Grown-Up Tattletales

A few days ago, I was hanging out at school pick-up while my kids got their backpacks. I talked to a friend's eight-year-old son until his nanny drove up to get him. He got into the car and had barely shut the door before she peeled out. He didn't have his seat belt buckled and there was no booster in sight. I thought: What do I do? Stop her? Call my friend, who recently returned to a full-time job after several years as a stay-at-home mom? Mind my own business and figure she is okay with her babysitter's lax attitude toward car safety?

I called my friend and told her. She thanked me but otherwise seemed unconcerned. Oh well, I thought; I did what I thought was right.

Then just a week later, another mom stopped me in car line. "I saw your daughter running down Wisconsin Avenue last Monday with another kindergartener," she said. "There were no grown-ups around. I just thought you should know."

That day, my daughter had walked to a friend's home for a play date, chaperoned by their nanny, who I imagined had let the girls run ahead on the sidewalk of a busy six lane street. I was glad the other mom had told me, and I thanked her for keeping an eye out for my child. Whether you work full-time, part-time or not at all, you can't have too many friends watching over your kids, I figure.

I've seen plenty of caregivers doing stuff I wouldn't want my babysitter doing. Letting young kids sit in the front seat of a car. Talking on a cellphone for an hour straight while watching a two-year-old at the local playground. (Truth is, I've seen plenty of parents, grandparents and other relatives doing questionable stuff, too.) But I wouldn't interfere unless I felt the child's safety or well-being were at risk.

So the question today is: Do you tattle on other people's child-care providers? Is it ethically right -- or wrong? Where do you draw the line between concern and interference? Are the rules different for something you witness a babysitter doing (or not doing) vs. a family member like mom, dad or grandma? Have you confronted a caregiver or called a parent to relay care-giving behavior that worried you?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  December 14, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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The rule in our house is Safety First.

We are fostering a teen and their child,
so I admit my perspective is somewhat
skewed. My spouse and I must model
appropriate parenting for the teen so the
teen can then appropriately parent the
child. We are SUPPOSED to butt in and
provide loving correction. We always
bring it back to Safety First -- no one
can sass that!

But it also means I see/hear of less-than-
ideal situations with the teen's friends
and their children. If I observe it
personally, I will gently inquire -- hey,
do you think that letting Smithie stand
on the coffee table is such a good idea?
And then let the teen intervene as they
decide (which is usually to correct the
issue). While I haven't heard third-party
of something especially serious, if I did,
I would not hesitate to contact the teen
myself (if it's one I know fairly well) or
the school (for the teens I don't know so
well) because I feel I have a moral
obligation to keep these children of
children safe.

Posted by: betterbegood3 | December 14, 2007 7:46 AM

My actions would depend on the situation - was there a real safety issue, or more a bureaucratic one?

But whether I would intervene or not would NOT depend on parent vs. caregiver (which could well be an older sibling).

In the situation Leslie described, I'd let it go. No booster seat - for an 8-year old? So what - I had my kids in booster seats until they didn't need one because of their size; in one case that meant 6. (Not to mention that if there's no booster seat it's because the parents didn't put one in there - the nanny almost certainly didn't take it out on her own volition.) Okay, she should give him time to buckle up and drive safely, but if we're going to report every instance of unsafe/careless driving I have about 400 phone calls to make based on this morning's commute alone - and I have a 10-mile, 14-minute commute!

Another example: under Maryland's graduated license program, it's illegal for a driver in the first 5 months of her provisional license to carry non-family members unless there's an adult in the car. When oldest DD was in that stage of her license, she was driving home from school after play rehearsal at about 9:30 pm. One of her best friends was stuck - the mother's car had broken down, there was nobody else around. So oldest DD gave her friend a ride home, then came straight home herself. Three different people called me to tell me about this - I said, "thank you, but under the circumstances I'm going to let this one slide."

Now, if there's a REAL safety issue - a car full of 16-year olds with an obviously distracted driver swerving all over the road, for example - that's a different story.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 8:07 AM

This should be a good discussion today. I wish I had more time to participate. I have a busybody neighbor I'm thankful for who lets me know if she sees anything strange. However, she's had to adjust her perspective, because I am the kind of parent who lets her kids play in the backyard while I'm still inside. She called once to say she say my son outside in my backyard with no adult near him. LOL!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 14, 2007 8:17 AM

There was an article about this somewhere which mentioned a website called "Isawyournanny.com" where people went on to relate particularly egregioius childcare provider violations. In those types of cases (abusive behavior), a parent should certainly be informed.

But the question would be where to draw the line -- I think it's hard not to sound like you're criticizing someone's decision to work rather than stay home if you inform them of every minor violation (like she gave your child a cookie instead of carrot sticks). Also, I think you'd have to know the other parent REALLY well to be able to call them up cold and tell them something like "I'm questioning your childcare provider's judgement" -- particularly if the parent doesn't have a lot of other options for childcare at the moment. THen, all you would be doing is making the family nervous and worried when there was perhaps little they could do about the situation.

Posted by: justlurking | December 14, 2007 8:19 AM

"The rule in our house is Safety First.

"We are fostering a teen and their child,
so I admit my perspective is somewhat
skewed. My spouse and I must model
appropriate parenting for the teen so the
teen can then appropriately parent the
child."

Posted by: betterbegood3 | December 14, 2007 07:46 AM

You are trying to convey the message, "Safety First!", with which I agree 100%. But your posting screams, "Inclusive, non-sexist, gender-neutral language first!" If you mean, "a teen and her child," say so. If you mean "My husband and I," say so. If you mean, "so she can then appropriately parent her child," say so. You've got an important message to send; why not send it in plain English?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | December 14, 2007 8:20 AM

That should be "she saw my son outside with no adult near him". No coffee yet . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | December 14, 2007 8:22 AM

Off-topic: One more reason to take physics.

Oldest DD to youngest DD: "Geez, if you're going to tell Dad how your broccoli fell on the floor, at least come up with a story that doesn't violate the laws of phsyics! That's what his first degree was in!"

(Said after youngest DD - 11 years old - asserted that her broccoli, without any assistance from her, went up and over her applesauce, over her utensils, over her lap, and fell neatly on the floor where the dog gobbled it down. Oldest DD is 18, and just finished her first semester of college, including Intro to Physics.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 8:26 AM

ArmyBrat -- Interesting example...I would have let that one slide as well. With teenagers the issues of drinking, using drugs and/or reckless driving are obviously even more serious. Among the parents and the teenagers you know, is there clear consensus on what is okay and what is not? Are some parents clueless about what goes on? Others really strict? Are the kids themselves pretty "good" about being safe?

