Parenting for Pay

I always thought the rub about parenting was that it's a dead-end job. You work like a dog for 20+ years developing a bunch of skills that are invaluable to your family's mental and physical well-being, but worthless on the open market. Your kids leave home and you are left with a box of overpriced Beanie Babies, some old kids' potty seats and a few cracked pacifiers, and you have to take a job making $5.85 an hour folding clothes for rich working moms who shop at Ann Taylor.

But no more! It turns out that other parents who are either too busy or too inept will pay dearly for our child-rearing talents. And I'm not talking about the drudgery of working twelve hour days as a nanny or baby nurse. I mean becoming highly compensated Child Life Specialists who are taking over the intimate, mundane responsibilities that are no longer the sacred purview of parents. Who needs law school? Now we all can bill by the hour.

Take this:

Professional Potty Trainer. You too can charge $185 an hour to toilet train someone else's child, like the talented folks at the Soho Parenting center in New York. This tidbit was reported in the October issue of Vanity Fair, which also told of a company called High 5 which will teach your kid to ride a bike (for $60 an hour) and the Los Angeles trend of paying attractive young men to come to your house to horse around -- with your kids. "There's nothing more emasculating than watching a stranger being paid to play with your kids," one (apparently sane) father complained.

Get Babies to Sleep Through the Night. Australia's Baby Whisperer Sheyne Rowley has a waiting list of 1,000 sleep-deprived parents willing to pay for her workshops and five-day home visits. She is going on a national tour to help the masses of parents willing to pay for her insights, plus she runs Sleep Baby Sleep, a company that claims a 99 percent success rate with more than 22,000 babies.

Parenting Coordinator. As described in The Wall Street Journal's September 19th "A Referee for Mom and Dad" (subscription required), you can charge $50 to $350 an hour to help feuding ex-spouses mediate the nitty gritty decisions of child care: who picks up the kids from school, when it's okay for kids to get their ears pierced or take the bus alone, which after-school activities to select, etc. (Well worth $350 an hour.)

Become a Certified Etiquette Training Specialist. Companies such as Manners Matter equip you to charge $50 to $200 to teach kids to "make introductions, show kindness to others, telephone etiquette, respecting yourself, dining skills, manners at school, thank you notes, and party and sleep-over etiquette."

And we haven't even gotten into teaching kids to read, hourly tutoring, taking kids on college visiting trips, helping them apply to college or find good jobs after college. Parenting other people's kids is clearly a huge potential industry!

So I'm proposing we all start a new consulting firm: The On Balance Child Life Company Inc. What are your skills? How much do you think you are worth to other parents? Have you ever paid someone to teach your child something you assumed you would do? What do you think of parents who pay others to teach their kids basic skills like bike riding, peeing in the toilet and using the right fork (or any fork at all)?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 24, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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First! (chomp!)

Posted by: nonamehere | September 24, 2007 7:13 AM

Went to NYC for the weekend and talked to someone who pays $80 for someone to take her daughter Roller Blading.

Separately, if you missed the results of last Friday's Sing A Long, check it out in the Archives to see the winners.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 7:19 AM

How sad that parents supposedly want children but want others to raise them, share those special moments and make memories with them. Would these same parents have someone substitute for them at the office, on vacation or at the gym? And we wonder why children are having problems, feel lonely, are anti-social, don't bond, can't grow up to keep a marraige together, etc? Geesh! Our two children are thrilled that we spend our evenings at the dinnertable together, spend our weekends playing sports together, spend our vacations visiting family together, etc. You won't find two more compassionate, level-headed, bright kids who are our gift...and our gift to society! Am I bragging about our bet I am! Anyone who thinks parenting is EASY is NOT doing his/her job well!

Posted by: McInnesmom | September 24, 2007 7:31 AM

Well, I've yet to pay somebody else (other than a nanny) to "teach" my DS something, but I was seriously considering hiring a sleep therapist when DS all of a sudden developed a serious problem sleeping on his own.

Ended up just doing some online research of my own to determine what worked best for other people and then - ultimately - locking the kid in his room. He tried once to get out, let out a cry for half a second and then went right back to sleep on his own. That solved that problem.

But parents who lack sleep lack good judgment, which is why I think so many of us would gladly pay $$$$ for somebody who can get our children to sleep!

Posted by: londonmom | September 24, 2007 7:37 AM

I would like to nominate Songster to teach children how to write parodies.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 7:38 AM

I really just don't get. Truly. Are parents so busy, so lazy, so self consumed, that they have to pay someone to be their kids parent. And don't give the, it quality, not quantity bs. It is both. For some reason this post really gets to me. I HATE that I am giving this example, but, Brad Pitt (who I am sure has an army of help), did say that being a parent is mostly instinct and time. He's right.

Posted by: tuckerjules | September 24, 2007 7:43 AM

Meant to say, "I really just don't get IT". Sorry.

Posted by: tuckerjules | September 24, 2007 7:44 AM

McInnesmom - It is great that you do all those things with your children, but I'm trying to figure out why you went on such a tirade...

I didn't read Leslie's post to say that those parents aren't spending any time with their children - just that they were hiring people to help them (the parents) out with things like potty training, sleeping, etc. As for things like riding a bike, roller blading, etc., I would never pay somebody to do those things with my child, but if I didn't know how to ride a bike or roller blade myself, maybe I would consider lessons (just like any other lesson a child has - piano, soccer, swimming).

Posted by: londonmom | September 24, 2007 7:45 AM

Maybe these parents can outsource the rearing of their children to a low cost provider in India. Just bring them back when the kids are adults!

Children are human beings, not hood ornaments to decorate someone's house.

Posted by: nonamehere | September 24, 2007 8:02 AM

"Your kids leave home and you are left with a box of overpriced Beanie Babies, some old kids' potty seats and a few cracked pacifiers, and you have to take a job making $5.85 an hour folding clothes for rich working moms who shop at Ann Taylor."

Wow Leslie, now we know how you really feel about being a parent.

Great job depreciating the value of motherhood in two ways- your ridiculous comment quoted above and by advocating to outsourcing of parenting so you can selfishly continue on your career quest.

Posted by: martinajess | September 24, 2007 8:05 AM

Here's mine -

Relaxation Coordinator

Are your kids too stressed out from all their various activities and lessons? Would you like to spend quality downtime with them, but instead find yourself dragging them along for various errands and social obligations? For a mere $80 per 1.5 hr session, I will come to your home and help your kids relax in front of quality educational programming (TiVo required). Healthy snacks provided for a small extra fee!

