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Cross-posted at MotherTalkers.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed at MotherTalkers:

Do you eat dinner as a family? Multiple studies have pointed out health advantages eating together rather than grazing in front of the TV solo. But we discussed the challenges of herding the family during mealtimes and offered tips on how to make it easier.

We had yet another discussion on how much influence parents should have over their small children's birthday party invitation lists.

Here is a personal and moving account of what it is like to be adopted and place your own child for adoption. Our "Frog Wife" garnered quite the response.

We had a monstrous discussion on progressive and family-friendly places to live in the United States. I am an east coast transplant who now lives in Berkeley, California. This is what I had to say about it in the thread: "We have been living in Berkeley, CA, for the last 10 years and can't imagine being anywhere else. It is, for the most part, sunny, green with all the amenities of city life plus open space in the hills. It is progressive and family friendly in that there are many things for us to do like go to the zoo, children's museums, preschool-type programs and other activities. However, it is expensive and that is a big downside to it and what made us consider Portland (Oregon). It is also a tad crowded. I am surprised by the number of cars here despite having, for the most part, reliable public transportation." Where do you live? Do you like it?

Here is a hot topic we discussed: Would you buy your teenaged daughter a vibrator? Apparently, Oprah Winfrey and show sex expert Dr. Laura Berman endorsed the idea. I read a re-cap of the show -- and ensuing discussion -- at the AOL blog ParentDish. Discuss away!

I will be out of town next week and will not post this diary a week from today. I will resume "Saturday Morning Parenting Diary" on Saturday, May 9. "See" you then!

What's up with you?

Originally posted to Elisa on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 07:58 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  after this week (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PerfectStormer, Fabian, boofdah

    i am so sure

    parenting is not for those without courage and strength.

    although the courage and strength seem to be able to be summoned at the point of need.

    daughter is turning 6 next friday.  son is starting to look like an 8yo, for his birthday in july.

    we are busy choosing schools for next year.  

    "Gloom we always have with us . . . but joy requires tending." Barbara Holland

    by jlms qkw on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:05:14 AM PDT

    •  YES... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, boofdah, jlms qkw

      I hear you. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I have a two-year-old who is a handful. I can't help but eagerly wait for her to be a little older. Yes, I do realize when she is a handful teenager I am going to wish this time back. But for now, I am exhausted chasing after her and having no time for myself except for 5 a.m. when I wake up. There I said it! :)

      I hope all is well with you and good luck with the school search. Also, Happy birthday to your DD!

      •  it's our son that has more issues (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, boofdah

        adhd, profoundly gifted, and social/emotionally delayed.

        hang in there - pretty soon maybe she will be able to entertain herself for a few minutes here and there without creating disasters.  

        "Gloom we always have with us . . . but joy requires tending." Barbara Holland

        by jlms qkw on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 09:12:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am looking forward to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, Fabian, boofdah

    having more and better public transportation in California with the advent of the High Speed Rail project. It is so nice to be able to travel by train with my daughter, with a snack car and bathroom available on demand. Plus, instead of it being dead time with me driving and her sitting like a vegetable in the back, we can play games together or enjoy the scenery or all kinds of things. I think this will end up being a hugely family friendly project in the end - for one thing, it would be far easier to arrange visits with Grandma.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:11:23 AM PDT

  •  We Had Our First Sliver (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, boofdah

    The other night, bottom of foot on 6 yo daughter. Freaking nightmare. Couldn't get it out, kept breaking off w/ tweezers...did glue, soak in tub....everything I could come up with. I gave up and at 3 AM woke up worrying so tried a sneak attack with some tape but she flipped on me.

    Ended up at the doctor feeling like a fool but I could NOT get it!

    An aside, she says they ran 10 laps/one mile in PE yesterday and her "heart hurt really bad". Thats normal, yes? Just regular exertion related? I'm a nervous Mom....

