We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, June 2. 2007
Funky Coney Island amusements end up on the auction block. That's the Wonder Wheel on the right. The Cyclone will remain as a souvenir of a great American beach place. Shoot the Freak was a good sideshow, and the Fat Lady, of course.
A bit of perspective on Conservative Depression. Bruce Kesler is probably correct that the Republican Party is not the Conservative Party.
Twelve laws every blogger should be familiar with.
Superb comment from Jay Guevera at Moonbattery. It's about warming.
Britain, lobotomized. This does sound like satire.
Flip this house. It was a scam.
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Re: napping while your toddlers sleep. Maybe you did, but I hope your wife didn't also or you would be right to consider her a neglectful mother. It's okay for one parent to be loosey goosey as long as the other is careful and can see the kid at all times. At least up to the age of five and older if there is a pool nearby.
On the other hand, my own mother would doubtless have been hauled away in irons by Social Services nowadays: from the time that I was four year old, she would turn me outdoors alone on our Pennsylvania farm and tell me not to come back until dark. I would happily hang out with the 18 beagles in the old chicken house/kennel, curl up with the ponies, try to trap snapping turtles and walk the mile up the road to see my friend Billy. I must have had a guardian angel watching over me as the snapping turtle only bit the bucket I tried to get him into, the nest of yellow jackets stung my sister not me, and the farmer across the street only shot our dogs as they ran thru his corn, never me...I didn't drown in the pond, having been taught to swim by the supportive WASP traditional method of being thrown off the pier while grownups laughed thru their G & Ts "If you're a duffer you'll drown". I got ferociously sunburned, caught wicked cases of poison ivy, had scars all over me from thorns, but got to escape a wacked mother so was better off outdoors. However, I do not recommend my own upbringing to loving parents today.
I never hired a babysitter when my own kids were toddlers or infants, because of stories like the one you linked to. Even a parent may be neglectful, but usually they are more motivated to be careful than a ditzy teenager doing it for the money. Babies who cannot yet climb out of their crib are safer than a toddler who can walk three miles with less sense than a kitten...
In my neighborhood, we watch the "different" babysitters and nannies wheeling their charges out into traffic, testing to see if it stops for the carriage before they venture out themselves. They wouldn't do that with their own flesh and blood. I wonder what is in the head of a woman who puts her kid at risk to play tennis? Or have her hair highlighted? Time enough to be frivolous and idle and vain when the kids are in school all day.
And, yes, I do pride myself that tho I have had to work full time to feed my kids, they have never been left with sitters or put in day care. Cared for at home by parents who dote on them.
Remember that story about those poor feckless Brit parents who went on vacation and left their toddlers asleep alone in the hotel? One got kidnapped.
You cannot leave kids of a certain age alone or untended.
I don't believe in a nanny state, just responsible parenting.
And kids are too precious to be neglected.
I don't think that Dr. Helen has kids yet and that is why she was so neutral about the case. In fact she sounds so cantankerous at times that I think she may still be looking fruitlessly for Mr. Right.
Then again, what do I know! Despite the current loathsome press about the burden of child care and the stress of mothering, I was never happier than when nursing and looking after my babies and small children. Women who don't enjoy it should stop at one child. And it is not a lot of work looking after kids. A job is far harder and less rewarding.
When my kids were young, I fell asleep every night and left them unattended until morning.
BD, a hardworking father's prerogative! I used to run the littl
e bunnies ragged so they never went wandering at night. So, in theory, I cd have slept. But there were about six or so years straight when I was nursing somebody every 2 hrs, 24/7. Husband loved my breastfeeding as it let him sleep straight thru. I was a tad brain dead, but a happy mom.high on nursing hormones! Everyone won.
Different now when one kid is going off the deep end, and I am still the one staying up half the night making sure he is safe. Community based care of severely mentally ill kids is better for the kids but wears down the parents. Hard to work all day after being up til
3am w an agitated kid. Certain people aren't much helped by medical care and drugs....