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | September 24, 2007 8:13 AM

hey marinajess -- i was being sarcastic, honeybun.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 8:16 AM

All I have to say is, there's one born every minute!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 24, 2007 8:19 AM

I won't even hire someone to remodel my bathroom, much less horseplay with my kid! People have too much money. Of course, I guess you could add these services on to daycare, like they do at dog kennels. You know, pay extra for one-on-one play time or a kong filled with peanut butter.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 8:27 AM

LOL, atb! But what price the kong with pb for a child? :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 24, 2007 8:28 AM

atb - what are you thinking! No pb at day care! :-)

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 8:31 AM

I have heard about all this stuff and do find it a little weird. It really seems to show us as a society that things are SO screwed up. Since becoming a parent, I've definitely thought that how our society has evolved, where two parents are supposedly expected to do everything with no help from anyone (okay, small exaggeration) is strange. It's a horrible way for our society to have evolved, and this shows that people don't have anyone around them to help with this stuff, so the first thing they do is to find someone and pay them for it. Rather than have friends and relatives to help them out.
Okay, so I've extrapolated one supposedly small trend out to our society as a whole, but most people are well aware of this idea. I don't think that it is realistic to expect two parents, no matter the situation to raise kids with no help whatsoever, but since we live far from our families - or wouldn't in a million years ask them to help us - then we have to go to so called 'experts.'

Leslie - you forgot the 'babyproofer' who makes a fortune buying plastic and installing it in your house (and that capitalizes on another trend - the idea of a 'safety bubble' around the kids).
And - have you seen this trend of parents who think that diapers are oppressive and therefore the parents aren't using them for kids as little as 6 weeks? Maybe there's a column in there...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 24, 2007 8:31 AM

At first glance it seems outrageous that a parent would pay someone to potty-traing their child or teach him/her how to ride a bike but then I thought about how much grandparents have done & still do with my daughter. Maybe this trend is just another reponse to our mobile society.

Posted by: SarahL.New | September 24, 2007 8:35 AM

catherine clifford, a writer-turned at-home mom because she had three kids in three years and couldn't find anyone crazy enough to take care of them, wrote in mommy wars: "the currency of love is time."

time spent doing just about anything together. one teenager i know called his mom at work and asked her to come home and work in the room next to him while he watched tv. he just wanted her nearby. just about made me cry.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 8:36 AM

KLB- Ooops. My bad. Just put some goldfish crackers in there, if the kid isn't allergic to wheat.

I'm sorry, but I seriously cracked myself up. I'm envisioning my 8 month old trying to lick peanut butter out of a kong. That's a heck of a start to a Monday morning.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 8:37 AM

also one of my friend's with an 8 year old son hired a "manny" since her kid loves to do rough boy stuff and she is a working mom. the manny took the boy to the pool and signed in as his "babysitter." the boy whispered, "can't you just write 'friend'?"

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 8:38 AM

atb, that's got me going, too. I appreciate that laugh, I really needed it today!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 24, 2007 8:39 AM

atb - cracked me up too.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 8:42 AM

When family is not an option you have to pay for help. My husband and I live in a city where we have no relatives nearby, both his parents are deceased, mine are elderly and ill, and my one brother is in his 30s and very irresponsible. Our friends don't have children (neither do we right now). The assumption that other people want to be bothered with your kid(s) because they are your friends is wrongheaded. I hope we don't have to pay someone to play with our children (good gawd!), but, we may have to pay for childcare, we might need some help and chances are, we will have to pay for it.

Posted by: nony1 | September 24, 2007 8:47 AM

Oooo. That inspires another service. You can come over with your dog or cat. These people obviously don't have time for pets, and all kids want a pet. I'd charged $80 an hour. Pets take a lot of training, and you have to feed them and take them to a vet.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 8:49 AM

Blackberry Orphans.

Posted by: light_bearer | September 24, 2007 8:50 AM

Oh, man, I can't believe I missed Friday! Sigh. Great job, guys.

But it's sooooo nice to come back to "why did you have kids if you didn't want to raise them." Sigh. Let's go back to Friday, shall we? There are always going to be people with more money than sense. No sense getting your panties in a bunch about it.

But where do I sign up for the kongs?

Posted by: laura33 | September 24, 2007 8:50 AM

atb that is a great idea. My daughter would love that, really. I don't have a pet right now because I don't want to train the cat/dog and deal with a baby.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 24, 2007 8:50 AM

$100/hour to teach them how to put laundry into the hamper.
$250/hour to teach them how to do laundry (wash and dry)
$50 additional/hour for folding, ironing and putting away.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 8:56 AM

I agree with Laura. People will pay for anything. And it's not surprising that frazzled moms and dads who don't have a lot of time but are concerned about giving their kids the best opportunities would take advantage of these offers.

For four years, I taught kids to build a campfire safely, clean up their living and wating areas, cook over a fire, put up a tent, fire a bow and arrow, fire a rifle, ride horses, paint, tool leather, swim, canoe, act, dance, write, play various sports, and get along with 7 other kids whom they just met (often the hardest part).

I got paid $1000 for 12 weeks of 24-hour days.

Posted by: Meesh | September 24, 2007 9:07 AM

laura- It's up to us to make it funny. I'm so not falling into that trap today, especially after an almost entirely enjoyable Friday.

Irishgirl- I understand you can now rent a puppy, but it's a service generally used by single guys to bag women. And we all know there are therapy dogs. I can't imagine how much they cost. I'd have to base my price on both of those.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 9:08 AM

OTOH, I'm passing a hat for everyone who would like MORE parents to hire someone to teach their kids manners. Since whenever the topic of in-flight behavior comes up, Mona has lots of company b**ching about ill-mannered kids, several more manners consultants in the world can only make our lives better.

Spend less on ice hockey lessons and more on teaching kids proper phone etiquette.

Posted by: MN | September 24, 2007 9:09 AM

That should be "living and EATING areas"

Posted by: Meesh | September 24, 2007 9:09 AM

So you're telling me that I'm paying someone to come play with my dogs while I'm at work, but there are people willing to pay ME for that? My one dog is not good with kids, but the other would love to be surrounded by adoring fans rubbing her belly for a few hours a week. A business plan is slowly developing...

Posted by: Meesh | September 24, 2007 9:12 AM

I'm going to open a Boot Camp. Give my your kid for two weeks and I will get them saying please and thank you, making their bed, going to bed on time, doing their homework and being generally, polite, well behaved kids.

Does your child hit you in the face at Target? That will happen but once at Moxiemom Boot Camp. Does you child refuse to get dressed in the morning - off they go to school in their pjs at Moxiemom Boot Camp.

Like celebrity hairstylists, I'd be more than happy to fly with a family to ensure appropriate behavior on the plane.

The more I think about this, the more necessary I think it might be. Maybe I should work on a business plan??? Hmmm.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 9:24 AM

Meesh - sounds like your lovey dog would be a good visitor to a retirement home or hospital?!

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 9:24 AM

Darn, those of us in less metropolitan areas are stuck teaching our children all of these things ourselves. Although I can't really imagine hiring someone to teach my child to ride a bike, potty train, or sleep (and I think I'd rather feel like a failure as a parent if I did so), I do send DS to cotillion. Having grown up in the South, you just do this. It's more than "which fork to use" and having a group of kids learning this together is also valuable.

