Both Children and Parents Are Demanding

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Sometimes, when we are on a road trip to visit relatives, we stop at a drive through on the way. Last week was one of those times. Then comes the flurry of passing out fries and figuring out whose shake is whose and everything that goes along with that---straws, napkins, ketchup, the works. Sean was driving and I was passing things every which way, the children and Sean simultaneously putting in bids for their food. I was on sensory overload and feeling frazzled and finally, in exasperation, I … [Read more...]

Bullying Prevention

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The Parent Trap is on Netflix, so I watched it with Sally a few days ago. I enjoy showing her movies I remember watching as a kid myself. As we came to the part where Annie and Haley vandalize each other's cabins at camp in an escalating cycle of retribution, Sally rendered her judgement."That's bullying," she said."Where did you learn about bullying?" I asked her."At my school," she said. "Bullying is not nice."I'd been told that schools were being more proactive about dealing … [Read more...]

The Children in the Sandbox

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Over the holidays I read a novel by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed the book, but there was one passage that bugged me. In it a mother acts as narrator, and explains that we're all supposed to say there is no real difference between boys and girls, but that that is a "polite fiction." She says all you have to do is look into any sandbox at any park, and you'll see the girls preparing food and the boys smashing things with trucks. Except that this is not in fact my experience.Look, my son Bobby loves … [Read more...]

Preschool Dating Drama

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Sally is growing her hair out, but she absolutely hates having it washed.  "Sally, if washing your hair is this hard, we can cut it shorter," I suggested during a recent bath, as Sally was literally in tears over having her hair washed."But I want to marry Aiden," Sally objected vehemently, "And he said at the library, 'you better keep growing your hair out!'"O_oTo be honest, I was completely taken aback by Sally's comment. She's five years old for goodness' sake! I wasn't p … [Read more...]

Child Neglect in a Helicopter World

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I find myself a bit conflicted here. I'm seeing a story about a South Carolina mother charged with neglect pass across facebook. "Mom Jailed Because She Let Her 9-Year-Old Daughter Play in the Park Unsupervised," the title reads. My friends are outraged, and are recounting stories of playing alone at the park themselves at that age. But when I clicked on the link I quickly felt that the title---and my friends' defenses---were a bit misleading. This was not a case of a girl walking to a park … [Read more...]

My Daughter, the Encourager

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"Dad, did you have your meeting yet?" Sally asked Sean recently. Sean had mentioned the meeting earlier in the day, and Sally had remembered."Yes, I did," Sean replied."Good job, Dad," Sally said.Our daughter Sally is many things---curious, creative, compassionate---but one thing she has shown herself to be, time and again, is an encourager. It's funny, my parents always said that children who aren't spanked grow up to be selfish, spoiled, uncaring brats. Not so. I don't spank … [Read more...]

Stranger Danger?

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Last week I took Sally and Bobby for a walk. Sally was on her new, bigger bike. It wasn't actually new---it was Sean's twenty years ago, recently pulled from a barn and fixed up---but it was new to her, and it was the first time she'd been out on it. Bobby, age two, was on his pink car-scooter, which had been Sally's before him, a gift from one of my sisters. He operates it by using his legs to push off, similar to using two oars in tandem, and the speed he can achieve is truly impressive. He … [Read more...]


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