Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I have some scary election results from last night to share with you. North Carolina voters passed an anti-gay marriage and civil union amendment that could threaten even domestic partnerships. Also, Indiana voters kicked out six-term Senator Richard Lugar because apparently he wasn’t crazy enough. He lost the Republican primary to a Tea Party candidate. Read all about it at our brother site Daily Kos.

Here is hoping the economy picks up soon. A Minneapolis 22-year-old received a job offer after he paid to broadcast his mug and “Hire Me!” on an electronic billboard. I am glad the investment — $300 — paid off for young Bennett Olson. But please tell me this isn’t going to be the norm in job-hunting.

MSN on bad reasons to have a baby.

This is kind of cool: NBA star Shaquille O’Neal earned his Ph.D. in education and now wants to go to law school, according to Time.

Also, Chelsea Clinton provided some insight on how she was parented as a child. Even Clinton detractors in the thread had to admit that Chelsea came out well.

I want to introduce you to Specialized Sitters, an agency in Denver that pairs children with special needs with qualified babysitters. It was founded by my friends, Joe and Nancy Ban, who had trouble finding someone to care for their daughter who has sensory integration disorder. USA Today published a story on them and other services like theirs and I am just so proud of them! Please do pass on the article to parents in the Denver area.

And last, but definitely not least, here is a Mother’s Day musical to make you smile:

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

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

37 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Those of us privvy to mkatherine’s pearls of wisdom on the Facebooks got her dare-to-be servicey advice about avoiding social reader and social webcam so as not to inform the rest of your feed of your proclivities.

    Guess what just passed before my feed? I see that my former high school guidance councillor has just viewed “Hot Contestant on Wheel of Fortune” and “World Cups” on socialcam. I am so not enlightened by this information… My eyes, they burn.

    • EWWWW. I do occasionally see some things that my friends appear to be reading….but usually it’s in the basket of “Huh. Didn’t know they were quite so interested in such shallow crap.” Hasn’t been gross yet. But I don’t let FB do “check ins”, and I don’t allow social readers to tell everyone what I’m doing. So if you ever see either one on my feed, tell me. I have this fear that one day I’ll click the wrong thing and it’ll be everywhere!

      • I said it there and I’ll say it here: agreed!
        (I have to admit I enjoy the insight I get into two or three idiots I have to interact with through parenting)

        Along the same lines, I just posted an article about regulatory in Europe and medical devices. A few of my conservative friends, also with T1D kids, are always sending out email/FB pleas about new devices, seeking signatures demanding quick approvals. I don’t want things brought to market that are dangerous and I feel like these campaigns are fueled by the industry and companies seeking profit. I hope some of them read what I posted (it’s in response to the latest onslaught; I may get some blowback)

      • I assume you’re safe if you never assent to the “Facebook needs to share your info” box that pops up when you click those links. I never do so tell me if I get weird stuff in my feed.

    • I’ve never heard of Social Cam, should I count myself lucky?

      I do read Social Reader if it’s (1) major headlines or (2) fluffy crap like Carolyn Hax or book/movie reviews, reports on the arts, etc. Anything else, I open the WaPo site and search for it there.

    • Ugh. One day I saw that a cousin of mine had read an article called “5 ways you unintentionally turn her off in bed” or something like that. I wanted to let him know that it was showing up in other people’s feeds, but didn’t feel comfortable with it.

      Facebook friends, please let me know if you ever see ANYTHING I’ve read coming up in your news feeds, even if it’s not embarrassing. Because if non-embarrassing reading is showing up, it’s only a matter of time before everyone sees that I’ve read something like “10 ways to avoid gray pubes”. I think I’ve avoided social reader, but I’m never sure about these things.

      • yeah, I purposely have avoided it because of this. If I see something pop up that sounds interesting, I just google it away from FB. We all have our vanities, and one of mine is that I really don’t want every one to know when I’m reading what I really consider to be too much garbage. I can be a real reading snob.

    • Jebus, people, how can anyone stand this level of … I don’t even know what to call it actually …. foisted on people by facebook? I suppose you can avoid it, turn it off or whatever, but who has the time and interest to keep monitoring facebook’s freaky voyeurism?