Among the things I think about (see "nightmares" below) are the times we rubbed a little brandy on sore gums, or gave a tablespoon of port for a bad cough.
All those British nursemaids can't be wrong!
Hogarth did some nice illustrations of it...or were his of laudanum as wel?l?
BL, BD actually cheers me up. I just rant and rave about good parenting because I am so frantic trying to keep my kid safe as he decompensates, as the great shrink term has it.
I cam to comment about something but got distracted by the kids napping thing--don't know what those tie back to but I'll look when I go back to see if I can figure out what I was going to comment on.
I have nightmares about the things that we did when our kids where young (all girls, so I was home alone with all sorts of girls--I worked nights or a 3-day week a lot of those years so I was often home).
Not only home alone with them, but left them alone while I went to the store or something.
We were city folk, but from an early age they were turned loose on the neighborhood with instructions to be home when the street lights came on (the lights were individually controlled and there was a well understood but absolutely unannounced "grace period" that gave them credit for being home before more were lighted than dark).
When we were in a campground they were to stay our of other people's camps, and had to be able to see the pickup/camper--and to return to it if lost, disoriented, hurt, cold or thirsty.
Nowwhere did I say we didn't keep an eye on them.
But the most important thing we did was stay out of their way.
(And yes, I could relate stories that justify the word "nightmare", but then and now I don't think I or we did wrong. The world today doesn't seem to agree with us.)
Decided that it must be in the Nation Lobotomized piece, and I can't stomach any more of that to find it.
But that is the piece I wanted to comment upon.
"This does sound like satire." must be some kind or recursive satire, because I don't think about of the linked-to piece is satire.
But then as I said, I was unable to read it all.
[Larry makes a note to get more mind bleach next trip to Walmart, and to look for mental floss.]
The link to Dr. Helen that it referred to vanished...it was a piece on somebody suing a babysitter who fell asleep on the job, and the 2 kids ran off and drowned. Struck a nerve, but I shouldn't have been so judgmental about other parents. I think that the more one worries about one's own parenting deficiencies, the quicker one is to point to those of other people!
LS,, you sound like a good daddy. We can't keep them in the nest forever or they won't learn how to fly.
I was a very adventurous, laissez faire mom with my first two puppies so long as they were in my sight. I became something of a worry wort with the next puppy who turned out to have horrific problems (disability). It is still a mental shift now being around parents of typical kids. We still have to look at a room or a garden and childproof it despite his being an adolescent.
I have not had that kind of a burden (although for some reason we have always -- until this very day--youngest is 30something -- had some sort of hurt person in our lives).
I am thankful that our own are whole, hale and hearty, and I am thankful that there people who can and will take of the ones who need the help.
But even then, it appears to my untrained eye that "stand back a little bit and watch" is a good idea.
The university where I used to work hosted the Special Olympics and it is incredible what some of those people can do, as a function of what you might think.
Another university whose hospital we frequent far too frequently used to have only "special" people on the janitorial staff and I think they lost a lot (in terms of not only quality of house cleaning, but in quality of something I don't know the name of but an example is one time we must have looked confused, because a man pushing a trash barrel in the oposite direction paused and asked if he could help.
I could go on with other places where people have been allowed to find (or exceed) their limits, but I won't. I'll pause and see if I can remember what my point was to be.
I guess I already stated it--for a given set of capabilities it is good to allow a little more slack than seems to be called for.
A man of my acquaintance (my "Best Man") has (had? sadly I've lost touch with him) no use of one arm and only a little--the result of much surgery--of the other. But once you get over the amazement and awe of watching him get along (and get over the humor of some of his remarks about momentary setbacks) you realize that as long as people don't put up obstacles and help with specifics when you ask he gets along as well as you will let him.
Among the things you have to get used to is that he uses his feet for a lot, including driving a car.
I forgot the dang footnote again. don't get old, it is the pits.
bracket1bracket Other kids bring home stray dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, squirrels, I don't know what all.