My oldest is nearly 14 so he often talks about learning to drive. THIS is something I'd consider hiring out! My mom and I did not do well together when she tried to teach me to drive so I fear the same tension and conflict.

Last, it does seem my kids do often learn something better from someone else - swimming lessons come to mind. I was a competitive swimmer for years, but I could not teach my kids to swim. Maybe there's a fine line here but what's okay to "hire out" and what's supposed to be parenty-only? I think things that come into the house - like the potty training and sleep experts - are going too far but is there really that much difference?

Posted by: Stacey | September 24, 2007 9:28 AM

moxiemom1, she sure would. We just have to work on her manners a little more (no jumping or licking).

I took my dog (now deceased) to a nursing home for my Silver award project (girl scouts). He was great, but a little skittish, which meant that I had to use a lot of treats to coax him. My dog now is the same way, so I have to socialize her more before we go down that route.

Posted by: Meesh | September 24, 2007 9:32 AM

"I understand you can now rent a puppy, but it's a service generally used by single guys to bag women."

Ah, dang, I JUST missed my big business opportunity: rent-a-baby. Baby boy had this halo of golden curls, and would smile and flirt with anyone -- I could have made a fortune renting him out to single guys. Unfortunately, he just got his first real big-boy haircut, and has fallen in love with the word "no," so I'm afraid the "what a cute baby!" window of opportunity has closed. So much for the college fund.

Moxiemom: please let me know when you open up the waiting list for MM boot camp. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | September 24, 2007 9:40 AM

moxiemom1, she sure would. We just have to work on her manners a little more (no jumping or licking).

Hey, I have a sister in law/dog lover who could do that for you at "the Boot Camp for your companion - Moxiemom Sister in Law, Doggie Boot camp." My Mil killed her dog by feeding it poached chicken and skittles and letting it put a paw on the table. Every summer, sil would take that dog and train it properly and feed it properly for a few weeks and tah dah - new, healthier, plesant dog - that is, until mil got it back.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 9:41 AM

Laura, I KNOW you don't need that. You have Montessori, which has much of the same results. Its just kinder I think.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 9:42 AM

"I won't even hire someone to remodel my bathroom, much less horseplay with my kid!"

I actually think it's pretty sad. Yes, these people so seem to have too much money, but they seem poor on time and family. I am lucky to have brothers who live nearby. They will roughhouse with (and teach my son bad manners - like burping loudly in the most inappropriate places) for free. They are great free babysitters, (burping lessons aside)-- I guess you get what you pay for. But seriously, sometimes it seems to me that these overearning (can there be such a thing?) parents don't have much family support, and I think that they basically throw money at the problem by hiring people to do things that families might have done in the past.

Posted by: Emily | September 24, 2007 9:46 AM

KLB, maybe you could hire out the cleaning and laundry faeries to teach children how to do those tasks.

Posted by: kfb2 | September 24, 2007 9:48 AM

Re driving lessons: Most states require a certain number of hours of behind the wheel instruction by certified professional before issuing a learner's permit. Public schools have cut this in a number of places because of the insurance costs -- this is one thing you can pay for (or make your teen pay for) without guilt!

OT to Stacey: driving while I had my permit was one thing my mom deferred almost entirely to my dad. We did NOT have good chemistry in the car.

Posted by: tntkate | September 24, 2007 9:50 AM

Last, it does seem my kids do often learn something better from someone else - swimming lessons come to mind. I was a competitive swimmer for years, but I could not teach my kids to swim. Maybe there's a fine line here but what's okay to "hire out" and what's supposed to be parenty-only? I think things that come into the house - like the potty training and sleep experts - are going too far but is there really that much difference?

Posted by: Stacey | September 24, 2007 09:28 AM

I was thinking the same thing. And when you get down to it, what about school? Shouldn't everyone home school because otherwise you're abdicating your parental responsibility?

I think the current generation of parents is simply willing to admit they don't know everything about raising kids, and they don't have the support systems that previous generations had because they are less likely to live near family. So when they need help, sometimes they have to pay for it.

Posted by: dennis5 | September 24, 2007 9:52 AM

Do you think someone would pay me, oh, let's set an arbitrary rate of $150/hour, to be a "Grow Up and Face Reality" Specialist?

This is actually for the parents, not for the kids. For $150 per hour, I will bring you into your 20's/30's/40's and force you to understand that parenting is hard work and will entail sleepless nights, poopie diapers, occasional to frequent heartbreak at varying levels and all other sorts of unpleasantness. But - as my mother puts it - you've got a really great prize at the end, so it is actually worth it.

Oh - and after your youngest reaches about, oh 12 or so, you can stop solely focusing on "developing parenting skills". My Mom did, which means that with three kids she only spent a grand total of 17 years *focusing* on her parenting. And even then, I can always remember my mother having personal interests and friends and such while being a SAHM. (In the 70's, my sibs and some of our friends banned our mothers from going on their morning run - not a pleasant jog, but serious running - until AFTER the school bus left the neighborhood because we were embarrassed by the sight of our Moms *gasp* doing something so un-Mom like.)

I know I would never have developed my love of books and art and such without my mother exposing them to me early - I think I'm still the only person I know who started reading the really creepy Edgar Allan Poe stories before I was 10 years old ;)

Stop focusing solely on your kids, provide them with interests and goals, and let them become individuals. Giving your kids independence (while instilling the knowledge that you will be there during the rough patches if they need help) is the best thing you can do for them.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | September 24, 2007 9:55 AM

I appear to be in the minority here, but I really don't see what is so wrong with getting advice from a third party on things like potty training, sleeping, etc. It is not like these things are done without the parents! Often times the people who utilize these services are those whose children for some reason or another have had problems sleeping or toilet training, etc.. In short, they are parents who have tried to do it themselves and need some outside help. Then - with the consultant - they do it TOGETHER!

I really don't see what the problem is with this. Honestly, how much help do you really think family/friends can provide if you have a 4 year old who is constantly wetting his bed at night?

Sure - there will always be people who seem to completely outsource everything related to their children, but I'd bet that these people are a very small minority.

Many of the comments today make it sound like any outsourcing of child care (e.g., day care, nanny, etc) is bad - and let's just not get into that again today...

Posted by: londonmom | September 24, 2007 9:57 AM

KLB, maybe you could hire out the cleaning and laundry faeries to teach children how to do those tasks.

Posted by: kfb2 | September 24, 2007 09:48 AM

Alas, I no longer have the laundry faeries as they were caught doing unmentionable acts on the washer during the spin cycle and I had to let them all go. The cleaning faeries went with them as a protest.
I am interviewing gremlins this week.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 9:58 AM

Most of these are things I could not imagine giving up with my sons. Riding a bike? Doing chores? Playing ball?
I could imagine paying for only one potential service. Someone who stays overnight to help my twins get back to sleep when they wake up from teething. Only once in a while but it would be worth every penny.

