The Business-Trip Gift

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I am not a huge fan of business travel, yet somehow this year I have seen the inside of at least 10 airports and three train stations. In the last month, I've spent nine hours stuck in the Indianapolis airport, had the pleasure of watching the moon rise over the Potomac from the tarmac of National Airport for four hours and shared a redeye flight with approximately 130 13-year-olds on a school trip. Not a single one of them feel asleep. Neither did I.

All of this to-ing and fro-ing has given me fresh perspective on one of the more subtle and complex aspects of business travel: the obligatory business trip gift.

I have no idea where the idea that kids who are deprived of a parent for a few days deserve a guilt-inspired, overpriced gift-shop trinket got started, but the children seem to instinctively know to ask. So, I've been trying to determine exactly what the absolute minimum requirements are for such gifts.

Here's what I've determined:

  • A single-day trip requires no gift if you can make it back by bedtime.
  • For a single-day West Coast trip, JetBlue's "Shut Eye Kit" from Bliss will suffice
  • An overnight trip seems to requires at least a gift-shop gift
  • You can't get away with wrapping up hotel toiletries
  • A weeklong trip may require actual shopping
  • Gifts should be as small as possible to help maintain negative crap flow in the household. I got away with pencils once, but I'm not sure I can pull that off again.
  • Getting something emblazoned with a city name seems like it ought to be important, but isn't
  • A city's greatness is determined by whether it is important enough to have its own snow globe. No snowglobe=second-tier metropolis.
  • As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm sure some of you have managed to quash the gift expectation altogether, and I'd love to hear about that. For everyone else: What's the best thing you've thrown into your carry-on to ensure a happy homecoming?

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

    By Brian Reid |  April 17, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Workplaces
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    Comments

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    "I have no idea where the idea that kids who are deprived of a parent for a few days deserve a guilt-inspired, overpriced gift-shop trinket got started"

    Ummm, from the parents bringing stuff home? My kids don't ask, because I never got in the habit of bringing stuff home. Seriously. I think I remember my daughter asking once; I told her "nope," and the issue went away. It's not "instinct" -- it's an expectation you create from your own behavior.

    Posted by: Laura | April 17, 2008 7:15 AM

    My husband travels a few times a year. Usually his trips last 3-5 days. Not only does he bring the kid something, he usually brings me stuff too. Granted his last gift was a freebie that was given in a trade show. But sometimes he brings perfume, flowers, candy or something else. He has brought tee shirts, stuffed animals, and books home to my daughter. I don't know if she expects it but it is very nice. I had one four day trip since my daughter was born. It was in Canada. I brought my husband a tee shirt and I brought back a doll, tee shirt, and a stuffed animal to my daughter. If your traveling all the time and I would say 10 trips a year is a lot, I would limit the gifts. But if your talking once every three months, if you can afford it, I think it is nice.

    Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2008 7:22 AM

    My husband travels to Europe frequently. We enjoy food gifts from him -- largely because of the Negative Crap Flow issue noted above. Food has the all-important attribute of being eaten and not hanging around to dirty my house. He brings good European chocolate and coffee and exotic and interesting spices when he goes someplace exotic and interesting. The restrictions on liquid on the plane, however, have markedly impacted our lifestyle. No more good bottles of wine and champagne, no olive oil from Italy. And Brian is right -- the hotel toiletries and eyeshades from the plane are NOT a gift.

    Posted by: Just Lurking | April 17, 2008 7:35 AM

    Brian


    "What's the best thing you've thrown into your carry-on to ensure a happy homecoming?"

    It's really pathetic, but par for the course for you, that you don't know that the best homecoming gift you can give your family is YOU.

    Posted by: A different drummer | April 17, 2008 7:49 AM

    My husband only brings gifts if he goes someplace new or different and brings home something that reflects the place he visits, like a book on scorpions when he was in Arizona.

    Recently I was in line at a store behind a woman who was buying literally $80 worth of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. I said "Oh, someone's going to be happy", thinking it was a birthday gift. She replied "It's for my 3 year old, I've been gone 3 days and I can't walk in empty handed - the guilt you know". All I could think was "lady, you don't even know what you have started".

    I think after you've been gone, the best gift is the gift of your time. That's what they've been missing. Usually when my husband has been gone on a long trip he will take them completely off my hands, make pancakes for breakfast or do an extra long story time at bed time. They love that!

    Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2008 7:51 AM

    moxiemom

    "My husband only brings gifts if he goes someplace new or different and brings home something that reflects the place he visits,like a book on scorpions when he was in Arizona.

    Recently I was in line at a store behind a woman who was buying literally $80 worth of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. I said "Oh, someone's going to be happy", thinking it was a birthday gift. She replied "It's for my 3 year old, I've been gone 3 days and I can't walk in empty handed - the guilt you know". All I could think was "lady, you don't even know what you have started". "

    What is the difference to the kids between your husband and the woman who bought the Thomas the Tank stuff? Your husband doesn't walk in empty handed, either. What's up with that? What has he started? Does he need to take a trip to buy a book on scorpions?


