Homework Revision

I forgot something about Back to School. I forgot how much I hate homework. That is really sad, too, because I am not even the one doing it. I just have to help a little bit.

My kids are doing it. They are doing LOTS of it. And they don't even have the good sense to complain.

This is an area where they could get plenty of sympathy from me. I think it is ridiculous to expect a kid to wake up before six a.m., endure a loud and crowded bus ride, spend eight hours at school, log in a few hours at a sport or a part-time job, and then roll on home around 8 p.m. for a couple more hours of homework.

Last night from 8-10 p.m., my middle schooler was writing a two-page essay (typed in Times New Roman and double-spaced please) comparing herself to "two or three" Olympic athletes she had never heard of. She had to choose from a list of 30 athletes who have overcome special obstacles and compare herself to them as it relates to her eighth grade school year. Since she had no idea who any of them were, or what they had overcome, she had to look them all up on the internet and then choose a couple she could relate to.


O.K. Let's re-do that assignment so that makes a little more sense.

First of all. Hand write the assignment. That way you can work on it in the car on the way to and from your sporting activity. You won't have to fight over the computer later with your sister, who is studying for a college test with an on-line study guide.

Writing the assignment in long hand would be a great opportunity to work on your handwriting and spelling skills, both of which have been ruined by the invention of the word processor and spell check.

Now. Let's limit ourselves to one athlete. The goal is to organize our thoughts. I don't see how complicating the theme is going to help.

And finally, go ahead and pick an athlete from the current Olympic games. Plenty of them have overcome obstacles that you might actually be able to relate to.

Like having a father for a coach (Nastia Lieuken), being teased as a child (Michael Phelps), being short (Shawn Johnson) or being injured and unable to play in The Big Game (Paul and Morgan Hamm).

There you go. Now you have an assignment you can complete in an hour instead of two. You will have time to do your 10 assigned math problems, instead of working on them at breakfast when you should be eating your Toaster Strudel.


Who's Your Beth Dubisar?

A friend of mine called me the other night from her place in the four-block-long line for the Jonas Brothers concert. She was complaining because an acquaintance of hers had just driven by in her new white Denali and given her a wave on the way to the front of the VIP line.

She was a little huffy. "It's like I have to keep watching while she lives the life I was supposed to have," she said.

And suddenly, a name came to mind that I hadn't thought of in 30 years: Beth Dubisar.

Beth Dubisar was the best diver my age at Westward Ho Country Club. I was the second best.

Every year at the Fourth of July celebration, Beth Dubisar would get up on the diving board and do a perfect back layout with no splash and I knew she would take the first place trophy again.

I'm sure she was a nice girl, but in my memory she was a little snobby. But then, who wants to deal with the guilt of hating someone nice?

Sometimes my kids have Beth Dubisars. It is hard sometimes to see them struggling for something that goes to a kid with more natural talent or better luck.

Instead of telling them to keep plugging away, which is the appropriate mother cheer, I sometimes want to tell them the brutal truth: Life will be full of Beth Dubisars.

And my goal in life is for them to be one of them.


New Beginnings

Well, today is the first day of a new school year for The Athlete and The Brainiac. The Overachiever and Mr. Nice Guy start next week, and The Entrepreneur is busily working on a big merger-type thing in the office off the kitchen.

That leaves me here at the keyboard, contemplating some goals for myself and kind of wishing there was a Back to School day for me to get me focused on something new and exciting.

I would buy some trendy new black slacks and the cute silver Coach shoes and matching bag I saw while shopping for the Athlete's new sneakers yesterday and then I would head off to my fabulous new job as . . . . . . a book editor.

All day long my underlings would bring me stacks of manuscripts from hopeful novelists, which I would read a few pages of and toss into a big garbage bin next to my desk.

Every now and then I would find one that was completely inspirational or hilarious, and I would decide to publish it and it would be talked about on Oprah and she would have me on as a guest because I discovered it.

