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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Long Range Honeymooner

Long Range Honeymooner

Well, you missed it, y'all. I was in North Carolina blogging about how one of the three cameras taking all those amazing pictures of Pluto is called LORRI. That's right. After all those hurricanes blowing around with names like Isabel and Wilma, they finally named something of global consequence after me. Never mind that it's an acronym. Long Range Reconnaissance Imager. They named another camera, Ralph, after the Kramdens. I couldn’t quite recall who the Kramdens were. I always mix up names. So thinking the Kramdens were Kardashians, and that it was really weird that NASA wanted anything to do with them, I Googled it. Oh! Right! “The Honeymooners.” Well that’s less crass, for sure. But even so -- with what generation does Mission Control think they are communicating? For me, and I dare say, mine, Ralph will always be that fine upstanding gentleman who plays one of the principal parts in Judy Bloom's Forever. But, whatever. It's all moot. Mute, as they say. That blog...
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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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