Do Your Kids Have Too Much Homework? 5 Tips on How to Tell and What to Do

I hate homework more than my children hate homework, and I hope you understand I’m not maligning my kids’ Homework-Hating Potential by telling you so.

I mean, sure, not all my kids are consistent about hating homework, especially my deliriously enthusiastic, trend-bucking 1st graders who seem for now to actually enjoy it, but I like to think even they carry some sort of latent homework-hating potential, if only from my side of the gene pool. ...  read more

How to Take Back-to-School Photos: A Problem-Solving Scenario

Yes, there are a lot of ideas out there for Back-to-School photos.

Yes, most of them involve some sort of picture frame. And great lighting. And doing more for outfits than saying, “I don’t care what you wear as long as it’s clean. You have the rest of the year to wear dirty, ripped clothes to school. Today is not that day.”

And yes, I suck at these things. ...  read more

I’m Ecstatic School’s Starting! (Except When I’m Not.)

My house looks like a tornado hit it from the inside and there’s no way – no way – we can get it put back together before school starts tomorrow. Or before the year 2015, really. Although why I feel the pressure to have it clean by tomorrow is a mystery since it hasn’t truly been organized for 11 years. There’s just something about the start of school, though, that screams DUCKS IN A ROW, BETH; get your crap in order and get it in order STATLike the neat pencil boxes and pristine crayons and unopened glue sticks are getting their superior Judgy McJudgerpants on, saying, “We’re neither sticky nor broken, Beth; now what’s up with your floor?” ...  read more

UPDATED: Thoughts on Hope (and a giveaway)

I’m headed out to my kid’s Individualized Education Plan meeting today. Or maybe the “I” in I.E.P. stands for something else…. Independent? Industrial-strength? In-which-we-all-work-hard-but-also-say-lots-of-Hail-Marys? I can’t ever quite remember the right term, even though we’ve been in the special education game for years now, and for today I’m not going to look it up and check my work. I’m just going to write to you, friend to friend, and tell you I’m quite tired. In all the ways. And just a little bit fragile as I prepare to put on hope and optimism and heave ho! and full speed ahead! ...  read more

Bloody Noses, Wet Beds, Bad Dreams: I’m Leaving the Country

Greg turned 40 last week. 4 to the OH oh oh!

Happy Birthday, Baby!

(Psst… I never call Greg baby. It just felt right this time. Let’s go with it.)

To celebrate, my dad and I are taking Greg on a trip to see friends and museums and live the high life for 4 days. ‘Cause that’s the way we roll when we have a gift of air tickets, a free place to stay, and grandparents who are taking the whole slew of kiddos, minus the teenage daughter who’s embedded at a friend’s house, deep undercover, posing as a child from a normal home. Our kids’ mission this week is to discover exactly how families with clean bathrooms work. They’re writing an exposé, folks, and it’s going to be epic. ...  read more

Tricky Dick: Not a Story About Nixon


When we were kids, we used to sit cross-legged at school and call it Indian Style. No one calls it that anymore for all the right reasons. Hooray for cultural sensitivity and change!

Now kids sit Crisscross at school. Except no one calls it just Crisscross, because ho hum, right? How boring. Now when you sit cross-legged, you have to call it Crisscross Applesauce. Frankly, I don’t know what applesauce has to do with anything, but there it is, an essential suffix. Woe betide the mama who thinks she’s tight enough with Crisscross to only use his first name. Those kindergartners, man, they will school you. It’s Crisscross Applesauce, Mom, they will say and then they will look at you like you are equal parts dumb as bricks and to be pitied. Kind of how I look at banana muffins that are missing chocolate chips. Like, it was sweet of you to try so hard, but this is incomplete.
 ...  read more