Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

If you can humble me with another bragging moment, I won the “Best Activist Blogger” trophy for the Latinos in Social Media Awards. It was a thrill to receive the results live via Twitter. Thank you for voting for me and for your ongoing support over the years. When I left my reporting job eight years ago, I would have never imagined being a part of this dynamic community and doing what I do for work. I feel so incredibly fortunate and blessed. ¡Gracias!  

For the first time in U.S. history, a majority of moms — 50.8 percent — are receiving paid maternity leave, according to Bloomberg News. However, the United States has no national paid leave policy so some of this may be due to women cobbling together disability, sick days and vacation days. Also, very few women without a high school diploma receive any paid time off (19%).

I want to scream every time I hear the “immigrant-children-will-never-learn-English” meme in this country. As it turns out, immigrant families are having a hard time keeping their children bilingual, according to the Boston Globe.

OMG. Michelle Duggar is pregnant with her 20th child, according to the TODAY Show.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

32 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. MC starts day care today

    With an in- home provider in my neighborhood. Here’s hoping we both get through it. I’m sure it will be fine, but it will be a big shift for our little family.

      • in my case it wasn’t hard on me at all

        I practically did pirouettes down the daycare driveway I was so happy…

        then they started calling me every day to come get my super cranky baby and I was less happy..

        honestly it’s a miracle I made it out alive from those years.

        • Hahahahaha!

          I don’t mean to laugh (well, maybe just a little). But as I was leaving, I said, “Just call if she is gets to be inconsolable. I know you know what to do, but I just have to say it anyway.” Two hours later, the sitter sent a text message and picture of my laughing, smiling baby. She’s fine. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a mess.

          Perhaps going to a funeral right after dropping her off was a strategic error. Also, some of my friends and colleagues were arrested this morning as part of OccupyOakland. Grrr.

          Katie, you can rest assured I’ll be calling you in the tween and teen years. I like that age, too, but I’m going to be desperately uncool, and I’ll need your help navigating those days….

          • I remember going to a meeting

            during my maternity leave and leaving Liza with my then MIL — a colleague at the meeting said “OH you must be ACHING to get back to her…!”  

            um… I ‘m fairly sure I laughed out loud like a super crazy woman… causing her to back away in fright.  Honey I would have stayed in that meeting for three months if I could have.

            However, the 12 year old I can shop with, gossip with, watch tv with, and hang out with?  that’s awesome.

            but  a baby?  shuddderrrrrrrrrrrr

  2. What the wha?

    Immigrant children are the ones who most frequently learn English! Do these people have no concept of immigrant history? The keeping-them-bilingual problem has been going on in my family for 70 years…my parents can understand German OK but can’t speak it, and my grandparents got upset by that a little too late to do anything. When Gus speaks or understands German, I get a little tear in my eye, mostly because I know how pleased my grandma would’ve been and I so wish she could see him.

    Sigh…how much stupid can one country hold?

    • I know

      that I have read multiple articles over the years that today’s immigrants are learning English at the same rate as immigrants in previous generations.

      People just try to find ways to support their prejudices. Of course, a look at history tell us that various immigrants have been scapegoated over our country’s history.  Ironic since almost all of us are descended from immigrants.

  3. i miss working on the campaign

    i really do.  i can’t wait for 2012 to heat up.

    last night i started to get caught up on housecleaning. my house is still a disaster area though.  i came home midday to clean some more, but i just found out the sports charter i signed up to drive was cxl’d, so i’m taking a break.  i’ll do more when i come home from work tonight.  i can only clean when the kids are gone.  

    i keep thinking about last tuesday and how much fun it was to win.  after the results came in we all walked down the street to the city’s oldest bar/restaurant and there were so many of us we filled the block outside.  cars would pull up and turn around because there were so many people drinking in the street there was absolutely no getting through.  i wish i had thought to take a picture.

    our congressman was there, and someone told him the news is here- put down your drink.  he said he’s an irish politician- if he loses his beer he’ll look suspect.

    my favorite quote of the whole night- a very sweet older man was standing there enjoying his beer, and to noone in particular he quietly said “i’m on the board of ed.  i must be crazy.”  it turn out he didn’t even want to run- they talked him into it, and he won.

  4. SIL vent

    I’ve always hated the crass materialistic side of Christmas and I have worked hard to downplay it in our family.  We celebrate a quiet Christmas at home, which since we are geographically isolated from the relatives have managed to keep the focus off gift giving.  It’s worked out really well.  (I don’t object to gifts per se, but I hate the way the consumerist emphasis has undermined and to me destroyed what was supposed to be a spiritual holiday.  Yes, I realize I’m an atheist.  Perhaps that just means my grip on the positive side of Christmas is all the more fragile.)

    This year we are visiting the grandparents after Christmas.  Since BIL/SIL have both sets of parents in the Baltimore Washington area they always spend Christmas there; their kids are near my kids ages and of course we were looking forward to getting the families together.  SIL/BIL are both Jewish, but SIL’s family celebrates Christmas.  I just got a peppy email from my SIL about Presents!  Hooray!  I guess I should have seen that coming.  There’s really no way for me to dodge this one, is there?  And then we’re stuck every year, from now on?