Posted by: leslie4 | December 14, 2007 8:31 AM

What would you do if the caregiver in the car was the kid's mother or father or grandparent or a limo driver? Would you call one of the kid's parents? The cops?

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 8:33 AM

WorkingmomX, LOL! I know a couple of moms like that -- one decided she wouldn't let her daughter go on play dates at another child's house anymore because the mom didn't pay outside with the (eight-year-old) children; she watched the girls from her kitchen window while she made dinner. This is in a safe, low-traffic neighborhood.
On our street, the unwritten rule is, once a child can ride the cheese bus alone, he can play in the neighborhood without hovering supervision (OK, it's a dead-end street with 25 houses, but still). The rule was in effect when I moved here with my 9 & 10 year old boys, and it still holds true with the current crop of kids. The other part of the rule is, if you see something dangerous or malicious going on, you call the parents. That doesn't happen too often.

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 8:37 AM

The one time I ever said something to a parent was when I had seen the nanny put an infant seat (including infant) in the front seat, not buckle it in, and drive away. I just couldn't NOT say anything because it was too important--maybe the nanny didn't know how to fasten it in or even that she was supposed to fasten it, in which case the parents needed to know that so they could instruct her.

Posted by: maggielmcg | December 14, 2007 8:47 AM

mattinaberdeen.....
sometimes people write using the term spouse so people have to think are they male or female. Based on individual circumstances, a poster might not want to share that information with you and the whole internet. You seem to want to know this poster's gender so you can place their comments in a better context to judge them, indicating that you live in a pink and blue world. What if this is a teen boy with a child? What if this is a man writing? What business is it of yours what their gender is, except that you just can't stand that anyone might raise their child in a gender neutral fashion.

Don't worry, mattinaberdeen- our country is in agreement with you and it is virtually impossible to escape the avalanche of pink and blue childrearing guidance and find a doll for a boy and a truck for a girl anymore. And women continue to earn less, especially in female dominated jobs. So if you raise your child to be a pink and pretty and girly and she then can't find decent employment or she is belittled and harassed in her decent employment, you will know you have done your best to mock and stamp out the gender neutral ethos that might have made such a future unacceptable. You may not be a sexist, you may think sexism is dead and there is not need to keep harping on it. Alas, that is not yet true. Persons such as yourself want gender and sex front and center so it can factor into your judgment at all times, and when it is neutral, you will judge it regardless. Ouch.

Posted by: murraye1 | December 14, 2007 8:55 AM

OT from yesterday:
Sorry I missed the teacher gift discussion!!!

Do you know what we like?
Homemade treats are high on the list -- cookies, candies, spiced nuts, things like that.
Something that will remind us of your child. Something small, *inexpensive* and thoughtful. Again, homemade is big in this category.
A thank-you note. Written by you AND your child. Really.

If you want to give something tangible, and Christmas themed, give an ornament. They're easy to display every year.

Note cards or notepaper are wonderful. I write a lot of notes, especially thank-you notes, and I prefer to use paper that doesn't have 'thank you' printed on it.

Gift cards to Target (because EVERYBODY shops at Target), bookstores or teacher supply stores are incredibly useful. I like the idea someone had of having the class pool their money and give one card -- that way, the child who can't afford or didn't think to buy something doesn't feel singled out.

And if I may make this one plea on behalf of teachers everywhere -- NO MORE CANDLES! I could illuminate my entire house for a month with the candles I have recieved over the years!

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 8:58 AM

Leslie - with teens, it's all over the map and you really, really have to pay attention to who your kids' friends are and what their parents tolerate.

Some parents are even stricter than us about kids driving and being out by themselves; others buy their kids cars the day they get their licenses (or even before) and then turn them loose. You can see that in the number of teens killed in car wrecks in the DC area this fall - it got so bad that the WaPo ran a series of articles on it. (And the articles noted how many of those kids were killed when somebody was NOT driving legally.)

Drugs and alcohol are the same; the kids in high school pretty much know whose parents allow parties where anything goes. (The school resource officer also knows, because teenaged kids can't keep their mouths shut or their Facebook accounts private, so the parties often get busted.) In oldest DD's high school senior class, there was one boy whose parents went to their beach house every weekend so that he could host parties without chaperones. I think they got raided by police about 5 or 6 times during the course of the school year, and "underaged drinking" citations were passed out. Think the parents who owned the house cared? No, they did not.

We're stricter than most, although not as strict as some. Our rules for highschoolers were:
- driving: obey all laws unless you're willing to take the hit. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Yes, there are exceptions, such as 'don't leave your friends stranded by themselves at school late at night' but those should be few and justifiable.
- sex/booze/drugs: No. Okay, I understand that "no" is not going to happen in the real world. So, "Understand the consequences." Understand the what's, why's and wherefores. You don't go to a party unless I know where it is and who's chaperoning. I understand that I'm ruining a high school senior's social life, but the other choices are worse.

And, really, really, get to know the parents of your kids' friends. Our DD had had a close friend for 6 years. In their junior year, the girl's parents bought an RV and parked it in their front yard. It was intended as the "house" for the girl and her older brother since the parents thought the kids should have more privacy. That RV was the location of more drugs, booze and sex than all the "American Pie" movies combined. DD was not permitted to socialize with that girl again (fortunately, she didn't want to after seeing what was going on).

Now, of course, when they go off to college all bets are off. DD started college this fall. What happened? The first off-campus party she went to got raided by police, and every single student in attendance got an "underage drinking" citation - including DD! When I talked to a police captain later on, he told me that they did that intentionally to send a message to the college students; they do it every year. Fortunately, police had administered breathalyzer tests to everybody there and DD blew 0.0 (that is, no alcohol), so she got the "being in a place where alcohol is being consumed rap" and it was all dismissed by the judge, but it was a lesson for us.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 9:02 AM

Murraye1,
I don't know if ArmyBrat wanted to know the person's gender or was just annoyed by the mudled gender-neutral language.
Personally, I was annoyed by the singular noun and plural possessive pronoun following. "A teen" cannot be the antecedent to "their baby" in proper usage, suggesting either that the writer has poor grammar skills or is being deliberately unclear.

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 9:04 AM

*muddled

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 9:06 AM

educmom, it was Matt who complained about the language, not me.

