I scream, you scream... or maybe it's only Kent

There's a lot of screaming coming out of my boy these days. Fists clenched, brow furrowed, red-faced screaming. I think he's testing out his noises and seeing what kind of reaction they'll get, so I'm trying not to react sharply when he lets one of these shrill sounds erupt, but it's certainly a test of my patience. It was the kind of afternoon where there were no naps, which added to his and my crankiness since neither of us had a chance to recharge. It was also the kind of afternoon when after a certain point, I needed some emotional distance, so I sat him on the floor next to the computer and let him "sort" the paper recycling box while I surfed eBay for cool knitting needles and yarn I can't afford. Sale flyers, junk mail, and various other paper items soon littered the floor around our desk, but it's easy enough to clean up, and he had a ball tossing and chewing paper to his heart's content. I understand now why parents invent busywork for their young kids, like one mom I read about a few years ago who had her daughters wash her pocket change when she needed a break. They'd fill up the sink and very diligently wash all the coins, and she'd take a breather. Washing change might be in Kent's future, once he's old enough not to stick it in his mouth. Sigh.

I'm presenting at a very low-key local conference next week, and I'm excited but also fairly certain that I'm a tad nuts for submitting a proposal. When I presented at a slightly higher-key (?) local conference a couple of years ago, I was working on my paper for months — it was an offshoot of my thesis, and I tweaked and cajoled it into a 25-minute presentation, then kept editing it, did a run-through in front of people at school, etc. This paper, on the other hand, is being thrown together in about a week. It's an offshoot of my prospectus, my advisor's idea (which seemed like a good one at the time), and I have a pretty good handle on what I need to do to make it presentation-appropriate (like using shorter sentences and syntax for a listening audience instead of a reading audience). The major hurdle I hit last night was when I realized that I ought to give out an annotated copy of the score so that people can follow along as I'm talking and playing certain excerpts. Annotating a score is quite an undertaking, because you want to call attention to the right details and make it complement your presentation, and I haven't even begun to annotate this score yet. Since Jack's exam is tomorrow morning, he won't have to study like a mad person this weekend, so I'll get some time alone to crunch this thing out, which will be quite welcomed.

It feels good to be working on something concrete like a 20-minute presentation, to be given on X date, instead of an amorphous prospectus that goes back and forth between student and advisor for months until one or both of them say ENOUGH ALREADY and decide that it's finished. I won't have time for a read-through with anyone, so I'll just have to rely on all my experience (yeah, the ONE previous conference presentation) to help me self-edit. Oh, well. I'm still glad I'm doing it.

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I've always worried about the screaming and how I would take it... I am very noise sensitive. I am sure your paper will be great and don't worry about the sippy cup, it'll be fine.
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