Saturday Open Thread

It’s the weekend, y’all! And I have an amazing email to share.

It wasn’t sent to me; it was sent to the friends of some new parents, and one of those friends was so offended, they leaked it to Gawker. You know how when someone has a baby, friends often offer to help out however they can? Well, these parents decided to accept the help, but with very specific requests and instructions. Among the highlights:

3. Come over at about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then complete one or more household chores, such as:
-fold laundry
-scoop the litter box
-take [our dog] for a well deserved walk or run around the neighborhood or park
-clean the kitchen or the bathroom
-vacuum

5. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum, dust, clean the litter box, and then leave quietly. It might be too tiring for me to chat and entertain, but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to a clean, organized space.

7. Come over to fold laundry or clean and give [Parent] a break so she can go enjoy some r & r, go to a coffee shop, a bar, or something else fun. Vacuum and fold more laundry. Clean the litter box.

8. Make a giant pot of vegetable soup in our kitchen and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Then take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house. Reline the kitchen garbage can with a fresh bag.

Ya think they hate cleaning their litter box much?

My favorite is #5: why work clothes? And someone who comes over, cleans your house and leaves quietly without even speaking to you is not your friend. That’s a frickin’ maid.

What say you? Is this refreshingly direct or just plain presumptuous? Or somewhere in between?

What are you up to this fine fall weekend? Chat away!

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37 thoughts on “Saturday Open Thread

  1. I think it’s awesome. I understand people are different, but specific instructions and knowing that I’m doing what someone wants rather than having to guess make my soul happy. I don’t really get the “just clean up and leave” thing, unless the person really has a hard time asking people to leave when they’re tired/not in a social mood. And some people really, really do.

  2. OT follow up

    We got the report from S’s OT eval and met (via phone) with the OT yesterday. The report was thorough, and in a general way was a quantification of what we’re already seeing. He is below average for manual dexterity, balance, bilateral coordination, and strength. Even items that were closer to average were noted to be “uncoordinated” or “inflexible” and she noted that he has difficulty alternating sides of his body. Also that he does worse with his eyes closed, meaning he uses vision to aid body awareness. He’s compensated for a lot of this, and it doesn’t really affect his day-to-day life.

    So…next step is to schedule time with her or another OT to learn some exercises to build strength and balance.

    DS says he’s on board, but was a little “down” last night. It’s not easy to hear/read about things that are below average. DH first said that HE would work with DS and then suggested there are OTs at local gyms who could do the work. My mom was, at first, sort of upset. My Dad had peripheral neuropathy which, in a long view sense was responsible for his death (uncoordination, hard fall, head injury) and mom worries this lack of coordination must be due to something neurological. My take is that everyone has ‘something’. DS doesn’t need a math tutor, he’s above grade level in reading, he is a sponge for science and social studies facts. But his brain does not do motor stuff well. And the OT can provide some strategies to he him.

    The next big hurdle is scheduling. It will involve me rearranging my work time, so I can leave early one day to take him. Then we’ll have to do follow up at home….and ride out the resistance and inevitable temper that will come with it. Great. More things for me to nag him about.

    • I’m glad that you got a detailed report from an OT who has a good plan. I hope DS will connect with the person and be convinced that making progress will help him out.

    • Are you relieved at all that the Dx confirmed things you had been concerned about? Sometimes I feel better even after hearing a disappointing Dx because then I know I’m not overthinking something. The “everyone has something” is a good way of looking at it, and I hope DS can see that.

      Would he respond better to the commitment of the therapy if he understood that balance played a role in your father’s accident? Maybe telling him, “Hey, I know it’s a drag to have to go do this every week, but it’s not a punishment. Let’s dig in, work on this area that needs to be strengthened. In the decades ahead you’ll be grateful for giving yourself this strength at a time when it’s easiest for your body to retrain itself.” Maybe frame it like YOU’RE not telling him to do this, his 40-year-old self is.