Ah . . . I hear footsteps from above and that is my clue to wake up from my little fantasy and cook the eggs and put on my very-not-trendy cargo shorts and very-not-Coach work boots and get to work whipping a couple of gardens into shape.

Oh well. A girl can dream.


Tit for Tat Parenting

I was really excited for The Athlete to come home from camp. The rest of the kids are living their big lives with cars and jobs and significant others and they just kind of breeze through here on the way to their next destination.

But The Athlete still needs me for permission, transportation and new clothes, and has to hang around home a bit more, so her exit left a big quiet place in the house that I did not like.
So it was with a little bit too much emphasis that I ran to the door when her dad brought her home from camp and gave her a little too big of a hug.

"Geez Mom." is what she said. And she didn't hug back.

Now My Mother The Therapist says that this is the usual behavior for teenage girls, and that it is "perfectly normal" for them to treat their mothers like crap.

The problem for me is that Sibling Number Four has a daughter who has never gone through the My Mother has Cooties phase. She is perfectly considerate and kind to her mother and even lets her mother say things that annoy her without rolling her eyeballs.

Having lived through two teen girls so far, this situation has had me mad with jealousy and confusion. I have really tried just about everything to get my teens to like me, but it never really worked until yesterday, when I had entirely given up and decided not to care anymore.

The Athlete had been asked to unpack a small duffel bag full of items that came home from camp. The grips that she uses for the bars at gymnastics were in there, and I wanted to make sure they didn't get forgotten when she went to practice on the following day, as her coach is very focused on teaching her a big new trick on the bars.

Late in the day, she asked to walk down the street to spend the evening with a friend and I asked if the bag had been unpacked to which she gave a nod and headed out the door.

The next day I drove her to practice. She had a new bag packed with items for an overnight stay with a friend from the gym. As I was pulling away from the gym, she got a panicked look on her face, and announced that she didn't have her grips.

Turns out they were in the bottom of the duffel bag that she did not unpack, but shoved under her bed the night before.

I had to turn around and go home and get the grips, which added another 40 minutes of driving to my life. I was not happy, and when I came back to the gym and threw them to her I told her the sleepover was not happening. And I didn't say it in a very nice way.

A few hours later when I came back to get her, I was expecting some pleading or some foot stomping or something about the cancelled sleepover, but instead she gave me a little hug and asked if I was mad at her. I was dubious.

"You know the sleepover is off, I said. "You didn't do what I asked YOU to do, so now I can't do what YOU are asking me.

"I know, she said. I just don't want you to be mad any more."

Go figure.


We have a Winner!

Columbia turned out to be the favorite school of the four that we visited this time. I'm not sure for Haley if it was the school itself or the baked ziti pizza she found across from campus or the fact that an episode of her favorite show, Gossip Girl, was being filmed on campus while we were there.

So she will apply, and maybe I will get to see more of The Big Apple if we get really lucky.

Thanks to all of you who came along on our tour of schools with us.

It turns out that even famous people take their kids to see the colleges. We spotted Eric Clapton among our fellow tour-goers. Or at least I THINK it was him :)

A Bite of the Big Apple

After our Tour of Cornell, it was back in the car for a long drive to our final destination of the campus of Columbia University in New York City.
I was a little bit excited, having never been to NYC.

Sadly, we didn't make it there until about 9 p.m., and even though it is the City That Never Sleeps, we needed to, and so we had just a little time to grab a slice of pizza and take a stroll through Times Square, before grabbing some shut eye.

I shouldn't really say "stroll," I should say "bump," because in New York you have to have your game on to avoid bumping into people, and I was much too amazed by the giant buildings and huge flashing billboards to be paying much attention to anything else.

The Entrepreneur thought it would be nice to let Frenchie and The Brainiac stroll around near the hotel and see the sights. I thought that was insane, but three against one means I lost that one and so I sat in bed with my cell phone in my hand and called them 15 minutes later begging them to come back. Which they nicely did.

