Do Older Dads Make Better Dads?

"This may surprise you," said David Popenoe, a director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. "But in many cases, older fathers' testosterone levels have dropped, so they to be more nurturing."

That quote's taken from last Thursday's New York Times article He's Not My Grandpa. He's My Dad about late-life fatherhood. Turns out there's a tiny minority of dads who are older than 60 when their children are born. According to the piece, there are only about 2,000 or so births a year to fathers this age. But the reports from the dads are fascinating.

"It's so pleasant," said 73-year-old dad Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a retired Harvard Medical School professor and the father of twin 10-year-olds. "My success as a scientist depended upon my neglecting my first set of children. Now that I'm retired we have a lot more time together."

"I must say the feeling is good," said Saul Cohen, the 69-year-old chairman of Maxim Securities Group in Manhattan, and dad to Lily, also 10. "I don't think I react like I used to. I'm not as quick off the trigger. I'm more laid back."

Here we have it: The solution to absent, workaholic, stressball dads who are too busy to take kids to pediatrician appointments or the playground is simply to delay fatherhood a few decades! We discussed the pros and cons of women delaying childbirth in Ladies, Freeze Your Eggs!, but what if men and women postponed childbearing until our careers were over and we could devote our retirements to raising kids? Okay, death might be looming a bit closer on the horizon if you become a parent at 70. (Although technology is clearly making inroads on death, too.)

So consider a modification: Don't wait until you're 60 or 70 to have kids. Just until you're 40 or 50. Perhaps achieving the degree of economic security and/or career success that often comes by middle age will be sufficient to avoid the often excruciating "I can't be at work and with my kids at the same time" tradeoffs that plague everyone who is trying to raise children during their peak earning years.

Have you delayed having kids, to some degree, to achieve better balance? Do you know others who have? What do you see as the pros and cons?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 16, 2007; 7:15 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
Previous: Tax Man (or Woman) Cometh | Next: Reflection


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.



First!

As for the article, I don't think I'm willing to wait that long to have children. I'd like to be able to run after them without worrying about breaking my hip.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 7:28 AM

I can see the the small benefits f waiting longer, but in the long run I don't like the idea. If people don't start having kids until their 50s, you have the real potential to miss out on a lot of lifes activities. First there is the very real possibility of death when your child is young. Say you have kids at 55 and you die at 80, that means your kid is only 25. Is that fair to you or your children? Granted people die when their kids are young now, but it is far more likely at 80 then at 55. Also, with illness and aging issues, you are putting a lot more pressure on your children to help deal with aging parents at a much younger age. A 20 or 25 year old is generally just figuring out direction in life and is not financially or emotionally prepared to deal with alzheimers, senility and other common aging issues. I am 35 and I don't think I am ready to deal with that with my own parents. Luckily so far I have not had to.

Those are just some of the issues I think need to be thought about when having kids later in life. Not that it should never be done, just that I think it should be thought about.

Posted by: HappyDad | April 16, 2007 7:30 AM

Well, I know that they've recently discovered a link between autism and older fathers. I would think this sort of evidence suggests that it's a risky strategy. (Also, I'm kind of disturbed by that quote by the guy who's having a "do-over" with a new set of kids in his fifties. I wonder what his first wife and first set of kids feel about his newly acquired interest in being a good father.)

Also, and I know I'll get bashed for this, but in my experience, the "Saran Wrap" parents tend to be the older ones -- you know, the ones at the playground who are always hovering over the kids and smothering them. And I think that's human nature -- as we get older, we tend to be more aware of our own mortality, and it perhaps makes having kids seem scarier and more fraught with risk. I think I'd be a terrible older parent -- mostly for that reason.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | April 16, 2007 7:51 AM

We should all be retired until we are 50 then go to work. That way we have the energy to go on vacations and raise kids.

Seriously, many people in their 40s are in their peak earning years having achieved a certain level of success in their career. It may be even more difficult at that point to start taking time off for children than it would have been in 20s and 30s.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 7:56 AM

My husband was 43 when we had our first child together. His daughter from his previous marriage was born when he was 28. He has often said he feels more equipped in almost every way to deal with children now than he did when his first daughter was born. The issues that we are running into and will continue to run into deal with making sure we're financially okay as he will be retiring as the children are finishing college. I don't know whether being an "older" dad the second time around has made him calmer with the kids -- he's pretty even keeled to begin with. It has definitely acted as a catalyst for him to get moving physically and get in shape so he can keep up with our kids, and that's a great thing.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 7:56 AM

Since I'm finding myself potentially as being one of these "older dads", I have to disagree about having children later is a disservice to the kids because you may not be around to see them grow up.

After all, my mom died when I was 16 when she was just in her mid-40's, but all my grandparents lived well into their 90's and above, so theoretically I could live just as long. No one knows how long they'll be on this planet, so basing your decision to have children or not on that doesn't strike me as really that valid. Someone could get their wife pregnant when they are 35 and die in a car crash or from a disease the next year, after all.

As for older dads being more patient, maybe I'll be so once a baby is here, but not right now!

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 7:57 AM

John L

What about the higher risks for autism, schizophrenia, dwarfism and other serious problems?

Do you already have children?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 8:01 AM

The risks are still very slight for everything you said, although they are higher than for parents younger than me. And no, I do not have children as of yet.

By that argument, though, no one should have children if they are past their 20's, when the chances for defects are lowest. No one's advocating that, now, are they?

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 8:15 AM

To the 8:01 anonymous poster:

What if a safe falls from the sky and lands on your head while you're walking down the street? What if you're struck by lightning as you give $5 to a homeless veteran? What if, what if, what if? You can't let yourself not live because of what might happen.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 8:15 AM

I have a real problem with the idea of these "older dads" being better the second time around. What about the "starter kids" (not the mention the starter wife)? How about trying to get it right the first time around? Women don't get to trade in and start from scratch, why are you giving some sort of credit to these men?

Posted by: ptjobftmom | April 16, 2007 8:16 AM

Interesting topic. I know a LOT of fathers who are on their second families. Men who put their careers first and ended up neglecting their families the first time around and then remarried a younger woman and are now having children again. My hubbie and I (both in are early 30s) wonder where these 50-60 year old men find the energy. DS is almost 2 and gives new meaning to the phrase "terrible twos". Even at my age I feel exhausted trying to both emotionally and physically deal with it all. I can only imagine how I'd feel if I was 50-60 and approaching retirement.

I've heard of the autism link with older fathers as well and it would scare me.

But to each their own...

Posted by: londonmom | April 16, 2007 8:18 AM

Great, right when you just finish changing your kids diapers, they get to start changing yours!

Really, I can understand waiting a few years till you are a little more situated in life, but until nanotechnology allows us to live healthily for hundreds of years or more, having kids when you are so close to the grave does not seem like the ideal situation.

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 8:19 AM

"Older dad" used to mean a dad after 30. Now it means a dad after 60? What happened to 40 and 50?

This study doesn't surprise me but I think the question about waiting till you are 40 or 50 has it's medical problems, although there may be financial incentives to wait. Anon at 8:01 is right - there is a higher risk of several serious medical condition if the mother or father is over 40.

Personally I wouldn't wait till I am 50 to have kids. My husband would have 10 more if he could. Basically if I get hit by a bus tomorrow he could remarry and have many more, on the other hand if he met an untimely death I would be done with having more kids - period.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 8:20 AM

"Older dad" used to mean a dad after 30. Now it means a dad after 60? What happened to 40 and 50?

This study doesn't surprise me but I think the question about waiting till you are 40 or 50 has it's medical problems, although there may be financial incentives to wait. Anon at 8:01 is right - there is a higher risk of several serious medical condition if the mother or father is over 40.

Personally I wouldn't wait till I am 50 to have kids. My husband would have 10 more if he could. Basically if I get hit by a bus tomorrow he could remarry and have many more, on the other hand if he met an untimely death I would be done with having more kids - period.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 8:20 AM

I agree with the comment concerning the do-over father who gets a "second chance" at fatherhood.

What about the kids from the previous marriages? Instead of having more children that they will "get it right" with this time, why don't these fathers spend the same time and energy repairing their relationships with the children they already have? And the grandchildren they probably have?

Posted by: Joe | April 16, 2007 8:21 AM

PS- Great, taxes on Friday, Death on Monday. Where's the balance? ;-P We need something positive...
The brats were GOOOOOOOD!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 8:23 AM

Ptjobftmom, you said "I have a real problem with the idea of these "older dads" being better the second time around. What about the "starter kids" (not the mention the starter wife)? How about trying to get it right the first time around? Women don't get to trade in and start from scratch, why are you giving some sort of credit to these men?"

The starter wife in my husband's situation cheated and left him when their daughter was 3 months old, and then moved 4 hours away with her new husband and ultimately new family. For over 15 years, my husband saw his daughter every other weekend. So I think he did try to get it right the first time, but it's very difficult to feel fully involved when you only see your child for 6 days a month and she lives so far away.

And I find your comment very sexist about how women can't do the same thing. They certainly can. I am sick of divorced men generally being bashed for being "deadbeat dads".

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 8:26 AM

As a child of older parents, I always wanted to have my children at a younger age. That didn't happen and it scares me. I want to be able to enjoy childhood things with my children. I want to be able to ride amusement park rides with my children, go skating with my children, all without worrying about serious injury to myself.

There were advantages to growing up with older parents. My father was retired when I was young and was able to spend time with me, teaching me to read and other things that I needed in life. He died when I was 4, even though he was under 50. Our family was also financially stable. The disadvantage of that was that I didn't learn that starting out as an adult with a college degree and a job doesn't guarantee financial security. I had to learn the hard way about financial responsibility, even though I never considered myself extremely frivilous.

Waiting may also increase the likelihood that the child will be an only child, which is something that I don't want if and when I have children. I've previously written that I think that siblings are important. Older parents are more common now, so some concerns may be alleviated. Also, medical advances have given mothers and children a better chance at healthy deliviries later in life. There are many things to think about but I've heard that there is no perfect time to have a child, so we have to accept life as it happens I guess.

Posted by: curious non-mother | April 16, 2007 8:26 AM

Chris,
Now that is just mean!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 8:32 AM

WorkingMomX - I don't think it is sexist to say that women can't do the same. Because realistically, they can't. You aren't being honest with yourself if you really think that women can wait until 40+ and then start a first (or second) family. I'm not saying it isn't done, but it isn't easy and infertility increases SIGNIFICANTLY. It isn't sexist to say that women generally don't have starter families like men do.

Clearly there is a distinction between couples that marry at a young age, divorce when their children are also very young, and then go on to have second families.

Posted by: londonmom | April 16, 2007 8:37 AM

Even though Dads at 60 are more nurturing, you are also advocating 60 year old men marrying much younger women (not much older than 40) in order to have your child while the women is young enough to safely have one.

Since most people marry somebody close to their age when they are younger, you will need to divorce the wife when you both hit 60 and get a younger wife to have the child.

No thanks. I love my wife too much for that. I will "nurture" my grandchildren instead. Besides, if we broke up I would no longer be physically capable of having children anymore. ;)

Posted by: SoMD | April 16, 2007 8:38 AM

My parents had me quite young 20-21 years old (I was a surprise, mom had been told she couldn't have kids). We always had more fun "playing" together than my friends had with their parents. I was the only girl in my dorm who had to worry about her dad stealing a CD when visiting. I was a little older when I had my daughter (born just before my 26th birthday) but still relatively young. My parents are the same age as a lot of her friends parents. Weird.
I'm not sure how I feel about people waiting. Sure these other parents have more patience but they are also rather boring. They don't climb in the hamster tubes at Port Discovery with their kids like I do. They can't drag multiple kids around the skating rink like I can. Or maybe they just won't. I'm not sure. Either way. My husband was 26 when our daughter was born. He postponed his career to stay home with her and has always been her best playmate/jungle gym. That has more to do with how he was brought up then his age, though.
At any rate, to each their own. I'm just glad my parents are still young enough to enjoy my daughter.

Posted by: 21117 | April 16, 2007 8:38 AM

"WorkingMomX - I don't think it is sexist to say that women can't do the same. Because realistically, they can't. You aren't being honest with yourself if you really think that women can wait until 40+ and then start a first (or second) family. I'm not saying it isn't done, but it isn't easy and infertility increases SIGNIFICANTLY. It isn't sexist to say that women generally don't have starter families like men do."

I think this is nonsense. Obviously, this is anecdoaal evidence, but I can think of five women in this office alone (I'm in one of our smaller offices today, only 52 people total) who have two "generations" of children, whether by choice with the same husband or with a different husband. The CHRO for our firm had a son with her first husband and two girls with her second. Additionally, you need to remember that adoption is a possibility, so we're not just talking about the physical ability to give birth.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 8:46 AM

Chris wrote at 8:23: "The brats were GOOOOOOOD!"

Now Chris, are your referring to children or sausage?

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 8:47 AM

Of course adoption is a possiblity, but that isn't what this blog is about. Are you really saying that there are five women in your office who started second families in their 40-50s? I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I do find that pretty unusual.

Or are you talking about women who started having kids with their first husband in their early/mid-20s and then divorced and had second families in their 30s. I think that is much more likely to occur, but let's remember what this blog is about. Men who are having families (second families) in their 50s and 60s. Women are not doing this because women cannot biologically do this.

That is not anecdoaal evidence, that is fact.

Posted by: londonmom | April 16, 2007 8:50 AM

What I am saying is that there are 5 women in this small office who have two "generations" of kids. I don't think any of them were in their 50s when they got pregnant, but there are at least two who were in their mid 40s. Two of them I know for certain got married out of high school, had kids early (20), divorced, remarried and then had kids in their vert late 30s/early 40s.

Also, there are women who have had children in their late 50s and even early 60s. And that is also a fact.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 8:56 AM

Like so many issues here, it's hard to generalize to the degree people want to. I'm an "older mom" (40-ish for 1st child) and my husband is 10+years older. I find we're much less inhibited about running around with kids than many younger parents. We're comfortable in our skin and couldn't care less if we look ridiculous -- if our family is having a blast, that's it. We're usually the only ones playing flat-out. Most parents are shocked when they find out how old we are; they assume we're 10 years younger! And yes, our careers are at peak, which gives us much greater flexibility in shaping our lives -- something we have pretty clear perspective on now that we're past our me-centric career-first 20s and 30s.

Posted by: youngatheart | April 16, 2007 9:00 AM

Also, in the last 5 years, two of our most senior female partners -- both of whom were in their 50s at the time -- adopted children. Both had children from previous marriages.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 9:01 AM

I guess I am just wondering why anyone would want to be 70 years old with a ten year old. I am not judging anyone, but when I am that age, I want to see the grandkids and send them home.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 9:07 AM

"But in many cases, older fathers' testosterone levels have dropped, so they (tend?) to be more nurturing."

This quote is insulting. What the author really means is that older fathers are - supposedly - more nurturing in a way the author approves of. The quote assumes men can be good fathers DESPITE testosterone, but not because of it.

Posted by: Rockville Dad | April 16, 2007 9:11 AM

My husband is now 41. We have a 4 year old and a 28 month old son with autism. (BTW, my son has been diagnosed with a viral infection that was caused by the measels vaccine at 12 months and has seen great improvement since medication for this issue. We are expecting recovery - so autism is not necessarily linked to older dads. From my experience and many others I know, toxicity of varying sorts is a huge issue.) Would my husband (and I) have coped as well with autism in our 20s? I seriously doubt it. We also have the money to give our son the best treatments because of his career progression. His time in his career has allowed me to be a SAHM which is almost a must when you have a child with special needs. We have been married for 17 years also, so we have had a solid foundation to rely on when our kids have come along and they are much better for it. My husband enjoys his children so much more and is no longer the "wild" person he was in his earlier years. The other posters are right about people dying young. My dad died at 44 when I was 16.

Posted by: TexasMom | April 16, 2007 9:16 AM

I think mother nature designed things the way they are for a reason.

My FIL was 45 when DH was born. He had cancer when he was 18. He lived until he was 82, but DH always wished his Dad was younger. There wasn't the physical energy for him as a kid. A lot of it is the attitude of the Dad, but generally I think it's better to be younger. You may not have the money or be busy working to earn a living for your family, but you have more years ahead.

Posted by: RoseG | April 16, 2007 9:17 AM

Absolutely, scarry. Why? I read that Joe Biden, who is in his 60's, has children aged 2 and 4. Groooooooossssssss! That really makes me question his judgment. Yes -- he's too damn old! Condoms don't lose efficacy just because the wearers have gray hair. He should relearn the fine art of using one before burdening this world with another child for whom he will be too senile to care.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 9:17 AM

this is just pointless!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:18 AM

While not 40 or 50, I didn't have my first child-and possibly my only-until I was 36. The reasons are many but career and being emotionally ready were two of them. Another few were the need to have a spouse since we didn't marry until age 33 and the trouble in getting pregnant-over a year.

My hubby and I have moved far enough in our careers that we have the money to easily raise one child (not sure about two though) as well as taking a breather in terms of work advancement. But I do wish we could have done this earlier now that we know how totally wonderful it is to be a parent.

My life finally feels complete. The silly little things that use to bug me really don't anymore. I am able to focus on something not related to me and it is wonderful. My "older dad" husband feels the same way!

However with age comes older eggs and sperm which could lead to medical problems for the kids. So, testing while pregnant is important.

Posted by: Nutty Mama | April 16, 2007 9:23 AM

My question is....why is there a general assumption that older fathers are more nurturing? I am a mid 30s dad with 2 young kids and I find the assumption to be untrue. Maybe in the 1950s when Dads worked and Moms raised the kids that was true. But I think todays youg dads are just as nurtuting as older dads. All the Dads I know are. In fact, most are just as nurturing as their wives.

Posted by: HappyDad | April 16, 2007 9:23 AM

This is, like, another great reason to go after one of those older, richer guys. They make great dads the second time around.

Posted by: Homewreckers unite! | April 16, 2007 9:24 AM

My husband is a month older than Joe Biden, and he's NOT GROSS.

Posted by: No name this time | April 16, 2007 9:25 AM

I'm not making any excuses for myself; would it have been easier for my wife and I to have had children in our 20's or 30's? Certainly. Would we have been better parents? Who knows?

However, since there's no way to turn back time, we're stuck with trying to start our family in our 40's, or not make the attempt at all.

We've done our research, we know the risks, so all those (anonymous) posters who keep bringing up such things as increased risk for defects, miscarriage, difficulty in conceiving, less energy, etc, I find just a bit insulting to assume we're not aware of those issues.

(Obviously this has struck a nerve of mine.)

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 9:28 AM

John L

"We've done our research, we know the risks, so all those (anonymous) posters who keep bringing up such things as increased risk for defects, miscarriage, difficulty in conceiving, less energy, etc, I find just a bit insulting to assume we're not aware of those issues. "

Tell it to the Nursing Nazis!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:36 AM

It would make the most sense to have children when you and your partner are emotionally ready to be parents, not when you reach a certain age. Sometimes we overstudy and overthing things around here...

Posted by: jj | April 16, 2007 9:44 AM

I don't believe being older is necessarily better or worse. Kids take time. No matter where in your lifetime you have kids, you have to deal with time related competition issues. No matter what...you have to pay the piper.

I had more energy for the first two, but more knowledge for the second two. Neither situation is better or worse than the other.

However, at the age of almost 49, no way would I have kids now. I've outgrown that stage of life.

