Feet of Clay

Back in November, my husband proudly signed himself up to be a noon-time reading buddy on a Tuesday in January for our daughter's second grade class, an honor the parents vie for and the children eagerly anticipate. Since then, he has worked nearly around the clock on a business deal that ruined our Florida holiday (for two nights he slept on the resort veranda in order to take 3 a.m. calls from lawyers). Suffice to say, he's been distracted by work.

Last Tuesday, he called me with this cryptic message: "I am the worst father ever. I can't even talk about it over the phone. Call me." Turns out, he had spent the morning in back-to-back meetings and arrived at his office to find an Outlook pop-up that read: 2nd Grade Reading Group, 12:30 p.m. It was 2 p.m. An hour later when I picked our daughter up at school, she burst into tears and incoherently relayed what it had been like to be on the receiving end of her father's forgetfulness.

At first I was angry at him for causing her pain, for allowing work to come first. It was a teeny bit delicious in a schadenfreude way, because of course I've never missed a school event I'd committed to (it was tough for me to remember, at that precise moment, all the other ways I have let our kids down over the years). Then I realized: If the worst thing that happens to our daughter this year is her father forgetting her reading class, she's got a pretty good life. And even better: Disappointment is something kids need to learn to stomach and overcome, even at eight years old. My daughter and husband have talked and talked and talked about his mistake, and she's doing just fine -- although she has memorized the make-up date. I doubt she or my husband will forget it.

All working parents have had times when we put work first for the long-term benefits a stable income provides. Sometimes we do it on purpose, sometimes we do it unconsciously like my husband's mistake. Working parents -- in fact all parents -- are heroes with feet of clay. We can't be perfect parents, spouses or employees -- there is no way to juggle parenthood and life and work without dropping the ball occasionally. If we hold too much stock in being perfect, and never forgive ourselves or others for mistakes, we teach that being perfect is critical, and that our kids better be perfect too.

My husband is wrong. He's far from the worst father ever. To our kids and me, he is the best. He's just human.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  January 31, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
Previous: Listen to LaTonya's World | Next: Telecommuting Meet Career Advancement


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



awwwwwwwww . . . .

Posted by: Fairfax | January 31, 2007 7:19 AM

So true. I don't expect to be perfect and I know I will make mistakes. But if he owns up to them and plans a make up day, you have to give him some credit. I was actually surprised the school did not call the night before to remind him. I am not sure what an email an hour before the event will do, if you are away from your desk all morning. Besides a phone call home, would have reminded the spouse.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 7:32 AM

Working parents -- in fact all parents -- are heroes with feet of clay.

That's as stupid a comment as the idea that SAHMs have the most important, difficult job in the world. What is so very very wrong about these people and those like them is how they rationalize every little thing to justify their lifestyl. Instead of just saying daddy dropped the ball - sometimes that happens they try to twist it into a positive "Disappointment is something kids need to learn to stomach and overcome, even at eight years old." and acting like Leslie's husband was working a shift at McDonalds and had to be there so he would lose his job is just as disingenuous. I wish people who choose to have kids and chose to work would stop acting so put upon for god's sake. Listen, he screwed up, everybody screws up - still it was a pretty significant one (30 kids waiting and a teacher with an empty block in her schedule) he should be sorry not act like he provided his daughter with some valuable life lesson that makes him some kind of backwards hero. Please.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 7:33 AM

Am I the only one who thinks Leslie went a bit too easy on her husband? The guy had a commitment to read to his daughter's class and he forgot. If it was a work commitment and he just "forgot," he'd probably be in big trouble. Why is it excusable because it was his daughter when it wouldn't be in the working world?

Maybe he was beating himself up enough about it that she didn't need to admonish him more, but to say - "And even better: Disappointment is something kids need to learn to stomach and overcome, even at eight years old." - I think is going too far. An 8 year old doesn't need to learn disappointment from her own father, she will learn it enough just by being a person living in this world. She should be able to trust that when her parents make a commitment to her, they will follow through.

My husband and I are both working parents, so I sympathesize with trying to juggle it all. We may not be able to make as many of these types of commitments for our son, but when we do, I think it is REALLY important that we follow through.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 7:40 AM

I fail to understand how someone who made a weekly committment, at the same time every week, can forget it. How pathetic. If he knew that he wasn't likely to make it every week, he shouldn't have volunteered.

I understand people make mistakes. And the anonymous poster has a point regarding justifying it by making it into a positive lesson for his daughter (that's the pathetic part) though he or she is wrong in criticizing parents with non-Mcdonald's jobs (please, what is wrong with having a fulfilling career with nice pay. This is America).

Posted by: another anon | January 31, 2007 7:40 AM

What a stupid message "I am the worst father ever. I can't even talk about it over the phone. Call me."

If he can't talk about it over the phone, why call him?????


As for missing the "date", work things happen. However, failing to realize this before and calling ahead (versus not showing up) is a real bad thing. Nope, he's a bad dad.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 7:41 AM

I can't believe you would think it was significant mistake. Sure it was a mistake but the teacher is not an idiot. 10 minutes after him not showing up, I am sure she picked up a book and read to the kids herself. Goodness gracious, they can deal with 10 minute distruption through out the day. It wasn't like he killed someone.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 7:42 AM

Working parents -- in fact all parents -- are heroes with feet of clay.

What is this - eighth grade creative writing class?

SAHPS are prophets without voices.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 7:47 AM

The mistake isn't simply that he wasn't there to read to his daughter's class. The mistake was that he made a commitment to her and then did not show up. I imagine this was something his daughter had been looking forward to all day - if not longer - and he just doesn't show up.

I actually think the bigger mistake is trying to justify it on the ground that an 8 year old is "even better" for it by learning all about "disappointment."

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 7:50 AM

How Dad or Mom feels about this doesn't matter; Leslie is just rationalizing.

The only feelings that count in this instance are the daughter's -- and those of her teacher and classmates who were depending on the Dad who let them down. He inconvenienced the teacher (who would have needed to make other arrangements for that period), disappointed a roomful of trusting kids, and humiliated his child.

If someone accepts a commitment like class-reading, then nothing short of a genuine emergency should prevent the person from fulfilling it. Why didn't Dad write down his reading appointment someplace where he'd be sure to see it that morning, as a reminder? What sort of lesson is he teaching his child (and her classmates)? That he's too self-absorbed in his work to honor a solemn commitment? That she doesn't matter to him as much?

BTW, in case of illness, the adult should contact the school ahead of time, so the teacher can make alternate arrangements. Only in case of a major accident should standing-up the daughter and her class be forgiven. Getting so busy at work that Dad forgets simply fails to rise to this level.

I think the Dad should be unceremoniously dropped from the reading program as punishment for his irresponsibility.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 7:51 AM

Yeah, he probably would've gotten in trouble if it was a work committment that he missed, but that doesn't mean that missing reading time at his daughter's school is as big a deal. It's just not. It's not good that he missed it, and he should be ashamed of himself. But job committments just *are* more important than many of our everyday committments to our kids. I'm a lawyer, and if I missed reading day, it would be a hell of a lot less important than me missing a court date, because missing a court date could completely screw my client and/or get me sued for malpractice. That's just a bigger deal than missing reading day. It sucks, and it definitely contributes to the problems working parents have in finding balance, but it's nonetheless the truth.

Posted by: KateSS | January 31, 2007 7:53 AM

What if Leslie's husband had been in a car accident? He would have been a no show at the event.

I don't understand the point of the parents being reading buddies anyway. What's up with that? Some pathetic "face time" with their kids at school?

Can't parents be reading buddies at home? It's incredible how parents let the teachers define their values.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 7:55 AM

That's just a bigger deal than missing reading day

That is why the kids of working parents always get screwed because for you the consequences at work are higher than the consequences at home. Your kid can't fire you and you can buy him a toy to make it all o.k. The kids will always lose to work. Too bad for them.

Posted by: to KateSS | January 31, 2007 7:55 AM

I don't like the "learning from it idea" of the post either. I don't know what to say about forgetting that you are going to read to a group of kids. It's not something I would forget although I forget plenty of other things.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 7:56 AM

I first realized I was not perfect when I graduated second in my class at Columbia Journalism School.

Posted by: blake | January 31, 2007 7:56 AM

I'm a little surprised at the tenor of some of the responses. Leslie's husband made an honest mistake, regretted it sincerely, apologized, and is making amends. It seems to me that that's a recipe for teaching one's children how to navigate through a life in which we all make mistakes.

I recall an instance in my own childhood in which my dad let me down. When he realized it, he apologized (he actually wrote me a note). To this day, I cherish that apology (I've long since forgotten his infraction) because I felt so...respected. As though my forgiveness and good favor were worth striving for even though I was just a kid. For me that was a lot more significant than the fact that he screwed up.

Posted by: TC | January 31, 2007 7:58 AM

Agree with foamgnome. While this was an error (for which it seems he feels awful about), this is not such a significant mistake. The commitment certainly wasn't a "solemn" one. Work gets in the way sometimes, people make human errors and, YES, responsible parents can prioritize work over a child's activities.

Posted by: Normally Lurking | January 31, 2007 8:02 AM

booooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:02 AM

to "KateSS": I'm an attorney too and I don't think my work commitments are more important than my son. Admittedly, I can't make as many commitments to my son because of work, which is all the more reason why I make the ones I do commit to.

to "to KateSS": Your statement that children of working parents always get screwed is just plain stupid.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 8:03 AM

"That is why the kids of working parents always get screwed because for you the consequences at work are higher than the consequences at home"

Right, the SAHPs ALWAYS show up for every single event in their children's lives. They never get sick or are otherwise are unable to show. Their cars magically never break down and they never need to attend funerals because their kids ALWAYS ALWAYS come first!

The is a special place in the holier-than-thou cave for these smug, self-righteous morons right next to the Nursing Nazis. They can bore each other to death.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:04 AM

I forgot the n

boring!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:04 AM

Since so many posters take the time to be shockingly judgemental... I thought I'd join in!

Why do so many of us think our view of the world: our choices, our morality, our lifestyle, our parenting style, our responses to difficult situations are not only the RIGHT way but the ONLY way? And why do we not even hesitate to admonish everyone else?

Sounds like everyone suffered and everyone survived in the story and will live and learn from the lessons. Surely ALL parents screw up and disappoint their kids in many different ways (I could expand that to all humans disappointing all loved ones to our non parents out there throwing in their two cents).

Personally I accept I'm contributing every day to my kids future therapy, but also (I hope) to their resiliency and capacity to overcome Bad Days. We grow up together, no?

All of us in our righteous glass houses maybe should pitch a few fewer stones....

but that's just my opinion (clearly everyone else is wrong) ;)

Posted by: bonnie | January 31, 2007 8:06 AM

Please remember that NC Lawyer and I alone are responsible for cave assignments!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:06 AM

Eight year olds can and do handle dispappointment (it is a lot easier at that age, than if your parents overprotect you and your first disappointment comes at 21).

When I was 8, my mom forgot to meet me and my little brother at home for lunch (we walked home alone 3 blocks from elementary school every day for lunch in my day -- hard to imagine now!). I was hysterical. Turned out she was in a meeting for a daycare center for low-income women she was in the process of founding. She lost track of time but eventually did come home and was very sorry.

It was traumatic for me -- but really good too. I realized how much I loved and needed my mom, and how much I appreciated her being there every day at lunch for us. It is now one of my favorite childhood memories.

And a few clarifications. My husband's commitment was a one-time thing, not weekly. The teacher handled it just fine and called me husband to explain what had happened. Turns out other parents had messed up too (two showing up on the same day, etc). My daughter's teacher is a very calm, responsible man with two kids himself and he made sure the kids, including our daughter, understood this was not a big deal.

Posted by: Leslie | January 31, 2007 8:07 AM

"I was actually surprised the school did not call the night before to remind him."

Do you actually think the teacher needs to go home and call parents to remind them of their obligations? They are already trying to teach the kids responsibility, do they need to teach and remind the parents also? That being said, other than the normal melodramatic tone of Leslie's blog, he missed an event, he apologized. He genuinely felt bad. He rescheduled. What more is to be done....put him in time out?

Posted by: just another mom | January 31, 2007 8:08 AM

Wow, can't believe the vitriol today. Can't figure out if it's because too many people are drinking decaf, or because more people need decaf. Whatever.

The bottom line is: Dad made a mistake; Dad realized it; and Dad is making up for it. He didn't blame it on somebody else ("It's all my stupid boss's fault; that jerk").

I've been coaching my kids' sports teams for about 10 years (different kids, different sports), and the first thing every team gets from me is the "nobody's perfect; you're going to make mistakes, so am I. When you make a mistake own up to it and try not to make it again" speech. They get it continually throughout the season.

Whether reading to the class is more important than work duties depends on the specific work duties, but yes he should have been there unless he had called ahead to say he couldn't make it. My mother and sister are both teachers, and they've dealt with this situation numerous times. Yes, the kids are crushed when the reader doesn't show up, but you'd better darned well believe that they have a back-up plan that was initiated within 5 minutes of Dad not showing up.

Posted by: Army Brat | January 31, 2007 8:09 AM

Fred

"Please remember that NC Lawyer and I alone are responsible for cave assignments!"

No, Fred. I can also make assignments because I have been saved!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:10 AM

To the coward who anonymously typed "booooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!":

Not to their daughter it wasn't!

Maybe Dad should never have signed up for the reading program in the first place -- or should've withdrawn from it earlier -- if his job was not affording him the time to honor his commitment.

The daughter and her classmates are learning from him that giving one's word is not important, that it's OK to stand up at will an engagement to which one has committed. Dad was NOT in an accident, there was no emergency, he was just too self-absorbed to care when it counted -- to keep track ahead of time so he could get to the school in time to do the reading he'd promised.

All of Dad's words afterwards pale by comparison. And Mom is simply enabling him by rationalizing for him He's got a lot of work ahead of him in order to rebuild his daughter's trust.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 8:12 AM

Catlady: Over dramatizing the event turns the whole episode into something the daughter will grow up and feel the need to discuss on a blog about how our parents did us wrong. We have a responsibility to our kids to help them keep things in perspective and move on. Their is nothing worse than raising a drama queen, except living with one.

Posted by: just another mom | January 31, 2007 8:15 AM

Seriously, give the guy a break! He made a mistake, obviously felt HORRIBLE about it, owned up to it, and is trying to make it up to his daughter, who will probably turn out just fine, and someday look back fondly on the time her Dad forgot about the reading buddy day. I think Leslie is right that is this is the worst "tragedy" the child has to endure, she's on lucky kid. She's learned her parents aren't perfect and they make mistakes, and when you make a mistake you apologize, try to make up for it, and get on with things.

Posted by: CE | January 31, 2007 8:17 AM

Well, I see the Working Parent haters are out in full force this morning and wearing their "Parents Of The Year Badges" for all to see. How nice for you all to have never made a mistake, to never have let your child(ren) down. . . . I fully believe that people who are so venomous as what I'm seeing this morning are that way only to justify your own lifestyle choices and to feel better about yourself. Mission accomplished, apparently.

And to the person who said:

"he should be sorry not act like he provided his daughter with some valuable life lesson that makes him some kind of backwards hero. Please."

There is absolutely nothing in Leslie's post that would indicate that the father was anything but profoundly sorry for missing the class event. Nothing. Further, her post indicated that they had talked to the daughter about the incident repeatedly.

I fail to see how it is wrong in this situation to ALSO point out to the daughter that there is some lesson to be learned here. That lesson is precisely what Leslie points out, i.e., that kids are going to be disappointed by even the people who love them most such as their parents (And I for one do not believe ANY parent -including the holier than thous on this board- has never let their child down). Kids have to learn to deal with disappointment. This was a good teaching opportunity and they used it as such. This by no means excuses the husband's mistake (which was a big one, imo). But, geez, give the guy a break.

If this is the worst thing that this child goes through during her childhood, then she is a very lucky little girl.


Posted by: JS | January 31, 2007 8:21 AM

Good grief, imagine what the comments would have been like if a working MOTHER had forgotten to show up.
It was a mistake. Life goes on. I doubt the child will be scarred for life.

Posted by: wls | January 31, 2007 8:24 AM

to just another mom: Wow, you sure do have high expectations for human behavior! Personally, I think we all have different strengths, and for some of us (my husband included) keeping to a schedule is not one of them. I have to constantly remind him of his obligations or he misses things all the time. He is very devoted to our daughter, but when he is at work, planning an experiment or dealing with his employees or meeting with a collaborator can easily make him forget that time is passing and that he has something else he should be doing.

I must admit that since my daughter was born and I am now perpetually sleep-deprived, I am dropping balls as I never have before. There are days that I find it remarkable that our house is as clean as it is and the bills are paid. It often feels like the solid ground I once stood on has turned to sand because I have much less control (or perception of being in control, more likely) than I did before becoming a parent. That said, we are having a great time and enjoying our daughter very much. I think I've rambled enough for one day; back to work!

Posted by: MaryB | January 31, 2007 8:24 AM

Oops! I meant to address that to catlady, not just another mom! So sorry!

Posted by: MaryB | January 31, 2007 8:25 AM

I agree that if this is the worst thing to happen to Leslie's daughter, then she is very blessed. What I didn't like about this blog was the cavalier way in which Leslie dismissed the importance of a father commiting to his daughter by saying that childern learn from disappointment. Sure - children learn from disappointment, but it is just too easy for parents to say - well, sorry, but you can learn from this.

I would hope that mom and dad didn't actually state it this way to their 8 year old, but that was the feeling I got from the post.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 8:28 AM

Leslie, you didn't remind your husband of the commitment he made with his daughter and her class that morning???

I bet you won't make that mistake again!

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 31, 2007 8:29 AM

I agree that some people are over reacting to the dad's mistake. Of course it sucked at the time, but I'm sure she'll forget about it in a couple years. In the meantime, she knows that it was wrong and got an apology. That's really all that can be done. Many more mistakes will happen in the future, and she'll know what to expect.

My parents both had to miss my birthday one year because they had to travel out of the country. I was home with a sitter the week of my birthday. Was I pissed at the time? Of course! But they explained that work had to be done in order to keep the house and pay bills. Now that I have a job I completely understand. The big lesson: parents aren't perfect and they will let you down. Your kids will also let you down (I crashed the family car at 13!). Teaching and learning forgiveness is one of the most important aspects of raising kids.

Posted by: Meesh | January 31, 2007 8:31 AM

As a mom who has worked in a highly stressful job with lots of pressure - it is not a matter of chosing family over work. It is a matter of survival. It is a matter of retaining your job that provides the income that supports your family. When the work scenario provides that type of environment where the stress level is that high .. then it does impact one's ability to always meet their family obligations. Obviously this dad was very upset that he missed his reading time; he has a conscience which speaks volumes. His daughter has learned a valuable lesson - that we don't live in a perfect world. However, as someone stated, if that one of the worse things she has to deal with in her life - her dad missing reading group - she does have it pretty darn good.

This article to me emphasizes more the uneven balance that realistically takes place in almost every household with parents working in stressful environments. It should also help people realize that if your work environment is stressful all the time (not here and again), then the work situation should be evaluated because our kids are only little once and they need us now in their growing years... I've been there; done that. If I could go back in time - I would have tried to find a solution to walk away from a stressful job that damaged my ability to be with my family. But my family needed a roof over their head and food in their bellies - so we all have to sacrifice. And that truly is reality in a lot of households. Doesn't make us bad people - just real.

Posted by: cyntia | January 31, 2007 8:35 AM

I agree with londonmom and catlady 100%. And, by the way, my kids go to the same school as Leslie's. This will be a big deal and possibly harm the child's peer relations--shouldn't be the case but there it is. A commitment is a commitment. If you can find the time to talk to attorneys at 3 a.m. in Florida, you can find time to read to your kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:37 AM

Leslie and her husband dealt with this in their best possible way, they were honest with their child. If their daughter is satisfied with this, good for them! As I said before, I am surprised what children remember from their childhoods. Leslie remembers the good part of her mother forgetting one day. Maybe Leslie's child will remember that people are fallible but they can recover from their human tendencies.

I cannot even begin to count how many times that I have failed my 4 children in ways that they might not even think important. This is part of being a parent.

But having said that, my AF daughter called me early this a.m. to wish Fredia and me a happy anniversary. So I guess that the cumulate effect of parenting has been positive.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:38 AM

All of these parent mess up stories remind me of when I wrote the class poem for my graduating class. My mom borrowed a video camera and came to the assembly. There she sat filming me, she was so proud.

When my dad came home we all went down to my sister's to watch me read my poem, only to find out that my mom didn't turn the camera on correctly and there was no sound. She felt really bad, but we all just sat there and laughed.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 8:41 AM

Whoo! I don't have children, but I enjoy reading this blog sometimes (in the event I ever do have kids) and lots of people here are so judgemental today. I wish I could be so perfect in my own life as to pass judgement on others.

I've had busy days in my life and sometimes what we schedule in November, we may not remember in January. The dad may not have been very busy when he scheduled 2 months earlier and then his schedule got really busy and he forgot. Cut the guy a break. He apologized to his daughter and she's probably moved on by now. There are worse things that could happen and life does move on.

Stop picking on working parents who are trying to provide for their families - someone's got to pay the bills. Kids will cope. My mom both worked and stayed home at various stages of my life and I'm okay. I have a deep resepect for working parents and SAHPs, and I think both deserve to be commended for making their lives work any way they are able.

Posted by: AJ | January 31, 2007 8:42 AM

"This will be a big deal and possibly harm the child's peer relations--shouldn't be the case but there it is. "

What the heck kind of school is this where 8 year olds are so judgemental?

Posted by: DC lurker | January 31, 2007 8:43 AM

I agree with londonmom and catlady 100%. And, by the way, my kids go to the same school as Leslie's. This will be a big deal and possibly harm the child's peer relations--shouldn't be the case but there it is. A commitment is a commitment. If you can find the time to talk to attorneys at 3 a.m. in Florida, you can find time to read to your kid.


I think that if it harms peer relations it's because someone like you tells your kid it does.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:43 AM

Why is Leslie in charge of reminding her husband? Why did the husband go overboard with his reaction to his mistake? Who has never forgot anything? Why was Leslie's daughter so devastated? I tell my kids there are things to cry about and things not to cry about - bawling continually over dad missing a book reading seems a little overboard. Of course 8 year old girls can be very dramatic.

This whole blog puzzles me today. This is an everyday occurance all across the country - people make mistakes - kids, parents, co-workers. Seems like much ado about nothing.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 8:44 AM

Look out Leslie the SAHM brigade has got your number and they are going to work their magic on your daughter's "peer relationships."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:45 AM

and possibly harm the child's peer relations-

--------------------------

THAT says more about other people's parenting than Leslie's! You should consider teaching a bit more about forgiveness in your home?

Posted by: to 8:38 | January 31, 2007 8:47 AM

I don't understand the point of the father going to school to be a "reading buddy". Can't the father read to his kid at home?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:48 AM

I;m gonna agree with londonmom - its not the mistake its the rationalizing. One could just as easily argue that not only is she learning to deal with disappointment she is also learning not to count on people. Own, up, apologize and make it right, don't make it into something its not.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 8:49 AM

Fred, anniversary gift update?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 8:49 AM

Gift still in the works. We have been sidetracked with some serious family issues but we have partially resolved them.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:54 AM


One of the best presents I've gotten is a little hand-decorated pocket calendar my daughter made in kindergarten. Every commitment I ever make goes on that calendar, and also on my electronic calendar on google. The calendar is shared with my DH --- while we both have our individual calendars, we share the personal/family ones and both enter everything as it comes up, as the notices come in from school, etc. We both scan often for upcoming personal/family events --- having two of us check and try to remember enhances the chances that we will remember!

I managed to just keep things in my head for a long time, but with 2 kids and 2 parents' schedules it's impossible. We also have times and locations entered, even for the recurring events, which simplifies things when one spouse has to fill in on a carpool the other one usually handles . . .

Other families and kids forget things too. I lead a semi-regular 4th grade Junior Great Books lunch group; kids must remember to read the story and bring a lunch in order to participate. The number who forget and have to miss the session is not negligible! Parents are just over-extended.

Posted by: KB | January 31, 2007 8:54 AM

To MaryB, who said, "for some of us (my husband included) keeping to a schedule is not one of [our strengths]": Then how do you ever manage to hold a job? Does your boss tolerate dilatoriness? Most don't. Adhering to a schedule is part of being an adult -- and something to teach your child, by exxmple as well as word.

Not being able to keep to a schedule and honor commitments can be a sign of a problem. Think of the caricature of the temperamental actor who arrives on a movie set hours late, inconveniencing countless colleagues and crew (Marilyn Monroe was notorious for this). Think of the date who stood you up without explanation, or the couple with whom you were supposed to have dinner at a restaurant, who were an hour late. It's a huge insult to be told, "Oh, I forgot," or "Oh, I had something more important to do," regardless of whether you're an adult or child.

My parents never once let me down the way Leslie's husband did to their daughter; thus I learned from them the importance of honoring commitments. If someone promises to be there, then fails to arrive without notifying me that they can't make it, I can only assume the worst has befallen them. Did Leslie or her husband ever ask their daughter if she thought Dad might've been injured (or worse) in a traffic accident, or been a crime victim? If this is the first time Dad's stood her up, she might reasonably have thought this. There's enough stress in modern life as it is -- no need to inflict avoidable anguish.

True, this isn't as huge a betrayal of a child as what we commonly acknowledge as child-abuse (assault, rape, verbal abuse, physical endangerment, drunk/stoned parent, etc.) -- but that doesn't excuse it, either.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 8:54 AM

To DC lurker:

It's a school with a lot of mean kids. Though the school has tried valiantly, it cannot assure a supportive environment. And I think you're kidding yourself if you believe any school can assure a supportive environment. Many try, but kids are kids. I work full time in a stressfuljob, as does my spouse. I'm not saying that we never disappoint our kids, but we consider an appointment with our kids to be as important as a business appointment.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:55 AM

If it was such a big deal, why didn't the kid remind her folks about the school date?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:57 AM

Disappointment in a forgetful parent? Try this. When my sister was in junior high, she stayed late one day for some reason, and my dad was supposed to pick her up. But he forgot. And the school had some kind of idiot policy that kids who had left were not allowed to come back in after school hours- even to make an emergency phone call! So my sis had to walk a mile to a local shopping center to call my parents. My mom gave my dad hell about this- hopefully she gave the school hell too about their idiot policy. Anyway, let's have a little perspective on what Leslie's husband forgot to do- while it was disappointing to their daughter, it's really not that big a deal when you think about what else a parent is liable to forget.

Posted by: randdommom | January 31, 2007 9:00 AM

"Think of the caricature of the temperamental actor who arrives on a movie set hours late, inconveniencing countless colleagues and crew (Marilyn Monroe was notorious for this)."

Right, Marily Monroe, another childless person no one will remember.

How many people would pay to see you in a movie? How many Golden Globe Awards have you won?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:02 AM

That's a good question, but if Dad was super busy at work, then maybe he wasn't around the night before to be reminded.

I'd be curious if daughter mentioned anything to mom the day (or week or ever) before.

Posted by: to 8:57 | January 31, 2007 9:03 AM

catlady you wrote:

"If someone promises to be there, then fails to arrive without notifying me that they can't make it, I can only assume the worst has befallen them."

Did your parents raise you to panic and expect the worst? That is what it sounds like. I grew up before cell phones were readily available - how were my parents supposed to contact me if they forgot to pick me up at the mall?

Leslie's husband made a mistake and it sounds like you are darn near perfect - congratulations! The rest of us are human. Get off your soap box.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 9:04 AM

If that is the way the kids are in school then no wonder we are raising the "me" generation.

Posted by: DC lurker | January 31, 2007 9:05 AM

8 yr old are a lot more excited to see their parents at school than teen-agers!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 9:07 AM

I'm just wondering how the dad forgot? In my case, when I make these kinds of commitments, my daughter is talking my ear off for days before because of how excited she is, plus the people at work also know that I'm going home early and remind me about the fact as well, mostly because they're not happy with the fact that I'm leaving early, but still.

As for this not being a big deal, almost the exact same thing happened to me in 1st grade, every kid got to pick out a story for their birthday that a parent would come in and read and give out the birthday treats. My mom forgot to come and so the teacher read the story. The bad part wasn't that, it was when my mom insisted on coming in the next day, forgot the treats and then every kid in the class insisted on saying the story aloud along with her and telling me how boring it was that we had to read the same story two days in a row.

Posted by: Chris | January 31, 2007 9:08 AM

"Working parents -- in fact all parents -- are heroes with feet of clay.

What is this - eighth grade creative writing class?

SAHPS are prophets without voices."

Are we going to have yet ANOTHER working parent vs. SAHP battle? ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 31, 2007 9:09 AM

Hi Catlady. Well, I guess that's why we ended up with careers that don't require keeping strict hours and have a reasonable number of appointments. Both of us are managers and function quite well at work, so please don't worry about us and our coworkers so much! We also have administrative assistants and outlook reminders to help us keep on track. With all that, we still forget things from time to time as do our employers and employees. Nearly always, these are minor infractions and people forgive and forget. I suppose we subconsciously avoid being buddies with people who expect perfection.

Posted by: MaryB | January 31, 2007 9:11 AM

Everyone that is saying that this guy is a bad dad should put things into persepective... their children are fed, go to school, have parents that care enough even to sign up for reading at schools (and have jobs that allow them the time off), are provided a healthly lifestyle and are probably not abused or neglected. The guy even discussed the error with his child, and signed up again. Sometimes life happens and you make a mistake, get over it.

What I think of as a bad father is one that is totally not involved, does not support their child (financially and or emotionally), and puts their personal needs ahead of their family. Even then the courts would not consider this person a bad parent until they abuse or physically neglect their child.

Come on!

Posted by: single mom | January 31, 2007 9:13 AM

Happy anniversary, Fredia and Fred! Sorry to read that you've been sidetracked with some serious family issues lately (none of my business), though glad that you note things are starting to resolve. But the best gift isn't from a store. It's simply -- drumroll, please! -- remembering the important occasion. You've obviously mastered that one :-)

(Which is more than can be said for Leslie's husband WRT reading at their daughter's class).

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:15 AM

How has this become a battle between working parents and SAHPs (meaning presumably one parent at home and one parent working)?

Couldn't this happen to both? Or do people just assume that if one parent stays at home, then that parent would be the one reading to their child at school and wouldn't forget?