    Posted by: Confused | April 17, 2008 8:04 AM

    Please no more stuffed animals with "Seattle" written on it! My house is overflowing with stuffed animals! I like for my husband to bring our twins a cute t-shirt with the name of the place on it. As long as it is in the "next" size. (If they are in 3T now, get 4T so they can actually wear it for a year!) Or magnets are a great inexpensive gift. We just went to NYC and brought the girls back a magnet of the skyline. They pick it up every day and say, "mom, is this where you were - New York City?" All of the magnets from past trips are on the fridge at their eye level.

    Posted by: LBH219 | April 17, 2008 8:06 AM

    The older DS and I just returned from a spring break trip to visit family. Although I typically bring stuff back when I travel for business, it seemed less important this time. I sort of looked for something at the airport, but we didn't have that much time and I wasn't so inclined. Younger DS seemed to my DH to be fine the whole time, but he definitely missed me. Giving me big hugs and throwing tantrums that he didn't while I was away.

    Yup, the best gift you can give them is to come back.

    Of course, on those business trips, I love to shop for something for the kids when I have some time. :)

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 8:10 AM

    confused, you are aptly named. My husband doesn't always bring something and when he does, he brings something that will help to expand their understanding of the world. When he is gone we look at the location on the map and talk about what it is like there. The "gift" he brings home is another part of that. Secondly, Thomas the Tank lady was buying because she felt guilty and obligated as her primary emotion - my husband could come home empty handed everytime and not hear "what did you get me".

    Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2008 8:10 AM

    atlmom

    "Of course, on those business trips, I love to shop for something for the kids when I have some time. :)"

    Do you also love to shop for the kids in your family who are growing up in rags & abuse?

    Posted by: Huh? | April 17, 2008 8:17 AM

    Actually, when I read the headline, I thought it meant - those trips you really don't want to take cause you know the hassle it will bring, packing, getting to the airport, etc, but that when you are actually on the trip, and you have a few minutes to yourself, or you can do something without the kids and not feel guilty or you can go to dinner alone - that that is a gift.

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 8:19 AM

    My father used to travel to the middle east a couple times a year. He would bring back the most bizzare stuff. As a kid I loved having the odd ball stuff for show and tell.

    Posted by: Burke Mom | April 17, 2008 8:19 AM

    Moxiemom

    Secondly, Thomas the Tank lady was buying because she felt guilty and obligated as her primary emotion - my husband could come home empty handed everytime and not hear "what did you get me".

    Thee kids don't know the difference or the intent.

    Posted by: Confused | April 17, 2008 8:20 AM

    my son was 4 when i went on a 4 day business trip. i was concerned about the separation anxiety which my son still suffered from on occassion. i arranged to have a thomas the tank engine accessory delivered to the house every day while i was gone. it worked out well. my son had something to look forward when he got home rather than me being absent & when i called in the evening he had something fun he could tell me about rather than cry that i wasn't there. my husband reported that my son was very excited when he was picked up in the evening because of the package waiting at home. in hind sight, i don't know if they were necessary or not. however, if i ever travel again i won't get him stuff except maybe fridge magnets or t-shirts.

    Posted by: quark | April 17, 2008 8:29 AM

    I've been on more business trips in the past two months than in the past two years. I started a fridge magnet gift (usually from the airport). It minimizes clutter, is multi-purpose and not always tacky. We have a howling coyote magnet from Arizona, a wooden fish magnet from the Philippines, a viking hat from Sweden, and the Hollywood sign magnet from LA.

    Posted by: md | April 17, 2008 8:30 AM

    I think leaving and coming home rituals are important. Whether that includes the "I was thinking of you (at the airpotr gift shop)" gift or not is pretty individual.

    My husband and I have both travelled for business - me for two short hops, and he for a bit longer. Our rituals are that we leave behind a letter with "emergency kisses" on it. We put a pin on the map showing where we are. We call home at 6 pm every night (after dinner, before bedtime starts). And we save the individual sized pretzel or peanut bags from the plane for my son.

    And I have to admit I bought my son a baseball cap from the airport gift store. In my defense my flight was delayed and it was on sale and he needed a spring hat. But I was feeling really lousy that I might miss bedtime and it was not a well-considered buy. So I get it. Hopefully it is not a pattern. :)

    Posted by: Shandra | April 17, 2008 8:36 AM

    The best gift when my dad goes on travel is the fact that he is out of the house for a few days!

    Posted by: atlmom's niece | April 17, 2008 8:37 AM

    "Thee kids don't know the difference or the intent."

    Please. Kids can sniff out guilt a mile away.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 8:41 AM

    My dad used to travel a lot for work. When we asked if he brought us something, the answer was always no. He just said that it was work, and not a shopping trip.

    That said, I like the magnet idea. I have been a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for 5 years, and when I travel, in addition to sending postcards, I like to bring back a magnet. Partly because it can be a tool for conversation - what was different about where I was, or unique. What kind of places would she like to see (she's 15 now). At the beginning I think it was guilt - I had committed to be a regular part of this child's life, and I would be missing a week. But after 5 years, it's just something relatively inexpensive, and a way to share my time and experiences with her.