Posted by: jonathnaleshin | September 24, 2007 10:01 AM

I'm so bummed I missed Friday's blog - I was in a meeting all day at a place with no Internet access (I was shocked such places still exist!) You were all wonderful - loved reading and trying to sing some of the entries!

On to today's topic, I can think of several things I can teach:

For parents:

- a "your kid is not a trophy" session. For the small fee of $5,000 I'll teach you that your child is a wonderful person with his or her own skills and shortcomings. It's more important to develop those skills and overcome those shortcomings so that the child grows up to be the best (s)he can be than it is to play "whose appendage is bigger?" by comparing preschools and sports camps.

- a "this is what your kid is doing on the computer" camp. For $10K I'll show you all about MySpace, Facebook and the other interesting sites your child may be visiting on the web. I'll teach you all about administrator passwords, firewall configuration and how to really limit what your child does. Using simple, non-technical terms I'll explain how to be in charge of your child's on-line life. (For an extra $10K I'll show you how to ditch Windows and use a *real* computer system that will make your life easy, but I digrees. :-)

For children:

- a "how to use the network" session. For a mere 5K, I will show you how to do what you want on computer networks. I'll show you how to use your neighbor's misconfigured, unmonitored wireless network to get unsupervised Internet access. I'll show you how to figure out the administrator password and how to circumvent the parental controls your parents believe actually work.

- a "how to deal with your parents at sports" camp. For 50K (this one is hard!) I'll teach you how to deal with the abject humiliation that comes from having the parent who screams loudest at the coaches, complains loudest and in the most vulgar terms at the officials, and taunts your opponents the most. I'll teach you how to deal with other kids when what you really want to do is crawl under the bench because of your parents. And for an extra 5K I'll teach you what to say to your parents on the drive home after they've been thrown out of the game and you have to leave, too.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 10:10 AM


And pATRICK, who was aBSENT today, loses 2 points!

Posted by: educmom_615 | September 21, 2007 08:18 PM

Congratulations to all of you, those were very clever! The one day I am out of town and it's the most fun day in months, RATS!
BTW, hopefully this would be obvious, but for the record, I and others named would never threaten anyone's child and think someone has finally jumped completely off the deep end.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 10:15 AM

"Blackberry Orphans"

Posted by: light_bearer | September 24, 2007 08:50 AM

Brilliant comment!! In a country where many have become Blackberry zombies, we now have Blackberry orphans who have abandoned their own children. These people have too much money and no desire to truly experience time with their children. My boys are grown now, but even if I had had the means to pay somebody to do all these things with my children, I wouldn't have. Yes, parenting can be a little rough and rocky and tedious at times, but I LOVE MY CHILDREN and cherish the memories I had with them growing up. We can now laugh at a lot of things that happened back then because we shared them together. All these parents will be able to do is pull out cancelled checks.

Posted by: winjonnic | September 24, 2007 10:21 AM

Cost to teach how to ride a bike: $100
Cost to referee fights: $200
Cost to teach manners: $300
Being a parent and helping your child to grow into a nice, happy, compassionate person that is not a spoiled little rich kid that thinks the world revolves around him: Priceless.

Posted by: jjtwo | September 24, 2007 10:22 AM

Re: Leslie's 'manny' story: when we had au pairs, the service told us that while most au pairs are female, there are a few males. Some families with boys, 8 - 12 or 13, want them because they can be a "big brother" to the boys.

Unclear whether that included such traditional "big brother" duties as teaching little bro to smoke behind the school, getting a stranger to buy beer, where to hide the, um, "adult" magazines, and how to be on the receiving end of endless noogies, hot feet, and other "practical jokes".

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 10:22 AM

pATRICK- I didn't even bother to respond. I'm guessing that's why it escalated. That was a case of ignoring someone to death. Can I get an amen?

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 10:23 AM

Okay ... my comment got all messed up due to operator error.

This sentence ...:
"In a country where many have become Blackberry zombies, we now have Blackberry orphans who have abandoned their own children."

... should have read:
"In a country where many have become Blackberry zombies, we now have Blackberry orphans who have been abandoned by their own parents."

Posted by: winjonnic | September 24, 2007 10:25 AM

ArmyBrat - I think you are onto something with teaching parents how to monitor what their children are doing online. The fee seems a bit hefty, but this is definitely something non-tech-savvy parents should consider!!

Posted by: londonmom | September 24, 2007 10:25 AM

This makes me miss my job... maybe I need to start a snoozing baby firm.

I don't personally see anything wrong with a little extra help. If you've got the money, better to use it to help your kid become a better-adjusted child then to spoil it rotten and unleash it on the rest of us poor shmucks one day. :)

Is there really a market for my ridiculous talent for making babies sleep? Seriously?

Posted by: kmann | September 24, 2007 10:26 AM

Chasmosaur1 - the parents can go to your school, while they drop the kids at mine. Will do a twofer special.

Londonmom - I don't think people object to outside input. It is paying exhorbitant fees to essentially outsource something that is traditionally considered a parent's domain. I.e, bicycle riding - do you really need to pay someone to teach your child that? Teaching your child to ride a bike is a great deal different than teaching them to read, do math, history etc... As for your example about a 4 yr. old consistently wetting the bed, I would consult my pediatrician but I'm pretty sure that 4 yr. old wetting the bed (esp. a boy) isn't too odd an occurrence, parents just don't talk about it. There's a big difference between seeking out additional information and being a sucker and paying hundreds for common sense and/or to save you the time and hard work of having to sit on the bathroom floor reading books for hours while they figure out the potty.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 10:30 AM

Okay, now that all the perfect parents have gotten sanctimonious, let's move onto confessions. What have you paid for???

I have paid to have my daughter learn to read via the $2000 FastForward intensive reading program. I am sure a better, more patient, more intelligent mother could have sat with her daughter for hours and corrected her learning disability. But with work, my defective mothering skills and two other very jealous and clever siblings, I just couldn't do it. My DD was approaching third grade and her ninth birthday and she simply could not read. So I ponied up and she went for two hours EVERY DAY this past summer. She was an absolute trooper. She now reads by herself. IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY.

Can someone else please make a confession so I'm not all alone out on this limb?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 10:32 AM

But what about what the PARENTS get out of pottie training or teaching your kids to ride a bike or garden variety rough housing? Who wants to miss that stuff? The first 2 are huge successes and the last is just plain fun. I guess you could look at feeding and bathing and putting to bed as CHORES, but I love that stuff. That's being a parent.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 10:34 AM

leslie- That's not the same thing. If you had put your 4 year old in the program, eyebrows would be raised. You're just doing what needs to be done to keep your kid mainstreamed.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 10:37 AM

Dear pATRICK, The essence of civility is that most of us -- even if we disagree in substance on any given day -- know that we would find no difficulty whatsoever in repairing afterwards to our favorite virtual café for flan (or, in some of our colleagues' cases, adult beverages).