Since we didn't have to leave for our campus tour until 11:30 the next morning, I had time to do one New York touristy thing. I chose a Bicycle Rickshaw Ride around Central Park. I learned many fascinating things there and I got to see the bench that John Lennon sat on when he wrote his song "Imagine." But there was one thing I learned that was very fascinating to me.

I learned that The Entrepreneur, who sometimes doesn't seem to understand some very simple things I speak to him in English, can perfectly understand the Turkish-American dialect of a Rickshaw driver from Azerbaijan.

For example: There is a statue of a dog in the park. His name is Balto and you are not allowed to touch him because he was very expensive. He was the leader of a sled dog team that prevented an outbreak of diphtheria by delivering the serum by dogsled back in the day.

I know that from looking up the story on the Internet. Because from our driver I only got this:

"You know Valto." (I raise my eyebrows???? and The Entrepreneur nods.)

"Valto," says the Rickshaw driver.

"He is sled doc what drive mush team for the medicine. Cue no sled doc? Den der is movie. You no movie Valto? to call honor to doc. But if you touch doc there is trouble. You can take photograph and then ven you toch it this is the only way you can toch it."

The Entrepreneur nods. I shake my head.

Then, the two of them start having a big conversation about where the driver went to school and how long he has been driving the rickshaw and how much he makes.

On the way back in the cab, I told the Entrepreneur he was really polite to ask the driver so many questions about himself, even though we couldn't understand much of what he was saying.

"What do you mean," he said. "He goes to school and comes here in the summer to drive the rickshaw. He makes about $200 a day plus tips. He's thinking of finishing school in Canada. Were you having trouble understanding him?"

Who me? Not at all.


Go Big Red!

From Colgate it was on to Grandpa's alma mater: Cornell University. On this tour we learned some fascinating facts. Did you know that the Campbell's Soup creators chose the soup can colors while admiring Cornell's colors at a game? Or that the architecture and engineering students spend weeks each year building a dragon that they burn in front of the school at completion? Or that there is a spot on campus where you can stand and wave at your mom on the internet? Or that a Cornell Sweatshirt costs $86 in the campus store? Or that there are lots of weeds in the grass at Cornell (O.K. so only I noticed that).

Ultimately, we were not so impressed, but honestly, the tour guide really put the nail in the coffin of this school.

Her NAME was ANDREA and she TALKED very LOUDLY while walking backward at a very fast pace. She HAD a habit OF putting the emphasis ON the wrong words IN a sentence.

And she was madly in love with the word actually.

, this was a big bother to me because there is someone I see a lot in my own town that says actually three or four times in a sentence and when I go away I don't feel like I should have to deal with that word.

Anyway, we are not actually considering Cornell, (Sorry Gramps) even though they do have some cool waterfalls there.


Higher Education

I felt a little sorry for The Athlete.

The Brainiac and her boyfriend, Frenchie, (he's Basque) were along for the trip to camp because we were going on from there to visit several colleges in the area. Our first appointment was at 1 p.m. at a college four hours away.

In order to get to the tour of Colgate University on time, we would have to literally push The Athlete out the door of the car with her bags and keep on rolling.

Our Rising Seniors were not too happy when I insisted we at least help her unpack and meet her counselor before heading out. And so we jogged to her cabin and tucked the sheets haphazardly into her bunk and assuaged our guilt with $40 for a camp sweatshirt before waving goodbye.

We pulled away from camp at 10 a.m.

Our GPS, Silicone Sally, said we would be to our destination at 2:02, making us just over one hour late for our scheduled campus tour.

Had I been driving, making the tour on time would have been out of the question. But, sadly, I was not driving.

The Entrepreneur was driving, and he considered it a personal challenge and his duty as a father to get The Brainiac to her college tour dead or alive.

So off we went through the Amish-buggy dotted hills of Pennsylvania cruising at speeds I can't confess in order to avoid my mother, who I know is reading, having a heart attack. Let's just say at times I felt like I was in a live version of the arcade car game you play where you blow into a million pieces when you hit a wall - or an Amish buggy.