    Posted by: jb in va | April 17, 2008 8:45 AM

    gifts after traveling? I have to say no one in this household ever thinks of it.

    Posted by: dotted | April 17, 2008 8:46 AM

    The ultimate problem with our relationship with planet earth is that we're a bunch of consumerists. We buy stuff just to buy stuff. Our lives end up being filled with stuff and, therefore, we're always throwing away stuff. It's a horrible cycle and it feeds into the needless wasting of resources.

    And, Brian, if you're really interested in helping your kids, you'll save their planet's future and STOP BUYING unnecessary "stuff".

    Posted by: Ryan | April 17, 2008 8:48 AM

    I think part of it is that the kids want to know that you were thinking about them. So it really doesn't matter WHAT it is.

    The kids love the 'keys' from the hotel room - the cards. And when my dept went to disney, we got a gift card with mickey on it, so they liked that as well. So really, it doesn't matter what it is.

    My dad used to travel a bit. I don't remember him getting us stuff every time. I do remember him getting us these stuffed bears once - I must have been quite young at the time, but I still remember it.

    As I said, I think it's more that the kid wants to know that you didn't forget about them. Cause I think *they* feel guilty if they had a good time without you - but trips are good, they teach the kids you come back, it's okay for them to have a good time without you, you're still a family.

    So this *could* be a frivolous topic, but really, it could also be meaningful discussion - as with most of everything...

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 8:53 AM

    I agree with Moxie -- I figure that when I'm gone, my kids miss out on time with me, so I do special things alone with them. My daughter and I now have a routine of going to Bob Evans and sitting at the counter eating breakfast before I leave on a trip -- it's silly, but she loves spinning on the stools and having that time just with me.

    We do pick up things sometimes when we're someplace interesting. Last fall, we went to Portugal while Grandma and Grandpa stayed with the kids, so we picked up some small, packable things to give the kids a sense of where we were. And she's getting a globe for her birthday in a few weeks, so we'll be able to do a "Where's Waldo" kind of game for future trips.

    Posted by: Laura | April 17, 2008 8:53 AM

    "Recently I was in line at a store behind a woman who was buying literally $80 worth of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. I said "Oh, someone's going to be happy", thinking it was a birthday gift. She replied "It's for my 3 year old, I've been gone 3 days and I can't walk in empty handed - the guilt you know". All I could think was "lady, you don't even know what you have started"."

    If it was the first trip she had taken since the child was born, I understand the guilt. Not everyone travels regularly. I have only taken two trips away from my teenage children since they have been born. I work full time, but there is no travel required.

    Posted by: another opinion | April 17, 2008 8:55 AM

    altmom

    "As I said, I think it's more that the kid wants to know that you didn't forget about them."

    Yup. The same way you don't forget about the kids in your famiy who are growing up rags & abuse.

    Posted by: Duh! | April 17, 2008 8:56 AM

    Please. Kids can sniff out guilt a mile away.

    If kids could "sniff out" stuff, there would be a lot less child victims.

    Posted by: Get real | April 17, 2008 8:59 AM

    My wife and I don't bring the kids anything and they've learned not to expect anything. It's amazing how well that works.

    Posted by: Dennis | April 17, 2008 9:05 AM

    Confused: sheesh, you are confused, aren't you?

    For a period of several years about a decade ago, I traveled a LOT all over the globe. I usually tried to bring the kids (and my wife) back something related to where I was, to help them understand more about the planet and other cultures. We're talking small, relevant books, maps, or something related to the area like a boomerang from Sydney or a hand-painted silk scarf from Beijing.

    That's very different from "I feel guilty that I left you behind so here's a lot of junk as a bribe." And yes, the kids DO know the difference.

    The kids in question are now 19, 17, 16, and 11 and they've told me several times that various small gifts I've brought them still mean a lot. Of course, DS's favorite gift is still the Red Sox hat I bought for him at Fenway, but he's a teenaged boy, so that's not surprising.

    I'm sorry if you don't understand that.

    (DW would always mark on the map where I was, and I'd always send them e-mail messages and try to call when I could. We'd talk before and after about the trip and the places, and I'd enjoy the occasional question like "is Beijing more crowded than Tokyo?")

    My gift to DW was usually to let her go off by herself for a day or a weekend - she'd got to a friend's place at the beach, or in the mountains, or even go off with her sister for a "girls' weekend out."

    Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 17, 2008 9:08 AM

    Is this gonna be a "bash atlmom all day" day? 'Cause really, I've got better things to do. Like, spend time with the kids before they're all in college. Or even, you know, work (shudder).

    Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 17, 2008 9:09 AM

    This is not really a topic that I can comment on since I don't live with kids.

    I can say that I have gone on extended vacations without a prior husband and each time, I did bring back a little something to share with him. Ditto when he went to Germany to visit family without me.