I don't view it that way at all. Seems to me, this could happen regardless of whether both parents work or not.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 9:15 AM

Happy anniversary to Fred and Fredia! And many more to you.

And regarding today's posts: wow...judgementalism is out in force today and lately. He made a tiny mistake, not a big one. It seems like the family and the school are going forward with life. I'm glad they are making this a learning lesson for everyone involved. If we don't learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them, right? I'm with cmac...no soapboxing.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 9:16 AM

"I suppose we subconsciously avoid being buddies with people who expect perfection."

Exactly! That's why I avoid know-it-alls and holier-than-thou types. Ever notice that they usually don't have many real friends?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:16 AM

Regulars $uck. The purpose of the blog (and washingtonpost.com in general) is to get more people to look at the ads, not to create a playgroup for 15-20 bored parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:17 AM

To cmac, who types, "Did your parents raise you to panic and expect the worst?"

My parents raised me to believe that when they gave their word they would keep it, barring a dire emergency -- and that they expected me to grow up to be equally responsible.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:19 AM

Fredia gives enough hints about upcoming anniversaries. She will start tomorrow reminding me about our 32nd! :)
For our 30th, we spent the time in Lowe's looking at sinks, flooring and cabinets. Don't have to do this for this year.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 9:20 AM

You know- he screwed up. It is lame to sugar-coat it as a learning lesson for the daughter. Come on. It was a negative embarassing thing for the daughter.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, nobody lost their life over this. I don't see why they should "talk and talk and talk about it." I think making a huge big deal out of a relatively every-day accident is not necessarily going to make things better for the daughter. IMHO it is better to say a simple, empathetic, heart-felt apology, one time, and then move on.

Posted by: Silver Spring | January 31, 2007 9:21 AM

I agree with Leslie that children need to learn to handle disappointment. I'll bet there are at LEAST a few times each of us can recall from our childhood when mom, dad or both let us down. And yet, we survived and thrived and are here to gripe about it today, maybe on this blog.

As parents, it is not our job to protect our children from disappointment. What kind of entitled humans would we raise if our kids grew up expecting that everything would work well in life and not knowing how to handle it when it doesn't? Learning how to overcome disappointment is part of becoming an optimist, which is one of the best things a person can be.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 31, 2007 9:23 AM

I remember the guilt I felt when I forgot an activity at my daughter's daycare. I was supposed to go do crafts with her. Another parent filled in, and my daughter didn't miss a beat. But I felt bad; the daycare also rubbed it in in a subtle way. Never mind that I made every other event (Halloween parade, Christmas fashion show, her birthday parties, etc.)


That said, Leslie's husband can always make it up to their daughter and the class. My recommendation: when he does make it to the makeup book buddy date, he should read a Clifford the Dog book while dressed up in a big, red dog costume. He'd be a hero! ;>

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 31, 2007 9:23 AM

To MaryB, who types: "I suppose we subconsciously avoid being buddies with people who expect perfection."

Does it just roll off your back, like water off a duck's, when people stand you up or are exceedingly late without notifying you? How long are you willing to wait for a no-show, before you call it quits? Or do you not mind waiting?

Why do you expect others to keep you on schedule, instead of taking responsibility for yourselves? Adults take responsibility themselves, and teach children how.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:24 AM

Wow - there sure are a lot of armchair psychologists out there.

I think that Leslie's family - and all the overly-critical posters out there - may have just missed a moment to learn about forgiveness. Forgiving each other for our mistakes, forgiving ourselves when we botch something important, and the humility that comes with asking for - and getting - forgiveness. Especially when it comes from an 8 year old.

Posted by: kathycoulnj | January 31, 2007 9:24 AM

he should read a Clifford the Dog book while dressed up in a big, red dog costume. He'd be a hero!

Ummm, I think he's already a hero - a hero with feet of clay nay, an eagle with wings of stone

Posted by: to theoriginalmomof2 | January 31, 2007 9:27 AM

Wow, I'm in a playgroup and I didn't even know it! I guess I should be acting more like a kid then. You're a stinky poop head, 9:17! Thanks for the drive-by!

Posted by: Meesh | January 31, 2007 9:29 AM

Mistakes happen. Making a mistake isn't going to teach your kids that people don't need to keep promises. He apologized and found a way to make it up immediately. That clearly shows their daughter that what he did wasn't ok.

My mom was a SAHM while I was younger, and there were times she forgot commitments for me. I was the oldest of 3, and things would come up with my younger siblings that would need her attention. I didn't grow up to be selfish, or think it was unimportant to honor my commitments, or distrustful of other people. I am choosy in the commitments I make, and I expect others to do the same. But I know how to roll with the punches if something comes up. And I don't get judgmental and up on my pedestal with people who make mistakes. I plan accordingly for people who are forgetful on a regular basis... I don't think they're terrible people, but I don't rely on them.

Posted by: Newlywed in MD | January 31, 2007 9:30 AM

Perhaps one way of moving beyond judging the particular's of Leslie's family situation is to look at the mistake as a wake-up call for them, an indication that the work-family balance in the family has slid too a little too far one way.

So, here is a question to redirect the conversation: moving beyond Leslie's experience, what sort of wake-up calls (small and large) have *you* experienced about problems in work-family balance? How have *you* dealt with being overextended in one sphere or the other (it could equally well be being overextended in the family sphere and having problems honoring work responsibilities).

Posted by: wake-up call | January 31, 2007 9:31 AM

Mistakes happen. Making a mistake isn't going to teach your kids that people don't need to keep promises. He apologized and found a way to make it up immediately. That clearly shows their daughter that what he did wasn't ok.

My mom was a SAHM while I was younger, and there were times she forgot commitments for me. I was the oldest of 3, and things would come up with my younger siblings that would need her attention. I didn't grow up to be selfish, or think it was unimportant to honor my commitments, or distrustful of other people. I am choosy in the commitments I make, and I expect others to do the same. But I know how to roll with the punches if something comes up. And I don't get judgmental and up on my pedestal with people who make mistakes. I plan accordingly for people who are forgetful on a regular basis... I don't think they're terrible people, but I don't rely on them.

Posted by: Newlywed in MD | January 31, 2007 9:31 AM


In my family the bigger lesson would be about everyone making mistakes, and facing up to them when we make them. It can be very hard to acknowledge your mistakes without blaming them away or shrinking into a corner somewhere . . . and the example of doing this is really helpful to kids who are shy or perfectionists.

Though, mine would still rather meld into the desk than admit they've got any problem at all. My first grader was so panicstricken about being tardy that she'd insist a parent walk her in, get progressively clingy and need to almost be dragged in, then insist "you tell her I'm late". Some kids need reinforcement that a screw-up, while bad, isn't the end of the world. (The teacher was easygoing, this was all my child's catastrophization . . .)

Posted by: KB | January 31, 2007 9:31 AM

catlady wrote:

"My parents raised me to believe that when they gave their word they would keep it, barring a dire emergency -- and that they expected me to grow up to be equally responsible."

I see your parents are perfect too - well, that explains a lot. I know perfect people that have perfect children and they are usually as preachy as you. Unfortunately they are never allowed to make mistakes and learn since everything is "dire."

Lighten up - you are making a mountain out of a mole hill and will continue to dig yourself in with your examples of perfect parenting, which by the way - does not exist. Mistakes happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:33 AM

To anonymous who typed, "I avoid know-it-alls and holier-than-thou types. Ever notice that they usually don't have many real friends?"

Sure, we have friends, and we don't stand up one another, either! People who've stood us up get dropped from being invited to planned activities with us -- and it's their loss, not ours.

Perhaps chatters who consider some of us to be "holier-than-thou types" could share with us how they deal with "friends" who DO stand them up, and how it makes them feel. Do they not mind if their plans go awry because of someone else's forgetfulness or thoughtlessness?

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:34 AM

One last return to Catlady before I stop being distracted by this blog!

Yes, I do usually let it roll off my back. Life is much more pleasant that way. I have a wonderful employee who mainly works from home and keeps an erratic schedule. She shows up in the office about once a week and I'm never sure when that will be. I don't really care as she doesn't have to meet with clients and she puts out high-quality and a high quantity of work. On top of that she is very dear, funny, and a joy to have in our group. Keeping to a schedule really isn't everything. And forgiving one another is much more important to me than always living up to everyone's expectations. The end, bye-bye.

Posted by: MaryB | January 31, 2007 9:34 AM

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 09:33 AM
That was mine.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 9:35 AM

I hear you. Let me explain, since you appear not to live in the D.C. metro area. Many people around here are insecure about their choices in life and need to be constantly reaffirmed that the way they are living is best. You see this all the time around here. I was once at a party and this woman was griping (bragging, it turns out) about how busy they all were with jobs, the kids, etc. I mentioned to her that my life was pretty peaceful--I didn't have to rush out the door to take the kids to daycare and I worked out of the house part-time (before everyone jumps on me for not pulling my weight financially in my marriage, I would just like to say that I made more working part time from home than my husband did working full time and had a lot more saved when we got married, which is how we bought our house!). She turned to me and says in a very accusatory tone--" I don't know ANYONE who has a peaceful life!!" Anyway, this is life. Nobody is perfect (except a few posters, apparently, but they are trolls, so who cares?). I forget stuff. My husband forgets. I remind him, he reminds me. My doctor calls me the night before to remind me of the appointment I made two months ago (I just love that, even if it is electronic!). And fwiw, I do not think Leslie's husband is a bad dad. One mistake does not erase 8 years of good parenting. Maybe my standards are low, but he is married to the mother of his children, feels remorse at what happened, works to support the family, and seems to love his kids. If all fathers met those minimum standards--well, the world would be a better place. I comfort my children for a while after a minor disappointment, but then we have to move on. If they want to cry about it, they need to do so in their room. No need to drag this stuff out. Give it its due and move on. (they are over ten, fyi.) All it takes is pulling your head out of your navel and looking around to see the riches we have.

Posted by: to Bonnie | January 31, 2007 9:36 AM

Leslie, if what anonymous said is right about your daughter's school, i think you should consider pulling her out. Attending a school where the children are so judgmental and unwilling to forgive sounds like a very bad school indeed.

I assume you live in Bethesda/ chevy Chase/ or Great Falls area. If so, please endulge me as I use you as proxy for my friends who are now or are seriously considering moving to such areas.

Seems everyone when they reach upper-middle class live in these "upper crust" towns, where there is tremendous pressure placed on the kids to be perfect, perfect, perfect. And the idea that your child could be attending a bad school in such a neighborhood I'm sure seems ridiculous-- "Look at the test scores! It's the best! How can you remain in a neighoborhood where the school isn't the very best?" Well, I'm sure there must be schools in that area that not only develop the mind, but also the character of the child so that children wouldn't snub another over a little mistake by a parent. i live in a mixed income, crazy, urban part of DC, where such a faux pas really would be considered little-- hey at least the Dad isn't in jail for seeling crack!

Living in such a neighborhood gives our family -- perspective. so I have my bias against Bethesda etc., but I'm sure if you looked you may find a little school that your daughter would feel loved and supported by even in Bethesda (just joking!). If not, maybe moving away from the toxic "ritzy" neighborhood is the way to go.

"But my husband has worked so hard to get us into the beutiful house in the beautiful neighborhood with the best schools." Yes, yes --- and does this give your family peace? You could sell and move out to the country or live on the beach. Or in the wild mixed income neighborhoods like Columbia heights, Brookland, Capitol Hill, etc. of DC.
PErhaps you feel that doesn't send a good message to your kids about sacrifice and hard work and "always do your very best"-- people give you a hard time, you don't turn tail, sell out and move away. Maybe you are right-- you know what is best for your family-- just using an opportunity to express my judgment of all those families who are obsessed with living in "the best" DC neighborhood.

One more thing Leslie. Just like you, I am always trying to find the silver lining to the cloud in a situation. Drives people nuts! But you gotta be who you are --- and I'm sure your children love you for it!

Posted by: Cal Girl | January 31, 2007 9:37 AM

It doesn't sound like the dad remembered the school committment and then chose to stay at work. It seems more that he got involved in what he was doing and just forgot. That has happened to me more than once. And it can be any situation, not just work. I have been reading, running errands, shopping, working in the garden, etc, and simply lost track of time.

My husband and I had split child pick-up duties after work. He would pick up one and I would pick up the other. One night, he was to pick up carry-out for dinner after he picked up the child. Somehow, he managed to get dinner for himself, me, and the child he picked up but didn't get anything for the child I picked up. How this happened, we can't explain. He apologized, we shared the food we had, and now we just have a funny family memory. It's not traumatic unless you let it become traumatic.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:40 AM

"wake-up call" is absolutely correct in raising the question: how do we get our lives back in balance when a mistake like this occurs? It's a sign that work has encroached too far on family life.

And earlier, someone else asked another excellent question: does it make a difference that this happened with a father, rather than a mother? Although it's unfair (indicative of residual double-standard for working moms), I suspect a mother would've been raked over the coals even worse for this.

I'd like to see comments on these issues.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:40 AM

Catlady:

"Perhaps chatters who consider some of us to be "holier-than-thou types" could share with us how they deal with "friends" who DO stand them up, and how it makes them feel."

Maybe you have been stood up by your friends because you are such a bore. Obviously it has happened more than once. Stop preaching and it will stop.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 9:42 AM

I agree with many of the other posters that we do have to learn to forgive. Yes, people are human - they forget, they get stuck at work, stuck in traffic, etc. It does make life nicer if we forgive them, maybe laugh about it and move on. I wouldn't want to live life constantly being disappointed and angry.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 9:42 AM

You know, my parents forgot about a committment to me once- I was a teenager with a weekend job but hadn't gotten my license yet let alone a car, so I was dependent on my parents for rides to work. This was an arrangement we had agreed upon- my parents wanted me to get a job, and they committed to making sure I had a ride. One Friday, I came home from school and both my parents were out for the evening, and unreachable. (My mother's cell phone had been left at home, actually.)

Left to my own devices and with an hour before my shift started, I chose not to walk the mile on a dark and isolated road to catch the bus that would make me late to work anyway, and instead called around to my aunts and uncles and caught a ride with one of them, thus getting to work on time.

I wasn't traumatized by the fact that my parents forgot about me and went to evening work-related functions instead. Even at the time, what I was more angry about was the fact that my dad chose to blame ME for inconveniencing my relatives instead of just apologizing for screwing up.

Leslie's husband apologized to his daughter and took responsibility for the screwup. In 20 years, THAT is what she'll remember from this incident, along with the valuable lesson that while sometimes people will mess up, it's important to apologize, take responsibility, and try to make it right. Give the guy a break.

Posted by: Tiffany | January 31, 2007 9:43 AM

catlady

As a fellow cat lover, I'm very surprised that you have such a rigid view of life. One of the many joys I get from cat ownership (actually, the cats pretty much own me), is that I can completely relax with them and not live up to some impossible standard set in an imperfect world.

I don't have any friends who are no-shows, but I have several relatives who are famous for being late (sometimes hours)for events. Since I'm not going to "drop" them for being human, I've learned not to rely on them for anything or have realistic expectations. I still love them, but they know that our relationships are affected by their behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:44 AM

These things happen.

If your husband disrupted a family vacation over a work project I would guess that your children know what the situation with Dad is, and will not be permanently damaged by his forgetting. Stuff like that just happens.

When I was a girl my Mom appeared at school for teacher conferences. I don't believe my father ever did, he was working, where all of society felt he should be. I managed to graduate from college, find a job and pay taxes - so I don't think I was harmed by my parents lack of presence at school.

I always felt peeved at the expectation that schools put on parents volunteering at school these days. We pay, and pay, and pay for public schools. Why do they lay this expectation that parents will ditch their daytime obligations to be at school?

All through school there was this like clique of parents (Moms mostly) who were 'in' because they volunteered at school. It's great if it works out for you, but if I'd wanted to be a teacher and work in the schools I would have majored in Education.

I would add that I taught Sunday school to 3rd and 4th graders for 17 years, so it isn't like I don't care about children. I just want the people who are getting paid to shoulder their job without laying guilt on me for doing MY job.

Posted by: RoseG | January 31, 2007 9:46 AM

At the school my child attends, the parents have to be lunchroom monitors several times a year or pay for a replacement. One financially strapped mom goes every day and is duly rewarded with lunch duty because some parent forgot, got stuck in traffic, a meeting, whatever. There are always parents who forget. We do not crucify them. We understand that things happen. As far as work encroaching on family life--sometimes that is going to happen. Without my job, my family would not eat. Opportunity costs, you know. As far as the mistake being made by a mother, at this school moms are cut quite a bit of slack, since they are the ones who are usually picking it up!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:48 AM

to "to Bonnie": Wow. For somebody who doesn't like the way people in DC feel the need to reaffirm their lives at the expense of how others live, you seemed to spend on aweful lot of time doing just that in your post:

"(before everyone jumps on me for not pulling my weight financially in my marriage, I would just like to say that I made more working part time from home than my husband did working full time and had a lot more saved when we got married, which is how we bought our house!). She turned to me and says in a very accusatory tone--" I don't know ANYONE who has a peaceful life!!" Anyway, this is life. Nobody is perfect (except a few posters, apparently, but they are trolls, so who cares?)."

But I am just a "troll" so who cares?

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 9:49 AM

To cmac:

Fortunately, I haven't been stood up in decades. I choose friends (and vice versa) who respect the importance of honoring commitments, and who want to see me.

If you have "friends" who stand you up, perhaps they're sending you a subliminal message.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:49 AM

"That is why the kids of working parents always get screwed because for you the consequences at work are higher than the consequences at home."


Yes, kids would be better off if their parents didn't work and sat home collecting welfare. Sure.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:51 AM

When my daughter questions why I am not at school like other moms, I offer to quit my job so that I will be able to be at school. Then I explain that it will be a different school in a different neighborhood with different children because we would no longer be able to afford where we live. I found that the kids don't get anxious over these things unless you let them see your anxiety.

Posted by: xyz | January 31, 2007 9:52 AM

'"wake-up call" is absolutely correct in raising the question: how do we get our lives back in balance when a mistake like this occurs? It's a sign that work has encroached too far on family life.'

This makes absolutely no sense to me. The school event was during normal work hours. It's not as if he agreed to an after-hours (evening or weekend) school function and then chose to go to work instead of the function.

I think the work during vacation encroached on family life, but not the school reading session.

Posted by: Anon today | January 31, 2007 9:55 AM

It sounds like Leslie's husband's job is not compatible with noon-time book readings at elementary schools. And that's okay. There are plenty of other meaningful ways to be involved in children's lives. When I was a child, there was NO WAY that my otherwise super-involved father could have left work in the middle of the day - plus commute time - to volunteer for anything that was not an emergency.

What is NOT okay is to commit and then fall through. Yes, children need to understand that they cannot always have everything they want, but children need to be able to trust their parents. In my mind, this was a matter of trust.

Posted by: MBA Mom | January 31, 2007 9:57 AM

It seems to me the problem was his choice of getting involved. Who wouldn't forget noon-time reading buddy. OK, there are lots of fokes who dig that -- men and women, but I sure wouldn't volunteer for that.

Our school has lots of ways for dads to get involved in ways that work for them. Leave the noon-time reading buddies to the touchy-feely type. My husband will go on field trips every now and then. Mostly he volunteers to work with the kids in their afterschool activities like music and sports. He actually enjoys himself and the kids know that and value it all the more.

Posted by: soccermom | January 31, 2007 9:57 AM

To xyz, and others:

It's OK if you can't be at school like SAHMs because you're working. I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on you -- especially when you write that you've discussed the situation with your daughter.

The problem here was that the dad PROMISED, then forgot -- and then the parents decided to rationalize it. The lesson they're teaching is that it's OK not to keep one's word.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 9:59 AM

Catlady wrote:
"Fortunately, I haven't been stood up in decades. I choose friends (and vice versa) who respect the importance of honoring commitments, and who want to see me.

If you have "friends" who stand you up, perhaps they're sending you a subliminal message."

I can only imagine what type of social circle you are part of - sounds like a real fun group.

I did get stood up Saturday night - I had a surprise party for my husband and a couple people that said they were going to be there did not show up. Should I hire a therapist to help me overcome the trama? It may take me years, but in time I will forgive them and move on - sigh.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 10:00 AM

Catlady,
I am so glad you and all your friends are the perfect group. Personally I prefer some life in my life and lively people can be unpredictable and, oh no, run late sometimes. One day I had dinner plans with a friend. As she was walking out the door her son came home from school crying. Do you think she should have left him home crying so she wouldn't be late meeting me? Needless to say she was 30 mins late and I understood - not a problem.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 10:00 AM

'To anonymous who typed, "I avoid know-it-alls and holier-than-thou types. Ever notice that they usually don't have many real friends?"'

LOL, my teenage daughter's biggest insult to me is "At least I have more friends than you".

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:00 AM

At the school my child attends, the parents have to be lunchroom monitors several times a year or pay for a replacement.

This is a bunch of crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:03 AM

I have to weigh in on the "damage to peer relations" commment. Holy Cow!! Take your kids and run.

Kids don't think of stuff like this on their own (plenty of other, more relevant stuff to torture each other about). This type of competitive and judgemental behavior is being spoon fed by their parents.

I would be worried about high school in this environment. The stakes are much higher, and scarier.

Posted by: HappyMom | January 31, 2007 10:04 AM

I think being late and standing people up is VERY DC. Everyone in DC is sooo important and sooo busy that they can't possibly be expected to be on time ever. This is not the case in other parts of the country. If you say you are coming to a party, people buy food and drink for you and expect you to come barring an emergency or health issue. If school starts at 8:30 your children are expected to be on time every day. If someone is going to meet you for drinks at 5:30, they expect you at 5:30. Being late and standing people up is the height of rudeness - it is saying that your time is more important than the other person's time. A mix up on occasion is one thing, but it is pervasive in DC, no one considers anyone else.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:05 AM

RoseG,

I'm not sure why you think this was a case of the parent being forced to volunteer. The post makes it very clear that there were already a ton of volunteers and that the husband was lucky to be one of the people chosen to do this.
I think that most of this pressure to volunteer is really peer related and comes mostly from these upper middle class schools, it's the same pressure that causes parents to put their kids into too many extracuriculars. Schools have these volunteer opportunities because a lot of parents demand it, and also because there are times when extra adults are needed and schools don't really have the budget to hire competent part time help that parents would find acceptable.

Posted by: Chris | January 31, 2007 10:05 AM

To cmac: A couple of no-shows at a party with plenty of other guests does not constitute getting stood up. Their absence sounds like no great loss to anyone but themselves. Getting stood up is when the absentee is essential to an event (e.g., the reading father) or it's a date.

To KLB SS MD: I agree with you. I'd classify your friend's crying son as a legitimate family emergency. It would've been nice, though, if she'd phoned you to let you know she was running late.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:07 AM

Wow, you guys are being so harsh today! I'd love to join the fray, but I don't feel like swimming in acid today. I'll just add this: disappointments happen to EVERYONE, not just little kids, and the younger they learn that, the better. It's easy to coddle kids and pretend that they are the best at everything, perfect little beautiful angels who will have perfect skin and hair, grow tall and have perfect bodies, never have crooked teeth or big butts, make straight A's, get into an Ivy League school and make millions. Well, a good dose of reality--in this case, that adults screw up sometimes--can be a good thing. I'm not saying disappoint your kids on purpose, but there's no reason to make them think the world is made of candy clouds and unicorns. Life sucks, people are rude, not everyone thinks you're adorable, and people are fallible. When I was a kid, my mom was an hour late picking me up from something because she was out shopping with a friend and forgot, and I was livid. But the next day I was over it, and she beat herself up over it for weeks. But it didn't kill me. I remember it now with neutrality. The bottom line is, s*** happens. If we hang on to every slight or wrong we experience, we'll become bitter, angry individuals who pull a gun on the guy who cuts us off whenever we have a bad day.

On another note:
"Leslie, you didn't remind your husband of the commitment he made with his daughter and her class that morning???

I bet you won't make that mistake again!"

I do hope you're joking.

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 10:07 AM

"Why is it excusable because it was his daughter when it wouldn't be in the working world?"

Oh for the love of god? What do you expect Leslie and her daughter to do? Divorce him because he forgot? Not speak with him for the next month. Make him wear a sign that says "Bad Daddy" around his neck?
His mistake is excusable because it was unintentional, he felt really bad about it, he talked about it with his daughter, and he promised to make it up to her. Sounds like a pretty reasonable attempt at restitution to me. Not excusing it gracefully would set an incredibly bad example for the child. It would have taught her that it is acceptable to pout and mope over small disappointments. Instead, the child learned the VERY IMPORTANT lesson that sometimes, people disappoint us, and that it is sometimes appropriate to forgive those persons (especially when the person is your father).

In the scheme of things, Perry's sin of forgetting is relatively small. Children routinely have to deal with worse disappointments, such as divorce, for example. If they cannot learn to forgive the small errors that parents make, how on earth will they ever deal with any of the big ones?

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 10:07 AM

To cmac: Since when is it "fun" to get stood up? Can't imagine you enjoy it, either. People who do that aren't true friends, but mere acquaintances.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:21 AM

Catlady,
Sometimes a friend just understands - unconditionally. We know each other well enough to know that if one or the other isn't there something is wrong. If she hadn't arrived in 10 or 15 mins more I wouldn't called her. Again, not a big deal in the overall scheme of things.
And not all people in DC think they are too important - some of us truly get stuck in traffic or have to work a little late. If you aren't from here and don't drive here you don't understand. One fender bender at 5 pm can set you back 30 mins or more.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 10:21 AM

I had the exact same thought just yesterday about my daughter when I was contemplating that at times, given that I am juggling so much and always need to be three different places at the same time, that I can resort to being short with my girls. Yes, talking to them like I tell them NOT to talk to me. And while children surely need a form of emotional steadiness as much as they need the consistency of physical sustenance--a roof, clothes, food---in the end, if we're there for them most of them time, even if sometimes we're half distracted or terse, then indeed, they have it pretty good all things considered.

Sometimes a little perspective on the wider world of human living conditions and human emotional contexts is just what we need to let ourselves off the gnawing hook of perennial guilt.

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | January 31, 2007 10:22 AM

I certainly agree that parents are only human. Disappointment is something that children will inevitably learn (whether we want them to have to learn or not). Londonmom, in her post above, expressed concern that the blogger did not go hard enough on her husband. The truth is we will all have our day whether it's when our child is 8 or 18 when we'll forget something or neglect to do something minor. We are human! We are not perfect! With all the demands of life, you cannot possibly be perfect at every single thing. Therefore, I don't think it would make sense for the wife here to go hard on her husband when inevitably one day she may do something similar - it may not be forgetting a school event, but it may be something just as meaningful. One thing parents need to do is STOP JUDGING EACH OTHER! We should support each other so long as a parent is trying hard, supporting his/her child and not engaging in neglectful, abusive behavior - parenting is hard.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:22 AM

we can't win on this blog: if we screw up we damage our children for life. if we don't screw up we are creating children who think the world revolves around them.

i have a very dear friend who is late for everything. the group of friends we hang with all know this & it's a joke to all of us; just as i'm bossy & another friend is the health nut. i am so thankful that i haven't dropped this friend or any other of my friends as they have provided me with decades of friendship.

Posted by: quark | January 31, 2007 10:23 AM

"My parents never once let me down the way Leslie's husband did to their daughter; thus I learned from them the importance of honoring commitments."

Catlady, perhaps your parents never missed an appointment with you, but they did let you down in a pretty significant way. They did not teach you empathy, compassion, or forgiveness. I am sorry to say that you come off as incredibly arrogant and self-righteous, and if that is a product of your upbringing, your parents did let you down, pretty badly.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 10:26 AM

KLB SS MD types: "Sometimes a friend just understands - unconditionally." What, you're psychic?

It's the right thing to do to understand unconditionally when your friend explained about her crying son. But what if she'd never shown up, or arrived but offered no explanation?

At what point would you have gone ahead and ordered your meal without your friend present(you were waiting at a restaurant, right?)? Or, if your friend never arrived, at what point would you have left?

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:27 AM

"My parents never once let me down the way Leslie's husband did to their daughter; thus I learned from them the importance of honoring commitments."

Catlady, perhaps your parents never missed an appointment with you, but they did let you down in a pretty significant way. They did not teach you empathy, compassion, or forgiveness. I am sorry to say that you come off as incredibly arrogant and self-righteous, and if that is a product of your upbringing, your parents did let you down, pretty badly.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 10:27 AM

catlady needs to take a cat nap.

The back and forth is so annoying.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:29 AM

The more comments I read, the more surprised I become. I can't believe that this many posters are ridiculing this father for one minor mistake. I suppose that you posters are perfect and will never, ever forget something that pertains to your children - never. Well, whatever "perfection juice" you all are drinking, please post the recipe so that the rest of us can drink it. Amazing how judgmental parents can be of others! I am quite sure there is some area that you all could use some work on as well.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:30 AM

"It's a school with a lot of mean kids."

To Anonymous:

I assume you spend a lot of money to send your kid(s) there. Why would you spend gobs of money to send your kid(s) to a school full of mean kids?

Does this school have such cachet that the prestige of sending your kid(s) there outweighs the risk to their emotional health?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:31 AM

Children must learn to cope with disappointment from time to time. Perhaps it would have been better if the disappointment didn't come from her father, but it happens. Like Leslie said, if that's the worst thing that happens, she has a pretty good life. As for dad, it sounds like he has punished himself plenty. As for mom, her making dad feel guilty is not helpful behavior. It's too bad the daughter was disappointed but finger-pointing and blame are absolutely not going to help.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 10:31 AM

Leslie,
I thought this was a wonderful, heart- warming story. All parents make mistakes and being forgetfull, when you have a million and one things to coordinate in your life, is expected. A Dad (or mom) who apologizes and talk over his mistake with his young daughter is exceptional. My Dad never admitted he was wrong or apologized to us as children and, in fact, he would NEVER have bothered to come to school to read with us. He was way too busy working and that is what he thought my SAH mother was for. As an adult, I adore my mom but am not close to my father. I think letting your children know that you make mistakes, too, and you can and will ask forgiveness from them when you do, is wonderful. If I screw up, I apologize to my 3 and 5.5 year old. They really appreciate it. They are also really good at apologizing when they have done something wrong. What comes around goes around. Nice piece!

Posted by: Palisades | January 31, 2007 10:31 AM

To Emily: Sounds like your parents let you down by failing to show up times when they'd promised, so you rationalize your disappointment as learning "empathy, compassion, or forgiveness." So sad.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:32 AM

Nah nah nah nah nah catlady..................................................................