But FWIW I was equally annoyed. My mother, the retired high school English teacher; my sister, the elementary school teacher; my niece, the soon-to-be elementary school teacher; and my wife, with her college English degree, all repeatedly point out that "their" is a plural possessive pronoun and does not go with singular nouns, despite misguided attempts to eliminate "sexist" language. In the words of all those female professionals, it's 'political correctness should not trump grammatical correctness'. But personally, I tend to let that slide because I get tired of trying to correct people.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 9:09 AM

Thanks, ArmyBrat. Good info as I look into the future...

Chitty, this is a really interesting issue. If I see PARENTS doing something dangerous I am far more reluctant to tattle or confront them. I think this reflects my own bias -- that it is less risky to "tattle" on a paid caregiver than a child's relative. But I'm wrong here, because in reality it is far more critical to a child's longterm safety for the parents and family members to behave responsibly.

I have seen so many parents drive children of very young ages without seat belts, on laps, etc, and it sickens me. If a young child without a seatbelt is in even a minor fender bender it is likely the child will die or suffer serious internal injuries, since kids' skeletal structures are far more fragile than adults. Car accidents are the number one preventable cause of death among young children.

In Minneapolis there was an anonymous 800 tip line you could call to report a car's license plate if you saw a young child without a seat belt. This was a good solution, in my eyes at least.

Posted by: leslie4 | December 14, 2007 9:14 AM

Sorry, ArmyBrat. I tend to let grammar mistakes slide when I'm not instructing students, although I also believe that political correctness shouldn't trump grammatical correctness.
The ones that get me are apostrophe mistakes (it's is NOT a possessive!), and the spoken mistake, "where's it at?" It's all I can do refrain from screaming, "between the A and the T!"

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 9:17 AM

educmom, my mother says that her favorite book of the last few years is "The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes!" by Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons. Lynne Truss is the same person who wrote "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" about comma placement. It's a very funny book.

Where's Fred? The N'awlins version of "where's it at?" is "Where y'at?" leading to people from the 9th ward and St. Bernard Parish being referred to as "y'ats". (Of course, that was back in the day when there WERE people in the 9th Ward and St. Bernard.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 9:23 AM

"I saw your daughter running down Wisconsin Avenue last Monday with another kindergartener," she said. "There were no grown-ups around. I just thought you should know."

If I saw someone's kindgergartner running down Wisc. Ave. without an adult in sight, I would certainly stop and make sure they were o.k. If it was serious enough to mention, why wasn't it serious enough to intervene? And a week later? What's up with that?

I've talked to friends whose car seats weren't properly installed. If it is not well received, then at least I tried. I couldn't live with myself if something terrible happened and I hadn't mentioned it.

I wish there was more tatteling than there is. Its part of the village. When I was a kid I knew that anything that I did at any time might be witnessed and reported back to my parents. It gave me a sense of accountablility to my family and my community. Parents seem less open to less than stellar reports of children's behavior. Now, I don't feel confident if my kid is smoking in the woods that someone would call me and I find that disappointing.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 9:31 AM

"I wish there was more tatteling than there is"

Spelling Police! Your wish is granted!

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 9:34 AM

moxiemom, if your child is smoking, and you are not a smoker, it should be very easy to discover.

ArmyBrat, thank you for giving me something interesting to put on my Christmas list. I already have "Eats, Shoots and Leaves." I think I'm going to start photocoying the relevant pages and mailing them to all those business owners who seem to have slept through middle-school English.

Posted by: educmom-615 | December 14, 2007 9:38 AM

"When I was a kid I knew that anything that I did at any time might be witnessed and reported back to my parents.:"

Your Big Brother theory sometimes backfires and results in kids who morph into liars, sneaks, and master manipulators. No doubt you've met some of them ...

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 9:41 AM

"sometimes people write using the term spouse so people have to think are they male or female."

Posted by: murraye1 | December 14, 2007 08:55 AM

But then the writer is purposely trying to make the reader think about two things: (1) the main message that the writer is trying to get across (in this case, "Safety First!"), and (2) "is the writer male or female?" My point is that forcing the reader to "process an irrelevancy" (Prof. Mike Levin's phrase) interferes with the writer's main message.

"What if this is a teen boy with a child?"

Then write, "so he can then appropriately parent his child." The original poster wrote:

"My spouse and I must model
appropriate parenting for the teen so the
teen can then appropriately parent the
child."

Natural languages have pronouns. Something like ". . . for the teen so the teen can" is just the sort of awkward repetition of a noun that pronouns were invented to avoid. The awkwardness, the conscious effort to send the "non-sexist language" message, gets in the way of the "Safety First!" message.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | December 14, 2007 9:42 AM

My standards for tattling are different depending on who the caregiver is.

If it is the parents, my opinion is pretty irrelevant, as a practical matter, because the parents are going to ignore me. And anyhow, it would be none of my business unless the kids are in some kind of imminent danger.

If it is a nanny, I err on the side of telling the parents in a nonjudgmental fashion, and then let the parents decide if the nanny is providing the service that she is being paid to provide.

In the case above, with the car safety issue, I'd tell the parents. I mean, some nannies are really inexperienced and just don't know about booster seats. It's possible that a 30 second conversation would fix the issue.

Or maybe it would be the straw that broke the camel's back. That's fine, too.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | December 14, 2007 9:42 AM

Moxiemom, I brought the "why didn't you stop if you thought my child was endangered" issue earlier... and Leslie deleted my post.

Posted by: GutlessCoward | December 14, 2007 9:44 AM

The mom who saw my kindergartener was driving in the other direction on a busy street. She figured, rightly so, that it was highly unlikely they were really on their own. She told me she thought she'd seen the nanny but that in her opinion she was too far from the kids. I am 100% sure that she, and most other moms, would have stopped no matter what if she saw a hurt child or a kid in imminent danger. But that wasn't the case here. Sorry if I didn't make that clear earlier.

Posted by: leslie4 | December 14, 2007 9:55 AM

Wisconsin Avenue is a dangerous place. Look at this article from the Washington Post for June 10, 2006:

"Emily Fenichel, editor of the press at a center for infants and families, became the ninth pedestrian killed by a vehicle in the District this year.
"Fenichel, 64, was hit by a Metrobus as she crossed Wisconsin Avenue NW at Jenifer Street in Friendship Heights, a few blocks from her home. Bus driver Michelle Ferguson had just left a bus garage to start her route when she turned right onto Wisconsin and struck Fenichel about 11 p.m., police said. Ferguson told police she did not see Fenichel until it was too late."

