Tag Archives: moms

No, We’re Not Worried About the Exchange Program, and Please Stop Asking (via Scary Mommy)

Scary Mommy — “Aren’t you worried?” people seem to keep asking us when they learn that our 13-year-old will spend two weeks in France this summer. “With all the…” and here they pause, fumbling for the way to say “gun violence” and make inferences about Muslim terrorists in a manner appropriate for Saturday soccer.

And here we pause, searching for the appropriate way to say “Well, duh,” which, it turns out, is pretty much just “Well, duh.” (Happily, that term translates wherever you go.) I like to think we’re worried about our son every day, when he boards the bus, when he baits his own sharp pokey hook, when he comes sprinting down the stairs, when he walks home from his buddy’s down the street, when he skates down the driveway without a helmet because he doesn’t listen, and when he goes to karate class, where as a rule, they kick and punch at other children. The question is doofy. We exist in a state of low-level concern; we all do.

But are we worried about shipping him overseas, because of all the…?

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O Christmas Box, O Christmas Box (via On Parenting at the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — Generally speaking, Christmas trees arrive in one of two ways: 1. You pack a saw and rope and drive to a Cut Your Own Tree Farm, which makes you feel like a beefy, whiskey-swilling, red-bearded lumberjack army-crawling through dirt and pine needles and probably fire ants until you ask a 19-year-old to help you tie it to the top of your Honda Odyssey; or 2. You go to the attic and retrieve the Giant Box of Fake Christmas tree, which you purchased some years ago from, hypothetically speaking, a Kmart in east-central Indiana.

My family went with Option B. As I was fortunate enough to have both a Christmas-loving family and unusually tall ceilings, our fake tree was a goliath, a monstrous army-grade artificial Douglas fir Fraser pine (okay, I have no idea what it really was, I slept through college horticulture) that endured for nearly a decade. It was rich, plush and lifelike, even if it smelled less like evocative forest pine and more like the inside of a Kmart in east-central Indiana.

Mostly, it came in a box.

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The Adventure of Milo, The Daring Stuffed Cat Who Spent a Year on a Plane (via the Washington Post)

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Gonna take a walk outside today, gonna see what we can find today

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — Several Christmases ago, I found myself wandering around a deserted parking lot in San Francisco, clinging to the fragile idea of Christmas magic, but mostly just on the phone with airline customer service.

We’d just flown cross-country with the children, ages 9 and 2 (apologies again, Good People of Rows 13 and 15). The older one is deeply imaginative and inventive, just not especially good at paying attention or remaining in the real world instead of the one in his head, which is populated almost entirely by Percy Jackson and dragons. (Frankly it sounds like a good place to be; in that world sinks don’t leak and Percy doesn’t get Christmas Visa bills.)

Here’s how the cat came back.

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Welcome to the Real-Time, Live-Updating Portal Matrix For Tracking Your Child’s Grades Obsessively (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — “Welcome to the new school year, parents. This year, we’ve made some changes to our grading process. This 12-minute video will briefly summarize how we’re using online resources to allow you to monitor and evaluate your child’s progress on a real-time, 24/7 basis. Please click below to begin.”

So we’re not getting report cards this year? Weird. Okay. (click)

“Welcome to PowerSuccess School MetricsSolutions, the convenient online portal for tracking your child’s successes at a glance. You’ll notice the page opens into Classic View. Click the button marked List View, which will be easier.”

 List View, got it. (click)

“List View expands into Grid Views for all eight of your child’s classes, listed here in reverse order. Over time, this Grid View will auto-populate with live evaluations of your child’s potential success metrics potential.”

 Wait, does that mean grades?

“Sort of. We don’t use grades now, we use evaluations of standards relative to your child’s individual talents and the aggregate performance of students in his or her age group, potential earning category and hair color, merged with bar-graph spreadsheets that determine within three significant digits whether your child will ever attend college. Those are also live-updated, just FYI.”

 Wait, so there are grades, or…

“Pay attention, we’re not even two minutes into this video.”

The rest of the video at On Parenting at the Washington Post.

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Here, My Child, Let Me Help You Open That Complicated CD (via On Parenting at the Washington Post)

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More complicated than it looks

On Parenting at the Washington Post — I just watched my beloved, treasured, magical, sharp and thoughtful 12-year-old struggle to open a CD case for a full 20 seconds. He stared at it, fidgeted with each edge and then fought with the wrong side. He pushed on the black spine, trying, I’m guessing, to activate some secret spring-release mechanism. He flipped it over, inspected it, scowled, then flipped it back over for further scowling.

