School's (Almost) Out

Yesterday was my kids' final day of school. We got home from the last-day musical and the children ran through the house screaming with excitement.

Ahh, summer.

I felt like running from the house, screaming in fear.

How do we survive the summer in the age of micromanaged parenthood? Gone are my mother's days, when she opened the screen door at 9 a.m. and told us to come back in time for lunch and then repeated the drill in the afternoon with instructions to come back in time for dinner. Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside. This is -- arguably -- fine for the kids. But it's exhausting for us parents, whether you work or stay home.

A few families I know send their children "home" to grandparents' more rural homes for a relaxed summer. Others head to the beach -- one of the few places left where kids and parents can enjoy a carefree, unstructured vacation. What are you going to do to keep your sanity -- and give your children a change of pace -- this summer?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 8, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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first....

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | June 8, 2007 7:29 AM

Almost first.

Posted by: catlady | June 8, 2007 7:31 AM

how do we distinguish needs from wants?
you need food, clothing, and safe shelter for some smblence of basic human survival in this area.

you *want* what leslie mentioned...
constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside

we found that a quick antidote to these wants is the word "no", or the phrase "choose one option".

apply as often as needed.
no rx necessary.

Posted by: bryn mawr | June 8, 2007 7:42 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance"

Huh? They "need" these things?

It sounds like the mom that opened the door at 9am had balance figured out. Helicopter parents don't have a clue, instead complain that "it's exhausting for us parents".

You brought it on yourself.

Posted by: Needs | June 8, 2007 7:47 AM

No wonder kids are so stressed these days. Summer should be summer. No reading/math drills or CONSTANT structure - summer should be baseball on a dusty field with gnats flying in your mouth or a lazy afternoon in the hammock reading a fun book.

Posted by: DC lurker | June 8, 2007 7:49 AM

The moms out here in suburbia are glad for summer break. Our children have an unstructured summer, with a few swim lessons and fun camps thrown in.

Leslie, I think you drive yourself crazy. I am reminded of the snow day when my kids were outside from 9am to 5pm, and your kids were indoors watching three movies, then you took them to a movie theatre.

Life is what you make of it, to a certain extent. Modern children don't have to have all those things you have listed, and I don't understand why you think they do.

Personally, I enjoy time spent with my children.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 8, 2007 7:51 AM

Ha, ha!! We have nothing on the agenda for the month of August! I planned it that way. Just lots of nothing. I can't wait.

BTW, my daughter's plans for the summer include "digging a gigantic hole" in the backyard. Gee, do you think I should interrupt them every fifteen minutes to drill them on their math facts?

Posted by: Armchair Mom | June 8, 2007 7:52 AM

"What are you going to do to keep your sanity -- and give your children a change of pace -- this summer?"

I'm not doing a thing to give my children a change of pace! What's up with that? I'm not a cruise director.

Posted by: Stacey | June 8, 2007 7:52 AM

How is summer more exhausting for working parents than school time? I don't get it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 7:52 AM

No summer drills for my kids and they never fell behind their classmates!

How sappy can it get?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 7:55 AM

My kids are too little to be "done with school for the summer" and since I live in Wake County, NC, chances are good that they'll never get to experience that particular high since we're starting year-round schooling here.

I remember summer as being a great time when I could read as much as I wanted and we'd travel as a family (both parents were educators) and we were in and out of the backyard pool all day long. A wonderful time. I feel sorry for some of the overscheduled kids today who don't get to experience boredom or laziness. Especially in summer when school's not in session . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 8, 2007 7:56 AM

Duh! Don't these kids have a father?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 7:56 AM

Because my kids are autistic and we have to keep up there skills three days a week for the afternoon we do school related things. The rest of the time we do it the old fashioned way. I open the door in the morning, after spraying them with bugspray and sunscreen, and they fall out grab their bikes or their skateboards, ring doorbells and gather their friends. They spend the morning running through the neighborhood. I watch out the windows or from the yard. I don't get involved unless things get way out of hand or a bandaid is required. At lunch time, the three kids come back, usually dragging friends. I feed the group lunch and then off they go. Sometimes my backyard or the neighbors--they have a pool, we have a sprinkler--so where they are depends on the mood of the day.

In the afternoon they all show up for drinks and snacks and the inevitable 37 popsicles...and they play until--wait for it--the street lights come on.

If we are doing school work usually there are some neighbor kids sitting here doing it with them because we make it fun or because someone needs to work on some skill or because there is nothing else to do.

Some days we pile in the car and head to the beach or a movie--but not that often.

We slow down activities for the summer--instead of karate twice a week we go once a week and skip a belt cycle.

Because summer isn't really summer unless the kids are sweaty, dirty and tired at the end of the day, until they have narrowly escaped the swarm of bees that came charging after them in the woods after someone disturbed the nest, or until they are all played out and almost want to go back to school.

So, I guess, I don't understand the question...

Posted by: Chris1458 | June 8, 2007 7:59 AM

Those of us who work don't have time for all this "unstructured time"! My kids will go to day camp all summer because I need someplace safe for them to go while my husband and I work. And after chewing up most of our vacation time dealing with those stupid school winter breaks and continual half-days, we only have 2 days left. I don't think we will be spending weeks at the beach this summer.

Posted by: ratgirlny | June 8, 2007 8:01 AM

My preschooler learned the song "All I Really Need" in aftercare.

all I really need
is a song in my heart,
food in my belly,
and love in my family!

he loves to sing this song (and many others!).

I figure if those words really sink in, he'll be a good way there to a fine life.

so how do I get through summer?-- keep the bar set low on expectations! reminding myself of all that our family does have certainly helps too!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 8:02 AM

Maybe it's you who needs structure and guidance? I'm pretty sure today's kids don't "need" it.

This posting just not connecting with me at all.

Posted by: 1975 | June 8, 2007 8:03 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates..."

How little faith and trust you have in your children to insist they need you to constantly tell them exactly what to do and when to do it. Oversight and supervision, sure. But encourage them to use their brains, to come up with their own ideas, to stretch their imaginations, to entertain themselves! The constant obsession to have your children do something you deem important every single waking moment is what's leading to all the hand-wringing, guilt, and stress in your lives. For once, remember your own childhoods, how you felt, what you wanted, what was most important to you, and go with what feels right, not what you think you should do based on the alleged proper authorities and experts.

Posted by: A Was a Kid Once | June 8, 2007 8:03 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside."

Are you trolling us or what? This is totally neurotic. My girls make up their own games & keep themselves occupied very well.

Summer reading - yes. Reading & math drills - huh??

Oldest daughter is going to a day camp some. Youngest daughter is in preschool.
And oldest boy is *gasp* getting a summer job. That he will have to ride his bike to.
No, no exhorbitant overseas enrichment program. Just real life.

Yes on the sunscreen, but that's all I agree with.

Posted by: MAmom | June 8, 2007 8:05 AM

I agree with Chris. I'm psyched for summer. I love having the kids around, eating popsicles, playing in the blow up pool, going to the big pool, watching them learn bike tricks, taking trips to the State Park. I find it all around groovy. How sad that some people see this as a burden. Do you really not want to be with your kids? Not trying to be snarky, but Leslie's post sounds like they are a burden to have around.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 8:07 AM

Children "need" to learn to manage their own time, entertain themselves, and become interesting, capable human beings without Mommy or Daddy's constant presence. Why not kick your kids out at 9am?

With respect to year-round schooling, the "high" of the last day of school with the summer stretching endless before you is quite romantic, but really not a good enough reason not to change over to a system that makes so much sense. As a former educator, future parent and life-long student, I will tell you that you cannot go 2 or 3 months without cranial stimulation and except to jump back in ready to go. Your brain does need constant exercise to retain what you've learned. I was shocked the summer I went to Latin Camp (in high school) how much better I remembered ALL my subjects when I started school again in the fall. My $.02...

Posted by: librarylady | June 8, 2007 8:11 AM

Personally I can't wait for school to be over. The kids can sleep in, eat breakfast at a normal speed (not breakneck), run outside and knock on doors to see who is going to the pool and who can "dig the big hole in the backyard." And if no one is available to hang out with - we may visit the library or go to a park - or they may have to entertain themselves for a couple hours. This may be referred to as child abuse today.

Leslie - why don't you let your kids be kids, not little adults, for the summer? They don't don't need to be scheduled to the point of exhaustion. Hopefully your kids have learned skills that will allow them to entertain themselves periodically, otherwise you will be doing it for them till they are 30.

Posted by: cmac | June 8, 2007 8:11 AM

I love summer. The oldest will finish her first year of kindergarten and as we live in Maryland it was full day. I cannot wait to have time with her again, lots of time. We will do things that are fun, some of the playing in the yard fun and some of the learning is fun type. On the other hand, the little guy went to pre-school 6 hours a week this year (2 days for 3 hours a day!) and finished last week and I missed those six hours of errand running, talking to the boss, and thinking without a kid near. So the thought of every trip out the door being three people and all of my work being done after 9:00PM is a bit disconcerting. It still will be truly wonderful to be able to just spend our days together, do what we want with no schedule, go to the pool in the magical hours after the camps have left and there is enough space to swim, participate in the library programs, have the family visit etc.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | June 8, 2007 8:13 AM

First....today to state how annoying the "first" game is.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:13 AM

librarylady--don't you think there is more than one way of exercising your brain? isn't there any value in exploration and discovery? freedom to choose activities and learn by doing? I don't advocate sitting in front of the tv all day, just not sitting in front of school books all day.

Posted by: Chris 1458 | June 8, 2007 8:15 AM

Hi, CMAC -- we've missed you! I strongly agree with you that children need to "learn[] skills that will allow them to entertain themselves periodically." That's part of what children's process of growing up is about.

Posted by: catlady | June 8, 2007 8:16 AM

librarylady

"I was shocked the summer I went to Latin Camp "

Is that anything like Band Camp? Cool!

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 8:16 AM

Chris1458 had addressed this topic perfectly by 7:59am.

Unfortunately, I think Leslie is raising the kids that we all made fun of (or felt sorry for) growing up.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:19 AM

"Unfortunately, I think Leslie is raising the kids that we all made fun of (or felt sorry for) growing up."

My peers only made fun of these kids and their freaky "phoney busy" mothers.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:23 AM

Remember this one? Its one of my favorite poems:

No more pencils,
No more books,
No more teachers
dirty looks!

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 8:24 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates"

Why? This is possibly the most ridiculous statement I've read here. And that's saying a lot.

Posted by: Jayne | June 8, 2007 8:25 AM

Leslie,

You are completely neurotic. Let your kids have fun for the summer. Everything doesn't have to be structured. The more I read this blog, the more convinced I am that I don't want to raise my future kids in the Washington, DC, area. The posts I read from people outside of DC seem to be on the same page as what I want and the posts from this area are more like you - neurotic, helicopter parents who obsess about making their children into these super smart perfect little Ivy League dorks. I'd much rather have well-rounded happy children who had fun childhoods. They had free time and played and didn't spend every waking moment competing with the neighbors to be the best at everything or have a mom who was trying to out do every other mom for everything. Relax Leslie.

By the way, I grew up in the Midwest, went to a top law school and have a successful career. I had a great childhood. I played outside during the summers and had lots of unstructured time. I went to public high schools. I did just great without having to do everything that people around here seem to think is oh so necessary. Plenty of people are quite successful and happy without going to the Ivy League and without having to have completely stressful childhoods to get there.

I am officially never reading you or your blog again because I just find you ridiculous.

Posted by: WOW | June 8, 2007 8:29 AM

I grew up as one of those kids who was out the door right after breakfast, came home for lunch and was right back out until dinner. AFter dinner we played baseball until it was too dark to see the ball. When it was raining we played cards on the porch or listed to music. When it got too hot we had spray bottles and sat under a tree and sprayed ourselves with ice water to keep cool.
We would read for hours on end - anything we could get out hands on but it was always outside. We didn't have A/C so it didn't matter. Nobody hung around in any house.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 8:41 AM

Far be it from me to defend her, but I am pretty sure that Leslie was being sarcastic in that statement.

Posted by: Lizzie | June 8, 2007 8:42 AM

WOW

"I am officially never reading you or your blog again because I just find you ridiculous."

Yes. Leslie is pretty ridiculous. For more wigged-out parents check out The Juggle blog on the Wall Street Journal site!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:48 AM

"I am officially never reading you or your blog again because I just find you ridiculous."

Have a nice hike!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:49 AM

What about the working parents that have to scramble for coverage during the weeks before summer camp/programs begin/end after the end of the school year - seems that the schedules should align... summer seems tough because you have to cobble together care of the entire day.

Posted by: single mom | June 8, 2007 8:49 AM

What about the working parents that have to scramble for coverage during the weeks before summer camp/programs begin/end after the end of the school year - seems that the schedules should align... summer seems tough because you have to cobble together care of the entire day.

That's right. Everyone should make sure that things work for YOU! We already have all the practices and games and classes at night so your kids can do them - how else can we accomodate you? Mother nature should get on board what with all those pesky snow days..

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 8:59 AM

I seem to recall that Leslie lives in a close-in suburb. It could be that her neighborhood isn't safe for riding bikes, etc. because of traffic. I do think that Leslie was describing the extreme in order to stir up conversation.

I'm curious about the opinions of those who live in neighborhoods that are conducive to outdoor unsupervised play--at what age do you think it's safe for kids to roam free (to the point of being out of your sight)? Clearly, 10 or 11-year-olds can be out with their friends. What's the "magic age" for you? I do realize there are slight differences in maturity; I just want to know generally.

For my kids, it's one 3-week (1/2 day) camp for the gradeschooler, continued 1x/week music lessons with August off, and the community pool. I don't have anything structured for the pre-schooler. I do need to sign them up for some swimming lessons. It's on the to-do list for next week. I hope not to schedule many playdates. We're sure to run into friends of the gradeschooler at the pool, and the pre-schooler has little friends right on the street.

The kids will need to entertain themselves inside too. I need to keep the house clean and get meals on the table. I have a feeling that standards will slip and that I'll be doing a big fall cleaning.

Posted by: Marian | June 8, 2007 9:01 AM

So was I the only kid who ever tortured thier mother by saying "I'm bored!" by the second week of summer vacation?

All these memories of mudpies, fireflies, hide and seek, and card are great, but I don't they caputre the entire summer break experience.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 9:02 AM

First....today to state how annoying the "first" game is.

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 08:13 AM

Then just skip the first comment of every day!

Posted by: I wanted to be first! | June 8, 2007 9:03 AM

it is good for children to be bored. I can't recall which famous expert said that, probably more than one of them.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 8, 2007 9:04 AM

I can't believe how idyllic every other blogger's summer sounds. Lovely, unstructured,wonderfully balanced summers...

I relate more to Leslie than to the rest of the group today.

It is sad, but since we moved to Washington, Summer is my most unbalanced and stressful time. As a new employee I had 5 days max to take a vacation in the summer and it had to coincide with the daycare week of vacation. Each year I start looking for summer camps, get on waitlists, lotteries, etc so that my children could have safe, entertaining summers. It took two years to get on the Fairfax County SACC summer program for most of the summer, by then my oldest was really too old to enjoy it.

