Tuesday Morning Open Thread

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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.

159 thoughts on “Tuesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Ack, I forgot to post the open thread before going to bed last night! Thanks Elisa, for having my back!

    By way of explanation, I will attempt to craft an awesome humblebrag:

    What kind of an idiot throws her daughter a birthday party, runs a half marathon, goes to Disneyland TWICE, then tops it off by going to a Lady Gaga concert, all in a single 3-day weekend?

    Yeah. In retrospect, not really brag-worthy. I’m an exhausted wreck (though I did have fun!).

    I bought the Gaga tix months ago and thought it would be no big deal. But I am still so tired and sore from the half marathon! Standing for most of the concert was a little tough, but damn did she put on a great show.

    We did Disneyland after the race because Elisa and the kids were visiting, and how could we run a race at Disney, then not take our kids to the park? LOL. Yesterday after Elisa and family were gone, we realized our annual passes are about to expire, so we decided to go one last time to get our money’s worth and stick it to the mouse. We showed THEM! ;-)

    Seriously though. I think it will take me a week to recover from the weekend. Ouch. The worst part is I tweaked my neck a few days before the race, and it has been stiff ever since. Now the pain is starting to radiate into my head. Only on the left side of my head. Part of my head is actually tender to the touch. And my left ear was especially sensitive at the concert last night, hurting like heck when the screaming guy behind me reached a certain pitch. What should I do? The pain is becoming increasingly debilitating. :-(

    • I tweaked my neck (taking off a tee-shirt – yes growing old is fun) a few years back and it got so bad I went to the doctor – which usually takes me a long time. The most helpful thing I learned was to take four – yes FOUR – ibruproffin. My doctor explained that for muscle problems like that the normal dosage doesn’t really do anything. It still hurt, but it really helped. I also became more conscious how I sat at my computer and used one of those heating pads you can pop in the microwave for a couple minutes – even at work. Hope it feels better soon!

        • SIX??? All at once? I really think four is a hard and fast limit; as you go up the curve you lose marginal benefit and cross into toxicity range. My prescription dose is 800 mg 3x daily, and my doc warned that if I need a fourth dose (which I believe is the prescription daily max) I need to have my kidney function monitored.

          The best way to treat cramps with advil is to start taking it days early. That gets the prostaglandins down so the cramps aren’t bad when they hit.

      • It’s been a long time since I read up on this stuff, but I believe you get most or all of the analgesic benefit in the 200-400 mg range. But the anti-inflammatory threshhold is up around 600 mg if I remember correctly. There seems to be some debate as to whether going from 600 to 800 is a good idea – some argue the increase in risk is outweighs the increase in benefit in that range. However as someone who got little relief from 600, I don’t think the extra benefit is small at all.

  2. I can hardly believe it, but the inspection of our new house yesterday went off without a hitch! It’s almost 90 years old so of course there are some minor things like a few foggy window panes. But structurally, they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. It’s a good solid house which has been exceedingly well cared for. The original tile roof is in great shape and the 25 year old boiler could easily last us another 75 years with proper care, although another 25 years is more realistic. I learned the ins and outs of radiator heat. I can’t wait till the house is ours!

    • Thanks all! Closing is feb 19. Just sent the letter to our landlord about breaking the lease in 60 days, so it’s looking like the move will be early march. There are a couple things we want to do at the new house before we move in (paint the kids room, clean the carpets, install smoke alarms, ect). But the homeowner, who is fastidiously clean, told me not to worry, she was going to wash the hardwood floors and scrub out the cabinets and leave it sparkly clean for me. Isn’t that sweet! She’s quite a lady; extremely nebby (our local term for nosy), but she seems to run that house like a benevolent drill sergeant. Makes sense that they’re retired navy folks! Oh, and I mentioned that I looked forward to collecting beautiful antique pieces for the house when the kids get older, but she told me I MUST get nice things now and teach my children to respect the nice furniture! That’s what she did! Ok then. I just agreed because in reality we don’t have the money for antiquing anyway, kids or no kids! Lol.

  3. If I had any doubt where my daughter’s anxiety came from it has been banished.. my anxiety has never been this high -I even took a xanax last night — something I never do — but it was really bad.. right down to a tightness in my chest that won’t go away and the constant desier to sleep it away…. yesterday I grabbed a 30 minute nap in the recliner and last night when my anxiety was out of control all I could think was that I just wanted to be under that blanket again and safe and just stay there rather than deal with all I have to deal with right now… I hate this month so much… I can’t even begin to tell you

  4. I’m home with a sick boy today and I should be working on an article. I’m not working on it, but I should be. Apparently, the Common Core doesn’t have the same allure as the inauguration or Hunger Games fanfiction.