I DO further propose that there be a make-up day sometime soon for those of us who, for whatever reasons, were unable to compose or post song parodies last Friday, because I'm confident that you (and several others unheard-from that day) could also devise clever and original works.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 10:40 AM

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 10:40 AM

Thanks, I had planned on the 'HOTEL CALIFORNIA", much like OB, you can check out but you can never leave...........;)

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Sent my kids to driving school. Something about not being able to learn to drive the Creepy Van (tm).

Did ourselves,

Potty Training
Bike Riding
Burping upon demand

Used others' services

Remedial Reading
Speech Therapy
Swimming Lessons (we don't have a pool)

As atb said teaching potty is not the same as working with a speech impediment.

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 10:47 AM

I put my daughter in the music and me program at school because she loves music. I can't sing, so why not?

She is also playing soccer (sort of) she is only three and is more excited about the different colored balls than learning how to kick.

I think she will be going to step dancing classes in the winter. I can dance, but I think it will be good for her to have social interaction with other kids because I am taking her out of school.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 24, 2007 10:49 AM

This is my husband, not me: he paid to have a running coach teach our son how to run properly.

It sounds like a joke, but our lovely and talented boy really had a hard time running. I learned a few things too, like keeping your elbows close to your body really helps.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 10:54 AM

"They will roughhouse with (and teach my son bad manners - like burping loudly in the most inappropriate places) for free."

"Unclear whether that included such traditional "big brother" duties as teaching little bro to smoke behind the school, getting a stranger to buy beer, where to hide the, um, "adult" magazines, and how to be on the receiving end of endless noogies, hot feet, and other "practical jokes"."

This has me laughing because of what I saw yesterday. Walked with kids to playground, and as we got there, saw dad (or uncle) teaching @ 5-6 yr old son/nephew a game. What was the game? "Throw a rock as high as you can over your head and catch it in your hat." (that would be the same game that mommy calls "don't come crying to me when you bonk yourself in the eye"). My mom gene went nuts, but all I could think was how lucky that kid was to have dad/uncle to teach him those important life skills. :-)

Leslie: what stupid things have I paid for? Ok, I'll fess up: my one big kid vice is Stride-Right shoes. Yep, $45-50 for shoes they'll outgrow in 6 months. I actually have tried a couple of cheaper versions, and my daughter got horrible blisters (literally three layers deep). And I have bad feet myself, so I guess I hope I can spare them from some of that by getting them off on the right foot (umm, so to speak).

The tradeoff is that they each only have 1-2 pairs of shoes at a time (boy has one, girl has two because she needs dress shoes for school). Well, not counting the crocs -- I can't believe I gave in on that one (yes, uncomfortable, plastic, AND butt-ugly -- it's the trifecta).

Posted by: laura33 | September 24, 2007 10:57 AM

I totally deny this item which appeared in the Drudge report and I deny it on Leslie's behalf also!


Drudge had found out that the judges of the On Balance Sing-A-Long were dismayed by comments such as "Dammit, I knew you all were to old for house of pain." and "This blog is showing it's age..."

To counter this erroneous perception, the judges apparently collaborated on this parody of a "modern" song. Drudge has not been able to confirm the melody that it is based upon but believes the song was written in this actual century!

When you come on the blog,
And you go really whole hog,
Rockin' your really bad snarks

And the regs notice you,
Within a passage or two,
Can tell who you're writin' to .

Cuz you all sound all the same,
Everyone knows your name,
And that's you whole claim to fame.

Never miss a day,
Cuz your dream in life,
Is to be Fred's next wife.

You don't like writers that day,
That's what you say,
But you really wouldn't mind a guest column.

You don't like Brian,
You think he's lying,
But you'd love a column to make people smaller

You're less than a fan,
Lookin' for flan,
But you end up with a cup of sand.

You could have a life,
If you got past your strife,
But that part never goes right.

In the morning you're vexed,
Leslie's onto the next,
And you didn't even get no words in.

Don't be too upset,
If they call you a troll,
Cuz like the news everyday you get pressed.

You do like fair play,
That's what you say-a,
But you really would mind your melt-down.

Or them big shouters,
Don't do nothing for ya.
Except make you feel a foot or two taller,

So you see Scarry
Hasting to judge don't you be
We know songs past the seventies

Without trolls like you,
There'd be no fun,
We'd go to the blog and not see anyone.

Without bratz like you,
There's no snarky life,
All those just go home to their wives.

So you see ATB
We may be brushing forty,
But we know something really funky

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 11:01 AM

This is my husband, not me: he paid to have a running coach teach our son how to run properly.

Uh, hmm, uh, Naw it's just too easy to do it. In the spirit of charity, I will pass on this easy softball of elitism.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 11:08 AM

Fred, I heard that Weingarten is going to do another of his L'Enfant Plaza Metro station exposés, having one of DC's top opera stars sing Friday's prize-winning parodies during the morning commute rush to see if anyone stops to listen or puts money in the hat. Personally, I suspect Gene's just gunning for a Pulitzer (jealous of Woodward and Bernstein, obviously).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 11:10 AM

leslie- While this sounds like a waste of money and ridiculous, it's not what I would consider paying for parenting. It's paying for a coach.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 11:12 AM

Leslie, agree with the others that paying for a reading program to address a real learning disability is NOT the same as some of the things cited above.

As for us: well, we paid for a tutor to work with one of our daughters on spelling. She was getting straight A's in spelling; what was the problem? She was getting the grades only after studying for hours and hours to memorize the words; her spelling in writing assignments was terrible. After talking to my sister, who is a first grade teacher with a Master's degree in teaching gifted and talented children, we agreed that she clearly had a weakness with spelling. We sent her to the tutor to learn a variety of strategies we had never heard of. It worked, dramatically.

As far as Perry paying for the running coach, I can completely understand that, too. It's to help the child improve certain fundamental skills which will serve him well down the road.

I've coached softball for 11 years now, but there's a limit to how well I can coach certain things. So middle DD goes to a professional batting coach, and youngest DD goes to professional pitching coach. I harbor no illusions about scholarships or anything else, but they both love the game; they want to improve; and I'm not good enough to teach them any more. Oldest DD, who's a volleyball player, went to a strength and conditioning coach for several months and it really improved her quickness and leaping ability. DS worked with a personal trainer at the Y to develop a good routine that improves his upper body strength and his endurance.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 11:12 AM

You know, mehitabel, that Gene is seriously envious of people with real talent, like Dave Barry!

