Battlefield 4, Rated M

Battlefield 4, Rated M

I come from the school of Constructivist not Behaviorist parenting. No sticker charts. No gold stars. No allowance. You do what you're supposed to do for the intrinsic rewards. Clear boundaries. Clear rules. Logical consequences. In second grade, my son angsted (that's a fine word for his big, fat, intractable, boulder-sized opposition) one day when I couldn't drive him to school, and I needed a fellow student's mom to do it. He cried. He moaned. He wailed. He refused. And then, I offered him a donut. What if Charlie's Mom got you a donut on the way?  I was amazed at the power of the behavioral approach. He was like one of those cartoon kids who went from sobbing to a light-switch-change of buoyancy, laughter and light, more than happy to go along with it. Donut parenting 101 forever impacted me. So when my son at age eleven found himself petrified to get a blood test -- he actually, literally, passed out...
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On Freedom and Independence: Eleven-Year-Old Boys

On Freedom and Independence: Eleven-Year-Old Boys

When eleven-year-old boys walk and talk their whole bodies are busy in the conversations and they weave in and out of one another as they go. Eleven-year-old city boys camping, ride bicycles freely as we once did, up and down the cul-de-sacs, no helmets, no curfews, no limits. Coming and going as they please, a first taste of freedom and independence. Mine comes in only to water and feed, dropping his bike at the base of the cabin. Some eleven-year-old boys don't care for how their mothers dress when they go camping. The other mothers clad in spaghetti-strap tops and short-shorts head down to the beach as his own covers up her skin and wears a hat that dares the sun to even flicker. They feel free to say, "Why do you have to be the only one who dresses so weird?" And "Do you know your nostrils are uneven?" Eleven-year-olds still build sandcastles at the beach, still snuggle in at the end...
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Glamping

Glamping

No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don't want to go camping. I definitely don't want to go glamping. Glamping could be one of the most unforgivably cringeworthy words I know. It sounds like a vise. A tool that clamps. A glamorous clamp. Speculum to the stars. I've done it again. I've gone too far. And I've only just begun. Because now they want me to verb it. Sure as there are stars above, tomorrow we will all glamp together under solid cedar roofs. Glamourous camping. Fine linens. (We'll see about that.) Flinens, maybe. Towels. A country mart store with organic food, aromatherapy and local artisan jewelry. No one hates camping more than I do. I have not had a great time of it. In college, the guy I went with had us sleep under the stars in the middle of an ant hill. I like room service, a big bathtub and a nice turn down service. I like someone else to lug my bags and...
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Downtown

Downtown

Petula Clark was never trying to get there Summer 2015, Los Angeles. We're going Downtown! to see one of the most beautiful public libraries in the world, I told my son. Noon, weekday, summer. It's not rush hour. The Dodgers are not playing in thirty minutes. It's a parking lot on the freeway though. After twenty minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, I start to think about going back home. After twenty-five, I tell my husband to pull off at the next exit, which by the way, is only two exits from our home exit, but little would you know that from the time we've spent not traveling. "We're taking the metro,"  I announce. Bryan, that's the husband in the story, doesn't do well with spontaneity and starts hyperventilating. "What do you mean?! What are you talking about? You're not making sense." I'm driving. All he has to do is look at the phone and enter "metro station." It's like two blocks south of the freeway. We've arrived...
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