I am not alone...at least at work..most mothers are in a state of high anxiety in February about getting summer organized and paid (summer camps are pretty expensive). The grandparents help with a week, etc. But, for example our standard overnight summer camp FILLED UP IN OCTOBER last year!! My daughter, a 3 year veteran of the camp, was wait-listed.

Oh yes..your perfect children don't need academic support during the longest vacation in the Western World...goody for you but unless they are from Mars once they are older you need to have them make time for math packets, English project and a Spanish book reports with a poster. Highschool looms with scads of preparation for IB and AP classes...for when my kid has downtime from summer job, babysitting sister, etc.

So fellow bloggers and holier than thou perfect people, turn up your noses at Leslie 's fear of Summer but she is not alone. There are those halcyon moments of late summer evenings, weekends and evenings at the pool and that all too short week or two of family vacation, but for many of us a lot of summer is a high wire act without a net.

Posted by: relativelynewtoblog | June 8, 2007 9:05 AM

and my kids know that if they tell me they are bored, they will be given a chore to do!

Posted by: experienced mom | June 8, 2007 9:06 AM

I agree with all the posters who think Leslie is overly neurotic. Kids need the unstructured time of a long vacation, with few (or no) school responsibilities lessons, etc.

My boys also got put outside in the morning to go off on their bikes and find friends. We have a pool in this house, so often they ended up here. I didn't mind having several boys playing -- I know water rescue and CPR, and I always enforced the safety rules.

When we lived in Savannah, outside play, other than at the community pool or the beach (a 10-minute drive), really only happened between 8:00 and 10:00 am (when it hit 95) and again after 4:00. And, yes, they woke up on their own by 7:00, and so did their friends, so the kids on the island were all outside by 8 am. Even with that schedule, and wearing SPF 30 sunscreen, they had incredibly deep tans. In Raleigh, they were old enough to ride their bikes to the pool, or to a friend's house, or build a tree fort, or go to the ballfield and play pickup baseball or soccer -- I was a big believer in relaxed summers.

The big summer trip, before we moved back up here, was coming to Maryland to see the grandparents and spending a few days at pop-pop's condo in OC. Once we moved back, the big trip became a week in Duck, with my parents and my sister, her husband and their kids. It's going to be strange this year -- this is the first year that STBX won't be there, which means I have to do all the driving down and back, and the dog will follow ME around all week.

Our school sends home math review books; the student should only do one page a day, and each page is designed to take about 10 minutes. It's a very low-key way to keep skills sharp. It's amazing what they forget over the summer! They also have one book project to do.

Every school my sons attended, with one exception, required summer reading and at least one summer book project. And, let me tell you, summer reading can get to be pretty intense by high school. The boys had to read three or four assigned books over the summer each year, and write papers or do assignments for each one -- books like 1984, which should REALLY be discussed in school, or The Hot Zone. In fact, son #1 went to a COLLEGE that assigned summer reading (The Kite Runner --an excellent book). So, this is the first year in ages I haven't had to nag anyone to work on their summer reading, which is good, since I have plenty of work to do myself.

Posted by: educmom | June 8, 2007 9:07 AM

Arlington Dad

"So was I the only kid who ever tortured thier mother by saying "I'm bored!" by the second week of summer vacation?"

In my neighborhood, when we told our parents "I'm bored", we were put to work. Poof! Our boredom magically disappeared!

And no one EVER tortured a mother!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:08 AM

I'm surprised that working parents really notive much of a difference during the summer. They still need to work, so they still have to find somewhere for the kids to go. Are all the people who posted about having more time with the kids stay at home parents?

I'm pretty sure that Leslie was being facetious about scheduling swimming and math lessons. But the truth of the matter is that you do have to schedule your kids in the summer if both parents are working. Not everyone is sitting by the pool with their kids all day in the summer. I think the balance she's talking about is how to scedule care for your kids while still letting them experience the lazy days of summer.

Posted by: Meesh | June 8, 2007 9:08 AM

'High school looms with scads of preparation for IB and AP classes'

if a student can't do their high school summer work on their own, they don't belong in AP classes!

Posted by: experienced mom | June 8, 2007 9:09 AM

cmac were have you been? My kid is little, so she still goes to day care, so summer is like any other season. The kids in the neighborhood here have some camps to go to, but mostly run around the neighborhood playing and having fun. All the people in this neighborhood watch out for the kids, which makes it nice.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 9:09 AM

"And no one EVER tortured a mother!"
Ask her now if this is a true statement, you may be surprised by the answer.

No matter how many camps and activities Leslie puts her kids in, there is always downtime, and children are presented with ample opportunity to entertain and occupy themselves.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 9:12 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates."

They *need* that stuff? Really?

Face it, folks, if any of you think your child *needs* this stuff - you bring it on yourselves.

Posted by: Wannabe SAHM | June 8, 2007 9:14 AM

relativelynewtoblog

"but for many of us a lot of summer is a high wire act without a net."

It's a high wire act of your own making. It's your choice. Own it!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:14 AM

Part of the magic of summer is that you discover so much of who you are in response to "I'm bored" when your summers are unscripted. When I would say that to my mom, she would reply, "Well, then find something to do." She wouldn't do it for me. I had to entertain myself. Sometimes she would give me some options to help me along, depending on what age I was. So, she would say, "Put on your roller skates and go around the block. Get on your bike and go for a ride. Read a book. Play with your Barbies. Go see if so and so wants to play." Or whatever. If none of those sounded appealing, then it was up to me to figure something out. I always ended up doing something. TV was never an option. Sitting around the house was not an option. Whining or saying "I'm bored" again was not an option. But, I discovered a lot about myself during the summers. I had a lot of adventures. Went on lots of bike rides and had some major crashes (no permanent damage). Had some fun roller skating adventures. Once went too far and couldn't make it home again. Had to call mom to come get me. Read tons of books. Played with lots of Barbies. Played with lots of friends. Lots of adventures with friends. So, yes, I said I was bored. But, usually only once in a while. Then, some options were given and I was off to play.

Posted by: To Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 9:14 AM

Hahaha! I WAS being sarcastic. I completely believe kids need unstructured time. So glad so many of you agree. There is hope!

Posted by: Leslie | June 8, 2007 9:14 AM

BTW, Scarry, so it's a boy! Glad to hear he's coming along well!

Posted by: Meesh | June 8, 2007 9:18 AM

Arlington Dad

Who is your favorite Barbie?

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 9:19 AM

Elaine -- the naked one, why?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 9:20 AM

"Need" structure and all that? No. They need a safe place to play and run around. Structured summertime is overrated.

Posted by: KC in Lubbock | June 8, 2007 9:21 AM

While I agree that Leslie is being neurotic about her kids "needs", I also think posters are being self-righteous about how wonderful their summers and kids are. I'm sure everyone gets stressed about having to monitor kids all day long instead of for a few hours. And keep in mind, that not all kids and families have idyllic summmers. Many lose access to things provided during the school year such as meals, supervision, learning, and safe places. And while you don't need to drill and kill kids with reading and math, research does show that all kids, particulalry those in poverty, lose academic skills over the summer months. Sorry, that is the policy wonk in me...

Posted by: JDS | June 8, 2007 9:24 AM

experienced mom

"it is good for children to be bored. I can't recall which famous expert said that, probably more than one of them."

The famous expert is too boring to be remembered.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:24 AM

Meesh did I say he in a post? If I did I am sorry, I still don't know what I am having, I guess I am tired of saying the baby or it! The sonogram is in a few weeks.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 9:28 AM

Boredom is good for kids. Necessity is the mother of invention. Also, I think we could look back at the blog about raising our children in a culture of fear as to why we don't let kids roam the neighborhood as we used to do when we were young . . .

(Leslie, my God, you must have a thick skin to rival a rhino hide after a year of this kind of bashing.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 8, 2007 9:28 AM

"Many lose access to things provided during the school year such as meals, supervision, learning, and safe places."

That's what neighbors are for!

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 9:29 AM

"goody for you but unless they are from Mars once they are older you need to have them make time for math packets, English project and a Spanish book reports with a poster. Highschool looms with scads of preparation for IB and AP classes...for when my kid has downtime from summer job, babysitting sister, etc. "

Huh? It sounds like you're talking about stuff that happens DURING the school year. Or are you actually saying that during the summer your kid is doing book reports and math packets and English projects and is studying for IB/AP classes before he's even taken them??

Your life is what you've made it. You don't have to have the stress that you've placed on yourself by moving to Washington (although it sounds to me like plenty of other Washington-area people here have managed to live much less stressed lives than you.)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:31 AM

I wouldn't raise kids in the DC area if you paid me. The hyperacademic, grow into little versions of mommy and daddy is awful.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:33 AM

"I also think posters are being self-righteous about how wonderful their summers and kids are. I'm sure everyone gets stressed about having to monitor kids all day long instead of for a few hours."

Don't be so sure. If that's true there would be no SAHMs of pre-school aged children.

"And keep in mind, that not all kids and families have idyllic summmers. Many lose access to things provided during the school year such as meals, supervision, learning, and safe places. And while you don't need to drill and kill kids with reading and math, research does show that all kids, particulalry those in poverty, lose academic skills over the summer months. Sorry, that is the policy wonk in me..."

How many people here live in poverty? Does Leslie live in poverty? Nobody said that it's not difficult for many people - they said it's not difficult for them and that they thought that Leslie is being overly neurotic about her situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:35 AM

"What about the working parents that have to scramble for coverage during the weeks before summer camp/programs begin/end after the end of the school year - seems that the schedules should align..."
"That's right. Everyone should make sure that things work for YOU! We already have all the practices and games and classes at night so your kids can do them - how else can we accomodate you?"

That was nasty! It's not about accomodating the parents. It's about accomodating the kids so no one is left out. It sounds like your priorities (chastise working parents over giving their kids the same opportunities as yours) are wrong.

And, technically, isn't this blog about balancing work and family life? There's not really much to balance when you're home all day, right? And there's not really much to discuss about balancing in the summer if parents just hang out with the kids the whole time. Problem solved.

Posted by: Meesh | June 8, 2007 9:36 AM

WorkingMomX

(Leslie, my God, you must have a thick skin to rival a rhino hide after a year of this kind of bashing.)

More like a Giant Ego wrapped in privilege!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:36 AM

"I wouldn't raise kids in the DC area if you paid me. The hyperacademic, grow into little versions of mommy and daddy is awful."

My kid is going to be so mean to your kid when your kid works for my kid.

Posted by: DC Metro Area | June 8, 2007 9:37 AM

Our kids went to VBC (Vacation Bible School) and then were free to figure out how to entertain themselves. No school packets for them! (yea, yea, I know the horror of religious instruction!)

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 9:37 AM

Scarry, LOL. Yeah, yesterday you wrote that "he" kicked the nurse.

Well, it's still nice to know that he or she is healthy.

Posted by: Meesh | June 8, 2007 9:38 AM

Oh, bugger off, 9:36. You can't even sign your name to a post. You certainly have no place to be slamming Leslie.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 8, 2007 9:38 AM

My kid is going to be so mean to your kid when your kid works for my kid.

That's exactly the attitude that will ensure that your child may be "successful" but will be so very empty and unhappy. Maybe you are raising the next Karl Rove or Scooter Libby. Well done.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:41 AM

My kid is going to be so mean to your kid when your kid works for my kid.


Newsflash there are other places to work and live besides DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 9:43 AM

'I wouldn't raise kids in the DC area if you paid me. The hyperacademic, grow into little versions of mommy and daddy is awful.'

actually most of us in northern virginia are doing just fine living a balanced life.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 8, 2007 9:44 AM

Moxiemom

"Many lose access to things provided during the school year such as meals, supervision, learning, and safe places."

"That's what neighbors are for! "

Most school free breakfast, lunch, and snack programs shut down or cut back severly during the summer. Are you going to provide these meals to needy kids?

Posted by: June | June 8, 2007 9:44 AM

June, what would you recommend? I understand that in my neighborhood this actually does continue at some local schools over the summer, and I'm sure it is the case in many DC schools-- I would especially expect it in neighborhoods with a higher concentration of poverty, but I could be wrong.

If Moxiemom or others wanted to see this in their neighborhood, should they lobby their local school board?

Any other ideas out there?

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 9:50 AM

Meesh said:

"I'm surprised that working parents really notive much of a difference during the summer. They still need to work, so they still have to find somewhere for the kids to go. Are all the people who posted about having more time with the kids stay at home parents?"

You bet working parents notice. There are precious few affordable all-day, every-day, all-summer options. (And before anyone jumps on me for wanting the gov't to take care of working families, I'm talking about programs you pay for.)

So a lot of parents have to put together a patchwork of this-in-the-morning-this-in-the-afternoon, at Grandma's for a week, get a sitter for a week, sleepaway camp for a week, daycamp for a week... It gets expensive and, yes, it's more complicated than the relatively settled school-year schedule.

And I'm with RelativelyNewToBlog: A lot of people have been awfully smug about their halcyon childhoods this morning.

Posted by: 2 kids in the Midwestq | June 8, 2007 9:50 AM

"And, technically, isn't this blog about balancing work and family life? There's not really much to balance when you're home all day, right?"

Meesh, I agree that the comment that angered you is quite nasty. I have friends who work full-time and I know it's difficult to work out the summer. I'm thankful that I don't have to do it at this point. When I was working, my kids still were young enough to be in home daycare, so it wasn't an issue.

I disagree that there's not much to balance when you're home all day though. A few things to balance are the loss of opportunity when one's spouse works long hours, when one re-locates for a spouse's opportunity, etc. There are more reasons why a parent is at home than some kind of wish to be a helicopter parent. I'm thankful for the luxury of choosing the timing, but I look forward to getting back to work. It's something that will be good for the overall balance of my family and it's a necessity to do it sooner rather than later for long-term financial stability.

Posted by: Marian | June 8, 2007 9:50 AM

It is definate worth keeping in mind that not everyone can afford to go to the great experience that is summer camp. The Washington Post actually sponsors a program to send kinds to camp who are defined as "at-risk."

http://www.washpost.com/community/charities/sendakidtocamp.shtml

Posted by: David S | June 8, 2007 9:51 AM

It is definatly worth keeping in mind that not everyone can afford to go to the great experience that is summer camp. The Washington Post actually sponsors a program to send kinds to camp who are defined as "at-risk."

http://www.washpost.com/community/charities/sendakidtocamp.shtml

Posted by: David S | June 8, 2007 9:51 AM

Summer is different. That's about the best I could say!

Ultra-scheduled summers don't last forever.

Once kids get older and can be left alone or ride the bus by themselves then a parents life eases up. They can do a short camp or activity and get themselves home for a few hours until you arrive from work. It's just those grade school years when summer is a huge calendar on the wall with who is going where and when.

Two of my favorite summer time things were to go to the library or the pool in the evening. At our house all music lessons stopped for the summer. Nobody had to practice.

My kids played baseball and we had one summer where most of our dinners were from Subway eatten at a park watching the game.

It beats studying for spelling tests and doing book projects.

Posted by: RoseG | June 8, 2007 9:54 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside."

I'm not seeing the sarcasm in this as some have suggested. It sounds more like parent as competitive sport. My oldest will start kindergarten in the fall. He might just be the only average kid in the place. Many of the parents I have met brag constantly about how smart/advanced/etc. their child is. These parents must be the ones doing math and reading drills all summer long. We'll keep counting lightning bugs and digging in the garden.