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 11:13 AM

Okay, Fred, educ_mom and others with kids old enough: how many would not have missed out on the experience of teaching your kids to drive? :-)

In Maryland kids have to pass a professional driver's ed program, which usually means about 6 hours behind the wheel, but they need 60 to get a license and our kids get the rest of that time with Mom and Dad.

Especially fun is teaching them to drive a car with a manual transmission. The only car we have with an automatic is the minivan; the others all have sticks. Oldest DD got motivated to learn because it was either drive the Escort with its stick to school, or take the school bus.

We're going through it with DS now. He has his license, but if he wants to drive on a regular basis he has to learn the stick-and -clutch. What an experience. "Now, ease out on the clutch while at the same time ease in on the gas. No, don't floor the gas pedal! Ease out on the clutch! Easy! Easy!" thunk! whump! whump! "Okay, try it again!"

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 11:20 AM

Dau almost burnt out the clutch so I gave up on her doing the manual bit. But she learned in the Air Force. In fact, when she was overseas just now, she was the one driving the 40' bus to post the guards!

This is the same child that was driving when that nasty building jumped out in front of the Boobiemobile and wrecked it!

Some learning are worth outsourcing!

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 11:26 AM

Manual transmission trick: Have them engage the gears with no gas, just by releasing the clutch. It will teach them where the gear catches and give them an idea of what it feels like.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 11:29 AM

Interesting. I was trying to teach my husband how to drive my manual shift car yesterday. He said my whole zen (feel the car, listen to the car, it will tell you when to shift gears) was freaking him out.

Posted by: nony1 | September 24, 2007 11:40 AM

nony1 - it wasn't called "zen" but I also was taught to drive a manual transmission by sound - shift according to the sounds the engine makes. It doesn't matter if the radio or CD is on, you can still hear the car because you're tuned to it. I try to tell the kids that and they look at me like I've got 12 ears. (Or in other words, pretty much the same way they always look at me.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 11:45 AM

Leslie teed up the extreme snark with the headline, "Parenting for Pay". Teaching a kid to run, drive a car, play tennis, speak more clearly, dance at cotillion, or play piano or guitar is not "paid parenting". IMHO, neither is having a teenager over to your house from time to time, on a night when you are working from home, to handle the feeding, bath and homework hour if that is a more peaceful way to handle a routine school night than for you to be harried and communicate your stress to your kids.

Parents need to be aware of their parenting/coaching style and appreciate when their style doesn't match their kids personality. Our son learns sports skills better from others. We can say the same thing but he "hears" it different from camp instructors, coaches, etc. On the other hand, personal skills he learns best from us. I am not particularly patient in teaching a skill to a newbie. My husband is more patient but still not great. Maybe an honest self-assessment makes for better parenting than blindly insisting on doing everything yourself (I can hear Matt now: ". . . because that's the way my dad taught me").

For example, how many of us either have horror stories about parents teaching us to drive, or have friends for whom the early driver stage was an interpersonal disaster? There are few things more important to teach well than driving. Is it worth it to risk your kid's and everyone else's lives to do it yourself if you are awful at teaching, or if your kid takes direction from you badly or not at all? At a certain age, and depending on the importance of the skill, it may be that the optimum set up for both parent and child is NOT having parent act as teacher of all things at all times.

Posted by: gcoward | September 24, 2007 11:48 AM

If you have a preschooler in daycare or preschool you already are paying someone to potty train your kid and teach them manners.

After what I pay a former professional soccer player to train my kid in soccer and running, what other people charge for tutoring and music is much easier to handle.

Last year I hired one of those useless stay-at-home, PTA moms to tutor my oldest in chemistry. When she was through with him, he "got it".

If your local YMCA had a class teaching biking skills, would you pay for that? As an older mom, I was worried how I would teach my youngest to ride. I wrecked my back teaching my youngest and that was when my back was much younger. So, I paid my oldest kid to teach my youngest how to ride.

Posted by: mfanshi1 | September 24, 2007 11:49 AM

Guys, that is what a tach is for! Not just to see "Wee, how high can I rev this engine!"

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 11:50 AM

Fred - while I'm a big fan of tachs, I find it much less distracting to shift-by-sound - I don't have to look down at the dashboard and take my eyes off the road. (Much like learning to gauge your speed, so that you'll know how fast you're driving without having to constantly look at the speedometer.)

The first few times you're driving a particular car, the tach and speedo are useful; after that you do it by sound and feel.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 11:54 AM

Do you think someone would pay me, oh, let's set an arbitrary rate of $150/hour, to be a "Grow Up and Face Reality" Specialist?

Actually, they have these! They're called Life Coaches, and it's a rapidly growing industry. Apparently people now need to be told exactly what to do with their lives, and how to do it. Clients show up whining, "My life isn't perfect! I wanted (blah-blah)." and the Life Coach works with them to take steps towards whatever it is they want...

Posted by: newslinks1 | September 24, 2007 12:00 PM

I haven't paid for anything extra yet for my 2 year old (excluding his nanny - and she is priceless), but I do think people are drawing arbitrary lines in the sand as to what is and is not acceptable.

Why is it that having a sleep therapist or potty training specialist is any worse than having - say - a lactation consultant?

DS always BF great, but if he hadn't I would have had no problem going to a third party and seeking help.

I have the exact same attitude for potty training and sleeping. It is not like I'd be outsourcing these things entirely - DH and I'd still be doing all the work (well, along with the nanny) - but we'd be getting the expert advice of somebody who has experience with such things. I still don't see the problem with that.

Posted by: londonmom | September 24, 2007 12:12 PM

Leslie: I can't believe you forgot to list the 'nitpicker ladies' who were written up in the LA times. Talk about disgusting! They drive around town delousing other people's kids -- for some exorbitant rate -- like $150/hr. It's amazing what people will pay for.

On the other hand, I've have a lot of moms tell me that they'd love to do music lessons with their kids, but they don't have the time to help them with practicing, they don't read music, etc. I remember wondering if there was anybody crrazy enough out there to pay me to come over and listen to their kids practice the piano.

Posted by: justlurking | September 24, 2007 12:14 PM

Londonmom, I totally agree. Why is it "acceptable" to pay for swimming lessons for your kids, but a "dereliciton of parenting responsiblity" to pay someone to teach your kids how to ride a bike? Where is the line?

Posted by: dennis5 | September 24, 2007 12:18 PM

The line is, what are YOU teaching your kids? Do you not want to teach them to ride a bike? That's fine, as long as you want to teach them something. If you see your children as an annoying time sap and hire these people because you're not interested in raising them (I'm talking to you, Britney), then why did you have them and for God's sake, let someone who loves and wants them raise them, egg donor.

Posted by: atb2 | September 24, 2007 12:38 PM

Here, here atb! Right, of course, we all need to find people to help us out with our kids - it used to be we lived near the parents, friends, other relatives, and everyone would pitch in. Today, things are so different.