A minute at a time, the GPS reduced our arrival time, and we pulled into the little town of Hamilton, NY just in time for the tour.

Now, having been on several of these tours by this point, let me point out that what I look for in a school is not the same as what Frenchie and The Brainiac look for.

I am checking to see if the lawns are weed-free and the shrubs are properly pruned and there are some decent annual beds and sizable container gardens to improve the view.

Frenchie and Brainiac are checking class sizes, research opportunities and student life.

For me the end-of-the-tour treat is also very important.

At Colgate, the end of the tour treat was a delicious Vanilla Cookiewich provided by the local Byrne Dairy. It is two tasty chocolate chip cookies with some yummy vanilla ice cream sandwiched between.

Colgate gives away 10,000 of these each year, according to the University Catalog.

At Kalamazoo College, the end of the tour treat was a cold bottle of water. Guess which college is at the top of my list?

Skater Boys

When last I posted, we were headed for Woodward, PA. to drop off The Athlete for her first week of overnight camp. I was thinking on the way that it might be a little bit like the camp of my youth: Camp Teepeetonka.

At Camp Teepeetonka, you swam in a dirty lake, slept in a spidery cabin, ate whatever it was they fed you and participated in some lame activities like Luster Lace Bracelet Making and Wildlife Walks. We had a lot of fun, but that was because we couldn't see into the future to what camp would be like if we had been fortunate enough to be born 30 years later.

My kid is staying in paradise! There are beautiful rolling hills, an Olympic-sized pool with diving boards, CHOICES of food items and several gyms full of beautiful state-of-the-art gymnastics equipment.
And in case she gets bored of that, there are some extra activities like rock-wall climbing, trampoline bungee jumping and a ropes course.

Also, there is one other thing available that has been added to The List of Things That Make The Athlete happy:


And not just any boys.

Skater boys.

Boys who love danger and extreme sports. Boys you can compete against.

Even though I was assured by the camp counselor that the boys have to stay on their half of the compound after 7 p.m., I am fairly sure that The Athlete will come home with a few new numbers programmed into her cell phone.


Empty Nest

I rescued a family of baby birds from a nest that was falling out of the bottom of a decaying bird house earlier in the week. The mother finch wasn't too happy with me while I stood there with my duct tape and scissors lifting the falling nest and the three tiny baby birds and taping the house back together, but she went back in to tidy things up and check on her brood after I was a safe distance away.

Today I am a little jealous of her, because my last baby is leaving the nest for her first stay at overnight camp. We will drop her off at 9 a.m. for a week long stay at Woodward Gymnastics Camp in Pennsylvania and go on to check out the colleges of Cornell and Columbia with another one of my babies.

I asked The Athlete if she would maybe find a way to call me from her cell phone (which I am paying for) at the same time each day so I can find out what is happening in her life. She said she heard that the reception at camp is really bad and she probably won't be able to call me at all.



Meet Mr. Nice Guy

Well you have all met The Overachiever, The Brainiac and The Athlete. Those are my girls. They live at home with me and The Entrepreneur. (That's the hubby. More on him later).

But there is another kid out there in the world that gives me my wrinkles. His name is Mr. Nice Guy. It's hard to believe Mr. Nice Guy is related to the other three siblings. They are big talkers. Mr. Nice Guy is a man of few words.
Even so, everywhere the girls go, people tell them they have met their brother. "We love Nate," they say.
"What a nice guy!"

He's made himself pretty scarce since moving out for good this summer. Getting away from all the females meant so much to him that he spent his own money on rent for the summer. He is a big fan of his leisure time. Last I checked he was majoring in frisbee golf and minoring in beer drinking.

Mr. Nice guy had some trouble growing up that still haunts him a little. I hate the labels, so let me put it to you this way: Mr. Nice Guy has some trouble with the details.

He flew off to New Hampshire to spend the week at a lake house with some buddies yesterday and I was a nervous wreck.