Emily was the wife of my high school and college classmate, Bob Fenichel. If this can happen to a grown-up, just think about the danger to a little girl -- who is harder for a driver to see in time -- running unsupervised on Wisconsin Avenue.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | December 14, 2007 10:02 AM

"Talking on a cellphone for an hour straight while watching a two-year-old at the local playground."

What is wrong with this? Shouldn't children learn to play independantly? As a stay at home mom, I often would let my child play at the playground while I just watched him and chatted with the other caregivers. I think it is great when caregivers are super participatory with the kids, but I also think it's great when caregivers just let kids do their own thing. I never do the cell phone thing (can't afford)but I can't imagine ever getting upset by a caregiver who did. As long as the kid is safe and being watched, what's the problem?sidered it a problem

Posted by: baby-work | December 14, 2007 10:06 AM

"moxiemom, if your child is smoking, and you are not a smoker, it should be very easy to discover."

My son is 7 so its really not pertinent yet. I was using that as an example of the type of behavior I'd expect to hear about as a parent. BTW as a teen I was able to sneak some smoking past my non-smoking, pretty observant parents.

Chitty, it is so reassuring to see that the holiday season has done nothing to bring out the kinder, gentler side of you. The consistency of your vitriol and bitterness is comforting to me. Much like the sun rising and setting and the never ending sweetness of kittens. "sigh" keep up the good work.

Leslie, thanks for the clarification. Although with kids, my instinct is to always check it out because you sometimes don't get a second chance if you make the wrong assumption. I do think there is a general disinclincaiton to get involved these days.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 10:10 AM

Matt, I agree with the other posters. There is absolutely nothing unclear about "spouse" or "child." The possessive pronoun is wrong. As someone who works in publishing, I have to say that "their" to mean "his or her" is becoming very common. It irks me, but it's a changing language, so we have to grin and bear it. But if the writer chose, there is also nothing unclear about "his or her child." This is plain English at it's best. You just seem to prefer categorization to neutral writing.

Posted by: Meesh | December 14, 2007 10:16 AM

In our neighborhood, everyone watches every kid. It is pretty clear who cares about hearing what their darlings are doing when the kids believe their parents aren't watching....I believe everyone knows I pay attention to all who tell me. So the other day, a parent calls me and tells me my son was seen driving with his cell in his hand. It wasn't clear if he was talking on it. Indeed, it appeared to be closed. I still treated it as driving with cell and punished it as per the driving contract. My son is convinced he can't do anything without being seen now. he he he...sometimes fear is a good motivator, sometimes not.

Posted by: dotted_1 | December 14, 2007 10:16 AM

Regardless of what English teachers think, "they" has been a gender-neutral singular pronoun since at least 1489. Here are some examples:

Eche of theym sholde [...] make theymselfe redy. -- William Caxton, The foure sonnes of Aymon, i. 39, ca. 1489

Arise; one knocks. [...] Hark, how they knock! -- Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 3, 1599

A person cannot help their birth. -- Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848

People continue to use it this way all the time and branding it "incorrect" is a meaningless exercise in prescriptivism.

Posted by: milli064 | December 14, 2007 10:19 AM

How do teenagers react to the parents tattling? Do they know who "told"? Do you have to disguise it?

Posted by: leslie4 | December 14, 2007 10:33 AM

I agree with raising true safety issues, whether it's a caregiver or a parent. But as someone pointed out, having an eight-year-old in a booster seat is a judgment call. In most places, this is not required by law, even though it is recommended by the SafeKids Campaign and other safety experts. (I had my daughter in a booster seat at eight years old).

We had an incident here in which a woman was beating her kid in Wal-Mart. Customers called the police, but they did not intervene (as it turned out, the woman had previous arrests and her children had been under Child Protective Services).

One more reason to boycott Wal-Mart...the clientele...

Posted by: pepperjade | December 14, 2007 10:41 AM

Moxiemom said it best (typos forgiven): "I wish there was more tattling than there is. It's part of the village. When I was a kid I knew that anything that I did at any time might be witnessed and reported back to my parents. It gave me a sense of accountablility to my family and my community."

Adults who worry about "tattling" are a bunch of wimps. Grow a spine and take back the world!

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 10:43 AM

Leslie:

"How do teenagers react to the parents tattling?"
They really don't like it. Often they turn defensive, sometimes surly, and sometimes they just shut up.

"Do they know who "told"? Do you have to disguise it?"

It's usually easy to figure out. They know who was around and who knew. Often, there's one teen who's known to tattle on everyone else. Other times, it's well known that somebody's mother or father is the "buttinsky" and that's the first suspect. And then the offspring (how's that for a gender-neutral but grammatically correct term :-) gets ostracized.

It's hard to disguise who told you, unless you're a really, really good poker player/liar. They'll start running names by you and watch your reaction. "It was Joe's mother again, wasn't it?" You've got to be good to keep from giving it away.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 10:44 AM

Ok, Meesh, I agree with you, but:

"This is plain English at it's best."

Donthca just love irony? :-)

Posted by: laura33 | December 14, 2007 10:46 AM

"How do teenagers react to the parents tattling? Do they know who "told"? "

The motor mouths and nosey Parkers in the neighborhood are well known. It's pretty hard to miss the biggest snoopers and gossipers, even when they are your own parents.

The teenagers react as teenagers...

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 10:46 AM

Leslie asks: "How do teenagers react to the parents tattling? Do they know who 'told'? Do you have to disguise it?"

Any parents who let their (ahem, Matt!) child(ren) disobey or bully them need parenting lessons because, unless you're actually abusing your kids, you're the boss of them. Indeed, parents of minor children have legal responsibilities (not to mention, in certain cases, legal liabilities as well) for them. Please note that I'm not by any means advocating parental abuse of children, nor am I suggesting that children shouldn't be gradually taught to take responsibility for themselves (because it doesn't occur suddenly on their 18th birthdays, except in the eyes of the law). But the type of parental wimpishness that Leslie describes is disgraceful, and provides children with a poor model for their own potential parenthood someday.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 10:52 AM

Matt, I agree with the other posters. There is absolutely nothing unclear about "spouse" or "child." The possessive pronoun is wrong. As someone who works in publishing, I have to say that "their" to mean "his or her" is becoming very common. It irks me, but it's a changing language, so we have to grin and bear it. But if the writer chose, there is also nothing unclear about "his or her child." This is plain English at it's best. You just seem to prefer categorization to neutral writing.