Posted by: Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 9:59 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside."

I'm not seeing the sarcasm in this as some have suggested. It sounds more like parent as competitive sport. My oldest will start kindergarten in the fall. He might just be the only average kid in the place. Many of the parents I have met brag constantly about how smart/advanced/etc. their child is. These parents must be the ones doing math and reading drills all summer long. We'll keep counting lightning bugs and digging in the garden.

Posted by: Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 9:59 AM

Two of my 4 kids are geniuses. They got a perfect score on their Apgar test.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 10:05 AM

How is it smug to dig summer? My 6 year old boy just ran inside asking for a piece of paper. They are starting a club and need a sign. Only two girls allowed - sister and mommy. What's not awesome about that?

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 10:05 AM

To add comments to Leslie's original statement about "Children today need constant structure and guidance...."

Once we hit our early teen years, my parents insisted we have a little structure to our summer. Enrichment summer classes through Fairfax County, jobs (whether real ones or stuff we generated ourselves) - basically something to add a little bit of structure to our day because they wanted to keep us out of trouble and to learn the value of money we earned ourselves.

But we still had plenty of time to hang out. And before our teen years? Our summers were spent with our neighborhood peers in endless games of Capture the Flag, trips to the small pool club that all our parents had joined, and all-day picnics at a nearby park (our neighborhood backed on the park through the woods so we had a safe way to get there).

I don't get this whole micro-parenting thing. My sibs and our peers had certain responsibilities and expectations (like being home for lunch/dinner/when called), but how on earth will your kids learn to start to think about functioning independently of you if they can't even spend their "fun" summer months budgeting their time so they can have fun around the limits you set them?

Sure, it's not time budgeting of life-changing stuff - when to eat, when to hang out, when to go to the pool - but it's still the first step on the path of self-reliance.

Let your kids be kids, and teach them accountability in whatever manner fits into your lives, rather than scheduling them (and yourselves) into exhaustion...

Posted by: Future Slacker Mom | June 8, 2007 10:07 AM

What's an Apgar test?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:07 AM

Well, I see that Leslie got most of the blood off the walls here.Summer with the kids, basketball,swimming, hanging out. Nirvana!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:08 AM

Yes, sometimes, like today, I feel like a punching bag! But there are a lot of fascinating comments amidst the bizarre criticism, which usually I don't take at all personally.

Posted by: Leslie | June 8, 2007 10:09 AM

If you don't micro-manage your kids summer, they could get snatched by the boogeyman or the neighborhood pervert.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:10 AM

"Yes, sometimes, like today, I feel like a punching bag! But there are a lot of fascinating comments amidst the bizarre criticism, which usually I don't take at all personally"


I can totally relate! HAHA

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:10 AM

My halcyon childhood summers were spent with long bike rides, beating up on the younger brothers and playing cards with them and long adventures on the beach. But it sure beat the hell out of Latin camp!

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 10:11 AM

"Once kids get older and can be left alone or ride the bus by themselves then a parents life eases up. They can do a short camp or activity and get themselves home for a few hours until you arrive from work. It's just those grade school years when summer is a huge calendar on the wall with who is going where and when."


Nice thought, but didn't work for me. We couldn't find a camp closer than 5 miles and there was no bus, camp bus or public bus. Many of the sports, hobby, and enrichment camps are only for 3 hours a day. When both parents work and can't afford nannies or au pairs and don't have family who can help with transportation, there is a lot of patchwork planning to provide your children with a fun, safe environment.

There is no neighborhood pool where I live. While there are other pools we could join, they are expensive and, realistically, we would not use them very much. When camp doesn't start until 9:00, you are not going to get home from work until later than 5:00 or 6:00, even if one parent drops off and the other picks up. Since the pool closes at 8:00, it doesn't make sense for us to belong. Since we are working, the normal household chores and errands don't disappear and the weekends are still not carefree.

The easiest part of summer is that there is no homework so the children can just chill in the evenings. Summer packets are available but optional. Our children started, bu never finished one. If your child is reasonably intelligent and you are not concerned that they get into top or ivy league colleges, they can still get a good education without working on it all summer.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:11 AM

"Children today need constant structure and guidance, as well as swim lessons, play dates, reading and math drills so they don't fall behind their classmates, and daily applications of sunscreen and tick repellant before they step outside."

Obviously kids don't need constant structure, but this does seem to be the prevailing view in many neighborhoods/communities. I'm all for life-skills and safety. Swim lessons--okay; don't want you to drown. Sunscreen--okay; don't want to deal with sunburn.

Otherwise, what else is needed?

My child will go to day camp this summer, and frankly I only care that she have fun and come home tired!

Posted by: dc | June 8, 2007 10:15 AM

If you don't micro-manage your kids summer, they could get snatched by the boogeyman or the neighborhood pervert.

This is true.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:20 AM

I have a question. Most of the entries in this blog over the past year (that I have read) deal with how hard it is to find time to do things that kids "need/want" to do. Now all of a sudden, we have time to send the kids out all day with no daycare? Does everyone work from home and have older kids? I have a 3 and 5 year old. They are going to summer camp from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm when the nanny will pick them up and bring them home to play with the neighbor kids until dinner. Is that a neurotic, over-planned summer??? Just curious. Thanks

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 10:20 AM

"If you don't micro-manage your kids summer, they could get snatched by the boogeyman or the neighborhood pervert."

Is it unreasonable to be concerned about this? At least where I stand, it's a different world from when I grew up. Can kids really roam the neighborhood -- is it safe in this world we live in? Where? And at what age can the kids be gone all day? (mine are young, they are in the backyard for hours at time, but not out of sight or earshot yet)

More moms work, so fewer mom are home now. So more kids are at camp, and there are fewer kids to roam the neighborhood with. Also, there are fewer moms in the "moms network" the made it safe for kids to roam -- because, despite our 'freedom' as children of the 70s -- a mom (not necesarily) our own, was always watching.

To expect my kids' summer to be just like my summers doesn't seem realistic. Seriously, wouldn't it be weird for them to celebrate America's Bicentennial?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 10:22 AM

3 and 5 year olds have different requirements and levels of maturity than elementary school kids, let alone middle schoolers or high schoolers.

Posted by: To Marie | June 8, 2007 10:24 AM

Arlington Dad

The bad guys have to get past a BIG SCARY DOG to get near my kids in the yard or house.

Works very well!

Posted by: Jake | June 8, 2007 10:25 AM

"3 and 5 year olds have different requirements and levels of maturity than elementary school kids, let alone middle schoolers or high schoolers."

Brilliant. Dr. Spock, was that you?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:26 AM

3 and 5 year olds have different requirements and levels of maturity than elementary school kids, let alone middle schoolers or high schoolers.

Posted by: To Marie | June 8, 2007 10:24 AM

Okay, so we are talking about older kids. Thanks -- I was just confused. I cannot wait for my kids to be older and be able to just run around outside all day. I remember how much fun that was and I want that for them too!!

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 10:27 AM

That's fine if you never let your kids leave the house or yard, ever.

Posted by: To Jake | June 8, 2007 10:27 AM

"3 and 5 year olds have different requirements and levels of maturity than elementary school kids, let alone middle schoolers or high schoolers."

Brilliant.

Do you disagree? Or did I just submit the same comment before you could?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:30 AM

A neighbor on our block let's his 2nd grade walk to school and watches him through some very high powered army ranger binoculars. I understand but still I crack up every time I see it.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:30 AM

let's=let us
lets=allows

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM

I think it depends on where you live and how dangerous of a neighborhood you live in. I live in Cap Hill. I'd never let my kids roam free around there. There are too many bad ways to get in trouble around there. I have small kids now who aren't capable of roaming at all, so it's not an issue. But by the time they are ready for that, we are going to leave the DC area all together and move someplace safer. There is too much crime where I live now for me to feel comfortable raising kids here.

I think no matter where you live, there is always the chance of abduction from the boogeyman or risk of the neighborhood pervert. But, those chances are small. You teach your kids to be smart and trust their instincts. I don't want to keep them under lock and key because of what might happen.

Posted by: To Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM

MBTI Type Descriptions (Funny)

ENFJ: "Busybody"
Life's backseat drivers. They seem to know just what's wrong with everybody else's life and have a plan to fix it.

INFJ: "Messiah"
Characterized by the burning desire to change the world, which desperately needs everyone to be NF.

ENFP: "Muckraker"
Creator of hype, distortion, and the perversion of media of information to be wallows of mindless emotionalism.

INFP: "Fanatic"
Always searching for an Answer with a capital A. Unlike the INFJ, they are usually openminded enough to realize the current one isn't good enough after a few years.

ENTJ: "Tyrant"
Knows better than everyone how things should be done and works tirelessly to obtain the power to make it happen that way.

INTJ: "Crackpot"
All facts which don't fit their theories are just wrong. The more all-encompassing and less applicable to reality the theories, the better.

ENTP: "Frankenstein"
The salvation of the world is to be found in this new nanotronic frannistan, of which he just happens to have an almost-working model...

INTP: "Nerd"
What? you mean people actually talk to each other using mouths and ears instead of keyboards????

ESTJ: "Stuffed Shirt"
No imagination, no flexibility, no common sense, no capacity for tolerance of others with different priorities.

ISTJ: "Bean Counter"
Like the ESTJ but with less vision.

ESFJ: "Gossip"
Like the Busybody, but characterized by the urge to backstab instead of trying to help.

ISFJ: "Sidekick"
Doesn't need much meaning in life, just a person (or baby or pet or car) to spend all their time ministering to.

ESTP: "Beer Drinker"
Loud, crude, plays team sports, kisses and tells. These are the people beer commercials are made for.

ESFP: "Clown"
Always the class troublemaker, they have no respect for anybody or anything. Good at snide wisecracks.

ISTP: "Assasin"
Hates people, and is good at killing them. Young ISTP's are good at killing pictures of people in video games.

ISFP: "Snob"
Revels in the elaborate sensations of wine and paintings and music that are completely indistinguishable to ordinary people. Likes flowers.

Posted by: Which are you? | June 8, 2007 10:35 AM

Posted by: Which are you? | June 8, 2007 10:35 AM

You forgot yours..... TROLL

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:38 AM

Won't all these helicopter parents be so crestfallen when they go to all these great lengths... and just turn out average kids/adults???? That's usually what happens.

Posted by: annapolis | June 8, 2007 10:39 AM

the bottom line is that all you people who just luuuvvv summer don't work. i took the summer off last summer when we moved and i loved it too. you have no responsibilities to find care for your children, just to keep them happy, which is so easy with all there is to do in the summer. when you work there are major responsibilities that produce much more stress than during the school year--finding care while you are at work that is appropriate, the guilt that you can't find a single solution that would cover the whole summer (god forbid that would exist!) so your kids have to deal w/multiple transitions, the guilt that the kids of the SAHMs are learning to swim and ride their bikes since their time is unstructured, and ironically the guilt that in the summer you CAN'T take as much time off because you used up all your leave during winter/spring/and half-day vacation. why is this major difference so hard for people to see?

Posted by: newinnova | June 8, 2007 10:40 AM

Capitol Hill seems like a good place to me-- just very expensive to buy a home. Are you talking about around the stadium or closer to the capitol? I'm not that familar with the area east of 13th ST, but it really seems to be improving-- especially with the new Harris Teeter coming in. and the area area Eastern Market is wonderful-- lots of parks and little kids everywhere.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 10:40 AM

pATRICK -- yep, the bashing you and others take on this blog makes me feel much better about my own beatings! misery loves company.

Posted by: Leslie | June 8, 2007 10:41 AM

"and ironically the guilt that in the summer you CAN'T take as much time off because you used up all your leave during winter/spring/and half-day vacation. why is this major difference so hard for people to see?"


Still mad that they didn't invite you to the block party last June aren't you?;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:43 AM

Actually, I think Jake has a good idea. Elizabeth Smart's parent went out and got a dog after she was abducted. A dog will at least bark and warn you that something is not right in the house. A good dog, like jake's, may even try to protect the kids. Nothing paraniod about that.

That's one of the things I find funny about the Job Bennet Ramsey case. Why didn't her dog bark when a stranger came in.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 10:44 AM

You forgot yours..... TROLL

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:38

This is a bit of comic relief after yesterday's discussions. You see it says FUNNY right at the top.

This was not directed at you but I forget that you are a "INTJ"

"Crackpot"
All facts which don't fit their theories are just wrong. The more all-encompassing and less applicable to reality the theories, the better.

Posted by: Which are you? | June 8, 2007 10:44 AM

"Posted by: Which are you? | June 8, 2007 10:44 AM "

I was too lazy to read the first part that said it was funny. My apologies for calling you a troll.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:46 AM

You are like many other mothers these days and I wanted to ask you a question. I'm in my 30's and don't have kids yet. What I've read this blog for a while and what I've noticed that is different from my own childhood is that when we were kids, we played with other kids....and our moms were adults so they had other things to do and adult duties. Our moms were not digging in the dirt with us...our friends were. They were not catching lightening bugs with us, our friends were. Nor were our moms playing or watching us play in the playground. As kids, we would be freaked out if our moms did those things. Our moms were adults and and as much as we liked spending time with them, we preferred to keep playtime for our friends. Our moms read us books, talked with us about our day, played the occasional boardgame as a family, but was not one of us kids like I see in today's parenting culture.

So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids? They are adults...have adult needs and responsibilities and preferences, that are not fulfilled by constantly playing in children's activities. It's an insult to women I think...in the 50's they made women into happy housewifes and today it is like they have to transform themselves into a child once they are mothers.

Posted by: to Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 10:46 AM

Actually, I get it completely. Ignore the posters who can't see beyond their own world.

Posted by: to newinnova | June 8, 2007 10:47 AM

My apologies in return.

Posted by: Which are you? | June 8, 2007 10:47 AM

The chemicals in the suntan lotion are more cancerous than the sun's rays.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:49 AM

"My apologies in return."

Thanks, but you have nothing to apologize for.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:49 AM

When I was in high school the only ones who had summer readint were those in honors or ap english. My how times have changed.

Posted by: atlmom | June 8, 2007 10:51 AM

"When I was in high school the only ones who had summer readint were those in honors or ap english. My how times have changed."

That may still be true. No one who posts here has average kids, so we don't really know. LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:52 AM

Why didn't her dog bark when a stranger came in.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 10:44 AM

Ever heard of "The Hound of the Baskervilles", the dog that should've barked but didn't?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:53 AM

"the bottom line is that all you people who just luuuvvv summer don't work.......blahblahblah.......you CAN'T take as much time off because you used up all your leave during winter/spring/and half-day vacation. why is this major difference so hard for people to see?"

We see the major difference for NORMAL people who have to work to put food on the table and have limited leave time.

I personally have a hard time seeing the "difference" for people like Leslie who has a very flexible schedule and doesn't have to slog off to an office every day and who is well off financially. It appears to me that it's more her complaining about having her kids around more during the day than during the school year.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:55 AM

Ever heard of "The Hound of the Baskervilles", the dog that should've barked but didn't?