    I have an update on the interview.... He doesn't know how the interview went but one of the interview committee members(there were 5) followed him outside and gave him a business card. He said he would hire him right away to work while he waited for the results. This must mean that he impressed 20% of the committee at the very least. He told me that he was going to call tomorrow although he is worried that the job is in Maryland.

    I keep trying to be positive and can only hope that a new job might mean a new attitude from the honey.

    Posted by: Billie_R | April 17, 2008 9:09 AM

    What's the best thing you've thrown into your carry-on to ensure a happy homecoming?

    I may sound full of myself but my kids and husband are happy to see ME - not stuff. Maybe it's because my husband and I have always traveled a lot on business. (Separately of course.) So my kids have never come to expect anything other than the promise that if you're asleep when I get home I'll come into your room and give you a kiss even though you won't remember it. The only exception was a trip to Paris and London last year - I did bring back each child a trinket but funny thing is that after the initial excitement they've never touched those things again.

    Posted by: cm9887 | April 17, 2008 9:12 AM

    I travel twice a month for business and pretty much never bring my kids a gift unless it's the chocolates that get put on the bed at the hotel for turndown service.

    We have too much stuff as it is -- enough for us to adopt 4 children, as my son informed me last night. Not adding more crap to our house!

    Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2008 9:18 AM

    ArmyBrat

    "Is this gonna be a "bash atlmom all day" day? 'Cause really, I've got better things to do. Like, spend time with the kids before they're all in college. Or even, you know, work (shudder)."


    Why should today be different from any other day for you?

    Posted by: Shudder | April 17, 2008 9:25 AM

    Shudder: well, it's like this. If this blog today is going to involve interesting, humorous, or similar discussion, then it's good to spend time here while I'm on the mind-numbing, time-wasting conference call that my customer thinks is productive.

    If all that's going to happen is an endless stream of atlmom-bashing, then I'd rather spend the mind-numbing, time-wasting conference call time doing something else. I'll even stoop to doing actual work. :-)

    So that's why today might be different from any other day.

    Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 17, 2008 9:31 AM

    I think the trip-gift thing is a bad idea. Once you get it started then it'll be expected, and as you've already noted -- most of the stuff is not worth having.

    That said, swag from conferences is about our speed. Microsoft pens, USB ports, little toys from vendors. It's all free and if you don't go someplace where they're giving stuff away then you don't have to try and shop.

    If you must buy something I advise collecting things that are frequently sold in airports. I have a shot glass from many major airports. They sat on a shelf until my son went to college and then I started finding them downstairs in the kids playroom -- sticky on the inside so I guess they were doing shots in them. Otherwise -pencils, snow globes, postcards will set a standard that isn't too hard to maintain.

    Business trips are not something a working person needs to mollify their family about. It's not a vacation you are in the pursuit of earning a living. There isn't any need for excuses or gifts to "make-up" for your absence -- you did it for them.

    Posted by: RoseG | April 17, 2008 9:36 AM

    ArmyBrat
    ArmyBrat
    "If all that's going to happen is an endless stream of atlmom-bashing, then I'd rather spend the mind-numbing, time-wasting conference call time doing something else. I'll even stoop to doing actual work. :-)"

    As opposed to your frequent self serving, yada yada family novellas?

    Posted by: Shudder | April 17, 2008 9:37 AM

    I hear you on the negative crap flow--I've become increasingly aware that every thing that comes into the house is just another thing to clean up, re-arrange, wash or make space for. Even at birthdays and Christmas--less is definitely best.

    Christmas stockings are a good example. My husband never had kids of his own and this was his first Christmas as a stepdad. He felt that there should be more stuff in the stockings--candy, little toys, etc. I had to explain to him that each thing in those stockings would be unloaded onto the floor, the table, the sofa, etc. and would remain there until it was eventually thrown out so may as well just never bring it into the house to begin with.

    For business--or any non-kid--trips I pretty much try to go the candy route; either that or t-shirt from the destination. My kids actually like getting t-shirts from the different places so it make shopping easy--no need to think about buying the stuff until you're at the airport.

    Posted by: Maggie | April 17, 2008 9:43 AM

    If you don't like it, just leave, please.

    Posted by: To Shudder | April 17, 2008 9:44 AM

    My husband goes on more biz trips and he doesn't usually buy anything for the kids unless random inspiration strikes.

    When I travel I take advantage of downtime to buy the kids stuff they need. Usually sox or other clothing items. The kids are not jaded yet -- this is still a treat for them.

    The real gift is Mom or Dad coming through the door. Sounds so corny, but the kids are ecstatic to see us, no matter how short the trip. That's the only present that really matters to them.

    Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2008 9:48 AM

    I always bring home a fridge magnet of showgirls when I go to Vegas. The wife and kids mightn't like them but I do!

    Posted by: Vegas Baby! | April 17, 2008 10:01 AM

    I too misinterpreted Brian's title today. It's like a Rorschach test -- what do those four words mean to you?

    I thought he meant "how a business trip is such a gift for crazed parents."

