Twice exceptional

There's a trend in parenting now to call your kid "2e" (short for twice exceptional.) Yes, it's so common there's a universally agreed upon shorthand for it.

What it means is that your kid has some sort of serious issue but you console yourself with the fact that your kid is really good at something else. So, if I were delusional, I'd call my kid 2e because even though he's having serious problems in the school and the school had forced us to waste precious NHS resources trying to get him diagnosed with something, he's like, really good at playing puzzle games.

Mums - your kid is not twice exceptional. If he's good at one thing and bad at everything else, that's just once exceptional. Other kids? Other kids are twice exceptional, maybe three times exceptional! If they're good at everything, we in ye old days called that a Renaissance man or a polymath.

Having a kid with a serious issue is hard. It's *great* if they don't have universal delays and only have issues in one area. But that doesn't actually mean they're twice exceptional. It just means they're lucky to not have a universal delay, but still not as lucky as all the other kids that turned out normal. Sorry.

Charity and weird social hang-ups I have

I have a weird social hang-up where I find myself unable to share information about charities I support. I think it's from being raised Christian, maybe. Jesus said that basically if you share with other people your charity work, that is its own reward, and you don't get any rewards for it in heaven. But maybe that's really stupid. If you share your charity work with other people and they become interested and donate, you've magnified your effect - so actually the actual effect you have on the world is more positive if you share. Even if you're *only* donating so people think you're a good person then maybe it doesn't even matter.

This was basically the entire thesis of a Khaled Hosseini novel I read, btw. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_the_Mountains_Echoed)

It's weird now that I'm 100% atheist (as I have been for the last 15+ years) I have yet to shed this hang-up. I guess now I just see it as "virtue signalling" instead. Like it's some sort of transparent, "look at me! I'm such a good person!" But in actuality for the most part when I see people promoting a charity I don't really think that, I usually think "I don't want to donate money to this," never "they're a bad person for not doing this secretly" so it's probably quite irrational of me to be afraid of this, when I don't even judge people that way myself.

Which brings me to the other hang-up I have, which is that I hate the practice of effectively asking friends for money, even if it is for charity. I hate being pressured into supporting charities I have no interest in for social reasons. The ice bucket challenge was my worst nightmare; fortunately no one nominated me. If I ever do donate to these kinds of campaigns, I do it anonymously, thereby getting no social credit for it. I guess part of that is social hang-up one, donating publicly, but maybe part of it is also I just want to discourage people from asking again. Or sometimes I just want to donate a small amount, but I also don't want to look cheap, so doing it anonymously lets me not look cheap.

Having a kid means I get roped into even more stuff like this. I have given up and have started donating baked goods for my kid's class bake sale, and the £1 here and there for world children's day or anti-bullying week. I have to do this stuff for my kid, who needs all the social help he can get and doesn't need me making school even more weird for him with my weird hang-ups. (Other hang-ups remain; I refused a "free" raffle ticket that came with our entry to the school's Christmas bazaar. I consider it gambling and we don't believe in gambling. We're also supposed to sell the raffle tickets and every year I refuse to do so. That's going too far!)

Anyway, there have been several times on Facebook where I have been prompted to share charity stuff. There was the campaign where you could get *transaction free donations* which was really amazing and I was almost tempted to do. Now they have those questions where they prompt you, "what charities do you support?" And I opened and closed it a few times and started typing out this post, and went, "this is more an LJ post than a Facebook post" and here we are :).

I think my New Year's Resolution is this year to promote a charity I support on Facebook. On Twitter I like and re-tweet stuff from charities I like so that's easier and seems less intrusive since probably very few people see it anyway and is very impersonal. I probably won't do a campaign thing because that's soliciting donations, which I dislike, but maybe just a post or something.

Street harassment! It ain't a compliment. Compliments are well-intentioned.

I go by a particular bus stop a few times a week. I nearly always have my kids with me. On one very rare occasion two weeks ago, I was passing by there by myself, and I got a "nice smile" from some dude.

