by Rocky Mountain Stepmom
When my mom died, I had all 2,000 snapshots in her photo albums digitized, so that my sister and I could each have a copy.
As I look through them (and tinker with them in Picasa) I am constantly reminded of how much I LOVED some of my clothes. I had dresses, coats, parkas, hats, etc., that I just adored. They made me really happy. They were SO PRETTY. I liked anything shiny, satiny, silky, floral, multi-colored, or gilded. A regular magpie.
But I am writing this post to remind you: if your kid LOVES that tutu, or that Spiderman outfit, indulge! I had a satin brocade kimono that I wore every morning. Where’s the harm? So pretty and soft! So maybe they can’t wear the Batman outfit to school. Maybe, as was the case for me, the real Totebag moms dressed their kids in simple cotton dresses (that cost a freakin’ fortune at I. Magnin), but my mom let me wear the swirly chiffon dress with the big skirt and the petticoats. Even though it was trashy. Ish. Even though all the moms who handed out celery on Halloween raised their eyebrows.
Clothes can mean a lot to a kid. If your kid loves an outfit that you hate…maybe try to live with it til they grow out of it? You’d be surprised (if you don’t have a super-long memory, as I do) how much the aesthetics of clothing can matter to a kid.
Totebaggers, do you have any special outfits that you loved as a kid? Do your kids have any clothing that just makes them totally happy?
Yes, that one. Or those ones, as this piece makes clear:
Totebaggers, do you use the cloud, and if so, what do you do there?
Ah, dinnertime! That magic time for the family to gather around the table and eat calmly, while sitting nicely in their chairs and regaling each other with stories of their days…
Or, in our household, that cursed hour where I try to put something together for dinner while child #1 asks for TV time, child #2 asks for crackers, and child #3 whines and cries if I put her down for ONE SECOND…and then when dinner is made, child #1 makes a gagging noise, child #2 says “I HATE chicken!” and dives under the table, and child #3 throws her milk cup on the floor.
Lately, I have been utilizing Totebaggers’ previous suggestions of putting some veggies and dip on the table in order to fend off the hungry wolf-children, so that I can get the rest of dinner made. More suggestions, please!
Totebaggers, what are your favorite quick meals? How long do they take? Bonus points if they can be prepared one-handed!
by Upstate NY Dad
There are two topics currently in the news about education, which I believe are intertwined:
(1) The case of the Michigan constitutional amendment to ban racial discrimination in higher education admissions that is before the US Supreme Court. This was passed by the voters in 2006 in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling that race CAN be taken into account in admissions. The ACLU, among others, (and, agreeing with George HW Bush, I am actually happy we have the ACLU, though I don’t always agree with their positions) have sued saying that all the other admissions policies are set by the Board of Regents, as policy, and so are amendable if there is enough lobbying, interest, board members in support of a change, but for race to be a factor, the state constitution would need to be amended again, a tall task for in a state that’s >70% white. The plaintiffs say the current constitution is discriminatory because of that. The defense is essentially a replay of Chief Justice John Roberts quote “The best way to end discrimination by race is to stop discriminating by race.”
(2) The recently adopted Common Core requirement for elementary and secondary schools. I don’t know if this has been adopted everywhere, a la NCLB. Anyway around here there is a big uproar because too few kids are meeting the standard. (Actually our town’s district was at or near the top of the state results, but 10 miles away in our nearby biggish city with probably 90% minority and poor, free lunch, kids their results were dead last). Frankly, I have not studied the requirements of the Common Core to know if I agree with all of them; I am taking at face value they are good, an improvement over what came before.
- If kids are not meeting the common core standards, what are we going to do about it? Me, I say keep’em in their current grade until they meet the standards, otherwise why bother having standards?. The problem with my view, natch, is that educational achievement is linked with wealth. It condemns a lot of poor kids who are/were born into a crappy situation (the opposite of Tucker, and many others of us) to perpetual poverty unless somehow they can overcome the long odds of growing up poor. Also, after a while the dropout rate would likely increase and so the % of people from poor backgrounds with even a HS diploma will decrease. In Totebagville, the UMC folks will just redouble their efforts with tutoring or mom/dad help with homework so their kid is sure to pass. Of course another necessary alternative is to get rid of lousy teachers, but just because kids don’t meet common core doesn’t mean a teacher is bad…there are tons of other factors (e.g. poverty), and replace them with better ones. Totebaggers, what should be done when kids don’t meet the Common Core standards?
- Regarding state school undergraduate college admissions, my position is that college is competitive. You are qualified or not (I liken it to the way I have heard symphony orchestra auditions are done…the reviewers don’t get to see the musician(s), or even their names, until after the scores are recorded so work as much bias out of the process as possible). The charter of all colleges, excepting community colleges who have to take anyone with a high school diploma, should be to enroll the best academically-qualified applicants. Race, sex, socioeconomic strata, sexual orientation, legacy status do not make you smarter/better qualified academically. Your grades and test scores, audition/portfolio/special skillset in some cases, do. That’s what admissions office(r)s should focus on. Adopting this approach might make some colleges (Berkeley and UCLA, maybe even Davis, Irvine, San Diego, I’m thinking of you…there are others) overwhelmingly Asian; I guess UMichigan might be close to 100% white/Asian. But so what? Shouldn’t they accept the best qualified students? **one caveat to the ‘qualifications only’ approach: state schools primary obligation is to their state’s residents, or maybe specific counties in a state, so I am good with e.g. 80-90% of the slots reserved for in-state kids and the rest can be filled with out-of-state/international students, if the state colleges’ governing board(s) want to set that as policy. They can set a policy of minimum grades/test scores if they want. There are 2300 4-year colleges in the US and there is plenty of room in total for everyone, so if someone really wants to go, they probably can get in someplace. Will everyone get into their #1 (e.g. Michigan)? No. But maybe Western Michigan will let you in and they also offer the same major. Will every option be within everyone’s budget? No. But there’s probably a solution out there. Totebaggers, how should state school undergraduate college admissions should be handled?
A few weeks ago, there was mention of weird British sandwiches. A few days later, this article popped up:
My favorite sandwich currently is the Thanksgiving sandwich – toasted herb bread with a little mayo, sliced turkey deli meat topped with stuffing and a little cranberry relish. I trust the sandwich shop to make it perfect every time.
I recently tried the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, which I liked. I classify pita pockets as sandwiches too. The old favorite, peanut butter, is on a hiatus from our house after a long and glorious run.
Totebaggers, what are your favorite sandwiches? Share with us how you make them, too; we can always do with a few quick meal ideas.
by Laura Davenport, aka WhiteFluffyIcing
Since many of us are traveling or otherwise preparing for Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah, there won’t be any topical posts today or tomorrow.
Louise did submit this iconic Rockwell painting, which I find fascinating on a couple of different levels:
Also, saacnmama submitted what she called a “party pooper article,” but I think it’s just the opposite: http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Work-Off-Your-Turkey-Feast-Pre-and-Post-Thanksgiving-Workout.htm
Totebaggers, feel free to comment here about the holiday(s) or whatever might be on your mind!