Ours did that and stray kids. Kids from bad homes (one I recall telling us that her parents had divorced and her mother lost, she had to live with her. Mother remarried, divorced again. this time she one, the kid lived with her step-father and his new wife), kids with problems with school, with other kids, and again, I don't know what all.
Even now, at Thanksgiving it is a good day if we know the name of everybody that shows up for dinner.
(Spam killer got me again so I replaced the brackets to see if that matters.)
Good stories LS. And R, you're doing God's work--there are several special kids in my extended family, and they are a labor of love for my cousins and sister.
BL, LS, thanks for what you wrpte. One needs to be encouraged repeatedly...I have usually expected what some say is "too much" from my kid. Just lately, as he's hit adolescence, things have been so tough for him and us. He is of high intelligence, but this actually makes things harder emotionally. He is aware of how he does not fit in and afraid that he will never be able to work or have normal relationships.
I freak out when people look askance at his weird mannerisms, tics, and wince at his eccentric mumbling and obsessive talking at people about whatever he is interested in. People who know him, love him, but he is weird on first acquaintance . It is heartwrenching as his mother worrying how people will react to him and he to them.
So long as I remind myself that he is beloved by God, and remind him of that, we are okay.
Think to your self the next time a stranger react negatively:
There are two people here: Connect the dots
Happy . . has an impairment they can't control
Upset . . has no apparent impairment of note
It's not your fault (either the impairment or the upset).
You can't do much about it, even if it was your fault.
Not sure I designe the dots thing very well...
What I want to convey is this: the upset person is the one with a problem that needs to be addressed, not you, not the impaired person.
Good evening ya'all. Hope everyone is well tonight. It is a beautiful June evening here with fireworks from the "Old Home Days" weekend going off in the distance.
The laws of blogging post is interesting. Email and blogs are often like gifts for lawyers and prosecutors now. People can be trapped and shamed by words they have emailed or posted. I think this technology is changing us in ways that are not fully apparent yet. We are hidden behind it. We do not look at others faces or hear their voices. We stare at screens. Face to face meetings and even telephone calls are becoming more and more rare in my work. When the telephone was the main means of technological communication there was at least the inflections in others voices to help with the interpretation. Now there is very little in the way of nuance. There is no tone of voice and the irony and humor that may underlie our spoken words can be lost. A conversation might be friendly, skeptical or innocent while the same words in an email or on a blog may sound terse or blunt. I very much enjoy this new technology and the freedom to connect with and to learn from others, and I know there is a real power in shared ideas and information, but my "people" skills were not always all that great to start with and I do wonder sometimes if the computer is eroding them even more. Then I read some more great stories and some interesting posts here and I think the trade offs are just part of everyday living and it is all going to be okay. I spent time today at my fathers nursing home and LOTS of people have problems much worse than any of mine. Many of the people that work there are real angels too. Their dedication and caring and hard work is an inspiration.
Also about the warming post... I think we should put the weather people on commission and only pay them when they are right.
ha ha... Patina - '...only pay them when they are right.' I laughed out loud.
I lived in a refurbished 130 year old farm house about ten miles out of town when I had my two babies. Down the road about a mile was the country store where I bought Cokes and smokes. One day I put my brand new baby down for a nap and went out to the pool to read. I had the little walkie-talkie set up so I could hear him when he woke. I realized I was out of cigarettes and got up and went inside for money and car keys and got into the car and drove off to the store. About half-way there I remembered I had a baby. There was no sudden turning around to accomodate the sweaty collapse of almost all my senses as it was a country road. I did slam on the brakes, though. I was like.. uh...uh..do I run home?! I had enough adrenaline left to guide me to the nearest driveway so I could turn around and head back home. Baby was still sound asleep. I had to do twenty laps in the pool to calm down. Ain't the brain a wunnderful thaing?