Posted by: Meesh | December 14, 2007 10:16 AM


Meesh - spot on.

If betterbegood3 perhaps finds blogs to be transparent and seeks to protect the identity of those with whom he or she lives, how does that impact her message. Why would anyone care? I have no problem with the grammar police, but now we have pronoun police? Or did Matt merely wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

"People continue to use it this way all the time and branding it "incorrect" is a meaningless exercise in prescriptivism.

Posted by: milli064 | December 14, 2007 10:19 AM

Well, milli, you me see it as meaningless, but there is no one at my firm that will call a candidate in for an interview of he or she doesn't understand this fundamental rule of English usage. Clients somehow object to paying $____ per hour in order to obtain the services of someone for whom subject/verb coordination is optional. Furthermore, since when is, "everybody's doing it," a valid reason for any sort of conduct, LOL?

Posted by: mn.188 | December 14, 2007 10:53 AM

As for knowing who told: I think it depends on the transgression. DS has one friend whose mother calls me about nearly everything the two of them do. "You know they were out playing football, and your son wasn't wearing his sweater." "And when they were playing football, they were playing with other boys who were using the 'f' word." "I made my son give me his Facebook password so I can see his pages. Did you make DS give you his password?"

I'm all for keeping an eye out for your kids' friends, but some of these details, we just don't need. DS now knows that this friend's mom has likely already before he even gets home, so DS usually asks "so what did she call about this time...?" as he comes in the door.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 10:54 AM

milli064, I hardly think that citing Middle Age poetry buttresses your point about modern languages. And saying that English teachers are all wrong about grammar isn't a sound debating strategy.

But whatever. See http://www.bartleby.com/64/C005/018.html

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.
A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English. 1996.

5. Gender: Sexist Language and Assumptions

§ 18. they with singular antecedent

... When people shy away from using they to refer to a singular antecedent, it is usually out of respect for the traditional grammatical rule concerning pronoun agreement. Most of the Usage Panel rejects the use of they with singular antecedents as ungrammatical, even in informal speech. Eighty-two percent find the sentence The typical student in the program takes about six years to complete their course work unacceptable.

........

(This is what we're reduced to on a Friday - grammar battles? I gotta get a life! And yes, I know that's grammatically incorrect but I'm taking poetic license!)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 10:55 AM

ArmyBrat

It's hard to disguise who told you, unless you're a really, really good poker player/liar. They'll start running names by you and watch your reaction. "It was Joe's mother again, wasn't it?"

Gotta maintain the poker face! That's where I went wrong!

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 11:00 AM

kate - I agree that it can be over the top, but in this day and age, I think having your kid's passwords isn't too much. Then again, I don't have a teen so maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 11:03 AM

OK, Kate, I'll cut some slack when it comes to other parents who tattle about things that you may reasonably consider trivial, like your example of someone's son not wearing a sweater outdoors (unless it's, say, well below freezing!).

OTOH, there are parents who believe they have a reasonable right to know if their child's playmates are profusely using the "F" word, and to object appropriately.

Parents discussing whether they should have a child's computer password(s) is a reasonable topic among adults, especially since some parents are less knowledgable re the virtual world than others, so this is a good starting point for learning more re the topic.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 11:03 AM

ArmyBrat

The Caller ID feature helps catch the informers.

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 11:05 AM

Leslie,

Why would an 8-year old need a booster? As far as I am aware, 8 is the oldest age most states require boosters (unless you have an unusually small child).

Posted by: floof | December 14, 2007 11:06 AM

"And when they were playing football, they were playing with other boys who were using the 'f' word."

Must be the ghetto.

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 11:11 AM

Nobody likes a rat!

Posted by: DandyLion | December 14, 2007 11:13 AM

An acquaintance mentioned that she had seen our children at the playground with our nanny. I asked her how the nanny was doing. The reply, conveyed without judgment, was that the nanny was keeping the kids safe but wasn't actively participating in their play, i.e., she was watching the kids closely and sticking right with the young one, but not necessarily leading the sandbox play. This is OK with me. I know she actively plays with them at other points during the day, and they don't require constant stimulation from her.

I appreciated hearing my neighbor's observations and was pleased that she relayed the facts without making any judgment. Next time I unexpectedly see a hired caregiver with a child, I'll take the same approach to informing the parent: mention that I saw them and wait to see if the parent asks for more info.

Posted by: glovpk77 | December 14, 2007 11:13 AM

Writing/grammar tip of the day: If you want to use gender-neutral pronouns like "them," "their" and "themselves" without referring back to a singular antecedent, and don't want your wording to sound awkward, either, you can just make that antecedent plural. E.g., "Any PARENTS who let THEIR child...," and "CHILDREN should be gradually taught to take responsibility for THEMSELVES." This technique often dodges the need for gender-specific pronouns (when you don't want to use them) while still being grammatically correct.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 11:13 AM

Posted by: floof | December 14, 2007 11:06 AM

Ironically, we were discussing this very thing in our Governor's Office of Highway Safety Legislative Subcommittee meeting yesterday. Most people do use the state's law to make these determination, even though the state's laws usually are not based on the best available safety data.

Here's the information on booster seats fromt eh National SafeKids Campaign: http://www.usa.safekids.org/skbu/cps/boosters.html

Posted by: pepperjade | December 14, 2007 11:13 AM

I have little kids. I rely on my nanny, my parents, and in-laws to help out with our kids -- they are important relationships in our lives. My kids and I love it when my kids get invited to playdates and outings. Although it seems so wrong to admit this -- especially about the grandparents -- I want anyone witnessing a safety violation to let me know no matter who the caregiver is. Then it is up to my husband and me to decide whether it is a violation in "our book." I want the opportunity to address the issue with the caregiver and, maybe in some way, they will be more conscientous if they believe they are being watched and informed on.

And if I see something amiss, or if your kid tells me something that I think is alarming, I am going to tell you, too. Then you can decide whether it is a violation in your book.

Posted by: srotkis | December 14, 2007 11:15 AM

Perhaps it's not really what this mom is saying, it's her tone. Unfortunately, I can't convey that here. I guess if she thinks it's cold enough that he needs to wear it, then don't call me, tell him to put on the sweater. If she hears the 'f' word, then she can tell them to knock it off, or send the offenders home. I've let her know that DS and I have already had that discussion-he needs to tell the other boys to not use that language around him. Or he's free to leave, or call me to pick him up.