      What would my friends discover about me if I were on facebook and had the panopticon turned on? That I read Kate Middleton stuff, fashion stuff, and the divorce section on Huffpo. That I recently read about the gov’t allowing police departments to have drones. That if Huffpo says, “mila kunis in a bikini” I will probably click on it at some point, ditto the recent one of Madonna nude. Whatev. But it’s creepy as hell.

        • Hi there, Erin! He’s doing great. He potentially is slightly jaundiced, and we are watching it, but otherwise, everything is great. I told dh that I already perceive him to be more laid back than ds1, but dh said I am just desperate LOL.

          Knock wood that we just keep on this way, everything being plus or minus fine. In a week or two, I’ll be past the worst of the post surgical stuff, looking forward to that, too.

          • Oh, I’m sure he’ll keep being mellow. You can tell their temperaments from the beginning. Congratulations again! I hope you heal quickly.

  2. So, Christian MotherTalkers. Inexplicably, my book club is reading “Heaven is For Real”. Strange because we are NOT a religions group, but I think someone who just stopped by once suggested it and it slid under the door. I didn’t mind because I thought it would be interesting and sweet.

    Now I’m halfway through and cursing the day I gave the author one penny of my money. First of all, the stigmata–historically it would have been on Christ’s wrists rather than the middle of middle of his palms, yes? Also, the child never died! He had a dream while he was under anesthesia. His experience of “heaven” *exactly* matches everything his religious family believes. Do mainstream evangelicals really believe that they know what God and heaven are down to the smallest detail? I would think that these things would be something we couldn’t wrap our puny little human brains around. It seems almost blasphemous.

    On a side note, I hear they’re sometimes treating inflamed appendix with antibiotics now. Can I just say F#%K THAT? If one of my kids ever has even a slightly irritated appendix, I will fight tooth and nail to have it removed. However, out of respect for the suggestion that it’s not a completely useless organ after all, I will not ask their doctor about having them removed preemptively.

    • I saw that about appendicitis and thought it was interesting. I might be willing to try it if they think it would work. IV abx and in the hospital for watching, something like that.

      (I giggled at your comment above re: avoiding gray pubes! Ha. Of course the trend now is to rip it all out anyway so if one is willing to do that who would know anyway, right?)

      • Heh, yes. I guess there is only one way to avoid gray pubes, and that’s to avoid pubes all together.

        I have issues with appendicitis because a friend of mine died of a ruptured appendix when I was a kid. It was such a shock because she’d been in the hospital for nine days at that point and seemed to be on the mend. Now it’s just outpatient surgery (if you catch it before it ruptures). I wouldn’t want to risk the antibiotics not working. I imagine it’s rare to die even if it ruptures, but I won’t be taking any chances if it ever comes up.

    • People have such experiences. I’ve had such experiences. Never know really what to make of them, other than it seems that the actual act of dying might not be an unpleasant experience. Also, if you listen to people’s near death stories, they all have experiences that seem to fit with their own personal belief systems. Again…I’m making no call as to whether these are just tricks the brain plays when oxygen deprived or if they do indicate there is something more…but, I suppose the argument could be made that since people have a variety of experiences, the traditional Christian belief system is not the only Path.

      I agree about the appendix. My daughter had her’s removed last year, and it’s out patient. Took less than 45 minutes from beginning to end. I’ve known people who have tried antibiotic treatment, etc., only to have the thing act up again off and on for years. At some point, it just makes sense to get it out, as you would a tooth that has bothered you for years.

      • I’m open to people having experiences that I don’t understand or can’t explain, but this kid’s parents claim that at the age of three, he had no way of knowing all of their views in exact detail. That’s what I take issue with. They’re claiming that it’s some sort of proof that he must have really visited heaven and it must really EXACTLY match up to their belief system. I say a pastor’s son can learn a lot about what his parents believe by the age of three, even if they don’t recall going out of their way to teach it all to him. He’d been constantly surrounded by it since birth, and he went to Sunday school without his parents. He’d absorbed more than they’d realized.

        • And who knows how the conversation went, anyway? Just like the “invented” memories children get sometimes when adults unintentionally coach them with leading questions.

