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Enough with the Mary Poppins Parenting, All Right?

Note: this post begins with "recently" but it was recent then not now. Then was around March 2012. At some point, someone for some reason reported this post and the platform pulled it down. However, the concept is evergreen so I am republishing it!

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Recently on Facebook, a friend disgustedly posted another "how French parents are better" article (this one cruelly about how French kids have less ADHD and it's because the French parents are BETTER -- or so it read to a lot of parents dealing with this situation in their own families, and boy do I understand that POV). She was appalled, we were all mainly appalled. Though there was a slight thread of "maybe there's a point here...how can we have so much more?" running through it.

Feeling insecure about your parenting is pretty de rigeur for parents, I think. We are raising a person who will go out into the world, represen…
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10 reasons why I am likely to fail at the 10 days of "This is my senior" challenge

There's a meme going around Facebook called, "This is my senior." For ten days, I should post photos of my senior and tag another parent of a senior. I was tagged, and I finally posted a photo and tagged someone but I am loathe to commit to ten days of photos. Why?

1. There's a mouse in my mudroom/laundry room

It could be a new mouse, or the one I thought we'd eradicated a few months ago. That one (this one?) shredded the rubber bits of my washer, costing hundreds of dollars in damage and creating a major flood in that room. The cleanup was brutal.

The second and third cleanups were caused by my repairmen who inexplicably didn't believe or comprehend me when I said that THE WASHER LEAKED AND FLOODED WHEN YOU TURNED IT ON. So they went ahead and turned it on and flooded the room. "Oh," they said lamely, "It really does leak, badly." I 100% attributed that to the male/female filter in which men presume women know nothing of which they speak.

Meet the Teacher BUT NO ASKING HER QUESTIONS! (What?)

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to a Meet the Teacher. Our school does this every year. It's a great way for the teacher, kids and parents to meet, connect, and be ready for the start of school.

The teacher gets our (parent) contact information, puts a face to a name, and is able to set up best contact method for the school year.

Kids get to see who is in their class, see the classroom, figure out where it is.

Parents get to shake hands, connect, etc.

It builds comfort all around, connects people who need to be connected, and is a great thing to do. I'm sorry to hear it's not common everywhere. It makes me more grateful for it, though.

I wanted to get to know our teacher, who is brand new to the school, so I crowdsourced my Facebook community for ideas of great questions to ask when I met the teacher, just to get a little sense of who she is.

I was stunned by how many people thought I did not have the right to or should not talk to the teacher, ask her any questions…

I saw the Magna Carta and then the country imploded

One Friday a few weeks ago after a meeting in town, I dragged my kids to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The real Magna Carta was on display in a special exhibit and I thought we absolutely had to go. How often do you get to see a document that is, at least in part, the foundation of the democracy in which you live. Or be near something that survived so much: strong desire for oppression, wars, and time.
Sure, it didn't all work out at the time, but the idea took root and finally, about 500 years later, some other men in a not-quite-yet country wrote another document demanding protection of their rights and property against a tyrannical king. This time, a Pope couldn't quash it and neither could a king. It is still the foundation for the United States today.

From archives.gov is this crucial point:
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of M…

If I had to be stuck in a snow globe with a bunch of people...it would be these people and at SeaWorld

Disclosure statement: SeaWorld did not commission this post nor did they compensate me for it. However, I did receive free admission to the park.

If I am honest, I do not actually look that forward to December. Oh I try, but I am usually dragged under by endeavoring to make this the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. People can say simplify and say no, which is good advice, but even with a lot of simplification and no-ing, this is still a month that gets to feeling like a 300 pound ape on your chest by oh say December 16.

One thing I have grown to look forward to, though, this time of year, is our family's annual trek to SeaWorld San Antonio. It's cool, the park is decked out to the holiday nines, and there are loads of special events. Before that, though, I get to camp out in the park with some people I really, really like. And this is a story best told in pictures...of all the things we did...

We started with a Polar Plunge. I know, everyone says blah blah blah Polar Plunge in…

How we teach boys and girls about kissing is all wrong

When my daughter was in kindergarten, a boy friend kissed her. To my mind, both kids were equally a part of the kiss because it was mutual--they were playing Marriage, and had just pretended a wedding. To me, it was play. Nobody grabbed anyone or coerced anyone and nobody felt threatened or worried or bad. They even had a discussion about it in advance and decided cheek would do even if grownups did lips.

But others felt differently. The boy's mom was horrified, or maybe terrified? She imposed a severe consequence on him and had the school do the same. She apologized to me and made the boy apologize to my daughter.

One thing I know: this lady is a fantastic mom with wonderful kids.

One thing I understand: we do have a rape culture and I deeply appreciate boy moms who work hard to teach boys about respect and consideration of girls.

One thing I believe: we have to do something to improve how our boys and girls interact. That means effort with both boys and girls. Preferably in som…

What you really need to tell teens about sexual assault

The Steubenville Ohio rape case highlighted a huge ugly disturbing gap in our society about rape. Internet outrage erupted about the "drunk girl" and "getting what was deserved." There was a lot of nasty commentary about all the things women and girls need to do to not get raped (as if rape and rapists are completely fair and only go after the deserving). People commented in typical "blame the victim" ways, shamefully and appallingly. It made me fear for humanity.

Maybe, possibly, worst of all, major news network CNN reported the case from a distressingly sympathetic view for...the convicted rapists. Reporters Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley evinced grief about the convicted rapists' lost bright futures.

As the brilliant Gawker piece by Mallory Ortberg said:
People who commit acts of sexual violence (rape, for example) and are convicted in a court of law are required to register with the national sex offender public registry, so that future employers …

A Place to be Uncertain

In my kitchen cabinet, over the hyperbolically named coffee counter, is a mug. It's a cartoon, with cartoon font, and it says, "I'm 40, I ought to have more money by now."

It was given to my husband by his sister, his younger sister, a number of years ago. It was supposed to be a joke, funny.

But the only actually funny thing about 40 and beyond is that saying is sort of an ironic mantra. By now, you're supposed to have a lot more of everything: money, patience, perspective, wisdom, answers. Certainty.

I walk through each day feeling very I don't know-ish and everyone really looks to me to be quite certain. I answer calls each day to provide something. I want to turn to everyone and ask what I should do, what I should be, is this where I am supposed to be, is this it? Instead each time I turn to ask, instead someone asks me and I realize I am past the asking, as far as phase is concerned.

So as much as I feel very much in the thrall of a second adolescence, …