We had a spectacular meltdown last night. As part of her Laundry Frenzy Mrs. Agent told the girl to get the dirty clothes out of our bathroom. Now, this included articles of our daughter’s clothing, and some towels and other clothes. Mrs. Agent told the girl not once, not twice, but three times to get her clothes and any other clothes out of the bathroom.

Once they were ready for bed, the kids settled down to watch “Brisco County Jr.” on DVD. The wife came in and asked the girl if she had gotten all the clothes out of the bathroom. Zombie-like, the girl barely flickered her gaze from the television screen and said she had.

But, of course, she hadn’t. The girl immediately lost her TV privileges for the night and the next day. The wife took her back and pointed out all the clothes she had missed. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. Tears were shed. “It’s not FAIR!” she screamed.

We asked her what wasn’t fair. “Mom never told me I had to get the other clothes! She just said I had to get mine!”

I pointed out that this wasn’t true, and that I had heard her mother warning her to make sure she got all the clothes out of the bathroom.

“It’s not FAIR!”

Fairness is an interesting concept. Children have a razor-sharp sense of fairness, and while it is undeniably slanted in the direction of self-interest, it can sometimes be surprisingly abstract. In this case, the girl believed it wasn’t fair for her to be punished when she genuinely hadn’t heard her mother’s instructions. And I can sympathize. Except for the ‘mom told you three times’ part. Clearly, the girl still feels it is our responsibility as parents to make sure she understands what is requested of her, whereas we have moved on to the expectation that she take that responsibility onto herself. It’s a significant difference.

The girl had a consultation with another counselor this week, and there was a discussion as to whether she is getting the proper dose of medication. Would she respond better to a higher dose? Would she respond better if she took a small supplemental dose in the afternoon? These are troubling questions for me.

On the one hand, we will never know if she isn’t getting a fully therapeutic dose unless we bump it up and see what happens. On the other hand, I feel we have to remain vigilent against any tendancy to use medication to change behaviors, rather than changing our daughter’s ability to cope with life. And that’s an important distinction.

If we do decide to change her dosage, it will not be because we don’t want her throwing hissy fits in the evenings, it will be because we want to address the distraction and absent-mindedness that seems to set in after school, that in turn gets her in trouble because she misinterprets (or just completely misses) instructions.

It’s something to think about.


I was riding in this morning, and making good time. I was blazing down Barbur in the bike lane at probably between 25 and 30 mph. As I headed into town, I became aware of something creeping up on my left. I turned my head to see a young lady in the traffic lane, on a scooter that was going maybe 1 mph faster than I was.

And it pissed me off. I am constantly hearing about how reckless and dangerous it is for cars to have to share the road with cyclists. Now, which is more dangerous — me, going 29 mph in my own separate lane, or her, doing 30 on the street with traffic that’s going about 50 (or more)? And yet, you don’t hear much from the anti-Vespa crowd about how we have to get scooters off our roads.

It’s not FAIR.