The Transformative Power of Dinner

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

About a year and a half ago, a Wall Street Journal piece by a lawyer named Cameron Stracher caught my eye. It would have been a standard-issue op-ed decrying the loss of family dinners if not for the brief author's bio at the end of the piece, which noted that Stracher had a blog, dinnerwithdad.com, all about his efforts to make it home to eat dinner with his family most nights. He'd even sold a book proposal on the topic.

At the time, I had my doubts that a high-powered lawyer and law professor who commuted 55 miles each way into New York City could actually pull off regular dinners. And, quite frankly, I couldn't see what the big deal was. I had to wonder: Had family dinners become so novel, so incredibly rare, that the topic deserved a book-length treatment?

The book is out now, and it looks like I was wrong. There is room in the literary canon for a book about eating with your family, not because eating is important, but because the eating unlocks something even more critical. Sometime between writing that Wall Street Journal piece and publishing his book -- some time during all those dinnertimes -- Stracher quits his cushy job, shelves the commute and begins working closer to home (and sometimes in the home).

It's remarkable how achieving one little goal can shift the rest of your life -- resetting one priority makes other things more possible. Making it home in time to cook every other night or so should not be an outlandish goal for most professionals. For the particularly Type A, for those who have particularly deadline-driven jobs, it may take some planning, but such an effort ought not be out of reach for most people.

And the whole dinner thing is really a MacGuffin -- it's not the dinner that's really important, it's the way it serves to advance work-life balance (and -- as Sally Squires pointed out this week -- health). That's prompted me to think about similar small strategies that actually lead to much bigger behavioral changes. Obviously, dinner is a great one -- everyone has to eat, after all. And, more modestly, I've found that putting my BlackBerry away during family time (no vibrating, no sound, no flashing) has done wonders to keep my focus where it ought to be during the evening family time. I'd like to know if any of you have found other little life hacks that have changed the way you look at family life.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  May 31, 2007; 7:15 AM ET
Previous: Small-Town Child-Care Woes | Next: Does Sanity Trump Balance?


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

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 31, 2007 7:11 AM

I have been home every night for dinner with my family, ecept for some rare and limited travel. This is a priority for us.

We found out early on that this was a rarity in our community based on anecdotes from neighbors and our children. Early on, each family member, including children, got the floor during dinner to describe their day.

btw, those electronic devices have a power off switch, too. We also do not answer the phone during dinner.

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 31, 2007 7:24 AM

It's not about the dinner -- it's about integrity, in a sense. About having the courage to actually name your values and live by them. It sounds a bit like once this fellow realized what was really important to him, then everything changed.

I've been thinking about this same question alot lately, how do we actually live by the values that we claim to hold. In my case, it's been about a quest to surround my kids with people whom we actually respect -- teachers, coaches and so forth. Recently, I've been struggling with the fact that my son is involved in a sport he loves, but I really don't like the way the coach treats his own kids -- and I feel like a hypocrite telling my child to obey the coach when on some level I really don't respect the guy or his values. I think that's what's hard -- moving from identifying your values to actually living them. IN other words, sometimes we know what we SHOULD do, but . . .

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 31, 2007 7:28 AM

We enjoy the time after dinner when we walk over to the community playground and all the neighborhood kids play while the parents chat.

We've been getting into the habit of doing a "blessing" before our evening meal-- the best part is holding everyones hands-- our "family circle" manifest-- I'd like to add lighting candles to the routine, but I'm so focussed on getting dinner done and on the table that I've forgotten that part so far.

I have a very short commute and I really don't know how people with long communtes manage-- must be VERY organized!

Posted by: Jen S. | May 31, 2007 7:29 AM

This advice that families need to eat dinner together always made me feel like a loser mom. We can almost never eat dinner together as a family. Husband's work and travel, son's athletic practices, etc. Plus kids eat at 5 pm and we don't eat the same food as our kids at this stage of their life.

But I discovered there is no magic about dinner per se. We eat breakfast together as a family almost every day. It serves the same purpose of achieving some degree of "balance," checking in with each other and teaching our kids manners.

Where there's a will there's a way...

Posted by: Leslie | May 31, 2007 7:32 AM

We eat dinner together pretty much every night. Right now, with the children as young as they are (2 & 4), it's pretty much about teaching them how to eat a meal in a social setting. No standing on your chair, put the toys away, no hitting your sister/brother, stay in your SEAT, you loved corn last week, etc. I am looking forward to when it becomes more about "How was your day?"

I wonder if there's any difference between families where a parent loves to cook and those who dislike it. I love cooking and it was a big highlight for me when my kids told me I'm a great cook (and without any prompting or bribery). One of the ways I show my love for my family and people in my life (friends, coworkers) is by making food -- and then hopefully, eating it with them.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 31, 2007 7:41 AM

We eat dinner together practically every night, the 3 of us together. If I or my husband has a later commitment, then the remaining 2 eat together. It's very important to us to have that chunk of time. As far as my 3 year old not eating the same things as us, I decided a while ago that I am not and will not be a short order cook. His plate has the same things ours does. Sometimes this means he gobbles everything up, something he needs a little push to try things. He has no food allergies, so having him eat the same food as us is not a big deal and he ends up eating a more varied diet in the long run.

Posted by: Burke Mom | May 31, 2007 7:41 AM

Leslie: Dinner works best for us because everyone recounts their day, and their plans for tomorrow, while it is still fresh in their minds.

We are a little less awake at breakfast, and my children somttimes skip it when given a choice. They grew up fine anyway.

Yes, we had to juggle some schedules for both adults and children.

Like turning off the phone during dinner, it is about empowering yourself to take control of those things that you have some control over.

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 31, 2007 7:44 AM

ot from yesterday to marian:

Au pairs come for a year, and can extend their visas up to 1 year (3 month increments)

Family dinner: important to me. Didn't have a curfew growing up, but had to be home at 6 PM for dinner every day or i'd get into trouble. mom went to trouble to make dinner for the family and we had to be there - part of it being respectful to her (if we called, to tell her we wouldn't be there - that was okay).

We do dinner every night - nothing necessarily special, but together. as they get older, i suspect it gets more difficult.

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 7:51 AM

Leslie

"We can almost never eat dinner together as a family. Husband's work and travel"

We already know your husband spends very little time with his family. He told us how he arrives home from work after everyone is asleep and jostles huge bags of trash to the curb.

Posted by: Legacy | May 31, 2007 7:54 AM

I've known families that eat dinner while the TV evening news is on. No wunder there are lots of heartburn medicine advertisements running during the dinner time slot.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 7:56 AM

pATRICK,

My deepest sympathies on the recent loss of your two dogs.

Posted by: Born Free | May 31, 2007 7:58 AM

As a single parent on 42,000 a year there are rarely any other options but to be home and cook dinner. However, I work in a high-stress job [for those above me] and you can tell those who value family time. They are NICER. They "give" a little. They can be flexible. I applaud all the people who TRY to remember they have a family not just a job. I look forward to the book you mention--when it's at my public library.

Posted by: pbjmom | May 31, 2007 8:02 AM

When my brother and I were growing up, our family also offered a communal blessing before dinner, complete with holding hands around the table. Truth be told, I hated the hand holding tradition as a kid. It was annoying. Come to think of it, it's not a tradition I care for much as an adult, either.

Neither my brother nor I have children, and we are both of an age where having children is a moot point. When we visit our parents, however, the old family blessing gets resurrected at dinner time, and yes, the hand holding thing is still part of the process. I bite my tongue, because the tradition seems to mean something to my parents, but even as we recite the blessing, I can't help but wish that we could adopt a more age appropriate blessing, now that we're all grown-ups!

Posted by: Murphy | May 31, 2007 8:16 AM

Murphy -- we had a similar thing in my family. I am not a "kiss hello" kind of person, probably because of it. I'm not even a "hug hello". With my kids and husband and a few select others, it's completely different and we're very physically affectionate. The director of my department at my last job was a hug hello kind of guy (we worked in different offices) and it drove me nuts. I would have to steel myself not to cringe as he came toward me with arms wide open. He did it to everyone. Very annoying!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 31, 2007 8:23 AM

I think about the issues Brian raised a lot, especially in terms of whether how I am spending my time reflects the values I want to live by. But then I have to balance that against whether I am holding myself to an unreasonable standard. So, for example, dinner together is important to me, as is serving healthy, balanced, homemade meals -- that's how I was raised. But sometimes I go through a rough stretch where something has to give, and we have a week of Hamburger Helper and takeout pizza. In the past, I have been known to beat myself up when that happens for "not living up to my values." But I finally learned that there ain't no such thing as perfect, and that failing to accomplish everything in a given week doesn't mean I've "failed." I just need to keep the overall balance.

I also think that, if you're not living up to what you think your values are, you need to look closely to understand whether there really is some other sort of "value" or need that you haven't realized yet. If you say dinner is important, but don't ever manage to get home for it, is it really the most important thing? Or are you trying to respond to some other need that you value more (like meeting your responsibilities to your job so you don't get fired and lose the house?).

For me, it's this bad habit of putzing at work. Like, say, now. I don't have set hours, and I work part-time so that I have more time to spend with my kids. But there are days when I waste an hour or two putzing on the computer, reading the Washington Post, the NY Times, CNN, anything I can think of. And then I end up really crunched at the end of the day and kick myself for wasting so much time, being counterproductive, not living up to my own values, etc.

But here's the thing: the putzing serves a purpose. I'm introverted and need alone time to recharge. I don't get that at work, because clients always need something. And when I leave, I don't get that at home, because then my kids and my husband need me. Putzing gives me that quiet time inside my own head that I really need to stay sane. Reading the Post at breakfast helps me to gear up mentally for the day, and watching TV at night (or reading a book) helps me wind down.

Once I realized that, it helped me look at the issue entirely differently. Now I treat putzing as my "me" time, and I do it consciously -- I give myself permission to putz here or there, mentally chalk it up in that column, and try to keep track so that it stays in balance with the time I spend working and with my family.

Posted by: Laura | May 31, 2007 8:24 AM

I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults. The editor's letter in Gourmet addressed this issue just a few months ago. It makes for picky kids. I grew up eating everything under the sun, and I'm still an adventurous eater. I'm extremely annoyed by picky adult eaters, so I'd like to do whatever I can to keep my kids from becoming like them.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 8:26 AM

I eat dinner with my kids every night but my husband does not. He gets home too late. Some nights, while he is eating we sit with him and have fruit. But we have family dinners Friday (shabbat complete with all the blessing - a really lovely tradition to start with young kids, in my view), Saturday and Sunday. And, my husband has breakfast with the kids each morning. I used to feel bad that the 4 of us couldn't all eat together each night but I got over it. I think they get a lot from sitting down with one parent for 2 meals a day. Both of us talk to the kids about their day and they get our individualized attention. In a few years as their bedtimes get a little later I think we'll be able to move back dinner a bit so my husband can arrive mid-way and that will be very nice. I do notice when it's the 4 of us and my husband and I have an adult conversation and my 7-year old will ask questions so I know there is a lot of value to that dynamic.

There is also still the sit-down, stop fighting, you like string beans - social training going on - workingmomx, you made me lol -- sounds so much like my house and my kids are 4 and 7 (it's mostly the 4 yr. old).

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | May 31, 2007 8:28 AM

if dad can't be home, family dinner with mom and the kids still counts as family dinner. Even if it's subs from the deli at 5pm, sit and eat together and talk. This becomes very important as the kids get older. I try to provided 'family dinner time' for who ever can be there, no pressure on those who cannot.
We try to have dad, mom and all the kids eat dinner together on Sunday evening. Nice way to end the weekend and begin the new week.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 31, 2007 8:32 AM

Laura, I love your post. I beat myself up, too. I think we all do. When things get really rough, I repeat my sometimes mantra from "Finding Nemo": Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 31, 2007 8:33 AM

Of course, families should eat together as much as possible. As the song says, "food is good," and it's even better when "we will eat together":

"We have food, and food is good,
And so we will eat together.
So we will eat together
So we will eat together.
When we eat, 'twill be a treat,
So let us sing together
As we march along."
-Marching to Pretoria

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 31, 2007 8:34 AM

We eat dinner as a family (DH, me, 3 and almost 1 year old) pretty much every night- it's a priority for us. It teaches the kids to sit and eat and eat a variety of foods, and we talk about our day. I'm amazed by friends who say their toddler won't sit at the table for dinner- we made it a rule early on and work on it every night. DH and I both have long commutes so one of us goes to work VERY early in order to be home in time to make dinner and eat it together. It means meal planning, and for us it's mostly frozen make ahead meals from one of those meal prep places, but it's worth it for us.

Posted by: Centreville, VA | May 31, 2007 8:40 AM

My parents insisted that everyone living at home eat dinner together; even if you weren't hungry you were required to sit at the table until dinner was over. No "special food" for us! It was "eat what your mother cooked" or go hungry. I think that not having anything special fixed for us made all of us willing to try new things.

My wife's mom, OTOH, would fix whatever my wife wanted as a child if she didn't want what was for dinner. Now she will only grudgingly try new foods, and has a big aversion to staples such as chicken despite my best efforts to prepare it in tasteful and interesting ways.

Posted by: John L | May 31, 2007 8:40 AM

WorkingMomX, you're making me laugh today -- thanks, I have a new motto now!

Posted by: Laura | May 31, 2007 8:44 AM

"I can't help but wish that we could adopt a more age appropriate blessing, now that we're all grown-ups!"

My dad is partial to "Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub. Yay, God!"

Dinnertime is sacred at our house. It's just me and my husband, but there are always three courses, there is always wine, the TV is always off, and the phone is never answered. The only thing that interferes with dinner is travel, and we try to minimize that disruption, too.

The beagle thinks that her dinner is pretty sacred, too, but in a different way.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 31, 2007 8:50 AM

Leslie:

* kids eat at 5 pm and we don't eat the same food as our kids at this stage of their life.*

HUH?!? Your kids are old enough to play organized sports, and you're STILL making them separate meals? I cook ONE dinner, and ONE dinner only. I've been doing it that way since son #2 got teeth. Admittedly, the dinners used to be a little more boring, menu-wise, but they ate what I cooked, or they went hungry. There were a few times they didn't like what I cooked. I offered them the chance to make dinner, and (surprise!) they declined.

Family dinner was about learning how to eat politely, what was appropriate dinner conversation, and developing healthy eating habits. They also learned not to complain. In fact, I remember a time when #2 was about seven. We had a Lab (in fact, I still do -- she's almost 12), and she loves table scraps. Well, #2 didn't want to eat dinner. He was not a great eater, he didn't like the evening's meal that much, and he wanted to play, so he left the table. Once he sat back down, I told him if he did it again, I would give his dinner to the dog. So of course he got up again, and I scraped his plate into the dog dish. No dessert, no sandwich -- no food until breakfast. He didn't do THAT again (and to this day, he gets irritated when I give scraps to Princess).

WorkingMomX,
I love to cook also, and I think that makes a difference. In fact, in a couple of months, it's going to be just me. I'm not dreading most aspects of having an empty nest, but I know I will miss having someone to cook for. I'm going to have to cut down pretty much all my recipes.

Posted by: educmom | May 31, 2007 8:52 AM

"...I'm extremely annoyed by picky adult eaters"

Amen! There's nothing like heading out for a beer or something afterwork with some of your coworkers and one freaks out because the nachos have (the horror!!) olives on them.

Or a 35-year-old man who is completely incapable of ordering anything except spaghetti at an italian restaurant.

Or someone who just flat-out refuses to try a new restaurant because they don't "know" any of the food.

Posted by: ilc | May 31, 2007 9:03 AM

"'Leslie:

* kids eat at 5 pm and we don't eat the same food as our kids at this stage of their life.*'

HUH?!? Your kids are old enough to play organized sports, and you're STILL making them separate meals?"

I don't know why you feel obliged to comment, Leslie isn't insisting that you do it her way, nor is she complaining. She simply shared what they do.

I thought as long as the family in question is happy with the arrangement, and none of them are eating Corgi, then the polite thing to do is to not comment.

But I see that you are complaining--about how much more boring the dinner menus are around your house.

"Admittedly, the dinners used to be a little more boring, menu-wise, but they ate what I cooked, or they went hungry. There were a few times they didn't like what I cooked. I offered them the chance to make dinner, and (surprise!) they declined.

Family dinner was about learning how to eat politely, what was appropriate dinner conversation, and developing healthy eating habits. They also learned not to complain."


Posted by: to educmom | May 31, 2007 9:05 AM

It definitely is powerful how one small change can snowball into a whole new lifestyle. I admire Cameron Stracher for chronicling this and look forward to reading his book. He was featured on a couple of WSJ 'Juggle' columns last week and he answered questions directly from posters.

Living authentically has got to be healthy for us - mind-body-spirit kind of healthy. And it sure is a great way to model life for our kids. I want my children to see that being an adult is not just stress and drudgery - it can be amazingly fun and beautiful no matter what the challenges. To do this, I have to show it in my actions.

And speaking of eating and kids, I'm trying something that I hope will widen my kids' healthy food repetoire (which is pretty good but not ideal) - we just joined a farm share that starts next week. I'm hoping it is the start of a new 'food life' for all of us - especially me! Anybody have experience with food shares and preschoolers?

Posted by: equal | May 31, 2007 9:08 AM

if one of the kids doesn't like what's being served for dinner that night, they eat the salad/veggie and get themselves some yogurt. And they sit at the table and talk with the family.

I don't think there is a meal that all the kids love, but usually if they complain, they eat it anyway. Or at least some of it.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 31, 2007 9:10 AM

The kids and I sit down together for dinner every night. DH never makes it home in time during the week. I try to alternate nights between kid-friendly meals and foods that my husband and I like that may be more challenging to young palates. I don't mean chicken nuggets and hot dogs for the kid-friendly, though we do eat hot dogs occasionally. I don't cook separate choices for the kids. Bread and butter is always available to them at dinner.

I seem to have cooker's block with changing from cool weather foods to foods more appropriate for summer this year.

We've been trying to get into the tradition of Sunday dinner in the dining room. It's not fancy or anything; it's just that our kitchen is small and when it's all four of us, the dining room is more comfortable.