And the passwords? I already have them, but it felt like she was checking up on me..."I already do X, don't you?" Perhaps I was being defensive, or she was double checking her own decisions.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 11:19 AM

"The Caller ID feature helps catch the informers."

Oh, come on - clearing the history of most recent numbers to call is one of the FIRST tricks parents should learn.

It goes along with clearing the history of your web browser.

(And to follow up re: the password discussion above - I don't need to know my kids' password because I'm just a little bit better at this game than they are, at least so far. If they start clearing their own history of pages visited/calls received/numbers dialed, we start having a talk.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 11:21 AM

DandyLion is wrong: plenty of parents like to be told if their child is misbehaving, or if a witness notices something amiss. E.g., what kind of parents would NOT want to know if their child has been hanging out with drug users/dealers or someone brandishing a deadly weapon?

Sticking your head in the sand doesn't make problems go away, and only tells children that their parents don't care enough to guide them appropriately when they're doing something illegal, immoral or even just ill-advised.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 11:25 AM

My teen doesn't know who saw him. He didn't do the '20 questions' to figure out either. He just knows he was busted. Now he didn't like being busted, but so what?

My teen wouldn't assume it was caller-id either. Email? Talk at the local grocery store? In passing? Heh, I have a life and I'm not afraid to use it.

Posted by: dotted_1 | December 14, 2007 11:27 AM

Army Brat

"Oh, come on - clearing the history of most recent numbers to call is one of the FIRST tricks parents should learn."

Yes, parents of a certain age.


Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 11:32 AM

Dotted wrote: "Heh, I have a life and I'm not afraid to use it."

Where's Fred when we need him to consider candidates for Quote of the Day?

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 11:32 AM

kate - with that info. your post makes a lot more sense. How old is your child? I get totally annoyed at the coat thing. I recommend to my children that they wear a coat on cold days. If they choose not to then they will be cold or maybe not. Either way they will learn. If they are cold, they will come in and get a coat, if not, then maybe I was wrong and they know a thing or two about their body. There are a lot worse things than a child not wearing a coat or hat.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 11:35 AM

moxie--DS is 15. And if they're running around playing football, he's likely warm enough.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 11:37 AM


kate: a 15 year old boy playing football does NOT want to wear a sweater, and you probably don't want him to wear one, either, because the other boys will make sure to rip it up and off. A *sweatshirt* would be appropriate if he's cold, but as both you and moxie pointed out if he gets cold enough he'll go put something on.

(We went to see oldest DD's college choir perform in late November, and there were about 20 guys playing tackle football on the lawn in shorts and t-shirts. They seemed warm enough! Had to drag DW away from the game and into the concert hall, though. She really wanted to stay and watch. :-( )

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 11:44 AM

ArmyBrat: Even with the cooler temps lately, I'm lucky to get the boy in pants (as opposed to shorts), much less a sweater (or even a sweatshirt). For the game mentioned above, DS had gone to school in a polo shirt & khakis, and the pickup game started shortly after he got off at his friend's bus stop. Since he was playing football in those, no wonder he was too warm...

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 11:58 AM

Most of the time I say nothing. The parents are usually larger than me and the children are larger than DD.

The other day when I was coming home from work (not with DD yet) I did quietly point out on the metro that a woman should put the 2 year old back in the stroller because she was unsteady on her feet. She did and no one fell. I also wanted to mention no eating on the metro but I bit my tongue on that one. I did have to step carefully on my way out over the discarded food.

Posted by: shdd | December 14, 2007 11:58 AM

mn.188: "Clients somehow object to paying $____ per hour in order to obtain the services of someone for whom subject/verb coordination is optional."

But they are, apparently, willing to pay for an attorney who sits on the internet blogging all day. And who punctuates all of her sentences with LOL.

MN, every time I skim through one of these blog entries, I find you to be an aggravating presence with your holier-than-thou snipery. I rarely comment any more because it appears that you have a captive audience here, and the seemingly normal bloggers don't seem to show up often enough to counter your irritating manner. But this is just too much. Correcting someone for correcting someone for correcting someone. Really?

I just can't believe there are any law firms in this world that would keep someone like you on the payroll. Clearly this place (but it's not in Minnesota, right? I remember that much) can't be very busy...or good. LOL!

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | December 14, 2007 11:59 AM

kate, I agree. I also think that with 15 yr. old boys there is likely to be some use of profanity amongst themselves. As long as they are respectful to me, I don't want to get in the business of their private conversations. A lot of that is boy bravado. I would certainly remind them of what our family values are, but in reality, teen boys playing football are going to curse.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 12:00 PM

My son is convinced he can't do anything without being seen now. he he he...

Love it! My sister and I were discussing this the other day. When we were growing up, everyone knew who we were, because everyone in town knew our dad. He was active in comminity organizations, he has his own accounting and tax firm, he has lots of friends, he grew up in the area, and just basically knows EVERYONE. In fact, my parents have gone on European vacations and had a friend, schoolmate or client stop them on the street to say hi.

So, I'm sure you can imagine the calculations that went on in my head on those (rare!!)(lol!!) occasions when I was tempted to misbehave. My sister and I never got away with ANYTHING, at least not for long. Maybe that's why I'm a Catholic school teacher and she's an SEC compliance officer.

If only I had been able to repeat the trick with my sons...

Posted by: educmom__615 | December 14, 2007 12:00 PM

Hey COTC - you are waaay off base with mn. She has been a consistently moderate and calming presence on this board. When you consistently show that you have similar qualities, then your accuations will be more credible.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 12:03 PM

Moxiemom, I'm with you - I grew up in a very tight-knit community where pretty much every adult kept an eye on what was going on; it was really a village mentality, which was great because it meant that the kids were allowed to roam around.

I also had the same reaction to the story about the kids on Wisconsin Ave. Back in the days when I used to go jogging in the mornings, I was out once at around 6:30 and a little girl (maybe 7 or 8) approached me to ask for directions. I couldn't believe she was out by herself at that hour and walked her home and talked to her grandmother. While I was walking with her, a man stopped in his car and said, "She was lost earlier, you know!" She told she had asked him for directions earlier but hadn't understood them; I was appalled that he knew she was lost and alone and had just given her directions and left.

I also once called the police hotline when I saw a family with a toddler in the backseat with no seatbelt, and a woman riding in the front seat with an infant in her lap.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 12:06 PM

moxiemom1

"When you consistently show that you have similar qualities, then your accuations will be more credible."

Spelling Police! For the "It takes a village" informer.