        • absolutely. And I really wonder how much of this story a three year old actually articulated, I know? Did he say things that his parents picked up on and fed back to him so that he later truly believed they were his own memories? We know this happens with small children and it’s been used to try to prove all kinds of abuse allegations, etc.

          • His dad swears that he was very, very careful not to ask him any leading questions and just listen to what he had to say. But I just don’t believe for a second that a near legitimate death experience would do nothing but confirm the beliefs you already held. I’m open to the possibility of anything, but the one thing I’m convinced of is that if there’s an afterlife, it’s going to contain some surprises.

      • One of my favorite books is _What Dreams May Come_, and part of the setting is that everyone who has very firm beliefs about what the afterlife will be (including being convinced that there isn’t one), will experience the afterlife exactly that way. People who are open-minded about it, can see it as it really is.

        Personally, “Heaven Is Real” is at the very bottom of my reading list, below Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.

    • You’ve summarized my issues with the book. We have a new parishioner who loved this book (and it is a part of his conversion, actually), and for that reason I read the book.

      I believe that these experiences happen, and I also feel like the family is operating out of extreme naivete if they truly believe that their child had never heard them (or someone in their church) speak about heaven using these kinds of images (before or after the event). It seems a little too perfect if you ask me.

      I feel kind of the same way about “The Shack.” I think these books help a very small set of folk, but I am not in that set and so sometimes I find it maddening or frustrating. These kinds of books are seldom my cup of tea.

      • I think if something like this happened in my family and it reflected only things we’d already thought of and firmly believed in, it would cause in me a crisis of faith. I’d believe that if there wasn’t anything new in that near death experience, than it was only a function of the brain going crazy. But of course, I’m a Doubting Thomas with no firm beliefs, so I can’t really put myself in the mind of someone who is so convinced that what they believe is the truth. And of course, THE KID NEVER FLATLINED–he was completely and totally alive throughout the whole operation.

      • OK, you know I’m an atheist, right? At our infusion center there was a 14 year old girl who was autistic, mildly developmentally delayed, and getting chemo for a brain tumor. She liked my son and the autism removed all boundaries, so she overshared a lot. So I got the story from both her and her mom.

        The seizure that was the first sign of her tumor sent her into a coma for a couple of weeks. The oncologist explained to the parents that this tumor type is absolutely not survivable, and insisted that the girl be told soon after regaining consciousness. But when the parents tried to approach the subject, the girl cheerfully said, “Oh I know already, I’m going to die. Aunt Doris told me. It’s not time to die yet, but she’ll be waiting for me when I do. She explained everything to me. It’s not scary at all. It’s really pretty.” She hadn’t really known her aunt, who had died when she was little.

        One of this girl’s autism traits was an inability to cope with novel situations – small changes could freak her out. So she had to be very carefully prepared each time they went to a new place, and the anticipation would provoke anxiety. But the mom told me her daughter had never shown the slightest trace of anxiety or concern about dying. She was ready, and perfectly happy to go. She knew exactly where she was going and exactly what was there.

        • those are exactly the kind of experiences I’ve had. What do I make of it? I don’t know. I’m just not really scared of the act of dying any longer. For me, it isn’t really important to know exactly what it means, you know? I’m not an atheist, but like Erin, my beliefs are not really traditional, and I suppose, if anything, I’m rather deist/universalist.

  3. Ugh. Major parenting misstep. I’ve been working to guide my third grader, who doesn’t yet read independently, through his first big book. About a week ago he suggested that he might be more motivated to finish before the end of the school year if there were a reward for doing so. I asked what he had in mind and he suggested a small lego set. Of course after 9 years of parenting this kid I know better than to offer a reward, but since this suggestion came from him I saw no harm in assenting.

    And then I blew it. I can see that at our current rate he’ll be done long before the year is over, so a couple of days later I offered him a sliding scale of incentives, a larger lego set for each week he beat the deadline. What was I thinking? All I did was provoke a major meltdown, with repeated screams about how he is not going to push himself and won’t read anything ever again. I walked it back and talked him down off the ceiling, and I think he’s agreed to go back to the original end of the year goalpost. But oy. When will I learn how to parent this child effectively?