I'm glad for this topic today. I do want to revisit the idea with DH of trying to make it home for dinner one day in the middle of the week. I think this is going to be even more important as the kids get into their school years. Summer might be an easier time to start this, especially August, though I don't think the pace slows down in business as much as it used to.

atlmom--thanks for the update on au pairs. I'm glad to hear that they can extend beyond a year. It seems that with a year limit they'd have to leave just as they really got settled. I hope your au pair is getting settled and that this works well for your family.

I know that many families have great experiences. A lot of my negative feelings about au pairs came reading a NY Times article a few years ago where one family had 12 or more au pairs over the years. There was a teenaged boy who talked about really turning off after attaching to au pairs as a young child only to watch au pair after au pair leave. It was really sad. I doubt most families get into that situation though. I don't know what the average number of au pairs would be for a single family. I did meet a few au pairs at our community pool. They seemed cheerful and energetic--two great traits for working with young children!

Posted by: Marian | May 31, 2007 9:18 AM

I wished the three of us could eat dinner together every night. But since we try to shorten the time my daughter is in day care, one drops off late and works late while the other parent goes into work early and picks up early. My husband doesn't come home till around 7:30 pm and he attends graduate school at night two nights a week. We try to make up for it by eating three meals together on the weekends. I do think family meals are great but dinner is not sacred. Any meal will work. My brother and his wife have three very loving devoted and successful teenagers and college student and they almost never ate dinner together because their Dad worked in a hospital. It is about relating to one another and making time for family time. As long as that is there, dinner really isn't the important thing. I know my brother had family night once a week with his family. Where the whole family ate dinner and played games afterwards.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 9:18 AM

Dinnertime is so important. My 3 yr old absolutely loves it now. We have a "funny story of the day" portion, a "joke of the day" portion and the "best moment of the day" portion. It's wonderful! She asks my husband and I who we "played" with at work that day, what we had for lunch, etc...So cute.

As all of us in the business world know, the best deals are cut over a meal. Food just brings people together and no deal is more important that bonding with your spouse and kid(s).

She helps me pick the menu,cook, set the table, (I let her go on the clean up part for now- her 3 yr old attention span isn't THAT long...lol). It's a great hour to have together at the end of the day.

Oh, and I only cook 1 meal. Have since she moved past the pureed baby food stage.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 31, 2007 9:25 AM

My family life is so hectic, a lot of times we just get a fork and eat right out of the pot or skillet on top of the stove.

This method is environmentally friendly. Saves not only time, but also water when it comes to doing dishes.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 9:26 AM

I admit to being a picky adult eater. Not as picky as some, perhaps, but definitely picky by some people's standards. I typically don't make a big deal about my likes and dislikes. Thankfully, neither do my friends. Sure wish my family would take a lesson or two from my friends!

So what is it I absolutely won't eat? Olives are near the top of the list. (My aunt had a cat once that adored olives. Silly cat.) Mushrooms are on the list, too. Oh well.

Posted by: Murphy | May 31, 2007 9:30 AM

We eat together most nights, but unfortunately it means eating at 8:30pm or later. My husband is a software developer and is required to stay at his job until 6pm or later, so he rarely gets home before 7pm. I also work as a software developer, and can leave earlier, but since I have to do all the kids pickups, I don't get home until 6:30. By the time we have gotten into the house, dealt with unpacking the kids backpacks, gotten the kids calmed down, and given baths (we do baths before dinner because the kids get too revved up to sleep if they bathe after dinner), it is easily 8pm. At that point, I can start cooking.

Many of my SAHM friends are horrified that we eat so late, but I don't see any other way if we want to eat together. Software development is a tough field for parents. There are a lot of night owls in the business, and hence a lot of pressure to stay even later than 6pm. I have often had my boss drop into my office just as it is time to leave, wanting to have an important meeting right then. It takes constant pushback, and yes, a lessening of my career prospects, to accomplish this.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 31, 2007 9:30 AM

Bonnie: Don't sweat it. There is no rule that says dinner must be between 6-7 or in any order (after baths). I do baths after because my kid is so darn messy. I do have one question. Aren't the kids starving by 6-7 or do you give them a snack earlier. My deal is the kid walks into the house at 5:45 and she is absolutely starving. I think snack time was at 3 and she needs to eat right away.

Posted by: fomagnome | May 31, 2007 9:34 AM

Growing up we always ate dinner together (schedules permitting). Now I have impossed that rule. Every night we take turns talking about our day and my boys (3 & 5) really enjoy telling us everything. We had some neighborhood kids over for dinner and they were not able carry a conversation.

In addition to bonding as a family unit (and building an expectation of openess that will hopefully carry into teenage years) and learning table manners and to eat healthy food, my boys are learning proper grammer, to express their ideas, and to hold conversations with adults. My husband and I are learning about the minds of a 3 & 5 yo, and laughing a lot afterwards!

Posted by: Different Burke Mom | May 31, 2007 9:35 AM

Yes, I give them snacks as soon as we get into the house. They can pick something out of the fruit bowl, and my oldest often chooses a pickle (weird, huh?). The nice thing is that they are now old enough at 5 and 7 to get their own snacks. I also have a 1 year old.

BTW, the payoff is that my kids are utterly nonpicky about food. We travelled to China recently, and they ate everything, even the super-spicy food in Sichuan Province.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 31, 2007 9:38 AM

I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults. The editor's letter in Gourmet addressed this issue just a few months ago. It makes for picky kids. I grew up eating everything under the sun, and I'm still an adventurous eater. I'm extremely annoyed by picky adult eaters, so I'd like to do whatever I can to keep my kids from becoming like them.

Ugh, nothing more annoying than the foodies who brag about how their kids eat snails as if it is an indicator of superior character! As long as my kids make healthy choices, whether they are "adventurous eaters" is the least of my concerns in this day and age. I'd rather they be decent people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 9:38 AM

DD and I eat dinner together almost every night. DH works in retail and no DD can not eat dinner at 10 pm. When I have a work dinner a couple of times a year DH and DD eat together usually at grandma's house.

We sometimes at home read books at dinner and listen to classical music. Sometimes we eat out because I just order one portion and she picks from my plate with a fork.

DD has learned family style dining from her full day preschool. She can pour milk and serve herself. I know this because I join her once or twice a week. She needs to be excused and she often helps set up and clean up because she is the oldest child at age 5.

Posted by: shdd | May 31, 2007 9:39 AM

So funny, a New York lawyer gets a book deal on a subject Brian is always whining about...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 9:43 AM

Frieda and I had a most interesting conversation at dinner last night. We talked about cracked and bleeding nipples.

Our son just rolled his eyes!

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 9:43 AM

I wouldn't dream of not eating dinner with my kids, but I definitely have serious challenges:
1. The infant needs to be fed by hand for about 15 minutes when we get home, let's say, 6:00pm.
2. My older son usually demands dinner by 6:30 (and I think that's late too)
3. If dinner becomes complicated, such as having a salad with it requiring prepping 6 vegetables, or frying something or baking something that's not previously baked then the schedule is thrown right off. My older son DEMANDS to eat earlier and the baby is cranky. Dinner becomes unpleasant.
4. My 4 yr old regularly rejects foods with sauces, all soups, all melted cheese, any composite foods. So many days we have to decide if halfway through our dinner we have to go fix broccoli, cauliflower or something he'll eat which means I get back to the table and my wife is finished eating. This is compounded because my wife and I are vegetarians who have eaten primarily ethnic food for the last 10 years. We aren't going to fix a baked chicken, canned corn and potatoes for the whole family. We're making lasagne that he refuses to eat.

I'm interested to see how other people handle all the great dinner debates.

Posted by: DCer | May 31, 2007 9:43 AM

Murphy,

I had a cat that ate olives, or at least the pimentos in them. He liked the olive oil and licked them until the pimentos came out, and eat it.

He'd also chew on the fresh tomatoes I would pick from my plants. We'd get up in the morning and find these tomatoes all shredded open, like someone had been cutting on them with tiny knives. Thought it was mice (who would accuse a CAT of eating a tomato?), but with two cats that was hard to believe too. Then one day, I saw him do it; he'd grab the tomato with his claws, hang onto it, and start licking. At some point he'd bite it, and pull the skin off the fruit, and lick up the juices.

I had to put the tomatoes in a drawer or the refrigerator after that; he'd find them no matter where I hid them if they weren't secured!

Posted by: John L | May 31, 2007 9:44 AM

Marian: I definitely hear what you are saying. Kids bond so quickly. Our first nanny left after 18 months-due to school, but from what I understand, it is unusual for one to stay that long. So actually it seems a year is good. I definitely wonder about 'breaking her in' then having to have her leave. We'll see how it goes.

I can't believe people who make their kids food other than the dinner they prepare. I prepare dinner (or someone else does) nd the kids eat or they don't. Since they were about 18 mos. That's that. My sister cooks about five different meals each night and I can't believe it. Growing up, we had what was in front of us or that was that. Mom loved to cook and was always trying new things, so we'd try new things-we had to always try whatever she made.
I think it's important to try to have the family time-but honestly, how else do people eat dinner? I've always wondered that. Do you not make anything and it's whatever the kids whip up? Even if it's ice cream and potato chips? How do you ensure that your kids are eating healthy, at least once a day? Do you eat in front of the ev? What do you eat?

Laura: I understand what you mean. But then saying: you can do this for a certain amt of time allows you to do something you need, even if it"s not 'productive' (but, really, it is).

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 9:44 AM

DCer: We always have a quick back up plan for our daughter. We start by offering her the same thing we eat except the meat portion. She only likes chicken nuggets or frozen turkey meat balls. Then if she doesn't like it we have a quick back up plan: easy mac, yogurt and soft pretzel, canned soup, broccoli with cheese etc... It works for us. She eats slower then us. So even if we have to make her something quick, she finishes at the same time.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 9:48 AM

I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults.
-----

Kids are people too and make their own choices. I had a friend who had one kid who refused to eat and another who ate everything. That's when I realized it's not 100% what the parents do, part of it is in the kid's personal tastes. Anyone who thinks kids eat "What you feed them" doesn't have kids who would rather go hungry and wake you up at 1am demanding food than eat soup.

Posted by: DCer | May 31, 2007 9:49 AM

DC-er: In our family we have a basic list of 'foods you can eat if you don't like what's being served.' they include apple slices, baby carrots, a cheese stick, yogurt, toast, grilled cheese and cereal with milk and whatever seasonal fruit we have. These are all things that can be prepared quickly without anyone having to miss dinner to make someone else's meal.

Our Picky Eater is required to try a spoonful of whatever is being served and if she won't eat it, then she gets one or more of the foods listed herself. She can make everything except the grilled cheese without assistance. Perhaps you could try something like this with your child rather than having to get up from the table to make another meal. (We also always have leftover rice in the fridge which is a fine alternative.)

Posted by: armchair mom | May 31, 2007 9:51 AM

I don't make separate entrees for my kids. We eat pretty adventurously, too. At the same time, I don't force my kids to eat anything, and I don't comment on what they haven't eaten.If we are having a particularly challenging vegetable (say, curried cabbage), I will slice up a red pepper or a tomato and put that out. Also, we always have a lettuce salad every evening, and both kids like that. Now that we have a 1 year old, it is more challenging - I have to plan meals so that there is always some component that she can eat. But last night, she had rice, shredded bits of our teriyaki chicken, and some green beans that I had boiled specially for her (the rest of us had stirfried green beans, carrots and water chestnuts).
It helps that I don't get all hyper if a kid eats nothing but red pepper, or rice, for dinner. They'll live.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 31, 2007 9:51 AM

We always ate dinner as a family even when my dad worked really late. My mom would just make me a snack and we would wait on my dad. Me and my husband always eat dinner with our daughter, but I think it will get harder as she gets older. I always hope to have some nights when we all eat together though as the kids grow up.

Posted by: scarry | May 31, 2007 9:51 AM

When I was growing up, my mother sat at the head of the table. This was because the seating arrangement would save her a step or 2 to go to the kitchen to fix my father a coke, get the bottle of ketchup/mustard/salad dressing from the fridge...

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 9:55 AM

Dinner in our house, growing up, was weird, too, tho. Dad would walk the whole time-no one else could get much talking in. He ate in less than 10 mins, and he'd get up, get a piece of cake and that was that. He would never clean up after himself not even bringing his plate to the sink.

My dh had to ask to be excused and we have our 5 yo do that as well. It is more pleasant. We talk and ask him about his day and have a good time. It's fun.

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 9:55 AM

We eat together 4 or 5 nights a week. Sometimes the kids get a different meal than the adults, sometimes they don't. We don't take phone calls during dinner and we don't turn on the TV until at least 7:30. When my husband is running late from work, we try to wait for him. I'll give the kids some fruit and/or cheese so they can hold out a little longer. On nights whem my oldest has sports, I will usually make a picnic and we eat at the field either before or after practice. The kids think that is loads of fun.

Posted by: Momto3 | May 31, 2007 9:56 AM

"It's not about the dinner -- it's about integrity, in a sense. About having the courage to actually name your values and live by them. It sounds a bit like once this fellow realized what was really important to him, then everything changed."

That was a damn good post. I believe that where a person spends their time and their money shows where their heart is. Not what they say. I have turned down better paying jobs becuase I did not want to be a traveling, see my kids rarely, "successful" corporate type. I play and see them and give them the best thing I can-my attention.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 9:59 AM

"I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults."

Ever see a kid with a reversable stomach?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 10:00 AM

My dad was the picky eater when I was growing up. We had the Seven Sacred Entrees. Six were beef of some sort, one was pork. Turkey was admissable at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I never thought food was interesting until I left home.

Dad has gotten more adventurous since then - he will eat pasta sauce made from scratch as well as Ragu - but my sister can't handle anything much more exotic than a quesadilla. Holiday dinners are a point of contention.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 31, 2007 10:00 AM

"I offered them the chance to make dinner, and (surprise!) they declined."

Posted by: educmom | May 31, 2007 08:52 AM

Did you offer them the chance to make pizza? Our kids never declined that. They started with store-bought pizza crusts (from Giant Food), poured on tomato sauce, shaved thin slices from a five-pound block of Mozzarella cheese, and baked the whole thing for dinner. Sometimes they even added anchovies.

"Family dinner was about learning how to eat politely, what was appropriate dinner conversation, and developing healthy eating habits." (educmom)

Whenever there was a lapse in table manners, I would tell the kids, "If you eat like that, the Emperor of China won't invite you to his banquet." It took years before they found out that the last Emperor of China had been deposed, oh, about 1912 -- and by that time, they already had good table manners.

However, there is still an Emperor of Japan. You would do well to eat moderately if you are invited to his banquet, so that you don't get sick and throw up in front of the Emperor and his other guests.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 31, 2007 10:02 AM

Growing up, we never eat together for a couple of reasons. My mom hated to cook and was bad at it. My parents worked and frankly were too tired and consumed by their small business. Funny how you learn lessons in life on what to do and what not to do. To this day they eat fast food on their way home from work. Weird.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:04 AM

We ate dinner together every night until organized sports were scheduled during dinner time. After that it was weekend nights and always on Sunday. Now that we're all grown and out of the house, the kids who live near mom and dad meet up on Sundays. Whenever someone is in town everyone sits down for at least one meal a day, but more likely all of them, even coffee/tea in the morning. It's a great way to reconnect when we only see each other every few months. My roommates and I even sit down for dinner most nights of the week.

Posted by: fed worker | May 31, 2007 10:05 AM

We don't eat as a family. I feed our 18-month old at 6-6:30, then prepare dinner for DH and I while DD bathes her and puts her to bed. DH and I eat dinner between 8-9.

This is not a system we love, but I'm having a hard time getting around the two big obtacles to eating together: 1) DD is starving by her dinnertime, but DH usually isn't even home yet; and 2) DD is in the barnacle phase where she won't let me out of her reach long enough for me to cook a real dinner. It's just easier to cook while DH has charge of DD. I assume that when DD gets older and can eat a little later, we'll be able to eat a family dinner.

On the other hand, one thing that's not an issue for us is pickiness. I offer her a well-balabced variety of foods, but will only make one representative of a particular food group in any given meal. If she eats two bites and pushes it away, then fine. I'm not going to fix her something else in the hope that she'll eat more.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 31, 2007 10:05 AM

My kid likes sushi, medium rare salmon and bloody steaks. However, since we don't get it every day he might end up with chicken nuggets and rice occasionally. Once we got mad at him for some minor infraction and said that he'd be having sauercraut and pork for dinner, the same as we did. We certainly did nor expect him to eat it, but he was hungry and ashamed, and he did... Still, it did not become his favourite meal, so he watches his behaviour better now.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 10:08 AM

Growing up, we never eat together "

I think my grammar is devolving. "eat?" What's up with that?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:08 AM

Here here! Great topic!

We sit down to dinner as a family as often as possible but at least on Sunday nights. One of our standard traditions is to share "good thing/bad thing". Each person has an opportunity to share one (or more) bad thing that happened that day if anything and one good thing. Although the bad thing is optional, we must each find one good thing to express every day, even if it is that the day is almost over. This helps us to open the lines of communications, teach good listening skills, and make sure we're making time to reconnect from our often busy and divergent days. With two daughters 11 and 13, that time together is becoming more and more important.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 31, 2007 10:12 AM

John L, that tomato-eating cat has just got my day started off on the right foot.
Great posts everyone.

Posted by: rumicat | May 31, 2007 10:13 AM

I think a distinction needs to be made between being a picky eater and refusing to try different types of foods. As I indicated in an earlier post, there are certain foods I won't eat - including olives and mushrooms - because I don't like the taste or texture of them. This does not mean that I'm strictly a meat and potatoes sort of person! Not at all! I regularly eat curried chicken from the Thai place near my office, and I have no problem finding something to eat at most Indian and Chinese restaurants. I'm not a fish eater, though, so Japanese restaurants are usually a challenge. No sushi for me!

Posted by: Murphy | May 31, 2007 10:16 AM

Do you have some sort of obscure fact generator? Just wondering?

Posted by: To Matt in Aberbeen | May 31, 2007 10:19 AM

Funny about picky eaters. I make pb j sandwiches and the kids say: mom puts it into a christmas tree shape, cuts off the crust, uses honey yada yada. I say eat up to the crusts or you can go to bed right now. Strange, they eat it all. Imagine that!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:21 AM

Your entire self is what's devolving. If you are still posting here by election day, I have a strong feeling that you will be voting for liberal democrats.