But you're right - if you just want the best for your kid, it's one thing, but if you just think your kid is annoying with needing all these things, then that's downright strange (like the npr report I mentioned last week where the fourth kid is becoming the new must have accessory in the NE -as in, look what I have, another kid! which is just so horrible).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 24, 2007 12:42 PM

In California you need x number of hours with a paid instructor, and x number of hours with a parent or guardian. I started learning way ahead of time so had plenty of hours behind the wheel and the time with the paid guy was just to get the paperwork right. Parents insisted for both my sister and I that our first cars were stick shifts so we'd always know how to drive one and be comfortable in any situation. My Dad taught us both, and it was pretty awful. Lots of screaming/fighting. Always wondered why my Mom didn't teach us intead (would have been less fighting). But you know? I wouldn't trade it for anything. Remembering with my Dad how horrible that experience was for both of us was a lot of fun, and now he trusts my driving completely since he knows he's the one who taught me. Still have to teach my husband to drive as stickshift, keep putting that one off...

Posted by: _Miles | September 24, 2007 1:08 PM

Back in the dark ages when I learned to drive, you could get your learner's permit the day you turned 16. After 30 days, you could take the test for a full license. No required number of hours behind the wheel - just pass the test. My parents had let me drive before then under very controlled circumstances (hey, it was the dark ages - remember?) in a rural area. I had some experience with a stick shift but not in my mom's car. She let me drive home from getting my permit in her car. I did okay for the first 20 miles or so but as we approached our neighborhood, around a curve and up a nice hill, my mom started shouting at me to "down shift, don't brake" when I began to slow to make the turn. Trying to do what she said, I'd take my foot off the brake. The left turn was approaching, so I started to slow again and she started to yell again - "don't brake, downshift!" Confused and going way too fast, I took that turn at about 40 mph, narrowly missed a couple of trees in the median, and came to a complete stop about 50 yards into the neighborhood. Mom was yelling, little brother in the back seat was pale, and all I could do in response was look bewildered and ask "what's a downshift?" I took lessons from a professional after that. I think my kids will too!

Posted by: Stacey | September 24, 2007 1:42 PM

In some states, you can get an auto insurance discount for professional behind-the-wheel driver training. Paid for itself in 2 years of reduced premiums.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | September 24, 2007 1:46 PM

My father taught me to drive in a Plymouth Fury - basically a land yacht. SAme as Stacey - permit at 16 and license 30 days later.
My first car was a stick. My dad went with me to pick it up and he drove it to a parking lot. I practiced for an hour then drove it home and headed off to work. I was scared stiff the first hill I had to stop on.
For years the only car I would buy was manual. I could hold my coffee cup and shift all the way down GA Ave in rush hour traffic. Now that I am older I like the automatic except in the snow.
PS - I used to shift by the sound too. You just KNOW when it is time.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 1:47 PM

I learned to drive a stick on a 12-year old Renault LeCar WITH a manual choke, at the tender age of 15. They are wonderful memories of my mom who is now deceased, but I rather think my husband will teach our kids. I don't think I can handle the "thunk! whump! whump! oh DEAR GOD!" all by myself...

Agree though that it's all about the sound.

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 24, 2007 1:56 PM

"I don't think I can handle the "thunk! whump! whump! oh DEAR GOD!" all by myself..."

Ditto. My learning-to-drive memories all revolve around very similar shouts (usually followed by "Noooooo!! You're KILLING my clutch!!"). Nothing like learning to get going at an uphill stoplight with THAT hanging over your head.

My mother ultimately had to hand everything off to my stepdad, who was (a) much more patient, and (b) much less attached to the car.

Posted by: laura33 | September 24, 2007 2:01 PM

Speaking of cars, I hope the union has enough sense to get back to their overpaid jobs while GM is still able to pay them.......

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 2:04 PM

Manual choke! Wow! I have not heard that one in a long time! (but remember this is Fred who remembers cloth diapers and "safety" pins.)


All that training in Ca. When I was licensed there, I just drove around the block!

Did learn to drive on a VW bug. Dad would always say, you are running the engine too hard upshift. Yes, dad would be doing all in 20 mph in 4th gear!

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 2:04 PM

I'm with the majority, I think. We all have to look at ourselves and our kid(s) and think: "Can I teach X to that individual, or will they learn it better from someone else?"

I can teach driving, manual/standard transmission or automatic. I've taught a number of adults how to drive a stick-shift. Because my father taught me (and all my younger siblings) in a '56 VW bug, I know how to not stress-out or freak-out my student.

And '56 Bugs didn't come with tachometers, so the only way to know when to shift was to listen to the engine winding up. I still shift by the sound and ignore the '88 Celica's tach. I won't teach older son about it when we start the driving lessons - he's 15 and getting interested.

DH is an incredible musician - one of those people who will pick up an instrument he's never seen before and carry it off to a corner of the room, and 15 minutes later everyone stops to listen to the music coming from that corner.

OTOH DH is a terrible teacher, so older son is taking piano lessons from a professional piano teacher, and with the autism and low muscle tone, it was a challenge to find the *right* teacher. He charges nearly twice as much as younger son's guitar teacher. DH supervises daily practice, but the kids are getting much better quality teaching than their parents can provide.

Posted by: sue | September 24, 2007 2:08 PM

(laughing very hard) '56 bugs did not have enough horsepower to even spin a tach! As I recall the '65 that I drove had all of 40 hp. Hell, even the Creepy Van (tm) has more than that (and a tach to boot!)

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 2:25 PM

In addition to the laundry classes I will teach:
NO, the dishes aren't magically done overnight. Subcourses are:

How to clear the table.
How to actually rinse off your dishes.
How to load the dishwasher without breaking all the wine glasses.
How to unload the dishwasher(to include checking for spots and particles.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 24, 2007 2:27 PM

(boring tech note on VW's)

The owner's manual had a table which showed the gears and the acceptable mph range for that gear. Also, the speedometer had hash marks (as I recall I, II, III IV) on its face to indicated the proper shift points.

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 2:34 PM

my early 80s mazda rx-7 has a manual choke. Still alive and kicking too and it is almost 25 years old.

and I agree with whomever said tachs are for fast *can* you make each gear go...crucial question of course

something we used a professional: how to brush teeth. Someone in a white coat looking stern and showing pictures of what happens to your teeth, aka the pediatric took a few lessons every 6 months, but it works.

Posted by: dotted_1 | September 24, 2007 3:08 PM

So to go along with the topic and off topic conversation:

When I was 8, I got a new bike. Pretty big deal, since EVERYTHING I got was a hand me down, as I was (and still am) the third of three.

So, I had two sisters, and my parents, and they all 'tried' to help me ride the bike (with no training wheels). So no one helped at all.

I SO REMEMBER the day that I was just off, by myself, with my bicycle, around our neighborhood, and the moment of triumph, when, with NO ONE's HELP! I learned to ride my bicycle, all by myself. No one else around was the best teacher, as I had the whole day and all the patience in the world to learn how to do it. I remember the day completely.