Posted by: dotted | April 16, 2007 9:44 AM

As suggested in the topic maybe the pickup line for the older man pining for the younger wife could be, "I'm not as quick off the trigger."

I'll admit to it too, but I'm not sure if it's a good thing or badd thing. Comments from the ladies?

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 16, 2007 9:50 AM

Fo4,

"I'll admit to it too, but I'm not sure if it's a good thing or badd thing."

It's all about the preliminaries...

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 9:56 AM

Having kids at an advanced age is selfish. Look up the odds of dying from any cause at 25 or 30 versus dropping dead of a heart attack, stroke or cancer at 75. When you have less testosterone and are more nurturing, you should be a grandpa. When you can play tackle football and still get up the next moring without being sore, you should be a dad.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:00 AM

"I'll admit to it too, but I'm not sure if it's a good thing or badd thing."

In the words of that sad country song..

'I anin't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was...'

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:02 AM

"The solution to absent, workaholic, stressball dads who are too busy to take kids to pediatrician appointments or the playground is simply to delay fatherhood a few decades!"

Some of the most important advice / lessons my dad taught me were when I was between 18 and 25. The fact that he was in his 40's at the time, and not in his 80's, was a 'good' thing.

Now, he and my mom are in their 60's and they can appreciate having the my kids stay with them for a week in the summer (kids are 11/9/6) -- it would be much different if my folks were in their 90's.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:09 AM

I think Lesli misunderstood the point of the article. It wasn't about men "waiting" to become fathers at 60. Most of the examples were men who had previously been married. That is my situation, and although my husband wasn't 60 when our son was born, he was well into his 50s. I can say that he's a much more involved father than my previous husband was, and I do think it's because he's reached financial security and has a different set of priorities than when he was starting out. Our child will be better for this!

Posted by: Bethesda | April 16, 2007 10:10 AM

No name,

I don't think May/December relationships are gross in and of themselves. In fact, I plan to encourage my daughter to experience at least a brief one because my own was such a refreshing break from the self-centeredness and egotism of men in the May/May dating scene.

But sleeping with or marrying a man old enough to be one's father is completely different from having kids with him. So I'll say it again -- doddering Joe should put his mojo in slow-mo!

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 10:11 AM

To me, the real topic is people wanting to have and be everything (parent/grandparent/whatever) at any, and all, stages of life without acknowledging the price...and without even knowledging the impossibility of doing/having/being everything.

Posted by: dotted | April 16, 2007 10:12 AM

I agree that people have to make their decisions about when/whether to have children for their own good reasons. We have no right to judge others for their choices just because they are not the ones we would make.

I do want to share my insight. I married right out of college and had my two children pretty much right away. Money was tight when the boys were little, but that was so unimportant! My husband and I had energy and good health and we had a lot of fun being young parents. He is patient by nature, and I have an education background, so we were 'good' parents as well. I would not change a thing.

If you wait for your career to be set, you may delay too long and have fertility/neonatal problems. You may be less patient as you age, not more (each person is different). You may not like being mistaken for being a grandparent at school events. And, if you are 45 when your youngest graduates high school, you do have time for a second career, or to rededicate to the one you have been pursuing. You also have time to enjoy life as a couple with a higher income than you had when you first married.

Finally, if you have your children in your 20's, everyone tells you that you don't look old enough to have a son in high school and a son in college! And trust me, I think I look every second of my age!

I suppose it will be a bit strange if people mistake me for my (future) grandchildren's mother, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Posted by: educmom | April 16, 2007 10:13 AM

"When you have less testosterone and are more nurturing, you should be a grandpa. When you can play tackle football and still get up the next moring without being sore, you should be a dad."

Growing up I was fortunate enough to live next door to my grandparents. As a child, I learned and did very different things with my dad and with my grandfather. As parents, my wife and I have tried to ensure that our children have that close relationship with their grandparents.

There was a time when 4-5 family generations might be alive at the same time -- with a push for older parents, we could see that drop to 2-3 generations at any given time. As a society, I think we would be giving up a lot...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:13 AM

The best thing I did for our children was to wait to have them until I was in a relationship with a guy likely to be a great dad. That means I was in my mid-30s with our first and early 40s when we had our second. It would not have made the world a better place to have rushed or encouraged prior relationships into marriage for the purpose of having kids in my late 20s or early 30s. Nor would it have been good for our marriage to have rushed the wedding and conception in order to hit some imaginary earlier target.

I am sure there are people out there timing their kids by their careers and cash on hand. I don't happen to know any of those people. I do, however, know many couples who either should not have married, or should have delayed child-bearing until their relationship was on more solid ground. It does your kids no service to bring them into a marriage that can't survive the toddler years. Divorce happens, but it happens with more frequency when couples inadvertently stress their marriage by focusing on getting pregnant before their marriage has settled into a place where it can take the hit of the stress that comes with infants and toddlers.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:14 AM

This goes for the Angela Bassetts of the world too: 50 is simply too old to have your first biological child. It's not nearly as bad to have a third or fifth child at that age because at least they will be able to rely on their siblings when you go to the great hereafter.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 10:14 AM

"I don't think May/December relationships are gross in and of themselves. In fact, I plan to encourage my daughter to experience at least a brief one because my own was such a refreshing break from the self-centeredness and egotism of men in the May/May dating scene"

Tomorrow on Oprah -- dutiful daughter seeks old guy for brief relationship in live out Mom's dating disasters?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:15 AM

I never said I was young enough to be my husband's daughter, I just said he was definitely not gross. Paul McCartney's the same age & I bet there are women on this blog who wouldn't turn him down!

Posted by: No name | April 16, 2007 10:17 AM

The hormone levels of older women also drop. Does this mean anything concerning older mothers?

Posted by: Liz | April 16, 2007 10:17 AM

My first child (now three) was born when I was 28 and my wife was 25, but in my area most of the dads are in their 40s and 50s. A lot of them seem to have reached a place in their careers where they can afford to dictate some terms: work from home, more time off, etc. Maybe they are a little more protective than the younger dads on the playground, but many of them seem to be having a lot of fun (at least the ones who aren't at work).

On the other hand, my wife and I are really getting started with careers. She is at home with the kids while I work during the day. At night, she is in law school while I am at home with the kids. I am lucky to have a job that allows me to get home at a specific time each evening, but I am definitely sacrificing higher pay and career advancement in the short term. Of course, after my wife finishes school and we move into our prime earning years, things could change. When my wife and I are 45 and 43 (and presumably most likely to be absent workaholics), our kids will be 17 and 15. They might not need direct 24/7 supervision, but they definitely will need plenty of guidance, support, involved parents, etc.

In other words, there's a trade-off. I suspect a lot of my older dad friends did not feel "ready" to be a dad when they were younger, and they were probably right to wait. Most of them seem to be doing just fine financially (especially compared to us younger parents). Waiting until retirement to have kids seems to be much rarer than the "older" dads in their 40s and 50s whom I know. Any thoughts from dads in their 40s and 50s?

Posted by: "Younger Dad" | April 16, 2007 10:21 AM

Wow! I was a grandmother before I was 40, so these late age fathers seem more like great-grandfathers to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:25 AM

To me, the real topic is people wanting to have and be everything (parent/grandparent/whatever) at any, and all, stages of life without acknowledging the price...and without even knowledging the impossibility of doing/having/being everything.

Then again, what about Kathleen Battle?

Posted by: an exception | April 16, 2007 10:25 AM

I have commented to my wife that, when we have a child, it will be about the same age as my two nephew's children will be, even though they will be 2nd cousins and not first. It will look as if we've skipped a generation somehow.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 10:27 AM

What about Kathleen Battle?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:27 AM

My father was 45 when I was born in the 1960s, here's what I experienced:
1. By the time I was 10 he was too tired to throw the ball around with me. Too tired to go on hikes with the boy scouts. Too tired to swim in the ocean. He had no energy at all.
2. Socially and politically he was stuck in the 1930s and the depression. He was obsessed about the depression, scrimping and saving. He was obsessed with the politics of World War 2. My friends' parents were older baby boomers. This wasn't crippling, but how many fights did I hear about Vietnam?
3. Technology was alien to him. We had a full set of encyclopedias, but I saved up my own money to buy an Apple ][+ computer.
4. Society changed but he didn't. I had to pay for my own Kaplan SAT study program because he didn't see the value in a high SAT score. I had to look for all my college stuff myself because he just said I was going to the state school. He complained all the time that I never joined the football team, but all the kids on the team came from a private football camp. It wouldn't be uncommon for me to be going out with friends and he'd say, "Come here kid" and hand me $2 to "go have some fun." Umm... $2.

I think over all the major major issue was that my father had nowhere near enough energy compared to other parents. Also, while they were vital and active, he wanted to read the newspaper and drink scotch and then fall asleep on the couch. If you're a dad over 40, get to the gym several times a week so you have the energy for young kids.

Posted by: DCer | April 16, 2007 10:29 AM

Money always ages well. If Paul McCartney were penniless I am sure he would be far less attractive to many women.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 10:29 AM

It seems like you're overthinking this. Try to enjoy life, no matter what happens. THere's no one-size-fits-all template.

Posted by: To John L | April 16, 2007 10:30 AM

As the last of weight kids, my Dad was 40 when I was born. Now granted, poeple are staying in better shape into their aging years these days, but I always felt a little cheated that my Dad didn't really have the energy or capability to do the sports thing with me.

I'd feel cheated and I imagine so would my son if I couldn't get out there and beat him at basketball. It seems like a small thing, but stuff like that really shapes the father-son dynamic.

Sure, there are compensations, and there are exceptions, but all in all parenthood is best for the (at least fairly) young and not for the geriatric, at least IMHO.

And considering how much energy it has taken to raise just my two, how do older parents find the energy? Maybe they just don't sweat anything but the serious issues (don't run after everything, only intervene in the truly serious.) Or maybe they let the young spouse do it...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 16, 2007 10:32 AM

McCartney would still be attractive to a lot of women if he was a retired low-paid earner with no savings. Hot is Hot.

Posted by: No name | April 16, 2007 10:32 AM

Sorry, spell checker didn't catch this one:

weight = eight

in first sentence above.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 16, 2007 10:34 AM

Men just can't win. It is our fault for being lazy bums if we want to do something fun for a change, it is our fault for going out and working to make a living to support the family, and it is our fault for not being there because of working for a living to support the family, pretty soon it will be our fault for being too old as well. The old male, not as active, doesn't need the big piece of chicken anymore either; that can go to the alpha-girl who theoretically expends more calories simply because she is perfect and can do everything. Why should the old man get the biggest piece of chicken anyway? That sort of free-loading doesn't sound balanced. We can't have men getting the bigger piece of chicken... that just wouldn't be PC!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 10:34 AM

Chris, go have a brat!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:37 AM

Oops! That was mine. And Chris, I hope you understand that I was just teasing ;-)

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 10:38 AM

10:37, actually, I think I will! Leftovers! yum!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 10:38 AM

It's a breath of fresh air in here today.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:47 AM

>We can't have men getting the bigger piece of chicken... that just wouldn't be PC!

Chris, does PC = perfect chicken?

:~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 16, 2007 10:47 AM

10:47, are you sure it's not just the wind outside leaking in through the windows?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:49 AM

My parents were "older" parents in 1972. My father was 43, my mother 41. They have been great. They were sure of themselves, had already accomplished a lot of what they wanted to do, and my father was already in a position at work to be able to take advantage of some seniority in regards to flexible work arrangements. I'm 34 now, and they're nearly 80 -- and they may not see my children (if I ever have any) .. but they saw me grow up and turn into a woman they could be proud of..

And by the way they didn't get "old" until their 70's.. so they had a good 20 years of pretty serious activity (baseball in the back yard, bike riding, tennis, etc..)

Posted by: Michigan | April 16, 2007 10:49 AM

I think this topic is a little silly.

Men, and women, for that matter, should have kids if they want to, when they are ready, and are at least able to afford to put food on the table. For some men, that happens at 50. So be it.

Whether older men are better fathers depends mostly on the individual father's personality, health, and other factors. Testosterone is only one component.

Posted by: Rock Creek Mama | April 16, 2007 10:51 AM

There is obviously no magic age to have children. I do think waiting till 60s is a bit on the old side. What is the probability that you will live to see your child even reach age 18. Not to mention about helping your young child as an adult? I am very lucky to be in my mid 30s and still have both of my parents. I can't imagine not having my mother to talk to about child rearing. You may have more financial stability but it comes at a risk to your health. I also think it is very sad this second time around kids. It doesn't seem like these fathers or mothers try to work harder at repairing the relationship with their first set of kids. I don't know why they don't feel obligated to make it up to their first set of kids.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 10:54 AM

"It's so pleasant," said 73-year-old dad Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a retired Harvard Medical School professor and the father of twin 10-year-olds. "My success as a scientist depended upon my neglecting my first set of children. Now that I'm retired we have a lot more time together."

Did anyone interview his first set of children, to find out what they thought about his epiphany? I'd be curious as to what he had wrought, in the past. And what he reaped, too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:55 AM

But wasn't there a study a few weeks back linking an increased risk of autism to dads over 40?

Posted by: MV | April 16, 2007 10:58 AM

For the folks talking about increased risk of birth defects for older women having kids, you're missing the point here. The point of freezing your eggs when you're younger means that when you're ready to devote the time and energy to a child, you can use your "twenty-something" aged eggs to get pregnant -- erego, circumventing that nasty biological time bomb.

Posted by: anon | April 16, 2007 10:59 AM

My child has a father figure in his fifties--his grandfather. And I look forward to being a father figure in my fifties, too, by being a grandfather. Let my kid learn from me when I am near the peak of of physical endurance and intellectual powers.

It amazes me how many people justify skewing the traditional order of life events when it really boils down to something pathetic--you don't want to be bothered with kids because you want to make a lot of money, do things, buy things, be little materialistic puppets.
This entire blog is devoted to people coming up with new and improved ways to rationalize their materialism at the expense of their humanity and their families. But you can never quite convince yourselves, can you, because you know its wrong, so all the bickering and petty existential crises break out.

If mankind continues to take the path of the urban dweller, we are all truly doomed.

Let me add that older parents are creepy. Very creepy.

Posted by: joe | April 16, 2007 11:00 AM

"Have you delayed having kids, to some degree, to achieve better balance? Do you know others who have? What do you see as the pros and cons?"

Well, if I didn't get pregnant when I was a teenager, does that qualify as delaying? But I'm almost 40+ and I have no intentions of having more kids now. I'm busy trying to keep up with the ones I've got!

A lot of people delayed having kids until they were past their adolescence. As for the 40's & 50's, hmm, a few men. For biological reasons, not any women that I can think of right now.

Pros--money is likely to not be quite as much of an issue.

Cons--you are DEFINITELY that much closer to the grave.

Posted by: Bedrock | April 16, 2007 11:01 AM

My husband's 40 and I'm 36 and we have a 2 year old and I never considered us old! Yeesh! :)

Posted by: Shandra | April 16, 2007 11:02 AM

"The point of freezing your eggs when you're younger means that when you're ready to devote the time and energy to a child, you can use your "twenty-something" aged eggs to get pregnant --"

Doesn't that take a fair amount of money to have to spend in your 20's? Not to mention the 20-30 years of paying for their storage? And after that amount of time, aren't there problems with the eggs having lysed?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:03 AM

Can anyone picture Larry King playing ball with his son?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 11:03 AM

Yes, there's an increased risk of autism, but it's still very small overall compared to the majority of births. Hardly a reason to not try and have children just because the father is over 40, just something to keep in mind (like everything else) when making the decision.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 11:04 AM

I am 43, single and have no kids, but am very much looking forward to having a family with 2-4 kids someday.

I know for a fact that I will be able to be a much better and mature husband and father than I would have been in my late 20s/30s. More insight, versatility, wisdom etc. More considerate and less ego-centric.

The only negative aspect is being an old grandfather and maybe never seeing any of my future grandkids as young adults.

Posted by: Europe | April 16, 2007 11:04 AM

"It amazes me how many people justify skewing the traditional order of life"

It seems to me that if God or Nature or Whatever didn't want men to be able to procreate until the day they died, they wouldn't be able to do so.

So, it IS part of the "natural order" that older men are capable of siring children. What isn't a guarantee is that they'll be around to raise them (death).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:04 AM

My father was the last in a long line of children -- no decisions to be made way back then about birth-control. When my dad was born, his father was in his late 40s, his mother (Grandpa's first and only wife) in her late 30s, and average life-expectancy was maybe 55. My grandparents were both still in excellent health: Grandma was a SAHM who had no difficulty managing the household, while Grandpa was still WOH FT. Most of my dad's older siblings (except one jealous brother) adored the "baby" and participated in various ways in his upbringing, especially the sports stuff that my grandparents were too mature for. My dad was 40 when his mother died; his father died ten years later (you do the math!). It all worked out OK.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 11:06 AM

KLB, I try not to picture Larry King at all. I don't know whether he's a nice person in private life or not, but the poor thing just isn't very pretty.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 11:10 AM

Well, I'll tell you - I am a first time dad at 45 (now 47). There is some credence to the physical state issue (that first month of no sleep nearly killed me), and I do worry about the fact that her sweet 16 and my 60th birthday come in the same week. Still, I can provide a lot better than I could in my 20's, I can give a lot more of my time now, and I was just plain ready now and not then. I am sad that I won't get the adult relationship with my child that i have with my parents, but in so many ways I am a better, wiser, more patient person for my daughter now than I was even 10 years. ago. I think that the negatives caused by difference in age is more than offset by the quality of parenting I can provide now. Your mileage may vary of course

Posted by: spike | April 16, 2007 11:11 AM

This goes for the Angela Bassetts of the world too: 50 is simply too old to have your first biological child. It's not nearly as bad to have a third or fifth child at that age because at least they will be able to rely on their siblings when you go to the great hereafter.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 10:14 AM

Angela Bassett had a surrogate mother bear her children. I'm not clear if the eggs were hers or the surrogate's. Also, my great-grandmother was 50 when she had my grandmother (who I think was the youngest child). Not that I'm advocating having kids at 50 or anything..

I had my kids at 36 and 39. My ex husband is a few years younger than me. I'm glad I waited until I finished with going back to school and changing careers before marrying and having children. I have some energy for them but wish I had more. My ex has even less energy than me, however. Maybe it's more than just age.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 16, 2007 11:11 AM

Joe wrote: "older parents are creepy. Very creepy."

The only older parents who are creepy would have also made creepy parents when they were young. They can love and care for their children as well as younger parents. You are just being ageist.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 11:14 AM

To put things in perspective, my grandmothers are in their 70s and their healths are failing. They probably only have a few years left. Though both full of energy, for their age, I can see neither catering full-time to the needs of children. Notice: no grandfathers anymore... To put things in my perspective- Where would that have left these poor old women, whose health is failing? To whom would the responsibilities of such a child have fallen? Would I have been asked to raise a baby aunt or uncle when I have just started overcoming college/marriage debts and settled into a nice career, or when my wife and I would like to have our own kids? I don't see either of my divorced parents doing it... Indeed- if this is a new trend, how many grandkids will be stuck raising their parents' siblings?

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 11:17 AM

At the ages of 55 and 60 we are raising our 2 year old grandchild and it is tough! He is pretty active and a handful to keep up with. However, we are more laid back and not worried about all of the issues that come up with raising children. So some things are easy and some things are harder. The loss of sleep is hard on us but potty training? Been there and done that and it tends to work itself out. It is fun to watch our grandchild develop as a loving, thinking person. We are not too worried about the future.