I follow this lady on Twitter that claims that street harassment are compliments. That she likes it, and at 40 she takes what she can get.

But if street harassment are really compliments, then why are all these guys that just want me to feel good about myself not "complimenting" me when I have my kids with me? Surely I don't magically become more physically unattractive when I have my kids with me?

Surely mums need *more* compliments than single ladies! We often feel bad about our saggy mum tums! A nice compliment about our looks might go a long way! If men were really motivated by wanting us to feel good about ourselves, that is.

The only possible explanations are a) They know what they're doing is wrong and they're too ashamed to do it in front of my kids b) sexual attraction is mediated by the presence of kids (I'm less available) and so they're less sexually motivated to harass me.

Anyway, I didn't say anything back to him and that ruins my talking-back streak. The last few times I've encountered street harassment I talked back and it felt great. I've now got a great come-back prepared. TWO WEEKS LATER.

(The previous time it wasn't me getting harassed, it was actually another woman, and I told the guy off - felt great! In some ways it's a lot easier to respond to street harassment when it's someone else being harassed)

Calling dead people stupid: a distancing technique.

I've noticed online that when there is news of someone's unnatural death, there's a race to call them stupid. I very much dislike this for two reasons; one, it denigrates the dead (whose family and friends may be reading the comments); and two, it is in itself a stupid thing to do. The former is self-evident, the latter maybe requires more explanation.

For instance, there was a Fark thread a little while ago of an entire family that had died in a watering hole when there was a flash flood. There was a ton of "would have" "should haves" in the thread. Lots of people saying they should have known about the warnings, that it had been raining a lot so they should have known there was a risk of flooding, some people saying "well maybe they weren't in cell phone range," more people responding "well they should have carried a short wave radio with them and kept it turned to the warnings," etc.

Now, how many people do you know have a portable, battery powered short wave radio? And, on top of having one, regularily keep the radio tuned to emergency frequencies? Really.

Calling people who die stupid is a distancing technique. It helps you not feel bad about their death, because *they're* stupid, and *you're not stupid* therefore, you would never die in such a way.

This is of course, a stupid assumption. For one, it's hindsight bias. You *are* that stupid; we all are. The vast majority of those Farkers, if they had been in that watering hole that day, would have promptly drowned. It's terrifying, I know, that we could all just *die* one day, through no real fault of our own.

It's cowardly to assuade your own fear of mortality by unfairly calling the dead stupid. 

Bias in what we choose to study

"There are fewer women in tech than in other fields, because girls like playing with stuffed animals and boys like to play with cars."

This is well described in the literature (the toy preference difference, anyway, not the conclusion which is of course very debateable) but I've noticed some other interesting differences that I was unable to find many studies about. I wonder if this is a form of bias; because we think that girls playing with stuffed toys *means* something (i.e. nurturing behaviour) and therefore it is something worth studying.

Something I noticed with my female child, in addition to being really interested in stuffed animals, is that she really likes to draw. It is impossible to get my male child to draw something, abnormally so, even for his gender. (He had to "decorate" a bag at his science camp every day, and every day he only wrote his name on it. Literally every other child had drawn *something* on the bag beside their name!)

At playgroup, I noticed that the drawing table is primarily occupied with little girls. There are boys, but there definitely seems to be some difference there, although it could be my imagination. Which is why I looked for research on it, and didn't find anything. I did find research showing there were gender difference in what was drawn, but not in general interest in it. I wonder if it's because it doesn't tell a compelling narrative:

"Girls prefer drawing to boys, which explains why all the best artists are women and is adaptive because women needed to be able to write more than men did in the ancestral environment because of all the shopping lists."

I suppose I could do a very casual version of this research myself; I could write down the number of girls v. boy drawing at the table (as well as noting the total number of girls/boys in the room) week after week. I'm there anyway!

