive and humorous most of the time :)

Sandra Dodd : We didn't talk about humor so much as to look at what NOT-humor can be like. Doom and gloom and the magnification of things we and our children can't change or control.

Sandra Dodd : What a waste of life, to focus away from our relationship with our children!

alexPolikowsky : Yeah Colleen I have to work on it too. I tend to mutter,

Sandra Dodd : Choose happy music instead of sad, pretty food instead of ugly, and smile instead of frown. That should get you through the week and if it works well, it will be easy to extend it way past a week. :-)

Robin B. : I put on Gangnam Style. It always perks me up!

Sandra Dodd : Oh! I put a couple of my favorite funny videos on a page where I can get to them. Very cheery.

Robin B. : Good idea!

Robin B.: I go to Weird Al's "Riding Nerdy"

alexPolikowsky : My kids are very sensitive to my tone of voice and frown. I need to work on it even when I am happy and content ( which is pretty much all the time but I just not smiley person)

Laura Zurro : Hey Alex, what dolls do you guys have?

Robin B. : Alex, Senna, too. I'm more aware of it now.

Laura Zurro : I still struggle with that too

alexPolikowsky: I know Robin I need to watch my tone of voice

Sandra Dodd

That is White and Nerdy, Robin.

Sandra Dodd : Who asked about how Jesus died? Someone still here?

alexPolikowsky : Laura we have Draculaura, Frankie, Cupid, Clawdine, Operetta, Ghoulia, Rochelle, Nefra , Cleo and Abby and a create a monster set

ColleenP (NH) : there was a video with dancing baked beans - I wish I had saved it - it was a commercial, but I can't remember what for. It cracked me up and if I still had it, I'd not be able to resist a smile no matter what was happening, I think. Saving things like that is a great idea

Andrea : That was me. My daughter asked this morning.

Robin B. : Oh, I mixed up the real and parody titles!

alexPolikowsky : Gigi works for her money at the farm and trapping gophers for money

Laura Zurro : wow you guys have a serious collection! is Gigi still playing wiht MLP too? We have so many toys now all in boxes and she just rotates around.

Sandra Dodd : Because the Jesus Christ Superstar from 200 or so has very buff boys playing Jesus and the apostles. I think they cast them from a weight lifting gym.

Marta Pires : Bye everyone!

Robin B. : Bye Marta.

Laura Zurro : LOL that must be why my gay friend loves that movie!

Sandra Dodd : JC Superstar is pretty painless for discussions. but the hippies in the desert isn't as nice for the moms to watch as the newer one.

Robin B. : It's how I was spoken to. Old tapes I'm rewinding and re-recording.

Sandra Dodd :

Robin B. : I'll have to watch that, Sandra. Hippies in the desert is the one I'm familiar with :-)

Andrea : Thanks for the link.

ColleenP (NH) : my netflix queue always has more in it after chats than before :)

Laura Zurro : I always seem to have A LOT of new tabs open after chat ;)

Sandra Dodd : Resources and connections!

Sandra Dodd : Best wishes to you all for moving and children and movies and such.

ColleenP (NH) : I remember seeing theater productions of JC Superstar but never thought of movies!