    I know, I know, if this is the worst family dilemma I can come up with we got nothing to complain about.  My SIL is a very nice person, she just happens to come from a planet that is so different from mine that we can barely communicate.  But I just want to vent anyway.  What was the point of marrying into a Jewish family in the first place?

    • You can dodge it!

      Can’t you just say that you appeciate her generosity, but that your family has chosen to celebrate Christmas in a simple way and that you prefer to keep gifts to a minimum? And that since the visit will be after Christmas, your kids won’t be expecting anything. So no presents would be fine with you all. If she persists, your fallback position would be to keep them very small.  

    • Travel and buying

      Packing gifts/wrapping just adds another layer to already chaotic holiday travel.
      Perhaps they could make something meaningful FOR the grandparents (bonus: it gets left somewhere that isn’t your house) like a hand prints/stone mosaic garden stone…sell it as “the gift of time” with their cousins.  One year we put all of the kids in same colored shirts/jeans and went to Sears for a quickie portrait for great-grandma.

      • I like this

        I think having some kind of experience together would be a great alternative to a gift.   If arts and crafts isn’t your thing, maybe a trip to do something together that you might not otherwise do.  

        I have been thinking of this in terms of our own, in-town family for this year.  The kids hardly need more toys but maybe some gift certificates for museums, etc. that are usually out of the price range.  

        • My friend’s tradition

          I have a friend who started a wonderful tradition with her children 22 years ago and it’s still going strong. Each child had to make something for the others for Christmas. The focus is always on the meaning of the gift they chose to make and give. They’re very religious and they’ve always modeled a very non-material Christmas message to their children and those who know them.

          Truthfully, I never thought it could last.  In the early years, it often took help from parents, but my friend has always been very joyful about helping each child bring joy to their siblings.  It’s really neat.  They’ve created all kinds of memories over the years.  One of the nicest I’ve heard about is a letter that their son wrote describing his admiration for his dad and his desire to be like him.  A mutual friend stopped by just after they exchanged gifts that year; the entire family was completely verklempt.

    • Don’t dodge it

      But don’t feel stuck with it in the future either. Your kids are old enough to know that what happens at Grandma and Grandpa’s, stays at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Not the actual gifts, you need to bring those home, but the excess. Life at the Grands is different, and that’s ok. It’s positive even.

      Next year, do what you normally do.

      As a fellow non believer, I feel the same way, probably due to my Catholic upbringing. If it’s not about the birth of Christ for us, I can’t stand it being about a mountain of presents. A molehill is fine with me, but we don’t go overboard. And we only do 2 – 3 presents Hannukah first night, and that’s it.

    • Your family, your rules

      I agree with the other comments.  You shouldn’t have to totally compromise what you are doing with your family.  There are other ways to make the visit special without a lot of presents.

      Gifts in our house were out of control.  When DD1 was born, the grandparents went nuts.  I made a rule about the number of gifts each child can get from each person.  Even with a limit, by the time you multiply it by all the people that give them gifts, they still get a mountain of presents.  At first, MIL was mad at me.   Later she saw my perspective and was actually happy that her shopping was easier and less stressful.

      • same here

        I had to reign in my mom. At first she thought I was being the killjoy grinch that she normally thinks I am. But when I explained who else we get gifts from, she kind of relented, begrudgingly. Then last year she looked at ds’s playroom and said she has seen preschools less well equipped. Yes, I know, mom, it’s sick. Then she really got it.

        It also helped when I suggested she add to categories of things ds already has, instead of introducing more and more diverse items. So for example, add another, more complex lego set, or more magna tiles, or more marble run items. Stuff we know he loves and will use. And doesn’t overwhelm my brain or his with stuff, stuff, stuff.

        • Ug…the grandparents

          My mom will nag me about how much crap is all over my house, and then turn around and send the kids a gift because it’s Columbus Day (which we really don’t celebrate around here given that DS’s godmother is a Native American scholar). She also has this weird idea that her gifts should be the ones the kids like the best, and if they’re not, somehow that is my fault. Drives me crazy. I get back at her my pointing out that MY grandparents got us each precisely one gift (and one grandma was famous for socks and flashlights) and I loved & adored them dearly.

          • exactly

            I can only remember one special gift my paternal grandmother gave me, and the other grandmother always gave a bag of soaps, shampoos, toothbrush, new comb, socks, new underwear, etc. They were called “ditty bags” and that in itself is the fun memory. That grandma had the creek and the tire swing, which I remember so much more than the gifts.

            My dad’s mom though was a non stop excellent cook and baker. That’s totally what I remember about going to her house, sitting at the counter in her kitchen waiting for the cookies and pies to come out of the oven. Plus getting up in the middle of the night to sneak the chocolates out of her pine cone trees – one chocolate kiss on each petal of of these giant pinecones.

            Did we eat that many sweets at home? No, of course not. But grandparents get to have some of the fairy dust, you know?

            This grandma also gave me her nativity scene from Italy and her diamond, which I received as an adult. Those are really special, not the kid stuff she gave me.

            • Oooo, I bet those are gorgeous!

              And the memories are good, too! You’re right; the heirlooms my grandma has passed to me as an adult surpass anything she got me as a kid. She was the one who bought me my first make-up in 7th grade when my mom said I couldn’t wear it. Now that I think about it, that probably drove my mom crazy, much like it would if she did something like that with DD.

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