Building a POC (black / African American / Asian / Indian ) family with Playmobil 123

My kids love Playmobil 123 (1.2.3 is a Playmobil series for younger children.) We have the following full sets: Suburban Home (6784), Park Playground (6785) (discontinued), and the Fire Station (6777) (discontined). One cool thing I discovered though that you can build your own set using Playmobil replacement part store.

Unfortunately it's a little difficult to use because you can only search by part number, not by part description, a lot of the descriptions are in German and not very descriptive, and most of the parts are missing photos. So you basically have to hunt down sets that contain parts you want, search for the building instructions (which many of the small sets don't have), find the part number from the instructions, and then search for the part number. A pain. I've found the playmoDB site very helpful.

To date I have purchased these parts seperately from the part replacement store:

Grey cat (playmoDB / purchase individually)
Tree with hole in it that the cat fits in - does not include stump (playmoDB / purchase individually)
Stump for tree (playmoDB / no longer available! How annoying!)
Fire helicopter (playmoDB / purchase individually)

We have had some great rescue scenarios rescuing the family from the suburban house, and rescuing the cat from the tree with our fire truck.

Unfortunately most of the characters are white, and it is somewhat difficult to easily build your own Playmobil 123 family of color. Playmobil produced one family of color which it released in 2000 and a preschool assortment containing a full family. Both are discontinued. But with a little research and using the replacement parts site you can build one by buying the characters individually.

You can buy a little girl with dark skin from the playmobil site individually.

(playmoDB / purchase individually)

You can also buy a little boy with dark skin.

(playmoDB / purchase individually)

Playmobil 123 hasn't made a darker-skinned baby in a while. PlaymobilDB has one here but we there is no official playmobil part number associated with it. It is probably long out of production. I think if you want a baby of color you are out of luck. :(

There's a suitable mom in the recently released airport shuttle bus set. There's no part number listed to purchase her individually but you can buy the whole set.
(playmoDB / purchase set)

You can buy a similar mom individually.

(playmoDB / purchase individually)

Because the two figures are so similar, it is possible that the newly released character has the same part number with a different paint job so if you order this one you might get the purple/orange. Or, you might not. Hard to know!

A potential dad that is available to purchase seperately is this forklift operator. But I find this slightly dissatisfying because, well, he's wearing a hardhat. But he'd do in a pinch.

(playmoDB / purchase individually)

All the other options also have hats.

(playmoDB / purchase individually)

There is a dark-skinned man who is a police officer wearing a helmet from the hospital set, but playmoDB hasn't been able to identify him individually for the part number. There's also a similar character, also with helmet but a different outfit, from a motor bike set but again we don't have his part number to see if he can be purchased individually, and it's discontinued. But it was discontinued relatively recently, so it is still possible to buy the entire set on ebay for list price.

(playmoDB / purchase set)

I had the dream of presenting a friend with a little playmobil family to welcome a new family member but the lack of POC baby sort of kills that dream :(. I dearly wish this set came in a darker skinned version!

Leviticus nonsense

On my Facebook feed there are people arguing about homosexuality, whether it's acceptable for Christians to deny services to gays, etc. and Leviticus comes up.

Anyway, I stumble upon this passage and was annoyed and confused at the lack of compatibility between translations: http://biblehub.com/leviticus/19-20.htm

Basically, it comes down to what should be done about a bondsmaid (slave or indentured servent) who has had sex with her owner/bond holder. Apparently the default assumption that the Bible is working off of is that they would be *both* put to death as adulterers, except in this case, being a slave, she didn't have a choice, so an exception to this rule is made for both parties. In some translations, it says she should be scourged (whipped) instead, in some they just say punished or chastised, and in some passages *they don't mention any punishment for the woman at all.* (And the man just has to sacrifice a ram in all translations. Pretty light sentence I'd say particularily considering if she was a free woman the punishment would have been death.)