Would Mr. Nice Guy know that you have to put all the things that are more that three ounces in the little plastic bag? Would the boy who uses only cash have anything to put in the machine that spits out your ticket? Would he try to pack his Leatherman knife for Boy Scout lake-type purposes and be detained by airport officials?

Fortunately, and with some prodding, Mr. Nice Guy called me from the plane upon landing to let me know he made it there O.K. It made my heart go pitter-pat when he gave me the ILY in the middle of a plane full of strangers.

But now there is a whole new week of worry. Mr. Nice Guy is deathly allergic to Poison Ivy.


A New Contest Entry

My Aunt Mary has sent a late entry into the Favorite New Product contest that I was running a few weeks ago. She is a big fan of the Tube Press, which gets the last little bit of product out of tubes of toothpaste and the like.
Aunt Mary would really like to be a Product Tester in case anyone is hiring for that position.

Chipotle Madness

I ran 47 mailboxes today. Not because I am an athlete. Because Chipotle is coming to my town and I am very, very afraid. I am afraid because I found out on the internet, which often tells me things I do not want to know, that my favorite item at Chipotle contains 630 calories before I add the sour cream. And I wouldn't even think of eating my burrito bol without the sour cream.

According to some more research I did, I would have to jog for an hour and a half just to burn that off. That is a lot of mailboxes!

To give you an idea of the power of Chipolte, I will pass on a little story I heard at our last Sunday night deck party.

Some friends who live down the street have a son who plays football. They have always chosen the number seven for his jersey. In the beginning, the dad was the coach of the team and had a little influence the day the jerseys were given out. Since then, every year the coaches honor the kid's request to have the number seven.
So the years have gone by with the parents sitting in the bleachers, scouring the field for number seven and cheering for their son.
Until. . . . .

The other day Danny came home from his first high school football practice with a jersey printed with the number 12.

His mother was upset. "Where is number seven?" she asked.
To which he replied:

"I traded it to Mike for 10 bucks and a Chipotle gift card."

Now that is some powerful food!


Education vs. Decoration

We left you on the steps of the admissions office at the wrong college. The Brainiac is at this time wondering where her brain came from since it obviously did not come from the mother who could not navigate her to her first college interview on time.

But the mother is humble and not afraid to call the correct college and apologize profusely and beg for directions.

And so we arrived just a little bit late for the tour of Kalamazoo College.

And while there were some fascinating facts about the new library paid for by an endowment from so and so, and I really did care about the state-of-the-art computers and that the lounges in the dorms get painted every three years (which, by the way, is exactly three times as often as anything at my house gets painted) I was mesmerized by the grounds of the place.

It may be that most of what I remember of college is trekking to class through the frozen tundra with my nostrils stuck together, but I'm pretty sure we didn't have fire pits surrounded by teak adirondack chairs at good old Mankato State University.

I couldn't hold back when we passed the Wildflower Hill. I asked a few questions about how old it was and how it was maintained. The guide looked at me a little quizzically and replied: "I have no idea, but one of the older ladies in admissions might know."

I was just recovering from this dis, when I felt a sharp pain in my side which I quickly realized was the elbow of the Brainiac.

"From this point forward you are not allowed to ask any questions," she said. And so I spent a silent day snapping photos of the flowers from underneath my jacket.


Directions 101

After dropping the gymnasts off at Supercamp the following morning, The Brainiac and I hit the streets of Michigan in search of a little place called Kalamazoo College, which is one of the 26 places on the Brainiacs' "List of Schools to Visit."

Silicone Sally (our GPS) didn't seem to know the address of said college, so we relied on some sketchy directions from the lady at the front desk of the Hampton Inn. According to her, our destination was just 15 minutes away. Our tour was scheduled for 10 a.m. We left the hotel at 9:20.

We were following the map and looking for a side street named Liberty, but after following the main street across the whole city without seeing it, we stopped in desperation at a service station and asked a kid who looked like he might go to college if he knew where the school was.

"Heck. I'm gonnna be driving near there in a minute," he said.
"Follow me and I'll point you off when we hit your turn."