  5. Musicteacher, are you out there? I have a question for you about my son. He’s been taking piano lessons for less than two years, and he asked for (and received) a nice keyboard for Christmas (a Kawai). He then immediately started talking about wanting a bass. I told him he had to wait until next year, since he should make an effort with the piano commensurate with our investment. I don’t assume he will continue with the piano forever, but he did ask for the darned thing, so he should give it a shot. He insists that the bass is in addition to, not instead of. Enterprising boy that he is, he has made an arrangement with his brother to use said brother’s electric guitar until he gets the bass next year.

    Now for my question: is it better for an 11 yo to focus on one instrument, or should we take advantage of his interest and let him try taking both piano and guitar lessons, at least for the rest of summer? His piano teacher also teaches guitar, so it would be easy to add a class. What would you recommend?

    • Have him take both. I tried picking up guitar after 15-16 and was never able to get the fluidity I have with keyboards. There is all kinds of research about the ability to make neural connections while learning music and 11-12 is kind of the upper limit. My piano teacher did not want me to learn another instrument while I was taking piano but I think it would have been a good idea. As he is indicating that he is interested in both, I don’t think he will drop the piano. I did take piano and voice lessons from eighth grade on, and sometimes I would practice more on one than the other but I was able to manage both.

  6. I just finished one of the books I planned to read while waiting around in the hospital with Alex. In less than 24 hours. While shirking other responsibilities. This is why I shouldn’t read. Books are my drug.

  7. Busy reading up on bootstrapping methods for assessing relative contributions of mediators in multiple mediation models. Ugh.

    Yesterday I talked to my BFF who is married to (basically) a good ol’ boy about the whole gun thing. Her DH is libertarian politically (voted for Obama) and is a big hunter. He hunts all the time, so they have a lot of guns, each of which is used for a particular purpose, hunting different kinds of animals. Evidently he is in a panic because they have $20k worth of guns in the gun safe in their bedroom which would be outlawed by the new legislation. He would have to get rid of them but that there would be no market for them once they are outlawed. She has been trying to talk him off the ceiling but that is where it is right now. I suppose this is the inevitable result of things changing. I believe Australia had a buy back program when it instituted stricter legislation, I wonder if they would do something like that here.

      • I don’t think the legislation is in cement yet so it would depend on how it was written (?).

        If we don’t want assault weapons it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me not to try to get the existing ones out of people’s hands but it may be that it will only apply to new ones.

          • Which means nothing changes in terms of the likelihood of shootings, which provides further ammo for the pro-gun people to say gun control doesn’t work.

            • Not necessarily – a buy back programme would get many guns out of houses that could otherwise be stolen and used in crimes, ones that might be used in an argument or accidentally or it may cause someone who lives with someone who shouldn’t have a gun to turn it in and prevent another incident.

              It worked in Australia…

              • ITA – that is what I am saying. If we want to see any change I think we need to try to get some of the existing ones out of circulation. Without that I tend to doubt much will change.

                • Absolutely. There really has to be a buy back programme if you’re going to start making some kinds of guns illegal – you can’t just turn people who owned them legally yesterday into criminals today.

                  • But, one possibility is that the ban would be on their sale (or possibly just the sale of new ones), and would leave the old ones in place as is. So you wouldn’t be a criminal for owning it, but it could also affect what people who have them could do with them.

                • Probably not a lot would change for people losing their tempers and shooting at stuff, but I think for the mass shootings most of the gun purchases are recent. So maybe we could avoid *some* of them (not Newtown, since those were in the home already).

                  I don’t think the will is there to try to round up existing guns, but rather to move forward with making it harder to get assault weapons and huge caches of ammo, hollow-point bullets, etc. Not perfect but I agree with Rachel — no way we’re going to part people from their guns.

    • New York’s new gun legislation, which I have heard is the strictest in the nation at the moment although I can’t vouch for that nugget, grandfathers in existing weapons and ammo. I think here he wouldn’t have to get rid of them but he wouldn’t really be able to sell them in a private sale unless there was a buyback.

    • Oh, wow. I have to day, I’d be less than supportive of such a measure if I stood to lose that much of an investment. It seems as if it would be smart to factor that issue into any legislation – buy back, grandfathering, something so people can recoup some of that investment.

        • Seriously! I don’t either, with the exception of our new house.

          I would imagine there’s considerable sentimental value to those guns though. Wasn’t Australia’s buy back program giving way more than the face value if the guns, to compensate? Although if something’s been in your family it’s hard to even put a dollar amount on it sometimes.