    "I *am* big. It's the pictures that got small."~ Norma D.

    by vintage dem on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:12:55 AM PDT

    •  Slivers - put an ice cube on the sliver (0+ / 0-)

      and it will 'freeze' the sliver site and won't hurt so much.  

    •  We call those "splinters" in England. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just thought you'd like to know this foreigner was a tad confused what a "First Sliver" was, for a moment.  :D

      As for the "heart hurting after exercise," the chances of that being anything more than a side stitch are infinitesimally small.  "Stitch" is actually pain in the diaphragm, not the heart, but since the pain of stitch is felt under the ribs, a 6-year-old would be unlikely to pinpoint the difference.

    •  You might not like my method.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Slap a bandage over the splinter.  Unless the splinter is so deep that the wound is bleeding, leave it be.

      If the inflammation goes down in a day, try again.

      If not, leave the splinter in place.  If the site becomes a touch inflamed and infected, the splinter may simply squeeze out, lubricated by the fluid.  (not for the squeamish)

      If that doesn't happen, the splinter may become painlessly embedded in the skin and grow out in a couple weeks.

      Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

      by Fabian on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:22:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Guys (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I should have mentioned I tried ice, but maybe didn't do it for long enough! I honestly would have left it a while to work its way out but it was on the ball of her foot and she (drama queen) couldn't walk. It was a pretty big one! Loquatrix, we use the terms interchangeably here...didn't realize some people didn't use "sliver" at all!

        Thanks all!

        "I *am* big. It's the pictures that got small."~ Norma D.

        by vintage dem on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:28:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Need to use a cleaned sewing needle (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, boofdah, JFinNe, Super Grover

      (dip in alcohol to sterilize it) and very slowly lift the skin around the splinter... very lightly multiple times... slowly lift small pieces of skin around the splinter. This is NOT a dig and poke kind of job.

      This lets you get to a bigger piece of the splinter and it comes right out.

      Make sure to cleanse the area when you finish and put an antibiotic on it.

      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

      by bronte17 on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's how my father did it and he was a surgeon (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17, Fabian, boofdah

        so it's the medically approved method!  :D

        Don't aim for the splinter itself with your needle -- you will never get purchase on it, and will probably only push it deeper.

        Instead, very gently and minutely, as if you are going for a single skin cell at a time, pick away the surface cells surrounding the head of the splinter until enough of the splinter is exposed for you to grab it with tweezers.  

        Kidlet will not feel a thing and will be calmed by the Zen approach.  :)

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you have any Orajel in the house, or teething gel of any kind, use it liberally to numb the site for a bit longer than ice will. Dab it on, wait a minute or two, then wipe the area before you work the sliver out painlessly.

    •  Wow, a mile at 6? (0+ / 0-)

      That's kind of a long way.

      You know, I wouldn't be freaked out, but I might ask the doc next time. To be tired, yes, but my sense has always been that lungs/breathing should hurt first.

      I have some super pointy sharp tweezers from a beauty supply place that are very good at splinters. If the tweezers can't get them, I'm another person who tends to let splinters be when possible, though a bottom of foot would be hard to ignore.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 01:54:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vibrators - funny story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, algebrateacher, licorice114

    My dad loved gadgets and as the owner of a drug store, there were always gadgets to bring home.  My mom had mild arthritis, mostly in her neck, so my dad started bringing oblong shaped vibrators home for her to use on her spine and head.  Not unexpectedly, they didn't ease her discomfort, but hurt - sort of a bone on bone thing I guess...

    Although I was then a teenager, nobody in the family, including me, could figure out exactly what the function of a vibrator was.  Ah, for the days of innocence.

    And, no, I wouldn't buy my daughter a vibrator but if she wanted on, she could buy it herself with her own money.

  •  Swine flu, anyone? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Super Grover

    The almost six year old is down with a fever now.

    Nothing like circumstance to make me worry!  At the same time, I'm hoping he'll be well enough to send to school on Monday.  They'll boot him even faster than usual if he doesn't act like his usual self.  

    Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

    by Fabian on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:16:39 AM PDT

    •  Ugh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I hope he feels better, Fabian. Poor guy.