Posted by: GRANDMA | April 16, 2007 11:18 AM

To Spike: How do you know you won't get the adult relationship with your daughter? Average life expectancy is so much longer than it used to be, even in your childhood. I think your prospects are much better than you imagine. Please try to be positive about this, OK?

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 11:20 AM

Chris I do agree with what you are saying for the most part but to put the issue of next of kin in perspective, I have been the next of kin of four children since I was 18 years old. Things happen to young parents too. However, my main worry right now if picking a suitable guardian for my own children. I was a good choice, my siblings, not so much. :)

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 11:21 AM

My mom died when I was 28. Yes I wish she was around to see my kids (she was 58). To all you parents who hate to go to the dr-go anyway.

In any event, her mom is still alive (97- the oldest of about 8 kids and the only one still left-she's amazing). So there are no guarantees in life even tho most of my (female, at least) relatives live til at least their 80s.

I don't know that ther is much more to say on this topic-have kids when you want :). But, yes, if I were a little younger, I would try harder, I think, to persuade my DH to have more kids (cause they are great). But I'm too tired now. :).

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 11:21 AM

To Rock Creek Mama,

I beg to differ. This topic is very timely. My hubby and I are talking about having a second child but if it were to happen it would most likely not be until after our 40s. There are so many things to consider when having a child, especially when one (or two) will be an older parent.

Posted by: Nutty Mama | April 16, 2007 11:23 AM

When my mother had my older sister at 30 in 1976 she was classified as an at-risk pregnancy for her age. Of course, she was the oldest person in the maternity ward but that's because we were a military family where the average first time mom is in her early 20s if not earlier! She had her 2nd and last (ME!) at 34 and now that isn't even considered a high risk pregnancy. The thing is as technology gets better so do people's options...it's up to the individual to decide how to use it wisely. I think 30s-40s is fine for kids, it depends on how you feel and your medical history.

Posted by: First timer | April 16, 2007 11:25 AM

There you go again. This article, like the one on Mommy Wars not long ago is nothing more than an overgeneralization. What bloody difference does it make if the parent is older, younger, or whatever. It's what's inside that counts.

Posted by: John Paul | April 16, 2007 11:26 AM

Yeah John Paul!!! You tell 'em!

Posted by: Nutty Mama | April 16, 2007 11:29 AM

Limerick for the topic:

Grandpa had an end-of-life crisis.
I don't see how they could do this!
What were they thinking;
Had grandma been drinking?
Now I'm stuck raising Aunt Francis!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 11:33 AM

Chris

"Now I'm stuck raising Aunt Francis!"

Check the spelling of Francis......

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:34 AM

Chris

"Now I'm stuck raising Aunt Francis!"

Check the spelling of Francis......


Why? It's a name he can spell it anyway he wants.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:35 AM

My wife and I got married when I was 37 and she was 34. We just had our first child - she's now 36 and I am 39. This was due in part to planning (law school, three relocations - including temporarily moving back with my folks) and chance. I'm glad I did not have a child in my 20s b/c I was not ready, emotionally or monetarily. But I do wish I had done this maybe three years earlier. Scary to be knocking on 40.

Posted by: Bob | April 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Yeah, my grandmom got married 'late' (over 25) and had my mom at 28 or so-she was told by the dr that he wasn't sure it would all work out since she was old. She went on to have more tho.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Well, altmom I am high risk anyway because I had pre-term labor before, but I am in the Midwest and you would think I was 50 the way some people react to a 32 year old mom to be.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 11:38 AM

Leslie, I think this blog underestimates the financial and emotional impact of fertility treatments. It's bad advice to tell young women to wait to have children. Despite the recent advances in expensive medical technology and fertility treatments, we haven't managed to circumvent the biological clock yet.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:39 AM

I am 48 and my wife and I recently adopted a 5 year old boy. I definitely feel better able to parent now. I have had many wonderfull experiences which I hope to share with our son. In fact, we may adopt again.

Posted by: Fred | April 16, 2007 11:43 AM

If you live in fear of the future you'll never do anything. I for one intend to embrace the future, and if we are fortunate to have a child, will do our best to raise them to be healthy, happy and loved.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 11:44 AM

---"Now I'm stuck raising Aunt Francis!"

Check the spelling of Francis......


Why? It's a name he can spell it anyway he wants.---

Frances is female. Francis is male.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:45 AM

Well, altmom I am high risk anyway because I had pre-term labor before, but I am in the Midwest and you would think I was 50 the way some people react to a 32 year old mom to be.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 11:38 AM

This is very regional. My ob/gyn told me that the largest number of first time moms are in the range of 30-35 in the DC area compared to 25-30 across the US. More education correlates to older first time moms. It is very common to see second time moms in the 30+ category here.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 11:45 AM

Usually I just glance at this blog and go on, but today I have to say something. It's a gross generalization to say that older parents are "selfish" to wait to have children. I got married at 33; my husband was 46. We wanted children, but our daughter was not born until I was 38 and he was 51. Neither of us wanted to wait that long, but that's biology for you. My daughter sometimes asks why we don't have more children, and I tell her that we're too old to have any more. But her dad is the one to take her bike riding and snorkeling and more.

Posted by: College Park | April 16, 2007 11:47 AM

Frances is female. Francis is male.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 11:45 AM


Francis is a talking mule.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:48 AM

"More education correlates to older first time moms"

More education correlates to more high powered careers and bigger student loan obligations. Time to get established in a career and time to get financially ready for children are the reasons most frequently given to delay having children.

Those of us who haven't chased the careers generally have our children younger, and we tend to have more children.

Posted by: just wondering | April 16, 2007 11:49 AM

I am not saying that grandmothers still can not be good parents... but that many can not- and should be very careful about such a choice. Due to extenuating circumstances my grandmother pretty much raised my little brother. He's been spoiled by the experience and does not seem to grasp the reality that time is limited now, and he needs to be able to support himself soon. He does not understand having to work for a living, as he has never been in the house of anyone who works, except when he visited me for a week. The whole concept is foreign to him. So yes, people old enough to be grandparents can be more mature, but is that always a good thing? If they are so mature that they lose sight of the importance of certain lessons, something will be missing in the development of the child. Care needs to be taken, because ultimately the most important thing is not the self-interested party, it is the child.

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 11:50 AM

Older dads almost certainly make betters dads in the case of men who want to substantially change the pattern of parenting in their family. I am talking primarily about the fostering of self-esteem, disciplinary strategies and management of stress in the context of parenting, than physical or other abuse, although those are part of the POP.

Changing the pattern of parenting in a family is one of the most difficult things a parent can take on. The odds of being successful are just better in the case of an older dad. He is more likely to have realized that the wants to change the pattern, contemplate why he wants to change the pattern, work on who he is as a result of that and get started on figuring out how to change the pattern.

For example, a dad who grew up with shame or blame as the primary aspect of his discipline needs to discover there are other ways to discipline, what clean up he might need to do before he has kids, and figure out what safeguards he is going to create for himself as a parent. A dad who grew up as an accessory needs to come to terms with who he is and figure out how effectively communicate that his child is not an accessory.

My husband will be an older dad, not b/c we actively chose that, just that it will work out that way. Still the result is that he will be a better dad. First, he has had a quite a few years to learn to see his upbringing from an outside perspective and to think about what aspects he wants to replicate. And more importantly what aspects he wants to change and figure out his introductory strategy on how he is going to do that.

Are there trade-offs because my husband will be an older dad? Obviously. But older dadhood is what worked out for us, so we are going to work to ensure we use it to make him the best dad HE can be.

Posted by: Jill | April 16, 2007 11:50 AM

Leslie, I think this blog underestimates the financial and emotional impact of fertility treatments. It's bad advice to tell young women to wait to have children. Despite the recent advances in expensive medical technology and fertility treatments, we haven't managed to circumvent the biological clock yet.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 11:39 AM

This blog does not assume that every woman's goal is to have biological children. It's absolutely spot-on advice to advise young women and men to have children at the time that is right for them, and not to let biological clock obsession drive them to have children with the wrong partner or otherwise at the WRONG time for them. Biological children are one way, but only one way, of expanding a family.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM

Frances is female. Francis is male

Like I said he can spell it how he wants.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM

Those of us who haven't chased the careers generally have our children younger, and we tend to have more children.

Posted by: just wondering | April 16, 2007 11:49 AM


And this is good because...?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM

Like I said he can spell it how he wants.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM


"AS I said" not "LIKE I said"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:52 AM

Like I said he can spell it how he wants.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM


"AS I said" not "LIKE I said"

At least annoying applies to both genders.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:54 AM

Many valid comments, but I think the best ones have focused on the quality of the parents' relationship as a foundation for parenthood. It really doesn't matter how old or young fathers (and, to a certain extent, mothers) are when their children are born. What matters is how committed they are to each other and to being parents.

Parenting is HARD WORK!!! You have to be willing to postpone some self-gratification to provide your child with a solid level of emotional and financial security. You have to be willing to say "no" to your child's request when you know that's the right thing to do, even though you know you're going to have a very disappointed and/or unhappy child. And you have to start letting go of your child from day one so they can learn to be independent and responsible.

My husband and I married at 27 and had our first (and only) child at 36. At that time, ours was considered a high risk pregnancy. Our relationship was on pretty solid ground, and we both wanted this child. That is, I think, the single most important criteria for parenthood! You have to WANT a child, even knowing all the challenges and expenses you will face -- because it won't be easy! But the rewards are beyond computing.

Our daughter is 25 now, and she is loving, compassionate, generous, bright, passionate about her vocation, and surrounded by many friends -- in part because she grew up knowing she was loved unconditionally, and in part because we each took time to build a relationship with her.

Her father left a lucrative partnership in a large law firm to pursue an intellectually challenging, but less lucrative career so he could be a part of her life. Initially, I was a SAHM, but I found I wasn't really cut out for that role. I worked part-time during most of her early years, then changed careers and went into teaching when she was 10.

As for being too old to romp and play with our child, age was a slight deterrent, but the fact that we were "comfortable in our own skin" as noted by a previous poster, was far more important. We enjoyed our daughter and her friends, played silly games, made faces, and sometimes made fools of ourselves in public (at least some people would say we did) and laughed ourselves silly. We were surprised to learn that all three of our daughter's roommates her sophomore year of college thought we were the parents they would most like to have -- and they all came from solid, two-parent homes.

As for waiting until 60 or older to father children, I've got to tell you that neither my husband nor I have the energy for small children. We're 62, and we might be ready for grandchildren in another 5 years or so, but we'd need a young wife to care for young children now.

Posted by: DJL | April 16, 2007 11:54 AM

More education correlates to more high powered careers and bigger student loan obligations. Time to get established in a career and time to get financially ready for children are the reasons most frequently given to delay having children.

Those of us who haven't chased the careers generally have our children younger, and we tend to have more children.

Posted by: just wondering | April 16, 2007 11:49 AM

No one I know chased a career. The "more education" was because we couldn't find jobs with our wonderfully emotionally gratifying English Literature degrees.

If you return to school to obtain an advanced degree and do not graduate until you are 28, the chances are higher that you will not begin dating someone with the idea of finding a life partner until 29 - 34. It's not about getting established or any of that other nonsense that Leslie spouts, it's just about finding the right person. Who seeks to reproduce with the wrong mate?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:55 AM

"The odds of being successful are just better in the case of an older dad."


Is there any evidence to support this statement?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 11:56 AM

Well, we've got the opposite of balance here.

There are some who have children in their teens. For most of them, that's probably not a good thing.

There are some who have children in their sixties. For most of them, that's probably not a good thing.

How about the rest of us, who fit under the hump of the bell curve, who wait until 35 to have children? Isn't that balance--your career is doing well and you're financially and emotionally stable, yet at the same time you're not approaching retirement, and depriving your children of their grandparents?

And what about those of us who prefer to date younger? BF is four years younger than me, and if we end up married, I can't imagine leaving him for a 60-year-old. BF is nurturing enough as it is; I don't think he needs replacing.

Posted by: Mona | April 16, 2007 11:56 AM

Being a good dad was never about how good we are at the job BEFORE the job comes. It is all about learning the job DURING the child-rearing years.

I have a 1 year old daughter right now. She is my joy. Do I know fully how to take care of her? No. I'm learning as I go. But I would not trade my experiences now for decades of waiting until I'm more mature.

It's time we stop thinking about ourselves and think about others for a change. This kind of report continues the selfishness so prevalent in the baby boom generation. For this generation, it is all about "me me me." Even if it comes at the expense of our future generations.

Seriously, what kind of future do you think children will have with fathers 60 years old, who will have a high risk of dying as the children reach their teenage years! Seriously. How dumb can we get!

Posted by: A middle-aged dad | April 16, 2007 11:56 AM

"And this is good because...?"

I am not saying it is good or bad. I know people who have had children young who wish they had been older. I also know people who have had children when older who wish they had been younger.

The children have all grown up to be fine people. The best time to have children is not necessarily older, younger, or in-between. The best time is when you want them and are ready to spend the next 18 years or more raising them.

Posted by: just wondering | April 16, 2007 12:01 PM

I care not for how you spell Francis
You totally miss what the point is:
When grandma bakes grandpa
A cake with viagra
What follows is not a catharsis!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 12:01 PM

My feeling is that there are pros and cons to becoming parents later in life. From a woman's perspective, though, and for those who want biological children, its not a good idea to wait until your forties because fertility plummets at that age, and you could lose your window of opportunity.

I had my first son when I was 34. It felt like the perfect age. Fertility was not an issue. I had been working long enough to be pretty established at work (not the peak of my career but comfortable enough to make working motherhood a viable option). The pregnancy was easy and worry free. At 39, I wanted another one, so we began trying again. After a string of miscarriages, I am pregnant again, but scared to death of another miscarriage. I am also more tired than I remember being when pregnant with my first. If I could go back and do it again, I would have gotten pregnant very soon after my first son was born.

On the plus side, if this pregnancy sticks, we have plenty of money and flexibility to make things work out. And I have more patience now than I ever had before. I would never consider children at 50 or older. Who has the energy for that? Even at 41, I feel like I am pushing it, but at least at this point, the desire is strong enough to compensate for the fatigue.

Posted by: Emily | April 16, 2007 12:01 PM

The best dad, at any age, is the dad who wants to be an active one. He's the dad who plays baseball with his kids, gets muddy in the creek, gets out the paints on a Tuesday evening because his daughter REALLY, REALLY wants to paint after doing her homework, works on ridiculously complex homework projects with his son and enjoys the process even if the assignment is over-the-top, works on his marriage / relationship with his spouse because modeling a good relationship is the best gift he can give to his kids.

He takes the time to listen to his kids when they are ready to talk, not when it's convenient for him to listen. Good dads come in all ages, socio-economic strata, races and backgrounds. So do lousy dads.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:02 PM

and if you are lucky, your children don't end up being shot, while attending college, by some lunatic:

See breaking news regarding a shooting at
Virginia Tech.

"A hospital spokeswoman told AP that 17 Virginia Tech students were being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:05 PM

"The best dad, at any age, is the dad who wants to be an active one."

Why? Can't a different kind of Dad also be a good Dad?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:06 PM

I care not for how you spell Francis
You totally miss what the point is-
When grandma bakes grandpa
A cake of vi-agg-ra
What follows is not a catharsis!

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 12:08 PM

It wouldn't let me post the above hyphenated word for some reason, yet I have seen others post "swear" words... hmm...

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 12:09 PM

I thought BF was ex-BF.

Posted by: to Mona | April 16, 2007 12:10 PM

I agree with Mona. DH and I had our first at 31. We were both financially secure and well-established, but consider ourselves pretty young parents. Can't imagine having a child when I was in my early-mid 20s.

But I think at some point, the benefits of waiting to have a child for financial and career reasons are offset by the disadvantages. I'm sure there are many fantastic dads who are older than 50, but I think people are rationalizing when they say that they are better dads because they are older. Sometimes circumstances are such that people wait until they are in their 40s or so to have children. Life is life. But you are fooling yourselves if you think you will be a better dad of a 10 year old when you are 60+ than if you were at least 10 years younger.

Posted by: londonmom | April 16, 2007 12:11 PM

Of course they should send their children to elite private schools where this could never happen, right? Give me a break!

Posted by: To 12:05 | April 16, 2007 12:12 PM

Very timely posting. My partner, who is in her late 50s, will most likely be a stay-at-home parent when I get pregnant (and I'll be about 30 when that happens). I can understand the energy issues - she broke four ribs almost a year ago, and is only just now getting to be strong enough to enjoy herself again. However, I grew up with parents that were REALLY YOUNG (mom was 16, dad was 18 when I was born) and I can see the disadvantages of young parents all too well. My grandparents were the same age then as my partner is now when I was a kid, and they were like second parents to me and my sister - and we were glad to have them in our lives then, and still are now.

Young, old - as long as they're loved, what does it matter?

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | April 16, 2007 12:16 PM

One older parent and one who is average parent-age, such as you and your partner, is not the same thing as two older parents. The younger parent may be able to make up for some of the loss of physical energy of the older parent.

I personally would not want to start a family in my 50's, which is my current age. The teens are tough. I can't imagine dealing with teens at age 60, 65, or 70.

Posted by: to Rebecca | April 16, 2007 12:21 PM

I'm about to find out if older dads make better dads. I am 43 and my finace is 55. I have an adopted 2-year old we're going to raise together.

I had my first child when I was 22, and have paid close attention to the differences in raising children between then, and now with my two-year old. I was young and full of energy to keep up with my hyperactive son. I feel so much more equipped to raise childeren now, mentally and emotionally. However I can really feel that my body is older chasing a 2-year old around.

While I can see the advantages of waiting until you're older to have kids (whether it be until you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s), I can't imagine not having that youthful experience of being young and raising a child.

I guess it's just a personal choice.

Posted by: YoMama | April 16, 2007 12:22 PM

When I was a junior in college, my roommate's sister said that women who have their first baby by 27 end up with much better post-baby bodies than those first-time moms over 27. Given that she was a celebrity, postpartum personal trainer, I pretty much decided on-the-spot to have my first baby by 27. Alas, I did not make my deadline and will not be a mom before 32, best case scenario, and can only hope I will be done having babies by 38.

Lots of people assume this outcome is the result of me going to law school, pursuing a career, wanting to be more financially stable, student loans or more pointedly as some people have said of me, "being career-obsessed," "money-obsessed," having "a misguided view of feminism," "needing to reexamine [my] priorities," or "not knowing what is important in life."

But here are the uber-scandalous, self-absorbed reasons that I am unnecessarily jeopardizing my baby's health by not having her until later in life:

Wanting to find the right person to marry, waiting to have a baby with that person, and my doctors cautiously changing my medications for health conditions so that my meds will not prevent me from breastfeeding. Oh, right, and my husband and I want to "be ready."

Maybe I should have used Energizer batteries if I wanted my biological clock to tick.

Posted by: Mom on Trial | April 16, 2007 12:23 PM

"Of course they should send their children to elite private schools where this could never happen, right? Give me a break!

Posted by: To 12:05 | April 16, 2007 12:12 PM"

WTF??? 12:05 reported the sad story that college students have been shot. Nowhere was there any commentary on the school itself or any indication that the incident had anything to do with the type of school.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:23 PM

Fairfax County decided to close schools 3 hours early today. The reason? - it's too windy.

Please...

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 16, 2007 12:24 PM

Fairfax County decided to close schools 3 hours early today. The reason? - it's too windy.