Posted by: To pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:21 AM

I'll show up a few minutes after somebody mentions the word "vegetarian".

Posted by: Hammerhead | May 31, 2007 10:23 AM

My father used to arrive home from work at 5:15. He had a drink, and watched the TV news at 5:30. At 6 sharp he was at the table and we had dinner. This went on for years.

When I got married one woman at a shower told me that if dinner was late you should boil water. Steam coming out of the kitchen would make your husband think that it would be done soon.

I never wanted to have my life be that way.

We try to eat together when we can, but I'd rather have fed children ready to do their school work at 7 o'clock than hungry disagreeable children waiting around for Dad to arrive home so they could eat dinner.

Given the demands of MCPS your kids have to be doing their homework in those early evening hours so they can be in bed and ready to get up in the morning. Holding dinner until 8 doesn't work.

I think Sally Squires had an excellent suggestion that families that can't get it together for dinner have breakfast together. You can bring the paper in and talk about the headlines, discuss the upcoming day, or argue over who gets the prize in the cereal box.

Posted by: Roseg | May 31, 2007 10:27 AM

vegetarian

Posted by: to Hammerhead | May 31, 2007 10:29 AM

"Your entire self is what's devolving. If you are still posting here by election day, I have a strong feeling that you will be voting for liberal democrats."

Fat chance!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:29 AM

"I've found that putting my BlackBerry away during family time (no vibrating, no sound, no flashing) has done wonders to keep my focus where it ought to be during the evening family time."

Brian, Brian, Brian...

Why on earth would you need to have your BlackBerry occupy a place of such importance in your life that you have to consciously put it away to interact with your family? Why would anyone?

Perhaps more importantly, why do people consent to be so available to the world at large that they can be reached at any time and in any place?

Doesn't anyone want a space in life that isn't cluttered and contaminated by noise and remote demands for attention and instant response?

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 10:33 AM

All Vegetarians are picky eaters!

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

"Perhaps more importantly, why do people consent to be so available to the world at large that they can be reached at any time and in any place?

Doesn't anyone want a space in life that isn't cluttered and contaminated by noise and remote demands for attention and instant response?"

I have a friend who is so addicted that we went on a father son camping trip and there he was clicking away on his blackberry around the campfire. It was pathetic, I can only imagine how unimportant his son felt.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:36 AM

My kids are allowed the option of eating a healthy cereal if they don't care for the dinner as a whole. They rarely exercise this option, but I think it is reasonable because it is perfectly normal to have a few food aversions. Dinnertime is not a battle and cereal means I'm no short order cook.

Growing up, we always ate dinner as a family. If my dad was going to be more than a half hour or so late, he would call and let my mom know, and she would feed us. However, we would always wait to have dessert with my father. The funny thing is that we did not have dessert every night, but if dad was late, it was time for ice cream! So we almost always sat down for at least 10 minutes together every night. Occassionally we got to stay up past bedtime just so we could do this. I loved it! This is the model I'm using with my kids (only now I'm just as likely to be the one calling home to let my husband know I'm running late) and so far so good.

When we were older and had sports etc., we still managed to gather most of the family most nights (there were 4 of us kids so we could usually manage a quorum) and then we'd usually converge in the kitchen and sit around talking with the latecomer while he/she was eating.

Posted by: Mamasan | May 31, 2007 10:42 AM

pATRICK,

That IS pathetic -- a BlackBerry on a camping trip. Ugh!

By the way, I wanted to give you my sympathy on the death of your two dogs. It's so hard to lose members of the family like that.

We had to have our elderly cat put to sleep (a euphemism, perhaps, but it sounds softer and more loving than "euthanized") a couple of weeks ago. Another of our tribe is quite ill but much too young to die.

It's really tough, and my heart goes out to you and your family.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 10:43 AM

scarry

"Me and my husband"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

"Perhaps more importantly, why do people consent to be so available to the world at large that they can be reached at any time and in any place?"

Some peope have these type of professions, like a M.D. mom/dad on call.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 10:45 AM

One of the things that struck me about the post was this line:

"I had my doubts that a high-powered lawyer and law professor who commuted 55 miles each way into New York City could actually pull off regular dinners."

I hadn't really thought of it that way before, but now I can add the challenge of having family dinners (something that I think many people would like, if they can't have) to all the other problems that suburban/commuter life presents (e.g. flight of revenue from cities to suburbs, increased polution, road congestion).

Posted by: David S | May 31, 2007 10:45 AM

Some peope have these type of professions, like a M.D. mom/dad on call.

**************************************
My pediatrician was part of a group.
Good for us because someone was available, good for them, because only 1 group member had to be available.

Still, it is still about choices.
Not bad or good, black or white, moral or immoral, just your choice.

If we choose a job with late hours or that requires to be on call, that is part of the deal of life, and you have traded some part of the 24-hour day (or time with family) for income, financial security, a good fit with your personal goals.

If this works for you, great.
No judgement here.

Posted by: to anon at10;45 | May 31, 2007 10:50 AM

Thank you Pittypat.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 10:53 AM

"Some peope have these type of professions, like a M.D. mom/dad on call."

Well, yeah. But how did we ever manage before it became technologically possible to have our communication devices grafted onto our bodies?

That was only...what, ten or fifteen years ago?

There was a time when professionals on call would have a car phone so that they could be reached when away from the office. That made sense. Now, everyone even marginally ambulatory feels obliged to be wired for immediate access -- on cell phones (some with headphones so that their wearers can wander aimlessly around Target looking like loonies who are talking to themselves), BlackBerrys (no, that's not BlackBerries, since it's a proprietary name), laptops (for those not on the cutting edge of BlackBerrydom), etc.

This is absurd. Nobody is that important.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 10:54 AM

Patrick: Sorry to hear about your dogs.
Pittypat: I sometimes think the people walking around talking on cellphones and punching away at Black berries do that so they can think they are big and important. I remember when palm pilots first came out and several guys got them. They were constantly pulling them out. I think guys just like technology and it makes them feel like they are more important then they actually are.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 10:56 AM

Perhaps more importantly, why do people consent to be so available to the world at large that they can be reached at any time and in any place?

Doesn't anyone want a space in life that isn't cluttered and contaminated by noise and remote demands for attention and instant response?

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 10:33 AM

Because if I don't consent to be available, you'll be supporting me on welfare.

Unfortunately, unless you purchase and give me a winning lottery ticket that permits me to exit the job that supports my family, I'm stuck with the responsibility to respond to communications within a 1 - 3 hour window. There are worse things. Unemployment, for instance.

Posted by: anon for this | May 31, 2007 11:00 AM

"I have a friend who is so addicted that we went on a father son camping trip and there he was clicking away on his blackberry around the campfire. It was pathetic, I can only imagine how unimportant his son felt."

I knew several fathers who brought portable TVs to a father/daughter sweetheart dance to watch basketball during March Madness. I think this is pathetic also.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:00 AM

We always had dinner together at 6pm sharp. From the time we could reach we helped with the cooking, setting table and cleaning up. Nobody got special food. If mom wanted liver and onions we got liver and onions. Luckily it was only about once a year because she and dad are the only ones who ate it. Later on we could have a bowl of cereal or some fruit but no dessert. Funny thing - if they had lobster we got hotdogs (what can I say? I was young and dumb and didn't like lobster).
Sunday after church was the big meal for the day. My favorite was Sunday night because we got fun meals - chocolate waffles with ice cream, tuna sandwiches, chipped beef on toast, etc.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 11:02 AM

"I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults. The editor's letter in Gourmet addressed this issue just a few months ago. It makes for picky kids."

I am one of those picky-eater adults.

I grew up with parents who were part of the clean-plate club and there were no separate meals for children. I vomited after dinner on more than one occasion. I swore as a child that I would never eat something I don't want to as an adult. I also don't force my children to eat food they don't care for. They must try it, but can refuse after tasting. I prepare dinners that have at least one vegetable they like and if that's all they eat during that particular meal, that's fine with me.

Posted by: nona | May 31, 2007 11:04 AM

"There was a time when professionals on call would have a car phone so that they could be reached when away from the office. That made sense. Now, everyone even marginally ambulatory feels obliged to be wired for immediate access -- on cell phones (some with headphones so that their wearers can wander aimlessly around Target looking like loonies who are talking to themselves), BlackBerrys (no, that's not BlackBerries, since it's a proprietary name), laptops (for those not on the cutting edge of BlackBerrydom), etc.

This is absurd. Nobody is that important."

Sure, before cells there was the house phone and a M.D. had to stay at home when he/she was on call. Now he and she can go out with his family too and still be available. A trauma surgeon is an important profession. It's a choice they made but someone has do it or who else would be there to save people's lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:05 AM

To equal: we just started with a comm supported agriculture (csa) this year, the first they had it and it's great. The first few weeks all we had were greens(mustard, swiss chard, I don't even know-bok choi, endive) and we got tired of that, but this wk we got squash and carrots and other stuff. It's really good, except that we can't eat it all. We are very happy. And I don't have to buy as much t the grocery stre. Just realize that some of your food might be eaten before you get it and/ or others might be living in it as you wash it. So it goes.

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 11:05 AM

My dog ate all of the banana peppers out of my garden! I just thought the plants weren't producing any peppers. My jalepenos were all doing great, so I was wondering why on earth the banana peppers weren't? Then, I caught him with the evidence in his mouth! sneaky little mutt!

Posted by: prarie dog | May 31, 2007 11:08 AM

I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults.

You never had a kid who was failing to thrive. You feed them whatever they'll eat. Usually not much.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:09 AM

pittypat and foamgnome, you're missing the point. It's not the important people who are required by client expectations to be responsive, it's the unimportant people. We are always free to turn off or ignore PDAs, and clients are free to hire a more responsive service provider. As long as this job is what stands between my family and the soup kitchen, I'll check my PDA before going to bed at night and before I get in the car in the morning, unless I'm on vacation.

Technology is the tool that allows many of us to work away from the office. It expands our family time. That's the plus. The negative is, we have clients worldwide and the presence of PDAs makes it possible for us to respond timely, and creates an expectation that we will do so. That doesn't mean anyone needs to be checking e-mail during dinner. It may mean that he needs to check it every couple of hours or so, unless he's in IT where a couple of hours is considered nonresponsive.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 11:09 AM

MN: You make a valid point in the private sector. I work in a research area for the government. Believe me, no one is going to fall apart if you answer the email the next day. We work on 5 year cycles. One day won't make a difference.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 11:14 AM

To pATRICK:sorry to hear about the dogs. My 5 yo still talks about ours as part of the family and it"s been about 9 mos since she was put down.

Nona: the kids don't have to clean their plate, but we don't make special meals for them either. The older one trues new things. The little one is 2 and usually tries but he has other things to take care of usually than worrying about eating (which car is where, what do to with teddy bear, how to burn the house down, drive his parents crazy, etc).

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 11:18 AM

"I never did understand feeding kids something different than the adults."

It's a powerplay move by the kids that the weakling parents give into.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:19 AM

Let me make myself clear. You don't have to empty your plate. That's unhealthy. But you should taste everything. And yes, I am a foodie who grew up eating in the French style, ie all parts of the cow/pig/bird. It's natural to dislike some foods, but swearing off all but a few foods as an adult is silly. As long as you can stop yourself from telling other people what they eat is disgusting, I won't chide you for being picky, at least to your face.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 11:20 AM

altmom- We're considering joining one up her, but it's $500 a season, and I'm wondering how much will go right to the compost. I'd like to hear more details about yours.

And, duh, failure to thrive is one of those no-brainers. We're talking garden variety pickiness. I like the cereal option.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 11:23 AM

"Sure, before cells there was the house phone and a M.D. had to stay at home when he/she was on call. Now he and she can go out with his family too and still be available. A trauma surgeon is an important profession. It's a choice they made but someone has do it or who else would be there to save people's lives."

And these people make up what infinitely miniscule proportion of the population?

I'm talking about all the rest of us -- the 99.9% of the population that doesn't work as a trauma surgeon.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 11:23 AM

When I was a senior in high school, my government teacher asked for a show of hands one day of how often we ate dinner with the whole family. I was the only one in the class whose family ate dinner together virtually every night of the week. My sister had gone off to college that year, but I was very busy with cheerleading and drama practices. We had family discussions about when I had places to be, so that my dad knew if he needed to get home before 5:30 in order to make that happen. Once a friend's mom was driving us home from play practice at about 5:00 and my friend (whose sister was also off to college) suggested that the family go out to dinner. Her mom informed her that she and the dad had already eaten dinner. I felt so sad for my friend. However 24 years after we graduated from high school, I think that many of my friends who didn't eat with their families are still leading productive lives.

As for my family now, I do make sure we all eat together. We don't have hectic lives yet, and I don't intend to let things get so hectic that we have to give that up. We eat breakfast together also, but, in my family breakfast is not much of a talking time. During weekends and summers, more often than not, we are sitting down together for lunch, but I am sure that will not last forever. Same with breakfast. But if my parents could manage to eat dinner together every night, then so can I.

I don't understand the poster whose child is old enough for sports practice but needs to eat separate food at 5pm. My kids eat what I eat because I'm not making two dinners. We eat at 6pm (or 6:30) because I can't get dinner on the table much before then. If they need a snack to tide them over, that is fine, but any child old enough for sports practice is certainly old enough to stay up past 6pm. Why must the kids eat at 5? That seems so odd to me, and I can't figure out when the children are learning table manners or how to make conversation with adults.

Posted by: single mother | May 31, 2007 11:25 AM

On the separate meals for kids issue, there may be another explanation, which is how our family operates during the week. Because our kids are hungry at 6, we can't and don't want to have the pressure to cook the meal we want to eat, from scratch, in 15 minutes or less. Typically, we reheat leftovers from the meal we had the night before and our kids get a home-cooked, quality meal -- no pb&j, no chicken nuggets. They don't get it on Day 1, but no one cares. Whomever is home gathers together at the dinner table and talks about the day or whatever. Neither we nor our kids care whether we're eating at the same time, they want our company at the dinner table. After dinner is over, we can cook together, on a non-pressured basis, the meal we want to have. It's typically ready between 8:30 and 9:30. We eat dinner together after the kids have gone to bed.

I only raise this because separate meals doesn't have to mean "raising a picky eater" or some sort of kidzmeal alternative. We don't humor our kids with separately prepared, alternative meals when they don't like the menu. It is what it is, and if it's good enough for us on Tuesday, it's good enough for them on Wednesday. I suspect moxiemom would approve, and that's all the approval I need, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 11:26 AM

foamgnome --

I think you are right. But how to account for all the women who are attached to their cellphones?

I knew a guy who got a fancy new Palm Pilot, had it a couple of days, and accidentally dropped it in the toilet. I laughed for hours over that one.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 11:28 AM

scarry

"Me and my husband"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get a life already. We get it that you don't like her but picking apart grammar is just annoying. Even on a bad day she is way more interesting than you.

Posted by: scarry and I | May 31, 2007 11:29 AM

single mother

"I don't understand the poster whose child is old enough for sports practice but needs to eat separate food at 5pm"

These are Leslie's kids. They call the shots in her house.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:31 AM

re: Separate Meals for Kids

Making a child eat something they don't want to is abuse...

Starving them is neglect...

What should a parent do?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 11:31 AM

Typically, we reheat leftovers from the meal we had the night before

We call that "fend for yourself" night.

I also call that, "Eat some of these damned leftovers because I am NOT going to throw away perfectly good food simply because somebody [husband] INSISTS upon preparing too much!"

I'm a member of the clean-plate club (AKA "The Disposer Gene") but my kids are not. That's fine with me as long as they sample everything. If it's all too vile, go make yourself something else. Eat it. Don't whine.

Yeah, we eat dinner together.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 11:31 AM

MN,
Great idea to start your kids eating leftovers. I know a lot of people who refuse to eat them. They throw the food away and buy their lunch rather than pack it up and carry it to work. Their call but I am too cheap and would get tired of mess hall food every day.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 11:32 AM

pittypat, do you have a problem with cellphones or just the people that use them?

I can understand that there are people who do "abuse" these technologies but to say that most people do not need them sounds nutty

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:32 AM

pittypat:While I think the tech gene appears more on the Y chromosome, some women seem to have mutations on their X chromosomes. As far as make yourself important thing, that seems to happen equally for men and women. I also find in government when you usually have to buy your own technology, men buy at a higher rate as women.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 11:33 AM

"I knew several fathers who brought portable TVs to a father/daughter sweetheart dance to watch basketball during March Madness. I think this is pathetic also."

That is pathetic. Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses. He was wrong, SPORTS are the opiate of the masses, especially with men. The memory of that game they were watching will fade, but their daughters will remember their insensitivity until they die.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:34 AM

Atb: we paid 700 dollars, it started about a month ago and goes, I think, thru sept. We throw stuff away when we don't eat it, ie we got too much, more is coming, etc. But now I know better and I freeze whatever I can the day we get it -for after this is all over. So we have a little less each week and we are getting better at knowing what to do with it. Some others have joined together, ie, they have a 1/2 share. That might have been better for us. We give some food to friends and family. It worked out to 35 dollars a week which
didn't seem too bad. Cause it's now veggie time, I'm still buying some fruit but not much. The strawberries go in a heart beat.

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 11:35 AM

How can you have your pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Posted by: Pink Floyd | May 31, 2007 11:35 AM

I bring my cell phone with me everwhere, but not to have conversations in stores or annoy other people. I find it very disruptive when a mother brings her kids to the libray and then sits there on her cell phone while the kids look for books.

I bring mine in case there is an emergency.

Posted by: scarry | May 31, 2007 11:36 AM

foamgnome --

But how to account for all the women who are attached to their cellphones?

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 11:28 AM

because it's incomprehensible to the resident feminist that woman are CEOs, doctors, or upper level managers and decision-makers in their work environments.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:36 AM

I've said this before, but after living overseas for years, I find the american system of eating at 6 to be way too confining, too early, and non conducive to our lives. We learned the benefits of eating later when living in Australia. Dinner is usually not until 7:30 at the earliest there. Now we eat at 8:30pm, when the 12 year old comes home from swim practice. The boys have a snack when they get home from school (crackers, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich). We all eat together later in the evening. Eating at 6 puts such an arbitrary boundary of life balance. Eating later opens up our lives tremendously.

