I’m a Special Helper

I’m a Special Helper

The dog and I took a walk this morning to our local Copenhagen bakery to pick up a couple loaves of their rye bread. It’s not a pretty walk. It’s a Los Angeles city street. Lots of concrete. Not a lot of trees. This bakery makes me happy, though, with its clean white facade and bright orange door and signage. I know I’m getting closer to the bakery because on our walk we pass by a kid on a bench eating a round cinnamon danish “the size of his head,” his mother laughs. Lucky kid. I’ve been watching my middle-aged middle jiggle a bit more lately, so I’m sticking to the hearty loaf of rye. I’ve got dog, and we called and paid ahead. They’re handing us the bag of bread out the door. I won’t have to walk in and smell all of that deliciousness. We pass by the Islamic temple, and I read sidewalk drawings in multi-colored pastels. Hearts and rainbows: “We support you!” “We love our neighbors,” “Love.”...
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The Humor of Overactive Parents in Books for Kids

The Humor of Overactive Parents in Books for Kids

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the term “helicopter parenting” I want to duck for cover. It’s not that I’m so opposed to the concept as much as I’m afraid something is about to swoop down and take off my head. Usually, I’m not so far off—“Ten Warning Signs You Are a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop)”; “You Might Be a Helicopter Parent If…”; “How Helicopter Parenting is Ruining America’s Children”. Hang on now, while I grab that head of mine rolling down the helipad and try to slap it back onto my shoulders long enough to endure all this blame. Were the latch-key 80s kids really so much better off than our helicopter ones? It’s all longitude and latitude. Last year, Marine One carried Obama. This year, it carries Trump. These little soldiers of ours evidently too afraid to parachute from our laps this decade will be raising their own kids the next, hitching...
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Nothing Works

Nothing Works

I've spent half a century knocking my head against the wall because I really couldn't accept this basic axiom: nothing works. I keep thinking all of these things should work, but sure as day becomes night, my never-looked-so-fabulous-but-can't-stand-how-you-look tricenarian juniors, and my rapidly-approaching-hot flashes-creatively bursting-quadragenarian friends--nothing works. Oh, sure, some things work, but there's always something else that doesn't. Just when you get that something else handled, something else breaks down. So, when all is said and done one plus a negative is always nothing. I went into Ralphs the other day. My car lined up with about four others to wait to even move to park, the air still and hot. California summer always comes in the Fall. It makes for really sucky pumpkin patch gathering. Anyway, if you don't run the fan without the air conditioner when you turn it off for a couple minutes, that moldy smell builds up. So, I'm hot! Not moving. Circus elephants, tail to tail, trying...
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The Happiest Mother on the Block

The Happiest Mother on the Block

Last week, my foot got one of those awful cramps they say can come from not enough water (guilty) or potassium so I figured I'd give it a stretch, and I went two doors down to return some notecards I'd borrowed to my neighbor Jenn and to see if she wanted some leftover milk I had. We chatted a bit and as I headed out the door she said, "Oh, wait. I need to return this to you." She handed me a book I must've lent her in 2008, Harvey Karp's The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I laughed. Hard. Seriously?! That's definitely the longest anyone has taken to return a borrowed book. But beyond that, my son, with his arms hanging almost to his knees  and half an inch taller than I am at five foot five, well,  it just struck me as comical to get it back now. On the long walk back home, two houses down, I began to...
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