Please...

father of 4, you must be joking?

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 12:25 PM

The injured students at VA Tech are being taken to the hospital via ground transport because it is too windy for the helicopters.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:26 PM

I don't know anyone who doesn't think highly of Tech. The two people I know who went there went on to Harvard Business and Wharton. I think the original poster was just in shock/disgusted at what happened.

I hope anyone with family or friends at Tech knows his/her loved one is safe and sound.

Posted by: Marian | April 16, 2007 12:29 PM

"Mother Nature" designed females so we could have babies starting at 13. Doesn't mean that's a good thing. Mother Nature also designed us to be smart enough to find ways to delay childbearing, through birth control and egg/sperm freezing, until we are in our 50s and 60s. Mother Nature clearly meant for us to demonstrate some degree of choice in when we have kids!

I just don't buy the whole "energy" thing about younger parents. I value patience far more than energy. And I think kids sap every ounce out of you, not matter how much you start with! So I'm an advocate of older parents, both men and women.

Women CAN choose to wait now, by freezing healthy eggs in their 20s and having kids later --whenever "later" is. Women in their 60s can safely bear and nurse children. The only part of your body that "expires" is the eggs themselves, which can now be frozen prior to fertilization.

I still think this is NOT the solution for everyone. You'd be so unusual, such an oddity, by waiting, that this factor alone would make the choice to have kids far later in life difficult (I could never have done it myself). But I think it's an intriguing option for lots of men and women, because it does solve a lot of the problems we face, especially women face, because our prime working years line up with our prime childbearing years, at least in our current society!

Posted by: Leslie | April 16, 2007 12:29 PM

Scarry, Father of 4 is right - it is on the front page of the Post on-line. Schools closing because of wind.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 12:30 PM

I was talking with my husband about today's blog and he said he thinks that celebrities (Larry King, Paul McCartney) or politicians (Joe Biden) who have such young children have second/third/fourth . . . wives that basically have children by the guy so they'll be assured child support for at least 18 years. Hmmmm.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 12:32 PM

I don't think postponing children is all about building a career. Most college educated people do not have high powered careers. I think a small minority have high powered careers. But the fact remains if you spend your teens through your 20s in school, you are less likely to get married then your non educated peers. Therefore you simply do not have the same opportunities to produce off spring. Most of the 30 plus first time moms have not been married a decade prior to their first child. A lot of educated women are marrying late 20s through to their 30s.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 12:33 PM

Fairfax County decided to close schools 3 hours early today. The reason? - it's too windy.

Please...

father of 4, you must be joking?

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 12:25 PM
They are afraid the trailers would blow over.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 12:34 PM

I read the NYT article last week, and I have to admit...I thought it was creepy. Not just that old men are having babies, but the idea that a first family was disposable. And it was very telling that children from the disposable families were not interviewed (perhaps a subject for a different article). These old men were white, wealthy and obviously treated their trophy wives as commodities.

Biologically, we are built to have healthy children in our 20s, and we can get away with reduced risks into our 30s. After that, the health risks increase, and honestly, who out there really believes a child wants a father who is old enough to collect social security when the kid is in middle school?

Having been the child of older parents, I think its selfish, especially when it's a do-over scenario such as those described in the NYT article.

Yuck. It really did make my skin crawl.

Posted by: single western mom | April 16, 2007 12:34 PM

"I just don't buy the whole "energy" thing about younger parents. I value patience far more than energy."

But what about those who have less patience when we are worn-out?

Posted by: to Leslie | April 16, 2007 12:37 PM

Schools closed for wind. Well, I'm not the person who made the decision, but I believe that there is a high possibility that there will be a lot of trees coming down this afternoon. After all the rain, the ground is quite soft and the trees will topple more easily.

I find that a lot of school closing decisions are CYA decisions. If just one tree falls on a bus or a child, or one bus has a problem with high wind on a bridge, or children arrive home late due to detours caused by fallen trees, I'm sure that the school board would be hearing from outraged parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:40 PM

Well, altmom I am high risk anyway because I had pre-term labor before, but I am in the Midwest and you would think I was 50 the way some people react to a 32 year old mom to be.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 11:38 AM

A friend and I were both pregnant at the same time. I was 33 and she was 35. A woman at work approached us one day and said "It's so nice that women your age are having children these days!" We never thought of our selves as "old" until she said something!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 16, 2007 12:46 PM

Women CAN choose to wait now, by freezing healthy eggs in their 20s and having kids later --whenever "later" is.

How much does it COST to have this procedure done? How much does it COST to keep those eggs frozen? What percentage of those eggs will be viable after long-term freezing?

And folks, do NOT underestimate the energy costs of being older and a parent. Forget the toddler years--let's talk about mouthy, thrill-seeking adolescents. The ones who come home before their curfew, then wait until you pass out to sneak back OUT.

But one advantage is teaching the child their letters, by using your liver spots to play connect-the-dots.

14 vs. 40 is one thing.

14 vs 60 is another thing entirely.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:46 PM

Based on earlier posts, a clarification to my statement: "The odds of being successful are just better in the case of an older dad."

This was intended in the context of changing the pattern of parenting, not as a stand-alone statistical assessment of younger dads.

I made the statement in the context of a dad who wants to change his family's historical pattern of parenting when he is a dad. Successfully changing the pattern of parenting--see description of that term above or let me know if you want more specifics--generally requires a multi-step process of self-awareness/self-discovery/education/forming strategies for change. And, a multi-step process takes time. As time passes, people age (not being snippy, just being complete).

So, a dad who wants to change the pattern of parenting and who is older has had more time to spend on the process for changing the pattern. Thus, my statement would have been more completely worded with the bolded addition: the odds of being successful IN CHANGING THE PATTERN OF PARENTING are just better in the case of an older dad.

Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Jill | April 16, 2007 12:46 PM

At Least 20 Killed in Virginia Tech Shooting
By Robert E. Pierre
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 16, 2007; 12:30 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041600533.html

At least 20 people were killed this morning at at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University after a shooting spree at two dorms.

Many more were wounded during the shootings, which began shortly after 7 a.m. at the West Ambler Johnston and Norris Hall dorms, officials announced during a news conference this afternoon...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:47 PM

Of course they should send their children to elite private schools where this could never happen, right? Give me a break!

Posted by: To 12:05 | April 16, 2007 12:12 PM

Are we a little defensive? The 12:05 post implied nothing about the nature of the college. Here it is if your recollection is blinded by your insecurity:


"and if you are lucky, your children don't end up being shot, while attending college, by some lunatic:

See breaking news regarding a shooting at
Virginia Tech.

"A hospital spokeswoman told AP that 17 Virginia Tech students were being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries."

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:05 PM

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 12:48 PM

"but the idea that a first family was disposable. And it was very telling that children from the disposable families were not interviewed (perhaps a subject for a different article). These old men were white, wealthy and obviously treated their trophy wives as commodities."

What she, and an earlier poster, said.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:48 PM

What a tragedy!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 12:52 PM

To MN: NPR is just now reporting 21 dead and 21 wounded at Virginia Tech.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 12:52 PM

I will admit that there are men who are married multiple times and treat their wives as trophies, but overwhelmingly, this is not the case. There are many good, honest men out there who are great dads and who marry a second time ("a triumph of hope over experience") and want children with their second wife. (I know, because I married one of these men.)

I don't see why anyone would think badly of a man for that. I just don't get it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 12:52 PM

Any word yet on what motivated the shootings? Was it picked on kids, racial/gang, or terrorists? Anybody know yet?

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 12:53 PM

There are many good, honest men out there who are great dads and who marry a second time

It doesn't sound as though these dads that were interviewed WERE good dads the first time through.

So, now they're "great". I wonder what their first brood thinks of this--or are they simply the throw-away footnotes to their previously failed/throw-away wife or wives?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:54 PM

"I'm sure that the school board would be hearing from outraged parents."

You mean the lawyers of outraged parents. We're talking Fairfax County here you know!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 16, 2007 12:55 PM

CNN
Police: At least 22 killed
At least 22 people were killed in two incidents when a lone gunman opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg on Monday, police said. Police said they believed the shooter also was dead. Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 12:55 PM

"I will admit that there are men who are married multiple times and treat their wives as trophies, but overwhelmingly, this is not the case."

How do you know?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:56 PM

Leslie,

You can't really think that woman in her 20s will have the foresight - not to mention $$$ - to get her eggs frozen so that she can happily become a first-time parent at 45-50+. Why would anybody do that? I understand that sometimes because the way life turns out, a woman will wait a little longer to have children whether that be for career or other personal reasons. But to make the decision at 25ish to freeze your eggs because you don't want kids until you are 45-50? I think not. I'd guess that the VAST majority of women who don't have children until they are over 40+ did not plan it that way.

The only 20 somethings that I know who think about freezing their eggs are those who do so for medical reasons (e.g., undergoing cancer treatment).

Without a doubt, patience and life-experience make for better parents. But that can be gained by waiting until you are in your mid-30s...not 60.

Posted by: londonmom | April 16, 2007 12:57 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

DH and I are probably considered older parents as DD was born when I was 33 and he was 37. I think we married at about the average age these days(27 and 31), but having a family was delayed in the face of a cross-country move, job change, return to school, and a health problem during the first few years of our marriage. It wasn't a conscious decision really, it just happened that way. It's worked out well for us, although it probably contributed to our decision to not have a second child.

I agree with all the folks who have been saying it depends on the dad. I've met some really great dads who are quite young, and some awful older dads. While money helps (along the lines of waiting for financial stability prior to children), being middle class is not a prerequisite (sp?) for being a great dad.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 16, 2007 12:59 PM

I don't see why anyone would think badly of a man for that. I just don't get it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 12:52 PM
I am sure this is just some of them men. But some men who do this divorced their first wife and basically did not take care of their first set of kids. Whether it was not pay child support, or work a holic, or emotionally distant. Whatever. It is just the men who say they can start all over again and never bothered to try to mend their relationship with their first set of kids. FIL is one of those types. He married my MIL and then divorced her. He did not pay child support or anything. He was a basically crappy father. Fast forward 20 years later, he marries a 19 year old and has two more children. Well, he is better off financially and thank god more mature. He is a better father to his second set of kids. But you know what, because he went off and had more kids, he has little to no time to spend with his adult children, never helped pay for college, and has little interest in his grand children. Get this 10 years after that, he divorces again. Now, he is a better divorced father to the second set of kids. I guess he learned a few things. But his first of kids were never made to feel worthy of their father's love. That is the shame. I don't even think he cares. He justifies it by saying, I was young and stupid. But now he is not young; just stupid. I am sure your husband doesn't fall into this category but unfortunately a bunch of two time Dads do,

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 1:00 PM

You know, those are some pretty serious winds going on out there. River Road was shut down, Connecticut Avenue had a big tree fall and block the access lane, the island and one lane of the 3 that head southbound. The soil is saturated and that makes it easier for those trees to fall.

Plus those mobile trailers can and do get rather, mobile!

I had a branch come down and spear my car this morning.

I don't know that I wouldn't be a little concerned myself, if my kids were in a trailer for a significant part of the day.

And the winds are getting worse as the day goes on...I'm very concerned that my house or barn and critters may get wiped out before the day is done. NOT that there is thing I can do to prevent it!

Hmm, I should check to see if my school district is having the same thing happen. Probably not, but I'm going to go take a look.

Posted by: MdMother | April 16, 2007 1:01 PM

Neither my wife or I felt we were 'ready' to have children until just recently. Does that make us selfish? I guess by some of the comments here it does to them.

Oh well. Opinions duly noted, and then discarded.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 1:01 PM

I will admit that there are men who are married multiple times and treat their wives as trophies, but overwhelmingly, this is not the case. There are many good, honest men out there who are great dads and who marry a second time ("a triumph of hope over experience") and want children with their second wife. (I know, because I married one of these men.)

I don't see why anyone would think badly of a man for that. I just don't get it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 16, 2007 12:52 PM

I do not think badly of all such men, but we might disagree on whether overwhelmingly, men on Wife 2 or Wife 3 are more like WorkingMomX's husband, or more like the men described in the NYT article and/or by single western mom above.

I think badly of men who spend all of their initial children's growing up years working, working, earning, earning, then meet Wife 2, divorce Wife 1, and now put all the effort into the second marriage and second set of kids that might've made the difference in the first marriage. Oh, and Wife 2 gets the better of the earnings, too. Certainly this is a generalization. Those of us on the outside don't know all the facts of each second or third marriage; however, we have all seen quite a few of these families and these men and the actions of many of these men are disturbing. Many of us know the kids of the first, tossed-aside family, too, and the years spent in counseling don't erase the hurt or the rejection.

Posted by: anon for now | April 16, 2007 1:02 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

12:58 - you are heartless.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 1:04 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

12:58 - you are heartless.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 01:04 PM

KLB, this is the sort of poster that would argue about whether it's windy outside.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:07 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

12:58 - you are heartless.

This guy/girl wins the troll of the year award. How anyone looks at senseless tragedy and makes ugly remarks is beyond me.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 1:08 PM

"Many of us know the kids of the first, tossed-aside family, too, and the years spent in counseling don't erase the hurt or the rejection."

Some of us counsel them. Yeah, they have psychological scar tissue, they are "tougher" than they would have been, but let's acknowledge what that scar tissue is the result of a wound.

In addition, a fair number of them watch THEIR mother squeeze money to the point of hearing the buffalo nickels bellow, and see "Fluffy" and her kids lavished with all sorts of time, attention and money.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:08 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

12:58 - you are heartless.

This guy/girl wins the troll of the year award. How anyone looks at senseless tragedy and makes ugly remarks is beyond me.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 01:08 PM

Agreed.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 1:09 PM

Aren't the older parents the ones who are more likely to run to the doctor to get the zombie meds for their kid because they can't handle their child's activity level?

Hence, the correlation between older dads and autism.

Surely, we must have a study!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 16, 2007 1:11 PM

"Tech President Charles Steger called the shootings "a tragedy of monumental proportions."


No, it's not.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:58 PM

12:58 - you are heartless.

This guy/girl wins the troll of the year award. How anyone looks at senseless tragedy and makes ugly remarks is beyond me.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 01:08 PM

I'm thinking it is some sort of dark "gift".

But definitely Troll-of-the-Year material.

Too bad we can't shoot 'em, stuff 'em and mount their little Troll heads on our Cyberwall of Shame.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 16, 2007 1:11 PM

Chris, the victims at Va. Tech are apparently all students, so far as they know. A dead gunman is as yet unidentified. There seems to some confusion as to whether or not there's a second shooter. It probably will be some time before motive can be determined.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 1:13 PM

I definitely think older men are better dads. Being 41 with a 6 and 4 year old, I have more money, more experience, more perspective. I think most 20-26 year olds now can barely take care of themselves much less kids. I can't imagine being my 25 yr old self with all these responsibilities.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 1:14 PM

This VA Tech situation is so very tragic. There are at least 22 moms and dads who today have had their beautiful children stolen from them. It really takes your breath away. Give your kids an extra hug today!

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 1:15 PM

I married a man who had a son from a previous relationship. His relationshiop with his ex was NOT amicable. When his son was 4, my husband went to pick him up at the scheduled time from his mother's house. They had moved without telling anyone where they were going (a violation of the custody agreement). What followed was sheer hell for us as we tried to track them down. By the time the dust cleared and the private investigator we hired found them on the other coast, almost a month had passed. She barely had her wrist slapped in court, and as a result of the move, in addition to the $1100/month we pay in child support, we now have to pay the cost of the airline tickets to fly our boy back and forth four times a year.

For every deadbeat or loser dad out there who "forgets" they have a kid from a previous marriage or relationship, there's a conniving, sometimes almost psycho mom who uses the kid as a pawn in a pathetic little game of revenge against the father.

Posted by: JenP | April 16, 2007 1:18 PM

'I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was...'

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 10:02 AM

Good Old Toby Keith. One of my favorites.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 1:19 PM

"Too bad we can't shoot 'em, stuff 'em and mount their little Troll heads on our Cyberwall of Shame."

In light of the VA Tech tragedy, I find it a little tasteless to use the phrase "shoot 'em" even though I agree that the Troll is way over the top.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:20 PM

As one who usually makes it a point to say something completely tasteless at least once a day, I have to say that 12:58 was definitely beyond even my warped sense of reasoning. Troll of the Year seems almost a comical distinction to bestow upon this sad excuse... Society, meet toilet. Toilet, society. Let the flushing commence. *sigh*

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 1:20 PM

To mona: my dh is 2 yrs younger. Workd out better in the end since men die younger than women-not so many alone yrs.

To scarry: first at 33 and second at 36- the second was high risk b/c I was over 35. My water broke w the first at 34 1/2 weeks-very scary, baby was fine (after 10 days iin hospital)-but the dr said that I wasn't high risk for that since they had no idea why it happened. And- second was full term and I was the worst with begging them to take it out.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 1:21 PM

This VA Tech situation is so very tragic. There are at least 22 moms and dads who today have had their beautiful children stolen from them. It really takes your breath away. Give your kids an extra hug today!

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 01:15 PM

Let us hope these first reports are wrong, they usually are.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 1:23 PM

To catlady and Mdmom (I think) thanks for your drywall tips. My work is exceptional and breathtaking if you are into that kind of thing. Now I have to make my friends come over and try to guess where the hole was! Who says being a SAHM isn't exciting! Again, thanks for your tips!

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 1:24 PM

I miss last week's headlines about ANS and nappy headed hos...

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 1:24 PM

You know, I realize the sad thing about this blog is that it is a largely wasted tool. It seems that most of the same issues are re-hashed over and over again with new titles, and very little else. And it seems that the more tired the topic, the more the conversation goes off course because the topic is so boring.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:25 PM

This VA Tech situation is so very tragic. There are at least 22 moms and dads who today have had their beautiful children stolen from them. It really takes your breath away. Give your kids an extra hug today!

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 01:15 PM

Let us hope these first reports are wrong, they usually are. "

They aren't wrong and now 22 families will be shattered for nothing.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 1:26 PM

I've got three televisions in myoffice...apparently, it was a domestic situation that triggered the massacre at Virginia Tech. Some jerk guy looking to kill his girlfriend.

On this blog, we debate the glass ceiling; whether women should freeze their eggs and have kids when they are older; whether our male chidlren and female children are treated equally in the classroom...and yet the domestic violence numbers stay stagnant. Every year, between 30 and 35 percent of the women who are murdered were killed by an intimate partner.

Pay parity is meaningless when women are beaten and murdered by the men they love(d). This isn't some country where honor killings are the norm: this is a country where women supposedly have economic and educational advantages.

Sorry, off-topic, but we just had a man kill his girlfriend at the University of Washington less than two weeks ago. It's depressing that we cannot find a solution to this violence.

Posted by: single western mom | April 16, 2007 1:26 PM

JenP, you're absolutely right. Neither sex of parent has a monopoly on this kind of behavior. I know a terrific young stepmom who has stood by her husband for years as he had terrible struggles with his ex (who had become a cocaine addict and neglectful wife/mother). Long and protracted court battles, terrible scenes, you name it. And think of the poor child.

Posted by: Anonymous for this time | April 16, 2007 1:28 PM

"For every deadbeat or loser dad out there who "forgets" they have a kid from a previous marriage or relationship, there's a conniving, sometimes almost psycho mom who uses the kid as a pawn in a pathetic little game of revenge against the father."