    • You are parenting him effectively. Doesn’t mean that every thing always works out the way you’d like to. I have adult children that I know inside and out, and at times, I’m completely stumped.

      And, sad as it is, he might not ever be one who really enjoys reading. Believe me, that sounds downright blasphemous coming out of my mouth, but I have a couple of kids who don’t really enjoy reading. One of my sons, who I’m sure is quite brilliant, just I don’t quite know what’s wrong with him. Really. But, he’s smart and he functions and even manages to be very, very interesting, well informed and gainfully employed.

      • I know, and it’s not blasphemy – both the reading specialist and the testing psychologist mentioned the possibility that he’ll never be a reader. Reading is work for him, I can see the effort it takes. I don’t know if it will ever transition into a relaxing activity.

        But the reason I’m kicking myself is because I should have known better than to offer an additional reward after he suggested the first one. He was just being opportunistic; he’d realized that he was going to accomplish this anyway so he might was well try to get something out of it. It wasn’t really an incentive, which is always unacceptable. This kid would still be in diapers today if I’d used a sticker chart for potty training – he simply cannot be incentivized, and I should know better than to insult him by trying it.

    • Was he not having meltdowns regarding reading anyway? So you tried something new. It didn’t magically make him love reading, but he didn’t like it in the first place.

    • Awww, that doesn’t to me like a major misstep. Like Erin said, you tried something, it didn’t work. Just tell ds that’s what you did, tried something, it didn’t work, so let’s go back to the original idea and stay with that.

    • All I can say is I am also parenting a very guidance-resistant child and I continue to make mistakes, though I have mostly gotten the hang of it. For me, it’s natural to want to offer help or treats, or try to smooth the way by sharing what’s worked for me (for example). Unfortunately, none of these things are useful.

      With mine, I have to try to overcome those “helping” urges. Naturally I’m not always successful. I also try to coach my DH, who just can’t help himself when it comes to the helpful reminders. What can you do? Helpers gotta help.

      DS has continued to develop despite my failings, if that’s any comfort.

  4. And today’s other parenting issue, which I might as well type out since I’m sitting here fretting about it while I wait for the kids to get home …

    Today is the town wide Bike to School Day. We live 3.2 miles from school and it’s 87 degrees at the moment. My heat sensitive son is being transitioned to a new pain med, and it doesn’t appear that we’ve reached the effective dose yet. But he begged me for permission to bike with the neighbor kids. My gut response, which I fought down (and am still fighting) was No. But it is not my job to protect him from his disorder, since I can’t; it is my job to help him learn what he can and cannot do. So I said yes. I knew the cool morning ride would be no problem so I let him go with his friends and their mom.

    I originally assumed I’d go join them for the ride back. But then I realized that wouldn’t help – better if I stay by the phone so I am available to quickly collect him with the minivan if necessary. So I discussed it with my neighbor and she agreed to watch him for me and call me if he gets into trouble. She even offered to stop halfway for Jamba Juice, which will be very popular with all of them while giving him the chance to cool down. He gets to preserve the illusion that I’m granting him autonomy and not hovering over him. I get to sit home with my anxiety.

    • And he’s back, unscathed – he’s tired and flushed, but not much pain. Whew! He wore the cooling shirt I’d dropped off for him, and he said it helped. And he wants to do it again next week. I’m not sure I’ll survive if it gets any hotter.

      Thank goodness for good neighbors – she was totally on board with taking this on. I don’t know what we’d do without this family. The four adults will never be best friends – our personalities aren’t a natural fit, although we get along fine and our values match well. But we’re helping raise each other’s kids, which is worth it’s weight in gold. And apparently they feel the same way about us – when a realtor was putting a “for sale” sign at another house the dad initially thought it was ours and said, “If they move, we’re moving.”

      • We’ve had neighbors like this. Sadly our next door neighbors who looked after my kids when I wasn’t around moved a couple of years ago. We just traded back and forth that way.

        I’m glad it worked out so well for your son, and I’m so impressed with your letting him figure some of this out on his own. There’s something about “owning” your own consequences that is essential for over all well being and functioning with chronic illness. Many who’ve never dealt with it personally themselves have a difficult time grasping this.

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