5 on a Friday

February 8, 2019

1    Today is the first day in quite some time that G has not been up making noise at 5 am. Her morning habits are the only thing about her that I’d like to change. She is now walking, saying many words, and is just entirely delightful. Just not at 5 am, (which I feel is MY time on the weekdays and sleep-catch-up on weekends!). Her word for Annabel is “Bah-Bi.” She is probably the most independent of the 3 at this age (which makes sense) but also would happily be held for 24 hours/day if that were an option.


2 I very much appreciate your comments on yesterday’s post! Many things to ponder and excellent points made. I do not want to value money over time, but I also don’t want to stick with a given situation forever just because at one point it made the most sense.

I think that to start with, I need to work on changing the call ratio (for 2020; our group does the calendar an entire year at a time, and I don’t want to mess with what is already there) and really take a deep dive into whether I am using my time at home the way I want to.

3 Shows I want to watch, but currently don’t: the last season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sex Education. It seems that there is only room for one show at a time in my life right now. Josh and I watch This is Us together each week, and that’s about it. It’s kind of funny that TV has really come into its own at a time when I seem to be rejecting it in favor of reading & other things. What other amazing shows am I missing out on?

4 Helicopter parenting. Apparently it “works”, or at least leads to higher test scores. That said, it sounds like this sweeping decree was made without any truly rigorous evidence; even they noted that “Dr. Doepke and Dr. Zilibotti can’t prove causality (to do that, you’d have to randomly assign parenting styles to different families).”

I am not sure I like the term “helicopter parent” to begin with — what does that even mean? There is definitely a line between providing support and opportunities for your child and strong-arming them through life (arguing about grades, forcing them to pursue activities that they aren’t into, etc). That said, as A&C get older, I find myself becoming more anxious about whether we are doing things ‘right’. The families I know that send their children to private school seem convinced that this is worth it; same with those who enroll their kids into sports teams requiring a whole bunch of travel & family commitment.

Right now, we are doing neither of these things. The kids are only in one activity right now: piano. I do make them practice for about 10 minutes/day (well, 5 for Cameron, he only knows “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Are You Sleeping”). I would happily put them in more things, but A is taking her time adjusting to the different schoolwork and I just sense that their lives are full enough already with all the changes this year. In the fall, I will likely add one thing for each kid.

I am the first to argue with the idea that parenting is ‘harder’ once your kids are older. NOTHING is physically harder than the 100% presence during waking hours that you need for infants and toddlers! But I will admit it gets more uncertain and complex. (Okay, that was quite a digression on this list!)

5 Black pants update! I HAVE all of the black pants. I know which ones need to go back, for the most part. I just need to take pix and report my findings, since I know there was at least some interest. Major takeaways for me: a) sizing is inconsistent even when you are careful about reading size charts, and b) ordering a whole bunch of the same thing from different companies is a nice way to comparison shop from home (after all, I can return them all to the post office with one trip!). I may try this with bathing suits next (our much-awaited Disney cruise is coming up in 1.5 months!).


  • Reply Cbrown March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    The early wake-ups are brutal. We’ve seemed to settle at a 6am wake-up which works well for 8am nursery dropoffs during the week but are a bit soul-destroying on the weekend. I finally fully weaned a week ago and he’s slept through ever since. Guess he figures if there is no chance of the good stuff, there is no point in getting up.

    I think the more low key approach to parenting is key. I grew up in a US suburb and now live in the UK and have definitely found that parenting is more low key, particularly when it comes to sports. There aren’t travelling teams and coaches and things like that, kids play football (soccer) at school. Often there are school activities and supplementary stuff on Saturday but I know very few people who have packed schedules like friends do in the US. We do either a music class or toddler tumbling on Saturday and then follow it up with brunch. We might do a language immersion school but mostly because our neighbourhood school is pretty crummy.

  • Reply Sydney Brown March 10, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Dylan does: 1) swimming (after school 2 days per week and one day on the weekends), 2) piano (practice during lunch one day a week at school, 5 min practice per day), 3) origami club (1 day per week after school, she asked to do this specifically), 4) horseback riding (one time per week if we can swing it). The only activity I am not sold on is swimming because she is SO exhausted afterwards, many of the parents are psychotically hyper competitive and have lost all perspective, I HAAAAAAATE going to meets, and she only seems to like it a little and complains about it all the time (“It’s too hard.”). That said, I think it’s important for her to see that working hard at something can make you better at it. We may let her stop next year. She really seems to like piano, which was a bit of a surprise to me. Even more surprising — she likes practicing with ME which…. WHAAAA???? Totally unexpected and heartwarming. Hopefully I’ll have more time to do that with her next year. She LOVES horse. Wants to do it all the time, but… no. We cannot do that for her. I feel bad.

  • Reply Elena March 10, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Ooh we’ve been debating a cruise vs. a Disney Cruise vs. no cruise for our family. Would love to know how/why you chose to go on a Disney one? (as a background we live in the Midwest but have taken the kids 7&4 to Disney World quite a few times and recently took them to Disney Land and had a blast– I do not drink the Disney Kool Aid but enjoy the convenience of Monorail Hotels and how everything is designed with kids in mind).

  • Reply Marci March 10, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    My husband and I were both not athletic children, but we find it important to expose our kids to a variety of sports and let them pursue ones they like. It seems to make sense that you become better over time, so why not start young? I also don’t want my kids to be the ones who join a baseball/basketball/etc team when they are in middle elementary school having never played it before. PS I really like Summersalt bathing suits last year and hope they add more styles this year!

  • Reply Gillian March 10, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    I thought that the headline on the parenting piece was click-bait-y and inaccurate. If you actually read the study looked at authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting styles. Authoritative parenting was associated with improved test scores, but it is no really helicopter parenting. In fact there is an emphasis on independence in authoritative parenting which I think of as the opposite of helicopter parenting. There is also an association between parental education and using an authoritative parenting style…take it all with a grain of salt!

  • Reply Alison March 10, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Re the “helicopter parenting,” I think people will generally always say the things (private school, traveling sports) that they put so much time, money, energy into are “worth it.” Not that they are not worth it, but they obviously made that choice for their kids and themselves to put their resources into those things, so I think it would be rare to hear someone say it isn’t worth it. It doesn’t mean that it’s worth it or right for every family. You know your kids and their limits and are doing great!

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