      • Yes on both counts. I’m glad to have info and I think a longer time frame will help. I’ve also told him its not about “being fit” it’s about getting stronger and feeling better. He’s been tired a lot, and I told him it could be related…the OT mentioned endurance me decreased fatigue s outcomes.

    • It sounds like useful information. I am having an assessment for my 7th grader as well since he is having trouble with school right now. We hear the results Tues. I think it will be good to have more information but at the same time I can see that the idea of one more thing to add to the to-do list does seem disheartening in a way.

    • “Everybody has something” has been my mantra ever since I began to suspect that the pattern of DS1′s trivial oddities suggested something fundamentally wrong – I’ve been signing it loudly and persistently since he was 2. It really helped when they were little; I could assure them that the guy in the wheelchair was perfectly normal except for the absence of legs, which was his normal, and they simply accepted that. I took pains to point out that you usually don’t know what someone else’s “thing” is, but just like daddy’s heart and mommy’s back there’s often something you can’t see.

      I really do think this has made a big difference with acceptance, not only with my elder son’s more serious disease but also with his brother’s reading disorder. Instead of “it’s not fair, why do I have to have this?” the attitude is that something will be wrong because nobody is born perfect, so each time we encounter something we’ll deal with it as best we can.

    • I’m sure it is hard for everyone to hear, but it’s great that there are some answers & plans. Gus has been doing OT for almost two months, & everyone agrees there has been progress. I do wonder if some of it isn’t also related to just getting more & more mature, but I’m not messing with success! He also adores his OT, & the only meltdown he had last week was when she had to cancel our appt.

    • This is such good news, Sue. I’m impressed you got the eval done — that’s sometimes the hardest part — and you’ve made plans to follow through on the recommendations.

      One thing I would say as the parent of an older kid (and I know you are, too), is that if he resists the exercises, too much, maybe he doesn’t have to do them *now*. Maybe there will come a day when addressing his lack of strength and balance will be more meaningful to him and he will decide to do something about them. Not suggesting you don’t try to help him work through any resistance, just suggesting if he is adamantly opposed to the work, it can probably wait until it matters to him.

      Good luck with all the schedule juggling!

    • I agree….I think people want specific ideas of what to do to help….but this tone is pushy. Maybe it’s a case of irony that went wrong, can’t read tone of voice or self-mocking facial expressions.

      • Totes agree that the tone sounds really rude and I never would have sent an email like that. I probably would be put off if I was their friend. But honestly, it could be in response to people’s general and vague offers of “just let me know if I can help” that seem useless/insincere. I know I’ve said this before, but if people really want to help, THEY should make specific suggestions of how they would be willing to help. I’m personally horrible at asking for help from friends. And when someone says, “can I help?” in a general way, I usually can’t think of something they could do. When DD2 was born, when friends said, “can I help?” I said no thanks. When they said, “can we bring you dinner next Tuesday?” or “can we pick up Lucy and take her to the park with us?” I said, thankfully, YES!! If someone would have offered to fold laundry or vacuum, I just may have taken them up on it. But I never would ask someone to do any of that.

        • yeah, I agree that specifics can be helpful but — “cook a pot of vegetable soup in our kitchen” or “clean out the litter box and leave quietly” is beyond specific, IMHO. For instance you could say “we always appreciate vegetarian meals” or “any kind of chores around the house, from cleaning the litter box to folding laundry to dusting, would be a big help” — the specificity and tone are what is off-putting.

          Reminds me of that classic Thanksgiving at my house newsletter where everyone was specifically instructed not only what type of food, but how it should be prepared, what type of dish it should come in, and what type of serving utensil must be sent with it.

    • Bingo. This is the twin to the demanding letter from the bride to her bridesmaids that they posted a few weeks ago. Maybe the authors are siblings.

    • There’s a man in our school community with a very bad and sudden cancer diagnosis. Someone put up a sign-up list on Caring Bridge for people wanting to “do something” to help with a series of dates where you can sign up to bring a meal.

