Siblings

Those “Scary” Kids With Older Siblings

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Good parents care about who their kids hang out with– right?  I remember, when my first child began elementary school, being concerned about the influence of her friends who had older siblings– those kids saw movies I wouldn’t dream of letting my child see; those kids heard words I wouldn’t want my own to hear.  They were more “worldly”– they “grew up faster”.  And I wasn’t the only one who thought that– I met other parents who felt the same way. 
I never stopped to think that not only had I been one of those kids, my second child would become one.

There is a ten …

Luke the Dog

Mom’s Pet Service

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It’s such a cliche’, but it’s true– all family pets eventually become Mom’s.  Over the last 15 years, I’ve become the reluctant (and eventual guilt-ridden) caretaker of two goldfish named Goldie and Glowy (accidentally killed ’em within a week of owning them); a long-haired guinea pig named Snickers (he lasted a few years– but eventually got a kidney stone and died, probably because I didn’t add enough fresh veggies to his diet); an anole named Colors (kind of looked like the Geico gecko– I dutifully bought him a bag of mini crickets and a meal worm each week…but I think …

Sharing and Venting

Unsolicited Parenting Advice– From A Telemarketer?!

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Emmie, my 10-year-old, posed a humorous question to me yesterday, as she was making her lunch and our caller ID voice (who we think sounds just like the lady from our neighborhood Chinese restaurant) suddenly filled the air.  Emmie had just heard me say, “Don’t answer it– I recognize that name and it’s a telemarketer.”  She paused a moment, pouring leftover chili into a bowl, and said, “Mom, do telemarketers like getting calls from telemarketers?” What a great question.  I wonder if they do? I wonder if they run to the phone with glee and always pick up, listen carefully, and then say something nice? 

I …

Being a Better Parent

Friendship 101

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Do you have friends you’ve kept up with since childhood? High School? College? First job? If you’re a parent, who among your kids’ friends do you think they’ll still be close to when they’re in their 40’s and beyond? I think one of the best gifts we can give our children, and ourselves, is to help foster and nurture deep friendships.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, as I count down the days until my teenager starts high school (66 as of today– I can’t believe it!) and watch my kids spend their summer hours.  Having “best friends” in …

Being a Better Parent

In Defense of Summer Camp

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Growing up, I was a huge fan of summer “sleep away” camp.  I went, year after year, to a small one that sat on the bluffs above a wide bend in the Mississippi River near Montrose, Iowa, and I liked it for all the reasons you’d think someone would like camp: New friends (that became lifelong friends), fun stuff to do, nice counselors, new skills (I learned synchronized swimming, macrame’ and tetherball, to name a few), campfires, crazy songs, and being surrounded by nature, for a whole week.  But when my teenager first went to the same camp when she was nine, she loved …

Helicopter Parent Hall of Fame

When Helicopter Parenting Results in Tragedy

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This weekend marks the one-year-anniversary of something outrageous that happened in my neighborhood. It is so outrageous yet true, and I think ultimately related to parenting, that I wanted to share it.  First, a bit of background:

We have a long alley that runs behind our house.  Most people in our neighborhood just see fences when they look across their alley.  A couple houses have city streets running perpendicular into the alley, directly behind their property. Our neighbor, whom I’ll call David, owns one of those houses. When he and his wife bought the house, they were assured by the realtor that …