No, I haven't heard of that. I grew up with hunting dogs and they barked when the wind blew.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 10:56 AM

I just have this image of LESLIE sitting with her husband at dinner saying "You can't believe what those nitwits posted today". And then downing a whole glass of wine at once.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 10:58 AM

In our area, the local police say that the best, least expensive alarm system is to simply have a dog in the house. This is enough to deter most amateur bad guys.

Posted by: Dog | June 8, 2007 10:59 AM

Newinnova - To be completely honest, most of the working parents I know use the same daycare that they used during school so I wasn't aware of how difficult it was for some others.

For the nonmom who wonders why we play with our kids. I do it because it is fun. Maybe our moms didn't play with us because they felt compelled to be Donna Reed and have a perfect house. I think its liberating that I can enjoy my children and let the house go. Dinners are easier to fix today, houses easier to clean. Do I play with them all the time, nope, but I think I'm lucky that I have the time to enjoy them and go into their world sometimes. Its fun to blow bubbles, why shouldn't I?

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 10:59 AM

To -- To Mom of 3 -- I COMPLETELY agree with you and I do have kids. I went to my daughter's end of school picnic yesterday. I sat on a bench and talked to some other moms. My daughter came over and showed me her painted face, she showed me her prizes, I helped her make her lunch plate and ate with her. There were other parents there that literally shadowed their kids (not the other way around) and did everything "with" them. I don't do that. My kids play by themselves. Some of the games they create are hysterical and make me laugh. I will come in sometimes and come up with "ideas" like forts out of blankets and stuff, but I dont want to be a kid again.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 10:59 AM

"The Hound of the Baskervilles", a story about Sherlock Holmes.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 10:59 AM

Okay, I have never read it but is it based off the celtic myth of hell hounds?

I will look for it the next time I am at the library.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 11:04 AM

"The Hound of the Baskervilles", a story about Sherlock Holmes.

Who?

Posted by: new guy | June 8, 2007 11:08 AM

You can only use the same daycare in the summer until your child gets to be school-aged. Then you have to cope with a patchwork of options to fill the gap. Summer camps often only go for part of the summer, and get out earlier than standard work hours. The after-school programs that operate in the school year often shut down for the summer. And summer-only babysitters are very tough to find. Collge kids often prefer to be doing other things.

I found the whole work-life balance thing to be much, much harder when my oldest kid became school-aged. Not just summer vacation, but all the winter and spring breaks, and bizarre holidays that no one in the corporate world gets, and of course those infernal half days.

Posted by: ratgirlny | June 8, 2007 11:10 AM

To Mom of 3 & Marie - I totally agree with both of you. I don't get that either. I think parents should be parents and should let kids play on their own. They should do things with them, yes, but kids are not meant to be our best friends. My SIL always talks about how she can't wait for her oldest daughter to be old enough to drink so they can sit and have glasses of wine together. I keep thinking - she's your daughter, not your best friend! Yet, that is how she thinks of her. I think it's weird.

Posted by: To Mom of 3 & Marie | June 8, 2007 11:17 AM

scarry

"Okay, I have never read it but is it based off the celtic myth of hell hounds?

I will look for it the next time I am at the library. "

You can easily find the dog reference on the Net.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:18 AM

"Others head to the beach -- one of the few places left where kids and parents can enjoy a carefree, unstructured vacation."

This makes no sense. At the beach, you have to constantly be watching the kids to make sure they don't drown or get bitten or stung by sea creatures. The beach is where you have to be especially vigilant about reapplying the sunscreen and insect repellant. Then, when the kids get sunburned anyway, they cry and whine and complain for the rest of the vacation.

How is this more "carefree" and "unstructured" than opening the screen door at home and letting them go out to play?

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 11:23 AM

"My SIL always talks about how she can't wait for her oldest daughter to be old enough to drink so they can sit and have glasses of wine together." Posted by: To Mom of 3 & Marie | June 8, 2007 11:17 AM

I can't wait for my kids to be old enough to watch a non-animated movie much less drink . . .:)

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 11:24 AM

"So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids"

1. Waay too much free time & usually money.
2. Not enough good sex (fun) at home.
3. Lonely girls using their kids as substitutes for adult friends.

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 11:24 AM

Hey gang, isn't there a balance to be achieved between the manner in which our mother's parented (out at 9, back for lunch and dinner) and the "best friend" over involved parent? I've found that a little of both is best for us. I'm not their best friend, but we can play basketball together or put nail polish on. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 11:24 AM

Growing up we went to full day day camp since I was five. I don't think it was for all of the summer. The bus picked you up at your house in the am (probly 8) and dropped you off in the afternoon. Probly 5 ish. Many camps here operate part of the day and zero have busses. It is ludicrous. It is weird to me that parents don't demand that option.

Posted by: atlmom | June 8, 2007 11:24 AM


educmom - left a reply to your post on yesterday's blog, if you're interested.

summer -- Our kids have been out for 2 weeks, down here in Atlanta. As academics our schedules are more flexible in the summer . . . and we're in a large metro area with short commutes to many places . . . so the summer camps work well for us, we just adapt our schedules week to week to the varying drop/pickup times, which are not quite full-time for the most part. I think long commuting and a rigid work schedule *would* make summer very difficult to manage, you would have to limit yourself to a very narrow subset of day camp options, or hire a sitter to fill gaps/shuttle kids.

We try to let our summer be less structured, but . . . What my kids really enjoy is having some summer traditions, events we do every year that they look forward to. Just after Memorial Day, the first week school is out, we always vacation for a few days in the mountains --- go tubing, hiking, canoeing, lake-beach swimming and sand play . . . same place every year. We also do one big summer trip to beaches and relatives (grandparents, cousins) in California; they expect and anticipate it every year.

We use day camps, some almost-full and some only half, to fill in most of the rest of the summer. Last year was tough as my oldest wanted to do swim team (4 eve a week practices or meets) on top of weekly camps, which made the first 1/2 of summer way too hectic . . . she at first wanted to do that again this year, but eventually reconsidered whether the busy-ness and stress was worth it, versus just going swimming occasionally . . . yay!

Our kids haven't needed to do any outside-generated summer schoolwork yet. Both tend to self-generate a lot of their own artistic and writing projects, though; math and science also often come up spontaneously in our house. And our girls have much more free time to read in the summer than during the school year. They don't seem to get bored.

I don't think kids who are not challenged to overcome some deficit really need outside-directed summer schoolwork. If you really knew it and understood it, it will come back when you need to refresh it . . . do you need to ride your bike twice a week just to be prepared to ride some time in the future? (Of course, if you ride your bike because you love it and you want to, great!) My kids are very bright, and growing up I moved every 2 years (army brat) to different school curricula and also skipped a grade . . . so this affects my feeling that you engage fully at the time, but don't need to sweat always having exactly the right 'preparation' --- my oldest changed school system after kindergarten, so she 'missed' getting taught, when prescribed, telling time on the hour and half hour. Big deal, it took her all of having it explained once and 5 minutes self-exploration to fill in that gap later, at a higher level (i.e. telling time by the minute hand, not just 'special' positions). . . she really didn't need a long series of worksheets to get and apply the concept . . . I told her, don't tell her 2nd grade teacher (who was great), but you learn what you need when you need it, there's never been a moment in my life when I thought "OMG! I don't know that because I missed it in 2nd grade!"

We let our kids prioritize which summer camps they want, this year we've got: 10yo -- soccer camp, art camp, rock climbing camp, Hogwarts creative writing camp, overnight girls camp; 7yo --- school-based play camp, arts+drama camp, art camp, dance camp, horse camp. It is an organizational task to schedule and deliver both girls . . . but also a chance for them to explore interests and same-age friends . . .

Posted by: KB | June 8, 2007 11:24 AM

Hello Catlady - hello Scarry - hope all is well. I have been lurking but not posting and trying to keep cool - it is hot as blazes here today.

KLB - your post was the truth, we used to bother parents about getting the hose/sprinkler out to stay cool in the heat but if they refused we'd squirt each other with water bottles and lay under bushes and trees. My mom used to throw sandwiches and watermelon out the door for us because she didn't want our dirty bodies in the house. We'd go to the pool in the afternoon - which got most of the dirt off. Remember having to shower before getting in the community pool? Am I showing my age?

Posted by: cmac | June 8, 2007 11:25 AM

You don't even need the library - the full text of HotBaskervilles is online, multiple places. Most of the ACD books are.

http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DoyHoun.html

Posted by: Baker street nerd | June 8, 2007 11:29 AM

cmac,
We didn't have a pool in our neighborhood - just the hose. I remember one of the greatest joys was when they agreed to let us turn the sprinkler on and we ran endlessly thru it - nothing better.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 11:30 AM

HA HA Pittypat! That was great -- I tried to write a similar sentiment about the beach with no success -- so thank you for stating the perils of the beach so well. We have a wonderful time at the beach, but with the sunscreen and the undertow, it sure isn't carefree!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 11:30 AM

I remember not being allowed to go to the community pool because of the fear of catching polio.

Posted by: Old duffer | June 8, 2007 11:32 AM

Baker street nerd,Thanks!

There will be no drinking with my kids. I have spent my entire adult life setting a good example for my nephews and nieces by not drinking around them (now I can't anyway).

To much alcoholism in my family. I tell the kids they just don't need to drink to socialize.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 11:32 AM

"So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids? "

First, my kids are pretty young (5 year old and twins who are 2) so they require pretty close supervision. Second, I haven't transformed myself into a child or forgotten that I am an adult and I'm not sure how you got that from my post. Sometimes, I do play alongside my kids. Other times I sit and watch. Others I will chat with friends. On the days when I play along, it's because I find it fun to share the activity with them and they seem to enjoy it. When we dig in the garden, it's usually me planting flowers and them making holes and watering...fun for all.

As they grow older, I'm sure this will change but for now it seems appropriate.


Posted by: Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 11:33 AM

"So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids? "

Is this really going on to a large extent, or did some exaggerate a bit?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 11:35 AM

The sprinkler -- ahh, my kids love it, and they especially love it when I let them go through it with their clothes on as opposed to their bathing suits. The whole neighborhood comes out for the sprinkler. We got a fancy one from like Lands End or something, and the kids really like the old fashioned spray kind. Amusing

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 11:36 AM

I should mention something, in 1977 the older kids in the neighborhood got arrested for pot dealing and my mother decided from then on that I would not have a summer where we sat at the pool all day or watched TV. By 1977 no kids in my suburban neighborhood wanted to play baseball outside, get real, this is humid Washington, DC, it's 95 degrees and unbearable. Sometime that summer there was a kid shot near my grandmother's farm, so staying with her all summer was out. So from 1978 on I attended daycamps at Bullis, the Roundhouse Theater, Landon, and eventually when I was in Junior High my parents signed me up for summer academic classes to improve subjects I wasn't so good in. For instance, I got a D in English because the teacher was a jerk, so my parents signed me up to retake the class and I got an A. Did that throughout high school. Class from 8:30am to 12pm, ride my bike home for lunch, ride my bike to work and work from 1pm-11pm at the KB movie theater saving for that car. I got a summer job at age 12 and never looked back.

So I would say that summer academics were part of my childhood since around 1979. I mean, in 1979 it was hard to get teachers to do computer classes in the school year, so they taught them over the summer.

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 11:36 AM

"So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids? "

Is this really going on to a large extent, or did some exaggerate a bit?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 11:35 AM

As with all things, there are people that take it to extremes and the majority are in the middle. In my experience, its a matter of when to let up a bit. For example, a 5 year old -- should a 5 year old play by himself the majority of the day or should the parent "entertain" the kid most of the day by blowing bubbles, playing fort etc. I know for me, for a while I felt guilty about working outside the home so I would constantly play with my kids. Now, I realize that is not good for them either.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 11:40 AM

Altho on the flip side, before we could use the sprinkler we had to pick up rotten apples and dog poop.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 11:41 AM

Summer time, my second favorite ime of year (Christmas time first). Grilling out, drinking a cold beer as the steaks sizzle,having a life after work, sunny, shorts, pools. Marvelous!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 11:43 AM

Altho on the flip side, before we could use the sprinkler we had to pick up rotten apples and dog poop.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 11:41 AM

Very true. We have those annoying sucker balls in our yard that get into the mulch surrounding our kids play area. For awhile my husband and I freaked out about them. Now I tell the kids that if they dont want to fall and land on one, they should pick them up. After falling on them a couple of times, they pick them up first :) They are learning cause and effect :)

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 11:45 AM

To clarify, I don't know you so I can't say anything about you in particular, but I just wanted to illustrate a point that many of the moms that I do know, are way too involved in their children's activities.... to the point of neglecting their adult needs for friendships with other women, neglecting their relationship with their husband who often seem to fade into the periphery after they become mothers, and dropping many of outside adult interests they once had to be watching and playing with their kids all day. These moms seem to morph into members of their children's world, which I just don't understand.

Posted by: to Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 11:46 AM


So, do most of you have access to sprinkler/kiddie pool play, or do you have water restrictions? Seems like we've had drought/water restrictions forever in Atlanta, many summers it precluded sprinkler play or filling kiddie pools, though sometimes alternate day water use was allowed . . .

Availability of community swimming pools makes a big difference in summer kid quality of life . . . glad to have access in our neighborhood . . .

Posted by: KB | June 8, 2007 11:47 AM

So, do most of you have access to sprinkler/kiddie pool play, or do you have water restrictions? Seems like we've had drought/water restrictions forever in Atlanta, many summers it precluded sprinkler play or filling kiddie pools, though sometimes alternate day water use was allowed . . .

Availability of community swimming pools makes a big difference in summer kid quality of life . . . glad to have access in our neighborhood . . .

Posted by: KB | June 8, 2007 11:47 AM

Here in DC, we dont have these restrictions yet. We will by the middle of summer probably, so this will not be available, but for now, its fun.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 11:49 AM

with regards to the people using summer to relax with their average kids. My sister has a friend who was a super academic and landed 4th in our school, was attractive, outgoing and just a fantastic person. She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B.

That's why parents push, because we're on the cusp of being critically important people for the good of our nation. You can choose whether or not you want your kids to be focused on the local or the national. My parents had us focus on the local, my friends on the national, and by now I know at least 10 millionaires from my high school class. Millionaires get to decide when they retire, they aren't forced to work until age 75 like my parents. I'm a millionaire in real estate only.

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 11:57 AM

I understand what you are saying, I have seen those moms and, in some cases, dads. Since I have had children, my adult social life has suffered some. It's hard sometimes to coordinate schedules but my very close friends and I make a point of getting together for girl time every 6 weeks or so. My relationship with my husband has changed but not in a bad way. We don't have as much alone time but we appreciate the time we have that much more.

Like Moxiemom said, it's a balance. Like balancing work and personal life, you have to think about it from time to time and see if things are out of whack. The scales can easily tip out of balance. Kids can be pretty demanding if you don't give them boundaries.

I do not look forward to the day my kids are old enough to drink and really don't want to drink with them. I do enjoy playing an occasional game of Go Fish, catching fire flies, or swinging at the park, etc. with them.

Posted by: Mom to 3 | June 8, 2007 11:58 AM

"but kids are not meant to be our best friends. My SIL always talks about how she can't wait for her oldest daughter to be old enough to drink so they can sit and have glasses of wine together. I keep thinking - she's your daughter, not your best friend! Yet, that is how she thinks of her. I think it's weird."

