American Parenting (see also: a tad bit over it)

I have to be careful how I word this and how I identify the cast of characters since I live in a small community and folks might read this and think I was talking smack about them and retaliate by accusing me of counterfeiting all my kids’ Boxtops for Education.


Once upon a time, I was at a children’s tee-ball game. The average age of the players was no older than 6. The coach, we’ll call him Coach, was watching his wife, we’ll call her Mom, who was taping the bench where the players would sit whilst waiting to go up for their at-bats. Mom was taping the spots in an orderly fashion and doing a bang-up job.

Part of me was thinking, That’s nice, I bet she saw that on the Pinterest. The other part of me was, Yeah, I bet you those kids can probably figure out how to sit down without someone taping their names for them? And anyway, have you ever met a 5 year-old? Sitting isn’t their best gross motor skill. Unless you ask them to empty the dishwasher. Then suddenly they’re champion sitters.

Okay, but then Coach starts critiquing Mom about her measured taping skills. He starts arguing with her about there not being enough room for all the kids on the bench. Like maybe she should have used a tape measure to precisely allocate a certain number of inches for each tee-baller rump. He starts hammering out each spot on the bench where the tape line should have gone, and suddenly Mom is feeling bad and Coach is clearly irritated and I’m on the sidelines totally embarrassed that this is happening.


Why is the five year-old tee-baller and her best seven pals not doing this themselves? Even if it’s not perfect, why are they not the ones marking up the bench so that they can take pride in their butt-assignment system? Why are we as American parents riddled with so much guilt and why are we so quick to swoop in and help our kids navigate situations that we ourselves were fine to figure out. Further, why are we taking all parenting cues from Upworthy videos and bloggers (hi.) and glossy photo DIYs pinned to the internet?


“Have you talked to your tweens about over-the-counter medications?”

I read the above on the Twitter tonight.

It is not enough to cloth diaper and puree organic root vegetables and help them with Sudoku-style math every night.

You have to add not oversnorting Afrin to the list of Things to Talk about with your Tween. Or you fail.


The moral of the story is, I should never have read Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting). Laissez Faire parenting, aka parenting that encourages discovery, is so my jam.
Packing my bags for France, parenting abroad indefinitely. Who’s with me?

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3 things that are terribly unfair (see also: might die)

Hello, world. Remember how I was all ra-ra, dance like no one’s watching yesterday about sugar maple trees?

That must have been the Monday girl. Because today’s blogger is in a bad way.

Terribly Unfair Thing the First
All of my hair is falling out and I’m gaining weight like the wrong kind of loser on Biggest Loser and the mouth-breather on the other line at the doctor’s office just waited on the line, snapping her gum, didn’t even say hello? HELLO! I THINK MY THYROID IS BROKEN. Please to set up an appointment and please to not judge me on my insurance plan. Southern hospitality, my hat. Shoulda just bought the Groupon for hair loss treatment and called it a day.

Terribly Unfair Thing the Second
Have you ever tried to contain a 4 year-old boy in a public place where running is not an option? Remember how well that went? Four year-old son was all thinking the velvet ropes at the bank were the Olympic bars and the whole space was basically set up for the 100 yard dash, right? So then you go and sign up for a Fun Run with the same lad. All the kool kats from school are there at the starting line. Runners take their makrs. Your son is wearing a fierce headband and the sun is shining and the atmosphere is equally sunny. YOU ARE GOING TO ROCK THIS RACE. Then your son, who is 100% Tasmanian Devil when not sleeping, cannot run. Everyone else is motoring around the race course and your son just wants to hold your hand and caboose it. He’s walking so slow he’s practically crawling. His face says, please carry me, his legs say, please seat me over there with the oxygen tank draggers. By the time you cross the finish line it is already time to file your taxes.


Terribly Unfair Thing the Third

I have spent the better part of the last week meeting with my Aflac rep (quack) and filing claims for my accident policy. I am way too young for this biz. Sadder still is how excited I am when I’ve successfully filed the claim. Like, I’m legit geeked when I get the message that “your claim is complete.” If this is what dazzles me in my mid-twirties, what else is there to look forward to in life? Colonoscopies? Blockbuster sale on wheat germ at GNC? Ken Burns taking on Alan Greenspan for PBS?

Hand me that new Taylor Swift album. I just gotta shake off all this injustice…and #firstworldproblems

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I just want to stand at the end of the hallway and not look down its grand master corridor of tasks and forget-me-nots and stalling tactics of little sleep gangsters and not be filled with dread. I just want one night where it all goes perfectly robotically well.

Oh, your children are sleeping the sleep of snoring dwarves by 6:30 p.m. every evening? Our friendship is now in jeopardy.



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