Saving children in a single bound, but never forgiving a truant friend or a colleague for a missed appointment.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:32 AM

"So my sis had to walk a mile to a local shopping center to call my parents."

And this is traumatic for a kid in junior high?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:33 AM

Catlady,
As I said, we have never stood each other up so I knew, because I know her and she is my friend (unconditionally my friend), that there was a very good reason she wasn't there. It isn't as tho she would have said - "gee, I think I will just stay home tonite". Duh!! Get off your high horse or enjoy the air in your perfect world. I prefer mine - flaws and all. Much less stress this way.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 10:34 AM

I dislike when people turn it into he cares about work more then he cares about his daughter. That is ridiculous. He simply made a mistake. He did not vow to save the world. He said he would show up to read to the kids. Frankly, it is nice that parents volunteer to read to the kids but the teacher is perfectly capable of reading to the kids if a parent fails to show up. That is the reality. The truth about that sort of volunteerism is that it is just being emotionally supportive. The teacher is not off doing something else while he is reading to them. They are still required to be at the school and the teacher is more then able to read to them him or herself. For all the people that say that he should be desperately ashamed, kicked off the reading program, whatever--I hope you never make a mistake because you will be in for a rude awakening. I have worked volunteer events when I was the only person who showed up at all. I had to run the whole darn event. Sure it sucked. Sure it took three times as long. But it still gets done. The reality is volunteer work is VOLUNTARY. And the risks that follow that is that sometimes people do not show up

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 10:35 AM

"Right, Marily Monroe, another childless person no one will remember."

Huh? More than 40 years after her death, people are still writing books about her.

Anyone gonna write books about you when you're dead?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:35 AM

Give Leslie's husband a break. He really wanted to be there to read but he messed up, and he apologized--apparently repeatedly--to their daughter. Maybe he felt worse because of the phone-calls-on-the-veranda-while-everybody-else-was-on-the-beach thing earlier, but he made it clear that he's sorry he let their kid down. I know people whose fathers did much more horribly damaging things to them than missing reading group--beat their mothers, wouldn't hold a job or worked all the time, gambled away or drank up their paychecks, told them they were stupid--without even noticing. At least this guy cares and is trying to show his daughter that he does. And to KateSS, his "consequences" are the regret and embarassment he feels at not having done what he said he would do.

Posted by: mamie | January 31, 2007 10:37 AM

A anonymous coward posted: "The back and forth is so annoying."

Well, I think most of us -- on ALL sides of this issue here -- will agree on one thing: The way to learn and grow is through "back and forth." No one's forcing anonymous to stay on this blog chat if s/he is feeling annoyed.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:39 AM

Lesson learned:

Don't schedule something in school the day after a holiday (MLK Day) and a vacation.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:40 AM

catlady do you have kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:40 AM

A anonymous coward posted: "The back and forth is so annoying."

You are so judgemental.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:41 AM

My father forgot he had a wife and kids and found a girlfriend and had more kids and never looked back or supported us. How I wish he had only forgotten to show up for a school reading.

Get some perspective people.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:42 AM

To cmac: Since when is it "fun" to get stood up? Can't imagine you enjoy it, either. People who do that aren't true friends, but mere acquaintances.

Posted by: catlady | January 31, 2007 10:21 AM

When did I say it was fun to get stood up? My point is you are being too rigid in your assessment of the father missing the reading day. You are chalking it up to some kind of character flaw in Leslie's husband and that is way off base. Leslie's daughter will not be scarred, they will probably laugh about it in the years to come as many posters are doing about their childhood "traumas."

Everyone knows chronically late and rude people, but it is the circumstances that dictate the response. Miss a reading day - apologize and move on. No-show for a wedding - what a jerk! Missing child's birth - divorce court.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 10:44 AM

"Some kids need reinforcement that a screw-up, while bad, isn't the end of the world. (The teacher was easygoing, this was all my child's catastrophization . . .)"

KB --

Kids don't learn to catastrophize all by themselves. What has your child been learning in your home that's pushing her in this direction?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 10:44 AM

I have barely read the first 20 comments and I am sick. Everyday this blog is full of the snarkiest comments. Why is everyone so hard on each other. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree on the topic, can't you at least express your opinion in a civil manner. I think that if I was Leslie or her daughter I would have be very upset, but I can under stand the opposing view point and don't need to call people names because we disagree. Maybe you should think about whether you would type the same comment if your full name and address were attached to it. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

Posted by: Appalled | January 31, 2007 10:45 AM

Off Topic Alert!

The Story behind Fredia's Engagement Ring.

Fredia went to college in New Orleans. If you know N.O., people don't go out until way after dark and party late into the morning. It is not unusual to see people at 2 a.m. doing their laundry. Hey, it makes the machines run faster if you are a bit tipsy! So, there we were at 2 a.m. doing our combined laundry. Fredia was about to load a dryer and said to me, "There is a ring in there!" I looked in the drum and someone had cut the back of a ring and pushed it into the holes of the drum. I dug it out and looked at it. Fredia said that it was an engagement ring and it had a (small) real diamond. I did not believe that the diamond was real. She said it definitely was! So, to humor her, we took it to a jewelry store the next day. I approached the counter and said to the jeweler that my finance though it was a diamond but I KNEW it was a piece of glass. He studied it for all of 5 seconds and said, "Sir, it is a real diamond." I was astounded. I asked how much it was worth and he said without a proper appraisal, yada, yada, yada but about $100--remember this is 1975. I asked how much to fix it, he said about $25. I asked him to fix it and Fredia then wore it.

A couple year ago, I noticed Fredia was wearing her late mother's engagement ring. (a bit more expensive but the same style). I asked what happened to hers and she said one of the girls lost it. Oh well, easy come, easy go!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 10:45 AM

Catlady,
You are very obviously a control freak who is wound up very tightly.

And as to being disappointed by my parents, well, my father died when I was 15, so yes, I was very disappinted, but I got over it and still found a way to enjoy life and love others. Which is why I don't consider a missed appointment to be such and incredibly life shattering big deal.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 10:48 AM

"I think being late and standing people up is VERY DC."

This is very true. People from other cities are always surprised to hear that our rush our doesn't end at 9, and that you pat yourself on the back if you get in by 9 am. I recently switched schedules--was working from 1030 am-8 pm, now from 9am-5pm--and I noticed rush hour is practically nonexistent when I leave for the gym at 6:30, but when I left the house at 10 am the Beltway was packed. I read a "You know you're from D.C. when..." and it included "your workday starts at ten am, and if you get there before nine you're proud of yourself."

Regarding friends who stand each other up/are late, I don't have anyone in my group of friends who's really bad about this (in fact, I am the homebody who's most likely to back out, but people always know ahead of time), but I do have one friend who is really really anal about being on time, everyone doing their part, etc. She is the least fun person to hang around with. She makes having fun with friends a chore. She's planning her wedding right now. I feel sorry for her bridesmaids.

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 10:50 AM

"Kids don't learn to catastrophize all by themselves."

Of course they do, if they're temperamentally inclined that way. That's like saying "Kids don't learn to be impatient all by themselves."

Posted by: Lizzie | January 31, 2007 10:50 AM

Discovering whether someone is dependable is a process. If a person scrupulously keeps his or her commitments and promises, that person's friends, family, and co-workers will know that person is not flaky and has a good reason for not showing up. The daughter is probably too young to understand this now, but as long as dad keeps track of his obligations in the future and attends all of the milestones, I think she and the whole family will be just fine.

I myself am so habitually punctual that my friends and family joke about calling the police and hospitals if I am ever late.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 10:52 AM

Hmm. Well the dad should have kept his appointment. Doesn't he check his calendar when he gets into work in the morning? Would he have missed it if it was a dental appointment?

I don't think the lesson is about how life is disappointing. I think the lesson is that reading hour is really not that big a deal. Seriously. A good parent provides food clothing and a roof over the child's head. Reading hour is icing. How many kids all over the world would be falling to the ground thanking heaven if their parents could get a decent job that would allow the kid three square meals a day, and wouldn't care if there was reading hour or not.

Why do parents have to do reading hour anyway? Don't teachers realise parents have jobs? Do the teachers leave THEIR jobs in the middle of the day to go help the parents at work? I guess not. So why do they expect that parents will be able to do so? This country has a very strange relationship between schools and parents.

Posted by: m | January 31, 2007 10:52 AM

catlady, Leslie is doing exactly what she should be doing. She and her husband are presenting a united front to their daughter that her husband made a mistake, feels bad, and won't repeat it. That's how good parents handle an error by one of them. It is not at all helpful to the emotional development of an 8 year old to have one parent sell the other down the river and gang up on the parent who erred.

Your comments indicate that your expectation of perfection from yourself and others is not compatible with living in a world where one cannot control everything.

My friends control what they can control and let go of the rest. My children understand that responsible people do their best to honor their commitments, but that sometimes things happen and people err. Our employers fully agree that performance - not adherence to a 9 - 5 schedule - is what matters. I understand that my perspective is informed by being part of a household with 2 persons who have ADD and for whom all manner of reminders is, on occasion, insufficient. Their failure to remember does not mean they don't love me, nor does it mean they are irresponsible. It means they are working on developing systems for improving this aspect of themselves. Surely, you have one or two performance and character issues on which you are working. Anger management? Judgmentalism? Or are you perfect in all areas of your character? Are you married or involved with a significant other (I doubt anyone could measure up to your unyielding expectations)?

Your choice to expand this one incident to encompass all manner of parental failures indicates you've not had to deal with lay-offs, illnesses, divorce, parental disability, financial ruin or even true betrayal. I'm glad for your good fortune and wish that you'd appreciate it as such instead of spending post after post suggesting that this well-meaning dad's sin is the equivalent of missing his daughter's wedding while he finishes a round of golf.

As the daughter of parents who lived through the depression, and a WWII dad, I am very glad that they instilled a sense of perspective at a young age. You missed out on that lesson.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 10:53 AM

It's not that reading hour is no big deal, or that a teacher is perfectly capable of doing it. The daughter is probably disappointed because she was excited about seeing her dad during the school day, probably told her classmates he was coming, etc. Why the parents do it really isn't the issue.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 10:58 AM

I probably shouldn't say this, but...

catlady, have you been on the receiving end of a major letdown? Not being snarky, you have a right to your views. While some others say your viewpoint may be the result of lack of experience, I wonder if it's the result of bad experience. Just curious.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 31, 2007 11:00 AM

Oh schools generally have computer phone systems that call the house with a computerized message. They do this during emergencies, absences etc... It is similar to the doctor leaving a computer message to remind you of your appointment. They also have access to the Tuesday folder, to send reminders home. It isn't that the wife is responsible for reminding the husband. It is just a situation to view parenting as a team effort. Sometimes she will remind him and other times he will remind her. At least that is how my marriage works. And like it or not, sometimes one parent does the majority of home organization. I am the sole viewer of the Tuesday folder and then I tell DH the relevant info that he needs.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 11:00 AM

C'mon, "catastrophize" can't be real word, can it?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:01 AM

"Maybe you should think about whether you would type the same comment if your full name and address were attached to it. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

Posted by: Appalled | January 31, 2007 10:45 AM"

Perhaps I am a bit snarky today but do you want to get down from your soap box too? People are free to express opinions here - as you just have - so why take offense? I get tired of being "warned" about the tone of a discussion on this blog as it rarely gets out of hand. People are way too unfriendly to open and honest give and take anymore. Do what I do when I get uncomfortable - I excuse myself.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 11:01 AM

It is interesting that some folk say that their parents not showing up is not a big deal, but they clearly remember the no shows many, many years later.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:02 AM

"To Emily: Sounds like your parents let you down by failing to show up times when they'd promised, so you rationalize your disappointment as learning "empathy, compassion, or forgiveness." So sad."

Catlady,

You defy understanding.

Emily was right on target about the basic human qualities you seem unable to demonstrate. To turn that around and speculate that Emily got stood up throughout a miserable childhood is ludicrous.

You, like George W. Bush, seem intent on creating your own alternative reality.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 11:03 AM

Lawgirl: I understand the girl was emotionally disappointed. But the world doesn't end. The class distruption doesn't change the fact that the teacher can handle it. We all get excited about things and sometimes they don't happen. You do need to learn to move on from that small disappointment in life. Personally, I think this is no biggie. Kids are inherently forgiving people. My parents missed far more important stuff in my life. Did I like it? No way. Do I try to do better by my kid? Yes. But I have moved on matured, learned from the situation, and changed my own actions because of it. When I was in 6 th grade, both of my parents missed my elementary school graduation. I guess they got their signals crossed and both parents ended up going to my brother's event at the same time instead of one going to mine and one going to his. You know what. We got over it. Besides it gives me some fuel when brother claims I was the favored child!

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 11:04 AM

"Why do parents have to do reading hour anyway? Don't teachers realise parents have jobs? Do the teachers leave THEIR jobs in the middle of the day to go help the parents at work?"

Parents don't *have* to do reading hour, they can *volunteer* to do it. Not being familiar with the exact situation at Leslie's kids' school, I'm not sure....but I would expect that "reading hour" gives children something to do during lunchtime when the weather is nasty, and the reason that volunteers do it is because the teachers and staff are busy a) having their own lunch or b) supervising kids.

The class sizes at my daughter's elementary school range from 26-27 in the kg to 32-33 in the fifth grade. There are no classroom aides except for special needs children. It benefits not only my daughter, but all of the children, to have volunteers in the classroom to increase the adult to child ratio. If you're fortunate enough to have schools where the class sizes are 18 with a classroom aide and a teacher, and all children come from backgrounds where they are cared for, read to, and have quality time with adults outside the classroom, then that's great. But it is not the situation in the vast majority of schools.

For the people who think that volunteering is useless and that you can just read to your children at home: the reason that volunteering in the schools is beneficial is because it helps OTHER children who don't have someone to read with them and/or spend quality time with them at home. Do you also think that Big Brother/Big Sister or other mentoring programs are useless?

Posted by: momof4 | January 31, 2007 11:06 AM

Emily: Yes! A parent dying does put this discussion in perspective - my husband died when my kids were 13 and 11 - so he didn't show up for a lot of things!

Posted by: RJ | January 31, 2007 11:07 AM

I really liked today's post. These sorts of situations are so easy to pass off as "sterotypical" fantasies targeted at discrediting and critisizing working parents. The truth of the matter is that yes, things like this do happen in real life, and yes, working parents make mistakes just like the rest of the world. However, it doesn't make them lesser parents. Sure the exact mistakes may not be the same, but neither working and stay home parents are infallible.

Posted by: 215 | January 31, 2007 11:07 AM

My father was in the Navy, a test pilot. He would go on cruise for 6 months sometimes. Or other thngs that happened. We understood this. After he retired from teh Navy, he had a nice cushy job with little travel. Great - until one night, playing basketball, he broke his front tooth, on the very night of my first choir solo. He could easily have gone (as the root wasn't exposed and the dentist couldn't see him till tomorrow anyway). HOwever, he explained to me that he was too embarrased with a big whole in his smile - and he wouldn't be able to smile at my performance. He was terribly sorry. He is still my hero and his explanation, nore missind my performance didn't scar me at all.

Now, for those of you who will judge my dad and say he should have gone, keep it to yourself. The only two people impacted were my dad and me and we worked it out fine. Just like Leslie's DH and DD did. Life happens.

Posted by: Navybrat | January 31, 2007 11:09 AM

and, Fred, happy anniversary and convey our good wishes to Fredia, as well!

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 11:10 AM

Fred,

That is a cute story. You could get her an anniversary band and put it in the washing machine!

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 11:12 AM

Hi NC - one thing I disagree on:
"catlady, Leslie is doing exactly what she should be doing. She and her husband are presenting a united front to their daughter that her husband made a mistake, feels bad, and won't repeat it."

What if he does repeat it? God forbid - some people on this site today would call CPS, but I never tell my kids I won't make the same mistake twice. I will try my hardest not to, but a mistake is just that - a MISTAKE. My kids will make tons of them, you just have to remind them that there are consequences - little and big.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 11:12 AM

My mother's method of remembering commitments to me was to never make commitments in the first place. She flatly said that she would never promise anything because something might come up and she'd have to break the promise, disappointing me. I think I would have prefered to risk the disappointment.

In all fairness, though, I've come to realize that my mother really didn't like children very much. I'm sure the thought of being room mother or chaparoning a field trip was her worst nightmare.

Posted by: wma | January 31, 2007 11:12 AM

foamgnome: You miss my point. I agree that it wasn't a huge deal and the daughter will likely grow up a stronger person knowing that disappointments happen and learning how to deal with them. I was just pointing out that the issue is not about why at this school the parents read to the kids at all, as several posters asked. It is entirely beside the point why the parents come to read. It would be the same story if he'd missed a soccer game.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 11:13 AM

Leslie, the more I hear from anonymous about this school the more i believe your family would be better off GETTING OUT! I'm sure it's super prestigous, yadda, yadda, yadda, but you need to protect your children from such an emotionally toxic environment. Who was the author that wrote the book where she took her child out of a DC public school because she "could see the 'love of learning' dying" in her daughter's eyes? Some such sentiment. Was that you? If so, if you pull out kids when their intellect isn't being fed, you can pull them out when the pressure to be perfect becomes harmful. Seems there was a book published recently about the pressure to be perfect that happens at a high school in Bethesda. I read the review in the Post but don't recall the title-- anyone? I don't want your child or anyone elses child to be subjected to that.

Posted by: Cal Girl | January 31, 2007 11:13 AM

I do realize that as parents, we may want to ensconce our children in a world that is happy, safe, loving, and free from disappointment. After all, we love them and want them to be happy. Their disappointments and trials not only hurt them, but also hurt us. On occasion, when my little boy tells me about some mishap at the playground or relays the pain of school cafeteria politics, my kneejerk reaction is to take on those little monsters that are upsetting my child. And I would take some action if I deemed the situation to be serious enough. But generally, they have not been that big a deal yet.

But I realize that try as I might, I cannot protect my son from all of the world's disappointments and hurts. Nor should I. As a young child, he needs to learn how to deal with small disappointments, and hopefully, as he matures, he will develop the tools he needs to deal with large ones. They will certainly come. There is nothing I can do about it. But I can raise him so that he will have confidence in his own abilities to deal with what life serves him. I can raise him to have perspective. I can teach him to forgive others and to forgive himself. And hopefully, as he grows up, he will learn that despite the hardships that life brings, it is also full of good things. We just have to learn to deal with the bad and cherish what is good.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 11:17 AM

Mom of 4

"The class sizes at my daughter's elementary school range from 26-27 in the kg to 32-33 in the fifth grade. There are no classroom aides except for special needs children."

Maybe you need to move to a school district that has a better teacher/pupil ratio or send your kids to a private school. I doubt that parents reading to kids is going to make any difference in your daughter's school.


Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:20 AM

Emily, AMEN!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 11:20 AM

Oh..I also wanted to post a note my dad sent me recently with a small gift just after his retirement from his second career after the Navy:

"This is to say thanks...My Navy career and my career with XX company provided Mom and I with more that we thought possible. But, more important, you have provided us with that special feeling that only parents of outstanding children can experience. Each of you have gone your own direction, very successfully I may add, with a true caring and love for the family that reflects the attributes we tried to instill over the years. I have to admit that I wasn't there for all the track meets and plays, school events, and we never went camping, but you allowed me to fly fighters and go where I needed to go for that career and the next one. Mom was the glue that held it all together. You are doing great - I'm extremely proud of you. Continue to build on the close relationship you have with each other, family is the most important thing when times get tough. We have been blessed in many ways - pray that it continues. Love Dad."

How pertinant to today's discussion.

Posted by: Navybrat | January 31, 2007 11:21 AM

Lawgirl:I understand she would have been disappointed whether he missed a soccer game too. The point is life goes on. She needs to learn that she will be disappointed at times. That is all I am saying. Life is full of disappointments. It doesn't stop the world.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 11:21 AM

Yes he screwed up. We all do and I bet all of you casting stones are not without sin. However he owes the students and the teacher an apology. Even a card saying I'm sorry.
This could be a learning lesson for everybody. Father -made a mistake how not to do it again. Students- everybody makes mistakes how do we own it to it and take the consequences for our actions.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:22 AM

My mom died in a car crash when I was 16. She wasn't there for my high school graduation, when I went off to college, when I got married, when I graduated from college, when I moved away, and (hopefully soon) when my child is born.

Missing a reading session is not that big a deal, even to an 8 year old if properly explained to them.

Posted by: John | January 31, 2007 11:23 AM

Emily says it best. In the grand scheme of things missing a kid event is a minor disappointment (whether it is a soccer game or a reading day). Kids need to learn how to deal with the small disappointments in order to deal with the major ones. And believe me there will be major ones at some time in your life.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 11:25 AM

The anniversary gift is now arranged. This Friday, I am wisking Fredia away to the fanciest hotel around here. Her spa appointment is alreay made and the child care arrangements are also made. All she has to do is pack and get in the car. I told her about this a few minutes ago and she is thrilled!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 11:27 AM

Meesh-

"Your kids will also let you down (I crashed the family car at 13!)"

Totally got you beat--I crashed ours at 3!

We lived in a house whose driveway was on a moderate incline. When I was about 3 or so, my mom decided to take me to the Y for Family Swim. She put me in the car seat, started up the car, then realized that she'd left the bag with the bathing suits in the house. She decided to just run into the house and grab it.

I was a very stubborn, impatient child, and wasn't having any of it--I wanted to go right then, no waiting. (I actually remember what I did and what I was thinking at the time, too). I decided that I was going to drive myself to the Y. I squirmed out of the car seat, got in the front, messed around with the stick shift (I eventually found neutral) and backwards down the driveway I went. I wound up bumping into the neighbors' garage door. Little damage, no injury, one very freaked out Mom.

I personally can't imagine leaving a 3 year old alone in a running car, but I do have the benefit of hindsight. Also, I was strapped into the car seat--I don't think that she knew that I could get out of it (early 1980s car seats weren't quite what they are today).

Weird thing? A few years later it happened to another family in the neighborhood (actually the family who lived in the house that I crashed into).

Posted by: Cate | January 31, 2007 11:27 AM

foamgnome: No kidding! I don't know why you're trying to call me out and antagonize me when I agree with you. Maybe there's not enough conflict on the board today... Someone will always dream some up!

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 11:27 AM

Lawgirl: I am sorry if I miss read your post. I thought you held the opposite belief. Sorry I must have misunderstood your post. I certainly wasn't trying to invoke conflict.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 11:30 AM

Fred,
I hope you have a great weekend/anniversary.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 11:31 AM

Supporting children by rewarding their effort, rewarding goals that show improvement and a will to learn, and helping develop strategies to cope with mistakes, failures setbacks are a framework from the Positive Coaching Alliance to redefine winning.

As a parent, when I make a mistake, or take an action/say something I regret, how I react, cope and behave is an important teaching to to my kids and others.

Crucifying those who make mistakes doesnt help anybody.

To those who say "bad dad," I believe you a re completely missing the point. In fact perpetuating a myth of parental infallability could in fact be far more detrimental to the kids maturation.

But WTFDIK.

The court of annoyingmous public opinion is in session today. Yikes.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 31, 2007 11:32 AM

I am one of those people who usually is on time for everything - just a family trait. I do have a friend, however, who seems to live in her own timezone. She has been a good friend to me for many years and after a while you just adjust to her being late. If I am meeting at a restaurant, I usually bring a paper or crossword to do while I am waiting. It is such a minor thing compared to her wonderful friendship.

Posted by: Missicat | January 31, 2007 11:32 AM

cmac and Emily - I'm in complete agreement with each of your posts.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 11:32 AM

Amen Emily!

Posted by: RJ | January 31, 2007 11:33 AM

"I don't understand the point of the parents being reading buddies anyway. What's up with that? Some pathetic "face time" with their kids at school?

Can't parents be reading buddies at home? It's incredible how parents let the teachers define their values."

The POINT of reading buddies/chaperoning the field trip, etc is to be involved in your child's education! My daughter is only in preschool now, but the kids LOVE it when the parents are in the classroom. The kids are so proud that MOmmy or Daddy read a book or did a craft, sang songs, etc. It includes the parent into their everyday lives at school and is nothing short of very important.

I think it was awful that Leslie's husband missed this. No, it was not a monumental event, but it was a promise- and I am firmly in the camp that if you make a promise to your child- only illness/injury should prevent you from honoring that.

It would be quite a different story if he were sick OR if he told her the day before that he just couldn't make it. But to just stand up your daughter like that!She's waiting for her dad to come and he just didn't show. I'm sorry- that's rude. She will be humiliated and let down enough by men in her life- her father should not be one of them.

How does eveyrone feel when someone stands them up? No phone call, nothing?? Hours later, oops, I have so many more important things going on that I forgot? I would be very upset.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | January 31, 2007 11:37 AM

It sounds like the reading buddy thing was scheduled for the day after MLK Day. Around here, that is a 3 day weekend for the kids. Did Leslie (gasp) pull her kids out of school early for the Florida holiday?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:38 AM

Fred - You are a man after my own heart, great gift to your wife! I dream of being whisked away without having to make any arrangements and will be dropping big hints when I get home. ENJOY!

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 11:38 AM

Meesh & Cate, I raise you 1 car plus another damaged one.

My AF daughter totaled 2 cars and serious damaged another! That damned building just jumped out in front of her!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 11:38 AM

I went to a private school where parents were regularly strong-armed into service, at least up to eighth grade. (High schoolers don't want much to do with their parents.) Anyway, my mother worked and helped out whenever she could, but a lot of the things they asked parents to do were bizarre, and parents who didn't take part were blackballed from the "elite parents group," and so were their kids, mostly because the bored housewives set up activities for their kids during these "volunteer opportunities."

I'm pretty sure all these women did all day is volunteer at school, volunteer at Junior League, spend their rich husbands' money, taking prescription drugs, and whining about not having enough time.

Anyway, it sounds ridiculous and was ridiculous, but it was the best school in town, and a good education is worth making sacrifices for. Kids (and parents) can be cruel, but it's good to develop a thick skin early, and to figure out who your true friends are.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 11:40 AM

I hope that the negative side of things doesn't discourage parents and nonparents from signing up for these activities. Reading hours, mentoring and in-school tutoring are very valuable to all involved in educating children. I used to mentor through a program with my employer. They emphasized the importance of the commitment becuase many children do have the same feelings as Leslie's daughter did if you don't show up. Somehow, I made it to every meeting but still fear committing again because I realize that I am not perfect. One day I may forget and I would feel just as bad as Leslie's husband, only I wouldn't have the same status (parent) with the child. I hope to get over this and return to mentoring, as it was truly a rewarding experience.

Posted by: curious nonmother | January 31, 2007 11:43 AM

Lawgirl

My kids also went to private schools where these babes tried to strong-arm me into volunteer stuff.

I basically told 'em to shove it since I would be facing their husbands in court later in the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:45 AM

I think Emily's post is very thoughtful and articulate. But...I really do think that this was one of those "disappointments" that shouldn't have happened. Yes, disappointments happen all the time and no, parents aren't perfect (I'm not and am not suggesting that Leslie and her husband are supposed to be either). But this is a husband who just "ruined" Leslie's family's holiday. Clearly, it was also a disappointment to the children that dad had to work the whole time.

Before people start berating me, let me make clear that I know these things happen. I've had holidays with my family where I've had to work as well.

But in light of this, I think he probably should have been extra careful not to miss his daughter's reading day at school. At some point, it isn't fair to children to pass off your mistakes (as parents) to life's learning lessons.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 11:48 AM

Hey, I've disappointed my kids lots of time, though I have a fetish about keeping appointments and I am never late. They are usually disappointed in me when I change plans on them. "Today we'll clean the house instead of going for dim sum."

It seems I get little credit for putting food on the table, clothes on their back or providing a college education and straight teeth. But that's children for you, the ungrateful clods.

Regardless of the pretention of the school, reading to kids sounds like a great idea and tons of fun. Eight years old might be a little old for it though. I would enjoy reading to four year olds, I think. Or, helping them build with blocks, for that matter.

Anyway, stuff happens and middle aged busy folk forget things and life goes on. I wouldn't spend too much emotional energy on the event. Hey, have you heard of this video on the Internet of the teenage girl disappointed because her folks got her a red car and not a blue one like she wanted? I heard the audio on the radio this morning and it was a shock.

Posted by: Dave | January 31, 2007 11:50 AM

So, yeah, everyday someone makes a mistake and sometimes someone gets hurt and has got to deal with it. How would you respond to this one (true story) - the normally super reliable (well paid), kind and loving babysitter falls asleep late in the morning while taking a break from doing some light housework (I believed her) and misses picking the twins up from preschool? School calls dad (his office is just 6 miles from the school) and he does it. Babysitter (in a panic) nearly knocks dad over in the school lobby. Twins are happy to see daddy AND the babysitter whom they love nearly as much as mom and dad.

WWJD?? What would you have done??

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 11:53 AM

I don't want some SAHM who has an agenda (making their kid and themselves look better) reading and being involved with my kid's education. I don't think that people should be allowed to volunteer in classes during the day unless they have education degrees and a background check.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:53 AM

My two cents - I remember the things my parents did with me rather than the rare disappointment (I am in my 30s). Like Navy brat (my dad was in the Army), there were very few things my dad was able to be around for. I cherish the memory of our once a month father-daughter group at the Y which I chose over being a Brownie. (My mom was honest and said she couldn't be a troop mother)

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | January 31, 2007 11:54 AM

"I basically told 'em to shove it since I would be facing their husbands in court later in the day."

Haha! I was always dumbfounded about how these bored housewives went on and on about the importance of education and having a good career. Meanwhile, they set terrible examples for their children. They themselves did not have careers. They basically entertained themselves with "charity" work, which meant an excuse for martinis in the middle of the day. They usually left the Xanex out for the kids to steal and sell at school. They were totally clueless.

For me growing up middle class with hard-working parents, it was a shocker to transfer into that school. The bonus was I learned how to deal with that type of people, should I ever need to.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 11:54 AM

lawgirl- it obviously wasn't the best school in town, then, was it? Education is alot more than math and science- it's also about an environment in which kids won't be afraid to learn or be blackballed because their parents are unable to participate fully.

