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2006-07-31 11:56 AM
- After several days of being taunted, even Patient Gentleman Cat got fed up and took a swipe at the divine miss m. She has a scratch above her ear. It’s been healing wicked fast though. Between that and her nails, which sorely need clipping, R has taken to calling her Wolverine.
- [UPDATED TO ADD] The divine miss m can shriek at 112 decibels without breaking a sweat. We weren't able to measure the full-on screech because the decibel meter was too disctracting for her. According to this site, less than a minute at that level can potentially damage hearing. Luckily she doesn't go that long because normally we're responsive to her rather than futzing around with foolishness like a decibel meter.
- We Netflixed Walk the Line this weekend. Really good movie. I thought the performances were top-notch. I’ll admit it, I love Reese Witherspoon, perkiness and all. She really inhabited the role. And I can now watch Joaquin Phoenix without my mind going immediately to Keanu Reeves saying, “That’s just what little dudes do.”
- Mamala came over yesterday for our regular weekly visit. She brought along a huge bag of old pens and pencils she’s getting rid of (part of the Great Purge of 2006 perhaps?), and she gave C a handheld die-punch machine that cuts little hearts out of paper. So little hearts have been appearing around the house. This reminds me of my first Valentine’s Day with R back in 1992. He somehow got ahold of a gardening catalog, cut out dozens of pictures of roses, glued them on small cards so they’d be sturdy, and scattered them all over my dorm room while I was out somewhere. I was finding flowers for quite some time afterwards!
- The Washington Post magazine had an article yesterday about “Toxic Parents”, which begins thusly:
True or False:
·Kids are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do it at home, under adult supervision
·Restricting teenagers makes no sense when they'll be on their own in college soon enough
·You'd rather be your child's friend than an authority figure
If you answered 'true' to any of the above, you are not alone. But that doesn't mean you're right
The author of the article goes on a ride-along with the police unit charged with breaking up underage parties:
Another father arrives [the party has been broken up, the parents have been called, the officers are writing citations] and immediately asks to speak to the sergeant: "Don't you guys have any real crime to take care of?" When the father gets barely more than a grunt in response, he steps over to another officer and, in a quieter voice, asks, "Didn't you drink when you were this age?"
The dads get out of the house as fast as they can, eyeing one another with a lethal blend of suspicion and blame.
A mother walks in, takes in the scene and gasps. Her daughter sidles up to her: "I'm sorry. I didn't know this was going to freak you out or anything," she says by way of comforting her parent. The mother visibly relaxes.
"It's okay," she tells her child, "these police are just harassing kids." She raises her voice so the officers can hear. "They're just trying to spoil your fun."
All right, granted, my kids are a whole decade away from being teenagers, and I should walk a mile in these parents’ shoes, and I do think our puritanical issues with alcohol create some pathologies of their own, but, Gah!!!!!!!!
“I always said I’d never be one of those parents that goes out and gets their kid a car when they turn 16.” Debbie Sausville laughs, shakes her head, gives me a sheepish smile. “You know what?” When her daughter, Shannon, turned 16, “I bought her a car. You know why? Because I was sick to death of going out at 11 to go get her.”
In fairness, I’m already sort of dreading the Carpool Years—the complicated calculus of figuring out who needs to be where and when. But read on!
Shannon is 21 now, but when she was 16, she would go out drinking with friends, and her mother knew it. “I know on a few occasions, she drank and drove. I was on the couch one night when she came home, and when I said, ‘Come give me a kiss good night,’ she was shying away from me, and I knew she had been drinking. And she said, ‘Yeah, but not for a while.’”
Sausville knew her daughter had friends whose parents sat and drank with them, and friends whose parents let them have drinking parties at their house as long as everyone stayed over and no one drove. Not in Sausville’s house in Clifton: No way. She tried to set limits -- curfews, consequences for violations of the house rules. She prided herself on saying no. But sometimes yes just made life so much smoother.
“Sometimes, it’s easier to let them do it,” Sausville says. “You're sick of arguing about it. You say, 'Oh, all right.' It's easier to just give them the car or let them go to the party than to have them hate you.”
- And going from one boggling situation to the mother of all boggles—what can I say about the situation in the Middle East… it’s appalling, despairing, hopelessly maddening. Most weeks I do the “prayers of the people” in worship and I’m running out of genteel ways to say, “Help! This is a mess and people are dying. Is there something we can do? If so, help us figure out what it is. If not, get your almighty butt in there and do something.” Or something like that.
By the way, I’m pretty sure “almighty butt” is somewhere in the lament psalms.
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