The weather is getting warmer, the days are longer, and you can finally get out of the house. What a great time to get a bunch of kids together for a playdate. Maybe you're really brave and are willing to take your kids and a few others down to the park, or maybe someone just came over to play in your yard. You're excited to finally have the kids be doing something outside of the house. All is going well until the kids start acting up a bit. Maybe you've got some five year-olds who won't stop with the potty talk, maybe it's nine year-olds who think it's cool to spit everywhere and you're grossed out. Maybe the kids keep running around the house and you're getting worried they are getting too close to the street. Either way you suddenly have a dilemma: You know how to discipline your own kids, but what do you do if it's your child's friend who is causing the problem? Here are my three simple rules for keeping the kids in line and your sanity in one piece.
How do you determine how much you pay your babysitter? Do you have an hourly price or a set fee for the evening?
What is the cost we pay for kids sports vs. parental income these days? Would our parents have ever spent so much money for us to be involved in activities 30 years ago? I just signed Jack, Michael and Tommy up for another session of Ice Hockey. Jack has moved to an in-house league, so he'll finally be playing in games. Tommy and Michael have passed out of "learn to skate" classes and now are in Pre-Hockey 1. That means they are finally wearing all of the equipment. Now I grew up playing hockey (and still play now - badly - in my old age) so I know how expensive the sport is. Outfitting a five year old in all new equipment can easily cost more than $300. And the fees are like no other sport. Besides the equipment cost the price for our boys to participate over the next two and half months is just shy of a $1000. And folks, that is for what would be conisdered minimal participation. We are in on the low end of the price spectrum.
How do you argue with a mom whose child has autism? You can't win that debate, especially if you have not walked in her shoes. Colleen and I are lucky enough to have four children who have never had any serious medical issues. Jenny McCarthy has a son who was diagnosed as autistic, and like any parent, was hell bent on doing whatever she could for him. She has been a guiding light for so many parents with autistic children and given hope to many people who may have been beyond despair. Her Generation Rescue group opened the Teach2Talk Academy in California, and early-intervention program.
For how many years now have you been led to believe that the only thing men must do before they start having kids is wear boxers instead of briefs? It was just six years ago now that Colleen and I were trying to conceive for our final time and were having difficulties. After a few years of early miscarriages after having successfully had our first son Jack, we decided to see a fertility specialist. I had to make a donation and get my boys checked out, and while my reports came back fine, there never was any discussion about things I should be doing to make those boys swim any better.
What is happening to the male population of our world? Maybe I've just reached the age (nearly 40) where people of my gender start falling apart. Yet another story of a friend of a friend, whose husband decided (after more than a decade of marriage and a couple of kids) that he wants out.
I was very confused the other day when I heard my little daughter, my sweet little daughter (HA!) Anna talking to her brothers in the basement. I hear her trying to tell them something and after a moment of pause she says, "Are you talking to me? I don't see anyone else here, you must be talking to me." It was an odd moment for me. She is five years old and quoting one of the last movies you would want a five year old to see. I was stunned and amused. I knew there was no way she had seen any scenes from Taxi Driver, but it was still rather odd. I actually convinced myself that it must have been completely random, that these words just happened to pop into her head without any outside influence. Like the way you used to hear that if you put a million monkeys in a room with typewriters for a hundred years (or something like that) one of them would end up typing Shakespeare (or something like that).
You really know fall is here when the trashy TV shows you love to watch come back for another season. So as Colleen and I said goodbye to TrueBlood (awesome) and Entourage (man that show stinks now) we were happy to be reunited with a show that has been with us ever since we started dating - 90210. Of course it was called Beverly Hills, 90210 when we started dating and it actually is in some ways what brought us together. A friend of mine at college was also friends with my wife and her roommates and they would all get together to watch BH90210. So I started watching with them and 18 years later... (9-02-10 day earlier this fall was actually the 18th anniversary of our first date).
Jackets are going back on, leaves are falling from trees, your favorite baseball team might finally have realized they won't be playing in the playoffs (ours figured that out back in May!) The kids are back in school and it's dark by the time they are getting to bed. As much as I love throwing on jeans and a long-sleeve shirt and actually feeling comfortable, you can't help but feel a little sad too when this time of year rolls around. Believe me, we are thrilled to have the kids back in school, but we know what's coming next. Here in the Chicago area we can feel the chill that is leading to the deep freeze of Dec-February and of course that is generally followed by a less than stellar March and a praying for a 70 degree day April. The funny thing is I really do love this time of year, but as I get older I tend to live a little less in the moment weather-wise and a little more in the, 'I can't believe it's already going to be winter' mindset. Isn't it funny how when we were kids we neveer cared about the weather and now it's such a discussion in our lives?
The very cool Maureen Lipinski dropped by the show recently to chat with us about her latest, Not Ready for Mom Jeans. Maureen went from hip city girl to married suburban girl in not time flat - in fact, way faster than she expected to. Her second novel covers that ground, but we chatted about all of the things us parents go through as we make that big leap from young and free to feeling old and tied down. Her charm and quick wit make for easy conversation and a great read. You can see the video on the main page, as well as check out the full conversation in audio form in the audio archives. The question is - have you fallen into the "mom jeans" trap yet?