Yet another good reason to keep it wrapped up. Can't trust women when it comes to stuff like that. Oopsing is the most conniving thing a female can do.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:29 PM

The latest reports out of VaTech have the fatalities now at 25...

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Moxiemom wrote: "This VA Tech situation is so very tragic. There are at least 22 moms and dads who today have had their beautiful children stolen from them. It really takes your breath away. Give your kids an extra hug today!"

Moxie, today you set the bar high for all of us. Thanks!

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 1:30 PM

There is NO solution to domestic violence because as long a one person is free, unwatched or not bound, the opportunity is always there. It is a sad condition of humanity that will always happen. You cannot control crazy people 24/7.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Yet another good reason to keep it wrapped up. Can't trust women when it comes to stuff like that. Oopsing is the most conniving thing a female can do.


Posted by: | April 16, 2007 01:29 PM

Hey, Imus, how ya doin'?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:30 PM

Two quick thoughts on recent news, even though I am generally opposed to going off topic:

1. Interesting that Dulles and the MARC train have suspended/modified services based on wind, but we judge sending home kids b/c some of them are schooled in the same trailers that are routinely destroyed and result in fatalities in tornados/windstorms is fear of outraged, Fairfax County lawyer parents.

2. Just finished Jodi Picoult's newest book, In Nineteen Minutes, as I process my shock. It is the story of a fictional school shooting, the havoc it reeked in the town for years, and the first person accounts of characters, other than just those who witnessed the shootings, and what they struggled with in the after-math and purported previous events in their life.

Not one of her best books in my opinion, but definitely has me thinking much more broadly than I normally would about today's events--about blame, about parents, the parents of the shooter character, criminal justice officers and many more complicated aspects of society, brain development and avoiding such occurences. Not making judgments, excusing, meaning to be "out-of-touch" by bringing up fiction, thinking I have some special perspective, or otherwise making conclusions, except for concluding that because I just finished the book, I am sick to my stomach today instead of just shocked. Yes, the book is fiction, but Picoult always does a good job of confusing the readers I know after contemplating the complexities of tradgedies involving young adults. Reading it may be a way to sort through feelings on the events or all of the difficult stories we will read in coming days and weeks. (Not affiliated with author or publisher in any way.)

Posted by: Briefly Off-Point | April 16, 2007 1:34 PM

"Too bad we can't shoot 'em, stuff 'em and mount their little Troll heads on our Cyberwall of Shame."

In light of the VA Tech tragedy, I find it a little tasteless to use the phrase "shoot 'em" even though I agree that the Troll is way over the top.


Posted by: | April 16, 2007 01:20 PM

Picky, picky.

Fine, let's make tiger trap instead. I'll sharpen the stakes.

Moxiemom--

I didn't contribute anything beyond the advice to NOT use a hair dryer. But I bet it is a lovely good-as-new patch.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 16, 2007 1:34 PM

I was born when my dad was 61, and my little sister was born when he was 66. It is an odd experience to have a dad that everyone assumes is your grandfather. It's also a bit different to have siblings with *grandchildren* as old as you are. One the plus side, my sister and I enjoyed having our retired dad at home full-time, as opposed to our older siblings who grew up while he was in the thick of a busy career. One the negative side, he had major health problems my whole life and now he is dead. My life only overlapped with his for 24 years and I miss him terribly. But tragedies like that, though more probable with older parents, also happen to normal-aged parents. My husband lost his 42 year-old dad to cancer when he was 8.

One of the best advantages I had was my dad's life experiences. While the other kids in school talked about their parents coming of age in the 60s and 70s I could tell stories about my dad being a professional jazz musician in the 30s. And I had perspective in history classes no one else could match, not even the teachers. Who else had access to first-hand accounts of finding jobs during the Depression, finding housing for a young family in rent controlled Chicago during WWII, or frequently being the only white patron in South Side jazz clubs?

Of course, there is a side effect to growing up surrounded by old people. My little sister (aged 23) has no tolerance for young people and acts about twice her age. She's married to a 50 year-old man who has daughters older than she, and she is already a step-grandma!

Posted by: Christina | April 16, 2007 1:35 PM

Let us hope these first reports are wrong, they usually are. "

They aren't wrong and now 22 families will be shattered for nothing.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 01:26 PM

I'm not diminishing this tragedy, only hoping that it was NOT 22 families. I am hearing now that 29 dead, so unfortunatley I may have been wrong.

There is plenty of coverage (of any news event) that is wrong, initial reports are usually very sketchy.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 1:37 PM

Now officially 32. And not done counting.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:40 PM

I didn't contribute anything beyond the advice to NOT use a hair dryer. But I bet it is a lovely good-as-new patch.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 16, 2007 01:34 PM

Oh, MDMother, it is lovely and smooth as a baby's bottom! O.k. I'll officially stop talking drywall, its just rare that I complete a task that doesn't involve bottoms or chicken nuggets.

Posted by: Moxiemom | April 16, 2007 1:40 PM

JenP - my heart goes out to you and your DH. All you can do is live your life knowing you are doing the right thing. One day the boy may or may not wake up and smell the coffee-but you will know you tried to be there when it counted.

Has he tried to get full custody?

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 1:43 PM

Yes, we tried and failed. She is a trust fund baby, very unstable emotionally, but in her way, she loves her son. It breaks my heart, because he is starting to realize that she's got major problems and that she uses him against his father. I wouldn't wish that realization on any kid.

Posted by: JenP | April 16, 2007 1:53 PM

So, now they're "great". I wonder what their first brood thinks of this--or are they simply the throw-away footnotes to their previously failed/throw-away wife or wives?

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 12:54 PM

My FIL married a woman about 5 yrs older than me. FIL was cheating with her while wife's mother layed dying in the hospital. FIL & new wife, Witch Face, made wife and her brother unwelcome in FIL's house from the very beginning. WF was kind enough to go thru all of the mother's possessions, keeping what she wanted and dividing the rest between DW and BIL. This, in spite of a will spelling out the dispostion of some items. (Not worth the legal fight) That was the high point of WF/FIL/DW/BIL relationship. FIL and WF had a child who is about the same age as our child. To make a long and painful story short, FIL died about 2 yrs agos, have not seen or heard from WF and really don't care to do so.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 16, 2007 1:53 PM

I wonder if my dad is one of those "nurturing" older dads? Everyone is saying he's mellowed with age. He doesn't have a second family, but his third wife has a thirty-something son. They've given him a house, three vehicles that I know of, guns, land, and ATVs. He has three illegitimate children: one at age fifteen, who he has never supported and probably never even seen, and two with his live-in girlfriend. Last I heard, the girlfriend was in school and he didn't work. They bail him out time and again. When I asked him to cosign (not pay) for my student loans for law school, he replied "I'll have to think about it." This from the guy who says to anyone who'll listen about how he paid for my college (funny, since the student loan bill comes to me every month, and comes out of my bank account...), and how, when he found out I was going to school in CA, said, "I guess I'd better make a visit out there to see where my money's going." Really? I can't even get him to cosign my student loans, but if his stepson wants a new pickup truck, he'll sign a check.

Nurturing, indeed.

Posted by: Mona | April 16, 2007 1:53 PM

Moxiemom, life is just one long journey of discovery!

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 1:54 PM

Its a shame, but the fatality counts never go down.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 1:55 PM

Oh, Mona. How sad. The only positive thing to come out of this is your thoughtful wit.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 1:58 PM

"I guess I'd better make a visit out there to see where my money's going." Really? I can't even get him to cosign my student loans, but if his stepson wants a new pickup truck, he'll sign a check."

You have the misfortune of having a self engrossed ditz for a father. Protect yourself, they will never change.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 2:00 PM

MN,
Disagree :-),
Mona will also have a lifetime of self-sufficiency that nobody can ever take away from her.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 2:00 PM

I feel like such an old lady saying this, but really what has the world come to when such wanton disregard for human life is so rampant. Kids getting shot in the city are so common place that its hardly news, people afraid to testify and people like this VA tech kid who think killing scores of people is the solution to something. How on earth did we get here? What have we lost as a society that has brought us to this?

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 2:01 PM

Single western mom- you are so right. And it is truly heartbreaking to watch someone you love be abusive or be abused and be able to do nothing about it.

And think about the children. It is so awful-seeing someone get married because she wanted children and thought no one else would have her (and he reinforcing that every day-but really if she's so horrible(according to him)why'd he marry her in the first place?).

And seeing someone who knows they married an abusive person have not one not two but three kids- all the while hoping it will get better.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 2:02 PM

Its a shame, but the fatality counts never go down.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 01:55 PM

The shooting at the Fairfax County Police station last May had intial reports of 5 officers dead, it turned out 1 was dead, 2 in the hospital (another died later).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:03 PM

I feel like such an old lady saying this, but really what has the world come to when such wanton disregard for human life is so rampant. Kids getting shot in the city are so common place that its hardly news, people afraid to testify and people like this VA tech kid who think killing scores of people is the solution to something. How on earth did we get here? What have we lost as a society that has brought us to this?

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 02:01 PM
No one knows the answers to your question. I am not sure we have even learned anything from the Columbine massacre. The one very disappointing lesson that has not ever been learned from Columbine is that it is dangerous to bully people. Whether it is right or wrong to retaliate against your bullies, it does happen. And it is just dangerous to bully people because you don't know if they will go crazy and start shooting you or innocent people. It seems like bullying is still raging in our schools and communities. And we have not really gotten a hold on it. Yes, we have had bullies since the beginning of time. But the bullies did not have access to guns back then. I don't think bullying is what has happened in todays tragedy. I am strictly speaking of Columbine here.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 16, 2007 2:07 PM

To Briefly Off-Point: No need to apologize. One of the benefits of fiction is that the author is free to focus on the most salient factors while eliminating largely irrelevant issues -- thus making his/her point more clearly than a nonfiction might be able to.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 2:08 PM

Maybe if the phone rings just in the nick of time with some horrid news, he'll be compelled to stop acting like an ass????

Maybe if my parents had just hugged me more...

Posted by: Attila the Hun | April 16, 2007 2:08 PM

"What have we lost as a society that has brought us to this? "

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 02:01

Sorry, but I hate these type of statements. The ONLY one at fault is the maniac that killed those people. Society had nothing to do with it, every society has its nutcases.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 2:08 PM

"Neither my wife or I felt we were 'ready' to have children until just recently. Does that make us selfish? I guess by some of the comments here it does to them."

My husband was 45 when our son was born. He thinks he would not have been nearly as good a father had he had children at a younger age - he says he was simply not mature enough, though of course I can't judge because I didn't know him then.

What I can say is that he is a magnificent father right now. He is patient and even-keeled, he has a great deal of perspective, he is incredibly nurturing and caring. I think energy levels are sometimes an issue for him - when our son was having a lot of sleep problems it definitely affected him more than me; but honestly I'm not convinced that is totally related to age. And even if it is, it is such a tiny downside compared to the joy he brings to our son and to me.

So, John L., I don't think wanting to have a child now makes you selfish. As with my husband, there's no going back to change the decisions you made when you were younger, the question is only what to do now. You could decide to not have a child because of all of the what ifs associated with "older parenthood," and my husband could have too. But our son is a joy and a treasure to both of us, my husband is an amazing father, and I'm sure that both of those things will be true for your family as well. And I think that's enough.

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 2:09 PM

I feel like such an old lady saying this, but really what has the world come to when such wanton disregard for human life is so rampant.

If only my parents had hugged me more...

Posted by: Attila the Hun | April 16, 2007 2:09 PM

FIL and WF had a child who is about the same age as our child.

BTW, FIL was retired when he had his third child.

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | April 16, 2007 2:10 PM

Once again, you guys have a way of making me feel better about the situation. I heart you guys.

Posted by: Mona | April 16, 2007 2:11 PM

test

Posted by: test | April 16, 2007 2:16 PM

I've never quite grasped the concept that in instances of reporting, when a number is initially higher, and later, for whatever reason, it decreases, the attitude is that "only" xxx number of people died.

While it's true, like in the case of 9/11, I remember hearing initial reports of possible deaths near 30,000. Just because the number of fatalities never reached that number does not diminish the fact that 3,000 still died.

Are we supposed to feel some sense of relief that it was "only" that number vs. the larger number?

So, whether this current tragedy today at Va. Tech is really 20, 30, 100--whatever--are we supposed to feel some sense of relief and therefore diminish the impact by the lower number of deaths?

Posted by: JRS | April 16, 2007 2:17 PM

Sorry, but I hate these type of statements. The ONLY one at fault is the maniac that killed those people. Society had nothing to do with it, every society has its nutcases.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 02:08 PM

I understand where you are coming from pATRICK, however, these "nutcases" don't grow up an develop in a vacuum. The truth is that these types of situations seem to be occurring with a greater frequency (anybody remember a school shooting from our youth?). So, while not a sociologist or anthropologist, I can only guess that something has changed at the core of our society to breed these people or the emotions they express. While the shooter is certainly the only one culpable, we as a society have an obligation to look at what within our culture may create an environment in which these creatures can flourish.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 2:19 PM

I remarried at 53 and my wife had a good income as an Archeologist but wanted a family so I retired and raised out three children who came when I was 53, 55, and 57. I never enjoyed anything to much in my life! It was also "the easiest job I ever had". All three are now in college and doing fnatastically well. I also home schooled them from 3rd grade to 10th grade, the lure of soccer outcompeted me. The only negative might be that they are intellectually so far ahead of their age mates.

Posted by: William Stumpf | April 16, 2007 2:20 PM

3 PM: Washington Post chat re today's Blacksburg (Virginia Tech) shootings:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/04/16/DI2007041600763.html

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:26 PM

You know, I realize the sad thing about this blog is that it is a largely wasted tool. It seems that most of the same issues are re-hashed over and over again with new titles, and very little else. And it seems that the more tired the topic, the more the conversation goes off course because the topic is so boring.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 01:25 PM

Thanks for sharing, 1:25.

*cues violins*

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:28 PM

John L you are doing what is best for you-that is all that any child could ask for-if they could ask.

Mona- you'll be (are) great. you have the right expectations of your father (none) and you will always be able to take care of yourself. That is a great thing.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 2:28 PM

So, while not a sociologist or anthropologist, I can only guess that something has changed at the core of our society to breed these people or the emotions they express.

or to give them the tools to express it, by making these types of weapons easily availabe.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:29 PM

or to give them the tools to express it, by making these types of weapons easily availabe.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 02:29 PM

Not much of a reader, are you? History is littered with the stinking corpses of millions. Many millions.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:32 PM

"what has the world come to when such wanton disregard for human life is so rampant."

1 word - ABORTION.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:32 PM

"what has the world come to when such wanton disregard for human life is so rampant."

1 word - ABORTION.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 02:32 PM

several more words - ABORTION didn't start in the last fifty years, dude.

the War in Iraq

the Crusades

the Holocaust

Columbine

World Wars I and II, Viet Nam

the massacre of the Native Americans by our country

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:35 PM

So, while not a sociologist or anthropologist, I can only guess that something has changed at the core of our society to breed these people or the emotions they express.

or to give them the tools to express it, by making these types of weapons easily availabe.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 02:29 PM

IMHO, we are kidding ourselves if we think there is something special, even unique, about mankind in 2007 vs. all humanity since time began or vs. cultures other than America's. The only difference in 2007 is that news about atrocities travels more quickly, and we have 24-hour new media that contribute to rapid dissemination.

Anon at 2:32 put it succinctly: "History is littered with the stinking corpses of millions. Many millions."

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 2:41 PM

Well spoken, 2:35...

Posted by: Mona | April 16, 2007 2:42 PM

Amen, Megan's Neighbor.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 2:44 PM

Moxiemom: the papers are saying that the largest school shooting by number of victims was at univ of texas in 1966.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 2:44 PM

Men over 40 are much more likely to have sons with autism. And a whole host of other genetic defects.

See, not just women have eggs that age. Turns out men's sperm takes a hit from aging too.

Posted by: MD PhD | April 16, 2007 2:46 PM

History is littered with the stinking corpses of millions. Many millions.

right, because someone using a musket or a knife can definitely kill as many people in the space of 10 minutes as someone using a semi-automatic weapon. the murderous urges have always been there, but its easier now for one person to do it

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:48 PM

Don't forget the Inquisition.

Posted by: To 2:35 | April 16, 2007 2:48 PM

As the days pass how many family members and friends of the shooter will say that he made threats but they never thought he would go through with them. It seems as though so many of these cases are distraught young people who need help and are either unable or unwilling to seek it.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 2:49 PM

Chris,

I'm willing to get into Imus if you are.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 2:50 PM

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 2:51 PM

What a cold, clinical approach. If only 40 and 50yos have children, and the average lifespan in the U.S. continued to be the mid 70s, the average child will never have grandparents. As a parent in my late 30's, I rely very much on my parents' wisdom. They've been there. They can tell me what worked, and what didn't. And I object to the stereotype of the workaholic, stressbasket 30yo parent. I take time to play ball, or videogames with my kids. I'm home every night for dinner and bathtime. I'm not snapping at them or hitting them or issues like that. Besides, the stress I deal with at home is more driven by a 2yo who says "No" to anything and everything, and that's not going to change for a 50yo.

Posted by: MWCOB | April 16, 2007 2:52 PM

right, because someone using a musket or a knife can definitely kill as many people in the space of 10 minutes as someone using a semi-automatic weapon. the murderous urges have always been there, but its easier now for one person to do it

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 02:48 PM

Mowing them down with your battle elephant, let's not forget just how efficient your average cavalry can be. Ever read "The Iliad"? Remember how the male children were thrown off the cliffs?
Anyone ever read "The Feast of Roses"? Mafia, Yakuza, today's pirateers are also charming, warm loving people!

Human beings are now, and always have been, a violent species.

Let's review the Bible. The oldest part of the bible is when Marian and her girl friends are singing songs of praise to the lord, for having drowned 4000 Egyptians.

Can't pick our relatives, can we?

As for the ancients Greeks and Romans--these were not warm cuddly types. If you've ever taken a look at the bodies of these folks, these were not the sorts you'd want to meet in a dark alley.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 2:56 PM

to anon at 2:48.

The scope or importance of a tragic loss of human life is not determined by comparing the numbers of lives lost in two events and declaring the one with a higher death toll to be the more tragic. If someone would have used a rifle 10 years ago for whatever reason and "only" killed 2 victims, would that be any less tragic?

In the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings, at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, four students were killed and nine additional persons were wounded. Does that make it less significant an event than Columbine or this latest tragedy?

One's access to semi-automatic weapons might expand the death toll over those resulting from a knife, but the determined and psycho have always known how to create havoc, get attention, and hurt more than their intended victim. Arson is a favorite of this type of person. So are poisons and chemical weapons. Grenades. You are grasping at straws to suggest that this event is the result of lax gun-control laws, which (I'll just go ahead and pi$$ everyone off in one sentence) you might recall I support, but not because of this event or its like.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 2:58 PM

Speaking of Imus... "Snoop Dogg also denied any connection to Imus. "(Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports," he told MTV.com. "We're talking about hos that's in the 'hood that ain't doing ---- that's trying to get a n---- for his money.""

Now THAT, I think, sums it up.

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 2:59 PM

right, because someone using a musket or a knife can definitely kill as many people in the space of 10 minutes as someone using a semi-automatic weapon. the murderous urges have always been there, but its easier now for one person to do it

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 02:48 PM

What about incompetents behind the wheel of a car?

Whatever happened to the old fellow who drove his car into a restaurant and took out 10 or so?