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 11:36 AM

pATRICK,

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your two dogs.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 11:37 AM

"I find the american system of eating at 6 to be way too confining"

Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:39 AM

Oh pATRICK,
I fondly remember watching football, basketball, baseball...oh what the heck, all sports, with my father during my formative years. I didn't believe he was insensitive. He shared his love for sport. I remember the "hail mary" flutie pass, some great Thanksgiving Redskin wins over Dallas, ....

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 11:40 AM

Dinner is usually not until 7:30 at the earliest there. Now we eat at 8:30pm, when the 12 year old comes home from swim practice. The boys have a snack when they get home from school (crackers, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich). We all eat together later in the evening. Eating at 6 puts such an arbitrary boundary of life balance. Eating later opens up our lives tremendously.

Oh good, Dotted & I have similar schedules. Any chance I could cadge a dinner invitation? No calories in consuming cyber-food.

By the way, if you can find the time, go to The Candy Bar in Mt. Airy, MD & get a big scoop of the raspberry moose tracks ice cream. It's wonderful!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 11:41 AM

DH and I like to have dinner as a family. But, we are realistic about it. Some nights, he's home late, sometimes me. Sometimes it's a kid sports thing, or scouts, or now, the pool. Some weeks, we get 7 nights of dinners together, and then the next week, lucky to to get one in.

However, if one of us is missing, we still need to eat. So, maybe we're just heating up leftovers, but we still sit at the table and eat. We don't ever eat in front of the TV or computer. My kids are far too messy for that!

I am thankful every day that my kids are not the traditional picky eaters. Sure, my oldest doesn't like sauces, ground beef anything but tacos, potatoes other than fries, or casseroles of any kind (even like lasagna and potpies). But, he will eat them grudgingly, just not that much of it.

But a friend of mine has had eating issues with all of her kids. Allergies to eggs, nuts. Textures that caused them to vomit. Her youngest is so underweight she was told to feed him anything he will take - even if that is McD's all day.

Posted by: prarie dog | May 31, 2007 11:41 AM

yeah my grandparents ate at 4pm and were in bed by 6pm

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 11:41 AM

dotted, well said. We didn't eat at 6 before we had kids and have no interest in doing it now. When it's not a school night, our kids eat with us between 8:30 and 10 and are happy as clams. Eating later allows us to eat after we've wound down. We find we eat healthier foods, even if eating later is not deemed healthy by the public health gurus.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 11:41 AM

Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange

Posted by: pATRICK

I'm hazarding a guess here, because of the early bird dinner specials?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 11:42 AM

Maryland Mother, I know if I serve wasabi nuts with dinner, KLB will want to be there too!

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 11:43 AM

dotted,
Heck, somedays wasabi nuts ARE dinner!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 11:46 AM

"Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange"

No, actually a very good reason for older folks to eat early. This gives a few more hours for the food to be digested (or start) before going to bed. So, the incidence of heartburn is reduced.

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 11:47 AM


Oh pATRICK,
"I fondly remember watching football, basketball, baseball...oh what the heck, all sports, with my father during my formative years. I didn't believe he was insensitive. He shared his love for sport. I remember the "hail mary" flutie pass, some great Thanksgiving Redskin wins over Dallas, ...."


First off, there are no great redskins wins over the cowboys. Only games that dallas should have won.;) I was referring to bringing a tv to an event designed for your daughter. Also thank you to everyone who offered their condolences on our dogs, I appreciate it. My kids were comforted by the thought of their deceased grandmother throwing a frisbee to the dogs in heaven. Hopefully, our last dog will stick around for a while.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:48 AM

"I knew several fathers who brought portable TVs to a father/daughter sweetheart dance to watch basketball during March Madness. I think this is pathetic also."

That is pathetic. Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses. He was wrong, SPORTS are the opiate of the masses, especially with men. The memory of that game they were watching will fade, but their daughters will remember their insensitivity until they die.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:34 AM

I gotta disagree with you, pATRICK, but it's a friendly disagreement. My kids would know absolutely how much I loved them if I agreed to attend such an activity during either the ACC Tournament or the NCAA tournament. They'd also be running over to see plays from time to time. It's a win-win.

On a serious note, if TV - regardless of whether what's being viewed is sports, news, or the Simpsons - is a constant barrier between father and daughter and an escape from interacting with family members, then there are far bigger problems in those families than a sports addiction. My dad's love of pro football was handed down to me, and no other siblings. Unlike politics, sports is an easy topic on which we can engage and not spar.

Just sayin', maybe there's no lasting damage and insensitivity.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 11:48 AM

I've already started giving away tomatoes, and my jalapeno peppers are about an inch long and growing fast! If I could get it past our homeowner's association I'd turn my front yard into a garden (back yard gets no sun and is all forested anyway).

I grew up on a farm where this "feast or famine" problem happened every summer with the produce. We'd get literally bags and bags of zucchini, yellow squash, corn, green beans, tomatos and cucumbers, and every summer my mom would freeze/can immense amounts of everything. The blackberries would also start ripening in July and she'd make jelly and preserves for later as well out of them.

By spring of the next year the pantry and freezer would be getting empty, but four growing kids and two adults tend to eat a lot of veggies!

Posted by: John L | May 31, 2007 11:50 AM

MN,

I think you're missing my point.

I completely understand the demands of jobs like yours. And of course you have to check your mail and calls frequently in order to meet the requirements of your job.

I'm taking issue with scenarios like what Brian described ("I can have better quality time with my family if I turn off the BlackBerry for an hour"). Duh!

My argument is with people who have no NEED to be constantly wired up but who make the choice to do so. And people who don't understand that other people don't want to listen to their stupid phone conversations in stores and restaurants. And people who think that, if they're out of touch with their family members for an hour or two, the sky will fall.

If only people with work-related needs for on-demand communication used these devices regularly, we wouldn't be all that conscious of them. It's the zillion other folks who think they need to be connected remotely every moment of the day who make this trend such a social irritant.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 11:50 AM

Hey, KLB SS MD, I tried wasabi nuts for the first time last week. My wife wanted to know why I put them on the shopping list and I told her it was because of your love for them.

They tasted pretty good, but if they were spicier, even better. I like it hot!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 11:51 AM

"And people who don't understand that other people don't want to listen to their stupid phone conversations in stores and restaurants."

I pray everyday that cell phones stay banned on airplanes. The thought of listening to someone's prostate exam results or how they told bob off in accounting is enough to make me want to freefall from the plane.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:55 AM

"Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange"

pATRICK,

It might have something to do with digestion. Many older people have digestive problems that are exacerbated by lying down too soon after eating.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 11:56 AM

"And people who don't understand that other people don't want to listen to their stupid phone conversations in stores and restaurants."

I pray everyday that cell phones stay banned on airplanes. The thought of listening to someone's prostate exam results or how they told bob off in accounting is enough to make me want to freefall from the plane.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:55 AM

we're already stuck listening to them in the boarding area and as soon as the flight attendants let them turn them back on on landing, particularly sales people of all ilks using every waking minute to follow up on leads.

I'd say cell phone chatters are in a different category from those who use PDAs to check e-mail (assuming they don't have some sort of audible notify function activated). but that's probably because I only use my cell phone if I have a flat tire on the highway, or to take a call from a family member.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 11:59 AM

This is absurd. Nobody is that important.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 10:54 AM

I am. In a small business when you are working hard to strike gold, and exaggerate your abilities just a bit, you can say something that gets you in hot water if you don't do in 2 days what normal people do in 2 months. But if you make it, again and again -- you win big. For me, the end of the line is when I edit my reports on the exercise machine. Thanks God for wireless and voice recognition.

Posted by: Bagheera | May 31, 2007 12:01 PM

"Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange"

I eat early to get into to bed early. I haven't had a decent night's sleep in years. It's all downhill from here.

Posted by: Elaine | May 31, 2007 12:02 PM

pATRICK

"I pray everyday that cell phones stay banned on airplanes."

Yes, and why do men ask their girlfriends on the phone "What are you wearing?" What's up with that?

Posted by: Elsa | May 31, 2007 12:04 PM

"It's the zillion other folks who think they need to be connected remotely every moment of the day who make this trend such a social irritant."

More and more households are replacing landline phones with cells. More than a quarter of young adults have only cell phones, making them the leading edge of a strengthening move away from traditional landline telephones.

So I guess you're SOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:06 PM

"It's the zillion other folks who think they need to be connected remotely every moment of the day who make this trend such a social irritant."


As in right now, on the Net?

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

"Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat."

Sometimes, boredom and /or depression are in the mix. My parents don't have a lot to think about. They're 83 and have purposefully limited their lives down to so little that they all but count the minutes to the next meal. They go to the grocery store once every other week and otherwise don't leave the house unless one of them has a doctor's appointment. They have no friends or companion animals. After lunch, what's next in life is dinner. After dinner, what's next is breakfast. Lather, rinse, repeat.

They are one continuing episode of "How Not to Live".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:10 PM

"More and more households are replacing landline phones with cells. More than a quarter of young adults have only cell phones, making them the leading edge of a strengthening move away from traditional landline telephones."

This isn't only a youth issue, it's a poverty issue. If you're deciding between feeding and not feeding your kids, you cannot afford to maintain both a landline and wireless service. The phone companies have removed, or declined to repair, 95% of the pay phones serving poor neighborhoods. Wireless service often is the only phone service poor households have.

Bear in mind that wireless companies are not required to connect to 911, and if you're out of your service area, duh, you can't make a 911 call. We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator. Sleep good now, y'all.

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

"My parents don't have a lot to think about. They're 83 and have purposefully limited their lives down to so little that they all but count the minutes to the next meal."

My God, what will happen when one of your parents dies? Will you get sucked into this mess?

Posted by: Bozo | May 31, 2007 12:16 PM

Our cellphones function as our long distance phones, since they let us call anywhere there's coverage for the same price as a local call (as long as we don't run out of minutes; never happened).

They are also very useful for emergencies, as my single mom friend found out a few years ago. She had her car get disabled on the side of an interstate at night, with only her and two small children in the car, and her without a cellphone. Fortunately for her a state trooper came by and gave her some help; now she has a cellphone for that very reason.

But, when my wife is flying, she will call from the plane and let me know when returning, so I can meet her at the airport with a minimum of her having to wait.

Posted by: John L | May 31, 2007 12:18 PM

If your kids eat between 8:30 and 10pm, when do they get to sleep? Kids need a ridiculous amount of sleep, and since school starts before the sun is up, aren't they zombies? We eat after the infant has gone to sleep, around 8pm, but I'm looking forward to eating as a family much earlier. We're early-to-bed-early-to-rise people, like the elderly!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 12:21 PM

"It's the zillion other folks who think they need to be connected remotely every moment of the day who make this trend such a social irritant."

No, the social irritant comes from those folks who cannot distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate public behavior.

What do you care whether or not someone is connected, so long as they know how to behave? Stop being such a controlling be-yotch.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:22 PM

You can call 911 (or other emergency number) from your cell phone even if you don't have minutes left or don't have a plan. That's why they collect cell phones for battered women shelters. Read your service agreement.

It's Vonage that did not support 911 calls, for which it was promptly sued. If you really use the cell phone for emergencies, 1000 min a year costs $100, much cheaper than landline. Besides, in the mountains where there is no reception, there could be no payphones either.

Posted by: 25 percent | May 31, 2007 12:22 PM

Open letter to all nonsigners of posts:

I don't respond to posters who don't sign their posts. In fact, I often don't read unsigned posts.

So, if you're trying to p*ss me off and are hoping I'll respond to let you know how p*ssed off I am, sorry to disappoint you. Won't happen.

You'll never really know if you insulted me or not. Heh-heh-heh.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 12:27 PM

25 percent - Vonage is not alone, and suing isn't winning. As long as a wireless company discloses to the consumer that it doesn't guarantee 911 access, it has met its obligations. Read your service agreement, but more importantly, know the service area map. Caveat Emptor.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:28 PM

the shark has now been officially jumped!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:30 PM

If your kids eat between 8:30 and 10pm, when do they get to sleep? Kids need a ridiculous amount of sleep, and since school starts before the sun is up, aren't they zombies? We eat after the infant has gone to sleep, around 8pm, but I'm looking forward to eating as a family much earlier. We're early-to-bed-early-to-rise people, like the elderly!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 12:21 PM

atb, you have an infant. We had a different lifestyle for a couple of years there as well. In addition, what is your commute? We pick our daughter up from pre-school around 5:45, so the earliest the majority of the family is together is 6:10 or so.

To respond to your question, though, school does not start before the sun is up for us. Our kids get up between 6:30 and 7 on school days. On Friday and Saturday (or on vacation), they go to bed about 45 minutes after dinner whenever that is, typically 9:30 - 10. Each is fully rested.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:33 PM

Hear Ye All who post here!

The Pittypat Doctrine has been posted!

(BFD)

Posted by: not an anon | May 31, 2007 12:34 PM

"You'll never really know if you insulted me or not. Heh-heh-heh."

Duh! Yeah, they insulted you on the blog, chick.

Dunno if they care or not if you read their
posts. Doubt it.

Posted by: Patty | May 31, 2007 12:36 PM

"You'll never really know if you insulted me or not. Heh-heh-heh."

don't worry you're pretty good at insuting yourself, har, har, har

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:48 PM

So, if you're trying to p*ss me off and are hoping I'll respond to let you know how p*ssed off I am, sorry to disappoint you. Won't happen.

You'll never really know if you insulted me or not. Heh-heh-heh.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 12:27 PM

You are so insecure that you not only read the anon post, but took the time to draft a response to the poster about how you don't read or respond to anon posts. Blessed irony.

Posted by: Harvey | May 31, 2007 12:50 PM

Patty,

I guess they must care. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother writing them, would they?

So, DUH back at you!

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 12:50 PM

So, DUH back at you!

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 12:50 PM

this from a woman who criticizes the writing ability of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:53 PM

"Doesn't anyone want a space in life that isn't cluttered and contaminated by noise and remote demands for attention and instant response?"

To pittypat: Yes! That's why I'm not having kids! LOL, I could not resist that one.

About dinner, hubby and I eat together every night. The dogs have no problem eating whatever we've made. I also make it a point to see my mom at least twice a week (she lives nearby). So, for example, tonight I'm meeting her at an Indian place for dinner. Meals are the best time to visit because we can talk and make plans. I really look forward to those nights (I don't have to cook!) and know that I will remember them forever.

Posted by: Meesh | May 31, 2007 12:54 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 12:54 PM

"So, DUH back at you!"

Hey, now it's starting to sound like a typical evening at my family dinner table.

...And we're back on topic!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 31, 2007 12:55 PM

"So, DUH back at you"

Man, who is this chick? Heavy duty.

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

My hat's off to you, Arlington Dad. It was looking like we were stuck in an ugly time warp for awhile there.

btw, speaking of a lead-in to a constructive topic, what's your favorite strategy for eliminating bickering from the meal? Do you command it to stop? Use humor? Make someone leave the table if a mean comment is made? Do share.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 12:59 PM

DD requested we all join hands one evening a few months ago. She then popped out with a heart-felt blessing that became a real Momma-moment for me. Still does, only sometimes grace is singing "Happy Birthday", sometimes it's "thank you God for my family", suspect very soon it's going to be "knock knock..." But it's ours. Yes, she eats whatever we eat and usually helps herself to our dinner in the process (asparagus is fair game if you're not quick enough). Vice her cousin, who's growing up being catered to and cajoled into even trying something. I'll take my try-everything DD any day.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | May 31, 2007 12:59 PM

I think Arlington Dad should win some sort of award for writing: "...And we're back on topic!"

Posted by: catlady | May 31, 2007 12:59 PM

Meesh, can't your lazy husband cook?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:00 PM

"Blessed" how, Harvey?

You lost me there.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 1:00 PM

Patty,

I guess they must care. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother writing them, would they?

So, DUH back at you!

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 12:50 PM

and you must care about what anons post if you won't let this go.

your LastWord-itis is showing.

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

Yrs ago I also heard a stat that said that 100 percent of fulbright scholars (or close to it) had one thing in commom: they all at dinner with the family most of the time.

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 1:05 PM

Megan's Neighbor asked: "what's your favorite strategy for eliminating bickering from the meal?"

I prefer the "command it to stop" approach, but that isn't all too successful. We ofter do tell the kids (4 and 6) that it's time for them to be quiet so the adults can talk, and after a minute or two of polite adult conversation, the kids join back in.

The real trauma at my dinner table is saying grace. They argue over who says the blessing, or if they say the blessing, who says it first. There's touching of the food when the other is praying. One wants to bow heads, the other wants us all to hold hands. My wife and I laugh that this is the thanks we get for trying to raise our kids in a "good Christian household."

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 31, 2007 1:05 PM

Meesh,

I'm with you there. It may not be my #1 reason for not having kids, but it's right up there!

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 1:06 PM

Pittypat and Meesh -- sometimes they sleep. sometimes even at the same time!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 31, 2007 1:08 PM

"Hey, now it's starting to sound like a typical evening at my family dinner table. (or this blog!)

...And we're back on topic!"

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 31, 2007 12:55 PM


Arlington Dad is awarded Fred's Quote of the Day.

Any quote of merit submitted after this one will automatically be considered for FQOTD tomorrow.

Coming Up, the CTOTD!

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 1:10 PM

atlmom

"Yrs ago I also heard a stat that said that 100 percent of fulbright scholars (or close to it) had one thing in commom: they all at dinner with the family most of the time."

Assuming there was always a dinner to be eaten.

Posted by: Faber '63 | May 31, 2007 1:10 PM

Early in my parents' marriage (pre-kids), my father would sometimes stop off after work at an older brother's workplace, where he'd lose track of time and get home to a cold dinner that my mother had made on the (reasonable) assumption that he'd be home right after work. She didn't mind that he hung out with his brother, just the waiting till he got home in order to be able to eat with him and then having to eat a re-heated meal (which in general isn't as good as when it's freshly made).

So they struck a compromise. My dad promised to come home immediately after work (he had a punch-the-clock blue-collar job, so she could calculate to within 5 minutes, depending on traffic). In return, my mother would have dinner on the table 10 minutes after he came through the door. Then, after dinner, if my dad wanted to go hang out with his brother for a while, that was fine with her, because she knew where he was, with whom (someone she approved of), what they were doing, and roughly when he'd be home (at a reasonable hour).

