Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

There’s a feature this a.m. in the Life & Arts section about “bad mother moments” where moms wrote in to confess their failures.  For the most part, these true confessions were all very far behind the front line of battle between “tough love” and “I left my toddler in the house over the weekend with an open box of cereal and the TV on at the Cartoon Channel.  I needed some ‘me’ time.” Overall it was pretty wimpy stuff, although I admire the woman who stuffed her kid’s toy recorder with foam, telling her that it would “filter” the sound.  Some of it didn’t even register as “bad,” just the kind of stuff unimaginative types think qualifies as a major lapse of nurturing: mother of 4 month old FORGETS TO PACK EXTRA CHANGE OF CLOTHES IN DIAPER BAG.  When the kid needs changing, he doesn’t have a replacement pair of pants (diaper leak- oops.) So he has to endure the humiliation of only wearing his shirt, clean diapers, and his mom’s jacket at a dinner with family.  At the Salt Lick, mind you, not the Four Seasons.  I remember never dressing my daughter in anything more than a “onesie” until she was old enough to complain.  And now, three years later, she’s graduating from high school.  Time flies! (more…)


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Pencil me “somewhat pleased” that The Hurt Locker won best picture last night.  I saw it, and thought it was a good movie, but I find myself agreeing with Jules Crittenden’s critique of it.  I don’t think I saw any of the other nominees.

Of course, now I have a particular reason to think about the hurt locker.  My son travels to San Antonio today where he will spend the night, take an aptitude test and get a physical to assess his suitability for infantry duty in the United States Army.  He says he’s most interested in being a combat engineer.  And what do they do?  Stuff like this (although this particular duty is volunteer only.)

Prayers, please.  This, I hope, will be a great thing for him, but first he has to pass the physical.

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Two Kinds of People

Tom Smith hypothesizes that there are two kinds of people, those who like kids and those who don’t. I’ve noticed the same divide in many nonpolitical contexts. People without children have a very different sensibility and set of priorities. And I agree with his conclusion:

This is a gap so wide I can’t even see across it. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to think a little girl taking care of her baby brother is not cute. I honestly don’t know who these people are.

But I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t want them running our country.

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That’s what Bart Simpson told his family in “Homer v. the Eighteenth Amendment.” “I’ll go with you!” said Homer. Marge put a stop to it, and that was that—except, of course, that Bart’s drinking started a temperance campaign that led to prohibition. As the episode illustrates, things get complicated when the government gets involved.

That’s perhaps the moral of this story of a University of Michigan professor who takes his son to a Tigers game and buys him a lemonade—which, unknown to him, was hard lemonade. After a trip to the hospital, a couple of days in foster care, and a week during which dad was banned from his own house, things are back to normal.

That led me to wonder what the law is in my state about parents giving their own minor children alcohol. Here it is. Most states are not so lenient.

106.04 – Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor
(a–b) A minor commits an offense if they consume alcohol unless they are in the visible presence of, and have the consent of their adult parent, legal guardian, or spouse.
§ 106.05 Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
(a) A minor commits an offense if they posses an alcoholic beverage.

(b) A minor may possess an alcoholic beverage:
• while in the course and scope of the minor’s employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permitted and the employment is not prohibited by this code
• if the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court
• if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code.

(Notice, by the way, the failure of anaphoric agreement and the gender confusion in the above: “a minor… they” as well as “a minor… his.” Thank you, gender-neutral language police.)

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Happy Birthday, Melanie!

My younger daughter is sixteen today.

Sixteen years ago, the day started in very civilized fashion. She was scheduled to be induced. My wife drove to the hospital as I read a Wall Street Journal editorial criticizing Paul Tsongas for calling Bill Clinton a “pander bear” in the days before the Florida primary. (And people say that the level of political discourse has declined!) The drugs took effect slowly at first. But then all vestiges of civilization disappeared. Melanie was born at 1:06pm after about an hour of what the attending staff called the most savage labor they had ever seen.

And that was the last time she ever gave her parents any trouble.

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Happy Birthday, Molly!

My daughter is twenty today. It stuns me to think that twenty years have gone by since she was born at 5:41am. We barely got to the hospital in time; she was almost born in our 1979 Buick, and then, at the hospital, was almost delivered by a very confused-looking podiatrist.

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Waking Up Teenagers

Perhaps it’s because I have two of them, but I think maybe I’ve never grown up. Why do so many things start so early? (Not that I do many of them.)

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