      The directions include dietary restrictions and then say something like, “Bring the food to the side door between X – X p.m. You may knock so they know the food is there but do not expect to converse. Pans, plates, etc., will not be returned.”

      I found it a little off-putting but I also kind of liked knowing up front how I would be treated. These are not close friends but it’s good to be able to help in a limited way.

      • The tone is a little different, though, when the marching orders are coming from the community rather than the person requesting help. And there’s a difference between pampering a new mom and providing assistance in a sudden crisis. An exhausted new mom should still be able to spare a few minutes to coo over the baby with any person who has come to help her get some rest. I’m not sure I’d have the same expectation of a shellshocked chemo patient I didn’t even know well, though most chemo patients I’ve met would at least want to thank people in person and would probably prefer a brief sympathetic visit.

        • Totally agree that it’s different coming from the community. And it’s different when it’s new parents, rather than a family in crisis. When our friends took care of us while we in the hospital, they brought food but there was no expectation that we would play host and hostess. If we felt like sitting and chatting, great, but it was so nice not to be expected to if it was a particularly hard time. So thoughtful.

          OTOH, friends brought us food after Clara was born and it was awesome, but some of them lingered way too long. They were bringing food over at dinnertime, usually on the late end with people getting off work, etc. The nursing mom and the 5 year old were usually STARVING by the time they arrived. I totally wanted to show off the baby and chit chat a bit, but some groups stayed an hour or so. One couple stayed so long that I finally just invited them to eat with us, which might have been a good clue to leave! They didn’t. Clueless, but also so kind to bring us food that DH and I just rolled our eyes and filed it away for the future.

      • A kid in my daughter’s class had his dad die suddenly this year. We all had a roster for meals to help out, and the instructions were almost identical. But honestly…constantly thanking people and having to answer “How are you doing?” would be wearing. If I was in their shoes, I would prefer the same rules. And I appreciated knowing that I could drop a meal without having to be in “caring” mode. Dropping and running away works for the dropper sometimes as well. :)

  3. Did anyone else read the speculation about the NYT Ethicist letter of July in relation to the Petraeus affair? I read the letter at the time, which was from a man writing to ask what to do because his wife was having an affair with a high up government official. Now people are wondering if Scott Broadwell wrote the letter.

    • I had not read it until you mentioned it — then I went and looked. Hmmmm, coincidental — maybe. But might be them. I also thought that indeed the Ethicist is right, that the letter writer wanted to put pressure on the person to own up to it.

    • Interesting. I remember the letter and went back to read it. What throws me off is the letter writer saying that he has benefitted from the official’s generosity. Scott Broadwell is a radiologist. It seems a stretch to see any professional benefit he could get. Maybe he means the PR from his wife’s book.

      But then he mentions that the official’s project will last 1 or 2 years more and that it’s a project he is passionate about as well. Would this husband be that passionate about the work of the CIA? I don’t know … I think it’s fair to say that there are probably more than one govt official having an affair LOL.

    • Wow, I just read on Gawker that the reason it all came out is that Broadwell got jealous of some third woman (not his wife) and started using his gmail to send her death threats. Then she went to the FBI thinking her life was in danger and that kicked off the investigation.

      Who is she, Reille Hunter’s separated at birth twin?

      • Yeah, she seems pretty whack. I watched the Daily Show segment she did and she seems… off. Cold, anyway. She admits to being very competitive; I wonder if someone new came onto Petraeus’s radar and she couldn’t handle it? Also reminds me of the astronaut who lost her mind and drove cross country in Depends to duke it out with the other woman. Wild stuff!

    • It’s weird because Chuck Klosterman (the Ethicist) and Paula Broadwell (described by DH by the Reddit meme “Overly Attached Girlfriend”) are both about my age and from North Dakota. There’s only 600,000 people there…I find it strange when coincidences like this show up.

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