Dead is dead, whether someone meant to do it or not.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:00 PM

NPR just announced that it is preempting scheduled programming at 3 PM for coverage of the Va. Tech shootings.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 3:00 PM

Land mines.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:01 PM

Speaking of creating havoc and mass terror what about the person who put poison in the tylenol bottles in 1982? Seven people were killed but it changed the way everything is packaged forever.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 3:01 PM

What about an old-fashioned well-poisoning?

That'll wipe out a village.

And let's not forget Jim Jones and his Electric Acid Kool-Aid (sorry Hunter).

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 16, 2007 3:02 PM

By the way, I know Jones used cyanide.

What happened today is a tragedy.

Posted by: MdM | April 16, 2007 3:04 PM

Those who wouldn't drink the Kool Aid at Jonestown were shot.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:06 PM

Those who wouldn't drink the Kool Aid at Jonestown were shot.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:06 PM

Too lazy to club them, huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:08 PM

moxiemom claimed that something today has changed to create school shootings because she didn't remember any from her days. i never said its any less tragic when one person dies. but its a lot easier for one person to kill 32 people with a semi than it is for one person to kill 32 people with any of the other methods youve given. people have always been violent. its easier to do massive damage with technology that is designed to do massive damage. the point is that there is no change in whether we respect life or dont respect life. there is change in our ability to end it.

Posted by: anon at 2:48 | April 16, 2007 3:10 PM

Those who wouldn't drink the Kool Aid at Jonestown were shot.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:06 PM

Too lazy to club them, huh?

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:08 PM


Quicker, faster to shoot. Larry Layton shot and killed Leo Ryan. Jackie Speier took 5-6 bullets, but survived.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:11 PM

To anon at 2:56

Get your facts straight. First of all it is miriam, and they rejoiced at beoing free, not at the death of anyone- and I beleieve it was way after that point in the story anyway.

And if you read the commentary, the angels were rejoicing and g-d told them to stop-that he did what he had to do, but no one should rejoice when his children were dying.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 3:12 PM

but its a lot easier for one person to kill 32 people with a semi than it is for one person to kill 32 people with any of the other methods youve given.

Actually, someone pointed out that with poisoning a well you can wipe out hundreds. Which is correct, you know. And very easy.

Let's not forget smallpox-infected blankets! That took care of many thousands with little effort or seed money.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:13 PM

Suddenly, the sleazy Duke lacrosse players problems seem petty compared to what happened to these innocent Virginia Tech students.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:13 PM

Quicker, faster to shoot.

exactly!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:14 PM

What sort of jokes would Imus make if he was on the air tomorrow.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:16 PM

Rwanda. That entailed lots of one-on-one butchery.

As for Miriam (thanks for the name correction)--she and her buddies weren't mourning the death of those soldiers, now were they? No, no, they were celebrating.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:17 PM

Let's not forget smallpox-infected blankets! That took care of many thousands with little effort or seed money.

that was coordinated and planned by the government. the point remains that one person can take out more people more easily with weaponry. and no, megans neighbor, i'm not talking about gun control. i'm just pointing out that its the technology and not the society or the species that has change.

Posted by: anon at 2:48 | April 16, 2007 3:19 PM

A remnant of the song composed by Miriam appears in Exodus 15:20-21. As a leader of the Hebrew women, Miriam led them in ritual singing and dancing.

'Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them:

"Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea."'

Hurray for us! The Lord only cares about us!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:20 PM

Exodus 15
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

The LORD is a Man of War: the LORD is His Name.

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath He cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.

The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

And in the greatness of Thine excellency Thou hast overthrown them that rose up against Thee: Thou sentest forth Thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.

And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.

Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.

Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

Thou in Thy Mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy Strength unto Thy Holy Habitation.

The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.

Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.

Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till Thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which Thou hast purchased.

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.

The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.

Posted by: More complete text | April 16, 2007 3:23 PM

Well, things have certainly gotten interesting. Quite a nice codicil to the religion discussion to now be comparing the biblical drowning of thousands by the lord (am I reading that right?) to school shooters.

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 3:26 PM

"As for Miriam (thanks for the name correction)--she and her buddies weren't mourning the death of those soldiers, now were they? No, no, they were celebrating."

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:17 PM

She and her buddies were former slaves who had escaped captivity.

I daresay that, hypothetically, if a group of African-American slaves had made it across the line to a free-state and the slaveholders chasing after them had died during the course of that chase, we'd all have understood the euphoria of the former slaves.

If you've never been in a position, 3:17, to celebrate the misfortune of your captors because it means that you are free at last, you should count yourself very lucky.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 3:28 PM

Let's not forget smallpox-infected blankets! That took care of many thousands with little effort or seed money.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:13 PM

You believe in the black painted helicopter also?

You have some proof of this?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:28 PM

Thank you Megan's Neighbor. I was just about to attempt to try to provide some context. I can't stand when people post things out of perspective like that (at least when they are not trying to be humorous).

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 3:33 PM

Let's not forget smallpox-infected blankets! That took care of many thousands with little effort or seed money.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:13 PM

You believe in the black painted helicopter also?

You have some proof of this?

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:28 PM

You're not a student of American history, are you?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:35 PM

I see that the Lord obliged by wiping out more of his children.

Aren't all human beings the children of god?

And as such, aren't we commanded to mourn them?

Particularly the Christians among us--"Love they neighbour as thyself". Not "but only if you like them".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:37 PM

Aren't all human beings the children of god?

Depends who you ask. The story is coming from the book of Exodus which is an old testament story. The old testament is a book about the relationship between the God of Israel and his people (The Hebrews). It is very clear that the Hebrews are the children of the God of Israel. So back to your original question, taking the reading in its context, no they would not be the children of the God of Israel. The new testament had not been written, so the lessons of love thy neighbor as thyself did not apply to the writing of that text.

Posted by: adoptee | April 16, 2007 3:40 PM

Today's shootings occurred on opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus

Sounds like it took a combination of today's available modes of transportation plus some weaponry that's been around for quite some time. [(Guns--weren't the first machine guns invented during the Civil War?) When were land mines invented?]

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:42 PM

The old testament is a book about the relationship between the God of Israel and his people (The Hebrews).

But if Adam and Eve were the first human beings, it follows that ALL human beings descend from them. Varying religious beliefs notwithstanding.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:43 PM

Another advantage of having older parents is they are more likely to kick the bucket leaving an inheritence for their children at a younger age.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:44 PM

Fact is, on at least one occasion a high-ranking European considered infecting the Indians with smallpox as a tactic of war. I'm talking about Lord Jeffrey Amherst, commander of British forces in North America during the French and Indian War (1756-'63). Amherst and a subordinate discussed, apparently seriously, sending infected blankets to hostile tribes. What's more, we've got the documents to prove it, thanks to the enterprising research of Peter d'Errico, legal studies professor at the University of Massachusetts at (fittingly) Amherst. D'Errico slogged through hundreds of reels of microfilmed correspondence looking for the smoking gun, and he found it.

The exchange took place during Pontiac's Rebellion, which broke out after the war, in 1763. Forces led by Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawa who had been allied with the French, laid siege to the English at Fort Pitt.

According to historian Francis Parkman, Amherst first raised the possibility of giving the Indians infected blankets in a letter to Colonel Henry Bouquet, who would lead reinforcements to Fort Pitt. No copy of this letter has come to light, but we do know that Bouquet discussed the matter in a postscript to a letter to Amherst on July 13, 1763:

P.S. I will try to inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets that may fall in their hands, taking care however not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to oppose good men against them, I wish we could make use of the Spaniard's Method, and hunt them with English Dogs. Supported by Rangers, and some Light Horse, who would I think effectively extirpate or remove that Vermine.

On July 16 Amherst replied, also in a postscript:

P.S. You will Do well to try to Innoculate the Indians by means of Blanketts, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. I should be very glad your Scheme for Hunting them Down by Dogs could take Effect, but England is at too great a Distance to think of that at present.

On July 26 Bouquet wrote back:

I received yesterday your Excellency's letters of 16th with their Inclosures. The signal for Indian Messengers, and all your directions will be observed.

We don't know if Bouquet actually put the plan into effect, or if so with what result. We do know that a supply of smallpox-infected blankets was available, since the disease had broken out at Fort Pitt some weeks previously. We also know that the following spring smallpox was reported to be raging among the Indians in the vicinity.

To modern ears, this talk about infecting the natives with smallpox, hunting them down with dogs, etc., sounds over the top. But it's easy to believe Amherst and company were serious. D'Errico provides other quotes from Amherst's correspondence that suggest he considered Native Americans subhumans who ought to be exterminated. Check out his research for yourself at www.nativeweb.org/pages/l egal/amherst/lord_jeff.html. He not only includes transcriptions but also reproduces the relevant parts of the incriminating letters.

Posted by: primary source documentation? | April 16, 2007 3:44 PM

Let's not forget smallpox-infected blankets! That took care of many thousands with little effort or seed money.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:13 PM

You believe in the black painted helicopter also?

You have some proof of this?

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:28 PM

You're not a student of American history, are you?

As a student of American history, I believe that there is only one claim of where the idea was seriously considered and that was in the 1760's [pre-US] by Lord Amherst -- I don't believe there is evidence that it in fact occurred. [And there are no other substantiated claims of this practice.]

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:45 PM

Technically, the first "machine guns" were designed by Maxim and put into use shortly after the American Civil War. There were some multi-barreled guns used by the Union during the Civil War, but they did not operate as a machine gun, but each barrel fired one round each and then had to be replaced in the weapon before firing again.

Those weapons were used at the siege of Petersburg in 1864 and 1865.

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 3:45 PM

And two completely different situations, one where someone is celebrating freedom and forgive them that they are not in mourning for their captors. Vs. Innocent people in the worng place at the wrong time. Oh, I see the connection.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 3:47 PM

The old testament is a book about the relationship between the God of Israel and his people (The Hebrews).

But if Adam and Eve were the first human beings, it follows that ALL human beings descend from them. Varying religious beliefs notwithstanding.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 03:43 PM

The bible is actually a little contradictory in that regard. Adam and Eve were considered the first people. But at some point I think it was Abel (or it may have been Cain) goes out to find a bride. So either there were other people (not descendants of Adam and Eve) or the early people committed incest. Of course incest is strongly denied in the Judeo-Christian bible. Again modern theologians take the belief that the Gensis story is only depicts the beginning of the Hebrew people and that incest did not occur. Again regardless of the fact that people may have all been descendants of Adam and Eve, not all people are born Hebrews. Male children must be brought into the faith through circumision (the law of Abraham). So it was very clear in the old testament that not all people were Hebrews.

Posted by: adoptee | April 16, 2007 3:47 PM

I doubt it will lay the issue to rest, but I found this:

http://hal.lamar.edu/~browntf/Churchill1.htm

Posted by: MdMother | April 16, 2007 3:51 PM

Vegas mom I feel really old out here in the Midwest. Altmom my pre-term labor was at 33 weeks and it was very upsetting. They stopped it with drugs and have no idea why it happened. I have no family history or anything like that. My daughter was born three and a half weeks early but she was very healthy. Except today she has a virus.

On the wind thing, I am in MO so I don't know how bad the wind is in DC. That is why I asked father of four if he was serious.

I can't believe that all those kids got shot today, it makes me sick. I feel so bad for their parents and loved ones.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 3:53 PM

So it was very clear in the old testament that not all people were Hebrews.

Posted by: adoptee | April 16, 2007 03:47 PM

Fair game, in other words. This underscores why I think religion is such a crock of cr

And two completely different situations, one where someone is celebrating freedom and forgive them that they are not in mourning for their captors. Vs. Innocent people in the worng place at the wrong time. Oh, I see the connection.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 03:47 PM

Two wrongs make it all right! But no, it's not wrong, 'cause they're not a member of the home team.

And what about those theoretical Christian slaves who escaped their Christian owners who may have drowned in the pursuit? That's an interesting question--who would God favour more?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:55 PM

3:55: I am not claiming that the bible is a moral story. I am simply putting the book in the context in which it was written. Of course, if there is truly a god, one would believe he would mourn all human loss (including Hitler, the 9/11 hijackers etc...). But the whole argument to compare an old testament story to a new testament lesson is sort of silly because it took place before the new testament was written. I would also beg to argue it is silly to compare a mythical story which was probably written more as a metaphor, to an actual killing is silly too. But that is the heathen in me talking.

Posted by: adoptee | April 16, 2007 3:59 PM

Genesis is metaphor, not history. Smallpox and other diseases had already ravaged the Native American population before "white" men made inroads. But no, the blankets didn't help.

Posted by: Sandra G. | April 16, 2007 4:00 PM

I saw a few comments doubting the "young parents have more energy" thing. In our group we have one set of parents who are 30 and the rest of us are about 38-40. The younger parents delight in chasing after the kids at the playground for 10 minutes at a time. I get tired after running after them at like 3 minutes. I had my son at 35 and my father had me at 45. My father never, ever, ever threw a football to me ever. He was asleep watching the game or puttering around in his workshop. That may or may not be related to his age, but I grew up with it and believe it is.

Posted by: DCer | April 16, 2007 4:01 PM

High winds on top of all the rain we had over the weekend + big old trees = wind concerns.

I guess it would be a fine time to tie a rope to a kid and see if they can, indeed, fly! (Sick, very sick)

A HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 AM EDT TUESDAY.

DEEP LOW PRESSURE OVER LONG ISLAND WILL BE GRADUALLY WEAKENING AS
IT DRIFTS TO THE EAST AND OUT TO SEA. EXPECT SUSTAINED WINDS OF
25 TO 35 MPH WITH WIND GUSTS TO 55 TO 60 MPH THIS EVENING.
LOCALLY HIGHER WIND GUSTS ARE POSSIBLE OVER HIGHER TERRAIN. WINDS
WILL GRADUALLY SUBSIDE TONIGHT...BUT GUSTS TO 45 MPH WILL STILL BE
POSSIBLE OVERNIGHT.

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS
EXPECTED. SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS OF
58 MPH OR MORE CAN LEAD TO PROPERTY DAMAGE...DOWNED TREES AND
POWER OUTAGES.

Posted by: for Scarry | April 16, 2007 4:02 PM

Sorry, that should have been = some early school closings

Posted by: for Scarry | April 16, 2007 4:03 PM

I am in my early 50s (no kids) and have several friends who had their first child (and usually only) in their early 40s. Some are going through perimenopause and menopause and their kids are only 6-10 years old.

I know some won't like this, but my mom was *nuts* for about 3 years when she went though menopause. Luckily I was in college and didn't spend much time with her. She had many hormone problems and had to try a lot of different treatments. I would not want to be dealing with a young child at that age, especially one who is really to young to understand why mom is having so many problems.

Posted by: A.T. | April 16, 2007 4:04 PM

Chris,

Thanks for the Snoop quote. I don't cry for Imus (or Imptinus? Impotence?) but, as a black American woman, I find the hypocrisy of this whole affair so dismaying. Snoop Doggy Dogg once led a leashed woman onstage at an awards show. The NAACP emitted not so much as a peep. That's why they have no credibility with me.

It also makes me sad to hear the team members assert that this incident has scarred them for life. Pretty thin skin, I'd say. Luckily, I am a woman and can't be castrated so I'll go ahead and add that basking in the Imus-stained light as the team seems to be doing smacks of self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 4:06 PM

I have a friend with a son at VT, so I am actually worried sick right now. When the young man was a freshman, his roomate was mugged and murdered on his way home from an off-campus party, so I'm sure he is especially upset (and HE did not get counseling from the school -- which will be offered to the current students). In fact, my son will start at Bridgewater College in the fall (about 90 min north of VT, with a lot of connections). I will have a lot of trouble sleeping tonight.

EVERY mass murder, however carried out, is a tragedy; virtually by definition, the victims did nothing to bring it on themselves. And make no mistake: there are very few ways to inflict the swift and devastating carnage that a semi-automatic rifle can produce. Exactly how many water supply poisoning incidents have there been in the past, oh, 100 years? Only homemade truck bombs and airplanes as missiles have done more mayhem in my lifetime to innocent civilians not living in a war zone...

Pray for the students and families, if you are religious; if not, keep them in your thoughts. I am almost afraid to look at the updates on the WaPo site.

Posted by: educmom | April 16, 2007 4:06 PM

High winds such as those described in the warning above are a pretty common occurrence out here, especially this time of year. We don't call it Spring, we call it the Windy Season. Allergy-sufferers are having an especially tough time of it this year. We've never seen a portable building at a school blown over or away (and we have LOTS of those as well). Of course, we don't get much rain (3-4 inches annually) and don't have big, old trees, so I'm sure that makes a difference.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 16, 2007 4:08 PM

My father was in his 30s when I was born, but he had always been an excellent athlete in several sports, and had no problems keeping up with me (it was more the other way around -- LOL!). My mother, however, was too "feminine" for sports, so it fell to my dad to teach me how to skate, play catch, hit a softball, shoot free throws and later how to hit a tennis ball, shoot an arrow and swing a golf club. I still treasure all those times I had with him, not just for the sports but also for his company. And even though I didn't turn out to be much of an athlete, at least I was able to survive PE at school without making a total fool of myself. In later years, when I'd visit my retired parents, my father and I would take long walks around the neighborhood running errands, although by then my mother was no longer fit enough to join us.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 4:11 PM

"One older parent and one who is average parent-age, such as you and your partner, is not the same thing as two older parents."

I agree. My mom was much younger than my dad and it worked quite well for my family. Dad had more time for us, and mom had time to pursue her own interests because dad was interested in caring for us and not doing his own thing such as sports teams or just "chilling" after work with friends. Dad was also young for his age -- he still had a youthful outlook and pretty good energy level.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 4:12 PM

Luckily, I am a woman and can't be castrated.

Good Lord, woman, don't you know about the millions of sisters in Africa who are still being genitally mutilated?

Posted by: To Denkpaard | April 16, 2007 4:14 PM

Today's activities certainly are a tragedy. I agree with Meg'sN it simply seems more so to us because news can travel quickly in modern era. So we hear more about it, and sooner, and longer.

As I think Chris mentioned, I don't look to society for understanding the evil actions of lone individuals. I think true evil exists, outside of context of deficits in upbringing or society. Some people just are (or choose) evil.

As a side note though, I've always personally wondered if the seemingly increase in such human violence is related in modern times in any way to population pressure. I seem to recall historians/sociologists used to point out that friction and wars started over it. Now, I don't think excuses or abates the evil actions by the perpetrators in question.

As a corollary, every notice how life is seemingly devalued the more of it there is around? Ever notice that a train derailment or factory explosion in India or China doesn't make headlines unless 200-300+ people are killed? Great gyrations and soul-searching seem to occur for 10% of that figure killed in the less populated parts of the (developed) world.

I don't mean for the above to sound cold, and I find it kind of a sad statement about humanity, but it is what it is...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 16, 2007 4:15 PM

***Off topic alert***

Considering our Duke discussion from the other day, here is a pretty good article about some more of the details than I had read before, including a first hand account from one of the player's views. From newsweek...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18110003/site/newsweek/

Thoughts??

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 16, 2007 4:19 PM

TDo2 - I read the newsweek article already - I thought it was pretty good. Not inflammatory on either side, it read like it was just the facts.

Posted by: cmac | April 16, 2007 4:25 PM

Why would a kind and loving God let this happen? There's no upside.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 4:25 PM

Actually- one commentary on the 'old' testament is: that which you find bad, don't do to others. All the rest is commentary.