I also went to an elite private school, on the Main Line, right outside of Philly, and your description of the SAHMs is ridiculous. Sure, they could be superficial, but they DID do all of the volunteering. How is that a bad thing? If they didn't do it- who would? And what's with the pill popping thing? Come on, you're sinking to the level you seem to think they're at with these generalizations.

I would pull my kids from that type of school in a minute- high test scores or not!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:55 AM

WWJD?? Jesus wouldn't have to do anything. Jesus did not have a paid job or a family.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:57 AM

Sounds like inefficient use of a very effective tool. When did his Outlook pop-up reminder pop-up? For time-consuming important events, Outlook allows you to schedule the pop-up reminder a day in advance, hours in advance or 15 min in advance.

I always schedule pop-up reminders for important events the day before (especially if item is posted to calendar a month in advance). Reminders pop up late in the afternoon to remind me what is on the calendar for the next day (I can then prepare materials, transportation, etc), I then immediately re-schedule the reminder to pop up 1 or 2 hours in advance if travel is required or 15 min before if it is an in-office meeting.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:02 PM

"I don't want some SAHM who has an agenda (making their kid and themselves look better) reading and being involved with my kid's education. I don't think that people should be allowed to volunteer in classes during the day unless they have education degrees and a background check.

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 11:53 AM"

I dearly hope that this was intended TIC.

Otherwise, the tone of the board in the last 30 minutes, thanks to lawgirl, and a couple of anons has turned into working-woman-judgmental. It's just as ugly as the holier-than-thou SAHM version of judgmental, what with the pill-popping, Junior League, martini generalizations.

Come on people.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:02 PM

"Sure, they could be superficial, but they DID do all of the volunteering. How is that a bad thing?"

Because most of the volunteer work was made up "busy work" to give these useless leeches something to do between lunch and martinis.

And, yes, there was and still is a lot of pill popping and boozing going on in this set.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:03 PM

Who pissed in everybodies' wheaties today? Is it pms time in blog world?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:04 PM

Fred - those are great plans! Congrats!

Emily - I've said this before, but every time I read your posts, I just love you!

Honestly, I don't remember all the times my parents disappointed me - mostly because they always said they were sorry (and I believed them). The only disappointment that has stuck is the one time my dad broke something of mine and didn't apologize - it really wasn't a big deal, but the fact that he didn't acknowledge it by saying sorry is what I remember. I would feel terribly bad if I missed an appointment at my son's school, but I don't quite know what to do with people who say such mistakes are "inexcusable" - what does that mean? Forgiveness is truly a more valuable lesson - for both parties involved.

Posted by: TakomaMom | January 31, 2007 12:08 PM

WWJD?? Jesus wouldn't have to do anything. Jesus did not have a paid job or a family.

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 11:57 AM

Are you being deliberately obtuse or did you not even read lindab's comment?

What would Jesus do if someone makes a mistake and someone else got
hurt? lindab's example was of the babysitter accidentally oversleeping.

If you disagree with using WWJD as a way to frame your choices for a response, ignore it, but theres' no need to demean it for those of us for whom the question is legitimate.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:09 PM

I've been critical of Leslie in the past, but in this case I have to agree with her.

Her daughter can indeed learn a valuable lesson from her father: how to respond when one makes an honest mistake.

Leslie's husband didn't lie about his absence. He didn't make up excuses. He apologized, and he's working towards making amends. And he is unlikely to repeat this same mistake.

And Leslie's right: If the worse thing her daughter has to worry about is a missed story time appointment, then her daughter is living a very good life indeed.

Posted by: Skepticality | January 31, 2007 12:11 PM

Because most of the volunteer work was made up "busy work" to give these useless leeches something to do between lunch and martinis.

And, yes, there was and still is a lot of pill popping and boozing going on in this set.

SOunds like somebody missed the gravy train and is pretty bummed to be left out. We SAHMs will do a "cheers" in your honor this afternoon. Chin up!

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 12:11 PM

Fred and Fredia are going to have a great weekend! Great idea! Enjoy yourselves! Your jumping building story is amusing too.

Ditto on what Emily wrote. She writes so much better than I.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 12:13 PM

Who pissed in everybodies' wheaties today? Is it pms time in blog world?

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 12:04 PM

Everybody's wheaties? pms? please.

One cranky person who expects everyone in the world to be perfect and perfectly timely or, presumably, slit their wrists. No matter how many times she posts, she remains only one person. (There could be a doppleganger, but we have no evidence of same yet).

One person with bad memories and lots of generalizations about wealthy SAHMs.

That would be, count 'em, two arguably pissy posters. Among their posts are a myriad of other posts from lots of other generally happy posters with some perspective on reading buddies, among other things. The glass is half-full, bub. You're still a sexist idiot, though. So sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:16 PM

londonmom - I won't put you in the same category as catlady - but in the grand scheme of things I think Leslie's husband should be forgiven, forgotten and released from purgatory. Perhaps Leslie was emphasizing her husband's work related situations to make a point, but not make him out to be a promise breaker. He sounds like a good dad and husband and we only know what Leslie provides.

If you are married I think you can understand how the little disappointments can seem huge at times, but when compared to life's big disappointments they are miniscule.

The one problem I have is parents "promising" everything. If I am scheduled to volunteer at school and tell my kids I am coming in that day I don't "promise" to be there - I tell them I am coming into their class - that's it. My kids don't ask me to promise every move I make - that would be annoying. I have always made it in the past - but if something serious were to happen and I couldn't make it I don't think they would be crushed but disappointed.

Posted by: cmac | January 31, 2007 12:16 PM

The bored housewives bunch was a minority of moms. But yes, they did in fact booze it up in the name of charity and take a lot of prescription drugs, which their little angels sold at school the druggie crowd. I'm also pretty sure their "charity" never went to the truly needy. They were always throwing parties to raise money for the museum or the zoo, not needy families.

It was still the best school in town, however. ALL schools have problems with drugs, cliques, etc. ALL schools have students (and parents) with behavior problems. On the whole it was a good place. I enjoyed it, learned a lot, and was well prepared for life after high school.

I just wanted to clear up the fact that the anonymous poster's stories are not unusual, and are not necessarily bad, when one considers the alternatives. I plan on sending my own children the school I went to. It teaches all sorts of survival skills one normally doesn't come by until later in life, in addition to the stellar acedemic and arts programs, small class sizes, and progressive attitude toward education.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 12:16 PM

Please. My father was supposed to pick me up from volleyball practice in Jr. High. He did routinely until one day he didn't show up. So I got on the bus. I was really mad at him until the bus reached a car wreck. Guess why my dad didn't pick me up...He ended up being okay, thank goodness, but I would have much rather have had forgetfullness be the reason he didn't show than his car being T-boned. It's called perspective, people...

Posted by: Columbia, MD | January 31, 2007 12:17 PM

"Ditto on what Emily wrote. She writes so much better than I."

Psst ... dotted ... "She writes so much better than me."

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 12:18 PM

I'm surprised more isn't being made of the "schadenfreude" part of the original post, and how even though we love our children we are still such selfish creatures that we might get a scintilla of joy out of their pain.

It was just a little weird, and I'm suprised it hasn't gotten more attention.

Posted by: Oreo breath | January 31, 2007 12:21 PM

"There could be a doppleganger, but we have no evidence of same yet"

Dopple whatnow?

Posted by: dumbguy | January 31, 2007 12:21 PM

Thanks Lizzie. My two are both born perfectionists (my oldest more so) and I know exactly where it comes from, since I am too. Learning to accept failings with grace has been hard for me, especially in front of others, but I've been trying to model it for my girls since day 1 (catching my mistakes and cheerily saying things like "dumb old mommy! what was I thinking?", showing we can still be happy and worthwhile even when we're not perfect) But mellowing temperament is a long slow process . . . at least I'll never actively make fun of their foibles, which was how my dad responded to mine ("Oh, look, little miss perfect lost the game, I guess she's not perfect after all. And now she's going to run away to her room with a headache!")

But, even absent active teasing/criticism, mine are still hypersensitive . . .


Lizzie wrote

>"Kids don't learn to catastrophize all by >themselves."
>
>Of course they do, if they're temperamentally >inclined that way. That's like saying "Kids don't >learn to be impatient all by themselves."

Posted by: KB | January 31, 2007 12:22 PM

schadenfreude -- taking pleasure at the misfortune of others

doppleganger -- evil twin

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:24 PM

I really resent the tone some of the working moms on this board take when discussing SAHMs. I don't know these people you're referring to, the posse of pill-popping, martini-swilling, queen bees. I do know a lot of SAHMs who gladly do almost all of the volunteering at your children's schools while you work. We don't mind that you don't pull your weight or see the value of helping out at your kid's school -- we understand that you've made a choice. We made a different choice.

Your tone reeks of jealousy masked as contempt. Maybe you ought to re-examine your own life and figure out if you're happy with the choices you've made instead of minutely scrutinizing those of SAHMS.

Posted by: NCMom | January 31, 2007 12:25 PM

I tend to do a lot of formal writing, thus, better than I is my norm. I did, however, leave out the 'am.'

from: http://www.wordquery.com/wordqueries.asp?id=3#jump7
Q: Is it correct to say better than I or better than me? Is better than I more suitable for formal writing?
A: Because than is a preposition as well as a conjunction, either construction is technically possible. However better than I, where than is classed as a conjunction, sounds old-fashioned and formal: the fuller form better than I am is more acceptable. The form better than me, where than is classed as a preposition, is much more common nowadays and the norm in conversation and informal writing (You're better at it than me). It is still frowned upon sometimes in formal writing, where You're better at it than I am is preferred.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 12:25 PM

cmac, I'm glad you brought that up - my son has of late taken to saying "Mom, you PROMISED I could such and such" when in fact, I never specifically used the word "promise". I am trying to explain the difference and admit that it is a bit awkward. None of these have been major events, more along the lines of "you promised I could call my friend when we got home from the library" and instead I say, "well, you can call him after you eat lunch". I'm not entirely sure what to tell him the difference is - I don't want him to think it is somehow a HUGE, unforgiveable infraction if someone uses the word "promise" and doesn't follow through, but I also want him to take the word seriously.

Posted by: TakomaMom | January 31, 2007 12:25 PM

I totally agree with everyone who thinks that it is important that the father took responsibility and apologized. I grew up with a very loving father who was nonetheless completely incapable of recognizing when he was in the wrong and an apology was in order. Today, I can't even remember what most of the arguments with my father were about, but I do remember how much it hurt to know that no apology would be coming.

Posted by: Charlottesville | January 31, 2007 12:28 PM

Than I versus Than Me.
Than, as used in comparatives, has traditionally been considered a conjunction; as such, if you're comparing subjects, the pronouns after than should take the "subjective case." In other words, "He's taller than I," not "He's taller than me"; "She's smarter than he," not "She's smarter than him." If, on the other hand, you're comparing direct or indirect objects, the pronouns should be objective: "I've never worked with a more difficult client than him."

There are some advantages to this traditional state of affairs. If you observe this distinction, you can be more precise in some comparisons. Consider these two sentences:

He has more friends than I. (His total number of friends is higher than my total number of friends.)
He has more friends than me. (I'm not his only friend; he has others.)
The problem, though, is that in all but the most formal contexts, "than I" sounds stuffy, even unidiomatic. Most people, in most contexts, treat than as a preposition, and put all following pronouns in the objective case, whether the things being compared are subjects or objects. "He's taller than me" sounds more natural to most native English speakers.

This isn't a recent development: people have been treating than as a preposition for centuries.

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/t.html

Posted by: oh Linda B: since you're perfect | January 31, 2007 12:30 PM

Apologies if anyone took my anecdote as being judgmental of others or making broad generalizations. I only meant to convey that I personally know several women who fit that description exactly. It is not embellished. In fact I left out some pretty juicy details about the affairs and scandals. I will admit to be guilty of gossip, however.

My only point was that if women like that want to judge a person for not having enough time to volunteer at school, screw 'em. Everyone presumably does the best they can in their situation, and I'm not going to have pill-popping trophy wives judging me.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 12:30 PM

Thanks, dotted. I probably don't write often enough, either formally or informally.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 12:31 PM

I, along with my 3 siblings, was raised by my father and with additional help from my grandparents. My mother cheated on my father and left us(all under the age of 7). My father worked in the city (an hour drive each way) and held a second job as town supervisor to make ends meet.
I was involved in every sports season along with several other clubs.

Demanding that my father or some other family member had to be there for every practice, every single game and every single performance of the same show would've been unrealistic on my part. Yes I enjoyed when someone was there to honor my commitment to those activities and enjoy watching me perform. However, I understood that my father shouldn't have to sit through 4 shows of Damn Yankees when I was a mere chorus member. Once was plenty. Though I will say that when I had lead roles, he was there for every single performance and that BLEW me away because I understood his time constraints.

Cat Lady- I hope to God that one of your children never falls ill like my brother did. To think that my father would be condemned by the parenting community for missing my spelling bee due to my brother's adverse reaction to his chemo meds, makes me embarassed for all of you.

Should he have called me? In a time with no cell phones? Should he, in the midst of running my brother to the emergency room, called the school to interupt the spelling bee with a special announcement to say he wouldn't be there? Really? Thankfully it wasn't a matter of life or death, otherwise he would have. Again, some perspective please!

Posted by: Cap Hill | January 31, 2007 12:33 PM

In other words, "He's taller than I," not "He's taller than me"; "She's smarter than he," not "She's smarter than him."

A good way to remember this is to bring the expression to its logical conclusion. For example "He's taller than I am." If you can add "am" at the end, you should generally use "I."

Posted by: grammar guru | January 31, 2007 12:34 PM

Apologies if anyone took my anecdote as being judgmental of others or making broad generalizations. I only meant to convey that I personally know several women who fit that description exactly.

Really what was your point then, because it seemed like an intent to hurt. I mean geeze, we all know all kinds different kinds of people. I know good and bad parents with all different kinds of working arrangements. Why would you single out one group if your intent wasn't to belittle and diminish the work that that group does? (Oh, I shoud have put "work" in quotes since unskilled people can raise the kids and the volunteer work is made up and meaningless)

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 12:35 PM

"oh Linda B: since you're perfect"

hardly ... thanks.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 12:36 PM

I remember a quick way to figure out if it should be "me" or "I" from elementary school (a long time ago): Just add a do or am, etc at the end. He has more friends than I (DO) makes sense. He has more friends than ME (DO) doesn't. He is taller than I (am) vs taller than I (be).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 12:37 PM

"I really resent the tone some of the working moms on this board take when discussing SAHMs. I don't know these people you're referring to, the posse of pill-popping, martini-swilling, queen bees."

It doesn't matter if you know them. I know them. And their "cool parents" routine, i.e., letting all the kids get drunk at their house "because they'll do it anyway and this way we know they're safe" is much more counterproductive than my inability to run out of an all-day deposition to volunteer in the lunch room.

Posted by: to NCMom | January 31, 2007 12:39 PM

Lawgirl, it sounds like you had a great private school experience and are doing the right thing for your kids to send them there. Since no one in my family and few of my friends attended private school, it always seemed like a waste (the Freakonomics book also implies that).

Lindab-- I think what dotted wrote is fine-- the sentence could be completed as "She writes so much better than I COULD" and that makes sense to me. The "could" or "do" is implied. Maybe I'm missing something since I attended a "crappy state school"?

Lawgirl? your take?

Posted by: Cal Girl | January 31, 2007 12:42 PM

"Useless Leeches"??

Last week I spent a day volunteering in our school office. I spent the first 90 minutes of the day caring for a vomiting 8 year old, while waiting for his mother to arrive from work.

I have friends who volunteer every day to keep other kids safe on the playground.

Last year a group of us spent weeks volunteering to conduct lice checks on other people's children. Many of these kids told us that their parents weren't doing treatment and checks at home because they were too tired and busy at work. This, even though the kids had been sent home several times over the past month with the same problem. I hope these very important parents didn't spread lice to the colleagues and clients!

Check with your principal, I'll bet they are very grateful for the "makework" volunteers in their school. I know that I'm grateful they are there when my kid needs them. And no, they are not all SAHM, most of our parents are working. However, it is usually the same group of working and non-working people lending a hand.

So, who's the "useless leech"?

Posted by: HappyMom | January 31, 2007 12:43 PM

cmac - I take your point. Of course Leslie's husband should be forgiven. I didn't mean that his behavious was literally "inexcusable" tho I see that my original post probably suggested this (and was perhaps a bit harsh).

But let's remember the first part of Leslie's post. She states that he proudly signs up for this in November, and "Since then, he has worked nearly around the clock on a business deal that ruined our Florida holiday (for two nights he slept on the resort veranda in order to take 3 a.m. calls from lawyers)."

So - perhaps I'm reading too much into the blog, but presumably, that means Leslie's husband has pretty much been MIA since November. Through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Florida vacation...

Missing the reading class is not the isolated mistake I'm focussing on. It's the fact that he has been working non-stop through the holidays and vacation and then misses what was probably an important event for his child. A small disappointment in the grand scheme of things, yes.

But in light of the work obligations and sacrifices his family had already made for him, I don't think Leslie should have rationalized it by just saying that it was a good lesson for their daughter to learn about disappointment.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 12:43 PM

"I really resent the tone some of the working moms on this board take when discussing SAHMs. . . . I do know a lot of SAHMs who gladly do almost all of the volunteering at your children's schools while you work. We don't mind that you don't pull your weight or see the value of helping out at your kid's school -- we understand that you've made a choice. We made a different choice.

Your tone reeks of jealousy masked as contempt. Maybe you ought to re-examine your own life and figure out if you're happy with the choices you've made instead of minutely scrutinizing those of SAHMS."

Well, NCMom, you had the moral high ground for a moment there and then, instead of directing your response to the particular purveyors of the comments that peeved you, you had to blast the entire universe of working moms on the board. I'm quite happy with the choices I've made and am jealous of no one. I also heartily disagree with several of the posters today slamming SAHMs, but they are few and identifiable by "name".

I avoid extended contact with moms and dads who judge other moms based on our respective life choices. The idea that you're pulling my weight is laughable. I see great value in helping out at my children's school for events that matter to us, like Book Fairs and diversity-oriented events. Frankly, though, we've decided as a family that we will devote the majority of our not insignificant volunteer efforts to the Food Bank and a local homeless shelter because it's something our entire family can do that's not all about us. We teach our children to use their money and their time wisely.

While many SAHMs actually do understand the choices I've made, you don't or you wouldn't direct your condemnation and vitriol so indiscriminately. Fortunately, this board is full of other SAHMs like moxiemom, et al. who do understand that while SAHMs and WOHMs may not agree on everything, whether we are employed outside the home is not the dividing line for values or worth. The majority of SAHM posters make it worth sticking around and listening to different points of view.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 12:44 PM

"Ditto on what Emily wrote. She writes so much better than I."

Psst ... dotted ... "She writes so much better than me."

Um, it IS "she writes so much better than I," because the full clause would read "she writes so much better than I do," NOT "she writes so much better than me do."

Posted by: TO LINDA B | January 31, 2007 12:44 PM

"We don't mind that you don't pull your weight or see the value of helping out at your kid's school -- we understand that you've made a choice."

No, I don't see any value in the silly things you did at my kid's schools that were de minimus at best.

Your attitude that I am not pulling my own weight is hypocritical. You let the big checkwriters off the hook all of the time.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:45 PM

Some of your responses to my amusing anecdotes is a little surprising. I am sorry if you are so insecure about your station in life and decisions that a snarky little comment sets you off. But if you are really confident that you're on the right path for you and your family, a little gossip about some very sad people shouln't upset you.

And to clear up the record, I NEVER said all stay-at-home moms were boozing pill-poppers. I just know a few who are. They are also amazing hypocrits and an embarassment to womankind. But not because they are stay-at-home moms -- because they are pathetic, selfish, gold-diggers.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 12:45 PM

"One cranky person who expects everyone in the world to be perfect and perfectly timely or, presumably, slit their wrists. No matter how many times she posts, she remains only one person. (There could be a doppleganger, but we have no evidence of same yet)."

Oh, I hope you're talking about me. And you seem to be a little violent and suicidal, don't you? You keep mentioning slitting wrists and killing myself. Seems that's a bigger problem than my expectations of people composing their lives with an ounce of organization and responsibility. Hmmm

Posted by: No Doppleganger Here | January 31, 2007 12:48 PM

Emily wrote:

"Catlady, perhaps your parents never missed an appointment with you, but they did let you down in a pretty significant way. They did not teach you empathy, compassion, or forgiveness."

I agree. Catlady seems to be treating every commitment as if it were chiseled in stone tablets from Mt. Sinai. That warped nature of that perspective simply speaks for itself and needs no further comment.

And I would add one more point: When spouses or friends start thinking in terms of "punishment", "rewards", and "consequences" for their partner, then that relationship has ceased to be an equal and caring relationship.

Instead, a hierarchy emerges: I know better, and I'm going to make sure you learn you your lesson.

This perspective is perhaps suitable for a parent-child or teacher-pupil relationship, but definitely not for a husband-wife or friend-buddy relationship.

Posted by: Skepticality | January 31, 2007 12:50 PM

To whomever wrote, "We don't mind that you don't pull your weight or see the value of helping out at your kid's school -- we understand that you've made a choice. We made a different choice." ..........Couldn't working parents just as easily write (throw stones?) and sub in "We [working parents] don't mind that you [SAHPs] don't pull your [economic] weight or see the value of [funding] your kids' school - we understand that you've made the choice. Fine, you watch kids on the playground and we PAY for the: playground/teachers' salaries/facilities, etc. The notion that working parents don't "pull their weight" with regard to support of public schooling is simply laughable.

Posted by: smf | January 31, 2007 12:50 PM

"Seems that's a bigger problem than my expectations of people composing their lives with an ounce of organization and responsibility. Hmmm"

Well, catlady, if that's you, then you might want to reread and reconsider your cavalcade of posts today. You require far more than an ounce of organization and responsibility. You require that every adult value all appointments and meetings -- at least with respect to their progeny -- as though each appointment is with St. Peter at the gates of heaven. At least be honest with yourself about the points you've made ad infinitum and sanctimoniously.

New topic, please. Anyone? Anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:55 PM

I am sorry if you are so insecure about your station in life and decisions that a snarky little comment sets you off.

Wow you are sure full of apologies some of which sound deceptively like insults. I don't really know where you are coming from and I think you are a pretty unkind person who is pretty free with some pretty strong language (leeches, boozing pillpoppers). You are officially harshing on my chill! My Shiraz induced chill no doubt.

I guess if you could realize that SAHMs consider being with their children and the volunteer work that many of us do to be our "work" and something that we find rewarding and valuable the same way that WOHMs see their work you might be able to see how the comments might be hurtful. Just because unkind words make me angry does not mean that I'm insecure about my life. I'm sure if I said something bad about your profession you'd feel naturally defensive.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 12:56 PM

new topic possibility:
There is always that sage green changing room at Marshalls. Why sage green? I look sick in there.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 12:56 PM

"Everyone presumably does the best they can in their situation, and I'm not going to have pill-popping trophy wives judging me."

Posted by: any you control that how? | January 31, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm sure if I said something bad about your profession you'd feel naturally defensive

Is motherhood a profession?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:58 PM

new topic possibility:
There is always that sage green changing room at Marshalls. Why sage green? I look sick in there.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 12:56 PM

Good question - and what's with some of the horrible lighting?
And the circus mirrors that put 10 pounds on you? oh, wait...

Posted by: Missicat | January 31, 2007 12:59 PM

Another potential topic:

BEARS or COLTS????

Posted by: Missicat | January 31, 2007 1:00 PM

Cal Girl,

I went to public school through third grade, then private school, then public university. I went to state school because I could not afford a private college (how I went to private schools through high school is a long story).

The quality of education at my private high school was top notch. The classes had about 12-18 students. The teachers cared about progress and would not let students slip through the cracks. We also had "free time" where we did not have to be in class or anywhere in particular. That was valuable, because it taught us how to manage free time before we went to college and became overwhelmed. I saw that happen to a few people in college. Finally, most of the students were very bright, so most classes moved at an accelerated pace. The school also emphasized sports and the arts in addition to academics. In sum, it was an excellent institution.

I'd like to send my kids there, but it is quite expensive.

On the other hand, state school also provided a good education. Largely, education is what you make of it. I think a determined person can get a good education at the local library or community college as well as an Ivy League school.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:00 PM

COLTS OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!! Silly question.

Posted by: just another mom | January 31, 2007 1:01 PM

Oreo breath,

I also found it odd that Leslie found (however briefly) joy in her husband's failing. Pretty warped if you ask me.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:01 PM

dotted, I'm with you there, and I suspect foamgnome is in agreement as well. The lightbulbs in the fitting rooms at Macy's give me a similar sickly, shadowy glow.

good job with the change of topic, as well :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 1:03 PM

new topic possibility:
There is always that sage green changing room at Marshalls. Why sage green? I look sick in there.

Or, why do dressing room mirrors make you look way fat, esp. in the posterior (posterial?) area?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | January 31, 2007 1:03 PM

"I'm sure if I said something bad about your profession you'd feel naturally defensive."

Not at all! I tell lawyer jokes with the rest of them! I know several good ones, in fact, but I don't want to steak Jokester's thunder, although I haven't seen him in a while.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:03 PM

Y'all can dish it out, but you can't take it.

Posted by: NCMom | January 31, 2007 1:04 PM

Thank you all for educating me on "than me, than I". I've truly learned alot on my lunch break today. Cal girl, I, too, attended public schools. And, generally, I'm in agreeement with Freakonomics on the public vs. private education (in terms of bang for your buck). My kids were in private school for just two years (7th and 8th grade) and though it was, given the circumstances, a generally positive experience, I wouldn't venture to say that they received $12 or $13 thousand more in education than the kids in the public school. The decision of where to send your kids to school at any given point in time can be a complicated one.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 1:06 PM

Can't read through all of the posts - but I don't think that Leslie's little bit of joy at her husband's forgetfulness was an awful thing - it makes him - and her - human. I also think that this was a one time thing for her husband, with other parents taking other Tuesdays. Things happen - and Leslie is right - kids need to learn to deal with disappointment and how to work things out. This was an excellent opportunity for both, and from what she wrote, they all handled it very well.

And there is NO doubt - Colts all the way!

Posted by: WAMC | January 31, 2007 1:06 PM

Y'all can dish it out, but you can't take it.


Posted by: NCMom | January 31, 2007 01:04 PM

No, NCMom, "we" are not dishing it out. One person is. Are you having difficulty comprehending that fact? Why is it so difficult to admit that you're being as obnoxious as lawgirl, on the flip side? The only thing being dished here by you is generalizations.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:10 PM

I'm sorry to say that I will not be reading this blog anymore. You are all so mean-spirited. I hope your anger, hatred, and intolerance does not bleed into your relationships with your family and friends, and most importantly, your children. You are a sad bunch.

Leslie, kudos to you for having the strength to day after day put up with these people. Geesh!

Posted by: Dazed and Amused | January 31, 2007 1:11 PM

Toodles to all. Hope you have fun at your tea parties and Junior League meetings.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:12 PM

Oh, and Father of 4, I will miss you the most!

Posted by: Dazed and Amused | January 31, 2007 1:12 PM

come on back now! y'hear?

I guess you are better than we.

wheee.

De plane boss, de plane!

Smiles everyone, smiles!

Posted by: 2Dazed and 2Amused | January 31, 2007 1:15 PM

To Lindab:

"I've truly learned alot on my lunch break today."

Obviously not enough.

Allot means to divide or distribute by share or portion.

A lot means very much.

But alot is NOT a word.

Posted by: Grammar police | January 31, 2007 1:16 PM

To:

"I'm sorry to say that I will not be reading this blog anymore"

Please give it another chance. It is often very, very funny. And it is good to see the viewpoints of others.

My grandchildren are in high school, so I don't have the the same ego/stakeholder issues that others have. But it sure is a hoot to read about 'em!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:17 PM

lawgirl, all you're doing is confirming every nasty, condescending stereotype of female lawyers out there. So now you're off having left a spill of ill-will out there akin to red tide on the blogosphere. Sheesh.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 1:17 PM

Lunch time is waaaay over. No comments on the (normally reliable, well paid, kind and loving) babysitter who fell asleep?? What's a working mom and working dad to do? Forgive her, fire her, set up a hidden camera? Speak, you people of many opinions!!

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 1:18 PM

Things I'm Sure You've Said to (or thought about or gossiped about) a SAHM:

5. Don't you get bored being at home?
4. What if your husband leaves? Alternatively, I hope her husband leaves so that she has to go back to work.
3. I bet she watches Oprah every day.
2. I wonder if she has any regrets?
1. What do you DO all day?

Posted by: To Lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:19 PM

I'm sorry to say that I will not be reading this blog anymore. You are all so mean-spirited. I hope your anger, hatred, and intolerance does not bleed into your relationships with your family and friends, and most importantly, your children. You are a sad bunch.

Posted by: Dazed and Amused | January 31, 2007 01:11 PM

Ding Dong the Witch is DEAD!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:19 PM

When you ASSUME, you make an A** out of U and ME. Who said lawgirl is a woman?

So only women are allowed on this board now? The blog is about a FATHER's mistake, but only MOTHERS are invited to discuss it? Doesn't sound fair to me.

Posted by: another lawyer stereotype | January 31, 2007 1:21 PM

Grammar police, go home, or at least get off of lindab's case. You must not be THE Grammar Police, because that poster is unfailingly kind and does not go after other posters with the vengeance you're displaying.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:22 PM

Last post to Grammar police - we need folks like you. Keep up the good work.
Grant me a bit of mercy though. That last one (alot), I swear to you, it was a typo!!

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 1:24 PM

My mother, a SAHM for what it's worth, once forgot to pick me up after Wednesday night CCD when I was about 8 or 9. I sat in the church for 4 hours waiting as there was no payphone and no one in the office to let me call.

She only remembered to pick me up because after the rest of the family ate dinner, she wanted me to do the dishes.

Stuff happens. Leslie's daughter will get over it. My Mom was a fabulous mother who made a mistake - which is exactly what I learned from that experience. Most parents be they SAH or WOH just can't be perfect all the time.

Posted by: Texas Mom | January 31, 2007 1:24 PM

He forgot an appointment, he realized his error, called the school, apologized to the teacher, his daughter AND has signed up for another go.

He didn't deliberately blow off his kid for laughs.