How can there *possibly* be a disagreement in translation about whether the woman gets punished at all? I can see there being some confusion about the nature of the punishment, but I just don't see how a translator could possibly omit mention of it entirely. It almost seems *deliberately sanitised* for Western sensibilities.

At any rate, the punishment for homosexuality is banishment, which seems like it's considered a lighter sin than adultery, but worse than raping a female slave. Oh Leviticus, you are a facinating look at how stupid laws used to be.

Protest ideas

I am not anti-protest per se, but I am always concious of the way things can be min-ed or max-ed. I was left a little dissatisfied with the way the day without women played out. I'm not sure it really drove home the message. A lot of stay-at-home moms stayed home and did what they always did, when what they should have done is said, "hey hon, I'm taking the day off, so you need to stay home from work with the kids" to their husbands. But they largely didn't do that (myself included)m in some cases because they lacked the power to make that kind of demand, (I certainly did). And then some weird things happened, like the radio station that only played songs written by men in honor of the protest. Like, we've had days where most women stayed home and didn't work and took care of the kids, and there were no songs on the radio by women, and it was called 100 years ago and we feminists didn't like it very much. And I don't think that bothered anyone except people who already agreed. I just don't think the protest did what it intended.

I've been thinking about the trans bathroom issue, and it hit me that there's a very effective protest we allies could do, but it requires that you value bathroom anarchy, which I do. When I was in college, the dorm I lived in was co-ed, and my bathroom was co-ed. It was a non issue. And it made it a non-issue for trans students too, because if there's no men's bathrooms and no women's bathrooms, then there's no such thing as a bathroom you can't go into for anyone.

I've continued to think that gendered bathrooms were dumb. In graduate school my lab was right across the men's, but the women's on the other side of the building, so after hours I would quickly use the men's room, hoping I wouldn't run into any men, which I largely didn't. I've also brazenly used single stall rooms labelled as men's when the women's was occupied in gas stations and the like. When you think about it, gendered bathrooms are a cultural phenomenon. They only exist because we expect them, and then follow the rules. So what if we didn't follow the rules?

What if, as a protest, male allies went into the women's bathroom, and female allies went into the men's bathroom? A day of bathroom anarchy. And then... what if it became a week... a month. What would they do? Pass laws against it? When gay marriage became a thing, there was a wave of backlash laws by the states, but one by one, the states fell, and then it reached the supreme court, where it was overturned, and now we have nationwide marriage equality. What if we just... erased the concept of gendered bathrooms as a society?

Anyway, I don't know how to go about spearheading a protest, but that's the kind of protest I would paricipate in, and I think it could be very effective, because it's consistent with the kind of world I want to live in, in a way the day without women wasn't, imo. 

The Friday Five: Health

Originally posted by spikesgirl58 at The Friday Five for February 17, 2017
1. Do you take any daily prescription medications?

Progestin-only hormonal birth control as I'm still breastfeeding. Not sure what I'll do after. I am considering an IUD but I can't decide between the copper and the progestin. Hormones ruin my sex drive, but I have heard cramping horror stories from the copper one.

2. Do you take any daily OTC (over the counter) medications?

I take a multivitamin.

3. Do you take vitamins?

Yes, vitamins are considered a medication. Most people are deficient in vitamin D these days. In the US, a lot of things are supplemented with vitamin D (such as whole milk) but in the UK they hardly fortify anything (including no folic acid in wheat!).

4. When you are sick, do you take OTC remedies or immediately go to your doctor?

I take sudafed for congestion, and ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain and fever. I've also taken anti-diarrheals like Imodium. Under the NHS you can call 111 with your symptoms and they'll tell you whether or not you need a doctor's appointment or not... it's not really a matter of *choosing* to go to the doctor or not as much.

5. Do you take aspirin?

I don't know if I've ever taken an aspirin. Aspirin is an anti-coagulant and is mostly good at preventing heart attacks. Ibuprofen is most effective for muscle pain, menstrual pain and tooth pain. I tend to prefer ibuprofen.