Posted by: catlady | May 31, 2007 1:11 PM

Too many posts to catch up on, but this is a little ironic - I am about to clean out the refrigerator as we are close to closing on the sale of our house.
When I was growing up, my family ate together all of the time. Mom always cooked a dinner with meat, potato, veggie - and sometimes homemade cake or pudding. My husband's family never ate together - and his mom never cooked. It drives me crazy when we go to his family's - there isn't any time spent all together and every meal that is eaten is either take-out or in a restaurant. It doesn't really matter if its homemade, but the point is that it's never all of his family at once.
Hubby's job often keeps him at work, but I usually wait for him - I hate eating alone. I do cook, even though its just the two of us. Its rarely at the table, but that's ok - we are still together. His sister came once and she had a really hard time with the fact that we plan to eat together and that we eat what is put on the table (another topic altogether). Her daughter is extremely picky because she and her grandmother etc. let her decide what she is going eat and she is also very wasteful. Anyway - I think eating together is very very important - the other important part is turn off the TV, put away the Blackberry and actually TALK - even though we don't have kids, if we did, it would be this way. I am this is nothing new to the posts today, but my two cents anyway.
Boy, do i get tired of eating out (both when we are visiting his family and when there are times when it doesn't make sense to be buying groceries!).

Posted by: WAMC | May 31, 2007 1:11 PM

WAMC

"It doesn't really matter if its homemade, but the point is that it's never all of his family at once."

If it doesn't really matter, then why bring it up? Are we passive-aggressive today?

Posted by: Leo | May 31, 2007 1:16 PM

DH works a lot of evenings, but when he's gone DD and I still sit down at the table for dinner. I try to cook a big meal over the weekend so we can have leftovers for those crazy nights when there's not time to cook. We have 8-10 "easy recipies" that we can cook during the week as well. When DH is off during the week, that's a great treat because he'll cook and have dinner ready when I get home from work.

DD almost always eats what we do, and she always eats when we do. She's adjusted to dinner between 6:30-7:30 and thinks 5 is way too early for dinner.

I only make food-choice exceptions when we serve something spicy like chili, as she still hasn't adjusted to that taste. I'll heat up a can of vegetable soup and give her a plate of raw veggies and ranch dressing on days like that. Rule in our house is you must eat all your veggies. Meat and starch are optional, but DD is a carb-loving carnivore, so it's not usually a problem. We've served her a wide variety of food ever since she started eating solids, so she likes a lot of foods that other children I've met refuse to eat. Of course, I've also met kids with a wider palate than mine, so there's room for us to do better.

I know a mom who cooks separately for her children every night, and it's always chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or pizza. She says they won't eat anything else. I also know several families who eat out 4-5 nights a week, many of those fast food. I do understand how crazy life can be with sports and other activities (we cruised thru MacDonald's drive-thru last night ourselves on the way to a 6:30 play-off game), but we really make an effort to keep these sorts of meals few and far between.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 31, 2007 1:19 PM

"If it doesn't really matter, then why bring it up? Are we passive-aggressive today?"

She was making the point that they didn't have to be like her family (homemade food) but that she'd like it if they were all together once in a while.

Are we being an a**hole today?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:20 PM

Actually, some schools do start very early. My kids have to meet their buses at 7:05 a.m.

But I've never, ever, been an eat an early dinner sort of person. I'm just not hungry before 7 p.m. The kids get a snack after school, yoghurt or something, and then dinner is later after homework & any activities. I usually chivvy then into bed around 9 p.m.

I make them get up EARLIER in the summertime, so I can deliver them to my family during the daytime. Gotta bicker with your cousins you know. That's what family memories are all about. Trying to pull a fast one on the "old" people.

It sounds kind of cruel, and sometimes it IS, but at least they don't have the same rough transition as some of their friends. The ones who were able to stay up all night & sleep until 11 a.m. The transition back to school hours is rough.

I like spicy food too. I've taken to using packets of "Devil's Spit" on my baked potato instead of butter or barbeque sauce. Some things are too hot, but not too many!

Back to the topic at hand and building upon it--

Does anyone want a copy of my recipe for Banana Split Cake? I've improved upon the original recipe by using soft ice cream instead of cool-whip.

Nice segue, yes?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 1:25 PM

When you're so desparate to spar that you cruise blogs looking for a target and jumping into strangers' arguments, you need to consider whether there's much balance in your life. Go eat some chocolate. Whatever works.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:27 PM

I'm not trying to dog your parenting, but kids 3-6 need 11-12 hours of sleep, and 6-12 year olds need 10-11. If they're up at 6:30am, they need to be in bed by 8:30pm at the latest. Sleep and breakfast, that's important stuff. So, 2 parents on the 8-5 grind have a heck of a time getting the kids, doing the commute, and putting dinner on the table at a more appropriate time, say 6:30-7:00. I love me some 30 minute mains, salads, and meals pre-prepared on the weekends. DH has to get up at 4am T/Th, so we know that pain. DD is home at 2pm T/Th and 5:30 M/W/F, so we can almost make it happen smoothly.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 1:27 PM

"Does anyone want a copy of my recipe for Banana Split Cake? I've improved upon the original recipe by using soft ice cream instead of cool-whip."

Is that made while wearing handcuffs and a thong?

Otherwise, no, I don't want a copy.

Posted by: Tarzan | May 31, 2007 1:30 PM

vegas mom- I don't suppose you'd email me your recipes, would you? I have 3 great ones already typed up from a similar exchange. Let me know and I'll post me email address.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 1:31 PM

"Megan's Neighbor asked: "what's your favorite strategy for eliminating bickering from the meal?"

I prefer tasering them but then the county said we had to quit or be fined.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 1:32 PM

MDMother,

Yes, please, on the recipe.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:33 PM

Arg. Sorry about me pirate language.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 1:33 PM

Maryland Mother, "devil's spit"? Wha's that?

4 things that can make almost anything edible:
1. Ketchup
2. Mustard
3. Ranch Dressing
4. Salsa

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 31, 2007 1:34 PM

"Does anyone want a copy of my recipe for Banana Split Cake? I've improved upon the original recipe by using soft ice cream instead of cool-whip."

Is that made while wearing handcuffs and a thong?

Well, if you'll post the link to a video of yourself making it while wearing handcuffs & a thong, I'll happily watch it while eating some cake.

Otherwise, you're just being a tease.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 1:35 PM

Our kids get up between 6:30 and 7 on school days. On Friday and Saturday (or on vacation), they go to bed about 45 minutes after dinner whenever that is, typically 9:30 - 10. Each is fully rested.

Posted by: | May 31, 2007 12:33 PM


"I'm not trying to dog your parenting, but kids 3-6 need 11-12 hours of sleep, and 6-12 year olds need 10-11."

atb, Please reread. I was clear that they are only up that late on evenings when they do not have school the next day.

In addition, I've discussed this topic with our pediatrician at least once per year, and he approves my children's sleep schedules. Since I am living with them on a daily basis, and sleep is important to me as well, you will have to take my word that they get sufficient sleep. Otherwise, I'll be forced to post their grades and brag endlessly and truthfully about how well they are doing. Can we let this go now?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:37 PM

Sure atb, but probably won't get to it until the weekend.

One thing we started doing a few years ago was to always grill an extra chicken breast when we have them on the grill. Later that week, it would be "recycled" into a salad, along with a hard-boiled egg and lots of chopped veggies. This is a summer habit for us as it's nice to have a meal that doesn't require turning on the stove or oven in this part of the country!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 31, 2007 1:38 PM

For the younger set, naps can fill in some of that sleep time. At my kids daycare, they all take 2 hour naps. SInce most of the parents, like us, are getting home late, those kids sleep well at naptime!

I also would disagree that all kids need that much sleep. We learned with our adopted one year old that if we put her to bed before 9, she just wakes up at 4:30am! SHe does better going to bed later and napping during the day. That way she doesn't get cranky in the day, and she doesn't wake us up at an ungodly hour in the morning.

I think kids really need to have time with their parents, both parents, and if one or both parents are getting home at 7, the kids are simply not going to have enough parental time if they have to go to bed by 8:30. It would be nice if we could all have employers who let us go home at 4:30, and 10 minute commutes, but that isn't how things are nowadays.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 31, 2007 1:38 PM

My son needs 25hrs of sleep a day and my daughter the vampire needs only 15 minutes a night. God has a great sense of humor.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 1:39 PM

pATRICK

"I prefer tasering them but then the county said we had to quit or be fined."

Yes, the taser gun and/or valium have crossed my mind a few times. My kids don't know how close to the precipice they came.

Posted by: Booty Call | May 31, 2007 1:39 PM

Anon, yes, my lazy husband does know how to cook a few things. He's interested in learning more, so he's always around when I'm cooking. I am excited when I don't have to cook because I don't particulary like to cook when I'm rushed and hungry. And I always get home from work hungry. I would much rather get take-out. But to save money and eat healthier, I end up cooking most nights.

I hope to get to the point where hubby makes dinner 2 out of the 6 nights a week (with one take-out night).

Posted by: Meesh | May 31, 2007 1:40 PM

2 cups crushed graham crackers (or cheat)
3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, melted
2 eggs
one 16-ounce box powdered sugar
one 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and put in paper towels to wring more moisture out
2-4 bananas sliced to taste
one 12-ouce container of Cool Whip (or soft ice cream)

For crust, mix crushed graham crackers & 1 stick of butter. Line bottom & sides of a 13 x 9 inch pan with mixture (or cheat and buy it!). Mix eggs, 2 sticks of butter and the powdered sugar--beat until fluffy. Spread mixture on the crust. Add a layer of crushed pineapple (drained & wrung) and layer of sliced bananas. Cover with Cool Whip (softened ice cream). Sprinkle with nuts or graham crackers. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 1:41 PM

Vegas Mom, this is not directed at you.

I'm a carnivore, but I am perplexed by the endless need to put cubed chicken in everything in order to call it a meal. Truly, that ceasar's salad is a meal, and it will be just as yummy without the tasteless breast of chicken cubes distributed on the top of it. Plus, it will be cheaper. Or do the pro-cubed-white-meat chicken meal actually think it has a taste? or are you married to guys who think it's only a meal if it includes meat? I'm honestly curious and have no desire to go down the vegetarian - meat path.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 1:42 PM

Cultural Tidbit of the Day
(Astrometry Division)

Today, at 8:04 pm CST, the moon will once again be full. This marks the second full moon of the month (in the U.S.) There is a bit of discussion of the meaning of a blue moon, some say it is the third full moon in a quarter, others say the second full moon in the same month. Fred doesn't really care, he just thinks it is neat!

(For those of you who do care or want more details: http://skytonight.com/observing/home/Buzz_About_the_Blue_Moon.html)

P.S. Fred understands that FSF drank double his daily allotment of booze on a blue moon!

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 1:43 PM

"Otherwise, I'll be forced to post their grades and brag endlessly and truthfully about how well they are doing."

OH, MY GOD! Please no, no, no!

Posted by: Farter | May 31, 2007 1:43 PM

Pittypat, it's funny that I wrote that becaue I really do have two noise-making attention hogs at home. My dogs are in constant need of attention and love to play and bark during the most imporant parts of the TV show or movie.

I imagine that cats must be easier to silence with a tummy rub.

Posted by: Meesh | May 31, 2007 1:45 PM

"Otherwise, I'll be forced to post their grades and brag endlessly and truthfully about how well they are doing."

OH, MY GOD! Please no, no, no!

Posted by: Farter | May 31, 2007 01:43 PM

heh. heh. Yeah. Thought you'd like that idea.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:46 PM

Oh, I love the: my kid won't eat anything but folks...

My sister came to visit and we went to an asian noodle restaurant. No, no chicken nuggets. Everyone was fine and her youngest wouldn't eat. Why? Well, mom had chocolate pop tarts and fruit loops in her purse and he was well aware of it. And she pulls it out and gives it to him. And sighs: he just won't eat anythung but chicken nuggets...

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 1:49 PM

"Bear in mind that wireless companies are not required to connect to 911, and if you're out of your service area, duh, you can't make a 911 call. We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator. Sleep good now, y'all."

Chicken Little, Are you serious?

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 1:50 PM

Meech- My dog knows to stand directly in front of the sensor only when we point the remote at the TV. They're smart.

Whoever- When I qualify the statement to not be a insult to you, and you take it as a judgement anyway, the problem is yours, not mine. I'm not the only person in the world who recognizes kids in the country don't get enough sleep, and I'm sure part of it is the parents desire to see them after work. Calm down, for crying out loud.

Vegas mom- thanks! demandabanana at yahoo dot com

Meghan's Neighor- It's about the protein. It could just as easily be tofu, but chickens easier to handle on the grill. We use a lot of flank steak for the same reason.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 1:53 PM

atb:
School here starts at 8:20 for middle school. Noone sets an alarm. The 12 year old wakes up naturally at 7 - 7:10am. He's usually in bed by 9:30 to 10. He is out the door to walk to school at 7:40. High school starts at 8:50. Elementary starts at 7:50. Noone has to be up early. Even when they were in elementary, they didn't have to get up until 7--remember lifestyle choice to live in a place when they walk to school. Many small decisions lead to easier time/life/balance. I do feel sorry for people who buy into a location without considering how school's schedule.

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 1:53 PM

Vegas Mom, we do the same thing. The extra chicken goes into salads, wraps, and quesadillas. And here I thought that was my brilliant idea :)

MN, for me, a salad doesn't really fill me up unless it has fun stuff like chicken, especially because I don't use dressing. I can only eat so much lettuce. If I want to make salad my dinner, I have to add protein: egg or chicken or shrimp.

Posted by: Meesh | May 31, 2007 1:53 PM

DC lurker

"We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator. Sleep good now, y'all."

I sleep very well because I live in a safe neighborhood. Nothing to do with access to 911.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:55 PM

pATRICK- sorry for misreading your kids/TV posting earlier!

Asian noodle restaurants are family faves!

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 1:57 PM

That IS pathetic -- a BlackBerry on a camping trip. Ugh!

-pittypat

Unless the only other option was to stay home and work.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 1:57 PM

DC lurker

"We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator. Sleep good now, y'all."

Riddddiiiiccccuuulllloooousss! Lower income families use 911 far more than anyone else.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 1:58 PM

My older kid doesn't start school until 9am! His bus comes at 8:35. My kids get up at 7am for the most part.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 31, 2007 1:58 PM

I sleep very well because I live in a safe neighborhood. Nothing to do with access to 911.

Glad to hear that safe neighborhoods never have fires or medical emergencies. Let us all know where this paradise is so we can move there.

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 1:58 PM

Megan's Neighbor -- Well, we split that one chicken breast between the 3 of us, so the veggies usually outnumber the meat by a good bit. And it's marinated and grilled chicken, so it's usually not the tasteless cubed variety.

But to more directly answer your question, we just sort of slipped into it. We had an extra chicken breast one night, DH suggested saving it to put on a salad, it was really tasty, so we did it again. We do have "plain" salads in the summertime as well. DH is pretty good about eating meatless occasionally. It was his idea, shortly after we were married, to make a point of eating vegetarian 3-4 nights per week.

I have found that when I suggest this idea to friends, they perk up because they say DH won't eat dinner without meat. But I haven't had that problem in our house.

I remember making a really tasty meal one evening for out-of-town company. Stir fried onions and bell peppers of every color with lots of tomatoes served on pasta with pesto. It is so yummy and one of our favorites. Our guest looked at his plate, and said, "Isn't there any meat?" LOL, he was a good sport, but it never occured to me that meat was a requirement!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 31, 2007 1:59 PM

"Why do old people like to eat at 5? The older my parents get the sooner they want to eat. Very strange"

When I was a child, people generally didn't work past 5:00 and dinner for many was between 5:00 - 6:00. So, older people eating at 5:00 may just be following their lifetime meal patterns. And getting early-bird discounts, avoiding heartburn, settling down for evening TV earlier, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:00 PM

Chicken Little, Are you serious?

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 01:50 PM

DC, if you don't have a land line, you don't have reliable access to 911. It's as simple as that. Awareness is a good approach to making decisions in life.

You can keep waiting for better studies on global warming, too, if you like.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:02 PM

"Lower income families use 911 far more than anyone else."

Mostly for a free taxi ride.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:02 PM

"Glad to hear that safe neighborhoods never have fires or medical emergencies. Let us all know where this paradise is so we can move there."

Called 911 once in 25 years.
Don't want a-holes like you in the 'hood.
Find your own paradise, dude.

Posted by: Eddie Haskell | May 31, 2007 2:04 PM

I was responding to your statement "only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part)" able to call 911. Prove that no "lower class" have land lines - where are your numbers?

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 2:06 PM

"That IS pathetic -- a BlackBerry on a camping trip. Ugh!

-pittypat

Unless the only other option was to stay home and work."

It wasn't, he's just addicted. Sorry people the graveyard is full of "indispensable" people. Get a life

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 2:07 PM

"Glad to hear that safe neighborhoods never have fires or medical emergencies. Let us all know where this paradise is so we can move there."

Called 911 once in 25 years.
Don't want a-holes like you in the 'hood.
Find your own paradise, dude.

Posted by: Eddie Haskell | May 31, 2007 02:04 PM

You know, it's customary not to ratchet up the insulting language until we disagree about something earth-shattering like breast-feeding. No dogs to kick, or employees to demean, today, Eddie?

Posted by: Marvin | May 31, 2007 2:08 PM

The memory of that game they were watching will fade, but their daughters will remember their insensitivity until they die.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 11:34 AM

Unless they are basketball fans too. (some girls do like sports, you know)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:09 PM

Eddie Haskell - my paradise would be not living near someone a know-it-all like you.

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 2:09 PM

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
I can call 911.
Can you?

Posted by: Not Chris but another Regular | May 31, 2007 2:12 PM

"I knew several fathers who brought portable TVs to a father/daughter sweetheart dance to watch basketball during March Madness. I think this is pathetic also."

Father/daughter SWEETHEART dance? Sounds creepy. The TVs might be a good idea.

Posted by: Lumpy | May 31, 2007 2:16 PM

Prove that no "lower class" have land lines - where are your numbers?

Nice touch twisting my statement into the extreme: "no "lower class" have land lines, then asking me to defend your inaccurate statement.