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 12:06 PM

Kate, your son would fit in great out here - shorts in the snow (usually paired with wool socks in Tevas) is like a uniform where I live. My neighbor was out blowing snow in shorts yesterday.

COTC - what moxiemom said.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 12:12 PM

LizaBean-your comment made me smile. The boy will wear shorts in all kind of weather, but professes to "hate" the snow because he doesn't like to be that cold. Huh? He cracks me up...

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 12:16 PM

There's tattling, which is to get someone INTO trouble, and then there's telling, which is to get someone OUT of trouble. It's not a bad rule, even for adults.

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | December 14, 2007 12:18 PM

The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" was borne from this. In past times neighbors looked out for children and neighbors were almost the same as your parents when it came to obeying orders. That was of course, before the "me" generation and the pedophiles that lurk around the corner.

Posted by: fabriclover | December 14, 2007 12:21 PM

I just can't believe there are any law firms in this world that would keep someone like you on the payroll. Clearly this place (but it's not in Minnesota, right? I remember that much) can't be very busy...or good. LOL!

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | December 14, 2007 11:59 AM

Oh, Cream, my love. I suppose that holiday bonus you were waiting on didn't measure up to your expectations and it's put you in a foul mood. I find it difficult to believe that there are clients who find you a rational, mature advisor, but then perhaps you are only a name on a bill to them, rather than a trusted advisor. There is something oddly insecure about a purported adult who holds a grudge against a stranger on the Internet for months at a time.

btw, one is only "on the payroll" if one is still an employee. Some of us have moved beyond that stage.

Just for your unhappy, overworked, unpaid self, here's a different acronym: ROTFLMAO. Happy holidays!

Posted by: mn.188 | December 14, 2007 12:23 PM

fabriclover

" In past times neighbors looked out for children and neighbors were almost the same as your parents when it came to obeying orders. That was of course, before the "me" generation and the pedophiles that lurk around the corner."

Where and when was this fantasy world?

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 12:25 PM

"The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" was borne from this. In past times neighbors looked out for children and neighbors were almost the same as your parents when it came to obeying orders. That was of course, before the "me" generation and the pedophiles that lurk around the corner."

That's completely how I grew up. It was frustrating as a teen, but certainly reassuring to know that I had many people who cared about my well being. The pedophiles were there all the time, we just didn't have MSNBC to yap about it all the time.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 12:31 PM

Sorry this is a day late, but I wanted to weigh in on the teacher gifts. Please DON'T give me anything expensive; it makes me uncomfortable. Same for cash; it seems a little like a bribe. Cookies and homemade candy are nice, especially if the student makes them him/herself. (I teach high school, so this is possible.)

My two favorite presents in 18 years of teaching, though, only cost about $1.50 each. One was a chocolate orange. Kids were talking about them in class one day, and I mentioned that they were my favorites. TWO MONTHS later, when Christmas came, a 15-year-old boy remembered that I had said that and brought me one. Now that's special! The other was a rubber doorstop. Seriously. Another teacher used my room during my planning period, and she had ruined one of my books by using it to prop open the door. It really upset me. A student noticed and for Christmas brought me a real rubber doorstop. Not expensive, but incredibly thoughtful.

That said, a letter about what a good job I'm doing, cc'ed to my principal, would be great, too!

Posted by: highschoolteacher | December 14, 2007 12:38 PM

What Moxie said.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 12:38 PM

"That's completely how I grew up. It was frustrating as a teen, but certainly reassuring to know that I had many people who cared about my well being."

Same here. Another benefit was having several trusted adults in my life who were not parents or teachers - people I knew cared about me and who I could ask for advice or share my troubles with. I've heard of studies showing that having adults other than parents and teachers is a big factor in a kid's confidence and self-esteem, which definitely jives with what I experienced growing up.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 12:39 PM

And with the internet, we now know where the (registered) pedophiles live. Pretty easy to tell your kids not to play in front of "that" house...

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 12:40 PM

"The boy will wear shorts in all kind of weather, but professes to "hate" the snow because he doesn't like to be that cold."

LOL, that's awesome.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 12:41 PM

" In past times neighbors looked out for children and neighbors were almost the same as your parents when it came to obeying orders. That was of course, before the "me" generation and the pedophiles that lurk around the corner."
Where and when was this fantasy world?

On every military post on which I ever lived, whether in Germany, South Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, ....

Nothing like your father coming home and starting the discussion with "I was called in to see Colonel Williams this afternoon. Seems that Major Smith's wife saw you and three other boys..."

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 12:44 PM

Hey, maybe if Princess Barbie did more "ROTFLMAO", her clothes would fit better.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 12:46 PM

ArmyBrat

"Nothing like your father coming home and starting the discussion with "I was called in to see Colonel Williams this afternoon. Seems that Major Smith's wife saw you and three other boys..."


The Cream of the Crop doesn't get caught by Major Smith's wife in the first place.

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 12:49 PM

mn188: "Just for your unhappy, overworked, unpaid self, here's a different acronym: ROTFLMAO. Happy holidays!"

Oh MN, and yet, from the way your describe your situation on other days, it is clear to me that I have far greater wealth than you, live in a much nicer home, drive much nicer cars, etc, all that superficial financial stuff that you'll now say makes me (even more!) insecure. But I'll remind you that it is you who brought up the money factor....

Oh, and happy holidays to you, too. I hope your present to your clients is actually getting some work in before the holidays are over. I'm sure they love having such a "rational, mature advisor" who is so willing to give so much of herself over to an anon forum. I won't waste my time-or yours-responding to you again on this blog. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | December 14, 2007 12:50 PM

ArmyBrat

"Nothing like your father coming home and starting the discussion with "I was called in to see Colonel Williams this afternoon. Seems that Major Smith's wife saw you and three other boys..."


Really. How hard could it have been for you to outwit the horny American housewives on the various military posts?

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 1:02 PM

chitty - No, Cream of the Crop IS Major Smith's wife. Well, Major Smith's wife (and the wife of every male Major) seemed to think that she was "Cream of the Crop".

But hey, that's just an NCO's kid talkin'. (Claiming poetic license on the improper grammar again.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 1:03 PM

"Really. How hard could it have been for you to outwit the horny American housewives on the various military posts?"

Officers' wives were NEVER horny around the kids of NCOs. Only around the kids of higher-ranking officers, or the higher-ranking officers themselves.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | December 14, 2007 1:05 PM

ArmyBrat

"Officers' wives were NEVER horny around the kids of NCOs. Only around the kids of higher-ranking officers, or the higher-ranking officers themselves"

Possibly. But most of these women were as dumb as a box of hammers, so I still don't understand how the kids got caught...