When he caught me watching him, an unmanageable smirk playing on my face, he made his movements more furtive, exerting pressure on parts that did not move but trying to play it all off like, “Pfft whatever, I’m just absently fidgeting with this thing. I don’t even know why you’re looking at me.” When he caught me fumbling with my camera to try for a surreptitious video, he warned, “If you post this to Instagram, you’re going to need an insurance policy for your face.”

I’m not in the business of humiliating my children online in video form, so I’ll just use words.

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9 Reasons Owning a Minivan is Secretly Thrilling (via GQ)

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Bitchin’ Camaro

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GQ.com — This Memorial Day weekend, many of you will need to transport family members long distances across this great land. You will have myriad vehicular options, but precisely zero of them is better than a minivan. Now, you might think you are too awesome for a minivan. You might think SUVs are a more appropriate option, or that minivans have become shortened visual code for “sad-eyed, suburban-dwelling Blake Shelton fan.” But you will be wrong for these reasons.

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I Love You Guys. Now for the Love of God, Go Play Over There (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — I need my kids to stop playing with me at the playground.

I don’t mean I need them to leave me alone and stop smothering me in attention because I’d like 10 minutes with my phone and to wander pointlessly through the pathways. But on the other hand, yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. I need them to play tag by themselves. Climb some branches. Explore the riverbank. Find frogs. Be dinosaur robots. Anything other than standing there, pawing at my legs, scampering off then returning every 30 seconds with a command to play some game I’ve not heard of. Somehow, at ages 12 and 4, they can’t entertain themselves.

The full story at the Washington Post.

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Violence Never Solves Anything, Unless You’re 4, When It Totally Does (via the Washington Post)

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Washington Post — Do all 4-year-olds spend their time running around hitting things? Things like walls and chairs and fireplaces and their father’s shins and the fish tank? Because we’ve encountered a pretty consistent hitting issue with our 4-year-old, and we’re not sure where it’s coming from. Like many parents, we’ve taught for years that you don’t solve your problems with your fists (that’s what the light sabers are for).

Frankly, I’m not too bothered by the hitting of the walls, or of me (although the fish are getting a little anxious). It’s often accidental, I’m accustomed to it and it doesn’t hurt much, except the time he accidentally connected while holding one of his wooden Thomas trains, which, I am not going to lie, hurt like a Gordon. I’m pretty sure there’s still red paint on my teeth. We turned that into a Very Serious Lesson about resolving your issues calmly and patiently (and some words you’re not supposed to say when you’ve been hit in the teeth).

The full fight story over at the Washington Post.

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The 4-Year-Old Who Wasn’t In His Bed (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting from the Washington Post — It was a little before 2 a.m. when we discovered our 4-year-old wasn’t in his bed, but it took several more minutes to realize he was also not in the house. The details of the night have grown muddled through the initial fog of panic, years of retelling and the way the now 11-year-old doesn’t exactly remember it, but here’s what we’ve pieced together:

The 4-year-old, at some point between the last time we checked on him and the 911 call, awoke in his bedroom on the second floor. He got right out of bed, opened his door, walked down the hall, turned left, went downstairs and passed through both the kitchen and living room, where his mom had fallen asleep on the couch while studying. He flipped up the lock on the sliding glass door, opened it, unlocked the screen door, opened that too, extracted a pair of floppy blue Crocs from the shoe basket, slipped them on over his footie pajamas and walked outside, closing both doors behind him. We’re still not sure if he was awake — we’ve come to find he inherited his dad’s entertaining gift for sleepwalking  — but we do know it wasn’t an accident, or some wandering gone awry. He wanted to go outside, so he went outside.

The full story at the Washington Post.

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Dad Week at GQ.com: 10 Horrible Gross Things They Don’t Tell You About the Delivery Room

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GQ — There are more books about the wondrous, gross miracle of childbirth than there are celebrity organic cookbooks, inspirational-quote compilations, and terrible softcore mom-porn novels PUT TOGETHER. Yeah, it’s a lot. Let everyone else read the encyclopedias. Here’s a sneak preview for what will be a very curious few hours.

1. You will look. Oh, you’ll not want to look. You’ll want to avoid and eschew looking. You’ll want to hide behind the couch and cover your eyes like the first time you saw the end of Raiders. Thousands of years of primordial evolutionary instincts will all align in your brain, forming a united front like soldiers at a castle siege shouting, “You DO NOT KNOW what hideous terrors lurk in a location you usually enjoy visiting.” But you will look. You will look because you’re a grownup, and a father, and that is your baby’s mother, albeit not exactly presented in a way you might initially recognize. Also, you kind of can’t not look—it’s not like there’s anything more interesting happening in the room.

The full and slightly gooey list over at GQ.com.
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