He took a turn at a side street that was NOT Liberty and pointed his left hand out the window toward a big hill and gave us a little honk. I was wishing we could keep him with us for the rest of the trip and all of the other 25 visits the Brainiac was planning.

At this point, we were inspired to be seeing some educational buildings. Desperately scanning the names on them for one that read Office of Admissions, and glancing at our clock, which read 9:58, we pulled over and asked a walker where that building was located. He looked at us with a little roll of the eyeballs and pointed across the street. Pulling at a clip into the last parking space in front of the building and looking at the car clock, which read 10:00, we grabbed our stuff and bolted up the steps to the front doors. It was at that time that I happened to glance over at a big sign on the lawn that looked like this:

At this point I said to the Brainiac: "Is Kalamazoo College known by any other names?

Coming tomorrow:

Stay tuned to find out if her mother's terrible sense of direction will prevent the Brainiac from recieving a quality education.


Where the - - - - is Kalamazoo?

I've been gone a while from the blog, just sorting out my thoughts after cramming The Athlete and a friend and The Brainiac into a rental car (mine was being fixed from a collision - not my fault mom - that resulted in a bad case of whiplash for me several months ago) for the dual purposes of supervising the girls at a weekend gymnastics camp and touring a college campus in a faraway place called Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Because I married one of those macho guys who is always the driver on road trips, my experience with interstate driving is limited. But I am a big girl now and I had my trusty Silicone Sally (that is what my brother Jim calls his GPS) to lead me in the right direction.

Two hours into the four-hour trip I began to realize that the driving was the easy part. The tough part was listening to three girls sing out loud to the music that was playing from the earphones of their three separate I Pods. Even Johnny Cash belting out Burning Ring of Fire from my car stereo couldn't drown out that racket.

The second most difficult part of the trip was watching five gymnasts eat. Bags of Cheetos, Nerds, french fries and cans of pop just seemed to pass right through their bodies without leaving anything behind but energy.
The Brainiac and I, who are both watching our weight, were looking on at this snack-fest in dismay.
At one point on the way to our destination the gymnasts demanded a stop at a rest station to refuel on more sugar. All five (three from another car) sat at a table devouring sleeves of tiny cinnamon rolls coated with icing. The Brainiac and I looked on in wonder, sipping our diet cokes.

"Skinny b - - - - - -, she muttered. And, even though I hate that kind of language, I really had to agree.


Dream Big

It’s funny how life comes back around sometimes.

A few decades ago I sat on the floor in my childhood home in front of the T.V. and watched every second of the gymnastics portion of the Olympics, convinced that in four years I was going to go up on the podium and put the little crown of flowers on my head and wave to the crowd wearing my gold metal just like my idol, Mary Lou Retton. Never mind that my most stunning skill at the time was a back walkover.

In a few days, I am going to be glued to my own T.V,. watching another adorable pixie named Shawn Johnson win the gold for the U.S., and my gymnast daughter, whose dream has always been to go to the Olympics, is going to watch with me. I hope she isn’t too old to think that she could be out there, sticking her landings and waving to the crowd.

I hope one of her sisters doesn’t say: “Don’t be an idiot.” You’ll never be good enough to go to the Olympics!” like several of mine did.

I hope she will see that some of the skills the athletes are doing are skills she is working on now and realize that nothing is impossible.

I hope she will dream big.


Six, Seven, Eight...

The sixth and seventh principles of Prepare for Parenting and Feed with Love and Respect are hard to argue with. I would just like to maybe add that a three year old can feed himself milk with love and respect and you have no business sharing yours with him any more.

The last principle is one I struggle with every day. It is Respond with Sensitivity. I don’t think a child is ever too old to have their feelings hurt by insensitive things a parent says. So I guess yesterday when I found the empty bag of chips and the half-drunk glass of juice in the family room where eating is not allowed and I yelled: “YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL SLOBS!” I really flunked the Attachment Parenting test. Oh well. At least I aspire.