According to statistics released in May 2007 by the CDC, cell-phone-only users make up:

• 54 percent of adults who live with unrelated roommates

• 29.1 percent of adults 25-29

• 26.4 percent of adult renters

• 25.2 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds

• 22.4 percent of adults living in poverty
54 percent of adults who live with unrelated roommates.

• 25.2 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.

• 29.1 percent of adults 25-29.

• 12.4 percent of adults 30-44.

• 6.1 percent of adults 45-65.

• 26.4 percent of adult renters.

• 22.4 percent of adults living in poverty.

• 15.3 percent of Hispanic adults.

• 10.8 percent of white adults.

• 12.8 percent of black adults.

It matters because time and connectivity matter in a medical or crime emergency. It also matters because the reliability and quality of wireless technology in the US lags behind the rest of the world. Think of how often you are out of service or voice quality is low. Now imagine describing your mother's condition as she lies on the floor, then losing your connection, re-dialing, and starting over.

Of course, no one can make the self-centered care about social or political trends or the vulnerabilities of children in cell-phone-only residences.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:19 PM

DC lurker

"Eddie Haskell - my paradise would be not living near someone a know-it-all like you."

Gotcha, Beaver.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:19 PM

Would you donate leave to someone who is having cosmetic surgery and doesn't have enough sick leave to cover her time off?

When I was asked to donate the other day and said "no" I was told I was cold and unfeeling (which may be true but is beside the point).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:20 PM

Worst cell-phone ettiquette: using it in the rest room.

Enter the stall, close the door, plop down on the seat.

From the next stall: "Yeah? Oh, hi, honey, it's not going too bad. Yeah, I ripped Bob in accounting a new one. What are you wearing right now?"

I *so* do not want to hear that.

Posted by: Spineless B@*()tard | May 31, 2007 2:21 PM

Oh, I love the: my kid won't eat anything but folks...

Yes, my niece on my husband's side will not eat, salad, veggies, or pasta. The girl lives on hot dogs and chicken nuggets. The parents eat out all the time so I geuss that is what she learned. I am all for not making kids eat food that they don't like, but come on, you have to draw a line someonewhere between not liking a few things and not liking anything. Plus, hot dogs on a regular basis are so bad for children.

Posted by: scarry | May 31, 2007 2:21 PM

dotted- It sounds like your schools are listening to the research that shows teenagers are naturally late risers. Our schools have the exact opposite schedule: the HS starts earliest, the ES starts latest. Very stupid, but hopefully it will eventually change. We're within walking distance to the EM and MS, but won't be here long enough to take advantage.

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 2:21 PM

"Unless they are basketball fans too. (some girls do like sports, you know)"

The girls were ages 7-12. The father/daughter dance was held once per year. The majority of the girls who like sports at that age like to participate. They were not interested in watching the game, they wanted to be Daddy's date.

Even sadder was the mothers who showed up halfway through the dance so the dads could go home to see the game. The organizers of the event wouldn't let them trade places since they didn't have their own ticket - HA!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:21 PM

"Of course, no one can make the self-centered care about social or political trends or the vulnerabilities of children in cell-phone-only residences"

Or the vulnerabilities of people who live in areas where the land-lines fizzle out frequently.

Posted by: Ward | May 31, 2007 2:22 PM

Your stats do not prove that MOST people with only a cell phone are lower class. Only one time is poverty mentioned (22.4%) which I don't consider most.
Unless you are stating that all the other groups (Hispanics, young adults, black adults, etc) are lower class.

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 2:25 PM

KLB SS- Um, I'm with you. LET THE COLD AND UNFEELING UNITE!!!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 2:25 PM

"I imagine that cats must be easier to silence with a tummy rub."

Meesh,

Yes. Or a game of string. Or FOOD.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 2:25 PM

KLB SS- Wait, did the person getting the surgery ask you? A friend of hers? The NERVE!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 2:27 PM


KLB SS MD

"When I was asked to donate the other day and said "no" I was told I was cold and unfeeling (which may be true but is beside the point)."

In my workplace, the comments would violate the VOLUNTARY nature of the program.

Posted by: Rudy | May 31, 2007 2:27 PM

"Would you donate leave to someone who is having cosmetic surgery and doesn't have enough sick leave to cover her time off?"

It depends on how hard it is to look at the person :).

Seriously, the decision to donate leave is personal, and I make that decision on a case-by-case basis. How rude have we become that people have so much to say regarding others' decisions?

Posted by: nona | May 31, 2007 2:28 PM

Your stats do not prove that MOST people with only a cell phone are lower class. Only one time is poverty mentioned (22.4%) which I don't consider most.
Unless you are stating that all the other groups (Hispanics, young adults, black adults, etc) are lower class.

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 02:25 PM
Statistically speaking most people has to be 51% or more of the only cell phone users are also poor.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 2:29 PM

I was asked by an aquaintance for her friend.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:30 PM

I understand that people may not be able to afford both a land line and a cell phone. But if you have to choose just one, is the cell phone really the cheaper option? I would have thought the opposite.

Posted by: no land line | May 31, 2007 2:31 PM

Re CTOTD,

There was a funny interview on NPR yesterday about the big blue moon controversy.

Apparently, a good many years ago, SKY AND TELESCOPE magazine put out the misinformation that the blue moon is the 2nd full moon in a month. Now, they've retracted that, with apologies to the FARMER'S ALMANAC, which says that it's actually the 4th full moon in any quarter.

Go figure.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 2:32 PM

On the leave question, if the surgery was for restorative cosmetic surgery, the answer is yes. Like if someone was in a horrible accident, I would certainly do it. Or some sort of birth defect. But to get something that will just make an ordinary person look good, probably not. But people should not comment on your reasons for donating or not donating. Usually that sort of asking for volunteers in done in an email. Not in person. People not wishing to donate, just don't respond.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 2:32 PM

Nona's comment, "It depends on how hard it is to look at the person :)" is the first entry in tomorrow's FQOTD

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 2:32 PM


Just because I got curious, and so no one else has to re-invent the wheel if they care to know. The FCC website is a great source of pertinent info.

In a nutshell, the FCC adopted rules requiring the deployment of Enhanced 911 (``E911'') by wireless carriers. Then it started granting waivers to those rules to everyone and his cousin. There are 444 hits on a database you can review that show the petitions for waiver, and waivers granted.

There's also a list of enforcement actions in which the FCC went after a carrier for violating the rules without a waiver. The list includes T-Mobile, Cingular, Nokia, AT&T, Qualcomm. Given the big dogs on that list, and the availability of a waiver process, I'd say that one or more of them decided that complying was more expensive than paying a fine if caught. Whenever publicly held entities start taking their chances on compliance with their regulating agencies' rules, you can be sure that many smaller service providers -- for whom compliance might be prohibitively expensive -- are reaching the same conclusion.

I've spent 5 minutes on this, not hours, and I'm not a telecom lawyer by trade. Nonetheless, it seems to me that it would be naive to conclude, based on the existence of a rule, compliance with which is being waived right and left, that your cell phone is a reliable tool with which to contact 911.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 2:33 PM

Nona,
I have no problem with cosmetic surgery at all. In fact, I think it is just great! I just feel that #1 - my decision to donate should not be co-erced and #2 - it is purely cosmetic and personally I feel that if you can afford that you should do it when you can afford the time off to do it. I have donated gladly many times in the past to people I know who have had serious medical conditions.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:33 PM

KLB--

I probably would not donate the leave. I can imagine doing it in a few circumstances. It's dicey, because it puts a person in a place of judging someone else so openly. I could see doing it if it was a "corrective" cosmetic surgery, perhaps a case where someone was changing a feature that was approaching disfiguring (a very large nose or ears that stick out). I doubt I would jump at donating leave for something more obviously a case of vanity (a face-lift, etc.)

Posted by: Marian | May 31, 2007 2:33 PM

"Would you donate leave to someone who is having cosmetic surgery and doesn't have enough sick leave to cover her time off?"

For Rosie O'Donnell - yes.

Posted by: Barbara | May 31, 2007 2:34 PM

McDonalds has some healthy food options. I like the ceaser and southwest salads.
My DD even put down the nuggets and
helped me with the cheese. If we do not
eat before dance class on Tuesday's we eat
on 8 pm and she is too tired to eat.

When DD was 2 1/2 I started work. I explained to her everyone had a job do to. Daddy needed to sell furniture, she needed to play, and I needed to work
with books as alibrararian. She said "Mommy are you are bookie?"

Now she is a 5 1/2 year who can identify a spine label and a title page. I am
challenged in the domestic arena so at
least she will enjoy my sense of trivia.

Posted by: shdd | May 31, 2007 2:35 PM

KLB -- I am cynical and world-weary, so obviously would not donate leave so someone could have cosmetic surgery!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 31, 2007 2:35 PM

Barbara - touche!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:36 PM

But BawBaw, Rosie has plenty of time off now!

Posted by: To Barbara | May 31, 2007 2:36 PM

Your stats do not prove that MOST people with only a cell phone are lower class. Only one time is poverty mentioned (22.4%) which I don't consider most.
Unless you are stating that all the other groups (Hispanics, young adults, black adults, etc) are lower class.

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 02:25 PM

That's not what I said, so there's no point in going back and forth with you over your misstatements of my words.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:36 PM

Hey, my mama tells me I am beautiful!

Posted by: Rosie | May 31, 2007 2:37 PM

I'm not saying that I consider big ears or nose disfiguring at all. I just meant that I would be more likely to donate leave if a person felt strongly about "correcting" something like that. I can imagine a case where a guy who was teased mercilessly about big ears as a child might want to have something done in adulthood. I'd be a good candidate for a nose job myself, but cosmetic surgery isn't something I can see myself doing.

Posted by: Marian | May 31, 2007 2:37 PM

You just don't get that your statement was inflammatory do you?

Posted by: DC lurker | May 31, 2007 2:38 PM

DC lurker, here's his or her statement:

"We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator."

"Fast becoming" is not the equivalent of most cell-only users are poor people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:38 PM

Your mama also tied a pork chop around your neck to get the dog to play with you!

Posted by: To Rosie | May 31, 2007 2:39 PM

"Even sadder was the mothers who showed up halfway through the dance so the dads could go home to see the game."

Haven't any of these geniuses heard of TIVO?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:40 PM

KLB - I was just making a joke. I am not against donated leave at all. Factors that go into my decision are:

Do I know the person?

Do I think the need is immediate or is it some sort of elective surgery where the person can delay missing work and save more of their own leave?

How much leave do I have? No comp time opportunities for me and DH has no flexibility so I'm responsible for dr appt and sick days for myself, 2 kids, and my mother. I won't deplete my leave for an unknown co-worker (large agency and lots of requests).

Is the person responsible with their own leave or do they abuse it? We may borrow up to 6 weeks of sick leave. Granted, it takes 2 years to pay back and reach a balance of zero, but I'm not going to give my leave to someone who doesn't first borrow what they can.

Posted by: Nona | May 31, 2007 2:41 PM

"Unless they are basketball fans too. (some girls do like sports, you know)"

The girls were ages 7-12. The father/daughter dance was held once per year. The majority of the girls who like sports at that age like to participate. They were not interested in watching the game, they wanted to be Daddy's date.

Even sadder was the mothers who showed up halfway through the dance so the dads could go home to see the game. The organizers of the event wouldn't let them trade places since they didn't have their own ticket - HA!"

This is what I was referring to. It was supposed to be a father daughter event. It is sad that these men would chose a game over a special event. In this age of tivo, it could have been recorded.
Girl 1: This is great, my dad and I are having so much fun. I feel good he took the time to be with me. Where's your dad? Girl 2: He's watching some basketball game on his portable tv, he promises we will do something after a couple of periods. He always says thingS like that. "
Girl 1: Sorry, well my dad is calling me to come dance with him, see you later.


Gee, thanks dad 2, your daughter really feel valued.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 2:42 PM

"Haven't any of these geniuses heard of TIVO?"

Might be hard for you to believe but not everyone has TIVO.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:44 PM

To anon: while iit appears that the earth is warming, there is little to no evidence that it is us humans that are doing it. We have so little data that how would we know? It is a little arrogant to think we could change the climate in such a short period of time.

That having been said, getting rid of pollution, fossil fuels, conserving, getting rid of cars, creating better places to live, being less dependent on foreign oil, all are great things IMHO

Posted by: atlmom | May 31, 2007 2:44 PM

"We are fast becoming a country in which only the upper middle class and upper class are (for the most part) guaranteed the ability to dial 911 in an emergency and have that call get through to a 911 operator."

But what that says statistically is that the upper middle class and above can afford both a land line and cell phone while the poor can only afford a cell phone. ie the poor do not have access to 911 dialing.
But the statistic that would show that is the % of poor people with only a cell phone compared to the % of poor people with either a land line or both or no phone whatsoever. It may be the case that 22% of cell phone users are poor. But that among all poor people, less then 50% have either no phone or cell phone only. I am not saying that isn't true. It may be true. But that isn't the right statistic that he is showing.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 2:44 PM

"Might be hard for you to believe but not everyone has TIVO."

Ok, then. Program the VCR.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:46 PM

KLB - no way. I've not worked in a leave donation system, but it's my understanding that you are approached by people with real financial needs on a constant basis. I'd hate to turn one of those down because I shared it with my colleague, Michael Jackson, for his umpteenth rhinoplasty.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 2:47 PM

Does anyone see the irony of poor people "only" being able to afford one phone and a cell phone at that. Only in America do we have debates about poor people affording a cell phone. Really poor people could not afford any phone.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 2:48 PM

Nona,
I don't know the person at all. If I did it would certainly be a consideration but like I said, it is purely cosmetic and not something that needs to be done for anything other than cosmetic reasons 100%.
Some of the people I have donated to in the past were in my department so I knew them by face only but I knew that they were ill.
What this person was doing is ill-informed as in order to receive donated leave it has to be approved thru the personnel office. I doubt this would be approved. They most likely don't know that. It should be a bank for emergencies.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:48 PM

On the question of donated leave, don't some companies allow enployees to contribute (voluntarily) to a leave bank? That way, human resources evaluates the requests, and it doesn't become personal.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 2:49 PM

Haven't any of these geniuses heard of TIVO?

Posted by: | May 31, 2007 02:40 PM

Gimmeabreak. If you're not into sports, you're not into sports. Fine. But, unlike Desparate Housewives and some of the other silly junk many of you watch, the NCAA tournament and the SuperBowl are events to be watched live.

Back to pATRICK's original point . . .

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 2:51 PM

pittypat,
This is the govt and we donate to a specific person. I prefer this as I would not want my donated leave to go to Rosie's tummy tuck.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 2:51 PM


Does anyone see the irony of poor people "only" being able to afford one phone and a cell phone at that. Only in America do we have debates about poor people affording a cell phone. Really poor people could not afford any phone.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 02:48 PM
I have to admit that got me laughing. On a serious note, I guess you would also have to look at the % of non poor people with only cell phones versus % of non poor people with both or none. Although I don't there are non poor people, besides the Amish, who don't have at least a land line. It may be the case that if the middle class give up land lines at equal rates to the poor giving up land lines, the economic disparity is not really a factor to being able to access 911 on any given day. Of course the non poor can easily do something to change that if they want to.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 2:52 PM

On the question of donated leave, don't some companies allow enployees to contribute (voluntarily) to a leave bank? That way, human resources evaluates the requests, and it doesn't become personal.

Posted by: pittypat

That's how the gov't handles it. You only see the request after they've determined it has merit. IF you donate leave, you can do it anonymously, or you can leave your name.

Posted by: N'other fed | May 31, 2007 2:53 PM

Yes dogs and cats are smart, but easy to manage, most are food motivated (hm....come to think of it, so am I, in lots of ways!)

Banana cake...........maryland mother, you shouldn't have!

Posted by: NW vet | May 31, 2007 2:53 PM

I think that is true in some cases pittypat, but if I was going to give up some of my time with my family for another person; I would want it to be personal. I am not saying that I want to know every detail of what is wrong, but if it is between my friend and a co-worker I don't know, you can bet I want to give it to my friend.

My company doesn't have it yet, but they are working on it. I know that when I was out of leave during my first pregnancy a few of my friends wanted to donate leave for me but the company wouldn't allow them to.

Posted by: scarry | May 31, 2007 2:54 PM

Hi NW Vet,

I'm actually looking at the recipe and thinking about what liqueur to add to make it an "adults only" Banana Split Cake. I can lock the children out of the house until they agree to clean their rooms to MY standards.

Come to the dark side, I have cookies! Or at least some killer cake recipes.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 31, 2007 2:56 PM

"That's how the gov't handles it. You only see the request after they've determined it has merit. IF you donate leave, you can do it anonymously, or you can leave your name."

And it's a good deal for the Feds. The higher paid Feds tend to donate to the lower paid Feds.

Posted by: Yankee Doodle Dandy | May 31, 2007 2:58 PM

Some old men are sitting around complaining about their bathroom habits.

"I just can't pee anymore! It takes a lot of work!" says the first man

"I pee every morning at 8 am." says the second man

"I am constipated, I cannot do No. 2." says another man

"I poop every morning at 9 am." says the second man

"Well, what is your problem then?" asks another

The second man replies, "I don't get out of bed until 10!"

Posted by: not much of a joke but matches the level of the current discussion | May 31, 2007 2:59 PM

foamgnome, we go to war with the statistics we have, not with the research we wish someone had done.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 2:59 PM

Howl.....and here I am, trying to keep my figure because the pool just opened over the weekend!

Cookies.....banana split cake.....mmm!

Whoops, someone's calling....

Posted by: NW vet | May 31, 2007 2:59 PM

"Gimmeabreak. If you're not into sports, you're not into sports. Fine. But, unlike Desparate Housewives and some of the other silly junk many of you watch, the NCAA tournament and the SuperBowl are events to be watched live. "

MN, gotta take you to task. Any dad who made that type of commitment on ncaa finals weekend or the superbowl is an idiot. Some men are such sports junkies it could be the clippers vs. some other spare team.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 3:00 PM

If you're not into Desperate Housewives, you're not into Desperate Housewives. But calling it silly junk when you watch pointless basketball and football just shows how condescending to others your really are.

Posted by: to Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 3:00 PM

foamgnome, we go to war with the statistics we have, not with the research we wish someone had done.