    I've gotta admit that 1-2 nights in a hotel, plus a long train or plane ride alone, go a loong way for me. I read, work, sleep, catch up with friends via phone, and come home totally rested and recharged. Amazing how what used to be a burden now feels like a vacation. A paid vacation!

    Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2008 10:04 AM

    The best gift I ever brought my wife was a two kilogram box of Leonidas dark chocolate from Brussels.

    The worst gift I ever brought her was a postcard from the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

    Posted by: No Class | April 17, 2008 10:06 AM

    Do you also love to shop for the kids in your family who are growing up in rags & abuse?


    Posted by: Huh? | April 17, 2008 8:17 AM

    Leslie,

    The link to report posts for deletion is not longer available. Army Brat has teed the issue up nicely. Please either excise the troll or let us know you have no intention of doing so and we will exit. This is day 4 or so of relentless negativity.

    on-topic: I'm with laura. We never buy gifts when we travel, so there's no expectation. Everyone is happy when our family is reunited. That's enough.

    Posted by: MN | April 17, 2008 10:21 AM

    Actually, today being different from all other days starts Saturday night.

    Happy Passover!

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 10:45 AM

    My dad traveled when I was young, sometimes internationally. He passed away recently. I absolutely treasure certain items he brought back from those trips. I also treasure the happy memories of knowing that he thought of me and picked something out for me while he was away. When I travel, I try to find something small that my sons would enjoy to replicate that special feeling for them. I try to make it either meaningful, edible, or useful (a book or new markers, for example). And, I'll be the first to admit that when my husband travels to Manhattan and brings me something from the Bliss spa, I'm as happy as the kids are to be receiving a travel present!

    Posted by: Chicago Mom | April 17, 2008 10:47 AM

    atlmom

    "Actually, today being different from all other days starts Saturday night.

    Happy Passover!"

    Oh, the sweet, sweet irony...

    Posted by: Perplexed | April 17, 2008 10:55 AM

    The spookiest gift my husband brought our newborn daughter was a small white bear, with I love Reston on the t-shirt. We were living in Chicago, he had to go for training in Reston. 2 years later, we moved to Virginia, he was working in Herndon, we were living in an apartment in Reston, and I unpacked the bear (which had been boxed for 6 months or so), and just stared at the bear. I had completely forgot about the trip. He reminded me of the trip, but had forgotten about the bear.

    Now, we just do magnets (whether for pleasure or business travel).

    Posted by: pamsdds | April 17, 2008 11:06 AM

    MN and others -- You can also send me emails directly about posts you find offensive.

    And put up a post citing the name (or anon) and time of a post you find problematic.

    In many cases I will take them down. But just so you know, I try to err on the "freedom of speech" end of the spectrum. I don't like to delete comments unless they violate the Post's policies, below. Otherwise it's a slippery slope of subjectivity.

    Thanks. To the extent possible, it helps when posters (like you) help to self-police the blog.

    Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2008 11:12 AM

    What is going on here? I'm with MN and ArmyBrat. This apparent sniping of Atlmom is getting out of hand and uncalled for, to boot.

    Happy Passover back at'cha Atlmom!

    Posted by: dotted | April 17, 2008 11:12 AM

    Like a community watchdog group.

    Here's my email in case you don't have it:

    leslie@lesliemorgansteiner.com

    Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2008 11:12 AM

    Thanks, dotted.

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 11:22 AM

    Mom and Dad went on a trip when I was little and brought me back a new baby sister.

    Posted by: Still Wondering How It Happened | April 17, 2008 11:23 AM

    OT: anyone still laughing from my inadventent use of the word "heinous" yesterday?

    Posted by: dotted | April 17, 2008 11:29 AM

    Dotted: you know, I don't know if it was you or not who pointed it out, but I did not even notice the gaffe until it was pointed out to me. Then I went back to read it and it was quite amusing.

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 11:34 AM

    This is sort of different since we're all grown up in my family now, but when my parents go on vacation they usually pick up gifts for all the kids (4 of us, plus my DH and usually at least 1 serious GF). These gifts are then given out to all of us at Hanukah. Vacation souvenirs just supplement the regular gift shopping for the holidays. I love it- I've got a few great pieces of art out of it that I wouldn't have normally received. Maybe that is a way to share the experience of your trip to a new place, but without feeling like you are just adding more crap to your household than you normally would.

    Posted by: JessC | April 17, 2008 11:40 AM

    The altmom attack is nothing compared to the crap that has been thrown at some people on here in the past. Leslie where were you then?

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 11:49 AM

    "The altmom attack is nothing compared to the crap that has been thrown at some people on here in the past. Leslie where were you then? "

    altmom has the support of the Queen Bees and the Wannabees - Leslie's core audience.

    Posted by: No shocker | April 17, 2008 11:54 AM

    No shocker, I assume you're referring to anyone who doesn't agree with you? That'd make YOU the Queen Bee or Wannabee.

    Posted by: Sheesh! | April 17, 2008 12:02 PM

    No, I actually think grandma Lynne is the new queen bee.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 12:08 PM

    "No, I actually think grandma Lynne is the new queen bee."

