Thursday Open Thread

Apropos of my last post (when I left my daughter home alone and traumatized her for life because she thought I was maybe dead), I found this chart really interesting, because it lists how old kids have to be before you can legally leave them home alone. It varies widely by state, and in my state of California, there is no legal age requirement. Other states range from as low as 6 years old (Kansas) to 14 years old (Illinois). Fourteen? Really? What do you think?

And on the eve of Halloween, before we descend into official holiday madness, I am thinking of the little traditions we have established. Our big Halloween tradition is visiting the same pumpkin patch every year, and taking the same picture:


What are your favorite traditions? Any not-so favorites?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Tuesday Open Thread

Time to unpack my bags in the wake of an epic guilt trip!

Let me set the scene: DD9 wakes up yesterday complaining that she “feels hot.” We take her temp and sure enough, she is running a fever (100.3). She says she feels fine otherwise but we can’t in good conscience send her to school with a fever.

When it’s time to take DS to preschool I offer to let her stay home alone for the 20 minutes it will take me to get him there and back (she hasn’t really been alone before). She happily agrees and it goes fine: she was instructed not to open the door for anyone, to answer the phone only for me or her father, and spent the time watching Spongebob in our bed.

After DH comes home from his bike ride, I hand off and say I’m heading to the gym. After the gym I decide to hit Trader Joe’s for groceries and it’s a madhouse, crazy crowds and long lines. I realize I won’t be on time to pick DS up at preschool, so I text DH and ask him to go get the boy. Leave DD home, I say, as I’ll be home soon enough.

This is where everything went off the rails: DH apparently told DD I would be home “any minute.” I was held up because of said crowds and lines, then dropped my phone in the parking lot while loading the groceries into my car. My phone DIED. No screen, no power, NOTHING when I plugged it into the car charger. I head home, only to have DD come bursting through the door as soon as the garage opened.

“Where were you?” she asked through tears. “I was scared, I thought something happened to you.” She was trembling and weepy and I hugged her and apologized, telling her I didn’t mean to scare her. DH comes home, works his ninja magic on my phone (I always forget to hit the power and home button AT THE SAME DAMN TIME) and it turns back on. I see a missed call and a voice mail, and hit play.

ZOMG it was DD hyperventilating and crying, “Mami, where are you? You’re not here and I NEED YOU! COME HOME!” Seriously the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard. My jaw was on the ground.

So yes, my phone died at the exact moment of my daughter’s existential panic and made it impossible for her to reach me. You can’t make this shit up.

Moral of the story: I need a new fucking phone. Oh, and maybe DD isn’t quite ready to be home alone yet. Sigh.

Have you had any parenting fails lately? How about sweet parenting victories? Do tell!

And by all means, share whatever’s on your mind today…


Weekend Open Thread

Good news: High heels are dead!

It seems that flat shoes with roomy footbeds are all the rage.

Running shoes, Birkenstocks, Teva-type hiking sandals and Adidas-style slides were among the low shoes with a high profile during the recent spring fashion shows on the runway—and in the audience. Wide, flat footbeds, toe room, cushiony soles. Slaves to fashion have never been so comfortable.

I won’t wear Birkenstocks, Tevas or Adidas slides, but I am loyal to ballet flats, and rock flip flops year-round. A platform sandal is as close as I’ll get to voluntarily wearing heels. I did wear a beautiful pair of heels to a wedding a few weeks ago and my calves were sore for FOUR DAYS. Oy.

I am also loving tall, flat riding boots for fall. I found a similar pair at Target for less than $40, paired them with skinny jeans and a loose sweater and VOILA! Instant style and comfort. I spend about 80 percent of my days in semi-sweaty workout clothes, so I am trying to make more of an effort to look halfway decent (on the weekends, at least). What are your go-to clothing and shoe styles? Which trends do you wish would make a comeback? I miss chunky Mary Jane shoes. Sigh.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!



Thursday Open Thread

Every year they show up at my door, usually a little later than all the little kids: overgrown trick-or-treaters. Sometimes they don’t even bother to wear a costume. And I’m left feeling like I’ve just been shaken down for candy by a bunch of high schoolers.

But this column about teenagers that are “too old” to be asking for candy made me see them in a whole new light.

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go–nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

I think I will be much more welcoming this year. What say you? At what point do you say, “No candy for you, Sparky!” Or are you happy to give goodies to all comers?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Thursday Open Thread

How much weight did you gain while pregnant?

Because people seem to have strong opinions on the topic. While some (including feminist author Germaine Greer) have criticized Princess Kate for gaining too little weight while pregnant, this unhinged woman wrote a column for The Daily Mail condemning undisciplined lard-asses for using pregnancy as nothing more than an excuse to pig out. But while she judged all the fatties, she claims the fatties were judging her just as harshly– because they were mad jealous, natch!

‘When are you due?’ a woman asked me. ‘Four weeks,’ I replied proudly. Her eyes dropped immediately to my compact bump, and I could see her mental processes working overtime.

Her initial incredulity rapidly morphed into anger at me and pity for my unborn child. ‘Anorexic,’ I could tell she was thinking. ‘Obsessive. Narcissistic. Putting her own vanity before the health of her baby.’

In a word, she was seized by jealousy – the green-eyed monster that seems to turn the most sensible and intelligent of women into bile-spitting harpies when faced with something they wish they had.

That is . . . a whole heck of a lot of projection, right there! Like, Olympic-level mind-reading! Wow.

I exercised right up until my daughter was born, and still gained 35 pounds. When pregnant with my son after a miscarriage, I was too nervous to exercise, and ended up gaining 40 pounds. Some would say that I gained too much weight, but I wasn’t really fussed. My babies were healthy, my pregnancies were smooth (joyous, even!) and my deliveries were uncomplicated. Weight gain was the last thing on my mind. And I will admit to enjoying a lot of Nutella while gestating. :-)

I have always marveled at the pregnant women who stay skinny, acquiring the perfectly round belly and nothing else. I carried my babies ALL OVER, if you know what I mean. But I also never experienced any morning sickness or significant swelling.

In short, it’s different for every woman, and it never occurred to me to judge anyone for gaining too much weight or staying too skinny while pregnant. It’s sad to think that for some, the Mommy Wars start while their babies are still in utero.

What do you think? What else is on your mind today? Chat away!


Thursday Open Thread

From the “My Kid’s Life Is So Different Than Mine Was” files:

photo (42)

DD9 went to Cotillion last night. I had never heard of Cotillion before last year, when local friends started posting pictures on their facebook feeds of their kids all dressed up, awkwardly dancing the cha cha with other kids. Cotillion is basically an opportunity for young children to learn and reinforce proper manners, practice social graces and conversation, and even dance together.


When DD heard her friends start talking about it, she was all ears. Once she figured out it involved dressing up and dancing and drinking punch and wearing white gloves?! She was all in.

It was so fun to watch her out there, to see these sweet little boys offering girls their arms, cutting in to dance, giving them napkins and handing them their punch. They chatted amiably and had a great time together. There will be a holiday party and a costume party and a formal dinner. Frivolous, yes, but oh so fun. I want my kids to experience as much as they can, including how to dance a waltz with a boy who’s a full head shorter than you. :)

Which new experiences have your kids enjoyed lately? Are there some things they do that you wish you could have done when you were a child?

What else is on your mind today? Chat away!