As for learning to drive, took a class in high school, mom didn't really ever want to take me out, dad took me once, but we'd pick my sister up from the train station (LIRR) every day around 6 or so, so that would be when I would drive. I think my mom was terrified, although, as a horrible driver, I don't know why she had any right to be!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 24, 2007 3:24 PM

KLB_SS_MD, can I send my husband to your dishwashing class or is it only for kids?

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 24, 2007 4:03 PM

I agree it would be awfully nice to be able to send husbands back to school, too. Forget premarital counseling...just teach 'em to unload the dishwasher, put clothes in hamper, make bed, do laundry, cook a thing or two...and the divorce rate would plummet.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 4:22 PM

"...just teach 'em to unload the dishwasher, put clothes in hamper, make bed, do laundry, cook a thing or two...and the divorce rate would plummet."

Ah, Leslie, if life were that simple! Altho I personally can do all these thing, I still refuse to make beds. (long lingering phobia from my army days!)

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 4:28 PM

... and we men will show you the recent research proving that unmade beds are healthier! (True story - research shows that making your bed as soon as you get out of it traps body heat and moisture in the sheets, leading to higher levels of mold and other problems. You're supposed to leave it unmade for a while to let everything air out.)

Being raised as an Army brat, though, I have a phobia about unmade beds - can't stand 'em. Get out of the bed, make it - right now. Tight enough to bounce a quarter off of.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 24, 2007 4:33 PM

Altho I personally can do all these thing, I still refuse to make beds. (long lingering phobia from my army days

I think making a bed is the dumbest thing around. Taking the effort to make a bed that no one will see that will be instantly messed up as soon as some one lays in it is the height of folly IMO.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 4:41 PM

I'm still waiting to get paid as a 20-some-year-old nanny for teaching a five-year-old boy about to go to kindergarten that the dainty phrase *passing gas* was probably not what he should use with his peers. I'm sure I helped his socialization immeasurably by teaching him the word fart. SO is there a teaching job out there for crude, crass, survival skills for kids? Needless to say my own kids learned how to say "pull my finger* at a tender age.

Posted by: anne.saunders | September 24, 2007 4:45 PM

Fred and pATRICK, when you have a house-pet you at least need to pull up the covers in the morning, otherwise the furry little darling will decide that the most appealing place to take a nap is under the covers.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 4:49 PM

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 04:49 PM

I had a big black (20lb) cat in college and one night i was doing my laundry and he somehow got way up on a cabinet and decided that jumping on my back was the best way to get down. I thought it was a raccoon or something in my panicked state and nearly crapped my pants. It's funny now but not then.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 24, 2007 4:54 PM

Ah pATRICK, making the bed allows the compulsive among us (such as myself) to feel as if we've accomplished SOMETHING. I do make my bed everyday, although it's usually the last thing I do before heading downstairs and it's the first thing to be ditched if I'm running late.

I can at least say I'm not as bad as my former college roommate, who, if she forgot to make her bed, would remake it to quarter standards, then unmake it, right before retiring for the evening. She supposedly couldn't sleep in a bed that hadn't been made. Now THAT'S compulsive.

Posted by: vegasmom89109 | September 24, 2007 4:58 PM

Anne.saunders - along those same lines, I've thought about a class for parents who were goody two shoes on how to catch their teen doing "bad things". The syllabus would include:

#1) No one and I mean NO ONE ever asks their friend to hold their drugs for them. If your kid has 'em, he/she's doing them too.

#2) Kids who do drugs don't hang out with kids who don't (see above)

#3) Stuffing a bed - how your child will make it look like they are home in the middle of the night.

#4) Sneaking out. Why nothing short of a top of the line security system will keep your teens in their room on a weekend night.

#5) How your kid can be a good, kid, take AP classes and still get high with her dirtbag boyfriend at lunch.

etc....... I could go on and on.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 4:59 PM

Oh, I forgot - there is no recorded case of a teen suffering from such chronic dry eye that they need Visine on them at all times. Your child is getting high.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | September 24, 2007 5:16 PM

No animals at the house but Frieda makes the bed every morning. But since she is on vacation for a week, that damn bed is not getting made!

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 5:24 PM

Hey patrick - was it you who was complaining about expensive gourmet cupcakes once? I saw this about the future of the cupcake (including Texas' Safe Cupcake Amendment) and thought you'd get a kick out of it:

Posted by: LizaBean | September 24, 2007 6:06 PM

Fred, Is Frieda doing "Wives Gone Wild" with Mrs. Army Brat?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 6:10 PM

ArmyBrat -- you are dastardly. do NOT tell my husband that thing about unmade beds being healthier. you will undo 12 years of hard work.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 24, 2007 6:16 PM

After reading most of the comments, responding to my comments concerning my letter from May in the Washington Post (this is getting complicated), I'd like to remark that I enjoyed reading both the postive and even the negative blogs, as everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and I appreciate all the different points of view expressed. My one disappointment was with the namecalling in some of the blogs. Not only is this approach to responding to a viewpoint that one disagrees with rude, but it also lowers the level of discourse for everyone. Seeing as I am not willing to stoop as low, I wil just respond that I amicably agree to disagree. As this will probably be my last visit to this blog, I do want to mention what a friendly and gracious host (I'm not sure what term people usually use for the owner of a blogging site.) Ms. Steiner is. Wishing all the best, Jen Wolff

Posted by: msgtww | September 24, 2007 7:05 PM

pATRICK, yeah. yeah. yeah, LOL. I'll bet you used to say the same thing to your mom when you were 12. Army Brat, my kids don't make their beds until they've been up for about 45 minutes so I think they are still safe.

moxiemom, how do YOU know all this stuff, LOL?? btw, some kids who do drugs DO hang around with goodie two shoes kids, as long as the "good" kids don't lecture and judge. Don't ask me how I know:>)

Jen Wolff, If you think the discourse needs raising, you might consider participating in it WITH other adults instead of dropping a long-winded finger-wagging diatribe on this blog from time to time, then cutting and running. Unless you are being locked in a closet in between your occasional submissions, you should be confident enough to engage with other adults in a two-way conversation.

Posted by: MN | September 24, 2007 8:33 PM


"Blackberry Orphans."

Posted by: light_bearer | September 24, 2007 08:50 AM

Sorry, light bearer, the Creepy Van (tm) is still stressed out by all the people it had to carry over the weekend.

You will just have to content yourself with a reasonable representation of the Hula Girl.

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 8:37 PM

s/b FQOTD!

Posted by: Fred | September 24, 2007 8:38 PM

Lemme see here. Jen Wolff (7:05 PM) remonstrates us for being rude and for stooping low... and for name-calling. Guess irony isn't her strong suit this evening.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 24, 2007 10:16 PM

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