  8. I was actually in the OC this weekend too with my cute boy from high school. We stayed in Mission Viejo, but spent quite a bit of time during the day in Laguna Beach. We had such a great time. Life is crazy – this is a turn in my life I NEVER imagined, but it is really good. I have to say I am really enjoying my 40s.

  9. Snow day! Our office closes when the public school closes, so I’m home today. I brought home reading over the weekend….but I’m doing laundry and watching tv. I slept poorly last night, so I took a nap for most of the morning. I feel a little lazy and extravagant…but I didn’t set the rules about snow days. And I did sort through M’s clothes for keeping and giving away/reselling.

    • Hey – Lily’s daycare just told me that they need clothing donations because they need to keep an extra wardrobe for when the little kids have accidents and need changes. I’d previously been donating Lily’s outgrown stuff, but now I’m going to take it over to them instead. Maybe that’s a destination for Miss M’s stuff?

  10. Oh boy. DH just had a phone call from the school “feelings teacher” aka social worker to see if there was anything she could do to help while he has his surgery next month. I been talking to my first grader’s teacher but apparently my third grader was sharing so his teacher had her give us a call. I knew it was going affect my third grader more as he is so intelligent and aware of what is happening but I’m not sure what to request for assistance other than for her to check in with the boys while we are away. I made sure that we have triple redundancies for all of our childcare.

    • We did this with William, when we were having our issues with Abbey. His guidance counselor checked in with him every week or so. I think they mainly played a game or two and chatted. We didn’t ask much about they discussed, only if she felt there was anything for us to know. He said he really liked having someone who was not mom or dad to talk to. He was in 2nd and 3rd grade at the time, so about the same age as your boys.

      Also, request meals. Even when I was home, sometimes the thought of making dinner was too much for me and I always appreciated having someone show up with something. (Even if we ate a lot of spaghetti/lasagna casserole things).

      One more thing might be individual playdates for the kids – they might like the break.

      • That’s a good idea. We did get an offer of assistance with meals from the parish next to ours. Don’t ask about mine. They also offered help but nobody was on the ball enough to follow through except for one colleague who happens to know my family outside of church. Anyway, one of the moms from my daughter’s ballet class used to be one of my boys’ OTs when he was in preschool and she set it up through her own parish. We have a nice playdate set up for the older boys and my brother is doing something special with Mary Rose. I might try to work out something more on the weekends but school days aren’t really conducive to playdates.

        • You so need to find a new church. I continue to be floored by the lack of support at yours.

          I mean, my church tends to confuse church doctrine with the republican platform, but we have a whole ministry for providing meals to people in a situation like this.

          And I really shouldn’t be so judgemental.

  11. I’m watching Molly try out her new gymnastics program. I’ve got mixed feelings about this program- it’s a different gym with a stricter protocol and a more competitive team. I’m listening to the coaches say things like “yeah, that’s supposed to hurt” and “we’re going to do nothing but vault this week. Vault and conditioning” and I’m not quite sure that I love this. At the same time, though, they’re also talking to the girls about being a team, supporting EVERYONE on the team, no matter their strengths and weaknesses, learning each other’s names, etc. All good messages, but it’s so much more about competing and winning and so much less about just fun. Then again, the reason she wanted to make the change was because she felt like her old gym was too much fun and not enough work and she has a pretty tight 5 year plan for this gymnastics thing (I know, I know). So, do I choke down my concerns and just keep a close eye on this? Do I make the choice for her and keep her at the old place?

    • Take her lead — if she’s handling the change well (likes the class, meets the increased physical demand with a decent attitude), leave it alone. There’s a reason parents shouldn’t coach their kids, kwym? If she’s stressed out, getting injured, feeling shamed by the coach for not meeting expectations, pull her out.

          • Everything I’ve read says a 1-8 ratio is the best at this level. This is 1-12 (or maybe 10? I can’t count them ’cause they keep moving around). I’m not sure they can coach that many at once. Then again, at the other place she seems to stand around waiting for her turn so it’s probably a wash.

            • I dunno. I have done a fair number of program evaluations, and programs are such a mixed bag to do cross program comparisons on. The thing about a guideline like that is, they probably came to that conclusion based on a comparison of a lot of different programs that have a huge range of subjects and characteristics. It doesn’t necessarily mean that specific program A with a higher ratio is better than specific program B for a particular kid. Program A could be better run in general, or just the way they are doing it could work better for a given child’s needs even if the ratio isn’t ‘optimal.’