    ArmyBrat tries, but he lacks imagination.

    Posted by: Lola | April 17, 2008 12:11 PM

    Y'all just jealous!

    Posted by: The Real Queen Bee | April 17, 2008 12:20 PM

    Hey, atlmom bashed me earlier today on the parenting blog and suggested I move to Mexico. But she added the smile emoticon, :), so it makes it OK.

    My personal opinion is that except for all the serious comments, this blog is otherwise very entertaining.

    Posted by: DandyLion | April 17, 2008 12:24 PM

    You know what? Just because someone doesn't agree with you, doesn't mean they are wrong and you are right (or vice versa). Too many disagreements quickly devolve into "I'm right and you're wrong...na ne na ne boo boo" or name-calling.

    There are ways to disagree in a respectful manner. I've seen examples of respectfully disagreement on this blog. Try it here for size, you might like it. And it just might help you in other things.

    Posted by: dotted | April 17, 2008 12:29 PM

    Maybe there is a song is this whole disagreement thing. Anyone want a song on it?

    Posted by: Songster | April 17, 2008 12:53 PM

    Songster

    "Maybe there is a song is this whole disagreement thing. Anyone want a song on it?

    Whaddya got with a high school theme?

    Posted by: Hotsie | April 17, 2008 1:01 PM

    Don't travel much, so it's not an issue. The bigger issue for is is generally trying to restrain ourselves from buying more useless crap that the kids might play with for a day or two, but then just become clutter. For example, I thought I needed a baby swing -- what was I thinking? Baby liked it for a little while. Now she pretty much hates it, and it is taking up space. So I was thinking that we need an exersaucer. We had one for our son, and he loved it (but he also loved the swing). But will that be another piece of useless crap that just takes up space? Also, someone said to get a bumbo seat, and it looks appealing, because it helps the baby sit up independently. But really, do we need it?

    I had forgotten how all that baby gear just ends up consuming space and sometimes goes completely unused.

    OT comment on the Thomas toys. They are way overpriced, but I have to say that this is the one set of toys that my son consistently played with and loved for years. He got his first starter set when he was about 1, and for the next 4 years or so, all he wanted for birthdays and Xmas was Thomas stuff. He finally grew out of it after kindergarten, but to me, it was the one set of toys that was worth the expense. You can also get them used on Craigslist or Ebay, and they wear pretty well.

    Posted by: Emily | April 17, 2008 1:01 PM

    Emily: The thomas/train track sets were big hits with my kids. They will last to grandkids. But the biggest hit was Duplos. Both toys are brought out when kids visit to much happiness (though the wii is quickly gaining big time).

    Posted by: dotted | April 17, 2008 1:06 PM

    Emily my girl love the swing, my clingy boy not so much. It is now in the basement.
    My husband always brought my daughter home t-shirts when he was traveling.

    Posted by: Irishgirl | April 17, 2008 1:06 PM

    Whaddya got with a high school theme?

    Well, I was going to do a song from Grease but I just couldn't work it out. So, we will get something from the Sounds of Music!

    Posted by: Songster | April 17, 2008 1:10 PM

    Hey Irishgirl, how is it going? How's the not so new baby?

    Posted by: moxiemom | April 17, 2008 1:15 PM

    ""Thee kids don't know the difference or the intent."

    Please. Kids can sniff out guilt a mile away."

    Sooooo true. A kid will know when they can twist the knife in her parent's back and get what she wants that way - if the parent is feeling guilty, when the kid complains, the parent reacts, and the kid learns it's effective. If the parent isn't feeling guilty and doesn't respond, the kid learns it's not.

    Also, coming to expect $80 of toys every time the parent comes home is a whole lot different than coming to expect that maybe you'll get a book or a map, maybe you won't.

    Posted by: LizaBean | April 17, 2008 1:16 PM

    Hey moximom he is good. He sleeps with me and my husband and is very clingy to me. He screams when I go to the store, but he is otherwise a happy baby.

    Posted by: Irishgirl | April 17, 2008 1:22 PM

    I take no credit for this beyond a google search, and songster is certainly more creative, but here goes:

    I'm So Angry by Alice Cooper

    I`m so angry
    I`m so angry
    Something that you said burnin' in my head
    I`m so angry
    I`m so angry
    Everything you do makes me furious with you

    It`s like a poison to me
    It`s like you put me in shock
    You stick a needle in me
    Every time that you talk

    I`m so angry
    I`m so stupid
    Everything you say, I believe it anyway
    I`m so stupid
    I`m so angry
    Running after you, that`s what I gotta do

    It`s like a poison to me
    It`s like you put me in shock
    You stick a needle in me
    Every time that you talk

    I`m so crazy
    I`m so crazy
    I used to be so cool, now I`m just your little fool
    I`m so crazy
    I`m so crazy
    Talking in my sleep like a scary little creep

    It`s like a poison to me
    It`s like you put me in shock
    You stick a needle in me
    Every time that you talk

    I`m so angry
    I`m so angry
    Always chewing nails, it never, ever fails
    I`m so angry
    I`m so angry
    Better hide my knife, better run for your life

    So Angry
    So Angry
    I`m so angry
    Angry, angry, angry etc.

    Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2008 1:25 PM

    Irishgirl:I was wondering where you were. Glad to hear you and Emily have happy healthy babies.

    Leslie: Are these really the comments you want on this blog:
    "The altmom attack is nothing compared to the crap that has been thrown at some people on here in the past. Leslie where were you then? "

    altmom has the support of the Queen Bees and the Wannabees - Leslie's core audience.

    Posted by: No shocker | April 17, 2008 11:54 AM


    Please reinstate the sign in policy. Large number of obnoxious attacks is not a sign of a good blog.

    Posted by: foamgnome | April 17, 2008 1:25 PM

    foamgnome

    I've been so busy and tired. I hope everything has been going good for everyone.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 1:27 PM

    To the tune of "Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music

    Queen Bees and Wannbes and I am so smitten
    Bright shinny lies and I hope I'm not bitten
    Judgmental post that tie me up with strings
    These are a few of the nastiest things

    Pale colored pundits and crisp brain doodles
    Some wit and no wit and my head's all in noodles
    Invectives that fly over the moon and then sting
    Discourse and recourse can be a few of the nastiest things

    The way some people talk they need many lashes
    Comments that shoot Coke through my nose and eyelashes
    Several, while whining, want just more bling
    These are a few of the craziest things

    When the snarks bites
    When the bees sing
    When I'm feeling mad
    I simply post some of my favorite things
    And then I feel so glad

    Posted by: Songster | April 17, 2008 1:32 PM

    glad to hear it Irishgirl - in your sleep deprived haze, try to remember that those of us with bigger kids are living vicariously through you. How nice to sleep with a tiny person not one who puts his foot in your back and flips around all night. Enjoy this wonderful, exhausting, exasperating period. So glad you are well.

    Posted by: Moxiemom | April 17, 2008 1:35 PM

    Dandylion: well, you just made me think about my friend, who's mexican, and her american DH.

    When they got married, she didn't write thank you notes, cause no one does in Mexico. Her DH is quite lazy, but they had agreed that for his relatives, he would write them, cause he knew how to do it, anyway, and the people HE knew were the ones expecting them.

    WELL - her MIL for probably a year kept saying things to the BRIDE about the thank you notes. She didn't know how many ways she could tell MIL that she doesn't write them - and how her DH was supposed to.

    And she didn't know how to politely say to MIL: maybe you should have taught your son better how to not be rude...

    Makes me smile (and we LOOOVE MIL - she has stayed at my house many times).

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 1:44 PM

    Love it Songster.

    Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 17, 2008 1:50 PM

    Fond memories of very unusual things my father brought home. He worked for the Fed. Forest Service and every summer fought fires. Sometimes he was gone for weeks, and of course there aren't any places to shop for gifts when he was out in the woods and they were burning.

    Once he brought home the four-foot body of a rattlesnake that had been run over by a F.S. firetruck. Seeing the size of that thing and playing with the rattles was fascinating.

    Another time, one of the firecrew had used a shovel and scooped a baby rattler into a steel bucket. Dad brought the bucket and its contents home. He told us that the baby had shed once because it now made a sound when it shook its tail. When it first hatched the button had nothing to rattle against, so there was no sound. Each time a snake shed its skin, it would add another rattle to its tail. We got out the tail from the previous dead rattlesnake and counted the rattles. It had shed at least 14-15 times, but we couldn't be sure because the button was missing from the end. Sometimes they wear off or get damaged as the snake gets older, or it might have been when the truck ran it over.

    Anyway, I don't travel for work anymore, but when I did (Y2k consulting) I tried to bring home something as interesting as my father did - but I didn't usually succeed.

    Posted by: Sue | April 17, 2008 1:52 PM

    Songster, I LOVE IT. Way better than Alice Cooper.

    Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 17, 2008 1:57 PM

    No, I actually think grandma Lynne is the new queen bee.

    ---------------------------------------

    (blush) Aw shucks, ma'am. I don't deserve such an honor.

    Actually, I'm of British descent, kind of short and dumpy, and would probably somewhat resemble HRM herself if I were to be dressed and hatted accordingly. How funny!

    Actually, I always refer to myself as a descendant of English peasants, which is probably much more likely.

    Thanks for the elevation to royalty, though. It gave me quite a buzz! >:)

    Posted by: Lynne | April 17, 2008 1:58 PM

    Well done, Songster!!

    Posted by: LizaBean | April 17, 2008 2:02 PM

    And I'm feeling so special, getting all this attention. :)

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 2:03 PM

    altmom, you are special. :)

    Posted by: Lynne | April 17, 2008 2:06 PM

    I learned this thing called classical conditioning in a psychology course I took in high school. You know, the Pavlov's dog and the salivation experiment.