I believe that was Hillel.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 4:26 PM

My dad was 49 when I was born (I was his first) and here's what I experienced:

1) He had come of age during the 1920s and '30s and had fascinating insights into that time period.

2) He had been university educated (which most fathers of my friends had not) and he was a very business owner who could take time off to take his family on travel vacations.

3) Coming from an earlier era, the political upheavals of the '60s were difficult for him, but he also gave me a balanced understanding of the WWII generation -- the parents of the hippies -- and their value system.

4) Dad was always intrigued by new technology and bought me the first Texas Instruments digital calculator and also one of the earliest cassette music players. He loved the space program and shared my interest in it also.

5) Coming from a time when men weren't afraid that being cultured marked one as homosexual, he was a snazzy dresser, had excellent table manners, and could dance like a dream.

Older father, younger father -- I think it all balances out. There is no perfect age.

Posted by: Julie | April 16, 2007 4:27 PM

"Shortly before 1 o'clock, the two women finally did leave, amid a flurry of taunts. Roberts called the players "short d--k white boys," according to several defense attorneys. ("She did admit to saying that," says Simeon.) One player shouted back, "We asked for whites, not n-----s." Roberts yelled, "That's a racial slur, a hate crime," as she drove off with the other dancer slumped inside."

She can call those boys what she wants but they can't say anything back?

Posted by: typical | April 16, 2007 4:30 PM

I am not going to leap into the religious themes here. The disgusting part to me on the DUKE case was the NY Times. A paper I detest. They have become a lazy mouthpiece for the left and tried and convicted those men. Now where is the front page story announcing the NY Times error? Nowhere to be found. The media today is a lazy copy machine.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 4:34 PM

Did you see Gwen Ifill on Meet THe Press yesterday, call out Tim Russert and David Brooks for appearing on Imus? She was strong, dignified & didn't hold back. The transcript & video are on the Internet.

Posted by: To TDo2 | April 16, 2007 4:35 PM

Today's activities certainly are a tragedy. I agree with Meg'sN it simply seems more so to us because news can travel quickly in modern era. So we hear more about it, and sooner, and longer.

I will agree that the media has created an environment in which we have a skewed sense of danger. That said, I'm pretty sure that 20 years ago, people, esp. young people, were not walking into schools and malls shooting and killing scores of other children. I do think that this represents a big change, and frankly the lack of concern regarding the cause is deeply troubling to me. Is it o.k. to say, well, they're nuts or its human nature to be violent as an explanation?

Posted by: moxiemom | April 16, 2007 4:36 PM

pATRICK,
I mostly agree with you about the media. They are hungry dogs with a bone but...if there wasn't a market for it they wouldn't be in business.
For example, they are showing the same blood stained sidewalk over and over again on NBC. Not necessary.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 4:36 PM

The whole IMUS affair passes off as an important story these days. Reminds me of that intern in washington who was killed. The media went on and on. Then 9/11 hit and they seemed silly. This was silly too, who cares what an old DJ says. We have wars going on and alot more important issues. No wonder the rest of the world thinks americans are ignorant.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 4:41 PM

Why would a kind and loving God let this happen? There's no upside.

Posted by: | April 16, 2007 04:25 PM

Free will, baby. Free will. God does not exist to fix up all our s**t so we can do whatever we want without earthly consequence.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 4:42 PM

adoptee, if you're still around, I'm curious about your description of an Old Testament Story versus a New Testament Lesson. I can see how that would apply to the people in the stories, but it also seems like it's a fundamental change in the approach of God, who from what I can see is much more angry and wrathful in the Old Testament. How does that get reconciled? Or is my woefully inadequate understaning of the bible failing me yet again?

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 4:42 PM

moxiemom,
No, it isn't enough to simply say that they are nuts or that violence is human nature.
I do not know if this type of violence occurs in other countries so I will not speak to that. I believe there are many causes.
Too much pressure on kids to succeed from a young age?
Limited access to acceptable outlets for frustration/aggression (fewer and fewer public athletic programs for example)?
Constant bombardment of the senses by senselessly violent video games and movies?

Just to throw out a few as I am sure they are as many ideas as there are people reading.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 4:43 PM

Scarry- that is scary. Actually, I did not go into labor (was eventually enduced- I believe b/c the ins co was getting annoyed at the cost of me in the hospital). Had I gone into labor they said I was far enough along that they would let me go, but I never did.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 4:44 PM

Megan,

You are correct God is wrathful in the old testament. An eye for an eye.

Although I think most Christian religions follow, I could be wrong, the new testament a lot of people hold onto an eye for an eye.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 4:44 PM

The idea that having a dad in his 50s when you're 10 years old is absolutely awful. Without even discussing the fact that parenting is a physically exhausting endeavor, the idea that I, as a 25 year old and starting out on my life could be expected to guide my aging parent on the intricacies of Medigap, moving them from their home to a nursing home, and all the exhausting issues involved in taking care of an aging parent is absolutely LUDICROUS! People, put yourself in the shoes of your children! Think of them when the idea of having a baby in your 50s might sound appealing. I've taken care of two dying parents in my 20s, and the entire experience was so exhausting and emotionally wrenching. Not just the actual DEATH itself, but the DYING aspect -- what to do when they are suddenly stricken with a life-threatening disease, the decisions I had to make for them both for the health and their finances, etc. ad infinitum. It's downright scary and UNFAIR to inflict this horrific experience on people still so very young.

Posted by: Karmela | April 16, 2007 4:46 PM

altmom when I hit the hospital I was like what the hell, why is everyone so upset. Then it hit me that I might lose my baby or that she would be born with problems. All the bad stuff that had happened to me in my life up to that point was no comparison. I can't imagine how those poor people feel in VA right now. I am glad you didn't have to go through it and I hope I don't have to go through it again.


Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 4:47 PM

I castration is done with different aims than female circumcision (or genital mutilation). The goal is to prevent the male reproductive organs from functioning but let me rephrase to be safe anyway: Luckily, I am unlikely to be castrated here in Bethesda.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 4:48 PM

"Or is my woefully inadequate understaning of the bible failing me yet again? "


YES! Sorry I couldn't resist.:)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 4:48 PM

How far along were you? I went to almost 42 weeks and also had to be induced. The doctors don't let the pregnancy go much beyond that because the chances for stillbirth soar.

Posted by: to atl mom | April 16, 2007 4:52 PM

LOL, pATRICK. Fair enough. But my question is sincere so if you would like to enlighten me, by all means...

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 4:53 PM

I've taken care of two dying parents in my 20s, and the entire experience was so exhausting and emotionally wrenching.

And you think it's any easier in your 30s, 40s, 50s...? I knew a woman in her 70s who moved her ailing 90ish mother in with her and her husband. First the husband died, then her mother lingered on in deteriorating shape for years. The care-giver had her own grief and health issues to deal with, plus her own aging. Definitely better in your 20s, when you have the health, stamina and alertness to cope.

Posted by: To Karmela | April 16, 2007 4:54 PM

Off topic - Crunching Brent & Sam's gourmet chocolate chip pecan cookies in utter bliss. Who needs sex or Woody Allen movies?

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 4:54 PM

Caring for ill, aging, then dying parents is difficult at any time. Age is insignificant.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 4:55 PM

The whole IMUS affair passes off as an important story these days. Reminds me of that intern in washington who was killed. The media went on and on. Then 9/11 hit and they seemed silly. This was silly too, who cares what an old DJ says. We have wars going on and alot more important issues. No wonder the rest of the world thinks americans are ignorant.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 04:41 PM

Believe it or not, some of us didn't want to read about 9/11 for 4 straight months, and then came the 9/11 Commission Report, the Patriot Act, and an endless cycle of articles about enemy combatants. Some of us don't want to read about Paris Hilton. Others don't care which political candidate is winning the primary money wars. Someone out there wants to read about Britney and Brangelina. It's not me, but it's not up to me to censor the news so that only the stories I think are important, get publicized.

There are quite a few reasons why the rest of the world thinks that Americans are ignorant. I doubt that the ten-day news cycle of the Don Imus story even breaks into the top twenty.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 4:55 PM

"LOL, pATRICK. Fair enough. But my question is sincere so if you would like to enlighten me, by all means..."


HMM, you have caught me in dilemma. On one hand as a christian I have a duty to help you learn more about the bible, as a seasoned veteran of blogging, it would be better to decline. I shall ponder that.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 4:57 PM

Reminds me of that intern in washington who was killed. The media went on and on. Then 9/11 hit and they seemed silly.

It didn't seems silly to Chandra Levy's parents.

Congressman Gary Condit had been so uncooperative with the police investigation that they figured he might be the murderer. If he'd just told the truth about his affair with her, he could've been cleared as a suspect. He brought his troubles on himself.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:00 PM

Megan,

Many Christians believe that the New Testament describes a "New Covenant" with God, than supplants the "Old Covenant" God made with Abraham. Hence, Jesus represents a whole new relationship between God and humans. Whereas the old testament God is the god of the Hebrews, the new testament God is the god of all people.

I believe in orthodox Judaism, you have to be a descent of Abraham to be truly Jewish (i.e. born Jewish with a Jewish mother) and they don't believe in prostelitizing or conversion, because God made the covenant with Abraham and it doesn't apply to others. (I'm sorry to anyone if this is a gross oversimplification.)

Christians, however, do believe in evangelicalism and conversion because they believe the covenant with God is open to all.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 16, 2007 5:01 PM

Off topic - Crunching Brent & Sam's gourmet chocolate chip pecan cookies in utter bliss. Who needs sex or Woody Allen movies?

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 04:54 PM

denkpaard, yummmm. you are a welcome addition to the community of those who submit comments with a name.

note to self: add Brent & Sam's gourmet chocolate chip pecan cookies to list of things to try.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 5:02 PM

Note to self - form strong dislike for denkpaard and her cookies :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 5:04 PM

Having just returned from a trip that included spending a lot of time with my MIL, who has descended further in Alzheimer's, I can testify that there is NO good age to deal with a dying parent. Watching the change in his mother and the strain on his father as he attempts to care for her at home is incredibly hard on my husband, who is in his 40s. I think the lesson for all of us in this, young and old parents alike, is to make sure we are well-insured and have saved sufficiently so that our children don't have to go bankrupt while caring for us. We are fortunate that my in-laws have done both.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 16, 2007 5:04 PM

"It didn't seems silly to Chandra Levy's parents.
Congressman Gary Condit had been so uncooperative with the police investigation that they figured he might be the murderer. If he'd just told the truth about his affair with her, he could've been cleared as a suspect. He brought his troubles on himself."

With all due respect and condolences to the Levy family, I disagree. The sex part was played up and the whole affair passed as serious journalism. A bored and lazy press kept at it, just as they did natalee holloman. It is too much to ask to report on Afghanistan and Iraq seriously when we can read about Britney not wearing undies. I still remember press reports from vietnam where reporters were under fire. Now that is serious journalism

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 5:05 PM

As one who became a father in his 50s, I'm reminded of a line that Victor Borge would sometimes use at the conclusion a concert: "I'd like to thank my parents for making this evening possible and my children for making it necessary." Maybe older fathers are less likely to be consumed by their careers. Then again, those of us who are of modest means may find it necessary to prolong those careers in order to support our late-arriving offspring.

Posted by: John Bay | April 16, 2007 5:08 PM

Condit was such a tool. THe parts of this case that we both found offensive were his fault, by lying and covering up.

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 16, 2007 5:09 PM

Off-Topic alert

Megan,

If you're interested, Slate's Blogging the Bible column by David Plotz is one of the most interesting on-line reads ever. Plotz is Jewish and reading the Old Testament for himself for the first time. He has no discernible agenda and has consulted no concordances. It's one of the most interesting blogs I've found.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 5:10 PM

During this endlessly prolonged coverage of Don Imus' shooting off his big mouth, which he gets paid big money to do, all I could hope was that Ana Nicole Smith would die again and change the focus.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:11 PM

Kathrina, thanks, that's really interesting. But God himself stayed the same, right?

pATRICK, I appreciate your dilemna, and you made me laugh again. But, as it so happens, quite a while back I created an email account for just this sort of thing. So if you have more to add to Kathrina's response (or if you do, Kathrina), you can send it to megansoffbalance@yahoo.com.

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 5:12 PM

Kathrina wrote "I believe in orthodox Judaism, you have to be a descent of Abraham to be truly Jewish (i.e. born Jewish with a Jewish mother) and they don't believe in prostelitizing or conversion, because God made the covenant with Abraham and it doesn't apply to others. (I'm sorry to anyone if this is a gross oversimplification.)"

Before you go talking about another religion at least get it right - Judaism is determined by maternal lineage because there is never a question about who the mother is. They don't believe in prostelitizing that is correct however they will gladly accept a Jew by Choice (a convert) if the convert is willing to study, is sincere, is doing it out of faith and willing to go through the ritual ceremony.

Posted by: to kathrina | April 16, 2007 5:14 PM

"Before you go talking about another religion at least get it right -"

geez, isn't a simple correction ever enough any more?

Posted by: anon for now | April 16, 2007 5:17 PM

Some Jews also accept returning Jews, whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Christianity or other religion.

Posted by: To to Kathrina | April 16, 2007 5:17 PM

"pATRICK, I appreciate your dilemna, and you made me laugh again. But, as it so happens, quite a while back I created an email account for just this sort of thing. So if you have more to add to Kathrina's response (or if you do, Kathrina), you can send it to megansoffbalance@yahoo.com. "

I may take you up on that, the LORD works in mysterious ways.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 5:18 PM

Megan's Neighbor,

Don't! I would hate to be responsible for creating another B&S addict.

and yet...

KLB SS,

Good - that just leaves more for me! Hahaha.

Posted by: denkpaard | April 16, 2007 5:18 PM

MN - Thanks! I will definitely check that out.

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 5:23 PM

Sorry about that - I was under the impression that Orthodox Judaism did not allow coversion but other sects of Judaism were open to it, but I stand corrected. Sorry if I offended you.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 16, 2007 5:27 PM

Kathrina, You took a good shot at a tough question and handled it efficiently. The rest of us (who were in a position to answer) ducked. We all learn something every day -- including here.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 5:31 PM

"Kathrina, You took a good shot at a tough question and handled it efficiently. The rest of us (who were in a position to answer) ducked. We all learn something every day -- including here."

I second that opinion. MN , I still think you could have picked a better avenue than blogging the bible. Seems rather like reading a classic love poem in a lab coat under a microscope. It loses it flavor. IMO

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 5:34 PM

Kathrina, I really appreciated your response, and am sorry my question left you open to that sort of criticism. So thanks again for responding so gracefully.

Posted by: Megan | April 16, 2007 5:37 PM

Schools shutting down because of wind, Va Tech shootings, a fire at U of MD...this is not a good day for education...

Posted by: Mona | April 16, 2007 5:40 PM

pATRICK - have you read any of it? I would be surprised if that was your opinion, particularly if you read his commentary on Job.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 5:43 PM

pATRICK - have you read any of it? I would be surprised if that was your opinion, particularly if you read his commentary on Job.

I have read the blog, Job was interesting. It just seems that to "blog' the bible misses the essence somehow. Having read the bible both as a non believer and a believer, my experience was much different as a believer. I think you would understand. Kind of like being around children and experiencing your own children, the same but quite different.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 16, 2007 5:59 PM

Not that this idea will ever get implemented -- although it's been done in the past. Why not have grandparents raise the kids? That way, parents can go out and have their high powered careers, and kids can get the attention and experienced care they need.

Posted by: scout | April 16, 2007 6:08 PM

Off-Topic continuation:

Okay, pATRICK, I'll come clean since you've responded. Plotz's column is so interesting in its own right that he entices an audience to read the Bible that otherwise would never pick it up and read it on their own. The average non-believer, at best, starts at the beginning, gets to the first round of "begats" in Genesis and gives up with a big sigh. If introduced to an interesting Cliff Notes version written not by an evangelical Christian with a perceived agenda, that same non-believer might be intrigued.

It took the movie Clueless to introduce a few people to Jane Austen. It would be nice to think everyone would read Austen on her own.

I advocate for any entry point to the Bible that makes sense, and more than any other I've found, Blogging the Bible captures the appeal of the Bible in a way that intellectual, non-believers get. My favorite line from last week's chat with Plotz: "What is so demanding, and exciting, about the book is the way it pushes you to face moral complexity, and not settle for the simplest, easiest lesson."

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 6:12 PM

denkpaard,
You have it all wrong. I will now look for those cookies and blame you for each additional pound. I was in no way leaving them for you! :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 6:13 PM

Off topic:
Zip. Zilch. Zero. Our Handy Guide to All Things Free
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/12/AR2007041201902.html?hpid=smartliving

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 6:15 PM

"What is so demanding, and exciting, about the book is the way it pushes you to face moral complexity, and not settle for the simplest, easiest lesson."

MN - an easy sentence to define a way of life.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 16, 2007 6:17 PM

Why not have grandparents raise the kids? That way, parents can go out and have their high powered careers, and kids can get the attention and experienced care they need.

Scout, this does indeed happen, but is more common with teenage parenthood, when the middle aged grandparents raise the child so that the parents can continue their education, work, etc. Among the group becoming grandparents in their later years, many seem to see that being able to spoil the kids and then give them back is the joy of grandparenting. (At least my older relatives have this view.) Although many people here say that having family nearby is a huge help in acheiving balance.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 16, 2007 6:20 PM

John Bay,

You are apparently in the same boat I am. Should we be successful in having a family, my retirement will be deferred a few years (I can retire from my current job in 8 years). Not that I intended to just sit around after that, but my work habits would have to remain a bit more regular if there was a child around the house!

Posted by: John L | April 16, 2007 6:23 PM

Thanks, Megan's Neighbor. Your comments on Plotz's column really intrigue me. I am on my way there right now.

Posted by: Emily | April 16, 2007 6:25 PM

Emily, I love when my evil plan works, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 16, 2007 6:32 PM

My father was 52 when I was born and 58 with my youngest brother. That was even more unheard of in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

It hurt when some people who didn't know me well thought my father was really my grandfather. But my brothers and I were lucky to have a man who was kind, loving and very interested in all we did as children. He celebrated our victories in school and on the Little League field. As a man of the WWII generation, we were blessed by his perspective of living through the depression years and the boom of new technologies - such as color tv!

I am convinced that having a young family kept him active and youthful. He lived to see two of his children married and 2 of his grandchildren. We lost our dad when he was 88 years old but we were so fortunate to have him into our adult lives.

Posted by: Susan | April 16, 2007 6:35 PM

Someone accused me of being ageist, but isn't the title of this blog column ageist?

Posted by: joe | April 16, 2007 6:41 PM

No, it's a neutral question.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 6:47 PM

My mother gave birth to me when my father was 46 years old. He was retired by the time I was in grade school. Having my father to come home to everyday was the guiding force of my childhood. I never worried if I was going to have a hot meal, someone to help me with my homework, or simply a friend to talk to because my dad was always there.

My father taught me many things in ways I don't think most children are fortunate to experience because their fathers are time deprived. I learned the history of the common American man from my father, and how to treat people with respect. He passed on his sports heros, his musical tastes, and compassion for people because I was lucky enough to spend so much time with him.

Most of my friends didn't really get to know their father until after they finished college. The article seems to suggest that career obligations and financial insecurities are the biggest obstacle in fathers spending more time with their children, but I'm not sure that a young wealthy father would have the adequate experience to raise a child with the care and compassion that a more mature father has aquired.

