Tag Archives: parenting

The All-Ages Genius of Rockabye Baby (via the Washington Post)

I ain’t sorry.

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Washington Post — Pro tip for aspiring PR executives: If you’re ever announcing a Beyoncé-themed baby product, try to do so just days before she Instagrams her pregnancy.

Such was the most recent stroke of good news in the potent, enduring tale of the Rockabye Baby series, which for 11 years and 78 albums has tried to alleviate one of the worst parts of being a parent — the music — with lullabied instrumental covers of songs from, you know, real bands. The Beyoncé version is the latest in a list that includes Prince, the Beatles, Springsteen, the Pixies, David Bowie, Eminem, the Cure, Guns N’ Roses, Rush, Kanye West, Radiohead, Adele, Cyndi Lauper, Tool and Iron Maiden. (If you think you had a weird day at work, imagine trying to coax “The Number of the Beast” out of a harp and glockenspiel.)

A look inside the world of the planet’s dominant Kanye West lullaby-making machine.

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How We Briefly Sort Of Totally Lost Our Son on the London Underground (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — One day, during my retirement, if there is still Social Security or whatever, I plan to write a collection of short stories called “Places I Have Lost My Son.” I lost him once in a state park, where, during a verdant and filthy family hike, he ambled ahead 10, then 20, then 500 yards, past a vigorous series of intersections and switchbacks. (We found him at the ranger station, making plans for what to do with his months-long iPhone ban.) I lost him once from his own bedroom when, at age 4, he let himself outside at 1:30 a.m. in a half-sleeping dream state, in search of the Polar Express. (We found him 20 minutes later a quarter-mile down the road, where he’d been discovered by two teenagers named Kevin and Brendan who were most assuredly not Tom Hanks.)

I’ve had to find him in zoos and museums, malls and airports, when something catches his imagination and instinct compels him to follow it. In my son’s brain, imagination is not some zingy, lively Peter Pan-type. It’s a 500-pound sumo wrestler who lumbers in and shoves aside all of the functions used for mindfulness and consciousness and “remembering to look behind him to see WHERE HIS DAD IS.” It’s both delightful, as there is no greater gift than childhood creativity, and god-awful terrifying, as there are few worse feelings than having to ask the nice security guards whether they have seen a 12-year-old in a blue hoodie. Twice.

Which brings me to how we totally lost him on the London subway.

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

High Angle View of Empty Cardboard Box with Open Flaps on Shiny Hardwood Floor - Moving or Shipping Concept Image

Sweet.

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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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Someone Taught My Child About Jesus When I Wasn’t Looking (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — My son, who at 3 years old was certainly a talking machine but not terribly comfortable composing verse and rhyme, sat down one night at the dining room table, regarded his cutup hot dog, looked at Mom and me, then looked down, folded his hands and intoned, and I quote:

“God our father, God our father

Once again, once again

Thank you for our blessings, thank you for our blessings

Ah-Amen, Ah-Amen

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. 

What’s his name? 

Jesus! 

Hallelujah!”

The first verse was deployed to the tune of “Frere Jacques.” The second he punctuated with a merry grin, one hand splayed in the air as if he had just drained a three-pointer at the buzzer in a teen sports movie from 1986. Then he dipped his hot dog in his “bar-de-coo” sauce and demolished dinner. He was delightfully oblivious to the fact that his mom and I were watching him, stone-faced, forks held mid-chomp, as if he had just informed us that he’d been working on a unified theory of physics and would soon be leaving to return to his home planet of Flthhhpbt.

Here’s what we did about it. 

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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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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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That Time the Insurance Company Wrote My 3-Year-Old (via the Washington Post)

ARTIST'S RENDERING. The actual cast was purple.

ARTIST’S RENDERING. The actual cast was purple.

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — My son doesn’t get very much mail, partly because he doesn’t write a lot of letters and partly because he’s 3. So I found it odd a few months ago when he received an envelope from the Insurance Company, addressed to him, a child who not only can’t read his last name but also has never heard of the Insurance Company. That’s one reason I’m super-envious of him. (Reason No. 2: Daily naps. Reason No. 3: Being able to eat squeezable applesauce without everyone else on the plane looking at you.)

The letter confused me, and I spent some time mulling it while I sipped my applesauce. Here’s what happened.

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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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