So, she learned (again, because I seriously doubt that neither Leslie nor her husband have NEVER made a mistake before for which they felt they owed their daughter an apology) that:

a) grown-ups make mistakes, even parent(s)
b) when you make a mistake you acknowledge it, ask for forgiveness and try to ameliorate
c) you try to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

I have told MY kids on more than one occasion that I make a mistake EVERY DAY of my life. In fact, a day without a mistake of SOME sort means I wasn't trying to DO anything in particular.

Whether it's putting my turn signal on a little too late, or putting the Battlestar Galactica's guns on Luke Skywalker's little ship, or whatEVER, I am human. I make mistakes. They will and do too.

It wasn't deliberate. That would be a snub.

Hey, has anyone thought to ask Judith Martin (Miss Manners) what SHE thinks of this mistake?

I bet she would gently tap Leslie with her fan for committing the greater sin of being smug than she would beat Leslie's husband with a cat-o-nine tails for his faux pas.

Go on Leslie, ask her!

Posted by: MdMother | January 31, 2007 1:25 PM

a. Forgive the babysitter.

b. Joel. Thi is your mother. Get off the babysitter. If you dont get off the baby sitter honey, you'll have no future. Please Joel! Just get off the babysitter!

c. Fire the babysitter - but, good help is sooo hard to find these days. sip sip sip pop pop pop Decide tomorrow. Fiddle dee dee tomorrow is another day.

d. lawgirl: sue the baby sitter

Posted by: Fo3 | January 31, 2007 1:26 PM

"Your tone reeks of jealousy masked as contempt. Maybe you ought to re-examine your own life and figure out if you're happy with the choices you've made instead of minutely scrutinizing those of SAHMS."

Yeah, SAHMs could stand to do the same. Ditto to smf.

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 1:26 PM

Hey lindab,
don't worry about the grammar police. I learned some grammar today also!

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 1:26 PM

Re: "sleeping" nanny - I'd nanny-cam her, but I'd nanny-cam her even before there were any problems, just in case.....Good luck!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:26 PM

As a longtime book editor and college writing teacher, I'd like to comment on the "I/me" debacle.

Yes, technically, "I" is correct in the examples given. However, people tend to speak more colloquially when they're just chatting and, by extension, write more colloquially when they're chatting online.

Also, people in a rush tend to misspell things (e.g., "alot").

Despite the fact that I've spent much of my life correcting grammar and sentence construction, I really hate to see people censured for such errors on this blog. These posts aren't great works of literature -- or business letters or condolence notes. They're quickly composed comments and responses, and it is their content that merits consideration here, not their form.

So, please, folks, no more grammar police. Nobody shows their ignorance through lack of proper punctuation. It's the content of their messages that reveals intelligence, sensitivity, and reasonableness -- or the devastating lack thereof.

Posted by: StopCorrecting | January 31, 2007 1:27 PM

another lawyer stereotype, whether or not lawgirl -- ding, ding, ding, ding, DING - is a female, because of her selection of a nom de blog, readers will assume she's female and blame all other female attorneys for lawgirl's posted sentiments.

Otherwise, I don't know what the heck lawgirl's gender has to do with any assumptions, or with whether or not men are invited to comment on the topic of the day. Perhaps if you speak very slowly with more words, we will all understand the connection that's so utterly apparant to you. Your point is?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:29 PM

One last thought,

5. Don't you get bored being at home?

A valid question, especially for my MIL whose kids are in COLLEGE an hour away. Not so much for a woman with small children.

4. What if your husband leaves? Alternatively, I hope her husband leaves so that she has to go back to work.

Would NEVER hope to see a broken home, but everyone should have a plan. It would be highly irresponsible not to.

3. I bet she watches Oprah every day.

Don't watch tv, and don't care one way or the other.

2. I wonder if she has any regrets?

Again, a totally valid question. Only because I have friends who regretted leaving their professions because they had trouble coming back when the kids were older.

1. What do you DO all day?

Again, ask my MIL who does not work, has a maid, and whose kids are away at college. How could she possibly fill up the 12 hours her husband is at work?

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:30 PM

Lawgirl,

Pls tell us a law joke. I think that the Jokester got hooted off the stage!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 1:31 PM

Oh, and I'm obviously a woman.

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:32 PM

As Columbia, MD points out, one of the points of Leslie's column is the importance of perspective: "If the worst thing that happens to our daughter this year is her father forgetting her reading class, she's got a pretty good life."

Hidden behind the father's intense self-flagellation was probably the realization that even a moment's forgetfulness about his daughter's situation might have dire consequences.

I know a family in which the SAHM wasn't paying attention to her 5-year-old daughter playing outside. The daughter was taken out into the woods and raped by two older boys.

I know a family in which the SAHM and SAHD weren't paying attention to their toddler, who drowned in the creek behind their home.

We are all going to make mistakes, but we all want to be on our toes when it comes to the safety of our precious children.


Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:33 PM

FO4, I know you said this half-jokingly, but the idea that Leslie should have reminded her husband of the event hit a wrong note with me.

This is because I also have a husband who is extremely busy at work right now, and relies on me to run my child's schedule, the house and anything else. It's temporary (he's starting a new business), but I also want him to remember important events and act on them.

Why do I have to be his "mommy" in this regard?

Another question -- do posters think that men lack a certain ability to multi-task work and "outside life", or is it a conscious choice, aided and abetted by us (the wives)? This is definitely one of my pet peeves, and I have no idea how to deal with it -- do I remind DH about an important even where if he misses it, someone will be hurt (emotionally)? Or do I let him "fall" a time or two so he comes to understand I won't be his constant backup reminder?

Posted by: Rebecca | January 31, 2007 1:33 PM

As Columbia, MD points out, one of the points of Leslie's column is the importance of perspective: "If the worst thing that happens to our daughter this year is her father forgetting her reading class, she's got a pretty good life."

Hidden behind the father's intense self-flagellation was probably the realization that even a moment's forgetfulness about his daughter's situation might have dire consequences.

I know a family in which the SAHM wasn't paying attention to her 5-year-old daughter playing outside. The daughter was taken out into the woods and raped by two older boys.

I know a family in which the SAHM and SAHD weren't paying attention to their toddler, who drowned in the creek behind their home.

We are all going to make mistakes, but we all want to be on our toes when it comes to the safety of our precious children.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:34 PM

Two men are crossing the country in a hot air balloon and realize they are lost. They decide to drop altitude to see if they might find a landmark. They come down in a rather barren area, but they do come across a man walking down a country road. They yell over the side of the basket to the man: "Hey, where are we?" The man pauses a moment, takes a handkerchief from his suit breast pocket, mops his brow, and says "You're about 50 feet off the ground in a hot air balloon" To this the first guy says "Great, here we are, in the middle of nowhere, and all we find is a lawyer!" The second guy asks "A lawyer, how the hell do you know he's a lawyer??" The first man replies "Because his answer was completely accurate, and totally useless!"

Posted by: lawgirl | January 31, 2007 1:35 PM

lawgril, I thought you split?

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 1:35 PM

Speaking of private schools, from today's The Reliable Source chat, here's how a problem was solved at Wharton:

"When I was at Wharton, they were having a huge rodent problem. Being Wharton, they tried every expensive, modern technological fix they could think of. Poison, high-pitched noisemakers, everything. It all failed. Philly rats are smart.

So they went to the shelter and got a cat. They named him Raider. (Yes, as in Corporate Raider.) Raider lives in the AV/IT department, and the staff there keeps his schedule. If you had a rat problem, you called that department and scheduled Raider to pay a visit. They would bring him to your office at 5 p.m., with food, water and litter, then pick him up at 7 a.m.

The coolest part, if you know cats, is that the bits he didn't eat, he deposited neatly in his litterbox for disposal.

Raider was one savvy cat. Cheap, too."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:36 PM

I agree that the grammar police needs to get off this blog. No one cares about grammar except you.

Lindab: don't let GP get you down.

Sage green reminds me of vomit and split pea soup. eew.

How did father forgetfulness turn into WOHM vs SAHM?

Glad to see I did not miss much mud slinging while I was attending to the current crisis.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 1:37 PM

Or do I let him "fall" a time or two so he comes to understand I won't be his constant backup reminder?

Some people (some say mostly men) are just wired differently. Their concept of time, events and other realities of life is not in sync with most other peoples. If you let him "fail" it probably will not cause him to remember any better in the future.

Posted by: to Rebecca | January 31, 2007 1:37 PM

Interesting posts. Lawgirl, I have NEVER met a SAHM who had regrets. I can't say that about working women. It's like being a writer. An awful lot of people want to be writers, but writers don't seem to want to be anything else.

My initial post was judgmental and I apologize. My follow-up was rude. One comment sent me over the edge. To all the working moms out there who either understand how SAHMs feel or don't really think about it, thank you. To those who feel they must paint us all as a discontented bunch of pampered and kept women, you don't get it and you never will.

Posted by: NCMom | January 31, 2007 1:38 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Freakonomics makes no direct assertion about the value of private schools. The authors studied data from the Chicago PUBLIC school system (which has better and worse performing schools), and found that any individual student may be better off in a worse performing school (because they would recieve relatively more attention, would be more likely to graduate and would get better grades).

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:39 PM

Re: the sleeping nanny.

Doesn't anyone see how awful it is that we are even discussing that topic?? If you need a camera in order to feel that your child is safe and well taken care of, then maybe it's time to reconsider working. These are small innocent kids- they can't tell you when something's wrong or maybe they're too scared to.

That just hits it home for me- kids shouldn't be placed in those situations.

Posted by: Why Moms SHOULD stay home | January 31, 2007 1:40 PM

I am not buying anything sage green for Fredia EVER! Y'all have turned me against that color. (not that I can really see that shade anyway!)

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 1:40 PM

To SMF @ 12:50 -

Not to be too snarky, since there is a whole lot of that on this blog, but technically, working parents' payroll taxes don't fund your local public schools. If you wanted to claim that SAHMs aren't pulling their weight regarding the Medicare and Social Security funding gaps, then sure. But schools are by and large funded through property taxes.

My main point is that I think it's ridiculous to argue at a macro level over the emotional effect on children and the economic impact for our country of what are inherently individual decisions to decide on WOTH vs SAH. The consequences of your decision are most important for you and your family, which is why name calling and holier than thou statement from both sides (SAHMs feeling superior for being 'more involved' in their kids schools and WOTHMs feeling superior for 'carrying the economic weight of non-earning SAHMs'etc) are pointless to me. Make your decision, own it, and don't run down entire groups of people to make yourself feel better about what you chose to do.

Posted by: new SAHM in TX | January 31, 2007 1:42 PM

Couldn't read every posting today, and unfortunately I've been fairly busy and not able to tune in lately. I saw afterwards that I missed a real good topic a few days ago that I would have liked to join in on.

Kudos to Leslie for bringing in a personal topic that opened her family up to such (seemingly unwarranted) criticism and psychoanalysis. From what I have read I think most of the arguments have been mined already today, and several items blown way out of proportion.

Certainly here is another shining example were if we could get some more balance, we might be able to ensure family appointments receive as much heft and memory imprinting as important business appointments.

Without dismissing the importance of the obligation, as many posters have noted, this appears to be a fairly minor issue in the great scheme of things. Father apologizes to child, and things move forward. But I say that with a caveat...

And I presume a portion of that caveat is what truly touched a nerve today. To me, the rationalization that Leslie offered on this being a life lesson sounded like trying to make lemonade out of lemons, not trying to discount the mistake. That's well and good, to a point. Don't know Leslie or her husband, but through her descriptions they certainly sound like conscientious parents.

Where the "but" plays in is something we all take part in or are guilty of to some degree. I mentioned eons ago that kids are much smarter and perceptive than they are given credit for. Because of this truth I suggested with offered rationalizations to explain away our actions at our own peril, especially if repeated actions belie our words.

So it is the history that matters more than the example offered here. If Mr. Leslie (or any parent) in this case chronically makes clear through ACTIONS that their kid is of second tier status in the importance pecking order (to money, job, outside interests, whatever), then that is a message they will learn regardless of whatever satisfying talk (or clever rationalizations) we can conceive to make ourselves as adults feel better.

Because our kids can't always be first in importance in every situation (and it wouldn't be good for them if they were), we all face the balancing act of priorities. I suggest with more two working parent families, this is a subject close to a nerve for many here--and for society. For we give lip service to ranking our family and our kids first, and then often appear to do otherwise.

So today's topic was good to bring this kind of thing forward to discuss, and I praise Leslie for a topic that allows us a moment to once again reflect on priorities and balance, especially since she has had her spouse (not very nicely) ripped in the process. I hope for her and her family that the work unbalancing part (vacation, school stuff) is a transitory thing, and not something that has a history more likely to have turned this minor event into one of reinforcing disappointment for her daughter. That is what I think we all fear, when we offer one too many disappointments, or make one to many rationalizations.

Now on to lighter topics...

I'll shock everyone by saying Bears over Indy (more later if you care).

I have a special favor to ask. I have a daughter turning 13 on Feb. 10 (going on 25, it seems). Any thoughts from those ahead of me on how to turn my first kid's impending teenager-hood into something special for her?? I'd really appreciate any ideas any of you have seen that turned out to be hits for a young lady's entry into teen (for us parents) hell!!

Liked the first post by NC Lawyer today. Calls out to scarry and all the regulars...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 1:42 PM

Leslie, Please post to let us know how your husband's make-up date at school turns out.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:42 PM

"Or do I let him "fall" a time or two so he comes to understand I won't be his constant backup reminder?"

Think back to when you were dating. When you guys had a "hot night" planned, did he forget or fall? Did you have all the responsibility?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:42 PM

"I have NEVER met a SAHM who had regrets."

Just because you haven't met any doesn't mean they don't exist. They may not run in your circles or live in your community.

I know a couple of women with regrets. They feel so guilty about having the regrets they are in therapy. But they have them all the same. One realized she didn't really like kids and the other loved her career and was persuaded by her husband to stay at home. Both are unhappy and guilty.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:44 PM

Lindab,

Really don't let the grammar gurus get you down. I understood everything you said perfectly.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 1:44 PM

Forgive the babysitter. She obviously feels bad enough. What, moms and dads don't fall asleep and forget stuff?

Lawgirl, I've thought those things too--mostly because those are the kinds of SAHMs I knew. I never, ever met one who volunteered even a little bit; most were pursuing their own interests, many were just collecting welfare. Of course, this was when I lived in West Virginia. That may be the reason.

Ooops, I just generalized!

The saddest thing I ever heard was something my mom told me when she told my sister my boss was sending me to France to do some work. My sister just stood there looking sad, and her husband said, "She's doing all the stuff you wanted to do, isn't she?" (implied: stuff you could've done if you hadn't met me and started having kids at 19). My sister is not a SAHM, but she was a young dumb mother, and now is suffering for it. Mind you, I do not have a glamorous job, nor do I travel to exotic places, I don't make a lot of money or have a nice car. But I have a college degree and health insurance, and the occasional ability to take a decent trip. The jealousy is evident, and it makes me sad, because my sister is a great person and an amazing mother (talk about well-behaved kids!), yet she envies my 1998 Oldsmobile, my 35K/year job, my 20K student loan debt, and my one-time month in France. I think it's sad that she's unhappy with her choices, and I won't lie, I have done my share of judging her and people like her. The solution for me was to talk to her. Just chat, like sisters or friends or human-freaking-beings. We didn't have to go into deep discussions about choices and futures and careers. We just talked about our every day activities, and for me, it humanized her (how sad that I had to "humanize" my own sister?!) for me. She wasn't just a woman who'd made some dumb decisions. She was perfectly respectable in her own way, just as I am in my way. She doesn't insult me by saying she has the toughest job in the world, and I don't insult her by pretending I am ultra-chic and sophisticated because I have a B.S.

The gap will widen when I get my law degree and start practicing. I don't know what the reaction will be when I offer to fly her out to California for a visit. Hopefully she will accept...hopefully we can maintain a friendly bond, despite our differences.

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 1:46 PM

Texas Dad of 2 where have you been!

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 1:46 PM

We all make mistakes. We all forget sometimes. Not so sure there's any learning experience there -- but Leslie's child will survive. (My daughter's best friend's dad is deployed to Iraq for ten months. That always helps me keep some perspective. Yes, daddy might have gotten a little forgetful but at least we're all here and safe. We're lucky. Lucky.)

On the subject of volunteering, is there such a thing as too much volunteering? THere's actually a mom who helps in my son's class who's there EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK. And her husband is there so much I thought he worked there! Honestly, for the first year after we moved here, I just assumed he was a school employee.

Am I the only one uncomfortable with Brendan's mom knowing who's on Ritalan, who's failing math, who goes to the divorce support group during lunch? I kind of wish they'd restore the parent/teacher line a bit. I mean, I volunteer once a week in the library, but it would never occur to me to get THAT involved in classroom stuff. Has anyone ever actually confronted a teacher or administrator about this issue? Just curious.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | January 31, 2007 1:47 PM

To new SAHM in Tx - good point about property taxes, and I have absolutely no idea how states other than my own do it - but where we are, school districts are mandated across the state to receive almost to the dollar the same amount per student, so that schools are primarily funded via property taxes, THEN payroll taxes (not smoking/tolls/etc - the good kind of taxes ;-) are used to cover the difference. So a small, perhaps geographically distinct point, but one worth mentioning. And if you live in a state where schools are solely funded via property taxes, then I would modify my argument as you suggested to talk about funding Medicare, SSA, the military, the NIH, infrastructure, etc.

Posted by: smf | January 31, 2007 1:49 PM

"I have NEVER met a SAHM who had regrets."

Or at least one who admitted to having regrets. I think for SAHMs (more than WOHMs) admitting to having regrets implies that you regretted the time with your child, which would make you seem like a bad parent.

Not true in either case, but I think the feeling exists.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 1:49 PM

$12k to $13k sounds like a steal! The independant private school in our neighborhood costs $20k per year. We have the money, fortuitously enough, but just think it would be better to stick with public school where I WISH there were more SAHPs volunteering at the school! There is only one SAHM in my child's class and she is an absolute gem!! Actually she works part-time, but she spends her free time at the school, whereas all the other parents work full-time and really can't take the time. I want to do something to show appreciation for the work she does, but she refuses to take any gift.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 1:52 PM

Texas Dad of 2 - it would be really nifty if you could take your daughter on a special weekend with her dad. Paris would be unforgettable, but realistically a weekend in NYC with some sightseeing and a show would be something she'd always remember and an opportunity for you to to really connect before she heads in to teenagerness. It would also give your wife some time alone with your other child which would be special for them because if you are like me we don't get alone time with each kid as much as we would like.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 1:52 PM

TDo2, well, it is very obvious what you should buy your 13 yr old. A nice BMW 330. Or any car that is better than yours! Oh, did I forget to mention that the first car AF daughter totaled was my Infiniti?

(this is all TIC except AF D did total the Infiniti. She still does not understand why I will not let her drive the new one.)

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 1:52 PM

"But schools are by and large funded through property taxes. "

Depends where you live and can vary greatly from state to state and district to district. My school district is funded 80% by the feds, so yes, the income tax payers subsidize the district more than the property tax payers.

You should really check the facts before you make such a broad statement about the entire country. Oops, there's that kooky Ivy School habit again!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 1:54 PM

"Or at least one who admitted to having regrets"

Fredia works with stay at homes, working, part time, full time and work at home moms. The underlying current she sees is guilt in some degree from all of them.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 1:55 PM

My friend bought his daughter a special necklace when she turned 13 and gave it to her privately. She told me later how much it meant to her.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 1:58 PM

Texas Dad of 2 - Duh, you are in Texas. How about a weekend in Dallas or someplace more proximal.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 1:58 PM

Totally agree Fred. Not saying that SAHMs are the only ones who have guilt. I feel guilt-ridden all the time (I'm a working mom obviously).

But I don't think working moms have the same problem admitting that they regret working rather than staying at home. This just implies that they wish they'd spent more time with their children. But the flip side - SAHMs admitting they regretted staying at home, I think this must be harder.

Posted by: londonmom | January 31, 2007 1:59 PM

GO COLTS!!!!

I have no degree in psych or anything like that, but as they say in the street, when you throw a stone in a crowd the person who gets hit is the one who cries "ouch." If you feel picked upon or offended by comments on this blog about your parental choice, chances are you aren't 100% comfortable with that choice. Yes, many of the comments are mean, spiteful, and short-sighted. But the reality is we've all sacrificed some part of ourselves in the process of parenting. (If you haven't made any sacrifices, maybe what you were doing in the years BC wasn't that great to begin with.)

I don't usually count this as lucky, but being a single mom I have to work to support my family, so I'm lucky not to have to choose. I like work, I like being a mom. Some days I want to do more of one than the other. I can't always be there for my son. I can't climb the career ladder as fast as others. I am upset with myself when I let my child down or when I don't aspire to be the best in my career. However when I had my son I realized that I am one person, I can't do it all, but I will do the best I can.

Posted by: Cali ESQ | January 31, 2007 2:00 PM

TDo2, ask your daughter what she would like to do. Something special with you, and mom if possible. Teenhood is not hell, please don't think that way. Ages 13-14 can be more trying than 15-19. Keep spending time with your daughter, and keep listening to her. Young teens can be scared, and don't want to admit it. (If she doesn't have her own cell phone that takes pictures she can send to her friends, or the latest IPOD and cash for music downloads, those are the two top items for that age group.)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:02 PM

Re: the sleeping nanny.

Doesn't anyone see how awful it is that we are even discussing that topic?? If you need a camera in order to feel that your child is safe and well taken care of, then maybe it's time to reconsider working. These are small innocent kids- they can't tell you when something's wrong or maybe they're too scared to.

That just hits it home for me- kids shouldn't be placed in those situations.

Posted by: Why Moms SHOULD stay home | January 31, 2007 01:40 PM

Some days it's just exhausting to be reminded that there are people out there who think like this.

Why Moms SHOULD stay home, are Dads incapable of providing sufficient protection? Turning from sexism and dated thinking to the rest of your post, the nanny mentioned by linda b was not sleeping while caretaking, she inadvertently feel asleep while waiting for the moment she was supposed to leave to go pick up her preschool charges). She was normally super reliable, kind and loving. These children were never at any risk, and a sleep-deprived parent is as capable of this as any great, reliable, kind, loving babysitter.

Honestly, my husband's fallen asleep a couple of times and failed to pick up our son from soccer practice. His coach calls me. I go get him and all three of us have a good laugh at well-meaning, sleep-deprived parents.

and, Texas Dad of 2, it's good to have you and your comments back :>)


Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 2:02 PM

Texas Dad --

Dinner at a really nice, grown-up restaurant with you and your wife (but no sibs) would be special.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:02 PM

grown up jewelery. great idea!

Posted by: experienced mom | January 31, 2007 2:03 PM

SMF, just a friendly rejoinder here, I meant the technical point about taxes as being TIC. What I was trying to say was that I disagree with the spirit of your entire post. Whether you think that SAHMs aren't financially contributing to schools, defense or cancer research or all of the above isn't the point, I'm saying that I think it's a cheap shot against SAHMs to make the argument in the first place, just as it was a cheap shot from a SAHM earlier in the blog to throw out the 'your choice to WOTH means that you're not as involved in your kids lives as I am in mine' line of reasoning...

I mean, for gods sake, we don't go around accusing people who retire at 40, 50 of not carrying their weight economically, do we? A lot of people drift in and out of the paid workforce for a variety of reasons at a variety of times in life - and I think its a canard to accuse SAHMs of being fiscally irresponsible as a whole for choosing to not work for pay for a while. Or forever, for that matter. I'm sure anyone could do an economic study or find statistics to prove whatever anyone wanted on the issue. I'm just saying that it's most centrally an individual decision, so saying mean things about an entire group if people is silly.

Posted by: new SAHM in TX | January 31, 2007 2:04 PM

Wow! I come back from lunch to see everything has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Normally, I would step out of the discussion and go do some work but I feel I must add that the remarks about stay-at-home-mothers who enjoy a drink or two comes dangerously close to disparaging my own mother.

Ladies like her maintained the community, including such institutions as the local hospital, the church, the schools, and, yes, the various social organizations. In their day, they organized everything and you crossed them only with great caution. The work they did was the core of our existence as a town and they held all of the power.

So, disdain them at your risk, as you are disdaining the fine person who raised me. My father, of course, were he still alive would likely have invited you to step outside for such remarks.

Posted by: Dave | January 31, 2007 2:05 PM

"Honestly, my husband's fallen asleep a couple of times and failed to pick up our son from soccer practice."

That's what alarms are for. Just set it for a few minutes before you need to leave, then if you should fall asleep, or get wrapped up in a chore, the alarm will save your, um, bacon :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:05 PM

give the sleepy nanny a break.
How many of you have forgotten to pick up your own children? Thank God for cell phones.

Posted by: experienced mom | January 31, 2007 2:08 PM

I think its a canard to accuse SAHMs of being fiscally irresponsible

to new SAHM in TX - I enjoyed your choice of words. Nicely written.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 2:09 PM

Know your 13 yo daughter.

When I turned 13, I was absolutely OVER THE MOON over the nifty little Swiss army knife I was given. Two blades, corkscrew, screwdriver, bottle opener, toothpick.

I CRIED when I lost it in a paddock at the age of 35 and couldn't find it until the springtime. It had self-destructed by then.

But if grown-up jewelry is her thing, don't go too crazy. Opals and emeralds are delicate, the backs fall off of earrings and earrings can get lost, and heaven forbid a younger sister (or a dear, dear friend) should "borrow" or borrow something and then happen to lose it, or get robbed.

Keep it under $80, but definitely something classy.

Posted by: MdMother | January 31, 2007 2:10 PM

Scarry:

I've been really busy. Unfortunately, we are about to have to cut the some work out from under a group from another center that hasn't been doing it's job effectively. So I've been very busy getting our ducks in a row, since this will have to go up the chain of command to the top. D-day on this is next week, so I'll likely only be able to hop in and out periodically until then. Have I missed much during my absence??

Thanks for the birthday ideas so far, moxie (and Fred??--Geez, Fred, where in our cave could we park such a vehicle? BTW, Beamers are overpriced and overrated).

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 2:11 PM

You don't need to have children to use an alarm: I set the one on my stove whenever I HAVE to do something at a certain time (and always when I am cooking). It is way too easy to get distracted by the phone, walking the dog, a good tv show.
One thing for people who get stood up by a good friend - make sure they knew they were supposed to be there! Years ago when I rotated shifts I had to sleep during the day. A friend called while I was asleep and we made plans to have lunch the next day as it was my day off. I never showed up because I didn't remember the conversation. I didn't tell her I had been sleeping and she didn't ask. We had quite a laugh about it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 2:13 PM

Texas Dad of 2,

Since she's approachinig womanhood, how about a day of woman stuff, like a mani, pedi, and facial at a day spa?

Grown-up jewelry is also a fantastic idea. I was around that age when I got my first nice piece of jewelry, which I still have and wear often.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:14 PM

"But the flip side - SAHMs admitting they regretted staying at home, I think this must be harder"

I would suspect that SAHMs regret all the things that they could buy their children if they worked. Not just material things but activities that feed the soul. Dance lessons, music lessons, a bigger house, a longer vacation might be some examples. Also, the value of work that the SAHM might have enjoyed BC.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:16 PM

Mona:

The gap will widen with your sister if you let it. I don't talk about work around my relatives, what's the point. I sent the first brief where I was listed as "of counsel" to my relatives, but the issue wasn't what they were intersted in. They were proud that I finally got my name on a brief and I knew they would be because I have really struggled with my career. My older brother has his HS diploma and went to the military. He doesn't talk about the lofty things he's done in both Gulf Wars, I don't talk about my cases/convictions/exhibits, etc. We talk about music, our kids, our parents, etc. In fact, I don't talk about the law with my friends from law school. If you remember that you are a person first and an attorney second, you get along with people better. At least that's worked for me.

P.S. as for my nom de blog, my other name, caligal is too close to Cal Girl, so the ESQ was the next thing that come to mind.

Posted by: Cali ESQ | January 31, 2007 2:16 PM

Texas Dad of 2-

Take her on a "date". Have her mom take her to the mall for a great new outfit (they can go out to lunch or coffee too and makie it a special mom and daughter thing), get her flowers, take her to a nice restaurant, give her a special necklace, maybe go for a stroll afterwards for some ice cream and just talk. Let her know that she should be treated this way by every guy because she is amazing and smart, etc.

My dad used to get me yellow roses for Valentine's Day and always a great poem for my birthdays. I still have the cards and always felt so wonderful when he walked in with a dozen roses for ME as well as my mom.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:16 PM

Texas dad of 2


Teenage years do suck. I know that when I was around that age a lot of girls got "daughter rings" when they turned 13. Just a pretty gem stone nothing fancy. Their parents also took them out to a nice dinner.

The most important thing you can give her is your heart and your ears. I know it is hard to tell a kid, no matter what you can come to me, but that truly is the best gift. I wish my niece would have felt comfortable going to my brother for help and advice.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 2:17 PM

To the anonymous Ivy Leaguer at 1:54 - I understand that your area's school district may be largely funded by the federal government, but quoting a GAO report on the issue, most funding for most schools nationwide is state and local. Save your superior tone for another day, thanks.

"Although billions of federal dollars support education, state and local governments
and the private sector spend even more. For example, federal spending for public elementary and secondary education is only about 7 percent of all funding for kindergarten through high school (K-12) education. State and local sources provide 47 and 46 percent of the funding, respectively."

Here's the link for you to take a look at. Yes it's from 1998 but the percentage has stayed roughly the same, even after NCLB. As soon as I can find a more updated report, I'll post it for you. http://www.gao.gov/archive/1998/he98046t.pdf

Posted by: new SAHM in TX | January 31, 2007 2:17 PM

"These are small innocent kids- they can't tell you when something's wrong or maybe they're too scared to.

That just hits it home for me- kids shouldn't be placed in those situations"

Absolutely! I can never, never leave my kids alone with:

Teachers
Coaches
Doctors and other medical personnel
Babysitters
Relatives
Friends
Neighbors

It's a big, bad scarry world out there and I have to be with my child 24/7 or else!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:18 PM

To KLB SS MD, My dad was always conscientious about writing down everything, including appointments and social functions, whenever he arranged them, so he wouldn't forget later (I can imagine how someone wakened from a sound sleep might forget). Anyhow, after my dad's death we were going through piles and piles of these old notes to himself on his desk (he was so afraid he'd get senile and forgetful, but never did, fortunately), and it was a really pognant experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:20 PM

Texas Dad of 2,

A set of diamond studs would be a great gift at that age.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:21 PM

"give the sleepy nanny a break.
How many of you have forgotten to pick up your own children? Thank God for cell phones."