You're so right about this. The whole "my daughter is my best friend" thing is detrimental to the child's separation and individuation. I can tell you from personal experience that the results can be devastating.

Posted by: no name for this post | June 8, 2007 12:01 PM

This is the first year we're really having to deal with the hassle of cobbling together care for our school-aged children during the summer. When they were little, it was easy--same FT daycare year round. The past two years we've been fortunate (??) enough to have a parent at home all summer--due to job losses that happened to coincide with that time of year. This year I'm seeing why so many working parents have difficulties in the summer--we have one child who receives ESY services, so he'll be in school half days throughout July, but there is NOTHING available for him for the afternoons. Our daughter will be in four different week-long morning camps during the same period. I could have signed her up for afternoons, but since DS doesn't have care available to him during that time, I figured it would be easier to have both of them in the same place--home. My husband works third shift, then he'll sleep for three or four hours each morning while the kids are at school/camp, wake up to take care of the kids in the afternoon, then sleep again for a couple of hours when I get home from work and then head off to work himself.

August is the real problem--summer camps and summer school close, so we're left with a few weeks of no care. Right now I'm just ignoring the problem and hoping it'll go away by itself magically. But in reality I know I'll be taking time off myself(illegally, I might add--one of the stipulations at my job is that no one can take vacation time after the first week of August), making DH sleep even less, finding occasional babysitters, etc.

Oh, and about the math drills--I DO make my older child get a Summer Bridge workbook to work on over the summer. One page a day of review of the previous grade's curriculum. She loves it (no idea why--she's more than a bit of a geek) and it keeps her skills up so she doesn't lose ground over the summer.

Posted by: Sarah | June 8, 2007 12:04 PM

If you are looking for a best friend, NOW it's okay to have a friendly relationship with your own parents. Even have a drink or two with them.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 12:04 PM

I hope we can be good friends when she is older. Until she is out of school and on her own, my job is to be her parent.

Or as my Dad used to say, "benevolent dictator."

Robin L.

Posted by: Daughter as best friend | June 8, 2007 12:06 PM

"I remember one of the greatest joys was when they agreed to let us turn the sprinkler on and we ran endlessly thru it - nothing better."

KLB--

Yes! Truly, nothing was better. The sprinkler was the A#1 best thing in the summer.

Did you ever have a Wiggle-Worm?

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 12:06 PM

"The Hound of the Baskervilles", a story about Sherlock Holmes.

Who?

Posted by: new guy | June 8, 2007 11:08 AM

Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:06 PM

"thank you for stating the perils of the beach so well."

Arl Dad,

The funniest part is that I don't even have kids. I'm speaking from my own kidhood!

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 12:07 PM

That's why parents push, because we're on the cusp of being critically important people for the good of our nation. You can choose whether or not you want your kids to be focused on the local or the national. My parents had us focus on the local, my friends on the national, and by now I know at least 10 millionaires from my high school class. Millionaires get to decide when they retire, they aren't forced to work until age 75 like my parents. I'm a millionaire in real estate only.

Aside from retiring early what part of this equates to happiness? What happens when your kids does drugs or hangs himself because he failed to live up to your ridiculous expectations? What if your kid wants to dance for a living? I have nothing but pity for your children. I don't see how being a millionaire, unless you are a decent person, really improves our nation. YOur viewpoitns are short sighted and a recipie for unhappiness.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:10 PM

I brought my sons to the playground and a mother there scolded my kids for running up the slide. Then she badgered them about not wearing shoes.

Sympton of nohern VA?

My oldest son's replied, "You don't make the rules.", which was exactly what I was thinking. Rude, but appropriate.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 12:10 PM

Pittypat -- well, you hit the nail on the head. Of couse, talk about perilous -- "Hey, why don't you kids go bury Grandpa in the sand?!" I love that part.

Don't remember the Wiggle worm, but we have a "Crazy Daisy" which is a big hit (a gift to us from before we even had kids)

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 12:11 PM

"So my question is why do women these days transform themselves in big children when they have kids"

The psycho soccer moms are the worse. Fake, fake, fake! They should be put out of their misery pronto!

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 12:15 PM

Top Cat, first of all, congratulations. Second, of whom do you approve?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:17 PM

Hey fO4 - I recently read the most interesting book and I thought you might like it. Its called A Sense of the World. It is about the Blind Traveler who was this young man in the late 1700s who lost his sight and went on to become the greatest explorer of his generation. Truly an inspiring book.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 12:19 PM

KLB, Pitypat, straddling the sprinkler? You naughty girls!

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 12:20 PM

"Top Cat, first of all, congratulations. Second, of whom do you approve?"


My good buddies are:

Benny the Ball
The Brain
Choo-Choo
Fancy-Fancy
Spook
and Office Dibble

Regards
T.C.

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 12:25 PM

I was just thinking last night about how I used to love running around barefoot all the time, everywhere in the summer! My feet were hard as rocks. How did I get away with that (maybe I was older)?!

Posted by: To Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 12:28 PM

Moxiemom, a blind explorer? Inspirational indeed!

I get lost in my own back yard. Ha!

But after giving it a 2nd thought, the point of exploring is to get as lost as possible, then find your way back. When I was a kid, I played that game every summer.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 12:30 PM

"KLB, Pitypat, straddling the sprinkler? You naughty girls!"

Fo4,

No straddling involved. We ran through it.

But picture whatever you like. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 12:31 PM

"I just have this image of LESLIE sitting with her husband at dinner saying "You can't believe what those nitwits posted today". And then downing a whole glass of wine at once."

I almost woke up my cubicle neighbors laughing at that one. Thanks for that vivid image. :)

Loved the Myers-Briggs thing also. I forget which category I'm in--will go home and see if I can dig up the results, but I'm afraid I might be the Crackpot. (Wah! I don't wanna be a Crackpot!) Thanks for the light-hearted post. We needed that!

Born in '45, did most of my growing up in the '50s. Life really was different then than it is now. My kids grew up in the '80s--they had less freedom to roam because of the increased dangers (real or perceived) that affected how we raised kids then. They went to highly structured schools, so they had the summers off--Boy Scout camp was the only scheduled event when they were old enough for that. The rest of the time they played with friends and made their own fun.

I stayed home when they were kids and am now scrambling to build a small retirement for myself before my husband and I feel we can retire. Was it worth it? Yes, even though I won't have much money in my retirement portfolio. I am glad, though, that I was lucky enough to be able to stay home when the kids were young--many women do not have that privilege and have to work to support their families.

It's all about balance, depending on each person's personal circumstances. Some have more choices than others. That's life.

Posted by: Lynne | June 8, 2007 12:34 PM

"Hey, why don't you kids go bury Grandpa in the sand?!" I love that part.

Heh-heh, Arl Dad.

Recipe for sand-in-the-shorts. Ugh!

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 12:34 PM

I don't remember straddling the sprinkler and we didn't have the wiggle worm. We did have two kinds of sprinklers - the back and forth kind and the one that was round and went in circles. I liked the back and forth better. We would also have water balloon fights, squirt gun fights and hose fights (those could hurt if someone put it on jet).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 12:35 PM

Fo4 - honestly the force of this man's character blind or not, was truly truly impressive. That he was able to get around in a time when there were literally zero accomodations for people with disabilities is incredible. He is said to have inspired Darwin. Anyway, I thought of you and the many challenges you have overcome.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 8, 2007 12:35 PM

I plan on telling my daughter a wise saying I once heard" Marry for money and you will pay for every nickel of it". Money is nice but working with a lot of wealthy people, it is true "Money can't buy happiness". Some are possessed by their wealth, it's creepy to be around and sad.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 12:46 PM


Father of 4 ---

That's the flip side of 'it takes a village' --- sometimes it empowers just anyone to boss around the children, who are lowest on everyone's pecking order.

I remember visiting for lunch at my kids' school cafeteria once - and those school lunch monitors were harsh and bossy. One came and tsktsk'd over a random, non-disruptive, child that she should be quiet and eat more --- her mom worked hard to pack her that lunch. Geez, guilt your own kids, but who made you guilt spigot for them all?? I wouldn't appreciate strangers pressuring my kids to eat, they have no idea what's appropriate for them . . .

I try to avoid bossing around kids who aren't mine. Playgrounds can be tough, as a moment's escapade can injure a child. I know my kids' limits, which are generous because they're climbers, and while I spotted them extensively when they were younger, I'm now confident of what they can safely handle . . . but I know that other kids can be too young or inexperienced or just not allowed the same activities. If I see a young child attempting something questionable - even if it's just fine or would have been just fine for my kids - I ask the attending parent or the kid if I can't identify a parent, "Is she ok climbing that high?" or "does your mom let you climb that high?" - which usually draws attention of a parent who says "yes, she's a great climber", or "no, it's NOT! Thank you" and runs to retrieve the kid. I don't want to be the one who just watched as a kid seriously injured himself. My kids though do climb up the slide --- even up the outside of tubular slides --- but are only allowed to if nobody is coming down or waiting to come down. If I somehow hadn't corrected them myself, I wouldn't mind a parent pointing out to them that other kids were waiting to slide down, and they needed to allow them a turn. (especially because younger kids will be too intimidated to ask much older/bigger ones to give way, it's their parent's role to help)

Though if a parent did correct my child when they were behaving perfectly well according to our rules, I would step in to challenge the correction myself, and say they're allowed to x, I wouldn't leave it to my kids to challenge them (one is so shy she wouldn't, she'd be very intimidated; the other might well retort disrespectfully as yours did; either way I'd rather stand up for them myself and not put them on the spot accounting to someone they shouldn't have to.)


Father of Four wrote,

>I brought my sons to the playground and a mother >there scolded my kids for running up the slide. >Then she badgered them about not wearing shoes.

Posted by: KB | June 8, 2007 12:47 PM

"She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B."


A wife to a billionaire is a mere bauble. Billionaires are married to their own greed.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 12:49 PM

"Though if a parent did correct my child when they were behaving perfectly well according to our rules"

This is when the kid should tell the buttinsky adult to MYOB!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:50 PM

"Its called A Sense of the World. It is about the Blind Traveler who was this young man in the late 1700s who lost his sight and went on to become the greatest explorer of his generation. "

I just read "Hemingway's Cats". Loads of fun for a cat lover and not an ounce of inspiration!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:55 PM

"She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B."

And what, pray tell, do they DO with their billions? Anything that benefits society at large, or are they just greed-muffins like Paris Hilton?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 12:59 PM

On the subject of "parents who behave like great, big gigantic grown-up kids", can you tell me if this is weird or not?

I was at my kids' elementary school field day yesterday and each class had on matching tie-dyed t-shirts which were made by some mom who's a hell of a lot craftier than me.

Now here's the weird part -- Several of the moms had made THEMSELVES matching t-shirts, so they matched their child's class! And one mom had made matching t-shirts for herself and her two preschoolers who were there to "watch" the big kid's field day. So the whole family had to show up dressed up for this one little event. My kids mentioned that the kids whose moms came dressed the same were just embarassed and annoyed by it. Is this what you're talking about -- moms who clearly like to live vicariously through their children? Would this have struck you as weird?

Posted by: Armchair Mom | June 8, 2007 1:00 PM

"She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B."


A wife to a billionaire is a mere bauble. Billionaires are married to their own greed.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 12:49 PM

She's not even the wife to a billionaire. She married the son of a billionaire. I thought we were well beyond valuing the worth of a woman by who she married.

Posted by: xyz | June 8, 2007 1:00 PM

Armchair Mom, when I was a kid, mother-daughter dresses were all the rage one year, so my mom made us each a matching dress out of seersucker for summer. But the difference was that the girl dressed as a miniature of her mother -- not vice versa -- and, for the record, these were styles that were demure and equally appropriate for women and girls.

Posted by: catlady | June 8, 2007 1:04 PM

You made some good points to think about. I was accused on yesterdays blog for being a Nosey Parker because I on occasion correct kids at birthday parties. I only do it if it's a safety issue or, in one case, when kids were banging on aquarium and terrarium glass at a nature center. The nature center staff person was not in the room yet and it was clear that the animals were distressed. It's tricky because it isn't always clear if a party guest's parent is present.

I have corrected a child or two for going up a slide with other children waiting in cases where it wasn't obvious that the child's parent was aware of what was going on. If another parent is condoning something, I just direct my kids elsewhere in the playground (except for the time a kid was swinging and throwing a plastic baseball bat near other children --I pointed out to the father that his kid was creating an unsafe situation and was told to kiss off). Another mother said this guy was well-known at the community pool and that everyone avoids his kids because he does condone unsafe behavior.

Posted by: Marian | June 8, 2007 1:04 PM

She's not even the wife to a billionaire. She married the son of a billionaire. I thought we were well beyond valuing the worth of a woman by who she married.
----

If that's all you took from my post then back to English class with you! You can twist anything to mean anything but that doesn't equal comprehension

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 1:05 PM

that's right, rich people are BAD

and no one is envious of them

because they are so BAD because they are rich

do get me started on successful people...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:05 PM


pATRICK

"A wife to a billionaire is a mere bauble. Billionaires are married to their own greed."

Right, like you you know anything about billionaires!

Marriage to almost anyone else on the planet would be heaven compared to being the wife of a windbag like you!

Posted by: gutless coward | June 8, 2007 1:06 PM

'She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B."


Wouldn't that actually be worse?. If you were married to the Billionaire at least you would be at the top of the pecking order. I imagine all that woman(married to the son) has is the expectations and none of the power. A second tier bauble so to speak.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:07 PM

Gutless coward or what ever other name that you might post with today, Yawn.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:09 PM

I let my child go barefoot but I know other parents think this is a bad decision and it is a bad influence on their kids--i.e., they will then have to deal with "he can do it, why can't I?"

Once a parent said "because he is a boy and you are a girl." I was pretty taken aback by how blantant the statement was, but i wonder if that is pretty common-- to be more protective--- and more demanding that she follow society conventions-- of a girl than a boy? I suspect that i will expect different behaviors from my baby girl than from my son, so no judgment here-- honest!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 1:10 PM

We had a wiggle worm and a slip & slide when I grew up. I also bought my kids a slip and slide. But since we live near the beach, it was not as big a deal to have than when I was young!

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 1:12 PM

Aside from retiring early what part of this equates to happiness? What happens when your kids does drugs or hangs himself because he failed to live up to your ridiculous expectations? What if your kid wants to dance for a living? I have nothing but pity for your children. I don't see how being a millionaire, unless you are a decent person, really improves our nation. YOur viewpoitns are short sighted and a recipie for unhappiness.
----

What happened in your childhood where you made a connection between success and money and unhappiness? I guarantee you that the people I know who are extremely wealthy are far far happier than I am. They got their roof repairs fixed right away, they don't have to wait for the Home Loan to be approved like I did. They got their kids sailing lessons without blinking.

The kid I knew who committed suicide in high school was the son of an Army Colonel. Is that kind of pressure to succeed (or in this case, I believe pressure to not be gay) linked to wealth? Why would you draw a connection between wealth and unhappiness that doesn't exist and how does that affect your personal spending decisions and success in life. If you believed being ultimately successful in your career brought great happiness then how would you live your life differently?