When our first was a wee lass we were in the Sears Roebuck store (we did that a lot in those days it seems). She was in the "baby carrier" that was the rage in those times--looked a lot like a plastic "IN" box with a bail that would stand it up at an angle.
By and by wife says "Where is Sandy?" (A question that became familiar as time went on.)
Obviously neither of us had her. Back-tracked to everywhere we had been--no Sandy.
On the third or forth pass (it occurs to me that this must have been before the eyeinthesky security stuff!) we started moving everything that we might have touched, and eventually there she was sound asleep behind a bunch of pillows.
On another occasion my wife went out for the evening, I don't recall for what and it isn't relevant.
I spent the evening in a shop I had built by partitioning-off half the garage, more or less. Of course Sandy was with me although she was no longer a captive in the IN box. But (as I recall) she watched the Teletype machines, and listened to the radios as the all (Teletypes, radios and Sandy) chattered away.
In due time the eary reveille was honored, and some time later I was awakened by my wife saying (you saw this coming, dint ya'? "Where is Sandy?"
Again the search. This time if the shop which was the last place I had seen her. But I tell you the panic was a little more intense because while we did take care with the various shop chemicals, garden chemicals, and heavy stuff like wheelbarrows and hammers, we didn't plan on an unattended wee lass with curiosity bigger than the blue sky.
Behind the Model 19 (a Teletype machine) I had a pile of clean rags and burrowed into the pile was Sandy, sound asleep.
Agree, Patina! In ancient China you only paid your doctor when you were healthy.
This story is mainly for you. I taught tenth and twelfth grade for 20 years, and during that time the state mandated that special education students were to be mainstreamed if possible. In our state, special ed departments are so highly funded that no one is ever left out. It is the largest department in terms of teachers - three teachers per student. I was very amenable to having the kids in my classes (many teachers were not), so I had a bunch of them.
One of my students was David who had cerebral palsy. He had it pretty bad but he could walk and talk though he often had to use a wheelchair if he was tired. His talk was labored and slow but you could understand him. He loved my class because the kids were funny and wild but really nice. One day one of his teachers brought him in in a wheelchair and told me he wasn't feeling very well and if need be to call her and she'd come get him early.
I have to describe the setting before I go on - My room was at the very end of a long, long hallway. The hallway had a main intersection and to get to David's room you had to go through the intersection and down another long hallway.
Anyway, about half-way through class David started crying. The kids instantly went on alert and tried to talk to him but he wouldn't talk. I quickly said, "David needs a little space. Who can take him for a little ride?" All hands went up. Too sweet. I selected two boys and off they went with David talking gently and sweetly to him. I went back to the lesson and about five minutes later I heard wild laughter and turned to see a blaze of wheels and legs go flying by my room at about 100mph. I ran to the door to holler at them but they were gone.... just a glimpse as they rounded the corner waaay down the hall. They came back breathless and David was flushed from laughing.
Class ended and his teacher didn't show up to get him so I figured I'd take him back as I didn't have a class coming up. I waited until the halls cleared and pushed David out the door. To this day I cannot tell you what came over me, but it was spiritual. I felt for David so much that I just wanted to share something wild with him. Off I went faster than the speed of sound.... straight through that intersection without pause and on down to his classroom where I slowed enough to make a sharp 90 degree turn at his door. I didn't slow down enough and the sudden stop threw David forward out of the wheelchair into his classroom where he stumbled and landed in a lump of howling laughter. I was laughing, too, but kind of crying as I looked sheepishly at his teacher and said, "Oops."
I bent over David and said, "Thanks, sweetie. I loved it."
I love this story for a number of reasons, but mostly I love it because of the way the kids treated the special ed students. High school kids never make fun of them. It is just not done. The kids, all of them, are protective and kind to the special ed kids. Always.
I'm hoping your son experiences the same acceptance when he gets to high school. And I hope this story eases your mind a little bit.
By the way - Dr. Helen is married to Glenn Reynolds - Instapundit.
Re: Flip this House, see here:
Sweet story,Phoenix. Thank you.