Um, I've NEVER forgotten to pick up my child!! Who does that? Geez. ITme to reset your priorities if you can't even remember to pick up a kid!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:21 PM

TDo2,
Agree on the overpriced Bimmer. That is why I own an Infiniti.

Seriously, a day of "grown up" activities such as a spa treatment, diner at a white table cloth restaurant and maybe a bit of jewelry would be excellent. You might what to propose this to her and have her help plan the activities.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:21 PM

I like this story a lot. It sounds like you all worked it out well and - that's life!

Posted by: Shandra | January 31, 2007 2:22 PM

texas dad of 2,

You haven't missed much, but I missed you. My scarry hater stalker came out last week, but he didn't get any support so he left. Other than that it has been business as usual. I am planning a superbowl party, do you have any ideas for how I should make my wings?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:22 PM

Search for wings discussion on 1 of the WaPo food chats this week.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:25 PM

should read

You might want to propose this to her and have her help plan the activities.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:25 PM

"I would suspect that SAHMs regret all the things that they could buy their children if they worked. Not just material things but activities that feed the soul. Dance lessons, music lessons, a bigger house, a longer vacation might be some examples."

How is a bigger house not material? One of these things is not like the other...

Posted by: holdup | January 31, 2007 2:30 PM

Search for wings discussion on 1 of the WaPo food chats this week.

good idea.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 2:31 PM

Search for wings discussion on 1 of the WaPo food chats this week.

good idea.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 2:32 PM

Google Hooters wings recipe - my dh makes them and they are super yummy - they don't come with a cariologist though it might be recommended.
BTW - my vote is for the Colts - that Peyton Manning is such a nice boy.

Posted by: moxiemom | January 31, 2007 2:33 PM

My forgot to pick up kid story - my parents live about 2 miles from my former office. My daughter, who was 4 at the time, was getting over being sick. Though her fever broke that morning we felt it was to soon to have her go back in case of a relapse so she spent the day at the grandparents (no relapse so everyone had fun). Well at the end of the day I was on autopilot and was halfway home (including across the bridge) when I realized the DD was not at preschool, but my parents. Luckily she never figured it out (just thought I was running late) and my parents understood even though because of rush hour I was almost an hour late getting her.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | January 31, 2007 2:34 PM

Texas Dad of 2,

A set of diamond studs would be a great gift at that age

Yes but make sure you get the backs that screw on so she won't lose them.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 2:34 PM

Married to a native Illini, so it's Bears all the way!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:35 PM

Wings - I use the recipe on the back of the bottle of Franks Louisiana hot sauce. You bake the wings rather than fry them (right - MUCH healthier). Then dip in melted butter and hot sauce.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 2:35 PM

Colts??? Hasn't anyone here been in Balto-Wash long enough to remember when Irsay's moving vans snuck out of Charm City under cover of darkness in the wee small hours of March 29, 1984? Such treachery.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:37 PM

Can you still find earrings with the screw-on backings? I have seen the "omega" style backings, but I haven't seen the screw-on type in years. And I love them!

Posted by: MdMother | January 31, 2007 2:37 PM

KLB SS MD

Thanks for suggesting the Spa idea. Spas are not my thing but you did remind me that Fredia loves to go to the spa. AF daughter told me this a.m. that Fredia has been dying to go to this particular spa. I will probably go to the room and take a nap as this spa thing goes on for hours. Maybe I will go to the casio and loose some money and then take a nap. :) Somehow, a nap will be involved!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:37 PM

thanks klb ss md. I think I will try that.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 2:37 PM

Colts v. Bears

OK guys, what am I to do? I was born in Chicago but work in New Orleans--only about 8 blks from the Superdome.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:40 PM

Hmmmmm. Ok - SAHM in TX, I missed the TIC tone of the earlier post. Sorry, I am definetely one of those people who has a hard time reading humor, etc. in emails and electronic communication. I guess we can just agree to disagree here. But for what it's worth, re: "I mean, for gods sake, we don't go around accusing people who retire at 40, 50 of not carrying their weight economically, do we?" Lest you think I am a hypocrite, I do think that people who retire early do not carry their weight economically. Depending on their source of income and age, perhaps they are paying taxes under capital gains tax law, but I have this discussion with my parents all the time (who do not make $$ from capital gains) - there is integrity in working, just because you can retire at 55 doesn't necessarily mean you should. I have more respect for people who still do some form of work than play golf all day. But I have a nasty case of crazy new england frugalness/work ethic insanity, so it might be something I just need to get over.
I appreciated the GAO link - thank you.

Posted by: smf | January 31, 2007 2:40 PM

I am really feeling the love here today!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 2:40 PM

"You bake the wings rather than fry them (right - MUCH healthier)."

Healthier, but not the authentic taste of deep fried wings. A lot like having sex with your spouse using a condom ......

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:42 PM

"Healthier, but not the authentic taste of deep fried wings. A lot like having sex with your spouse using a condom ......"

But you are at least using real butter! And real blue cheese dressing. That has to count for something.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 2:43 PM

smf: not to be snarky but doesn't the 50 year olds who retire and spend their days golfing, help the economy by being major consumers. If they sat at home and did not spend their money or earn money, then that would be bad for everyone else but them. But I think they do their part by spending $$$. A lot of industries are built upon people who have money and time on their hands. My parents both retired in their early 50s. I never saw it as a problem for society. I think it was more a problem for them. Because they stopped using their brain as much. On the other hand Grandma retired in her late 50s and has been doing awesome advocate volunteer work for 3 decades now. Her brain out paces my parents any day.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 2:44 PM

"A lot like having sex with your spouse using a condom ......"

No comment

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:44 PM

To "Healthier, but not the authentic taste of deep fried wings. A lot like having sex with your spouse using a condom".

May be, but you can safely have both a lot more often that way!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:47 PM

A lot like receiving oral sex while wearing a condom...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:48 PM

A lot like receiving oral sex while wearing a condom...

I don't know what that is can you explain it to me?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:50 PM

WAY off topic (now that the 3pm off topic hour is almost here) but something I have wondered about for a while. I know most parents are proud of their children, even when they mess up, don't succeed, and even when they don't meet their parent's expectations. I was watching a show the other day about serial killers. My question is: How do their parents feel? I am sure they don't say "boy am I proud of my son - he has murdered 10 people and just now got caught" but how do they rationalize their love for their child vs their disgust at what they have done?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 2:51 PM

"My question is: How do their parents feel"

We wished we had used a condom...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:52 PM

KLB - I watch some of those true crime shows, and the parents usually seem to be in a state of denial. I haven't seen the one on serial killers, but in other shows when a kid is accused of murder/assault/robbery, etc., the parents claim their child is innocent and couldn't have done such a thing.

Posted by: Missicat | January 31, 2007 2:53 PM

Um, I've NEVER forgotten to pick up my child!! Who does that? Geez. ITme to reset your priorities if you can't even remember to pick up a kid!

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 02:21 PM

To anon at 2:21, Priorities don't have squat to do with it. Sometimes parents are just forgetful - the same as some non-parents. Sometimes parents think the OTHER parent is picking up SuzieQ. Sometimes a parent has early onset Alzheimers, or struggles with memory-issues in connection with ADHD.

Sometimes I don't know what day of the week it is, if you ask me at 2:30. You must be young to consider it all about priorities, with no other (in your mind) legitimate explanation.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:54 PM

The response to this is really surprising. It is clear that so many people can't wait to respond to this blog in such a negative way - as if to validate their own style of parenting by putting people down. Nice values. Leslie, it must be hard to put yourself and family out there to have everyone comment on how good/bad/horrible you are. Dissappointment for an 8 year old is a learning experience, and won't be the last time she is disappointed by a parent or close family member. This summer, my family was invited to a very close cousin's wedding in South Carolina at the Beach. We turned it into a family vaction and got a beach house. I bought new outfits for everyone for the wedding and we were going to see family members we hadn't seen in years. The reception was on a party boat. Although my three children's names were on the invitation, my aunt pulled me aside and told me that the groom did NOT want children at the reception (they are 6,8,10) and they would arrange a sitter. We were all crestfallen. We chose not to attend the reception (we went to the wedding and smiled) and went crabbing afterward instead. Upon hearing about being uninvited, my kids were horribly upset and my 10 year old was having a hard time getting over his disappointment - at first. I think though, that was such a growing experience for him in the end. Disappointment will come all throughout life. You certainly don't want to create it, but it happens and you have to learn to deal with it. Best it be on insignificant situations like a reading group or wedding reception than something meaningful. In both cases, we worry that these children feel some sort of rejection, but a close relationship with their parents, which they both have, can quickly resolve those issues - and probably later turn into a joke they share their entire lives.

If the incident is something that causes your daughter to be made fun of by her peer group at school, there is a bigger issue. What kind of values do those kids have and what kind of parent would raise a child think that missing a reading date is a serious defect. Yuck.

Posted by: Former NoVa Mom | January 31, 2007 2:55 PM

KLB SS MD,

There are a lot of times when we love our children but do not like them or their actions at all. The last few days have been this way with our older son. I just don't know how to explain this any differently. Fortunarly, none of our kids have killed anyone.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 2:55 PM

Foamgnome - I get your point, but disagree a little bit. The whole "not to be snarky but doesn't the 50 year olds who retire and spend their days golfing, help the economy by being major consumers" is way too reminiscent of President Bush (43's) answer when people ask how they should sacrifice for the global war on terror: they should either buy things and contribute to the economy (as he rallied for in the early wake of 9/11), or he says people "are" sacrificing - they are paying taxes. By this virtue, Paris Hilton is doing her part because she's a consumer, and I just don't buy into that. This is why I included the idea that I think there is integrity to working in my earlier post (and I also noted that I could be crazy here, I'm open to amending my thoughts about it). It also reminds me of something we were talking about on this board a while ago about caring for aging parents, and in some other cultures where the adult children care for their parents, the parents, in turn, do work around the house, care for the youngest family members, etc., so they are contributing, too. I'm stumped as to how volunteering fits in - I agree completely that it is an exceptionally worthwhile endeavor. Perhaps even more worthwhile than many forms of paid work. But I wonder if folks like your Grandma are the exception, rather than the rule....I do get where you're headed though, and I appreciate your thought - I just think that mentality isn't one I agree with.

Posted by: smf | January 31, 2007 2:58 PM

"We chose not to attend the reception (we went to the wedding and smiled) and went crabbing afterward instead"

Ha, ha! "Went crabbing instead". Very , very good pun.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 2:58 PM

retirees also free up their job slots for younger people.

Posted by: to smf | January 31, 2007 2:59 PM

""These are small innocent kids- they can't tell you when something's wrong or maybe they're too scared to.

That just hits it home for me- kids shouldn't be placed in those situations"

Absolutely! I can never, never leave my kids alone with:

Teachers
Coaches
Doctors and other medical personnel
Babysitters
Relatives
Friends
Neighbors

It's a big, bad scarry world out there and I have to be with my child 24/7 or else!!"

Make sure you add moms and dads to that list as well! "Oh my god, I fell asleep and forgot my kid's doctor's appointment/etc! The child is in danger! I can't leave her alone with me! Oh, wait...."

Yeah, 'cause parents are infallible. Look, my eyes just rolled so far in my head that they're now rolling across the floor. Great, now they're picking up dirt...yippee.

Cali ESQ, thanks for the advice. I'll definitely keep that in mind. (Aside: In what part of CA do you practice?)

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 2:59 PM

It just seems as tho disappointment that they didn't get into the "right" school would pale when compared to mass murder. I can't help but wonder if there were signs (and many of them were troubled children) that were ignored by the parents. The man I was watching about yesterday killed over 200 people. I was just blown away.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 3:00 PM

KLB SS MD,

May I ask if you have kids? I don't recall if you have said so or not.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 3:01 PM

"Maybe you need to move to a school district that has a better teacher/pupil ratio or send your kids to a private school. I doubt that parents reading to kids is going to make any difference in your daughter's school."

Without going into great detail about the educational system in my area, I'll just say that in order to do that, I would have to move out of state or go against my beliefs about the importance of public education.

Maybe parents reading to children wouldn't make a huge difference on its own. But volunteers have a HUGE impact on schools here. Among other things, they raise money to fund an art teacher and an extra day of PE and music a week for every child, and partially fund a reading specialist for children who struggle in reading. They work in the classrooms and help children with writing, math, reading, science, social studies. They do clerical tasks for teachers so that the teacher can spend their time teaching. They check out books in the library and supervise/answer questions in the computer lab.

So yes, volunteers make a difference, at least in my experience. And I would rather have my children in school here where volunteerism is valued than in a school district with smaller class sizes and more money but filled with children raised by parents who look with such scorn at people who give their time to help others.


Posted by: momof4 | January 31, 2007 3:02 PM

"I am sure they don't say "boy am I proud of my son - he has murdered 10 people and just now got caught" but how do they rationalize their love for their child vs their disgust at what they have done?"

Maybe they say, "It could be worse, at least he didn't torture them before he killed them."

Or, "That was the most cleanest crime scene I've ever seen -- there was almost no blood!"

Or, "At least he left that DNA evidence so the cops could catch him."

Or, "He's so creative, he killed each victim in a different way."

Or, "At least he only killed other violent thugs."

Just a thought.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:02 PM

smf: that is cool that we disagree. Personally if the lottery fairy ever visits my door step, I am handing in my two month notice with out a bat of the eye. Of course that is highly unlikely to happen, given I don't play the lottery. I wished my parents would have worked longer because they seemed to loose their mental edge. In return, their physical health declined faster then it should have. My Grandmother is awesome. She is really a big influence in my life. But I keep reading that the US consumer is keeping this economy afloat. That includse more then just retirees. I personally hope to walk out the door with 401K and pension long before 67 (age of retirement for me). But do plan to follow Grandma's example and do things that matter to me and to society with out financial compensation.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 3:02 PM

Fred, no kids - one dog. Lots of friends with kids with whom I am very close (take for weekends, etc).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 3:02 PM

KLB SS MD - the modern parent who cares about their child's' self esteem separates the child's' actions from the child.

It's standard psycho-babble - "dear I feel sad when I read in the paper that they found 20 bodies buried in your back yard"

Posted by: RoseG | January 31, 2007 3:06 PM

momof4: I checked the VA teacher student ratio and the state average was one teacher to 14 kids. Of course that is averaging some very small classes; like special education and I am not sure the teacher defines an actual teacher or aide. But it does seem shocking the numbers you are quoting. I would think the average VA elementary class to be around 20-25 students. 30+ seems outrageous. Are property tax low where you live?

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 3:06 PM

"Healthier, but not the authentic taste of deep fried wings. A lot like having sex with your spouse using a condom ......"

But you are at least using real butter! And real blue cheese dressing. That has to count for something.

Are you talking about sex or chicken wings?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:09 PM

They work in the classrooms and help children with writing, math, reading, science, social studies

Again, where are they trained to do this? Why should they be allowed to teach kids anything?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:10 PM

My problem with Leslie's husband's actions in this case? From her descriptions of him, he sounds like someone who would never just forget about a business meeting (or a 3 a.m. business phone call), but has no problem allowing himself to space out about an apparently much less important event like the reading event at school.

If you're going to space out, don't sign up.

Posted by: Lilybeth | January 31, 2007 3:11 PM

A little off topic, but one of my colleagues who lives in Columbia MD said he volunteers in his kids school by grading papers for the teacher. I found this appalling. Why should he have a right to know what other kids grades are? I thought there were some privacy rules set up at schools. Any teachers out there? What do you think?

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 3:12 PM

Former NoVa Mom,
You handled your wedding situation very gracefully. Good for you. It was really rude of your cousins to include your children on the invitation and unceremoniously uninvite them at the last minute. But you are right, in the scheme of things, this is a minor matter, and going crabbing with the family sounds like a very nice alternative.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 3:13 PM

Butter and blue cheese on wings. Whipped cream for the other (not that I would know but I have heard rumors).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 3:13 PM

I don't like the idea either of other parents grading papers. Are they usung a key or are they making judgements about the correctness of the answer.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 3:15 PM

Thanks once again to all for the barrels of good suggestions. Oddly, they fit very nicely in with the kind of items I was thinking. The diamond studs idea is particularly good. She also needs a good gold chain for a variety of jewelry purposes, but I like the studs idea better.

I constantly find myself amazed at the value of a father in a young girl's life as she approaches teenage years. Much of her self worth and the kind of respect she will demand from males who eventually enter into her life seems to get set about this time. So I am trying to stay very conscious of how large my impact is, and that you don't get do-overs.

I have pushed the math/science thing pretty hard up to this point, since she showed early aptitude and I didn't want her to lose it, as used to happen to so many young girls as they approach high school.

So I will do my best to pay close attention to all this, especially now, when it seems to matter most. It is interesting that the advice offered by several of you here matches what my older sister has been trying to impress on me the last few years leading up to now (to begin going on "dates" with my daughter, etc. I admit this sounded very odd when I first heard it.)

Scarry:
I'm guessing that was you talking about stalkers, and then chicken wings. You left that message unsigned, so just wanted to make sure. Sorry about the stalker, and glad they disappeared. What was the topic of the moment that generated this stalker?

As for wings, sorry to say that for me personally I treat them as a bare step up from ribs. Mainly, a lot of work for very little meat payoff... :~) Of course, I know lots of folks that like them. Those that do (like my own Texas lady), who seem to like them hot enough to melt their teeth. If you go that route, some dressing or something that cuts the heat for unsuspecting guests sometimes helps. A vat of beer might also serve wonderfully well in that regard. :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 3:15 PM

I live in Oregon. We have a middle of the road property tax burden, as far as I know. But the issue here is (here's that detail that I was going to avoid ;o) ) in 1990 "we" passed a measure that limited property taxes. The proponents of the measure insisted that schools would still be funded. That was true, sort of. The problem is that something like 90% of our school funding post 1990 now comes from the state income tax, so our funding is much less stable (since income taxes fluctuate with the economy, unemployment levels, etc.)

It's also not all about how much money there is to start with, but how and where it's spent. Our teacher salaries rank in the top third or so when compared to all other states, but our teacher benefits are among the very highest, which drives up the class sizes. Oregon has the highest average class size in the country. I believe it's something like 23 students, but like you said, that includes all grade levels and I believe it also includes specialists such as music and P.E. teachers.

But my original point is that volunteers make a difference in the schools. Even if your child's 1st grade class only has 18 kids instead of my daughter's 26, an extra adult there to spend one-on-one time with a child listening to them read or do small group work with 3 or 4 children frees up the teacher's time to work with with the other children individually or in smaller groups. Making copies for the teacher means she can spend her prep time working on a lesson plan instead of standing at the copy machine. Etc.

Posted by: momof4 | January 31, 2007 3:17 PM

foamgnome, I find that odd, not only that the parent knows all the kids' grades, but is that person trained to know the answers? Are we talking differential equations, or state capitals?

Then again, when I was in grade school, *I* was the one grading papers (yes, I was the suck-up), and didn't think about it then...but now, it strikes me as odd...

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 3:17 PM

Texas Dad of 2, I'm sure you know your daughter better than we, but I thought I'd give you another idea if she's not the jewelry and spa type girl (I was not). If she wants, maybe take her and some of her friends to laser tag, or horse back riding, or camping.

BTW, I would be weirded out if my dad wanted to take me on a "date." Maybe at 8 or 9, but 13? That strikes me as a little strange. But that's just me.

Posted by: Meesh | January 31, 2007 3:18 PM

"They work in the classrooms and help children with writing, math, reading, science, social studies

Again, where are they trained to do this? Why should they be allowed to teach kids anything?"

Because they graduated from High School or College. To assist a teacher in classroom instruction does not require a degree in education. To teach a child how to read See Spot Run or add 2+2 is a function that most any HS graduate can handle. The teacher is setting the curriculum and the assignments. The parents are helping.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 3:18 PM

Wings? No way.

Chili and cornbread for the 'Bowl!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:21 PM

"They work in the classrooms and help children with writing, math, reading, science, social studies

Again, where are they trained to do this? Why should they be allowed to teach kids anything?"

There are various levels of help. Do you seriously think you can't teach a child anything without training? When I helped in a school, there were several volunteer parents available and the children were in a one on one situation with an adult. The children read aloud from a word list. The adult annotated if they got the word right the first time, or right after a little coaching and sounding it out, or weren't able to identify the word correctly.

This allowed the teacher to identify the skills and abilities of the children for proper instruction, group work, etc. It was a great time saver for the teacher and allowed the teacher more time to focus attention on other things. The skills identification 'exercise' took only a fraction of the time it would have needed if only the teacher were doing the evaluation.

I am WOHM who volunteered in the school when I was able on an irregular, sporadic basis. The SAHM volunteers did wonderful things and seemed to welcome extra hands when the WOHM were able to be there. Both groups had holier-than-thou sorts and both groups had wonderful people.

As far as working vs retirement goes, I think that this is another area of personal choice. After 30-40 years of working, I see nothing wrong with someone wanting to just take it easy and "enjoy life". If you want to keep working, or volunteering, or contributing to society in some way, then that's great. But it is not wrong to have interests that are less ambitious than yours.

Posted by: xyz | January 31, 2007 3:22 PM

I remember when I was in school, we graded each other's papers. There were short answer tests. The process was to take the test, and then the teacher would collect the papers and give them back to the class, except you would get back some other's person's test. She would then call out the answers, and you would put an X next to the wrong answers, and then at the top, you would write down a minus sign plus however many wrong answers there were. And then the tests would go back to their real owners for a double check. The teacher would then call out our names and we would tell her our score. I never really minded it because I tended to do well enough on tests, but in hindsight, I can see how this might be very humiliating for the kids who were struggling with a class.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 3:22 PM

Thanks for the blog and the comments. I am a new dad who feels I would be terrible if I did not participate in my son's life at every stage. It's only been three months and I already realize how tough that would be for either myself or my wife. Trouble is our expectations are greater than our capabilities. Best way I can avoid problems like the story mentioned is to not overpromise myself. Better to have a small disappointment than a bigger one.

Posted by: Bob | January 31, 2007 3:23 PM

Foamgnome - I think it is great you will take after your Grandma, your community is lucky to have you. :-) And wrt "volunteers" grading papers, I'm appalled. Yikes!

Posted by: smf | January 31, 2007 3:23 PM

Favorite chili recipes, anyone??

Posted by: Missicat | January 31, 2007 3:24 PM

I am also surprised by the vitriol level in response to Leslie's post today. There are indeed parents who *repeatedly* miss commitments and break promises made to their children...and many of them attempt to make up for it with expensive and frequent gifts. No excuse for that.

But I rather doubt this is the case with Leslie's husband. He forgot. He had the best of intentions, and he messed up. He felt terrible. He apologized. It's pretty likely that Leslie's daughter, being a kid, will also forget or lose something important one of these days. How would her parents expect to her to deal with it? How would they respond to it?

If the extreme work obligations and 3am lawyer chats are a constant, her father will probably realize he needs to rethink a few things. Most likely, however, his work is like a lot of other people's - some very intense times with some "breathers" in between. And to anyone who has used this to slam working parents in general for lack of commitment to their children...ugh!

Posted by: Jill in Denver | January 31, 2007 3:25 PM

As to other parents grading papers:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:25 PM

"Making copies for the teacher means she can spend her prep time working on a lesson plan instead of standing at the copy machine."

I'm confused. Does this mean the teacher's salary is reduced if volunteers are doing the teacher's work?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:26 PM

"They work in the classrooms and help children with writing, math, reading, science, social studies"

"Again, where are they trained to do this? Why should they be allowed to teach kids anything?"

Sigh.

Are you unable to help a second grader sound out a word when they're writing in their journal and need some help?

Are you unable to drill a 3rd grader on multiplication facts?

Are you unable to ask a kindergartner questions about what they're seeing when they examine a snail?

Are you unable to show a first grader where the Rocky Mountains are on the map she's coloring?

Are you unable to listen to a child read and help them with a word they can't figure out?

Does any normally functioning adult need to be *trained* to do any of the above?

I did not say that the "untrained" parent is TEACHING the class, I said that they are HELPING the teacher. If you had ever spent any time at all in a classroom, you would probably realize that often the teacher will present a lesson and the children will then have time to work on their own, raising their hands when they have questions. Any competent adult with a small amount of direction from the teacher can answer those questions - it certainly doesn't take an education degree to be helpful.

Posted by: momof4 | January 31, 2007 3:26 PM

I think the topic was about packing your husband's suitcase and some person went of on a rant about if that's the only thing you have to worry about, yada yada and people jumped on that person, so I got to thinking about why he was so upset and I said that some times the things we discuss are trivial.

That brought my fan out who said I was lonely before and more so after my move, that he didn't want to hear about my boobs although that might explain why I was a cheerleader. In short, he spends way to much time paying attention to me. Good thing I live with a rough engineer or I might be scared. (yeah, right) :)

Posted by: scarry to texas dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 3:27 PM

There are some parents I wouldn't want helping my kid sound out words or write a sentence. You know, the ones who write "would of" instead of "would have," or misuse "it's" and "its," or "there" and "their," etc.

Yes, I'm talking about ADULTS who make these mistakes.

Posted by: Mona | January 31, 2007 3:31 PM

I would think that if persons other than the teacher were to grade papers, the papers would have to be assigned random numbers, and not contain the students' names or identifying information. The teacher would then have to match up the names and numbers to record grades. Otherwise, I would be concerned about violating federal law, and any applicable state privacy laws.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:31 PM

""Making copies for the teacher means she can spend her prep time working on a lesson plan instead of standing at the copy machine."

I'm confused. Does this mean the teacher's salary is reduced if volunteers are doing the teacher's work?"

I'm not sure if you're being snarky or not, but in case you're not -

I was just trying to make a point that not all volunteers are doing useless work.

If the teacher doesn't have to do clerical work, she can spend more time doing what she has been trained to do - teach and prepare to teach your children (since being trained to teach seems to be an issue for some people.) Do you feel that teachers are already overpaid, so they can just spend another half hour a day working on clerical stuff and buck up??

Posted by: momof4 | January 31, 2007 3:32 PM


"...said he volunteers in his kids school by grading papers for the teacher"

Common practice around here. What is the big deal? Do you feel that parents do not have enough discretion to not reveal other's grades? That a parent volunteer would maliciously mark a grade lower than a teacher would? Remember many teachers have their kids in the same school and I have not heard of too many cases that the other teachers gave all A's to the kid. Fredia would volunteer in the kids' school and would grade papers, help with reading and math. But I guess that would be OK since she is a certified elementary ed teacher.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 3:32 PM

Texas Dad,

Seems to me that diamonds are a little over the top for a 13-year-old. I think a pair of cultured pearl studs or really good 18K small hoops would be more appropriate. Where's she going to wear diamond studs?

Posted by: Another Perspective | January 31, 2007 3:33 PM

Quite so, Scarry. I liked when your "fan" called all bloggers "lonely, pathetic losers" or something along those lines. What could be more pathetic and loserly than spending your time reading things which you claim are beneath you, then randomly insulting people you don't even know? "Get a life" suggests itself, but that's so cliché...and rude.

Posted by: Jill in Denver | January 31, 2007 3:33 PM

Re: the sleeping nanny.

Doesn't anyone see how awful it is that we are even discussing that topic?? If you need a camera in order to feel that your child is safe and well taken care of, then maybe it's time to reconsider working. These are small innocent kids- they can't tell you when something's wrong or maybe they're too scared to.

That just hits it home for me- kids shouldn't be placed in those situations.

Posted by: Why Moms SHOULD stay home | January 31, 2007 01:40 PM


Actually, we never even considered a nanny cam - I just threw it out there because certainly other people have used one or have considered using one.

The babysitter had been with us for 3 years at that point and truly was super reliable and loving and kind and so all was forgiven. The children really benefitted from having her in their lives because she really loved them. And there were also some things that she did better than I (did!)-- crafts and being very silly and fun, and also handling certain situations that get difficult for us parents because they are OUR kids (example being patient with lengthy potty training time). She was only the second one we had ever hired (#1 didn't work out so well). She is as close to my children and me today (kids are 14 now) as anyone in our family. If I'd ever felt that I needed a camera to keep tabs on the sitter, well that sitter would surely have been let go.

But, in fact, there are lots of good daycare arrangements. Working (part time in my case) has worked for me. At one time it was sort of an option - not really though since my husband was self employed so we really needed the health benefits. After his sudden, untimely passing ... well, yeah, I gotta work (still part time) and that's just the way it is and it's not bad, not at all, not for me, not for the kids.

Moms (and dads) need to do what's best for the family and in trying to do our best we sometimes forget or fall asleep.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 3:34 PM

Even though DH made a mistake by not showing up, I was really moved that he signed up so eagerly for the reading date in the first place.

As for the school's supposed "mean kids" I haven't met any yet. They are SECOND GRADERS. Adults can be mean, sure, but little kids haven't mastered that art yet. I think Anonymous is being oversensitive here...and displaying odd values, because what responsible parents would send his/her kids to a private school with "mean" kids? Not me...

Fo4 and Mona -- thanks for the good chuckle. A wifey who never even CONSIDERED packing her husband's suitcase is not worth much as a calendar keeper either...

Palisades -- THANK YOU!!!!! I think you might be the only one who really got today's story.

Posted by: Leslie | January 31, 2007 3:34 PM

Crabbing? Awesome move! The inviting/dis-inviting kids to the weeding and/or reception issue rears its noxious noggin again. Way more fun than sleepin nannies...

Years back, my family was invited to my brother's weeding but told no kids...and then other kids were in attendance. We felt snubbed.

Since the ceremony and reception were at the same location we couldnt do one and not the other.

Unfortunatley for my brother's life (IMHO) this union disintegrated, thankfully at least - childless. My kids were little, but behaved, and we had brought along my DW's grandparents to help. They babysat my kids and we paid their way at the house on the shore for a week.

The polite thing to do would have been to invite them and the kids to the ceremony at least - but I have been shouted down on this very blog for that idea b4. It's the bride's day etc etc, dont foist your precious kids etc etc

The vaca on the shore to follow was one to forget - my mom was unbearable towards my in-laws.

I havent ever really forgiven her for her conduct and lack of support on this issue and some others. Such wasted time that could have been enjoyable. Bitter, angry aging woman since my father passed - and so dismissive to my wife and cold to her grandkids. Sad really.