    •  Yikes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yeah, I'd be flipping arse too. Hope he feels better soon!

      "I *am* big. It's the pictures that got small."~ Norma D.

      by vintage dem on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:30:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope he feels better too. (0+ / 0-)

        Both kids had the Evil Virus in March.  Fever, serious lethargy, a little vomiting followed by a little diarrhea - and both kids missed a solid week of school.  This was a typical experience for children.  Fewer adults were ill, so it was probably a variant of something we've been exposed to.

        Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

        by Fabian on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:35:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Our school district policy for pre-schoolers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, boofdah

      Don't know about kindergartners (though my twins are in kinder now) was the child can't come back until three days after a fever. I hated the policy at the time, but it makes sense, I guess. Doesn't deal with the days leading up to the fever, though.

      Parents sometimes feel they have no choice but to take a sick kid to school. My kids' two years in pre-school were very vermin-infested. We were constantly sick.

    •  Things no one tells you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CJB, jennifree2bme, boofdah

      My one son had a fever when he was three.  The effect was like having a piano dropped on him.  He was hot and out of it.  Every time he woke up, even a little, even for a minute, I supported him in a sitting position and gave him something to drink with a cup and a straw.

      Fortunately, he drank every time.  This went on for hours.  Sleep, wake, whine, drink. Rinse. Repeat.

      Then he wet the bed.

      Oops.  Then I learned the value of sitting tired, sleepy or sick kids on the toilet, even if I had to carry them there, and hold them upright.

      In the same vein...

      Last year, my son earned an ambulance ride by being hauled out of the local pool unconscious.  He ended up in a trauma room, which is full of bright lights and gadgets and people.  The staff did the things they needed to do and once we got most of that out of the way, I asked him if he needed to pee.  (Kid+pool=>swallowed lots of water)  "Yes."  Well, he had to stay right on the gurney since we still needed chest X-rays to check his lungs.  So almost all the medical staff who had seen probably every conceivable part of the human body, politely vanished while he did his business.  There's something touching, but still ironic about that gesture.

      Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

      by Fabian on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 09:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  re: location: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, boofdah

    moving out of brooklyn to Jersey suburbs in a month, for all the predictable & common reasons (the galaxy of white picket fence reasons).

    Has anyone made that move and would do it differently?

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

  •  Oh, what interesting topics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On places to raise kids: I found Berkeley difficult when my kids were small when we were broke. (I think it's probably easier if you have money to afford a lot of the local programs.) I really wish there were more parks scattered throughout the residential; I lived on the north side of the campus for the most part when the kids were kids, and the closest part was steeply uphill about three-quarters of a mile away. With no car, a toddler and an infant (and an exhausted mother), I rarely made it there, and yet living in apartments gave us no outside space for the kids to play otherwise. Frustrating. And from what I see, the park situation hasn't improved much.

    On sit-down dinners: Yes. Yes. Yes. Always had them, without fail. I think the key to pulling this off successfully is TV avoidance. TV has always been minimal in my household -- Sesame Street, Mister Rogers for the toddlers in the morning; maybe an hour after homework done and before bed for the older kids (usually unused unless the Simpsons was on). To this day, my kids aren't big TV fans (ironically, I caught shit from them last year when I'd watched American Idol at your place, Elisa ... lol). But back to sit-down meals: we had a set time. No TV on before, so nothing to pull them away. It was always just established habit (although often without the head of household if work called him away).

    And good Lord, no, on the vibrator. They can buy their own sex toys.

    •  American idol.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Hee, hee! Well, now you understand why it was hard for me to establish the dinnertime routine at home. For years, Markos and I ate in front of the TV and then we changed course when the kids were born. Yeah, it's definitely a hard routine to establish for a household of TV junkies.

      •  I think if you want to try sit-down meals ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, boofdah

        You may have to do it like I did, without the man of the family a lot of the time. It still works.