    So I tried it out on my kids. The theory went like this: if I brought the kids small pieces of candy, Tootsie Rools, Laughy Taffies, gum, and so on, and gave it to them as soon as I walked in the door after work, they would begin to associate me walking through the door with a little treat. I modified it a little by making them ask me how my day was before I gave them the candy. Cool, now when I walk through the door after work, my kids come running to me all happy and excited and ask me how my day went, whether I have candy or not.

    Worked like a charm! Small problem though, all that extra saliva makes for lots of sloppy, wet kisses. Yuck!

    Posted by: DandyLion | April 17, 2008 2:07 PM

    Magnet collection anyone?

    Posted by: Liz D | April 17, 2008 2:14 PM

    magnets rock. worst thing perry did was buy fancy fridge and freezer you can't put magnets on. vertigo books in college park has an awesome array for sale.

    Posted by: Leslie | April 17, 2008 2:22 PM

    Leslie

    "magnets rock. worst thing perry did was buy fancy fridge and freezer you can't put magnets on."

    Perry was right- A magnet collection on the fridge is ghetto.

    Posted by: Martha Stewart | April 17, 2008 2:30 PM

    Welcome to our ghetto, Martha.

    Posted by: Lynne | April 17, 2008 2:35 PM

    was the fancy fridge and freezer before and after the window treatments?

    Posted by: to leslie | April 17, 2008 2:36 PM

    Thanks for the kind comments.


    Atlmom, I was inspired to compose due to the comments you have had thrown at you the last few days!

    Now if I can just get the words down that go with "Fool in the Rain".

    Posted by: Songster | April 17, 2008 2:40 PM

    Ah, stainless steel fridges...bummer...

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 2:42 PM

    Hey Martha, Katonah is just a ghetto of another sort.

    Posted by: Bronx | April 17, 2008 2:58 PM

    Re: Refrigerator Magnets

    The magnets on our refrigerator have to pass the jerk off test. What, you ask, is the "jerk off test"?

    That's where you put a sheet of notebook paper under the magnet and attach it to the refrigerator door. If you can grab the door's handle and jerk it hard enough to dislodge the sheet of paper, the magnet fails. Hence, the jerk off test.

    Posted by: Master Baiter | April 17, 2008 3:20 PM

    LOL Dandylion!

    I don't get to travel since I'd have to lock the kids in the shed while I was gone. But I do know that it brings me great joy to pick out little gifts for my girls when I have the time. I generally limit myself to birthdays and holidays but if I was gone for a while, looking for a little trinket would be a nice way to mentally spend time with them. Not out of guilt, but pleasure and anticipation of their enjoying what I brought back. The greatest benefit of giving goes to the giver.

    Posted by: anne | April 17, 2008 3:35 PM

    "Posted by: Master Baiter | April 17, 2008 3:20 PM"

    My, how clever. Next you'll be telling us all about how you buy your clothes at French Connection/UK. (FC/UK, for those who've seen the labels)

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 3:37 PM

    "The magnets on our refrigerator have to pass the jerk off test. What, you ask, is the "jerk off test"?"

    I have no need to ask when I smell your breath; you have passed the "jerk off test" with honors.


    Your magnets are highly unsanitary. Ditch 'em.


    Posted by: Martha Stewart | April 17, 2008 3:44 PM

    Hi webmaster!

    Posted by: Kazelrcf | April 17, 2008 4:04 PM

    Lynne

    Actually, I'm of British descent, kind of short and dumpy, and would probably somewhat resemble HRM herself if I were to be dressed and hatted accordingly.

    Maybe you could say you resemble Helen Mirren instead.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 4:09 PM

    Lynne

    "Actually, I'm of British descent, kind of short and dumpy, and would probably somewhat resemble HRM herself if I were to be dressed and hatted accordingly."

    "Maybe you could say you resemble Helen Mirren instead."

    Or, Rosie O'Donnell.

    Posted by: Meow | April 17, 2008 4:14 PM

    Rosie is Irish.

    Posted by: LimeyLynne | April 17, 2008 4:16 PM

    Do you not realize that "FREEDOM OF SPEECH" is not applicable in this situation?? Feel free to do whatever you want, but that reasoning DOES NOT APPLY.

    Posted by: clearly | April 17, 2008 4:20 PM

    "Rosie is Irish. "

    Yeah. And short and dumpy.

    Posted by: Meow | April 17, 2008 4:22 PM

    Isn't Rosie taller than QE II?

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 4:25 PM

    I'm torn. I kinda like that the trolls get everyone going, but it sucks that it has to be because they've (sometimes cruelly) attacked someone.

    atlmom- mmmwwwwwaaaa. That's my Queen Bee kiss. Happy passover.

    Posted by: atb | April 17, 2008 4:47 PM

    Rosie is Irish. "

    Yeah. And short and dumpy.

    That is beside the point.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 5:26 PM

    Given the blog is now being automatically blogged by kazellif, I guess we'll be back to registration pretty quickly.

    Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 5:44 PM

    Thanks, atb. Hope the bread's working out for you!

    Posted by: atlmom | April 17, 2008 5:53 PM

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