Posted by: Fo3 | January 31, 2007 3:36 PM

Are there background checks on these helpers? And yes, I don't want my child interacting with some of these parents under any circumstances.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:38 PM

FERPA protects student educational records. A single paper test is not a part of that record. The record includes grades, comments, IEP's, disciplinary actions, etc.

And you certainly don't need an education degree to help kids. Haven't you heard of peer tutoring. If students can help each other understand concepts, information, etc, why can't an adult.

Posted by: N ew Poster | January 31, 2007 3:40 PM

And now, for something COMPLETELY different. . .

Thanks to you folks and the "fluffy, fun Friday" discussion that touched on wearing things that fit and make you feel good, I went home Tuesday night and threw out my 30-pounds-ago "fat pants" -- including the ones I was wearing at work while I read the posts. No wonder I hadn't felt as confident as I had in better-fitting duds Monday!

Thanks!

Posted by: wenholdra | January 31, 2007 3:41 PM

"pathetic and loserly"

Jill,

I LOVE the (non)word "loserly"! Thanks for a chuckle and another great word for my quiver.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 3:43 PM

Yes, I'm talking about ADULTS who make these mistakes

Hate to tell you this Mona, but there are teachers that make those same mistakes. Maybe they passed their certification tests but...

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 3:43 PM

Our son's teachers routinely have everyone in the class trade papers with a student of his/her choosing and they grade each other's papers.

While an efficient use of time and a learning experience for some, it must be horrifying for others.

Having said that, parent volunteers in the classroom are well able to assess which children are struggling, which are bored, etc. so whether or not those parent volunteers have access to educational records, as defined by FERPA, they have a lot of information about students in the class that may be more embarrassing than how Billy did on his fractions test.

Texas Dad of 2 - My two cents on the gift for your daughter is to take her on the NYC or other destination weekend trip. It doesn't have to be expensive or far away. My son's favorite memory is of our 2 1/4 day 15 hour drive to Vermont together a couple of years ago, and he hates long car trips with a passion. (My husband and daughter flew.) We stayed in three Super8 motels and ate pizza to save $$ and he read Captain Underpants books to me in the car. Exclusive time with you and shared experiences are things she'll (and you'll) remember long after any jewelry is lost or tarnished. Not that there's anything wrong with those diamond studs if you go that direction :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 3:44 PM

If I were a teacher and wanted parents to help grade, I'd try to get a legal opinion from the district's attorney saying it was OK, even if the only purpose is to stave off angry parents.

If I found out someone was grading my kid's stuff with personally identifying information on it, I'd start a serious lobby to stop it.

I'm sure it would be easier for the teachers to do their own work than risk causing such a tremendous PR problem for the school.

Plus, isn't it teachers who always say "Do your own work"?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:45 PM

"Are there background checks on these helpers? And yes, I don't want my child interacting with some of these parents under any circumstances."

These helpers are the parents of one of the children in the class. No background checks. Seriously, not snarkily, what concerns do you have regarding your child interacting with the parents? It never occurred to me that a classroom helper would have a profound impact on my child.

FWIW, my children's school welcomed helpers in the classroom through 2nd or 3rd grade, and then requested that the volunteers work on tasks outside the classroom. The idea was that parents in the classroom after that point were a distraction and not a help.

Posted by: why not | January 31, 2007 3:47 PM

Meesh,

Thanks for the insights. My daughter isn't too girly yet, though she has her flashes. Clothes are becoming more inportant to her (as her circle of friends is rather well to do, and Engineering families don't spend fortunes on clothes).

As the the "date" thing, it sounds rather creepy, but once I got past the lingo I saw what they were trying to say to me. It's a signal of the importance you place in her (in time for this example), and that she is worthy of your full attention alone. I have also seen what happens to girls who start their adult life seeking/craving Daddy's attention, and not getting it. Even if the literature weren't already full on this topic, it's a secret every horny teeenage boy knows how to exploit. Now I do have large caliber weapons and am a crack shot, but that's another story...

So I expect to use my influence to help her set herself up right early, and I just pray it has the proper intended effect. Much is said in society about boys with missing father's and how that sets up criminal mischief, but I often don't think guys realize just how important their influence is on their girls. This is one father at least who hopes to not forget it...

Chili and cornbread, without tamales? Please, please people, get it right...for goodness sakes! Do I have to do everything around here?!?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 3:47 PM

Jill after he rags on me, he usually gets mad when no one joins and throws a fit and leaves hurling insults at everyone. This issue he has with me goes way back, I have even apologized and thought it was over, but he just pops up again.

I've left the blog a few times because he was so mean and disruptive, but I came back because I like the people.


Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 3:50 PM

Texas Dad,

Consider cultured pearls in a necklace. Very nice, not overly pricey, memorable.

Have fun!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:51 PM

PEOPLE - APOSTROPHES SHOW POSSESSION OR CONJUNCTIONS, THEY ARE NOT FOR PLURAL....."boys with missing FATHERS" NOT "FATHER'S"

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:52 PM

PEOPLE - APOSTROPHES SHOW POSSESSION OR CONJUNCTIONS, THEY ARE NOT FOR PLURAL....."boys with missing FATHERS" NOT "FATHER'S"

oh my, are you okay?

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 3:54 PM

anon at 3:52, it's hard to take blogging advice from someone who shouts. Would you like some wings or chili with tamales while you calm down?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:55 PM

As to other parents grading papers:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Work completed by a student for a class does not count as a student education record. A report card is an education record. An IEP is an education record. A test, quiz, paper, book report -- these are not education records.

Posted by: Teacher | January 31, 2007 3:55 PM

he was greading math papers. He is a statistician. So you can assume he knows fourth grade math. I just don't think he has the right to know the grades of other children. And as nice as some parents are, you can bet there is a parent in the bunch who will talk about little Susie's math problems, or Johnny's fraction problems are related to his parent's divorce issues. I don't trust the gossip mill. I think it is just unwise for teachers to allow parents or students to grade other people's work. I think the past, teachers did the pass the assignment around stuff because the world was less concerned about privacy and also less concerned about humilating students. Hopefully we have learned from those times.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 3:56 PM

"These helpers are the parents of one of the children in the class. No background checks. Seriously, not snarkily, what concerns do you have regarding your child interacting with the parents?"

Ex cons, child molesters, pedophiles and kidnappers don't ever have children of their own? They might not think "volunteering" is a good way to be around some young kids?

My state has online court dockets. I call it the "poor man's background check," but when I have kids you can bet I'm running the name of every baby-sitter, teacher, and volunteer through it to see what pops up, from traffic violations, to protective orders, to criminal convictions.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 3:57 PM

'Bitter, angry aging woman since my father passed'

That would be my mother too. It's hard to remember that I am not responsible for her happiness, she is impossible to please.

Posted by: experienced mom | January 31, 2007 3:57 PM

NC Lawyer, thanks for the thoughts. NYC would be a bit too far, but I liked where you were headed.

Thanks, "another perspective." Maybe Pearls would be better...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 3:58 PM

I do think that parent volunteers can be a huge asset to any school. I work, but I volunteer for the school also, by coordinating an after school enrichment program that is provided through the PTA. I like this project because I can work on it from home. But there are many other moms at our school who either work part time or are SAHMs. They take care of projects that are so involved that I would never have time to take them on, and I am very grateful for their service to our school and community. Our PTA has purchased many things for the school that our kids would not otherwise have, including playground equipment, books, and computers for their media center, and our PTA has been able to do this thanks to the many fundraisers that have been organized by the moms who don't have paying jobs. My child has benefited from their work and dedication to our children. They deserve nothing but thanks.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 3:58 PM

While all the special father/daughter suggestions are wonderful, be sure that there is a family celebration as well. Special events, such as landmark birthdays, should be recognized and celebrated by all.

The tumultuous teenage years are especially hard on mother/daughter relationships. Please help your wife have some special mother/daughter time now as well.

Posted by: to Texas Dad | January 31, 2007 3:59 PM

Texas Dad of 2 - When I was a teenager, my dad and I had a few rituals which kept us close and not arguing with each other. Each summer, he and I would go canoeing at least once a month (so 4-5 times/summer), just the two of us, for 3 hours at a time. And we'd follow it up with lunch or an afternoon ice cream. And during the school year, when we were all busier, he and I had monthly "dates" (they weren't called dates) that we spent an afternoon (or morning) together, doing whatever seemed like fun. We went to museums, plays, to the mall, to the movies, lunch, etc. The time was incredibly important to me. My mother and I fought like cats and dogs during my teenage years (though we are close now) so my time with my dad was a safe haven.

The best birthday I've ever had was my 10th (I'm in my 30s now). My mom took the day off work, and we went out to lunch (at Chi-chi's - is that chain still around???) and went to see a movie. I don't really remember everything about the day, but I look back and just think warmly about this day all the time. And until the discussion today, I had forgotten about the time when I was 14 that my mom forgot to pick me up after school. I called and called and no one answered. I walked 2 miles to a friend's house and hung out there, and kept calling home. Three hours later (8 p.m.), my mom answered and said "where the hell are you?!?!" She had forgotten that my dad was out of town and she had to pick me up, and had gone out to dinner with a friend of hers and gotten a perm instead of picking me up. Oops. As you can see, I am extremely scarred by her tardiness.

As for catlady earlier today, I am a chronically late person. My friends account for it by telling me to be places 15 minutes earlier than normal. So we're meeting at 8, tell me 7:45. It's no skin off anyone's nose. Different people have different skills. Mine is being on "island time."

Posted by: MplsMama | January 31, 2007 3:59 PM

Scarry:

How funny. The wife packing suitcase story was the one topic that I had wanted to read and offer something on, but I was too snowed under. Now I wish I had read it. How on earth did the topic get to your boobs (or to cheerleading)?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 to scarry | January 31, 2007 4:00 PM

"Do I have to do everything around here?!?"

See correction above.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:00 PM

PEOPLE - APOSTROPHES SHOW POSSESSION OR CONJUNCTIONS, THEY ARE NOT FOR PLURAL....."boys with missing FATHERS" NOT "FATHER'S"

Do you mean "contractions"?

Also, you probably meant to put a semi-colon between your two independent clauses so as not to end up with a comma splice, right?

If you're going to vent, at least get it right.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:00 PM

The definition of "education record" is quite broad (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g(a)(4)(A)), and while I know we all like to play lawyer, particularly education law expert, please take lay pronouncements of what is, and isn't, an education record with a grain of salt. Also FERPA only applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive federal funding. Sectarian and non-sectarian private schools generally are not subject to its obligations.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:01 PM

Texas Dad --

I love tamales but don't have a clue how to make them.

Can you help?

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:01 PM

ha, texas dad of 2 that is just it, we talked about cheerleading/football months ago and boobs were a side topic that we got off on while discussing fredia's anniversary gift.

The fan is silly to recall it all.

I think your daughter will like whatever you give her.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 4:02 PM

Scarry, I'm fairly new to the blogosphere, so it initially surprised me to see such unmitigated nastiness (and you appear to be his favorite target, but not his only one). Having visited a few more blogs, however, I've realized that almost every one has one or more of these crabby "ANONS" who have some sort of itch they just can't scratch! And I for one always enjoy your input, so don't leave!

Posted by: Jill in Denver | January 31, 2007 4:03 PM

When my daughter was in the 2nd grade learning about Hellen Keller, I was asked to do a special presentation for her class. My daughter got to sit front & center as I ran the show. She was beaming with pride.

The first thing I told the class is that if they had a question, just blurt it out. No need to raise hands. they really liked that part. I showed them samples of braille print, then we did hands on activities like how to offer assistance to blind people like tapping the seat to show them where to sit.

then I got them to pretend they were blind by asking them to close their eyes. Then we played the find your desk blindfolded game and the kids had so much fun the class got out of control.

Poor teacher. Sorry!

But this is the best part. Right as I was wundering if I embarrassed my daughter with my shananogens, my daughter came running up to me, kissed my hand, and exclaimed, "Great job Dad. I love you!"

That single moment is on my top 10 list of best parenting memmories.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 31, 2007 4:03 PM

I always set my cybercalendar to send me E-mail reminders a full 24 hours in advance. It's the only way that works to keep my life coordinated.

Posted by: Hypatia | January 31, 2007 4:04 PM

Ex cons, child molesters, pedophiles and kidnappers don't ever have children of their own? They might not think "volunteering" is a good way to be around some young kids?

In my children's school, the volunteers are never alone with the children. Even one on one work is done in the presence of others. Far enough to be able to work without disruption, but still in the same room.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:04 PM

No Chi-Chi's closed down years ago, at least in this area. They had the best chili con queso, much better than what the brand they sell in the store. And yes they used an apostrophe in the name--I know I worked there for years.

In high school, my dad and I also used to take weekly bike rides. It was a great time together. My husband is now teaching my daughter to ice skat--such a wonderful thing to see fathers and daughters spending time together.

Posted by: New Poster | January 31, 2007 4:07 PM

FO4- I need help.
Would a word table with the header row at the top be considered 508 compliant?

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 4:07 PM

Whether parents grading papers is a violation of federal or state law aside, I think it is incredibly tacky for parents to grade papers.

I don't want some other parent knowing my kid only got a B on his spelling test, when her daughter got an A. And no, I don't trust all parents to be discreet about knowing grades. Who likes to gossip more than a bunch of SAHMs? I think that is a recipe for hurt feelings and disaster.

Also as a teacher in a tight budget, I would still be concerned about the legal issues, until a lawyer from that state who specializes in educational issues told me it was OK.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:08 PM

Father of 4, you always have the best stories.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:08 PM

I never said I was an education law expert. I am, however, a teacher. Anything that goes into a student's file makes up "the record". The only student work that's ever gone into a file that I've heard about is anything that contained alarming material (for example, a student talking about throwing up after each meal) that requires follow-up and/or intervention with appropriate resources.

I've never heard of teachers asking parents for help with grading work, but I teach in NY. I personally would not be comfortable with it.

Posted by: Teacher | January 31, 2007 4:08 PM

Yes, pittypat, my rant was fully unwarranted - had come back from a rotten meeting and I have no idea why the apostrophe was my victim, but there it was. I clearly need a drink (or 7) after work today. You're right - contraction, not conjunction, and I misused a comma. And very, very sorry for the gratuitous capslock use. I'm putting myself in On Balance time out for a while.

Posted by: Anonymous grammatical failure | January 31, 2007 4:09 PM

Palisades -- THANK YOU!!!!! I think you might be the only one who really got today's story.

Posted by: Leslie | January 31, 2007 03:34 PM


Where is Palisades posting??? I need to go back and read it. After all that's been said and done today I want to at least "get" today's story.

Posted by: lindab | January 31, 2007 4:10 PM

FWIW, I remember the time in 1st grade when my mom, who was a fulltime teacher herself, took a day off to be "room mother" when our class went to the circus.

It's a nice memory, and I never felt deprived b/c my mom couldn't do other room mother stuff.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:10 PM

Just for the record, scarry the 'person' you refer to as a stalker is multiple people.

I know, because you've called me your 'stalker' before and I'm just a regular person who happens to disagree with you.

That's ok though. I understand that the blog rules say that people aren't allowed to disagree with you. So I haven't posted in awhile.

Posted by: SUV guy, different from suitcase person | January 31, 2007 4:11 PM

One of my friends got nose jobs for her 13th birthday and was ecstatic(although some doctors will tell you to wait a couple more years). She had a very large nose and would have had to get a nose job everntually, but this way she was able to be pretty and popular through those traumatic high school years.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:13 PM

You could get your daughter a tatoo. That way, she'd always remember her 13th birthday.

Posted by: Thought | January 31, 2007 4:14 PM

See chili recipes in today's WaPo.

Re "The inviting/dis-inviting kids to the weeding" -- could your kids come weed our garden? Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:15 PM

OK, people can sling mud at me now. I do fully appreciate all the volunteerism that goes on in schools by parents. We plan on volunteering DD's school when she is older. Right now she attends a paid day care and speech delayed preschool for half a day. I have gone in but as far as I can tell they don't really want parents volunteering. But on to my point, since we don't volunteer our time right now we make an extra effort to donate supplies to the preschool and the PTA. Now some would argue we just use our $$ and don't care about our kids. But my thought is some people have time and some people have $$. Why is it wrong to give $$ instead of time. I threw in the extra box of wipes when they used up their school year allotment. I gave extra boxes of crayons mid year in case they run out. I always support all the PTA fund raisers. I am not excusing my lack of face time. I plan to do that when she is older. For some reason at preschool, they find parents more of disruption and don't encourage parents dropping in. But I don't think it is wrong to help in ways that you can help. Even if it is just giving $$.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 31, 2007 4:15 PM

Pitty,

Making tamales is actually a pretty unfun busniess, and would take longer than a blog entry to describe in detail, even if I could get the recipe. I will say that getting some fresh and homemade is a nice blessing, since many of the commercially available ones are often very greasy, and (like weiners) they have the lowest quality cr@p meat in them.

Ahhh...living in the land of Tex-Mex does have it's compensations. Were you in San Antonio, for example, I could direct you to a half dozen places to get some fabulous ones...

Scarry, thanks for kind thoughts. Synthesizing some the many good present ideas I've read here and more importantly starting off a new process of more adult like interactions will hopefully be just the right thing.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 4:16 PM

Please people disagree with me all the time. They just aren't nasty about it. Don't let me keep you from posting.

Everyone disagrees from time to time, but they don't have to be mean and call people names.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 4:17 PM

"I understand that the blog rules say that people aren't allowed to disagree with you."

SUV guy --

Please clear this up for me.

I've been reading this blog regularly for probably about 8 months now, and I've never read a post from scarry that was offensive or even particularly defensive.

So, I'm wondering why you would make this sarcastic comment.

Care to explain?

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:18 PM

Yikes,
Nose jobs for 13 years olds. Now that's pretty scary. I had to learn to live with my big honker, and I turned out just fine. I know this is trite, but beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 4:18 PM

One of my most vivid childhood memories is eating dinner at Chi-Chi's. There was a big, scary bug crawling up the wall of our booth.

Instead of freaking out like I would, my dad said it was the "ugly bug," who was there to make sure I behaved, and if I didn't, it would get me. I took this very seriously for about a year, and every time we went to Chi-Chi's, I was a very good girl.

Don't know why I remember that so vividly, but it still gives me a chuckle.

Posted by: catmommy | January 31, 2007 4:20 PM

"She had a very large nose and would have had to get a nose job everntually,"

Huh? Why?????

Having a very large nose doesn't seem to have adversely affected people like Barbra Streisand and Sofia Coppola.

It's this attitude that totally screws young women up.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:20 PM

"As for catlady earlier today, I am a chronically late person. My friends account for it by telling me to be places 15 minutes earlier than normal. So we're meeting at 8, tell me 7:45. It's no skin off anyone's nose. Different people have different skills. Mine is being on "island time." "

I'm not this catlady person, but I think it's incredibly rude to be late all of the time. You seem to think it's funny that your friends have to tell you a different time to be somewhere- that's pathetic. What are you doing everyday, all day, that always has you late?? You can't figure out your schedule? Why don't YOU schedule in an extra 15 minutes throughout the day- why do others have to suffer?

It's disrespectful to expect others to wait on you- is your life more important than everyone else's?

It's just rude- plain and simple. I don't see how one can even argue that "I just live in my own time" it's called an alarm and a watch!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:21 PM

Last Friday, an appraiser came out to the house to look at some hurricane damage. I was talking to Fredia about it at dinner. She asked who it was and I replied that it was a woman from Alabama. She asked me what the woman looked like and I said, average, you know about a 5. Fredia then asked me how I rate her. I IMMEDIATELY said a "10 +"

I may be stupid sometimes but I know which side of the bread the butter is on.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 4:22 PM

Hey pittypat we disagreed over SUVs. I have, on occasion, been nasty to a few people too, but I always felt like I was provoked into it. However, a few people have been really unkind to me so much that a few times I have left the blog.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 4:22 PM

My favorite and easiest chili is the 5-Alarm chili packet. You can add as much or as little of the cayenne pepper as you like. I also like to add lots of different beans (yes, I know REAL chili doesn't have beans) a can of black, red kidney and navy beans in addition to the beef. And remember, the heat comes from the cayenne pepper more than the chili powder.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:23 PM

Thanks, Texas Dad.

Actually, mine would be meatless, but I figured they'd be too complicated to make at home anyway.

By the way, I'm "Another Perspective" -- the poster who suggested pearls. I thought I'd better not post that under my regular moniker b/c everyone would think I was on my diamond-bashing soapbox again. But, truly, that wasn't the case. I just think that diamonds are a little harsh for a really young woman.

I agree with scarry. She'll like whatever you give her b/c it's coming from you and it's given with love.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:26 PM

"She had a very large nose and would have had to get a nose job everntually,"

Huh? Why?????

She was very into pageants. I think most pageant people are total self-obsessed freaks, but that's what she was into, and didn't stand a chance with her schnauze (grammar police, I have no idea how to spell that). After the nose job she won two pretty major pageants.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:26 PM

The beans make me fart.....

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:27 PM

Pittypat

Agree, diamonds (and any kind of bling) are the wrong way to go. Does the dad even know how diamonds get into this country?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:30 PM

scarry --

Yes, we disagreed. But I don't recall your being nasty about it. And I really think that, if I'd been offended, I'd remember.

:>)

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:31 PM

"The beans make me fart....."

Then go outside. Or put some beano in it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:31 PM

>>>I'm not this catlady person, but I think it's incredibly rude to be late all of the time. You seem to think it's funny that your friends have to tell you a different time to be somewhere- that's pathetic. What are you doing everyday, all day, that always has you late?? You can't figure out your schedule? Why don't YOU schedule in an extra 15 minutes throughout the day- why do others have to suffer?<<<

Okay, I'm not the poster above, but I'll bite. Seriously, you consider it suffering to tell someone 7:45 instead of 8?? I'm glad you live in a world where everyone is on time. Have you ever heard of CP time? "Island time" is the PC term for CP time. Sometimes people run late. Sometimes things take longer to do than other things. Most people learn how to compensate, and if giving her 15 minutes of slack is how her friends compensate, than so be it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:32 PM

"And remember, the heat comes from the cayenne pepper more than the chili powder."

Yeah, but the flavor comes from the cumin!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:32 PM

Dum Dum want Gum Gum!

Posted by: Easter Island Head | January 31, 2007 4:32 PM

Texas Dad,
How about some kind of party for the 13 year old. I remember that at that age, I loved to get together with my friends, go to the movies, eat out, that sort of thing. Maybe invite a few friends over and treat them to dinner and a movie, or a slumber party with movies, soda, popcorn, that sort of thing. Let them watch something a little grown up (but obviously not too racy). There is an old movie that is just darling for that age group. It is called "A Little Romance" and stars Diane Lane when she was about 12. I saw it when I was 13 and LOVED it.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 4:35 PM

There's a reason they say "Diamonds are a girl's best friend." Maybe that is exaggerating, but if she is mature for her age, a pair of (modest) studs might be a good choice. They go with everything, and she can pass them along to her own daughter some day.

I still have and frequently wear a pair of earrings my mother gave me when I was 14 or 15. When I have a daughter, I will give them to her, or maybe we can share, as I am quite attached to them.

To this day my mother and I share one set of pearls, trading them back and forth as the need arises.

Posted by: catmommy | January 31, 2007 4:37 PM

Pitty,

Thanks. I hope she does. I had another thought about the tamales after I posted before. As for making them yourself, I noted while I was in the DC area in the mid-90s that masa was very hard to come by. I'm not sure where you live, but unless masa and dried corn shucks (unless you like doing that yourself) are avialable where you are, even thinking about making tamales is a non-starter. BTW, I have tasted bean tamales that I like, but as one poster pointed out (rather crudely), they do have their drawbacks. :~)

And back to scarry:
She can certainly hold her own, but I seem to recall a few times where people were piling on after she made perfectly defendable comments. So don't know when/if SUV guy was one of those posters, but scarry has disagreed agreeably many times in this forum without others feeling they can't have a difference of opinion from her. So if it isn't her, I wonder who the source of those problem(s) was?? Hmmm...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 4:41 PM

I don't know about the diamonds. I think they are fine in engagement rings, but really don't look that good as earrings or necklaces or other jewelry until you have gray hair. There is nothing more imposing than a gray haired old lady decked out in fine diamonds. But little girls can look ridiculous in them.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 4:41 PM

"Most people learn how to compensate, and if giving her 15 minutes of slack is how her friends compensate, than so be it."

My MIL is chronically late. She's also incredibly disorganized.

However, she's got an enormous heart and is one of the sweetest women I've ever known; I love her dearly; and I wouldn't change anything about her.

So, when we plan holiday dinners at our house, we just figure on having a nice long stretch for the appetizers.

It's not a big deal, and it's much more important to us to let her know how cherished she is than to fret about the occasional overcooked casserole.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 4:41 PM

Just another case of a power couple too busy with their work. Sleeping on the veranda for 3 am calls on your vacation? GET A LIFE! That should have been the wake up call that all is not right. I doubt he would have missed his CEO's Luncheon.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 4:44 PM

Jealous, much, pATRICK?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:46 PM

foamgnome, I agree with your point about money vs. time and donations to schools. Churches operate on the same theory. Those who have $$ need to give $$ or supplies. Those who have time need to give time. The "sin" if there is one, is to do neither. If you have and give both, goody for you! just stay away from those martinis and pills. (just kidding, everyone).

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 4:48 PM

One other idea for your daughter's birthday is to give her something of significance to your family in some way. It will show her she is getting older and now has more responsibilities, and that you trust her to keep something special. This could be an old family photo album, bible, heirloom, i.e., something she would inherit one day that she can enjoy now.

I would also get something fun, though!

Posted by: catmommy | January 31, 2007 4:48 PM

pATRICK,
What does your nastiness add? You could have gotten your point across without it and then maybe someone would take you seriously.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:49 PM

Since we so miss jokester...

POSSIBLY THE VERY BEST CHICKEN JOKE EVER

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on its face. The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabs the sheet, rolls over, and says, "Well, I guess we finally answered THAT question."

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | January 31, 2007 4:49 PM

This story reminds me of Jack Welch, the CEO of GE. His wife, (whom he divorced after 25 years of marriage) said that they never took a vacation that was not business related. Something always came up. Of course after he retired and his kids were grown, he cheated on his wife and divorced her. Point is , some people will always have misguided priorities.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 4:50 PM

Texas Dad of 2,
ROFLMAO!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:51 PM

Just another case of a power couple too busy with their work. Sleeping on the veranda for 3 am calls on your vacation? GET A LIFE! That should have been the wake up call that all is not right. I doubt he would have missed his CEO's Luncheon.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 04:44 PM

Speaking of getting a life . . .

The "power couple" isn't too busy with "their" work. Only one person missed the event, or is it too difficult for you, pATRICK, to fault a dad without also somehow faulting the working mome?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:52 PM

This poor dad should not castigate himself over this very minor slip-up. I have to agree with everyone else who said it, being disappointed is not always a bad thing, and learning that mom and dad are not perfect all the time is also not a bad thing. Leslie's husband needs a good hug & then he should forget it.

The SAHM/WOHM/School thing is so silly, both my husband and I work, he runs an academic club at our elementary school every week, and I do the occasional chaparone, reading gig. The SAHM's at our school organize a lot of great programs for the kids and do the xeroxing etc..for the teachers. I could care less what the SAHMs think about me and I don't trouble myself to think about them. What is the point really?

Posted by: pinkplate | January 31, 2007 4:53 PM

To: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 04:50 PM, Now, was that so hard? You made a good point and were polite about it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:53 PM

I love Catwoman's "ugly bug" story. That sounds just like something my own father would do.

Posted by: TS | January 31, 2007 4:54 PM

I guess I don't get the whole kids getting upset because their parents miss an event or two thing. I never wanted anything to do with my parents. I was always afraid they would embarass me or try to hug me in front of my friends.

In fact, I banned them from coming to sporting events in high school. I was bad at sports anyway and didn't want my dad to be disappointed because he was an all-star athlete in a town that still writes articles about him. I did let them come to dance and music recitals, however, but they always had strict instructions to behave.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 4:54 PM

In an effort to keep his three kids from messing with his alarm clock my dad told us that if we touched it and it didn't go off then he would be late for work. He said that if he was late for work he would get fired. If he got fired we would lose the house and have no place to live.
We never touched his alarm clock.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 4:56 PM

Just another case of a power couple too busy with their work. Sleeping on the veranda for 3 am calls on your vacation? GET A LIFE! That should have been the wake up call that all is not right. I doubt he would have missed his CEO's Luncheon.


That's a rude way to put it- but i agree with the basic premise. Your life is not balanced in that kind of situation- AT ALL.

I was lunching with a friend whose husband is a partner at his law firm. He works and travels constantly and never sees his 2 kids. He plans on toning it down in another 15 years and that will be their family time. Then she said "But if he dies in the mean time, it will all have been for nothing," meaning, him working all the time.

That was an incredibly sad statement. Most people will say we have to cherish each day, etc...What's more important?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:00 PM

"I guess I don't get the whole kids getting upset because their parents miss an event or two thing. I never wanted anything to do with my parents. I was always afraid they would embarass me or try to hug me in front of my friends."

anon at 4:54. Think back, way back. This is not an event or two and this child is not in high school.

It's entirely different than whether I skip or attend this week's soccer game (out of a season that's 40+ games and 8 tournaments long) of my 5th grader.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:03 PM

emily, the general rule is if everything is in text format, it's 508 compliant. Low vision or color blind persons have to be considered.

The problems occur when rendering graphics and images.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 31, 2007 5:03 PM

500 :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:08 PM

I also didn't like my mom volunteering in the classroom when I was little, again, with the hug thing. She still tells the story about how she braced herself for my first day at school, and I just grinned and waved goodbye. One parent always came to my softball games and whatnot (someone had to drive me, after all, because I was 7), but I didn't give a hoot whether the other one showed up. Ask my parents if you don't believe me! I was a very independent child. It's good to learn that early on.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:08 PM

On pondering the big nose comment - I also have a "big honker" as Emily so succintly put it, but I have to say, it looked much bigger on my face when I was 13 than it does now - you really do "grow into it" as they say.

Masa is NOT hard to come by in this area! (I don't know where pittypat lives either) There are several stores in my area that sell masa - but don't usually need it because you can get GREAT tamales at several of the pupusas stands/cafes - and pittypat, I am a vegetarian too and only eat the plain corn tamales - mmmmm!!