        •  Oh yeah... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, boofdah

          When hubby isn't around, the kids and I eat together on our own. But it took a lot of nagging on my part to get him involved as well. Otherwise, he would have been on the computer while the kids and I ate alone!

          •  LOL, I wonder why I am not surprised. :D :D :D (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fabian, boofdah

            But if I had his ear, I'd tell him -- just as a woman to a Dad -- how his daughter will one day say to herself, "Wow, I didn't appreciate it at all at the time, but how lucky I was to have dinner with both my parents almost every day of my life from birth until I went away to college."

            I'm really grateful my parents both wanted to (or made the effort to) spend that time with us every day.  :)

    •  SF is difficult for the same reason..expensive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, boofdah

      and our nearest park is just exactly too far to walk up hill.

      I was raised with sit down dinners and enjoy them with my kids. My kinders set the table. It's hard with one kid picky and allergic to a lot of stuff, but I like the time together. It calms the evening down.

      The only problem is that sit down dinners seem to happen later in the evening...sometimes 8:00.

      •  Yeah, SF probably worse (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksh01, boofdah

        More expensive, more hilly.

        I really think small parks, even just the size of one house lot, every two or three blocks would be a wonderful thing for dense, expensive cities to have. Just a swingset and a slide and enough grass for the kids to run and roll around on safely. As much as I love Tilden Park and Golden Gate Park, as the mother of small ones, I gladly would have traded them for smaller, more numerous scattered ones throughout the city.

        •  yeah, look at this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Here are overhead and street level shots of such a place, but my supervisor whines that he got money for a superplayground a half mile away and can't afford to turn this plot into a little park. If they took up that bit of street and put a little play structure, I think it's large enough for use.



          He just cuts me off with his best "you're an idiot" tone of voice.

        •  We have them... (0+ / 0-)

          actually, berkeley has a lot of great (small) parks. But the ones "near" us is still quite a walk -- at least 3 or 4 blocks. Nonetheless, I do take the kids.

    •  A gift certificate? (0+ / 0-)

      And a catalog for the sex toys?

      It would be an education!  

      Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

      by Fabian on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:51:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've been thinking lately (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, boofdah

    about the double standard concerning masturbation.  I would definitely buy my daughter a vibrator or dildo, and encourage her to experiment with them.  I think it's important that women learn how to enjoy their bodies without shame.

    "Intelligent minds believe only in lost causes, realizing that all others are merely effects." -e.e. cummings

    by Super Grover on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 08:33:46 AM PDT

  •  Progressive, no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, boofdah

    ... in my little red pocket of Maryland, but still kid-friendly in the availability of things to do. That's been the case for me anyway since I"ve always been able to drive them places. Given that there's no public transportation to speak of, it would have been a different answer had I not had a car.

    On buying my daughter's vibrators? No.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Omg I totally missed the Tuesday Morning conversation. Wow. Well, I have boys. I have no idea what they do and I don't want to know. That said, I will stand by my promise. If they ever meet a girl (seriously they don't see any on a regular basis) there will be an uncounted, bottomless supply of condoms in the boys' bathroom.

    Is anyone else at all concerned about the swine flu? I'm half tempted to stock up on canned ravioli, fruit cups, toilet paper and laundry soap. Y2K never happened, SARS didn't make it as far as here, and the avian flu hasn't hit yet. I figure we can only be lucky so long. And really, this is not just an excuse to buy rain barrels for the garden a year earlier than we planned. I have little people to care for, I have an immune-compromised dad... I feel foolish about being a step away from fight or flight mode, but that doesn't make me any less anxious.

  •  Here in Queens, not 10 minutes away from the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    school where maybe 75 kids have some sort of something, I'm a bit edgy about the swine flu thing. I have a 16 yr old hs junior who's away this weekend at a state-wide debate championship ---- with lots of other kids from Queens.....I'd like to think this is a lot of hype, but I'll be a little hyper-vigilant until I know what's doing.

    "I'll have a hamburger and a flashlight."

    by beegee kochav on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 10:43:30 AM PDT

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