Posted by: chittybangbang | December 14, 2007 1:10 PM

Hey, MN, I think you've officially got a stalker! You've joined the ranks of the select OB regulars to be the subject of such obsessions, congratulations.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 1:11 PM

Gee, COTC, now THAT's Christmas spirit: gloating about MN's husband's recent layoff. You know, if you're trying to persuade people that you're right about something, not being a total jerk would be a good place to start.

Or, as they say, open mouth, change feet.

Posted by: laura33 | December 14, 2007 1:23 PM

Hey, maybe if Princess Barbie did more "ROTFLMAO", her clothes would fit better.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 12:46 PM

I think she just needs to accept her genetic destiny. She still has amazingly pert breasts! Princess Barbie does not do pregnancy or nursing.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 1:26 PM

I think a parent has to do what they feel they should. That doesn't mean you should expect your "tattle" to be received graceful/gratefully.

Child care choices are not always infinite, so the parent may/may not really have much choice, although it's probably better that they have a clue as to what's going on.

I think I'd confine my tattles to genuine safety issues and let the cell-phone chatter or "bad parenting" go unreported. If you, a parent, know that you do it then probably it should go unreported.

Posted by: RedBird27 | December 14, 2007 1:43 PM

Princess Barbie does not do pregnancy or nursing.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 01:26 PM

No, unless those rumours about GI Joe were true...

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 1:44 PM

No, unless those rumours about GI Joe were true...

I believe that GI Joe plays with Princess Barbie but he marries an American Girl doll.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 1:48 PM

"She still has amazingly pert breasts! Princess Barbie does not do pregnancy or nursing."

LOL.
Did any of you see the thing in the NYT about re-education in France after childbirth? I don't have the link handy, but apparently new moms in France get special physical-therapy type sessions to bring their pelvic floors and abdomens back into shape. I bet Princess Barbie would give birth in France and get her body re-educated.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 14, 2007 1:54 PM

Princess Barbie goes to Dr.90210!

Posted by: educmom__615 | December 14, 2007 2:02 PM

Dr. 90210 is super duper CREEPY! I think his wife IS barbie, but just not as smart! tee hee - now I sound like chitty.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 14, 2007 2:04 PM

No need to go to Dr 90210 - just buy his special undergarments. He was hawking then on HSN (co-worker told me then there was a clip on The Soup - hilarious).

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | December 14, 2007 2:05 PM

"Why would an 8-year old need a booster? As far as I am aware, 8 is the oldest age most states require boosters (unless you have an unusually small child)."

My nearly 9 year old weighs 54 lbs. She is 4 feet tall. The law says that she doesn't need a booster seat because she is an 8 yo living in VA. The doctor tells me that safety guidelines would have her in a booster seat until she is 4'9". I have heard/read that other guidelines suggest a weight of 70-80 lbs. She continues to use a booster seat in my car, but not in other cars. I don't know how long I will keep her in one--the only thing I say is that I won't send her booster seat along on dates!

Her 6 yo sister just moved into a booster seat in October (just gained to 40 lbs). That's life with kids who are smaller than average.

Posted by: janedoe | December 14, 2007 2:05 PM

Dr. 90210's wife is what a woman should be. Very skinny, with large fake breasts, and willing to take care of her children while her husband works long hours paying for those fake breasts!

(Yes, that was facetious).

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 2:24 PM

By the way, pATRICK, are you still alive???

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 2:24 PM

I heard pATRICK was busy making a flan to ship to Emily in honor of the birth of her daughter.

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 2:28 PM

I heard pATRICK was busy making a flan to ship to Emily in honor of the birth of her daughter.

I don't think that could be true since it would prove that pATRICK was a member of the human race. And yet we all know he is, in fact, a demon living in the lowest circle of hell.

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 2:32 PM

Happy Holidays to y'all. I refuse to say Merry Christmas since it SO offensive. Every time I hear that phrase, I puke. My God, this is a secular nation. Any mention of Christmas should be met with the death penalty!!!!

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 2:36 PM

I thought maybe pATRICK's dad had died, and he had more important things to do than blog here. If you're lurking, pATRICK, I hope all is well, and merry Christmas.

Posted by: atb2 | December 14, 2007 2:39 PM

Ding, Dong, the witch is . . . celebrating the true meaning of Christmas by bragging about material possessions - and misses the irony, to boot. Ha! (Is that better?)

thanks, moxiemom, LizaBean and laura. and now back to more laughter.

Posted by: mn.188 | December 14, 2007 2:41 PM

LizaBean, here's the link you were seeking, re French "re-education":
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/opinion/13druckerman.html?em&ex=1197781200&en=70bc209fbc9a5ea6&ei=5070

Posted by: mehitabel | December 14, 2007 2:46 PM

Ding, Dong, the witch is . . . celebrating the true meaning of Christmas by bragging about material possessions - and misses the irony, to boot. Ha! (Is that better?)

Posted by: mn.188 | December 14, 2007 02:41 PM

Well, what do you expect from someone who anoints herself Cream of the Crop?

I won't waste my time-or yours-responding to you again on this blog. Merry Christmas!


Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | December 14, 2007 12:50 PM

Promises, promises...

Posted by: educmom__615 | December 14, 2007 3:07 PM

OK, I'll admit to being amused/intrigued at the idea of the State paying for my white wand.

Posted by: kate07 | December 14, 2007 3:08 PM

If you're lurking, pATRICK, I hope all is well, and merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas?!?!?! You actually said Merry Christmas?!?!? Do you realize how offensive that is. You sicken me with your Christian beliefs. Pardon me while I puke. Instead, I say Happy Kwaanza, Happy Hannukah, because gee, it's OK to say those things.

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 9:00 PM

"I thought maybe pATRICK's dad had died, and he had more important things to do than blog here."

That's too bad. But your use of "he" implies that it is pATRICK's dad who had more important things to do than blog here. When we all know he had Alzeheimer's and couldn't blog here if he tried!!!! Oh yeah. I've still got it!! GOD BLESS YOU DICK CHENEY!!! I LOVE YOU AND YOUR LESBIAN DAUGHTER!!!! OH! BARACK OBAMA!!! SNORT SOME MORE COKE!!!!

Posted by: antipATRICK | December 14, 2007 9:04 PM

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