Posted by: TakomaMom | January 31, 2007 5:09 PM

Chicken joke, very, very funny. 04:54 PM poster, it appears to me that many, many small children love to have their parents around. My husband did a parent's profession demonstration thing when my child was in 1st grade. He brought in dry ice and other fun scientific stuff and he said her face was beaming. He couldn't believe it. It made his day too. Middle School & High School, yes, I can see that kids want to separate and that is a good thing.

Posted by: pink plate | January 31, 2007 5:09 PM

pittypat, I assume your question is genuine and so I will answer as honestly as possible. This will bore the other readers, but whatever.

It is a very basic and simple disagreement from an extremely long time ago. Probably within the first 1-2 month that this blog were in existence.

I made a statement, she disagreed, after tons of back and forth and participation of others I think she believed I was attacking her as multiple anonymous blog people and took vigorous offense, blah blah blah. Ultimately it was stupid because she misunderstood my original assertion and thought I was referring to her SUV. (Hence the name)

I lurk these days because I still relate to some of the issues being discussed. I do pipe up when that old saw is discussed of her being 'stalked', because I believe she is referring to me (and sometimes baiting me), and I take offense at being called a stalker.

It is a fact that she is sniped at. It is also a fact that it is not one single person on some obsessive mission. Partially because of all these snipers, she's a very sympathetic figure here. Bravo. Just don't lobby for it based on some perceived 'stalker'.

Posted by: SUV guy | January 31, 2007 5:12 PM

This is a discussion therefore everybody has a right to their opinion. I think the problem comes in when people tell other people that their opinion is wrong, bad, etc. And they do it rudely. Lively discussion is fun - rudeness not so much. I love it when we can discuss then agree to disagree.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:15 PM

"I think it's incredibly rude to be late all of the time. . . . You can't figure out your schedule? Why don't YOU schedule in an extra 15 minutes throughout the day- why do others have to suffer? It's disrespectful to expect others to wait on you- is your life more important than everyone else's? It's just rude- plain and simple."

anon at 4:21, This reminds me of the flawed parent conversation from a couple of weeks ago. I am timely, have always been, always will be. I have other flaws that I hope people will overlook and give me time to fix -- it may take years but I'm working on them. If this is your line in the sand, e.g., "I won't have any friends that aren't timely", that's certainly your right, and if you have plenty of friends and family in your life that qualify, good for you. However, take a look in the mirror and ask, what flaws of yours do others overlook? aren't you glad?

FWIW, in my life, the threshold characteristics for friends and family are: truthfulness, a sense of loyalty, a sense of humor, an ability to laugh at onesself, a sense of proportion/perspective and priorities, responsibility, e.g., I can count on you when I need someone to count on --these are my mandatory requirements and most everything else, like timeliness, is simply gravy.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 5:16 PM

NC lawyer,
I couldn't agree more. If a friend is trustworthy and honest and isn't where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be then you just KNOW that something has happened, right? You know they wouldn't just blow you off without a good reason.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:19 PM

TakomaMom --

Yes, I've gotten masa in this area. Where do you get your ready-made, plain corn tamales? They sound sooooo good.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 5:21 PM

"There is nothing more imposing than a gray haired old lady decked out in fine diamonds."

Thanks emily-- now those gray hairs I've started to spot are going to give me something to look forward to! YOU are a gem!

Posted by: Cal Girl | January 31, 2007 5:23 PM

SUV guy --

I appreciate that you took the time to respond. Thanks.

What had gotten to me about your earlier post was the comment about "blog rules." Seemed kind of nasty.

Posted by: pittypat | January 31, 2007 5:24 PM

"There is nothing more imposing than a gray haired old lady decked out in fine diamonds."


Does it count if we color our hair?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:25 PM

Our 6th grade daughter broke it to my wife and me this year:

"Um, uh, Mommy, Daddy, you really don't need to come to school and eat lunch with me for my birthday this year. Is that OK?"

I can take a hint. I understand.

Posted by: Father of 4 | January 31, 2007 5:28 PM

KLB,

Yeah, well, sometimes the good reason is, they plumb forgot, but I have lots of friends over 40 (like me) and we are very, very tolerant of the senior moments we each have. Cell phones make it very easy to ping someone and say, "Did you forget we were meeting at 6?" and we pile each other's kids in the car in a heartbeat when we know another parent has just blown a pick-up - if only to preserve a marriage!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:28 PM

Thanks emily-- now those gray hairs I've started to spot are going to give me something to look forward to! YOU are a gem!

That is kind of a self-serving comment, since I am sprouting a quite a few grays myself. But you always have to look on the bright side of life. To the person who asked whether it counts if you color your hair. My answer is yes, as long as you have a few wrinkles, which can sub for the gray hairs if necessary. If you have both, then you are set!!

If you have neither, well, then, you don't need diamonds to look good, do you? So you can consider yourself pretty luck as well.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 5:28 PM

To: Posted by: | January 31, 2007 05:28 PM

And we all love each other don't we? Thanks

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:30 PM

Some of you guys have seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" too many times. (Audrey Hepburn says, "Oh, I think diamonds are DIVINE on OLDER woman.")

Diamonds are great at any age. It's pearls that are for 40+.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:33 PM

Emily,
I have some wrinkles (over 50) but I work for plastic surgeons - botox takes care of them quite nicely. That is as far as I plan to go with cosmetic stuff (I say that now - check with me at 60).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:33 PM

Some school systems do allow nonparents to volunteer and work one-on-one with students. I think that my local school system relied on the background checks that my employer ran on its employees. However, I don't know that for a fact.

Posted by: curious nonmother | January 31, 2007 5:34 PM

I admit that was not in a nice tone.

I was the first person referred to as a 'stalker' (long ago), so when that issue is regurgitated I feel compelled to respond in a not-so-nice way.

Posted by: SUV guy | January 31, 2007 5:35 PM

SUV guy, we all have our snappish moments. Join the crowd.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 5:38 PM

scarry --

Yes, we disagreed. But I don't recall your being nasty about it. And I really think that, if I'd been offended, I'd remember.

pittypat, I meant that me and SUV guy had a disagreement over SUVs. I think we have disagreed over other things, but that's okay.

SUVs guy, I wasn't even thinking of you when I was jokng about the stalker because I thought we had put this behind us. The other guy who is always saying I am lonely has not. I wasn't trying to bait you either, I just think it is odd that people remember so many facts about my posts.

So, by all means post to your hearts content.

Posted by: scarry | January 31, 2007 5:39 PM

I have considered botox myself. Just too cheap to do it. Maybe were the wrinkles are more pronounced. I have to laugh at the barista who works at the coffee shop in my neighborhood. A group of SAHMs on the PTA (who have my deep and abiding respect) meet there regularly to plan. They always look great at 10:00 am. Make-up on, hair well groomed, nice clothes, etc. One time, I went in just as they were leaving, and after they left, the barista told me that he refers to them as the botox ladies. I nearly snorted my coffee.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 5:39 PM

Emily,
We don't do the botox to the degree that Marcia Cross has had it - just for the frown lines between my eyes for now. It is amazing what a difference that makes as far as looking more rested and "nicer" as you don't look like you are scowling or squinting (BTW - those lines can come from not wearing the right kind of sunglasses and squinting).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:44 PM

Emily,
We don't do the botox to the degree that Marcia Cross has had it - just for the frown lines between my eyes for now. It is amazing what a difference that makes as far as looking more rested and "nicer" as you don't look like you are scowling or squinting (BTW - those lines can come from not wearing the right kind of sunglasses and squinting).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:44 PM

"This is a discussion therefore everybody has a right to their opinion. I think the problem comes in when people tell other people that their opinion is wrong, bad, etc. And they do it rudely. Lively discussion is fun - rudeness not so much. I love it when we can discuss then agree to disagree"

This is the attitude that drives me crazy. No decision is a bad decision or wrong and if you have the backbone to call someone on something you are rude. That is like watching someone jump off a bridge and saying well, "it's their decision and I don't want to offend them by telling them that they might be killed and it's stupid to jump off of a bridge". Somethings ARE wrong and bad and should be addressed as such.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 5:45 PM

pATRICK,
"it's their decision and I don't want to offend them by telling them that they might be killed and it's stupid to jump off of a bridge". Somethings ARE wrong and bad and should be addressed as such."

This is not the type of thing we are talking about - duh!
You just don't get it. You CAN get your point across without being rude - period!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:49 PM

The frown line between the eyes is pretty obvious on my face, and I am also beginning to get little lines on my forehead. Sigh.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 5:50 PM

Emily, get yourself some big sunglasses. Also, people who aren't wearing the correct glasses squint too.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 5:52 PM

My Mom stayed at home with my two sisters and I for our entire childhood(s). Although this represented an enormous financial sacrifice for the entire family, she and my Father believed that it was more important than anything else that we kids have at least one loving, concerned parent to come home to every single day. For eighteen years, my Mom chaperoned almost every field trip, served as the class Mom every year, and would require all play dates after school to be held at our house where she could supervise -- much to the relief (and, I now suspect, gratitude) of the working parents of the children with whom we were friends.

All of that is the leadup to this: no parent is perfect, not even the loving, committed, hardest core of the hard core stay-at-home parents. In my case, my Mom forgot my eighteenth birthday. Completely forgot, the entire day, while I waited all day for her to say something, hand me a card, etc. I was old enough to have some perspective: I was in equal parts horrified and amused. Unfortunately, I didn't have the restraint yet to stop myself from rubbing it in. At ten o'clock at night, I drove myself to the 7-11, came home with a Pepperidge Farm frozen cake, shoved it in her face and ROARED "Want a piece of my birthday cake?" Her face _dissolved_, and the joke was on me, because I spent the next three hours desperately trying to reassure my weeping mother that I still loved her, knew my parents loved me, the previous eighteen years were not all for naught, etc. Funny: it never occurred to me to hold the same against my Dad or older sister, who also forgot.

The moral of the story: even the best, most loving parents can make these types of mistakes. It's human! And it's awful but it isn't unforgivable. I hope Leslie's husband understands that his daughter _will_ eventually recover from this -- and that all of his distress isn't for naught.

Posted by: Doonesburied | January 31, 2007 5:53 PM

My Mom stayed at home with my two sisters and I for our entire childhood(s). Although this represented an enormous financial sacrifice for the entire family, she and my Father believed that it was more important than anything else that we kids have at least one loving, concerned parent to come home to every single day. For eighteen years, my Mom chaperoned almost every field trip, served as the class Mom every year, and would require all play dates after school to be held at our house where she could supervise -- much to the relief (and, I now suspect, gratitude) of the working parents of the children with whom we were friends.

All of that is the leadup to this: no parent is perfect, not even the loving, committed, hardest core of the hard core stay-at-home parents. In my case, my Mom forgot my eighteenth birthday. Completely forgot, the entire day, while I waited all day for her to say something, hand me a card, etc. I was old enough to have some perspective: I was in equal parts horrified and amused. Unfortunately, I didn't have the restraint yet to stop myself from rubbing it in. At ten o'clock at night, I drove myself to the 7-11, came home with a Pepperidge Farm frozen cake, shoved it in her face and ROARED "Want a piece of my birthday cake?" Her face _dissolved_, and the joke was on me, because I spent the next three hours desperately trying to reassure my weeping mother that I still loved her, knew my parents loved me, the previous eighteen years were not all for naught, etc. Funny: it never occurred to me to hold the same against my Dad or older sister, who also forgot.

The moral of the story: even the best, most loving parents can make these types of mistakes. It's human! And it's awful but it isn't unforgivable. I hope Leslie's husband understands that his daughter _will_ eventually recover from this -- and that all of his distress isn't for naught.

Posted by: Doonesburied | January 31, 2007 5:53 PM

to Leslie: I just read your comment the second graders have not mastered the art of being mean. I have to disagree. I took my child out of a school because of a meanness problem. They were second graders. They are now in double digits and as mean as ever. The guidance counselor had to get involved with the bullying issue.

Posted by: jane | January 31, 2007 5:54 PM

pATRICK,
With some rare exceptions, you are rude whether the situation warrants it or not. An occasional emphatic post about something egregious is one thing. But you cannot defend being routinely and consistently rude about anything and everything with the excuse that some behaviors or opinions are stupid. Now that is just ridiculous.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 5:54 PM

My apologies for the double entry -- Leslie, please delete one of them if you can! Thanks!

Posted by: Doonesburied | January 31, 2007 5:55 PM

Actually to some people, as I said, pointing out the wrongness of their actions qualifies as rude. That is the point. The worst people are those that smile and agree with you but inside think your actions are stupid. Reread bridge comment.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 5:57 PM

This blog is a personal conversation conducted by strangers. It's not the editorial page.

Persons who lack a persuasive argument or an opinion supported by more than "that's the way I've always believed or done things", more often, and more quickly, resort to rudeness in the form of, "only a moron would disagree with me". This sort of rude blathering doesn't advance the ball and doesn't change anyone's opinion. If you're not posting for either of those purposes, what's the point? just to hear yourself be right, yet again?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:01 PM

pATRICK,
There is nothing wrong with just keeping your mouth shut sometimes when you disagree.
AGAIN, there is a huge difference between keeping someone from doing something harmful (jump off a bridge) and not agreeing with their decision to paint their bedroom orange.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:01 PM

Doonesburied: Do you think your poor mother was in the early stages of some form of senility? Missing a child's birthday, when she was there at the birth (and only had 3 to remember), then reacting so emotionally sounds like it might possibly be a sign of a serious medical problem requiring medical attention. There are meds nowadays that can slow the progress of some forms of senile dementia.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:05 PM

KLB SS MD, this is a blog of opinions on the internet. It was set up to offer opinions. This blog oftens degenerates into a let's not offend anyone PC fest. I would much rather hear someone be honest and disagree with me than blindly go forward thinking what I am doing is ok while the other party shakes their head in disbelief at my actions. That is what I was doing, I think taking calls at 3 am on your vacation and sleeping on the veranda is stupid. I would tell Leslie to her face too. I would hope she would do the same to me.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 6:09 PM

Regarding the above poster's question on dementia -- no, I don't think so, though it was genuinely kind of you to raise the point. This incident occurred sixteen years ago and Mom's been pretty much fine ever since.

I just realized that I forgot to mention that my older sister had gotten engaged the night before. So my poor Mom indeed had a few other things on her mind that day, though as she herself pointed out (over and over) that was still no excuse for the lack of advance planning. She and my older sister did arrange a wonderful, novel surprise party for me a few weeks later that more than made up for the original bad birthday.

Posted by: Doonesburied | January 31, 2007 6:09 PM

Poor SUV guy, let's have a pity party for him.

Posted by: anon | January 31, 2007 6:11 PM

pATRICK,
I still say that you can present your opinion without being nasty and calling names. People will be more inclined to read and listen to you if you do.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:14 PM

Fine, then pATRICK,
Then hear this. There seems to be a widespread opinion on this blog that you are a rude jerk who only adds negativity to the blog. I would tell this to your face if I knew you. Since you so appreciate uncivil honesty, I know you will appreciate my opinion of you.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 6:14 PM

Emily, oh no, I have offended someone on a blog. I guess I will commit hari-kari. Please, it matters very little to me and it should to you what people on an internet blog think. I am here to post opinions, people like you are here to get support from total strangers.

Posted by: pATRICK | January 31, 2007 6:22 PM

pATRICK,
You don't post opinions - you make pronouncements.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:25 PM

"taking calls at 3 am on your vacation and sleeping on the veranda is stupid."

a fine example, pATRICK. You've decided that, under all scenarios, a guy whom you don't know but about whom you apparently know everything has engaged in "stupid" behavior. No qualifiers. No exceptions.

Here's why I don't know enough to know whether his behavior was stupid:

a. maybe his work responsibilities required that he handled something during the week their vacation was scheduled, and his two options were to either not go on the vacation and stay in the office, or go and be available when it was convenient for a Japanese contact to reach him -- on 2 of 8 nights during the vacation. Geez. If this happened in my house, it would be an easy call - come along, honey, we'd rather have you with us for a majority of the time than miss the entire trip.

b. Maybe he's the only one at his workplace that has the institutional background on one or two things, so he has to be reachable with respect to those one or two topics 24/7, no matter how inconvenient.

c. Maybe Leslie would give him more crap if he didn't go on the trip, then she gives him for going and then ratting him out on the blog. (Sorry, Leslie, I'm dealing in possibilities between married couples and am not suggesting that you, personally, are the bad guy in this or any instance.) He went with the less-crap choice.

d. Maybe Leslie's husband would like to take a less demanding job, but his families debts and responsibilities, and Leslie's relative earning power and preferences, don't make that possible.

Maybe you're right. Maybe his conduct is stupid. On the other hand, maybe you judge situations and posters on incomplete information based on your own perceived hang-ups and assumptions about how their lives probably are or should be. Maybe you don't. Maybe we don't know enought about you to reach that conclusion, and you don't know enough about Leslie's husband to label his behavior "stupid" or any other poster to be so consistently rude.

Maybe jumping to conclusions about strangers and their values and priorities, which may or may not be supported by facts, is stupid.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 6:29 PM

Patrick, you said "I would much rather hear someone be honest and disagree with me than blindly go forward thinking what I am doing is ok while the other party shakes their head in disbelief at my actions."

If you don't care what others think of you, why do you care if the are honest and disagree with you or whether they just ignore you? You need to hone your thought processes a little better. You simply said that you would not want someone to silently watch you make a bad or stupid decision. So I for one, am telling you that your nastiness is BAAAAD and STOOOPID. Know you know what I think. And I don't care whether you like it or not, or even whether you care about it. I was just giving you a taste of yourself, since you are obviously not very self aware. But after this, I'm done with you. Bye bye.

Posted by: Emily | January 31, 2007 6:31 PM

Everyone makes mistakes.
Oh, yes they do
Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too;
Big people, small people, matter of fact, all people!
Everyone makes mistakes, so why can't you?

If everyone in the whole wide world makes mistakes,
Then why can't you?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:32 PM


People like you? I mean, really, what in the holy he*l do you, pATRICK, know about the poster who signs her submissions, "Emily"? you think you KNOW her?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:34 PM

Emily, You go girl!
NC lawyer, you too!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:34 PM

Ok NC Lawyer, it is time to assign pATRICK a cave. Where will he go?

BTW, I can see thru pATRICK's snarkyness sometime to see a valid point.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 6:39 PM

Fred,
I am sure pATRICK has some valid points at times but, just like someone who is screaming at you, you tune it out. Does not play well with other children.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:42 PM

KLB SS MD

Huh? did you say something?

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 6:44 PM

Fred,
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:45 PM

regular comedians, aren't we?

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 6:46 PM

KLB, Thanks! It's easy to be the point guard to Emily's shooting guard.

Why are all the know-it-alls so blessed angry? all the time, every day? Not enough beer and wings?

NOMB, but, was there a third date?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 6:47 PM

Talk about letting a child down - a friend just called. Her son is leaving early Friday am to drive to Chicago to find a job. She, her ex and two boys were supposed to have a going away dinner tonite.
She and the ex had a disagreement (he wanted her to pay for something he chose to do for the son) so he called and decided he wouldn't go out to dinner. He thinks he is punishing her but he is really punishing the son. What a jerk (my opinion).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:49 PM

NC lawyer,
Funny - he was supposed to come over for brunch last weekend but forgot! We are on for Saturday. And no, I didn't get mad - what is the point? He has two kids and said he got involved with helping one with homework, etc. Apologized profusely. I take it with a grain of salt - file it away to make sure there is no pattern. Thanks for asking. I do still like him.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 6:51 PM

Fred,

Due to pATRICK's shouting, screaming and penchant for name-calling, even the holier-than-thou cave doesn't strike me as appropriate. I mean, even the Nursing Nazis (please excuse the term - does not apply to anyone either of us knows, of course) deserve some peace. How 'bout a cave downstream from the Planned Parenthood cave but next door to mcewen? Can we assign lawgirl to an adjacent unit, close enough so we can listen to their fights from over the hill?

I agree with you that sometimes beneath the snarkiness there is a valid point, particularly about values and priorities. The funny thing is I just want to shake my head sometimes that he doesn't understand he'd convert more on-the-fence types if he changed his delivery and dropped the name-calling.

Then he'd have more time to express an opinion on anniversary presents and trials with teenage sons -- the stuff of life.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 7:00 PM

KLB - the going away dinner story is AWFUL. How sad for the son. I don't have any problem calling someone about whom I only know one side of the story, but who's not posting here, a jerk. Call it a double-standard. :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 7:03 PM

NC lawyer and Fred,
Where are you going to put catlady from this am?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:03 PM

NC lawyer and Fred,
Where are you going to put catlady from this am? Maybe in the same cave with pATRICK? Painted sage green?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:03 PM

NC lawyer,
He is a jerk - I will say it too! In this case it isn't an opinion but a fact.
Does anyone else have a problem with VERY slow posting here?

Posted by: KLS SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:05 PM

BTW - margaritas tonight with wasabi soy sauce almonds. Good dinner right? Thank goodness I don't have kids to feed.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:08 PM

I vote for assigning catlady to the holier-than-thou cave. She'll be with the poster that thought that meeting your kids after school at the bus-stop was a key indicator of good parenting. Santimonious + Repetitive - Sense of Humor = HTT. pATRICK appears to be many things, but santimonious, e.g., my parents never once let me down, "huge betrayal" isn't his shtick. What say you, Fred?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 7:12 PM

NC lawyer,
Do you have a cave for preachers that would accomodate people like pATRICK who and like to preach and think that an opinion is a pronouncement?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:15 PM

Are they connecting caves? Did you say sage green with sage green trim? Sounds good to me. Defintely next to mcewen.

Yes, posting has been very s-l-o-w the past few weeks. This is why we are seeing double posts. It looks like a post did not take so a person will hit the submit button again.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 7:30 PM

May I be so bold as to suggest a KIA cave (know-it-all)?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:36 PM

KIA means something quite different to us veterans.

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 7:42 PM

KLB - I like that. KIA is a distinct category from HTT.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 7:43 PM

Fred,
As soon as I wrote that (and sent it and sent it and sent it) I realized what I wrote. I don't think I told you before - I am retired from the military (active duty and reserves) and work as a nurse at Walter Reed.

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:46 PM

I remember the mention of being a nurse working with injured veteran.

Army, Navy?

When I was in Nam, I read too many Morning Reports (DA form 1) stating in the dry military way, DFR-KIA (Dropped from Rolls-Killed in Action)

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 7:53 PM

Army all the way. Have been associated with the army since 1977 when I went to basic training.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:55 PM

In lieu of KIA (inappropriate at best) maybe MSP (mr or ms smarty pants) or ISTU (I'm smarter than you)?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 7:57 PM

I feel very bad for the father here. He already feels bad, and now his mistake is the subject of a fairly nasty blog. I hope he agreed to this ahead of time, or there might marital problems on the horizon in additional to parenting problems.

Posted by: catmommy | January 31, 2007 7:58 PM

Fred and KLB: Accckkkk! It doesn't take but a moment to type "know-it-all".

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 7:58 PM

I like MSP.

Took my basic at Ft Puke in 1971. AIT at Fort Puke, another AIT at Ft Shafter, Hawaii then on to fun and games in Nam. Finished out at Ft Nuts in 1974

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:00 PM

Yea, also don't use MIA (missing in action)

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:02 PM

Being Leslie's husband is akin to being the spouse that morning d.j.'s call and put on the air for the sake of ratings. I have to assume he's plenty secure enough to handle this, but who knows?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:02 PM

no margaritas for me tonight. Simple beaujolais neuvous (I can't spell french).

unc is on a roll. my bro is army all the way.

I will never look at those korean car company ads the same way again...Kia. I'm upset and I don't know why. maybe remembering the 60s.....

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 8:03 PM

One word: Peace.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:03 PM

I vote for MSP

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 8:04 PM

I do recall that Leslie has stated that hubby is properly informed of the columns concerning him. Kia (as opposed to KIA) means kick it again!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:06 PM

Army = fraternity with guns.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:08 PM

Army = fraternity with guns.

Yea, we did drink a bit, at least I think we did, memory is hazy on that point!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:10 PM

dotted - looking good. Vanderbilt vs. Florida is most interesting, though, if you get bored of watching good things happen.

MSP it is?

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 8:11 PM

How can one live knowing every little foible might be fodder for the militant mommy/natalist crowd, which can be quite vicious?

I'd be afraid. Very afraid.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 8:12 PM

MSP yea, cannot go wrong with a gender neutral description!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:13 PM

foible

Excellent! I love that word!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:15 PM

My dad's favorite word was maladroit (clumsy clod). Love it too.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 8:23 PM

for a moment or two, I couldn't remember whether I was for or against the "militant mommy/natalist" crowd. It's sad when one's vocabulary is more advanced than one's brain.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 8:35 PM

So - for or agin? My guess is agin but I have had a couple of margaritas.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 8:39 PM

Say Good Night, Gracie!

Posted by: Fred | January 31, 2007 8:43 PM

Good night Gracie!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | January 31, 2007 8:44 PM

I suspect the militant mommy/natalist crowd doesn't wear heels, so I must be agin'. Oh, there are other better (more substantive) reasons, but that's the least judgmental :>)

and now for one of those margaritas.

Posted by: NC lawyer | January 31, 2007 8:58 PM

you can see what happens when one does cheap french wine..


had a pomegranate margarita the other day...simplay divine.

good night gracie.

Posted by: doottted | January 31, 2007 9:02 PM

oh yeah...I forgot to mention my first impression upon reading the original blog entry this morning

the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Posted by: dotted | January 31, 2007 9:04 PM

KLB, NC Lawyer, and Fred - love some of your contributions to the blog, but Pleeeaasse exchange email for your running conversations that have nothing to do with the blog topic.

Also, your comments to and against pATRICK are almost as annoying as pATRICK's tone.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 31, 2007 11:41 PM

To: Posted by: | January 31, 2007 11:41 PM

Get over yourself. These are written long after the blog has "gone to bed". And pATRICK deserves what he gets - they are not the only ones he annoys.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 1, 2007 7:41 AM

KLB, NC Lawyer, and Fred - love some of your contributions to the blog, but Pleeeaasse exchange email for your running conversations that have nothing to do with the blog topic.

Also, your comments to and against pATRICK are almost as annoying as pATRICK's tone.

Posted by: | January 31, 2007 11:41 PM

Agreed- sorry but the running conversations are annoying, as it PAtrick. My opinion of course, so I assume someone will get bent and post their opinion, which will be accepted and praised because it will be written well and nicer. There will be a virtual hug among the regulars that agree and all will be well in the universe.

Gag me with a virtual spoon.


Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 7:49 AM

KLB, NC Lawyer, and Fred - love some of your contributions to the blog, but Pleeeaasse exchange email for your running conversations that have nothing to do with the blog topic.

Also, your comments to and against pATRICK are almost as annoying as pATRICK's tone.

People get pissed on here when you make friends. Go back to the other blogs and read how some people used to treat scarry megan and father of 4. There is a reason scarry says she has a stalker.

Posted by: fyi | February 1, 2007 7:51 AM

KLB, NC Lawyer, and Fred,

Don't let these people get you down. Keep posting all you want. If they don't like it, they can leave.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 7:53 AM

Pls recall that I said that pATRICK has made some good points. I know that not everyone (maybe no one) agrees with me. I have also said before that some of these off topic conversations lead to good knowledge sharing and good advice that people enjoy reading or sharing. Look at the posting to Texas Father of 2 in this blog.

I would never tell you to go away but you can always look at the author--my name is always stated--and skip thoses comments

Posted by: Fred | February 1, 2007 8:57 AM

I find this article idiotic. 1.) It's a reading group. R-E-A-D-I-N-G. For a second grade class. How did the teacher respond? Did she take the daughter aside and try to call the father/mother on a cell phone? Did she call the principal of the school and have him read to the children? Did she read to the children herself? Did she pop a video in the TV and otherwise distract them? Maybe she should have contacted GWB, since he's not doing anything important anyway and it's at his reading skill level. P.S. Was the daughter "traumatized" because she was rightly concerned about her father's welfare, or that he had committed a social faux pas in the eyes of her fellow second-graders.

Posted by: Jack Sprat | February 1, 2007 9:16 AM

I also said that pATRICK has made good points it is just the way that he makes them I consider rude and condescending.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 1, 2007 9:35 AM

People get pissed on here when you make friends. Go back to the other blogs and read how some people used to treat scarry megan and father of 4. There is a reason scarry says she has a stalker.

Don't care how many friends you make here. If you're going to go back to read, go ALL the way back. The reason Scarry says she has a stalker is she's ticked off so many people over the past (almost) year that they respond to her, and she has insisted that it's one person, a stalker, to increase her own sense of self-importance. Scarry's 'stalker' has been at least 5 different people.

And also reread the blog which Fo4 wrote. Take your own emotions out of it, it wasn't bad except for just a few people. Problem was people who were expressing any doubt were branded with the few.

Posted by: to fyi | February 1, 2007 10:29 AM

Scarry's 'stalker' has been at least 5 different people.

Hard to prove when they don't sign their posts and attack almost everything she says.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 10:50 AM

Hard to prove when they don't sign their posts and attack almost everything she says.

Neither statement is always true. Go back, do the research, you'll see big stylistic and emotional differences. There are gaps where one exits because they have better things to do and another begins a little while later.

Posted by: to fyi | February 1, 2007 11:05 AM

WHO CARES! THIS GOES BACK TO THE NUMBER 500 BLOG RULE THAT SCARY CAN'T HAVE AN OPINION. SHE DOES NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY. SHE WAS EXCESSIVE ON THE SUV BLOG, BUT SO WERE THE SUV HATERS AND SHE HAS BEEN NASTY TO SOME OF THE CHILD HATERS ON HERE.


BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GET OVER IT AND GET A LIFE. HER STALKER REFERENCE IS A JOKE THAT MUST BOTHER SOME PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT I TRUE.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 11:12 AM

Yawn.

Posted by: to fyi | February 1, 2007 11:24 AM

Double-yawn. Whiny, self-indulgent parents are boring.

Posted by: Jack Sprat | February 1, 2007 11:44 AM

It must bother people because they know it i(s) true?

No, it bothers people when idiots defend the looney things she does. Either that or she sockpuppet-defends herself, which is more likely the case.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 1, 2007 10:19 PM

Methinks it is pretty clear to most people on the board who the looney is.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:36 AM

Technorati Profile

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 11:04 AM

http://www.technorati.com/claim/dajf365kgs" rel="me">Technorati Profile

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 11:06 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company