Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Making it a priority to teach these kids to do something on their own.
As usual, I was patting myself on the back about how much better of a parent I was than my friend who wouldn’t let her 1½-year-old jump off a tiny wall that my children had safely hurtled since they first began walking. My face broke into a smile as I mused on how I've found the perfect balance between safety and over-protection. I let my children explore, at their own pace, dangerous situations (walls, stairs, grenades) until they become experts. Just as the width of my prideful smile peaked in the center of my cheeks, the 1-year-old sat down and started teaching my 3-year-old how to put on his shoes. My mouth deflated like an untied balloon, landing into a slack-lipped pout. Should my kid be able to put his shoes on already? This …
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Getting ready to vacation with children is as complicated as preparing an army for war.
“Preparing for family vacation is like a commander preparing for war,” my sister-in-law, who is a three-star Lieutenant General of Motherhood, says. She’s a veteran with Vietnam-era type experiences. She’s been in the trenches, having had three kids in three years and vacationing with my family in the dark days before my father had been mellowed by eight grandchildren and a prescription for Xanax. “A good commander must assess, in the war room/living room, the unknown dangers that may confront them in their destination and be prepared for all outcomes,” she says. “But you must also balance this with knowing how much you can afford to bring.” I’ve never been good at that balance. In fact that’s how I ended up living back in Florida. We were…
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
We are no longer an agrarian society that needs children home to pick the summer harvest, so let’s have school end in the winter and enjoy the Florida weather. What do you say?
This is my first summer break as a parent. The first time my kids are off from school for the summer, and by “school” I mean the free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program that is paid for by the state. (Did you know they did that? Paid for 4-year-olds to go to school three hours a day, five days a week?) I am pretty excited. No schedule. No having to put the kids in clean clothes. No having to look decent in the morning for the benefit of others. No brushing teeth … wait, forget that last one. There is just one tiny thing I wish was different. I mean, I am about to do summers off with my kids for the next 14 years, right? So I can complain a little. (If you are my husband and you are reading this: Honey, I’m just exaggerating for the …
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
If you do choose to spank, the one thing they say is "Never Spank in Anger" — but I could never imagine spanking my child at any other time.
I was talking to a friend — a childless friend — and she was saying that spanking kids is child abuse. I’ve never had someone inadvertently imply that I was a child abuser, so I sarcastically replied, “Oh, I don’t believe in spanking,” and I paused for effect, “except when you’re angry.” My friend was aghast. She went on a long spiel: “No, that is exactly when you shouldn’t because you will only hit harder and blah, blah, blah.” I rolled my eyes and wondered if my friend had no sense of humor, or was hitting innocent children really not funny? (My sense of humor lies pitch-perfectly between raunchy and lame, so it had to be the former.) I tried to explain why I said what I said. “I’ve only spanked two times (that I’ll admit to) and it was …
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
A Tiny duck tale.
One evening my children and I were driving away from a strip mall, and in front of our car waddled a mama duck and 13 babies. The itty-bitty ducklings followed their mom in a bumper car huddle — all except one, even smaller than the rest, who trailed far behind about to die from exhaustion. My boys named this last one Tiny, and every couple of minutes the mama had to stop to let Tiny catch up. We watched the ducks for a bit before we started to drive away, but my youngest cried that he never got to say good-bye, so I turned the car around to let him. By the time we got back, the ducks were gone, but I noticed something moving in the parking spot where they had just been. Oh no, it was Tiny. He was lying on his back flapping his nubby wings…
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Cancer foiled a Dunedin good samaritan's plans to hold a fundraiser for Lea Dozois, whose infant daughter Lily was born with Moebius syndrome.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
- Katie Dolac
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Lea Dozois struggled with the idea when a Dunedin woman insisted on putting together a fundraiser for her special-needs infant daughter. The young mother felt awkward being on the receiving end of so much generosity. Eventually, she embraced the idea, after she realized saying no would effectively deny the joy of giving to the Dunedin woman, a recent breast cancer survivor who wanted to pay forward good deeds others had done for her. Lea's change of heart helped her realize “you just have to take care of your family and not care what anyone else thinks.” Family Came Together Sooner Than Expected Lea, a 2004 Dunedin High School grad, said she and boyfriend Joel Lacey didn’t expect to get pregnant last October. Lea, 25, had every intention …
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Mrs. Cheap gives you permission to not give goody bags at kids' birthday parties.
Dear Mrs. Cheap, I don’t feel like spending $500 on an expensive professional cake, invitations, entertainment, and goody bags for my daughter’s birthday party, do I have to? Also must I include every member of her kindergarten class? That is 18 kids plus their families. I wanted a small party but I don’t want to be rude or cheap. - Not Cheap but Not Frivolous. Dear Not Cheap but Not Frivolous, What have we done to kids’ birthday parties? Doesn’t anyone realize that we have been fooled by the decadent marketing from the '00s and by narcissistic mom-blogs celebrating how beautifully they live their lives and that they have time to write about it. (I really think these women are trying to look like they have the perfect family to hide the …
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Resisting getting a job after five years of being a housewife.
“It’s time you get a job,” my husband said while we were sitting on the back porch, each drinking a beer and watching the kids play in the sprinkler. Even though I knew this conversation was a long time coming, the fact that he would pick the day that my father had heart surgery seemed like he was kicking me when I was down. I felt betrayed like he’d said he’d had an affair. I felt sick. My brain threw a temper tantrum. I have to get out of this, it thought: an illness, a new pregnancy, I can fake cancer, put myself in a mental institution, anything to not have to put my kids into daycare. I think I feel a lump. Oh God, my throat is closing. I can’t breeeeathe. I’m pretty sure that if you do anything as stupid as fake a terminal illness, …
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
As parents, we often think the opposite of wrong is right, but actually the opposite of wrong is…still wrong.
If you want to guarantee that you screw up your child’s hood, just like your parents screwed up yours, then do the exact opposite of what your parents did. I call it reactionary parenting. My parents, I guess in some loving and demented way, thought it was best to never share with my brothers and me the tragedies that occurred while we were kids. As an adult I believe that they thought we were too young to understand, or they desired to protect us from pain. But as a child, you can still comprehend that something is going on and you feel crazy being lied to. Besides being maddening, keeping secrets can cause extremely awkward situations, like, for instance, the time at a family reunion when my brothers and I asked where our uncle was. …
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Easter Bunny’s hideous job this year has driven this mother to mail in a list of grievances.
Holiday Character Complaint Department Easter Island and N. Pole Corp. Bentonville, AR 72716 RE: Easter Bunny Performance Dear HCCD, I’m writing this letter because of the unsatisfactory experience I recently had with your employee, the Easter Bunny. When I awoke on Easter morning I initially didn’t notice that anything was wrong. My children’s Easter baskets were nestled outside their bedroom doors, filled with treats, as expected. In that regard the Bunny’s work was timely and discreet. It was only when my children started opening their candy-filled eggs that I discovered three problems, specifically with the choice of candy, a discrepancy in quantity and lastly a more delicate issue that I will go into later. Before I explain what …