Use Nurturing Touch is the fifth principle. This one is why the big cloth baby carrier is on every new mom’s gift list. My chiropractor says these are great for his business. While those who subscribe to the Detachment Parenting method can’t imagine life without the round thing with wheels, the bouncy, vibrating seat, the swing and the playpen, Attachment Parenting parents believe a baby is happiest when being toted around strapped to his mom or dad loading the dishwasher and ridding the lawn of dog poo.
I think these babies are really missing out on a lot of fun that my kids had as infants. How would The Athlete ever have learned to jump so high without the many hours of hanging in the Johnny Jump Up and giving her legs a workout? It could be argued that The Brainiac’s excellent driving skills can be directly traced to the many hours she spent chasing me around the kitchen chewing frozen pizza crusts in her Exersaucer.


And A Three, And A Four

Continuing with Attachment V. Detachment Parenting...

Engage in Nighttime Parenting
is the third principle. This principle says that babies might be uncomfortable or lonely during the night and so you should just let them sleep with you. The problem then becomes that your husband becomes uncomfortable and lonely as well. This is my least favorite of the Principles, because I feel like it makes the kid too needy and the mom and dad too cranky.

Practice Positive Discipline is the fourth principle. I think this means do not spank your kid and you are not allowed to say: “Because I said so, that’s why.” I feel badly, because that is one of my favorite Detachment Parenting phrases. I think the best way to illustrate this principle being applied correctly is to tell you a little story about my niece, Curlylocks, the two-year-old daughter of sibling Number Six, whom, as I mentioned, is the president of the Attachment Parenting Fan Club.

One morning when this sister and I were at the home of sibling Number Eight, Curlylocks was sitting in her chair eating her porridge when she spied my glass of orange juice.

“Mommy, she said. “I want some of that.”

“Please may I have a glass of that?” my sister corrected, raising her right eyebrow.

“Please may I have a glass of that? Curlylocks said obediently, licking her lips. (Orange juice is not something she has in her normal life. Too much sugar.)

“O.K., “ said my sister. “For a special treat you may have a glass of orange juice,” and she poured Curlylocks a little, tiny glass.

And she drank it all up.

Then she looked right at her mother while holding up the empty glass and screamed at the top of her lungs:  “I WANT SOME MORE OF THAT!”

Then my sister kind of cocked her head to the side and raised her right eyebrow and just looked at Curlylocks for a couple of seconds without saying anything at all.

At which point Curlylocks put down the glass very calmly on the counter and said in a very polite and quiet voice: “Mama. When can I have some more of that?”

“Maybe on Thursday,” said my sister.

And then Curlylocks nodded her head and went back to eating her porridge.

During this exchange I was just looking back and forth from parent to child with the kind of sick excitement that an older sibling who has lived through the parenting of several strong willed children will have when watching a younger sibling deal with the challenge. I was getting ready for the big tantrum with maybe some stomping and some yelling from the child or the parent or both and I got nothing.

Watching this exchange made it clear that the Positive Discipline Eyebrow Raise is the most valuable of all the Attachment Parenting Principles, and the one I would fail at most miserably.


Detach...umm...Attachment Parenting - Part 2

The second principle is to Provide Consistent and Loving Care. This means you shouldn’t leave your kid with a bunch of different babysitters. Sometimes I notice that some fans of Attachment Parenting are interpreting this one to mean that you should NEVER leave your child with any babysitter. 

Back when I was practicing Detachment Parenting, I kind of cheated. I had a whole bunch of teenagers we would use on Friday nights because the same one was never available. Most of them had brown hair and the first one was named Megan. My oldest daughter (The Overachiever), who was about two at the time, started calling all of the babysitters Megan. So maybe you can cheat on the consistent part of Attachment Parenting if your kid is not too focused on details.

I think that leaving your kid with someone every now and then is very important because if you don’t, he will be the kid having a breakdown on the steps of the school bus on the first day of kindergarten and clinging desperately to your leg. And it is important not to screw around with kindergarten because even if you are an Attachment Parent, you will be dying to go on errands by yourself.