Posted by: | May 31, 2007 02:59 PM

Sad but true.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 31, 2007 3:00 PM

"This is the govt and we donate to a specific person. I prefer this as I would not want my donated leave to go to Rosie's tummy tuck."

I agree, KLB. But I imagine that, in companies where requests have to be evaluated for merit by some part of the admin, not much elective cosmetic surgery is going to get approved. I would think that these kinds of banks are for people who have emergencies but not enough leave time.

Personally, I would never contribute to someone getting cosmetic surgery, unless it was reconstructive or to help them heal.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 3:01 PM

The leave donation has nothing to do with higher paid employees. It is all about how much time you have saved as sick leave accrues endlessly.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 3:02 PM

pATRICK

"Any dad who made that type of commitment on ncaa finals weekend or the superbowl is an idiot"

As well as the chowder heads who scheduled the event.

Posted by: Bluto | May 31, 2007 3:02 PM

"pATRICK

"Any dad who made that type of commitment on ncaa finals weekend or the superbowl is an idiot"

As well as the chowder heads who scheduled the event."

AGREED!!!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 3:04 PM

"The higher paid Feds tend to donate to the lower paid Feds."

The higher paid Feds tend to be the ones who can earn compensatory time in addition to leave time. They are also the ones who can stretch lunchtime without using extra leave and who can occasionally leave early without filling out a leave slip.

I worked in one department where the employees were held to a strict lunchtime. Switched to another department with a higher grade structure where people regularly took 45 minutes longer for lunch. People in that department tended to have more leave because they could run errands and make appointments during their extended lunch period. Hard to believe it's the same agency.

Posted by: anon for this | May 31, 2007 3:05 PM

We've been discussing the "family dinner" topic recently b/c it influences the evening schedule in our house. The kids and I eat at 6, and my husband tries to get home as close to 6 as possible (we all eat the same thing; DH often utilizes the microwave). If he gets home closer to 7 or 7:30, the kids will have dessert while he has dinner. But since dinner is rarely finished before 7:30 (our kids are also SLOOOOOOOOOW eaters), a touch of playtime, bath, and the bedtime routine gets them into bed around 8:30/9. This works for us, but it is why our 4 1/2 year old still naps a few times a week and why naps for the 2 1/2 year old are non-negotiable. Several of our friends' kids go to bed at 7. But in our house that would mean feeding the kids at 4:30/5 and we'd lose our family time in the evening. (Translation, kids and dad would only see each other during the morning rush.)

We still have a year and a half before our older son starts kindergarten (full day here), and I guess we'll see how the schedule adapts at that time.

Oh, we also don't plan afternoon activities so everyone can nap/have quiet time before dinner. So, I guess "family dinner" influences the evening schedule and the afternoons, too!

How do others with non-napping preschoolers and kindergarteners handle this issue?

Posted by: Falls Church Mom | May 31, 2007 3:05 PM

"To anon: while iit appears that the earth is warming, there is little to no evidence that it is us humans that are doing it."

Altmom, I beg to differ on this, there is evidence that human activities are largely to blame for global warming/ climate change.

Posted by: MV | May 31, 2007 3:06 PM

"I know that when I was out of leave during my first pregnancy a few of my friends wanted to donate leave for me but the company wouldn't allow them to."

Possibly the company didn't want to permit it because it wouldn't be available to everyone. If friends donate only to friends, who's going to help the people who don't have friends in the workplace?

It could turn into a situation where the popular employees get the help but no one else does.

If it's going to be equitable, it would have to be administered based on specific guidelines that apply to everyone.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 3:06 PM

KLB SS MD

"The leave donation has nothing to do with higher paid employees. It is all about how much time you have saved as sick leave accrues endlessly. "

In my Fed office, only Annual Leave may be donated. At least one study has shown that the higher paid Feds tend to donate to the lower paid Feds.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:06 PM

"As well as the chowder heads who scheduled the event."

Most companies down in the South know not to schedule work on certain days such as the Bama/Auburn game day. (or the opening of hunting season!)

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 3:09 PM

"I worked in one department where the employees were held to a strict lunchtime. Switched to another department with a higher grade structure where people regularly took 45 minutes longer for lunch. People in that department tended to have more leave because they could run errands and make appointments during their extended lunch period"

Bingo!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:10 PM

"As well as the chowder heads who scheduled the event."

Basketball isn't even a blip on my radar.

Posted by: chowder head | May 31, 2007 3:13 PM

pittypat, I don't think that would happen where I work. I work with a bunch of do-gooders, but if it did, you know life is not fair and to be honest, I always think there is a reason why people don't have friends or at the very least work relationships.

I am not sure how they are going to handle the new policy.

Posted by: scarry | May 31, 2007 3:15 PM

When I was a kid, I was always grateful that my dad would give up his Super Bowl Sunday to volunteer to run a spotlight for our skating club end-of-season recital. That really made me feel like my event was valuable to him. Thanks, Dad.

For the record, there were other dads there too, and I remember there was some grumbling. Moms were around to stage-manage and assist with costume changes, but I don't remember grumbling from them(not about missing the Super Bowl, anyway). :)

Posted by: BxNY | May 31, 2007 3:15 PM

If you're not into Desperate Housewives, you're not into Desperate Housewives. But calling it silly junk when you watch pointless basketball and football just shows how condescending to others your really are.

Posted by: to Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 03:00 PM

If that's your opinion, you could base it on something a bit more, well, supportive of your argument.

Even here, I'm blessed to generally be surrounded by adults who can call each other's favorite passtimes silly without anyone getting their panties in a wad. By the way, grab your vapors, in cased you missed it before, I think minivan owners should be embarrassed to drive them. If you consider that anyone who disagrees with your taste -- albeit strongly - is being condescending, I'm sorry you paint with such a broad brush. Hey, Fred, I agree with pittypat that F. Scott Fitzgerald is a low-talent, lucky guy. Can we still be virtual friends?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 3:22 PM

CCD classes were held on Sunday afternoons. Children missing CCD for sports, scouts, etc, was considered an unacceptable reason for missing CCD. Parents who questioned this were asked "Where are your priorities?"

When the Ravens were in the Superbowl, CCD classes were cancelled. Hmmmmm????

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:22 PM

What is CCD?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:24 PM

What is CCD?

Catholic Sunday school.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:25 PM

Catholic Sunday school.

Huh? I thought they were classes to prepare you for confirmation.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:29 PM

Just skimming through so pardon if I come off sounding a bit scattered.

Father daughter dance: I'm thinking of doing one for a fundraiser for charity. Any ideas on activities other than dancing to recorded music, refreshments, hula hoop contest, and special guest appearance by Elvis impersonator? Let me hear some experiences, and it will not be held during March madness. No Moms allowed.

Devil's Spit is a barbeque sauce offered at Famous Dave's restaurants. They also have it in packets for carry out orders.

911 callers -- I worked for a time at Central Communications at Montgomery County, MD police department. The County is diverse. Lots of rich white folks in the Potomac area, Hispanics in Takoma Park, mix of everything in Silver Spring, Rockville, and Wheaton. This was before cell phones were as thick as fleas on a dog. We only occasionally got calls from the 'Beltway Posse' thinking they were such hot shots reporting on backed up traffic via cell phone. Surprise -- we couldn't trace those because the ID screen would give the caller's home address. If he/she was out roaming around and passed out before he/she could give location, we couldn't find him/her. We got calls from Potomac for the police to come out and shoot a fox who was hanging out in the woods (its natural habitat). The caller was afraid of it. Then a call from a pea=brained homeowner who bought next to a county park and wanted the people walking on 'his' hiker-biker trail arrested for trespassing. Not to mention the spooked old lady in a nursing home who called to say she heard voices in the hallway. We got our fair share of kids playing with phones who would scream, giggle, then hang up. The shift supervisor would call the number back and tell the parents to keep better control of their kids.

Now back on topic. Our father worked nights, so the only time we saw him was at dinner time. He'd sleep during the day while we were in school, then get up, have dinner with us and go to work. It was our family time. We'd talk about school, other kids in school, what we wanted to do on the weekend, listen to the news on the radio. It was mandatory that we all be present and accounted for at the table. It's a shame more families don't have this daily ritual.

My sister's family had the same tradition while her daugher was growing up. Once they were out doing errands and stopped for a meal at a fast food place. When they finally got home, the daugher went to the kitchen and sat at the table and asked when they were going to have dinner. My sister explained that they already ate at the restaurant. In the child's mind, it wasn't dinner if they didn't eat it at home.

Now back to work.

Posted by: Surfin' & Lurkin' (BORED) | May 31, 2007 3:32 PM

Gee, MN, first you insult the writing of FSF and then you dump on my minivan. I am not so sure we can be friends.

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 3:32 PM

'"The leave donation has nothing to do with higher paid employees. It is all about how much time you have saved as sick leave accrues endlessly. "

In my Fed office, only Annual Leave may be donated. At least one study has shown that the higher paid Feds tend to donate to the lower paid Feds.'

Mine too. But as I mentioned, HR evaluates the merit of the claim and if it passes muster, we receive an e-mail about so-and-so needing more leave due to (brief outline of the circumstance) and qualified for the VTLB if anyone is interested in donating.

In my agency, you start off earning 4 hours of leave a pay period for the first couple of years (I forget how many). Then you earn 6 hours for a few years. After 15 years on the job (or dole, depending on how you view things) you earn 8 hours of annual leave. You earn the same amount of sick leave throughout--it never goes up.

My understanding & experience is that the longer you've been around, the more leave you earn and are able to donate. One hopes that after 15 years you are in a higher paid bracket than you were when you started. But even if you aren't, you may be in a position to donate leave to others. Remember, we have use-or-lose annual leave. At least I do--I can't carry more than 240 hours of annual leave from one year to the next.

Yes, I've donated leave before; I'll be doing it again too.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:34 PM

Does Catholic Sunday school have a time conflict with the Superbowl?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:36 PM

(or the opening of hunting season!)

Sounds like Pennsylvania when deer season opens. It's an unofficially acknowledged day off for a great number of kids too. It's pretty interesting to go to school and it's so quiet!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:37 PM

Why on earth don't people take vacations? Annual leave is good for you!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 3:39 PM

"Unless they are basketball fans too. (some girls do like sports, you know)"

The girls were ages 7-12. The father/daughter dance was held once per year. The majority of the girls who like sports at that age like to participate. They were not interested in watching the game, they wanted to be Daddy's date.

Even sadder was the mothers who showed up halfway through the dance so the dads could go home to see the game. The organizers of the event wouldn't let them trade places since they didn't have their own ticket - HA!"

This is what I was referring to. It was supposed to be a father daughter event. It is sad that these men would chose a game over a special event. In this age of tivo, it could have been recorded.
Girl 1: This is great, my dad and I are having so much fun. I feel good he took the time to be with me. Where's your dad? Girl 2: He's watching some basketball game on his portable tv, he promises we will do something after a couple of periods. He always says thingS like that. "
Girl 1: Sorry, well my dad is calling me to come dance with him, see you later.


Gee, thanks dad 2, your daughter really feel valued.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 02:42 PM

Somehow, I got this mixed up with the camping trip from another post. Bringing a TV to dance is way wrong.

Bringing it on a camping trip where there is a lot more time to be spent together and the TV could be in the backround around the campfire, not so bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:39 PM

Let's not talk about hunting, please.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:41 PM

"Does Catholic Sunday school have a time conflict with the Superbowl?"

There were classes at 4:00 and 5:30.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:41 PM

And then there was the boy/girl cotillion endofseason dance scheduled at the same time as the Duke/UNC basketball game. Let's just say cotillion was rescheduled.

My personal favorite minister always ended church a bit early on those Sundays where the Steelers played at 1pm (whether home or away).

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 3:44 PM

"One hopes that after 15 years you are in a higher paid bracket than you were when you started. But even if you aren't, you may be in a position to donate leave to others"

The Feds have a number of "old timers" near or at the top of their pay grades. When Suzi, who makes $34.00 an hour, donates to Doozie, who makes $24.00 an hour, the gov't. makes out.

Posted by: Doozie | May 31, 2007 3:45 PM

Altmom, I beg to differ on this, there is evidence that human activities are largely to blame for global warming/ climate change.

Posted by: MV | May 31, 2007 03:06 PM

No, there isn't. Anybody with a scientific mind can see that the "evidence" of such is 75% political and 25% real.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:46 PM

Some of us don't take long vacations in case we need to use our annual leave for other reasons. Or we use it here and there (to coincide with the kids days off from school). But remember, if you do manage to have 240 hours total at the end of the year, the entire next year's annual leave is above & beyond 240. In my case, that's 26 days off. I'm not likely to take 26 days off. So I can donate some of that annual leave that would otherwise go *poof* into the atmosphere. I'd rather donate it to someone who really needs it than hand it back.

Posted by: N'other fed, again | May 31, 2007 3:47 PM

When I was a kid, I was always grateful that my dad would give up his Super Bowl Sunday to volunteer to run a spotlight for our skating club end-of-season recital. That really made me feel like my event was valuable to him. Thanks, Dad.

For the record, there were other dads there too, and I remember there was some grumbling. Moms were around to stage-manage and assist with costume changes, but I don't remember grumbling from them(not about missing the Super Bowl, anyway). :)

Posted by: BxNY | May 31, 2007 03:15 PM

What kind of idiot schedules anything during the Super Bowl?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:49 PM

"Let me hear some experiences, and it will not be held during March madness. No Moms allowed."

Limbo is popular.

Be careful with the No Moms rule. In my experience, the children were asked to bring Dad or another adult male (uncle, grandpa) as their escort. There were a very few girls whose Dads were not available (dead, divorced, out of town), and there was no other male family member. The moms were allowed to come in those cases. There were NO moms if the daughter had a male escort. Sell tickets in advance, but not at the door. There were a few moms who wanted to be there and made a fuss ahead of time - we let a few in by giving them a job - usually the dirtiest - cleanup, mopping, bathroom cleaning. The committee sponsoring the event handled ticket taking to handle potential gate crashers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:52 PM

What kind of idiot schedules anything during the Super Bowl?

The same ones who schedule things during the finals of the World Cup!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:52 PM

World Cup!

Posted by: | May 31, 2007 03:52 PM

What is that? ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 3:54 PM

Why on earth don't people take vacations? Annual leave is good for you!

Posted by: atb | May 31, 2007 03:39 PM

It is, but there are barriers in various workplaces. Some supervisors don't like to approve vacation, and make the approval process such miserty that learned helplessness occurs. They roll their eyes, make you work like a dog before and after and whine the entire time about how inconvenient your vacation was. There's never a good time in some businesses for an on-site manager to be out of town.

We all manage stress differently. For my husband, taking a vacation is more stressful than not taking it because the above describes his boss. When I worked in the restaurant business, we could only take a vacation if we could cover our shifts. There wasn't anyone else available to cover one of those shifts because it was a small staff and others were taking classes or had family commitments they weren't willing to cede (not saying they should have). I took one vacation in three years.

I agree with you that vacations are good for the soul, but they're not drama-free for some folks.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 4:00 PM

aw, Fred *sniff*. Do you mean it?

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 4:03 PM

Father/Daughter event:
just had one with the Brownies, and one game that was a big hit was a 'newlywed style' game. Questions like, who is your dad/DD's best friend?, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.... They both got a kick out of that.

Posted by: prarie dog | May 31, 2007 4:04 PM

"In my case, that's 26 days off. I'm not likely to take 26 days off."

Some Feds also get Personal Leave days, the day after Thanksgiving off, Good Friday off, Election Day off, Mardi Gras off, Cesar Chavez Day off, partial skeletal days off, etc. It can add up.

Posted by: Scooby | May 31, 2007 4:04 PM

"When Suzi, who makes $34.00 an hour, donates to Doozie, who makes $24.00 an hour, the gov't. makes out."

The gov't made out even more before instituting voluntary leave donation program. Suzi, who makes $34.00 an hour, loses her unused leave at the end of the yar. the gov't pays 0.

There are generally two types of leave donation. The first is people responding to a specific request for a specific person. The second is people donating to a leave bank, usually at the end of the year when they have use or lose leave they don't plan to use.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:08 PM

"Be careful with the No Moms rule. In my experience, the children were asked to bring Dad or another adult male (uncle, grandpa) as their escort. There were a very few girls whose Dads were not available (dead, divorced, out of town), and there was no other male family member. The moms were allowed to come in those cases. There were NO moms if the daughter had a male escort."

Speaking of insensitivity daughters will remember 'til the day they die, please, please take the advice given above. Don't risk making those without dads and male relatives feel any more excluded from life than they do already. Our junior high had one of these events - no moms were allowed, and my friend had no male relatives (dad was long gone). I don't know if this hurt ever healed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:11 PM

"Some Feds also get Personal Leave days, the day after Thanksgiving off, Good Friday off, Election Day off, Mardi Gras off, Cesar Chavez Day off, partial skeletal days off, etc. It can add up."

Which Feds get this? I'm obviously in the wrong agency.

Posted by: to scooby | May 31, 2007 4:13 PM

"Does Catholic Sunday school have a time conflict with the Superbowl?"

There were classes at 4:00 and 5:30."

Doesn't matter, even GOD watches the Superbowl (especially if the Cowboys are in it) ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 4:14 PM

Father-daughter dance -- Advertise in local newspapers and flyers at all the schools. Since it's a charity fundraiser, I could make the really persistant Moms volunteer to sell refreshments, set up the tables, clean up afterward, do the grunt work. Hire a DJ to play records, refreshments would be cookies and milk, ice cream bars, cupcakes (store bought), coffee or tea for adults. Have a photographer take photos of the couples like prom pictures to sell. Have a hula hoop contest for the girls, and maybe an air guitar contest for dads. We have a local Elvis impersonator who is really quite good.

Any suggested price for tickets? Would $20 per couple (1 dad, 1 daughter) be too much, with $10 for each additional daughter? I do realize some Dads may be unavailable; any reasonable facsimle could substitute, like an uncle, stepfather, or a grandfather.

Posted by: Surfing & Lurkin | May 31, 2007 4:16 PM

pATRICK -
Your cowboys affiliation taints my regard... :( (hee hee)

Hail to the Redskins!

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 4:20 PM

"Does Catholic Sunday school have a time conflict with the Superbowl?"

There were classes at 4:00 and 5:30."