Posted by: Chris | April 16, 2007 6:50 PM

"They don't believe in prostelitizing that is correct however they will gladly accept a Jew by Choice (a convert) if the convert is willing to study, is sincere, is doing it out of faith and willing to go through the ritual ceremony."

You left out the part that they turn you away three times, so you are not completely correct either.

Posted by: scarry | April 16, 2007 6:53 PM

Are you kidding? Of course we do! When my dauhgter and I were very young, we were incredibly close. Hailey was a "Tom Boy" and we fished and hiked together and invented country and western songs as we drove along in my beat up pickup truck. Then, at 35, I got seriously into my "career" as an engineer and she became a teenager... Those were the loneliest, most wasted and useless years of my life. Now, with my first grandchild, and my engineering jobs outsourced and working for 1/3 of what I used to make, she calls ME, even before my incredible wife and her mother! That is simply because, in my old age, I have the time to listen, I have learned to love unconditionally, to not give advice, but to simply enjoy this wonderful person I had a part in creating.

I would offer one piece of advice, if I may, to all of the male readers of this forum. If you work more than 45 hours a week, but especially if you are one of those people who works 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week for your "career"...STOP. It isn't worth it, your employer will can you and replace you with someone younger and cheaper eventually, and you WILL LOOSE your family; even if only for a while. It simply isn't worth it.

Posted by: MikeB | April 16, 2007 7:08 PM

I would offer one piece of advice, if I may, to all of the male readers of this forum. If you work more than 45 hours a week, but especially if you are one of those people who works 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week for your "career"...STOP. It isn't worth it, your employer will can you and replace you with someone younger and cheaper eventually, and you WILL LOOSE your family; even if only for a while. It simply isn't worth it.

Posted by: MikeB | April 16, 2007 07:08 PM

I can rest easy now that I know this advice only applies to the male readers. Tote that barge; lift that bale, fellow women.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 7:11 PM

Mike B wrote: "I would offer one piece of advice, if I may, to all of the male readers of this forum. If you work more than 45 hours a week, but especially if you are one of those people who works 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week for your "career"...STOP. It isn't worth it, your employer will can you and replace you with someone younger and cheaper eventually, and you WILL LOSE your family; even if only for a while. It simply isn't worth it."

Leslie's husband, are you listening? Enough with the 3 AM phone calls on vacation already.

Posted by: catlady | April 16, 2007 7:45 PM

I had two families, one started when I was 21, the second when I was 45.

I was too young to know what I was doing as a father with my first two children. I helped, I was around, I coached, but I didn't truly deliver, and in fact, never really had the maturity to have a lot of interest in my children until the reached the age of about seven. Their mother and I divorced when they were in their early teens, and I'm surprised that I have a terrific relationship with these children, now grown and successful adults.

Third child, second wife? No comparison. Fascinated with this baby from the minute I laid eyes on him in the delivery room. Painfully close to him; monitored every move as he grew up; grew up myself helping him through the elementary, middle, and high school years.

Drawbacks to older fatherhood? Can't think of many. One is that I'm in mid-60's now and he's about to head off to college. So I won't be stepping out of the harness for another few years. Wouldn't want to add an infant to my life at this age, but I'm a big believer in postponing fatherhood to mid-30s or 40s.

Posted by: Jim | April 16, 2007 8:37 PM

Back to the original topic...

I don't know how the kid I was at 25 could have handled the responsibility of an aging, sick, or even demented elderly parent. (Yeah, that can easily happen to the child of a "new" dad in his 60's).

I do know that I would probably not have....
- traveled around the world with a backpack, or
- ever finished graduate school, or
- been together enough to have provided decent care for that elderly parent

Posted by: me | April 16, 2007 8:54 PM

A kid's Father is mistaken for a Grandfather, wouldn't it be nice if kids had Fathers AND Grandfathers? That way, I was able to enjoy both my Grandparent's serenity and my Dad's moderate intensity. My Mother, like many women, was the more explosive personality anyway. But in the modern view, kids need neither male, in fact, large numbers of Americans regard Fathers as completely extraneous. And recently some are thinking about female only conception. If the boy needs a male figure, one of Mom's friends can fill in, but of course one needs to keep Mom's pals off Sis. The Post's recent musings about the sexualization of little girls overlooked the shift in parenting power to women and their reluctance to inhibit their Daughter's sexual development as they feel (often wrongly) their own was. There was a time when Dad could protect his little Princess.
Monte Haun mchaun@hotmail.com

Posted by: Monte Haun | April 16, 2007 9:00 PM

First, lets do the autism statistics.
If the father is between 15-29 vs 40-49, the rate is almost 6 times greater between the two groups. Fine. But you CANNOT just look at the RELATIVE risk, what is the real risk? For the younger age group its 6:10000, for the older group its 32:10000. Your odds of having an autistic child in that older group are only 0.32 PERCENT. You would have to have 156 children, yes, 156, before your odds were at 50% of having an autistic child. There are no reliable stats for men beyond 50.

I dont think the issue is whether you have kids at 60. I think its whether you have then in the 40-50 range. That is far more common now. What is better? In an ideal world, having children at an earlier age might be, but there are so many other specific factors involved that to generalize makes no sense. In the end, how do you touch your child's life and raise the next generation? Some children are touched for life by a teacher they have for only one semester. It is not the length of time, its the connection you achieve with your children. You can teach them about how to LIVE everyday you are with them. No one can forsee all of lifes travails that our children may face, but we can teach them how to find that inner place from which their ultimate happiness flows.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:19 PM

Scarry - I didn't mention the mikvah either, in my mind trying 3x is part of being sincere.

Posted by: to kathrina | April 16, 2007 9:49 PM

People with high quality genes should start a family young and produce many children.

Posted by: Steve Klaussen | April 17, 2007 12:19 AM

All this started with a quote of a remark by the sociologist David Popenoe. It's no reflection on him, but HIS father was a pretty interesting source of opinions about fatherhood (and the lack of it). Google Paul Popenoe, or check out the wikipedia entry on him.

Posted by: Rex | April 17, 2007 2:41 AM

So many of these posts seems to be informed by statistics rather than the critical issues of the individuals involved and their own level of maturity, readiness, etc...

I'm 36 with a wife who is 38 and a small child... I guess that places me in the middle of the pack rather than an outlier. My experience thus far has been to notice that there are some real pro's and con's to having children (a little) later than my parents did. For me one of the cons was the simple fact that I was single and independent for a number of years and the ability to change life on a dime was difficult. I also have reached a reasonably high level of success in my career, but have done so by my ability to put everything else in life to the side in order to travel and be focused-- that is not quite so easy, nor is it at all desirable. The pro's are quite simple. I'm much much more mature than I was 5 or 10 years ago, and I believe I am a far better parent than I ever could have been if I had started earlier. It's just a factor of growing up. I am concerned about being older when my daughter is in her 20's and 30's, etc... but my attitude is that this is the choice my wife and I have made, and no matter what happens to us, we have to try to raise our daughter as best as we can using the tools we have as adults. If I allowed guilt to creep in, then I would be basically questioning 20 years of decisions, priorities, relationships, trials/tribulations-- the years that shaped me. That can't be good for anyone.

My last comment. My dad passed when I was 19 years old. That event is like one of those things which you rarely reflect on directly, but so often when I reflect on my actions I realize it is right there in front of me guiding me. This might sound cliche, but the constant reminder that time is not something you can easily control or extend, but is something you can try to maximize, has made me a better dad. If the alternative reaction, which would be to try to squeeze as much in as possible in fear of the pending "end", would have driven me... I don't know where that would have led.

Good discussion, thank you.

Posted by: Rick | April 17, 2007 6:30 AM

"What if a safe falls from the sky and lands on your head while you're walking down the street? What if you're struck by lightning as you give $5 to a homeless veteran? What if, what if, what if? You can't let yourself not live because of what might happen."

OTOH should a 15-year-old considering baby mamahood not ask herself "what if my boyfriend leaves?" and "what if I don't have enough time to do my homework and finish high school?" and so on?

"But the fact remains if you spend your teens through your 20s in school, you are less likely to get married then your non educated peers."

These days in much of the U.S. it means you're less likely to get married young, but more likely to get married at some point in your lifespan. In some other areas out there where most marriages still involve middle-age men asking matchmakers for preteen girls, staying in school as a teenager probably does lower the odds of marrying at some point.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 7:14 AM

Megan-I will copy this as an OT on todays blog as well. To answer your question, the reason the new testament lessons does not apply to the old testament readings because the old testament is one interpretation of the God of Israel. Like a previous poster said the new testament represents a new covenant with the God of Israel. But it is important to note that Jesus did not fulfill the Jewish prophecy of the Messiah. The Jewish Messiah was suppose to be a great military and political leader who would restore the state of Israel. Jesus did not do this. What Christians do believe is that Jesus transcended the Jewish prophecy and offered salvation to all who believed in him. Hence creating a metaphorical state of Israel in the after life. But it is also very important to note (and often missed) is that the Christian church of today looks more similar to the ministry of St. Paul rather then Jesus' ministry. Jesus very much believed to be his follower one needed to be Jewish. What Paul found was the gentiles (non Jews) did not like the idea of circumsion (the covenant or the law of Abraham). Well they were not getting enough converts willing to be circumsized or former Jewish people. So they opened up their membership to gentiles and dropped the requirement of circumsion. Thus dropping the concept of being Jewish as a follower of Christ. Remember Jesus was considered the King of the Jews. The Christian church started to divorce their association with their early Jewish roots some time prior to the Nicean council. Then the idea of our early Jewish heritage was pretty much down played or basically lost. Again, only girls are born into the Jewish faith. Even Jewish males need to be brought into the faith through circumsion. In short the old testament pretty much depicts a hard a$$ kind of God while the new testament offers a kinder gentler approach. A little tangent too is that if you read any of the banned books of the bible, you will learn that monotheisim (belief in one God) was really an evolutionary concept. Even to Abraham (the grand father of monotheisim). There were other gods, namely Baal. There was a great battle between Baal and the God of Israel and guess who won. So the idea of one God took a while to mold into our modern belief of being a singular entity. Even the God of Israel according to Abraham resembles Baal and some of the other pagan gods of his time. So one idea is that the old testament god was just a misinterpertation of the one true God. Or simply or more accurately the relationship between the God of Israel and his people changed. Again the bible is a story about the relationship of the God of Israel and his people. It is not meant to be an historical account of events.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 7:50 AM

So, Adoptee, where does the Greek Orthodox church fit into this? My quick skim of your last posting doesn't seem to address the schism that led to the Orthodox vs. Roman churches.

(For the record, I suspect the Orthodox Church is vastly closer to the followings of Jesus than the Roman.)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:32 AM

The idea that having a dad in his 50s when you're 10 years old is absolutely awful. Without even discussing the fact that parenting is a physically exhausting endeavor, the idea that I, as a 25 year old and starting out on my life could be expected to guide my aging parent on the intricacies of Medigap, moving them from their home to a nursing home, and all the exhausting issues involved in taking care of an aging parent is absolutely LUDICROUS! People, put yourself in the shoes of your children!

Actually Karmela, it's worse than you imagine. These second-time around (or more) fathers may be 70 or more and expecting their 10 year old child to navigate this maze.

Oh, but wait, no they aren't, they are depending upon their 30-40 year old wife to handle all of that.

Always a kick-out clause if you are a wealthy enough male, no matter what your age.

Did anyone check to find out how much it costs to harvest your eggs and store them for 15-20 years? And if harvesting your eggs actually reduces your fertility later (and thus forcing you to depend upon those frozen eggs? What IS the shelf-life of frozen human ova?)?

Posted by: to Karmela | April 17, 2007 8:36 AM

Where's today's blog entry? There's a title for a new one but clicking on it takes you to this entry still.

Posted by: John L | April 17, 2007 8:42 AM

I found this regarding freezing eggs. They discuss the costs of IVF, etc., too. But I didn't see where they tell anyone how much it costs to store your own eggs. Based on the price lists though (click around), I bet it ain't cheap.

http://www.ivf.com/freezing.html

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:45 AM

And two completely different situations, one where someone is celebrating freedom and forgive them that they are not in mourning for their captors. Vs. Innocent people in the worng place at the wrong time. Oh, I see the connection.

Posted by: atlmom | April 16, 2007 03:47 PM

Northern Ireland? That's a fair example of Christians killing one another.

Artillery through the ages is capable of taking out a fair number, if aimed properly. Particularly if you can get your shot lit.

Posted by: to atlmom | April 17, 2007 8:54 AM

The Orthodox split came a lot latter then the St. Paul's letter to the cornithians. St. Paul traveled to Europe to spread the gospel. He went to Greece (Cornith) aroudn 51 AD. The Orthodox church as we know it today started around the 4 century. But the Orthodox church, like the Roman church believe they are part of the Apostolic succession which begin with St. Peter. Just because they trace their roots to the ancient church, the actual division between the orthodox and the roman church occurred a lot later. Remember in the early church, it was not really functioning as one united philosophy. There were a lot of splinter groups for centuries. It is easy to see that when you read the current biblical text and the Gnostic gospels. Remember it was the ecumenical council that set up five regions of the church:Rome, Jerusalem, Constantianople, Antioch, and Alexandria. Each of the five synods had their own customs and traditions. Eventually those five branches molded into two main philosphies: Roman church and the Orthodox church. The Roman church was the Latin rite and it's seat was Rome. While the Orthodox was the Greek rite and it's seat was Byzantine. But that happened way after St. Paul's ministry. That official schism was during the 11Century.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 9:10 AM

(For the record, I suspect the Orthodox Church is vastly closer to the followings of Jesus than the Roman.)

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 08:32 AM
I don't know about this. I know you don't have to be circumized to be part of the orthdox church. But as far as the difference in the sacraments and the history, I don't know a lot about the Orthodox church. They do keep closer to the date of Easter and other holidays. But as far as the major teaching of Jesus, I don't know if it is a lot different then the Roman church.

Posted by: adoptee | April 17, 2007 9:23 AM

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:03 AM

Rather than suggesting that younger men shouldn't have children -- go ahead, have them! -- the message of the main article (to me) is that there are advantages to older men becoming fathers which should be considered before dismissing the idea out of hand. Sure, older men are less athletic and have fewer years to live, and other things being equal those things detract from the idea of older men having kids. But we already knew that! The "new" part of the story is that nowadays younger men are so distracted from their fatherly responsibilities that they don't share their physical presence with children, may be short-tempered/impatient/immature . . . so in the final assessment their youth doesn't contribute all that it might. Older men are better suited temperamentally and financially, and can also spend more time with their children in their formative years. Shouldn't we be debating the relative merits of these issues? If we simply jump to the conclusion that older men are not fit to be fathers because it's nontraditional, that amounts to prejudice rather than analysis or experience.

Posted by: Thom | April 17, 2007 1:01 PM

My parents were relative oldsters when
they married in 1957; dad was 32, mom was
26. Somehow, they actually *waited* five years to have children, the first of whom in 1957 was me. So dad was 37, mom was about to be 31 when I was born. Over the next *10* years, they had 3 more. Our family was totally an anamoly in the 1960s when, it seemed, all the other parents were youngsters - in comparison to my parents. When my baby sister was born in 1967, mom was a "high risk" mom-to-be, at almost 41. Today, I'm not so sure that'd be her status. My youngest sister absolutely *hated* that her parents were so old. And my father died at age 57, when my youngest sister had just turned 10. My mom said she and my dad were in no hurry to become parents, they enjoyed being parents when we were all born and after we arrived, and, she said, no doubt, they had different views and tempos than all the other parents at grade school and at high school. My father has now been dead 30 years and the little cloud of having had old parents still hovers a bit at times for all of us. I was married at almost 23, had my one and only baby at 26, and he is now 23 and on his own. I'll be 50 in June. Although I realized ages ago that almost-23 was about 8 years too early to get married to anyone, I think 26 was about the right age to have a first baby. As to the fathers profiled in the article, the old guys who are so pleased at having the comfy "do over" families should be ashamed of themselves. The energy they still have should be lavished -- generously! -- on the children from their first marriages. IF they want to be married again, fine. But the fathering drive shouldn't go to a new nest of rug rats; it should be devoted to the kids (even those in their 30s and 40s) that they neglected in that first family.

Posted by: SF Mom | April 17, 2007 1:57 PM

We didn't have a choice because we got married late and had our first child nine months later. I'm 42 and my husband is 40. He is a great Father and attends all doctor's visits : )

Posted by: Michele | April 17, 2007 3:29 PM

HURRAH for men taking their ADVANTAGE of biology and starting and nurturing their first or second or THIRD set of childrem in later age. Society is SEXIST and not only from my experience I know that women/wives expect their partner to be the (main) breadwinner. And my current wife is an MD! Look at Yale U study: 33% of female grad students expect or prefere to be at home moms. Is it waste of precious education dollars which no society has limitless supply of? Look at post-divorce child custody rulings? Woman, claiming their "natural" qualifications get it (almost) all: kids (and since they get kids they get houses, "in the best interest of a child"). Men had little chance for cild custody, regardless how nurturing, devoted, or primaryy care providers for their children are. Only when mother is - with preponderance of evidence and to fset societal biases - morally and lifestyle uftit (a prostitute, heavy drug abuser) he and their child has a chance. So many are crying about FEMINIZATION OF POVERTY: solution is to give fathers say in 50% of divorces children into custody. That would take care of the problems. When men make that good money, children of divorce would benefit. Divorced moms will not be "deagged" into tired state by not having daily responsibilities to care for the children. They can boost tyheir careers, earning and dating potential (to get partners they deserve, more sensitive, communicative, gentlemen, an yes, with bigger paycheck than the one who initiated divorce from). Its "funny" that women starting their families later in life are aplaiuded (as they allw themselves years for "personal development" "treating self", experimenting with Jessica Parker lifestyle, etc.) yet when males have kids later in life (with a FRACTION of health risk to their children as compared to late pregnancuies in females) "dirty old man" biases again raise their ugly heads. As a primary care provider for 5 out of 6 of my children (yes, I even won custody, being prepared) I can say that discrimination against fathers, namely those who have been doing everything right, from day one, feeding babies at night etc. etc. is unspoken of disgrace of contemporary world.

Posted by: Father of 6 | April 23, 2007 11:35 AM

Those like Posted by: SF Mom | April 17, 2007 01:57 PM telling the world that "older fathers should be ashamed of themselves" just perpertuates an outdated, discriminatory stereotypes. When political correctnes, starting with books for our kids served at school libraries "celebrate" "all kinds of families", including two moms, two daddy families, applauding women who spend decade and half traveling, enjoying life, studying, building career, experimenting with sex techniques, etc. before they "tie themselves down" and reluctantly agree (as a single mom by choice, withe her female partner or - tradtionally and opressively - bearing a child to their male chauvinist husband) ... why men giving the most precious gift of all, life and apparently being nurturing fathers, often with monetary security to take care of that pesky material asopect of raising of a child, should be ashamed of themselves? Besides: More then half of marriages end in divorce, often taking fathers out of childrens' lives forever. Histrically, with life expectancy 20 or more years shorter then today, generations of children grew up without their one or both parents, having relatives to step in. And - without being too harsh - one of the traumas and complaints - again hitting women much more then men - the need to take care of their parenst in thir 80s, while they themselves are in their 50s, looking at enjoying empty nest years, is taken care of by older father dying when their child is no position to be called on taking care of his infirm years. So ...

Posted by: early and late father | April 23, 2007 11:50 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company