              • It’s going to make our Tuesdays and Thursdays insane if she does it- double activities both days, both ending an hour after her normal (albeit early) bedtime. She was crying from exhaustion tonight and I asked her if she wanted to drop something. She’s not loving band and- as much as I hate the idea- she could drop it. She was adamant that that was simply not an option, so I told her that she’d have to learn to suck it up a bit then because this “crying every night and at every less-than-perfect result” thing wasn’t going to fly.

                We shall see.

                • This is a hard age to handle that — we had some post rehearsal meltdowns when Liza was in 4th and 5th grade but by 6th she was handling it and my 7th and 8th it’s a breeze..even though the homework is harder she’s just sort of grown into the schedule…
                  but even so I still give her random nights off… and that actually helps more than dropping an activity all together ..every week we’ll look at the calendar and Ill say ‘ you wanna skip such and such on this day” if it seems overwhelming .. and she often doesn’t but knowing she CAN seems to help alot.

      • I agree with cornflake girl. Be led by what M wants. Also, I think it’s important that kids learn about competition in an age-appropriate way. Life is about teamwork and looking after each other and enjoying life, but it’s also about competition as well. I did dance competitions when I was a teenage (14-18), and I learned a tremendous amount about pushing myself to meet a standard, learning to take criticism, focus, discipline, and, I think most importantly, learning how to take it when you don’t win.

        If M is thriving in this scenario, I would say, let her do it. You and she should be able to suss this out together.

    • That is what we have been doing for a while now for baseball. My 12 yo moved from Little League (rec/noncompetitive) to a travel team a couple years ago, which is much more competitive. I have my issues with it but he loves it and has made some good friends. It’s got plusses and minuses.I think it’s fine if she likes it and wants to do it, but I agree it’s good to keep an eye on the situation (which of course hard not to do anyway).

      • We noticed a lot of links between some activities for M and anxiety. So we talked with her about stopping soccer. She didn’t love it, it really stressed her out, and she’s having enough stuff to deal with that it just wasn’t worth it. But we’ve found other things that are working well – dance, swimming.

        FWIW, I was really surprised by how much M realized it stressed her out more than it was worth. You are already so engaged with your M :) that I bet you’d both realize if it became a bad fit for her.

    • Sounds like a standard competitive gym program to me. My suggestion is to drop her off and leave. Do not listen. Do not get involved. She’ll let you know if she isn’t happy. If she is, stay out of it.

      It’s the only way that I survived LR’s gym stuff. And there’s a certain special feeling that comes when you’re watching your kid compete (out there on that huge blue floor) and realizing that you had NOTHING to do with it. It’s all them and their coach. I cried…

      • Normally I do, but I wanted to observe this since it was a “try it” class at the new place. Her anxiety has actually gotten much better- not that we’re done with it, but she’s getting good at using her tools and recognizing when her thoughts are going to take her to a bad place.

        I think the only reason we’re considering staying with her old gym is loyalty- they’ve been really great with her over the years. It’s a more personalized environment too. I figure we should at least talk with the coach and let him know what M is looking for. He may say “yeah, not our thing” or he may be able to help her step up her game a bit.

  12. My college girl met a boy Sunday night and they had lunch today. She thinks she likes him, but lunch ended a little weird. She’s worried that the beer goggles came off. :) I of course think that’s a non starter cause she gorgeous.

    • I love that your college girl talks to you about meeting a boy. My 14 year old high school freshman talks to me about now – but has not really entered the world of boys yet. I hope when she does she’ll talk to me about it.

      • Do kids even talk on the phone these days? Or is it all texting and stuff?

        Anyway, I’ve seen photographic evidence and ncmom’s dd is adorable. Who in his right mind could resist?

        • Nope, it’s all texting. I find that a very strange way to do the whole “tell me about your entire life and everything you like and don’t like”, but what do I know.

          And thanks. That’s high praise coming from the mom such amazingly cute kids.

          • I guess it’s just a different version of writing letters, right? I mean, the phone is fairly recent in the whole history of human communication. Writing out what you want to say is more traditional.

            Even if it is LOL and <3 and the like.

  13. Had an awful night’s sleep last nigth – combination of me not feeling great, hearing S coughing in the next room, thinking about work, worrying about money – you know, the regular stuff.

    What helped me fall back to sleep?

    I turned on the iPad and came here. Read about K’s house, L’s daughter, M’s gymnastics, Katie’s anxiety and your wonderful comforting comments ……something about the warmth of this community was just what I needed. It was just as if I had sat with a group of GF’s over a cup of (decaf) tea. Turned off the iPad, rolled over, and fell back to sleep with you guys all in my head. :-)

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