Doesn't matter, even GOD watches the Superbowl (especially if the Cowboys are in it) ;)

cute, pATRICK.

The reason I had a problem was that the kids didn't have to go on superbowl sunday, but if they missed because their own sports team was having a game or tournament, or scouts were going camping, it was considered an absence and not putting religion first over personal interests. Four absences in the year meant that the children had to repeat the grade, regardless of how well they were doing.

I just hated that Superbowl was a pass, when they didn't even stay up to watch the game (school on Monday am), but missing CCD for their own tournaments was not a free pass.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:21 PM

Oh, pATRICK. On behalf of dotted, and much as it offends me to acknowledge it, I'm confident that GOD watches UNC basketball, too.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 4:21 PM

Another option for fatherless girls who might not want to be the only one with a mom - share a dad with a friend. If a dad can escort 2 daughters, it seems that it would be OK for a dad to escort a daughter and her friend. He just needs to be sure to dance with both.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:23 PM

MN -
did you hear my guffaw over there in Cary? Or is it North Raleigh? I'm overwhelmed with data right now.

Posted by: dotted | May 31, 2007 4:24 PM

Are you all as creeped out as I am by these Father/Daughter Purity Balls?

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 4:28 PM

If we Feds get the day off after Thanksgiving we have to take leave - it isn't free. Any day off that isn't an official federal holiday is leave (unless the govt is closed for snow).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:30 PM

dotted,

*high five*

You paid me back in advance with a worthy Hail to the Redskins! I didn't know your football heart was in the right place until today.

It's downtown Raleigh, btw.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 4:32 PM

MN,
I saw a guy on tv who is either the founder or higher up of the Purity Balls. He was there with his daughters and it made me feel a bit oogy.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:38 PM

"Are you all as creeped out as I am by these Father/Daughter Purity Balls?"

What is it that creeps you out?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:38 PM


KLB SS MD

"If we Feds get the day off after Thanksgiving we have to take leave - it isn't free. Any day off that isn't an official federal holiday is leave (unless the govt is closed for snow)."

Depends where you work. Agency heads have discretion to officially close offices and grant Administrative Leave for a variety of reasons.

Keep in mind that there are 3 branches.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:38 PM

MN: Yes those 'purity balls' are weird. This F-D dance would include kids big enough to walk to whatever age they aren't embarrassed to be seen with a parent. Probably at that age they haven't a clue what that purity rubbish is all about anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:40 PM

I honestly didn't know they could do that - I guess I work for the wrong one then 'cuz we always have to take leave.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:40 PM

What is a Purity Ball?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:42 PM

MN, I am confused, is this purity part like a virginity pledge kind of thing?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 4:43 PM

"What is it that creeps you out?"

Ick-- the concept of a father focussing so much on his daughter's sex life or lack thereof-- ick, ick, ick. Father's shouldn't make their daughter's feel like their self-worth should be dependant on an intact hymen.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 31, 2007 4:43 PM

Purity Balls are weird & creepy. Do they have them for Moms & Sons?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:43 PM

Jes S., that is it exactly. While it is important for daughters to have "the talks" with parents I agree that focusing on that one thing between a father and daughter is uncomfortable.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:46 PM

sorry for all my typos.

Posted by: jen S. | May 31, 2007 4:46 PM

"Ick-- the concept of a father focussing so much on his daughter's sex life or lack thereof-- ick, ick, ick. Father's shouldn't make their daughter's feel like their self-worth should be dependant on an intact hymen."

EEEEEEKKKKKKKK! I would so be out of there if that is what they are about. I don't even like wiping my little girl's behind much less go to a "save the hymen" ball.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 31, 2007 4:47 PM

Jen S., apologizing for typos will not appease the grammar police :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:50 PM

"Jen S., apologizing for typos will not appease the grammar police :-)"

It might appease the Spelling Police.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:53 PM

My bad - I forgot they are two separate entities. No wonder the Spelling Police keep calling for a donation. I thought the one I sent to the Grammer Police covered both.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 4:54 PM

Yes, what's the fixation on the daughter's hymen, anyway? A little to close to incest if you ask me. Are they that squirelly about their sons' virginity?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 4:56 PM

"The beagle thinks that her dinner is pretty sacred, too, but in a different way."

Lizzie - we have three, I can COMPLETELY relate...love this comment

Posted by: california | May 31, 2007 4:56 PM

"My bad - I forgot they are two separate entities. No wonder the Spelling Police keep calling for a donation. I thought the one I sent to the Grammer Police covered both."

The donation was diverted to the God Squad due to a clerical error.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:00 PM

Purity Balls are a growing industry in which fathers and daughters dress up and attend a cotillion-like party. Some of the girls are pretty young, e.g., 5 - 10. Google Father/Daughter Purity Ball and you'll get hits for these events nationwide. At present, and with very little knowledge about them, they creep me out because the public nature of the event ratchets up the pressure on the girl even more than it is when the girl merely knows daddy expects her to stay a virgin.

Dads read the following pledge:

I, [daughter's name]'s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.

I"m not against abstinence programs, per se. I am having some trouble with the public nature of this "commitment". I tend to think it sets up a situation where a girl will be highly sensitized to how important her virginity is to her father, and, as a result will be loathe to disappoint him by disclosing that she is sexually active and needs birth control counseling, and second, will not tell either parent if she becomes pregnant.

I suspect that the thinking behind staging these events is that a public statement, like a public confession of one's faith in Jesus, is more likely to be effective over the long haul than a promise to yourself on your front porch. Nonetheless, for me, the thought of spending an evening with my dad, as a pre-teen, focused on anything about my sex life makes me cringe. I'd be curious to hear the comments of anyone who has attended one of these and think positively of them.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 5:02 PM

So you are saying I will get my reward in heaven because the Police won't help me?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 5:02 PM

KLB,

Every little thing you do is magic.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:04 PM

MN, You have some really good points. Beats my oogy comment all to h...I think the heat got to me today (no A/C at work).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 5:05 PM

MN

"I suspect that the thinking behind staging these events is that a public statement, like a public confession of one's faith in Jesus, is more likely to be effective over the long haul than a promise to yourself on your front porch."

Is there any evidence to support this view?

Posted by: Top Cat | May 31, 2007 5:05 PM

From the website of Purity Ball in Colorado:
"The ball is the brainchild of Randy and Lisa Wilson, a Colorado Springs couple who founded Generations of Light Ministry, which focuses on building healthy father-daughter relationships. The ball is a celebration of love between fathers and daughters and a chance for the girls to commit to abstinence. "What we wanted to do was create an event where they could walk into everything that their femininity is about, their beauty, their dress, their makeup and give them a place to dwell on all of that...

There is no data on whether girls who attend purity balls remain abstinent until marriage; chances are many do, given the tight-knit communities they live in. But there is striking evidence that more than half of teens who take virginity pledges--at, say, rallies or events--go on to have sex within three years, according to findings of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the most comprehensive survey of teens ever taken. And 88 percent of the pledgers surveyed end up having sex before marriage. "No pledge can counter the fact that teenagers are, in fact, sexual beings postpuberty," notes Cary Backenger, a clinical psychotherapist in Appleton, Wisconsin, who works with teens, including several who have taken virginity pledges. "You can't turn that off."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 5:18 PM

The "High Priest" language for the Purity Ball is weird and creepy.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:20 PM

Top Cat,

If you believe, there are a couple thousand years of anecdotal evidence. You may or may not find that persuasive.

That aside, if you think about it, there is something embarrassing about making and breaking a public commitment than a private one. If, for example, you stood up in front of all your friends and committed that you were never going to take a drink again, your friends would raise an eyebrow if they say you at the watering hole the next day. So, back to the topic at end, you're adding public shame to the private shame such a young woman might feel were she to later become sexually active, and her dad might feel for raising a young lady who gives up her virginity before marriage.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 5:23 PM

A bit more from the article on the website:
"Disturbingly, the adolescent health study also found that STD rates were significantly higher in communities with a high proportion of pledgers. "Pledgers are less likely than nonpledgers to use condoms, so if they do have sex it is less safe," says Peter Bearman, Ph.D., a Columbia University sociologist who helped design the study. For these teens, he believes, it's a mind game: If you have condoms, you were planning to have sex. If you don't, sex wasn't premeditated, which makes it more OK. The study also found that even pledgers who remained virgins were highly likely to have oral and anal sex--risky behavior given that most probably didn't use condoms to cut their risk."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 31, 2007 5:24 PM

MN

"That aside, if you think about it, there is something embarrassing about making and breaking a public commitment than a private one"

Such as divorce?

Posted by: Top Cat | May 31, 2007 5:25 PM

Top Cat,

I'd rather not go there, at the risk of inadvertently offending anyone who has gone through the hell of divorce.

Here's my preferred analogy. The number 1 draft pick in the NFL feels a whole lot more shame if his performance stinks than the guy who isn't drafted, makes the team during training camp, and turns out to be a non-performer.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 5:32 PM

Anal sex in high school!!!! I was still thinking about 2nd and 3rd base. That is horrifying!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:33 PM

"...to be honest, I always think there is a reason why people don't have friends or at the very least work relationships."

scarry,

That's so sad.

You know, a lot of people don't make friends easily, are shy, or just don't really know how to interact socially.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 5:36 PM

"Are you all as creeped out as I am by these Father/Daughter Purity Balls?"

Given the number of kids growing up without dads in the picture, it seems kind of cruel to hold an event that excludes so many girls.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:42 PM

"Anal sex in high school!!!! "

Boy, did my husband miss the boat!

Posted by: Lulu | May 31, 2007 5:42 PM

About the purity balls -
I also find them kind of creepy. It does seem inappropriate to have a father so fixated on guarding his daughter's virginity. Secondly, I think that if it is so important to make a public vow of abstinence, that the mother should be in the picture as well. The idea that the father is the leader in this endeavor, rather than the parents, just seems wrong to me. It's as if the daughter is saying that she belongs to her father as a virgin up until the time she is married, when she will belong to her husband. The gender dynamics here make me uncomfortable.

Posted by: Emily | May 31, 2007 5:42 PM

"Are they that squirelly about their sons' virginity?"

I think they want to make sure it's dispensed with at the earliest opportunity...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:46 PM

"I, [daughter's name]'s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity."

This sounds like something the Taliban would enforce.

Posted by: pittypat | May 31, 2007 5:49 PM

The emphasis on maintaining your virginity until marriage is always gender-neutral, but the whole virginity ring, purity ball business is strictly about daughters.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 5:53 PM

OT - A few days ago, my 7 year old son asked me how the baby got in my tummy. I basically evaded because it was morning and we were rushing to get to school, but I am thinking that I am going to have to give him an answer soon. Does anyone out there have any recommendations for any age appropriate books about the birds and the bees?

Posted by: Emily | May 31, 2007 5:57 PM

Emily, well said.

The last statistic I read was that girls who participate in pledges or purity balls delay sexual activity by an average of 18 months. However, they don't wait until marriage, so even the 18-month delay is not a success if one's moral standard is to wait until marriage.

There's an interesting book review in Slate on a book about how religious beliefs do and don't influence sexual behavior.

http://www.slate.com/id/2167293/fr/flyout

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 6:01 PM

Emily -- Afraid I don't have a book recommendation, but I have heard from many parents to keep answers to questions like this simple and not to get too detailed. The kids don't usually want the details and you could get into a TMI situation.

Being an only child could explain why I haven't had questions like this from DD, but she has made many assumptions based on what she's learned about the animal kingdom that I confess I haven't tried to dispel yet. She's 8 and I think it's still too early for an explicit discussion, but I know it's coming soon.

She does know she already has eggs and she can't wait for them to grow into babies. She has deduced that the eggs will become fertilized when she gets married and grow into a baby. It's close enough to the truth for now, but I think 4th grade will be the day of reckoning, as it were.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 31, 2007 6:05 PM

Emily,

No books to recommend, but we had The Conversation with our son when he was 6.5. It didn't involve any specifics about daddy's involvement. I grabbed one of our many science encyclopedias, opened it to the female anatomy picture and focused the conversation on: here's where the eggs are produced; here's where they travel to the uterus; and here's the uterus where baby is living and growing. My son's interes was sated at that point, but since he was highly intrigued by the anatomy drawing, he followed up with a question about thigh muscles and what the liver does. I was delighted with the change of subject. Good luck, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 31, 2007 6:17 PM

All good ideas, MN and VM. I will try to keep it simple. I never imagined I would feel so flustered by a simple little question about sex.

Posted by: Emily | May 31, 2007 6:31 PM

Emily, Yeah, neither did I. Imagine accompanying your son to a purity ball. Icckorama.

pssst: I didn't think I'd ever buy anything pink either for a daughter. sigh.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 31, 2007 6:39 PM

The Frieda Special Award for the best quote that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time goes to pATRICK.

"...much less go to a "save the hymen" ball."

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 7:45 PM

Hey Fred and Pittypat, do you know where FSF and Zelda are buried? If not, prepare for a surprise by checking out http://www.peerlessrockville.org/FSF/about_fsf.htm

Posted by: catlady | May 31, 2007 9:02 PM

No, I did not know that!

Here is a pix of the grave complete with a quote from The Great Gatsby

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pif&GRid=344&PIgrid=344&PIcrid=640865&ShowCemPhotos=Y&

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 9:27 PM

Catlady: Yes, they're buried in good old Rockville, MD, right on Route 28. I don't know why because FSF was from the mid-west, did most of his writing someplace else. Zelda was from the south. I don't get the Rockville connection. However, he was related to Francis Scott Key, native Marylander who lived in Frederick County (Keymar), MD and Georgetown, DC, as in Key Bridge. He and I share a common relative. He's in the family tree or, as I mentioned earlier this week, kudzu.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2007 9:32 PM

Fred, Maybe you can develop this material into tomorrow's CTOTD, since nobody else seems to be here this evening -- sorta like whether the tree falling in the forest makes a sound if no one's there to hear it (sigh)

Posted by: catlady | May 31, 2007 9:33 PM

To 9:32 PM: You beat me to the punch -- good job! Wish you'd give yourself a handle instead of being anon. Maybe Kudzu? LOL!

Posted by: catlady | May 31, 2007 9:37 PM

Zelda was from Montgomery Alabama. The city that I lived near when I was rudely moved from my house by that witch Katrina!

Frieda, who is from Pensacola, tells me that Zelda, on her honeymoon, ran naked down the railroad tracks there.

Hank Williams (sr.) is buried in Montgomery.

Posted by: Fred | May 31, 2007 9:37 PM

That purity ring thing is also creepy. Does the ring signify a special connection to the father, like an engagement ring? My father (and mother) would have beaten the living crap out of me if he found out I was messing around sex-wise. That's why I left home and got my own place far, far away when I was 19. Little do they know!

Anyway, preserving the hymen leaves an open door for oral and anal sex. Lots of 'purity' there, right? The term 'the Greek way' comes to mind where Greek men favored doing it with boys because they wanted their women to be virgins at the wedding. Comments?

Posted by: Surfin' & Lurkin' | May 31, 2007 9:38 PM

I think you've already figured it out all by yourself.

Posted by: To Surfin' & Lurkin' | May 31, 2007 9:59 PM

Catlady: Do you know the connection between FSF, Zelda and Rockville? I have wondered why they are buried there instead of someplace more cerebral or decadent, like Paris or Newport, RI, or even Minneapolis/St. Paul 8-)

Posted by: Kudzu | June 1, 2007 10:29 AM

Kudzu,

"F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night and other classics and short stories, lived and wrote some of his greatest works in Maryland. He spent childhood summers with relatives in the Rockville area."

Does that correlate with family lore?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 1, 2007 12:26 PM

Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s but was sidetracked by financial difficulties that necessitated his writing commercial short stories, and by the schizophrenia that struck Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald in 1930. Her emotional health remained fragile for the rest of her life. In 1932, she was hospitalized in Baltimore, Maryland. Scott rented the "La Paix" estate in the suburb of Towson, Maryland to work on his latest book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love with and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. The book is clearly a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel recounting Fitzgerald's problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, his own egoism and self-confidence, and his continuing alcholism. It was published in 1934 as Tender Is the Night.

Posted by: MdM | June 1, 2007 12:30 PM

Maryland M and MdM: I didn't know he was in the family until about 15 years ago. A cousin did a genealogy of the family starting in the 1600's. We share a common relative with a lot of Maryland history. I do know FSF and Zelda had a daughter named 'Scotty' who was a columnist with the WaPo. I read Zelda's biography when I was in high school and knew she was institutionalized and died in a fire in a mental hospital. FSF was an alcoholic, and some say had leanings toward being bi-sexual. Other than that, we don't have any interesting stories to tell since none of us ever met him or Zelda. My high school English teacher was a great fan and if she knew my family connection she would have worshipped the ground I walked on!

Posted by: Kudzu | June 1, 2007 12:59 PM

Actually, Maryland Mother & MdM are one-and-the-same. Sometimes I get lazy!

I knew they had a daughter (she's buried in Rockville too), I didn't know she had been a reporter. Maybe she asked that his body be here, with her & mom?

I wonder if the divide between Fitzgerald & Hemingway fans is reflective of the shift in writing styles during that period. I know that Hemingway admired Fitzgerald's writing (which definitely had leanings towards the 19th century/Dickens-style [paid by the word/"nouns by the pound"?]) vs. Hemingway embracing a more spare. Of course, the two of them had other areas of overlapping interests. Drinking, for instance.

They both have their good points.

Hmm, I wonder if those who love Dashiell Hammett loathe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? I know Hammett couldn't stand Dorothy Parker, eventually reaching the point where he refused to be in the same building with her.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 1, 2007 1:36 PM

I'm a fan of O Henry, myself. I loved his surprise endings. He spent time in jail, can't recall whether it was drinking or debts, but he sold his stories for bail money. Also like Michener, Faulkner, Eudora Welty for reading. Prefer to watch Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy and Jane Austin performed. Or if I can find stuff on audio book, they're great to listen to while sewing or chores around the house. (Does anybody sew anymore?)

Have a great weekend.

Posted by: Kudzu | June 1, 2007 4:05 PM

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! euywbahjnmzre

Posted by: ftomgcesyv | June 11, 2007 12:54 AM

gybufe

Posted by: aprtjjabdh | June 11, 2007 3:20 AM

rgwwnlze

Posted by: zrxldwdekm | June 11, 2007 3:25 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company