Re: Dr. Helen, I stand corrected. I was on a tear... Maybe some day when I grow up I will not jump to snarky conclusions! I enjoy much that she writes, agree with her most of the time especially about PC stuff condoning bad behavior. But I do tend to get irritated by some of her pronouncements at times. Particularly about child rearing. Kind of a know it all, who never reveals her own failings and experience, which is why I jumped to the conclusion that she had no personal knowledge of what she spoke about! She, like Gagdad Bob, is one of those people I enjoy reading but wouldn't bother posting comments to, as they would be ignored or put down. There is a certain type of smart shrink who ignores or discounts anyone who criticises them (especially if they do some from the perspective of patient or relative of patient).
Parents and teachers, on the other hand, really know their kids and tend to be more matter of fact about their own strengths and weakness. As I read your loving account, Phoenix, I was reminded of a recent Memorial Day parade where I walked thru our town with our kids and we kept bumping into their former teachers (who greeted them fondly and vice versa) and I saw my former students and the same thing happened.
In another context, I worked with abused and disabled kids professionally before I married and had kids. I must confess that before then I thought I knew a lot more about kids than now! I thought that if you were a good enough parent your kids would never get depressed, go mad, or misbehave...Ah! The hubris of youth! The only thing I am slightly better at now is setting aside my own wishes for their sake (this may have been God smacking me upside my face more than parenthood? a few really good lectures and sermons from people wiser than myself finally hitting home?)
I remember believing that good parenting produced perfect kids.
I should have known as I counseled the oft-crying parents of my tenth-graders. I swore to them that all would be well by the time the kid reached the half-way point of his junior year and that it would be all better by senior year. Very true. Those poor, wonderful parents! It's the age - fifteen. Tough age. On the other hand, there were the wonderful parents whose kids didn't shape up. No guarantees, sad to say, for any parent.
I agree with Larry that giving space is a good thing, though. Just make sure you set them up right early on. Then get out of their way and sooner or later they will make you proud.
As for shrinks who can't handle criticism...... They need a shrink. Like they're supposed to treat people? Give me a break.
If anything is universal, it's wanting your kids to be happy.
Buddy, - You're right.
Many years ago two very religious friends of mine on finding out I have no use for religion asked me what I thought God's purpose is. Without giving it any thought, I said - to raise your children to be kind so that their life will have meaning as kindness spreads exponentially. Then I said this teaching is what God expects from parents because it spreads happiness and makes their child a 'giver' - not a taker.
(Small caveat: A parent also must teach his offspring to kick ass if their offspring are ever bullied. Forgot the kindness thing. Keep the balance in perspective.)
(Second small caveat: My divorce was horrible. After three years of court battles, my ex and I hated our lawyers so much we agreed to settle the final stuff out of court. I made up with him on the spot. Many professionals over the years asked me how I could possibly even speak to him considering the circumstances of the divorce. I said this: "The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother." I had to make that happen to ensure the kids' happiness. It has paid off a million times.)
Second small caveat:
Is there is a book in there someplace trying to get out?
There's more of a book from my teaching, but even my shrink has told me to take a few courses so I can be a marriage counselor. No thanks. I'm not patient enough. My mother always wanted me to write a book about human nature using the events in my life. I can make anything funny as I'm blessed with capturing the absurd and silly in life. That would be fun.
Oh - the quotation about father loving mother works both ways.
yep--a kid has a birthright to two parents. That little epigram leaves alone any consideration but its own.
I found that quotation in a Reader's Digest so long ago it was before they started quoting celebrities. I ripped out the quotation page straightaway and still have them all. I love them! I quit my subscription when they started using current celebrities.
I was so struck by that one because it makes such sense and we don't think about it. The daughter learns from her father how she should expect to be treated by men by watching how he treats her mother. The son learns by watching his father how he should treat women. What a legacy.
So...heh........"divorce or not, you're gonna love me, asshole."