Why is having a happy kid more important to an unhappy kid? I have a coworker from Prince William County who values her children's faith above all else, above happiness and above academics. Why is faith valued above happiness? According to her: eternal life is worth the suffering here on earth. Why would you value happiness above success and duty to society? or faith? or any number of other criteria?

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 1:13 PM

'She was accepted to Yale, started a volunteer program, got famous and married the son of a billionaire, that's with a B."


Wouldn't that actually be worse?. If you were married to the Billionaire at least you would be at the top of the pecking order. I imagine all that woman(married to the son) has is the expectations and none of the power. A second tier bauble so to speak.
------

She has a career you fool. She started a non-profit at Yale which I mentioned. She got her Masters at GU and a PhD in London. Sure she had to follow her husband where his career took him, but to echo the Gutless Coward, what do you know about Billionaires and why would you post about something you know nothing about? This is not the first time you applied a fantasy life scenario to one of my posts. That's inappropriate.

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 1:21 PM

Aren't public pools safer than private pools, 'cause at least you can be sure that the water is tested every day, and if the bacteria levels are too high the pool is closed. Seems a lot safer than a neighbor's pool where you don't know what's going on....

Posted by: datame | June 8, 2007 1:23 PM

I know someone who is a doctor because that is what she was told she would become.

I think that's just sad.

There's a difference between pushing your child to become what you think they should and just encouraging your child to work hard and be the best they can be in their chosen path.

Posted by: just sayin' | June 8, 2007 1:25 PM

"Why would you value happiness above success and duty to society? or faith? or any number of other criteria?"


I could write a long post in response to this but in reality it would be a waste of time because this poster would never get it.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:26 PM

Moxiemom, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I have daily challanges to overcome. Like this morning, I did it again, I got to work, went to the bathroom, and peed on the "Out of Order" sign posted inside the urinal.

Maybe I'll write a book when I get the time, like after I get fired for blogging too much.

On the running up the slide issue I just wanted to point out that, had the mother asked my son nicely and maybe used the word "Please", she most likely would have gotten the desired response. I guess I'm one of those parents that live vicariously through the eyes of my children and use the team approach rather than the authority/obedience model of parenting. I get much more cooperation that way

And I wunder what people think is worse, going blind or going deaf?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 1:28 PM

Am I missing something...what is wrong with going barefoot around the playground, etc.? I can imagine thinking it is inappropriate at school, church, a grocery store, but why do people care if another person's child is going barefoot?

Somebody tell me people are not really that obnoxious.

Posted by: londonmom | June 8, 2007 1:28 PM

datame

"Aren't public pools safer than private pools, 'cause at least you can be sure that the water is tested every day, and if the bacteria levels are too high the pool is closed."

Are you sure about the testing & closing policies?

If true, a lot more pools would be closed on a lot more days.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:29 PM

"what do you know about Billionaires and why would you post about something you know nothing about? This is not the first time you applied a fantasy life scenario to one of my posts. That's inappropriate.'

DC "dude", I have worked in finance with wealthy people my whole career. Aligning yourself with the gutless coward troll speaks volumes about you. She has a career? Please! Being his wife is her career. You remind me of people I have known who are mesmerized with wealth. Like them, I bet every thought you have is "How much did that cost, what does he make" etc.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:32 PM


I could write a long post in response to this but in reality it would be a waste of time because this poster would never get it.

------

I vote this the funniest post of the day!

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 1:34 PM

"Why would you value happiness above success and duty to society? or faith? or any number of other criteria?"

why make it an either or situation? Lots of people find greatest happiness when expressing their faith-- or realizing sucess-- or living out a particular duty to society.

and sometimes those same people just enjoy running through spinklers!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 1:35 PM

why do people care if another person's child is going barefoot?

Have you never heard of lawyers? Never underestimate who they'll sue, like if you saw that the other person's child was barefoot and could've said something about it or warned them of a danger but didn't, then the child got hurt. Even if the suit against you was dismissed, you'd still have to pay a lawyer to defend you.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:36 PM

And I wunder what people think is worse, going blind or going deaf?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 01:28 PM

It's generally not a matter of choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:38 PM

DC "dude", I have worked in finance with wealthy people my whole career. Aligning yourself with the gutless coward troll speaks volumes about you. She has a career? Please! Being his wife is her career. You remind me of people I have known who are mesmerized with wealth. Like them, I bet every thought you have is "How much did that cost, what does he make" etc.
----
Oh really. That's what you think huh? You'd bet that huh? Hmmm... why would you want to invent personality types in this forum experience?

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 1:39 PM

Fo4: my eyes are pretty good, so I would say going deaf is worse. I have a difficult time following conversations. It is way to easy to just turn off socially. Everyone assumes I'm stupid because I can't follow a conversation. Hearing aids don't work for many people. If the nerve doesn't transmit sound, there isn't anything anyone can do yet. Cochlear implants don't work for all yet either. However, I can get around independently, watch TV with the captions on, and the like. That seems to be the primary drawbacks to blindness. Or maybe it isn't???

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 1:39 PM

Am I missing something...what is wrong with going barefoot around the playground, etc.? I can imagine thinking it is inappropriate at school, church, a grocery store, but why do people care if another person's child is going barefoot?

Somebody tell me people are not really that obnoxious.

Posted by: londonmom | June 8, 2007 01:28 PM

It could be a safety issue (this coming from a woman who loves to go barefoot) depending on the playground, there can be sharp stones, etc. At the water park once I was heading back to the ladies room, barefoot, and I accidently stepped on a still lit cigarette butt, so no more barefoot at that park once I am out of the water. It may not be her business, I wouldn't correct someone else's child in a situation like this where no one else is at risk and it probably isn't life threatening, but it may not be related to what is appropriate, but what she thinks is safe.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | June 8, 2007 1:42 PM

i think the concern with bare feet at playground is that there could be sharp rocks or shards of glass and the child may get cut. so some people think, why take the risk? the benefit of feeling grass beneath your feet just isn't outweighed by the risk.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 8, 2007 1:43 PM

You are really in the danger zone disciplining children that you don't know. Many people may not take kindly to it.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:45 PM

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Posted by: Oscar Wilde | June 8, 2007 1:46 PM

For me, going blind. I couldn't ride my horses. And I would still have to hear about all my faults and the million and one ways I've ruined my husband's life, crushed his dreams, robbed him of his money...

He forgot male-pattern baldness. Maybe this weekend!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 8, 2007 1:46 PM

dotted

"I would say going deaf is worse. I have a difficult time following conversations. It is way to easy to just turn off socially. Everyone assumes I'm stupid because I can't follow a conversation."

Same here. Since childhood, most people, including the teachers have assumed that I am retarded because of the blank look on my face.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:46 PM

You remind me of people I have known who are mesmerized with wealth. Like them, I bet every thought you have is "How much did that cost, what does he make" etc.


Stop reading my mind! And yes, I re-gift EVERYTHING.

I wonder why I never get invited to weddings or parties anymore.

Posted by: Michelle Singletary | June 8, 2007 1:48 PM

You are really in the danger zone disciplining children that you don't know. Many people may not take kindly to it.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 01:45 PM

If a responsible adult sees your child about to get hurt and you're not immediately available, you don't want that adult to warn your child?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:48 PM

"I would say going deaf is worse. I have a difficult time following conversations. It is way to easy to just turn off socially. Everyone assumes I'm stupid because I can't follow a conversation."

Why do you have such a tough time?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:49 PM

"I would say going deaf is worse. I have a difficult time following conversations. It is way to easy to just turn off socially. Everyone assumes I'm stupid because I can't follow a conversation."

Why do you have such a tough time?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:49 PM

Armchair Mom,

My husband and I were in a Tex-Mex restaurant one time, and this family came in -- parents and two kids, little girl and little boy. All four were wearing identical tie-dyed tee-shirts.

I was sooo weirded out.

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 1:49 PM

My parents taught me to hide my disability back in the 60s because deaf kids were assigned to a special school, rather than mainstreamed. I was told as long as I earned good grades, I could stay in the same school as my neighborhood. Worked for me.

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 1:50 PM

"You are really in the danger zone disciplining children that you don't know. Many people may not take kindly to it.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 01:45 PM

If a responsible adult sees your child about to get hurt and you're not immediately available, you don't want that adult to warn your child?"

That is different then what I posted. Of course if they are about to get hurt, but scolding them or disciplining is different.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 1:52 PM

Fred--

You and I are really dating ourselves with Wiggle-Worm.

I remember slip-and-slide; someone in my neighborhood had one.

The best ever, though, was running through the sprinkler. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 1:53 PM

Barefoot at the park - a lot of parks around here are covered in mulch, and I don't let my kids go barefoot because every time they do we have to do the slinter removal wrestling match, which isn't worth any enjoyment they may get from going barefoot there. Other places? No problem. I'd be pretty ticked if someone else stepped in and told them to put on their shoes if I'd already okay'd it, though.

Posted by: FishyGirl | June 8, 2007 1:53 PM

All four were wearing identical tie-dyed tee-shirts.

I was sooo weirded out.

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 01:49 PM

Get over yourself. As long as they were well-behaved and paid their bill, it's NOYB.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:54 PM

father of 4,

I am glad that you son stuck up for himself. The only time I would ever say something to another person's child is if they were about to do something to my child or were going to be hurt, but even then I would yell for the parents.

Although I was really grateful when my daughter broke free of my hand and started running for the road. A stranger heard me scream and was running towards her as I did. I think there is a difference between saving a child from injury and being a biddy.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 1:54 PM

"Although I was really grateful when my daughter broke free of my hand and started running for the road"

There are leashes for spawn like yours...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 1:56 PM

pATRICK
see anon post at 1:46. I lost most of my hearing when quite young due to either scarlett fever, high temperature, or high dose of tetracycline. The doctors aren't sure why. I have to use facial clues and partial sounds to infer what is being said. That means staring and intense concentration just to figure out words, much less, reply. It is difficult and tiring to concentrate that hard all the time. People think I'm totally blanking out if I can't manage the concentration at that particular time. People also accuse me of being rude whenever I don't acknowledge a greeting (e.g., they're not in direct line of sight).

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 1:56 PM

"Although I was really grateful when my daughter broke free of my hand and started running for the road"

There are leashes for spawn like yours...

There are also lobotomies for people like you. It would improve you attitude and your personality.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 1:58 PM

Armchair Mom,

My husband and I were in a Tex-Mex restaurant one time, and this family came in -- parents and two kids, little girl and little boy. All four were wearing identical tie-dyed tee-shirts.

I was sooo weirded out.

Posted by: pittypat | June 8, 2007 01:49 PM

I see lots of tour groups (I work near the tourist section of DC so I see lots of tour groups), and know of families at large amusement parks that have the same t-shirts on so that they can spot each other in a crowd. So I wouldn't be freaked out. I guess context is everything.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | June 8, 2007 1:58 PM

DOTTED, no kidding that does seem like it would tire a person out!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 2:01 PM

dotted

"People also accuse me of being rude whenever I don't acknowledge a greeting (e.g., they're not in direct line of sight)."

Yes, I've been accused of being "stuck-up" when I ignore greetings from a distance and car horns beeping, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:03 PM

"Although I was really grateful when my daughter broke free of my hand and started running for the road"

There are leashes for spawn like yours...

There are also lobotomies for people like you. It would improve you attitude and your personality.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 01:58 PM

Actually, I would advise a hippocampal lesion instead.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 8, 2007 2:13 PM

I guess I'm guilty of weirding people out. We always wear our bright-colored matching shirts to amusement parks or other busy venues so we can find each other more easily. And occasionally, we even stop at restaurants or stores on our way home. We do get some funny looks, but most people stop and compliment us on our great idea.

Posted by: Identical | June 8, 2007 2:14 PM

I am short - many people look right over my head! :-)
Seriously dotted, that must be very tiring. I have a dear friend who is deaf. She has a great sense of humor about it. Her husband and I planned her 40th surprise birthday party behind her back - literally!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 8, 2007 2:17 PM

To all of you who are bashing Scarry because her child broke loose:

Do you not remember what it was like to be maybe 3 or 4 years old, and wanting to express your individuality by doing that? Were you not inquisitive human children too?

Scarry made it clear she'd been holding on to her child's hand, not letting the child roam free.

Sheesh.

Posted by: catlady | June 8, 2007 2:18 PM

identical

"I guess I'm guilty of weirding people out. We always wear our bright-colored matching shirts to amusement parks or other busy venues so we can find each other more easily. "

Yes, it's none of my business, but at first sight of these groups, I am hard-wired to think "kooky cult."

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 2:18 PM

Every 4th of July, all sixof us wear our new flag shirts from Old Navy.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 2:21 PM

Every 4th of July, all sixof us wear our new flag shirts from Old Navy.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 02:21 PM

Well, that's what they tell you anyway. Are you really certain?

Posted by: to Fo4 | June 8, 2007 2:23 PM

Michelle Singletary

"I wonder why I never get invited to weddings or parties anymore."


'Cause you're a know-it-all control freak beyotch. Don't let the door hit your fat a$s on the way out, killjoy!

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 2:23 PM

The identical t-shirt thing seems a bit nerdy on the surface (not that there's anything wrong with nerdy!), but I understand the reasoning for large groups/families at parks, etc.

I think some of the weirding out might come from the effort behind the tie-dye for a field day. I'm not at all crafty though, so it would be a chore rather than a fun project.

Posted by: Marian | June 8, 2007 2:24 PM

to top cat:

Hilarious. Next time we go, maybe we'll come up with ideas to really freak people out to add to our fun. Maybe we can do some interpretive dancing in line for a roller coaster. :) Admittedly, once our kids are bigger, the matching shirts will disappear. For now, though, it has been wonderful.

Posted by: identical | June 8, 2007 2:26 PM

Elaine, what went down between you and Michelle?

By the way, which is your favorite Barbie?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 8, 2007 2:26 PM

Maybe we can do some interpretive dancing in line for a roller coaster. :)

Okay, I'd like to see this--but you have to do it while ROLLER SKATING.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:28 PM

identical

"Maybe we can do some interpretive dancing in line for a roller coaster. :)"

The Wave would be cool....

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 2:28 PM

Michelle Singletary

"I wonder why I never get invited to weddings or parties anymore."


'Cause you're a know-it-all control freak beyotch. Don't let the door hit your fat a$s on the way out, killjoy!"


That really was too harsh ELAINE.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 2:29 PM

Yes, it's none of my business, but at first sight of these groups, I am hard-wired to think "kooky cult."

Posted by: Top Cat | June 8, 2007 02:18 PM

As someone posted above, it's a good way to spot others in one's party when traveling as a group. This should esp. comfort those here who worry about abductions. "What was your child wearing?" "A shirt just like mine."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:33 PM

What happened in your childhood where you made a connection between success and money and unhappiness? I guarantee you that the people I know who are extremely wealthy are far far happier than I am

What happened in your life where you equate financial success with happiness. They are not synonyms. I am certain that just about everyone is happier than you are. At this point I just feel sad for you that you are so clearly unhappy that you need to try to make others unhappy too. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:36 PM

Michelle Singletary

"I wonder why I never get invited to weddings or parties anymore."

