Category Archives: Family & Parenting

Like Junk Food Truffle Pigs

When my daughter was old enough to eat real food, I was very conscientious of what I fed her. I avoided giving her any kind of junk food or overly sugary stuff and encouraged fruits and whole grains and all that. I could hardly even bear for her to eat things that weren’t organic.

*cue record scratch sound effect*

Fast forward to 5th grade and the addition of a sibling, now age 6…

I always pack them healthy lunches but on the not-so-rare occasions when I am stupid enough to bring a bag of Cheetos or Dortios or Oreos into the house, they are like junk food truffle pigs.

They race in the door from school, wash their hands (possibly the ONLY thing they do without having to be asked ten times) and head straight for the kitchen to start rooting around for whatever crap food may be around.

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Tween Compliments Adult: Hell Has Officially Frozen Over

Aside from wanting to be involved in my daughter, N’s, life (because she’s 11 and I know my opportunities will soon evaporate), I also find being around the groups of young girls in her extracurricular activities absolutely fascinating. They’re such strange creatures and the ever-shifting group dynamics are a better study in human behavior than any of the sociology courses I ever took in college.

So the other day, we were walking a long distance back to our cars after an overnight Girl Scout camping trip.

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The Truth About Santa: A Cautionary Tale

I knew this day would come eventually but I never dreamed it would be so heart-wrenching.

You see, my daughter has been dropping hints about her wavering belief in Santa Claus for a several months now. Her questions about the existence of Santa, however, always came when my six year old was nearby so I tended to hedge a lot.

“Let’s talk about this later”

“Can we have this chat another time?”

I didn’t want to lie to her any more than I already have with the whole Santa myth but I also didn’t want to spoil it for my son, who is already fully indoctrinated into the Santa Claus Believers Club.

I figured if she asked me when we were alone, I could be honest with her. But she never did.

And I would assume she’d forgotten about it and exhale, thinking I’d dodged that particular bullet one more time.

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Tired of Picking Up Socks? What Worked for Me

Of all the brilliant things I’ve put into place in my household, what I’m about to tell you may well be the brilliantest.

I know, I know… It’s hard to imagine anything any more brilliant than Ritz S’mores or the Chore System of Awesomeness but hear me out and then decide for yourself.

Two words.

Three syllables.

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Kids and Their Neverending Wants: Total Ingratitude or Totally Normal?

A friend recently mused over whether his children appreciate what is given to them after his younger child complained of not getting ice cream at the end of a whole day devoted to her and her wishes. This made me think a lot about my own children and whether they appreciate what they have, particularly as we’ve experienced the same type of ingratitude around here, too.

In my estimation, we live a typical middle-class (what’s left of it) life—we can’t afford a lot of luxuries but we are able to have most of the things we want and pretty much anything we really need. It should be noted, though, that my husband and I aren’t particularly materialistic people so our lifestyle may be modest by typical American standards.

Regardless, there are trips to theme parks and family vacations and modern computers and iPads and iPhones and Netflix and cable TV and super-fast fiber optic internet access and health insurance and quality organic food in the fridge and a scooter and two decent cars and big birthday celebrations and dance classes and t-ball and basketball and cheerleading and scouts and way too many Lego sets and several ridiculously expensive American Girl dolls and frequent outings for ice cream and the movies and a Wii and a Nintendo DS and a house full of toys.

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A Chore System for My Kids That Actually Works

When I only had one child and all her toys fit in a laundry basket, keeping the house clean was pretty easy. Now I have two kids that have way too much stuff, one house that is way too small and not nearly enough time to deal with working, parenting, chauffeuring, cooking AND housekeeping.

My solution?

Put the kids to work!

Well, that was the idea but it mostly amounted to me asking them to do various things around the house and them complaining and/or procrastinating and generally resisting anything resembling a chore.

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This is Your Last Day on Earth—Start Talking

A few months back, my daughter and I were going to a tea house with her best friend and her best friend’s mom. We were early so we sat in the parking lot listening to a This American Life podcast while we waited.

I didn’t catch the whole story but it seemed to be about a dying mother who, thanks to annual letters she had written in advance to her daughter before she died, managed, for better or worse, to shape and impact her daughter’s life from beyond the grave.

Listening to this story made me sad. My own mom had died unexpectedly in an accident when I was 13. In all the years since her death, I’d only ever thought about all the things I’d never gotten to say to her. It NEVER ONCE occurred to me that maybe there were things she would have liked to have said to me before she died.

How is it possible that I’d  never considered this?

And it got me thinking of all the things I’d want my daughter and son to know if I was going to die tomorrow. For days afterward things popped into my mind faster than I could even remember them. I needed a BRAIN TIVO…

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