'Cause you're a know-it-all control freak beyotch. Don't let the door hit your fat a$s on the way out, killjoy!

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 02:23 PM

Enjoy being massively indebted, Elaine, with your lavish spendthrift lifestyle. I'll take frugality and financial security any day.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:36 PM

Thanks for the ideas. Watch for them at a theme park near you!

Posted by: identical | June 8, 2007 2:37 PM

"This should esp. comfort those here who worry about abductions. "What was your child wearing?" "A shirt just like mine.""

Check with the EXPERTS before you set your comfort levels...

The first thing child abductors do is change the kid's clothes, cut hair, put on a baseball cap, etc. A shirt can be easily switched out.

Law enforcement officials recommend putting UNIQUE shoes on your kids as a safeguard. It's not foolproof, but it has worked.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:39 PM

Fred--

You and I are really dating ourselves with Wiggle-Worm.

Well, I am not 55 yet! (will be this year however!) and I still go around barefooted most of the time except for work!

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 2:40 PM

"This should esp. comfort those here who worry about abductions. "What was your child wearing?" "A shirt just like mine.""

Check with the EXPERTS before you set your comfort levels...

The first thing child abductors do is change the kid's clothes, cut hair, put on a baseball cap, etc. A shirt can be easily switched out.

Law enforcement officials recommend putting UNIQUE shoes on your kids as a safeguard. It's not foolproof, but it has worked.

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:39 PM

THis is all true. But if it's just happened and the abductor hasn't had time to make all these changes, or if your child simply wandered off and was NOT abducted, it will help.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:42 PM

"THis is all true. But if it's just happened and the abductor hasn't had time to make all these changes, or if your child simply wandered off and was NOT abducted, it will help."

You'd be amazed how fast a child abductor can change a kid's appearance with a little advance planning!


Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:46 PM

Enjoy being massively indebted, Elaine, with your lavish spendthrift lifestyle. I'll take frugality and financial security any day.


Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:36 PM

I find it massively funny that a woman whose household income is well over 100K, makes a point of only spending $100 or less on gifts for her entire family (nuclear & extended).

Posted by: Wool gatherer | June 8, 2007 2:46 PM

I find it massively funny that a woman whose household income is well over 100K, makes a point of only spending $100 or less on gifts for her entire family (nuclear & extended).

Posted by: Wool gatherer | June 8, 2007 02:46 PM

I find it massively sensible. You're just being greedy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:47 PM

Yea, Elaine. You're just being a self-centered beeyatch like your character on Seinfeld.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:51 PM

I find it massively funny that a woman whose household income is well over 100K, makes a point of only spending $100 or less on gifts for her entire family (nuclear & extended).

Posted by: Wool gatherer | June 8, 2007 02:46 PM

I find it massively sensible. You're just being greedy.

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:47 PM

Call it what you will, not everyone enjoys being given remaindered paperbacks as a present (the ones with the cover torn off).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:53 PM

So much for carefree fridays here ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 2:54 PM

Call it what you will, not everyone enjoys being given remaindered paperbacks as a present (the ones with the cover torn off).

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:53 PM

The text is just the same. You're such a snob.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:55 PM

Jun 8, 2:03 PM EDT
Archdiocese Fires Sex Abuse Critic

CHICAGO (AP) -- A Roman Catholic school principal who criticized the Archdiocese of Chicago for its handling of sexual abuse allegations against the school's former parish priest has been fired.

"I spoke up for children and would do it all over again," Barbara Westrick said Thursday after learning the archdiocese would not renew her contract at Our Lady of the Westside School.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan said the four-year principal was fired because of her performance, not because she complained about the archdiocese's handling of accusations against the Rev. Daniel McCormack.

"This is an independent situation," Dolan said. "It has nothing to do with past history."

McCormack has pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in allegations dating back to 2001 that he fondled five boys at the school and church.

Westrick said she never heard from the archdiocese or police after a boy's mother reported allegations of abuse to them in September 2005.

The former math teacher and basketball coach was not charged or removed as pastor until after Westrick told police, the archdiocese and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services about allegations one boy made to her in January 2006.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:57 PM

Enjoy being massively indebted, Elaine, with your lavish spendthrift lifestyle. I'll take frugality and financial security any day.
-----

Because those are the only two options, indebtedness or giving trash as a gift. there is no middle ground

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 2:59 PM

Call it what you will, not everyone enjoys being given remaindered paperbacks as a present (the ones with the cover torn off).

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:53 PM

The text is just the same. You're such a snob.

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:55 PM

Nothing says "I love and cherish you" like a book that cost 25 cents or less.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 2:59 PM

pATRICK

"So much for carefree fridays here ;)"

pATRICK using the word "carefree"?

Oh, the irony........

Posted by: spineless troll | June 8, 2007 3:00 PM

The USA is ranking far behind other developed countries in math and science. A little struction and doing some math packets will not hurt us as a nation.

Posted by: lifelong | June 8, 2007 3:00 PM

catlady,

Thanks. My daughter was actually carrying a ball and I had her pinned between the cart and the car door. I had her hand, she dropped the ball and went under the car door. I ran, yelled, almost fell and when I finally caught her I accidentally knocked her down. The man heard me yell and was coming from another row. Like I said, the people here watch out for each other.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 3:01 PM

Fo4 - While I agree with others that being deaf would be difficult and frustrating, I would rather be deaf than blind. If I were deaf, I would still be able to communicate with others. If I were blind, I would only be able to see in my memories and imagination.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:01 PM

"Call it what you will, not everyone enjoys being given remaindered paperbacks as a present (the ones with the cover torn off). "

When I worked in a store - those were supposed to be destroyed. The covers were ripped off and sent to the publisher to get a refund or to prove that you didn't have to pay. Only the covers were sent back to save on shipping. Unless this has changed, that means the author and the publisher don't get their fees. Unlike a library, or borrowing a friend's copy, where at least the book was
paid for once, this means that the book wasn't paid for. So in a way you are getting something that was stolen.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:02 PM

advance planning!

Do not use the phrase "advance planning." All planning in done in advance of a activity. Saying advance planning is redundant and saying the say thing over again.

The same goes for "past experience" and "new innovations."

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | June 8, 2007 3:03 PM

Posted by: spineless troll | June 8, 2007 03:00 PM


Say hello to your brother gutless coward when you see him...like in the mirror.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:03 PM

"Yea, Elaine. You're just being a self-centered beeyatch like your character on Seinfeld."

As in "The Soup Nazi" episode?

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 3:04 PM

What happened to fun fridays? You remember, where we swapped tales/recipes and gave each other energy to do that weekend?

Posted by: dottted | June 8, 2007 3:06 PM

Nothing says "I love and cherish you" like a book that cost 25 cents or less.

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 02:59 PM

Because those are the only two options, indebtedness or giving trash as a gift. there is no middle ground

Posted by: DCer | June 8, 2007 02:59 PM


I'm all choked up with sentiment by your gratitude.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:06 PM

My husband and I are actually hoping that our children can provide us with more unstructured time this summer!

While our 6-year old will go to daycamp, our 14- and 16-year olds will be primarily on their own during the day. I've already told them that this is the summer they will hone their independent living skills. There is no reason why they can't do laundry, other basic household chores, and maybe even get dinner started so that my husband and I don't have to do all these things after working all day. They will still have PLENTY of time for relaxation and fun. And we will all have more free time on weekends to enjoy together.

Posted by: MP | June 8, 2007 3:09 PM

"What happened to fun fridays? You remember, where we swapped tales/recipes and gave each other energy to do that weekend?"

I'm all for a good fight if warranted but I agree Fridays should be more fun. Got any good recipes? ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:11 PM

"Call it what you will, not everyone enjoys being given remaindered paperbacks as a present (the ones with the cover torn off). "

When I worked in a store - those were supposed to be destroyed. The covers were ripped off and sent to the publisher to get a refund or to prove that you didn't have to pay. Only the covers were sent back to save on shipping. Unless this has changed, that means the author and the publisher don't get their fees. Unlike a library, or borrowing a friend's copy, where at least the book was
paid for once, this means that the book wasn't paid for. So in a way you are getting something that was stolen.


Posted by: | June 8, 2007 03:02 PM

I wonder if the first poster was on the receiving end of a remaindered paperback, or a Friends of the Library sale.

Remaindered is stolen (as noted at 3:02 pm). FOL is often very used, and sometimes in pretty awful shape.

I don't mind reading books that are in bad condition (but I always cringe at the way they've been abused), but I certainly wouldn't want one as a birthday or Christmas present. If you are that hard up, I'd prefer some cookies.

Or that Banana Split Cake.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 8, 2007 3:11 PM

"giving trash as a gift."

If it is a book about paris hilton it is trash. If the 25 cent book is by Hemingway, maybe a different story!

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 3:12 PM

"If it is a book about paris hilton it is trash."

Paris going back to jail possibly. My faith in karma is being renewed.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:14 PM

Baltimore, Md.: I really appreciate your comments. However, how do you draw the line between frugality and miserliness - both in your own mind and when looking at others?

Michelle Singletary: Some of my relatives might say I have no line.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:24 PM

Judge orders Paris Hilton back to jail
Weeping actress screams 'It's not right!' as she's taken from courtroom.


Karma in action BABY! Now That's Hot!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:26 PM

"When I worked in a store - those were supposed to be destroyed. The covers were ripped off and sent to the publisher to get a refund or to prove that you didn't have to pay. Only the covers were sent back to save on shipping."

True. I worked in a publisher's warehouse. I had the delightful job of tearing in two the paperback book covers!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:27 PM

When the hell did Paris Hilton become an actress?

Maybe she's an "actress", the same way a stripper is an "entertainer" for the IRS?

Posted by: to pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:29 PM

When the hell did Paris Hilton become an actress?

Maybe she's an "actress", the same way a stripper is an "entertainer" for the IRS?"

Their words not mine.She may have to do the full 45 days now. This may be the best thing that has ever happened to her and give her the one thing she has never had.....humility.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:33 PM

pATRICK

"This may be the best thing that has ever happened to her and give her the one thing she has never had.....humility."

pATRICK using the word "humility"! Oh, the exquisite irony!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:35 PM

I don't understand why people get satisfaction out of watching Paris fuffer. Has she hurt anybody, or what is it?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 8, 2007 3:36 PM

When the hell did Paris Hilton become an actress?

Maybe she's an "actress", the same way a stripper is an "entertainer" for the IRS?"

Their words not mine.She may have to do the full 45 days now. This may be the best thing that has ever happened to her and give her the one thing she has never had.....humility.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 03:33 PM

Naw...she doesn't even have to share a cell with someone else. I can't believe they can't find SOMEONE who isn't likely to beat the snot out of her. Maybe some woman who passed one bad check too many?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:37 PM

Sorry, Paris baby, I just couldn't get out of the grave for you!

Posted by: Johnnie Cochran | June 8, 2007 3:38 PM

pATRICK

Why do you keep posting about Paris Hilton?

Posted by: June | June 8, 2007 3:40 PM

Paris is pATRICK's love child!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:42 PM

I bet I am in the minority here, but I feel bad for Paris. I think jail time will do her good, but I assume (and yes I know what they say about assuming) she turned out this way because her parents allowed her to turn out this way. How fitting for the on Balance blog. Something I read made me feel so bad for her, "in jail, Paris will be alone for the first time in her life." Imagine what a scarey life that is.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 3:43 PM

"pATRICK using the word "humility"! Oh, the exquisite irony!

Oh, the irony........"

Your writing style is easy to see, you might as well post your name, coward,troll wahtever you have morphed into...Yawn, Yawn-Double YAWN


Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:44 PM

Paris in Jail - how would you feel if this was your child?

I think that I would say it is time to take responsibility for your actions and serve your time.

Though I doubt my kid will end up being such a brat

Posted by: single mom | June 8, 2007 3:46 PM

Paris is pATRICK's love child


That's funny!Yes Kathy Hilton and I got busy at our Hilton Hotel loveshack.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:46 PM

Being in Iraq being shot at is scary. Don't waste your sympathy on someone who has broken the law.

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 3:46 PM

As she's done for the day:

Marrying smarter, later leading to decline in US divorce rate
Survey shows figure is lowest since 1970
By Elizabeth Lopatto, Bloomberg | May 12, 2007

NEW YORK -- The US divorce rate has dropped to its lowest since 1970, as people wed later in life, live together without marrying, and secure prenuptial agreements, particularly among the affluent.

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Boston.com
Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts The rate, which measures the number of divorces against the total population, peaked at 5.3 per 1,000 people in 1981 and settled at 3.6 in the 12 months prior to September 2006, the most recent data available, according to a May 4 report by US health officials.

The marriage rate also dropped to 7.3 in 2005 from 7.6 the year earlier and 7.7 in 2004, the report said. People are taking longer to decide who they'll marry and more are considering financial security, whether to have children, and which religion to belong to before tying the knot, according to lawyers who specialize in matrimonial law and sociologists.

"People are just more savvy going in about the likelihood of divorce," said Marina Tucker, a matrimonial attorney at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP in Washington, in a telephone interview. Once married, they're "more willing to seek marriage counseling as a way to mediate issues," she said.

Tucker said she "definitely" sees fewer divorces in marriages that have hammered out prenuptial legal agreements. Lawyers tell their clients ahead of time "all the terrible things that might happen in the future," she said. "It makes them think everything through."

The divorce and marriage data was prepared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Of the states reporting, Florida had the most divorces with 66,712 from January to September 2006. Texas was second with 60,195 and New York was third at 38,422.

There is no divorce data from several states that declined to supply their information, including California. That state did supply data on marriages, leading the country with 167,173 nuptials during the same period, followed by Florida with 121,479 and Texas with 132,394.

Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of public policy in the sociology department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the divorce rate has been falling off strongly among the college-educated in America, even as it continues to creep up for the least schooled.

A number of studies have shown that more highly educated people tend to marry at an older age, and more of them live together without marrying.

"In a funny way, the postponing of marriage is lowering the divorce rate -- young couples live together without marrying, and when they break up the split doesn't count as a divorce," Cherlin said in a telephone interview.

Additionally, he said college-educated couples "have been the winners in our globalized economy -- they've gotten the better jobs, and their incomes are going up, so there's less strain on their marriages," Cherlin said.

Steven P. Martin, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., said that other factors may also be involved. For instance, he said there has been an increase in the proportion of marriages where there is a permanent breakup and no divorce, so there is no divorce certificate to count.

Also, recent research has shown that "fewer men and women are getting remarried if they separate," he said. "Thirty years ago, remarriage happened quickly."

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted by: for Michelle Singletary | June 8, 2007 3:47 PM

Marie

"I bet I am in the minority here, but I feel bad for Paris."

Paris is a grown WOMAN.

How bad do you feel about the rest of the one million people who are locked up in this country?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:47 PM

Marie

"I bet I am in the minority here, but I feel bad for Paris."

Paris is a grown WOMAN.

"How bad do you feel about the rest of the one million people who are locked up in this country?"

What about the poor black woman with a couple of kids locked up? Would she go home for a rash? Hell no and Paris should not either. To those whom much is given, much is expected.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 3:50 PM

I don't feel sorry for her. I knew the family of the young man who was killed this week when a drunk driver went up the ramp the wrong way in VA. Drunk drivers deserve everything they get.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 3:50 PM

Marie

"I bet I am in the minority here, but I feel bad for Paris."

Paris is a grown WOMAN.

How bad do you feel about the rest of the one million people who are locked up in this country?

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 03:47 PM

I agree with you. I do. I still feel bad for her. I think she deserves to go to jail. I think she deserves to pay back the county for all this running around. I do feel bad for the other people locked up who had crappy lives and didn't learn from their mistakes. I hope Paris can turn it around. I am sad when kids pay for their parents' shortcomings. I know she is a grown woman and that is why she needs to go to jail. Call me a sap, but I still feel bad.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 3:51 PM

To those whom much is given, much is expected.

Wow, Patrick are you qouting Rose Kennedy or the bible.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 3:51 PM

You feel sorry for a woman who drives drunk, got caught, violates her probation, blames her publicist, has the resources to do something with her life and doesn't choose to do so? If unrepentant, useless, spoiled drunk drivers don't merit shame, who does?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 3:53 PM

Marie,
You are a kind soul. If I were her, I would make the best of it. How bad can jail be, especially if you know you'll be back in your mansion in 45 days? I would take a lot of books with me and use it as a forced vacation, with time to read, sleep, and reflect. I am feeling the need for a break these days, but alas, there seems to be little time to spare.

Posted by: Emily | June 8, 2007 4:01 PM

She tithes to her church, is fully funding her kids college educations, and has been helping other relatives through college.

So she doesn't by her kids McDonalds or designer clothes. Well, in the long run, they probably won't be obsese or obsessed with their appearance.

She does give her kids allowances and allows the children to decide how THEY want to the spend THEIR money. She doesn't let them decide how to spend the fami;y's money.

Posted by: In defense of Michelle | June 8, 2007 4:06 PM

"You feel sorry for a woman who drives drunk, got caught, violates her probation, blames her publicist, has the resources to do something with her life and doesn't choose to do so? If unrepentant, useless, spoiled drunk drivers don't merit shame, who does?"

weeellll ppuuuuttt! The haughtiness is what did her in.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 4:06 PM

To Emily. Thanks -- I guess that is what I am trying to say -- I hope she uses this time well, because she never really had a chance. And before everyone jumps all over me and says that she had money -- didn't we just have the argument that money does not make you happy. Having money creates new and different problems. I hope she uses this opportunity to turn herself around.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 4:07 PM

Marie I am not going to junp on you, you have a right to your opinion, but don't you think that the sex tape thing would have made her turn her life around?

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 4:10 PM

The most disgusting thing about ph is how much time and attention on part of the national and local media is being devoted to her story. Also how much time we (including myself) are devoting to it. There are so many more important subjects we could talk about today, recipes, ideas for a "fun" day for the family, including matching shirts, even (gasp) breastfeeding!

I am so disgusted by this, I am going to mop some floors. (seriously!)

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 4:11 PM

Emily

"How bad can jail be, especially if you know you'll be back in your mansion in 45 days?"

Jail can be REALLY bad if you are coming down cold turkey from various drugs. Heck, quiting cigarettes cold turkey is very tough for some people.

You are confusing a jail with a hotel. Jails STINK!! The people are mean. The inmates talk to themselves, scream, cry, and through fits. It can be like living inside an insane asylum. Most jails don't let you bring in your own personal items or books. You're lucky to get a filthy paperback from the prison "library". Inmates fling feces at the guards and other inmates. You could be sexually assaulted. You don't ever, ever wanna go there.

PRISON IS A LOT, LOT WORSE. STAY AWAY!!!

Posted by: Attica | June 8, 2007 4:12 PM

I'm sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but what's with all the Michelle Singletary posts? When/where did that start? And what the heck are they referring to?

Posted by: t | June 8, 2007 4:13 PM

To Scarry -- one would have hoped, and perhaps there is no hope for her, but I dont like to give up hope on people. Even people who "drives drunk, got caught, violates her probation, blames her publicist, has the resources to do something with her life and doesn't choose to do so?" Because as soon as we give up hope on her, a point of prison -- rehabilitation -- is lost and we may as well send her to the death chamber. Dramatic, but opinion.

Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2007 4:16 PM

Michelle's intern

"I'm sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but what's with all the Michelle Singletary posts? When/where did that start? And what the heck are they referring to?"

Do your job and read the posts yourself!

Posted by: Elaine | June 8, 2007 4:19 PM

Marie

" Because as soon as we give up hope on her, a point of prison -- rehabilitation -- is lost and we may as well send her to the death chamber. Dramatic, but opinion."


OH, MY GOD? IS THIS FOR REAL?

And people think I'M a nutjob liberal looney tune....

Posted by: dumbfounded | June 8, 2007 4:25 PM

as long as her damned yapppie dog goes with her!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:27 PM

Summer time, flowers blooming, steaks cooking, children laughing, Paris Hilton screaming and going to jail...life is good

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 4:29 PM

"Summer time, flowers blooming, steaks cooking, children laughing, Paris Hilton screaming and going to jail...life is good"

Please, don't cook dead animals!

Thank you

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:31 PM

"Summer time, flowers blooming, steaks cooking, children laughing, Paris Hilton screaming and going to jail...life is good"

Please, don't cook dead animals!

Thank you

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 04:31 PM

Okay, if you insist -- live animals -- may be tricky keeping them on the grill, but I guess that is why we have lids :)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:32 PM

Would you prefer he cook live animals?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:32 PM

Marie,

I don't wish her ill. I don't feel sorry for her. She violated her probation already. Probation is a second chance after what should have been a life-changing wake-up call.

I am baffled though, at the statement that she never really had a chance. What is it she never really had a chance to do? She was born wealthy, but she is famous of her own making and not for any positive contribution or achievement. With her resources, she could have pursued any path she wanted including seclusion. She could have drawn attention to the arts, a group, a need, a passion. Thus far, she hasn't. She has treated her friends quite badly, time and time again, and quite publicly. Many, many people never really have a chance. Paris? You gotta be kidding.

I hope for the best for her, which is not that she avoids her sentence, but that she contemplates turning her current pattern of wasting her life's opportunities into a new path where she uses her wealth and fame for some greater good. I can't say that I expect her to turn herself around though, since the past is the best predictor of the future.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 4:34 PM

"Summer time, flowers blooming, steaks cooking, children laughing, Paris Hilton screaming and going to jail...life is good"

Please, don't cook dead animals!

Thank you

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 04:31 PM


Dang, I though torturing the cow by plopping it on the grill would be more disfavored than killing it first. I can never figure you self-loathing liberals out.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:40 PM

Marie,

As a Christian, I must forgive Paris Hilton, but I am not required to have sympathy for her receiving a just punishment.

Render Caesar's things to Caesar and God's things to God.

Posted by: Tammy Faye | June 8, 2007 4:44 PM

Please, don't cook dead animals!

I will actually grill them, season them, and then eat them.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 4:47 PM

"As a Christian, I must forgive Paris Hilton . . . "

forgiveness and justice are both the Lord's to give. You have no role in either, pseudo-Tammy Faye.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:47 PM

I didn't fact-check Wikipedia's entry, but according to it PH was expelled from the Dwight School (Lizzie Grubman purportedly an alumna as well). In the 90s, the school became known as the school of last resort for New Yorkers expelled from other private schools. Word went around that Dwight stood for Drunk White Idiots Getting High Together.

Saying I feel sorry for her would be too strong, but I don't envy her upbringing. I would guess her parents are shallow, selfish people who hired "help" to raise her. I suspect her mother is a typical trophy wife. It doesn't sound like anyone cared about her moral or practical education.

Posted by: Marian | June 8, 2007 4:51 PM

The floors are mopped and the toilet is scrubbed, now, on to the fun part of the afternoon--the nomination for Fred's Quote of the Day!

I was going to nominate the post about somebody being somebody's love child but I promised not to talk about that somebody anymore.

This is the best so far today: "If unrepentant, useless, spoiled drunk drivers don't merit shame, who does?"

If you even care who won, check in later!

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 4:52 PM

"forgiveness and justice are both the Lord's to give. You have no role in either, pseudo-Tammy Faye."

According to my Vicar, I do have a role in personal foregiveness.

Try it sometime.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:52 PM

MN,
I ordinarily don't follow celebrities, except for eyeing up those people/us magazines at the checkout counter. I usually get a laugh at their claims. However, Paris Hilton caught and kept my eye because she is obviously ill in so many ways. I never went so far as to actually watch "simple life" though. Magazine covers are enough. Her illness appears to be both physical (she's a lollipop head imho), emotional (can you say overly manipulative?), and mental(oncall psychologiest says there must be something). I also think she is one of the uglies women (along with Jolie) I've ever seen. Sad, but I don't believe she will change. Poor little rich girl all over again. It is a train wreck.

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 4:52 PM

I would love to see Paris in "SHALLOW HAL", you know where he see the inside person, My guess is Paris would be the ugliest shriveled thing you ever would see.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 4:55 PM

How much sympathy would there be for Paris Hilton if she looked like Rosie O'Donnell?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:56 PM

what else would you do with dead animals?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2007 4:57 PM

And to tie it all together...Paris will have a very structured summer.

Posted by: too obvious? | June 8, 2007 4:59 PM

I forgive people who have wronged me on those rare occasions when that happens, and I don't have to take direction from my Vicar before doing so. Step one though is to stop going around thinking everyone's wronged you.

Paris Hilton has not wronged anyone on this blog so to direct us to "forgive" her is to inflate our own importance and to falsely claim some sort of non-existent connection.

dotted - She didn't hold my attention until she felt the need to party with Britney Spears for a week or two. I had the distinctly awful feeling that she was only around to make Britney look even more unstable than she already is. There's something of the Mean Girl writ large about Paris that gives me the willies. I'm glad I've never personally encountered anyone who behaves as Paris is reported to have behaved. We only know what they tell us, after all.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 5:00 PM

"mean girl writ large" says it all
have a great weekend, by the way. I can't decide whether to do the free symphony tonight or not. It is just soooo hot.

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 5:04 PM

dotted, it IS hot, but sweating at the symphony is what we're supposed to do in the summer here - isn't it, LOL?

I read your earlier quotes today. My husband's great aunt progressively lost her hearing in her 30s and has tried the cochlear implant to no avail. As someone with very, very poor vision (no comparison in severity to your hearing loss), I've also had the experience at the pool or beach of someone thinking I'm ignoring them, when actually, I can't see anything more than 3 feet away. It's disconcerting for people to interpret a disability as a character flaw, but c'est la vie.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 5:10 PM

She's going back to serve the whole 45 days.

Now I feel a little sorry for her.

Posted by: scarry | June 8, 2007 5:13 PM

Fred's Cultural Tidbit of the Day
(Junior High School Division)

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." ~ William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 5:14 PM

"sweating at the symphony" sounds like a crazy Richards Simmons tune.....he he he

of course, c'est la vie

I'm probably going to do the symphony with lots of coconut rum with mango/pineapple juice in the cooler.

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 5:14 PM

above CTOTD courtesy of a friend who sent it to me today!

Do you like this one, Marian?

Posted by: Fred | June 8, 2007 5:16 PM

"Paris Hilton has not wronged anyone on this blog so to direct us to "forgive" her is to inflate our own importance and to falsely claim some sort of non-existent connection."

My thinking too. I do think that you and I wronged each other yesterday, so I feel that I need to forgive you and hopefully you will forgive me.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 5:17 PM

How much sympathy would there be for Paris Hilton if she looked like Rosie O'Donnell?

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 04:56 PM

the same. most people don't find her attractive. they find her train-wreck fascinating, and, stop me if you've heard this part: really, really, really rich. when you're really, really, really rich, you are considered attractive even if you look like cow dung.

Now if Lindsay Lohan looked like Rosie O'Donnell, no one would care about her.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 5:19 PM

Patrick,
Get real. MN did nothing to wrong you yesterday. But you certainly wronged her (and a bunch of other people).

Posted by: Emily | June 8, 2007 5:32 PM

MN,
When I think of Lindsay Logan, I just think of the Parent Trap. My son loves that movie. She was so cute and talented back then. I find it heartbreaking to see how she is turning out.

Posted by: Emily | June 8, 2007 5:35 PM

You know, pATRICK, I'm still at the highly pissed off and insulted stage, but if I can figure out how I wronged you (and I'm willing to consider it), I'll play. and please respect the fact that I am willing to disclose that you pissed me off.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 5:37 PM

"Patrick,
Get real. MN did nothing to wrong you yesterday. But you certainly wronged her (and a bunch of other people)."

Well that is your opinion and I wasn't talking to you by the way. Whether MN forgives me or not I will forgive her.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 5:37 PM

MN, I didn't think what I wrote was vile but that is immaterial because YOU thought it was vile. I was insulted by what you wrote, which you probably didn't think was wrong, but I did. The reason I directed this post to you instead of the horde of people who insulted me freely is that as a christian, I thought you would understand. In that spirit I apologize.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 8, 2007 5:43 PM

I propose a virtual toast to MN and to pATRICK

at least, imho, they walk the talk and I respect that.

Posted by: dotted | June 8, 2007 5:53 PM

*clink* *clink*

thanks, dotted. I wish I deserved your kind words, but I'll take 'em anyway, LOL.

Posted by: MN | June 8, 2007 6:24 PM

Dotted, just think how hot -- dang, I didn't mean it in the Paris way, but instead literally -- it must be for those symphony musicians having to play in that weather.

Posted by: catlady | June 8, 2007 6:27 PM

last!

Posted by: bryn mawr | June 9, 2007 9:11 AM

No you are not. I still have not made my award for the quote of the day!

we have a surprise winner!

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2007 12:17 PM

Fred's Quote of the Week (a new category) goes to 3:53 pm.

"You feel sorry for a woman who drives drunk, got caught, violates her probation, blames her publicist, has the resources to do something with her life and doesn't choose to do so? If unrepentant, useless, spoiled drunk drivers don't merit shame, who does?"

Posted by: | June 8, 2007 03:53 PM

This also applies to the Charlottesville Va mom who sponsored a drunk party for 15 & 16 yr old at her house.

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2007 12:38 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day goes to: Leslie!

"Yes, sometimes, like today, I feel like a punching bag! But there are a lot of fascinating comments amidst the bizarre criticism, which usually I don't take at all personally."

Posted by: Leslie | June 8, 2007 10:09 AM

Come on guys! Sometimes you are plain mean to her. I certainly have my criticisms of her (and as y'all of me) but it is tough writing a daily column to please anyone much less all of us.

Leslie, the creepy van awaits, I might even vacuum it out in your honor. (The sheetrock dust is getting a bit thick in the back!)

(you do have to buy the gas if you want to ride, the tank is on empty!)

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2007 12:49 PM

Fred, you ol' kiss-up!

Posted by: catlady | June 9, 2007 2:30 PM

Hey, I am MAKING her buy the gas!

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2007 2:46 PM

Well, whose fault is it that gas prices are so high, anyway?

Posted by: catlady | June 9, 2007 7:08 PM

For my son what I look for is a change of scenery during the summer. Soccer camp, traditional, fieldtrips to farms camp, etc. They all include some unstructured time and the main thing is that it isn't more school.

Posted by: csherr | June 12, 2007 8:49 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

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