Posts Tagged ‘High school’

Wordless Wednesday: My Baby’s Heading to High School!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

My Prediction: Ethan Wins By a Landslide!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Let's hear it for 15-year-old Ethan, a high school freshman who has found a unique approach to running for class president. I think any kid this clever deserves a shot at high office. I predict he'll go places!

Guest Post: Letting Go

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I'm so happy to share with you a wonderful essay by writer Liz Seegert. If your child is in preschool right now, don't be too fast to discount this piece and say "oh, that's years away for our family." Yesterday (I swear), my son was in kindergarten. Today he started 8th grade. As they say, "the days are long, but the years are short." Thanks, Liz, for sharing this piece. And I love the pic of you and your tall son!

the day they’re born you know it’s going to happen. The first “me do it.” The
first time they walk, a little unbalanced, without holding your hand, grinning
broadly. That first day of kindergarten. That was hard. Learning to ride that
two-wheeler and the freedom that comes with leaving the block. The first
sleepover at his best friend’s house.

Then middle school, and high school. The first date. The
driver’s license and taking the keys to go out alone that first time. The first
time he’s forced to make hard choices – about friends, studying, activities,
his social life.

each first, you hold your breath, and say a silent prayer that all of the
things you have tried to instill in him, the values, knowing right from wrong,
has penetrated and is somewhere in the back of his mind. Each time stumbles or
falls, you stifle the urge to jump in and fix it. He has to pick himself up and
live with the consequences of his actions. Maybe he “forgot” to do his
homework. Maybe he stayed out past curfew and didn’t call. Maybe he was at a
party where someone snuck in some beer.

some point, you can’t even ground him any more. When did he become a head
taller? And when is he going to stop eating everything in the fridge before
it’s barely unpacked from the store? He’s applying to colleges hundreds of
miles away – the further the better, he hints. But, but… the mom of the little
boy in you protests. I’m not ready. “Well I am,” he counters.

Deep down, I know he’s right. We go through the unending
paperwork that is the college application process together and I dutifully pay
the fees, secretly hoping the schools closest to home accept him.

letters begin arriving. Didn’t make one of his top choices, but did make the
other. Wait listed. Another acceptance, another rejection. Several more visits
to campuses for accepted students days. He makes his decision, and you’re OK
with it. Not too far, but far enough. He’s happy. You’re not sure how you feel.

day. Everyone in caps and gowns. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
– all taking and posing for pictures. The “last” summer. The “last” get
together with high school buddies. Another step to letting go. Shopping for the
dorm. More shopping. He’s a boy. Does he care if his sheets and comforter
match? You do. So you spend the extra money for the good set.

want this summer to last forever. No, it flew by way too fast. Moving day.
Loading the car is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Turn the box this way. Try
putting that sideways. Finally ready to go. He gives his room a final once over
and we head north on I-95. We’re there. Carry the stuff up three flights.

Finally unpacking. “Mom, you don’t have to make my bed,” he
tells me. “Yes I do.” I do. I need to know he’s starting off with everything in
its place. Time to leave, and he walks us to the car. “I’ll call soon,” he
promises. A long, hard hug. And another. I struggle to hold back tears. The
first of many goodbyes.

on his own. He knows we’ll be there to lend a hand, dust him off, and set him
back on his feet if he falls but only if he wants us to. I still hold my breath
sometimes, but not as often. His first attempt at being an adult. I couldn’t
wait to get that first phone call. “I love it here,” he said. “I’m so happy I
chose this school.”

first major life decision.  I am
looking forward to many more good “firsts.”


What’s The Babysitter Up To?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Fascinating piece on about Miriam Forman-Brunell's new book "Babysitter: An American History."

For generations, parents have fretted about how their kids were being cared for while in the hands of teenage babysitters.

Most of our babysitters have been wonderful and responsible. One often brought fun DVDs to share, and always made sure the kitchen was clean after she and Matt had dinner. (A rare thing, that kitchen cleaning!) Another, accomplished in music, encouraged Matt's interest in piano. A third played silly games that left Matt in giggles.

But there were the ones who spent more time yacking on the phone with their friends than interacting with our kid.

Back before nearly every teen had a cell phone, we even had teens calling the house after we'd returned for the evening and the babysitter had gone home — because she had given out our home number to half the kids in the local high school, it seemed.

And we had a babysitter remain in the upstairs den, doing homework, while she allowed our young son to go downstairs and answer the door at night, open it and allow a strange man (a solicitor) into the house. This was after we had included in our house rules: "Don't open the door to anyone." Let's just say she didn't get any future calls.

I have my own confession from my babysitter days: I babysat for a sexy single mom who had a stack of Cosmopolitan magazines at home. After the kids were asleep, I'd devour the magazines, knowing full well that my parents would not have permitted such reading material for their 12-year-old  daughter.

(Funny, though… The first magazine sale I made when I became a freelance journalist was to — you guessed it — Cosmo. And no, it wasn't about sex!)

“Animal House” an Exaggeration? Not So Much

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Beer Tasting

As the mom of a son who will be in college in less than six years, I read with great interest a terrific personal essay by Dartmouth College student Owen B. Jennings in The New York Times today. As a parent, I found it pretty frightening.

"My liver failed two springs ago, when I was a senior in high school," says Jennings. "I
don’t know the cause of my liver disease — a genetic mutation, an
environmental trigger or just plain bad luck. But one of the many rules
of my long recovery has been no alcohol. Not one drink. Not even a sip."

He goes on to describe what college life is like for a student who doesn't drink. I like how Jennings is able to stand back and take a clear-eyed look at the massive amount of drinking going on on college campuses today.

I'm going to ask my 13-year-old son to read this essay so we can talk about it. It's so easy for parents to put their head in the sand about heavy drinking in college (and high school).

In my community, stories circulate about massive drinking parties — with no parents to be seen — that are broken up only when neighbors call the police because kids are driving recklessly down the street, screaming obscenities at each other (often in some warped spirit of drunken fun), and puking in the front yard.

In college, of course, kids are away from parents completely, and we have to rely on them to make good decisions. Obviously, many are making decisions, sometimes nightly, that can either lead to long-term health problems or to tragedy, in the form of alcohol poisoning or car accidents.

Certainly a good number of STDs and unplanned pregnancies are the result of this level of drinking. And the resulting Facebook photos, which can be copied, shared and found on the Web by potential employers years into the future, can be a sad reminder of some pretty stupid decisions.

Jennings says it best: "I’m not talking about the casual sipping of a few beers. Here, alcohol
consumption means the rapid and repeated gulping and guzzling of beer
after beer after beer. Often, students will drink upwards of 15 or 20
beers. On any given night, a frat brother or a sorority sister will
spend hours vomiting. Sometimes a classmate will wind up in the
hospital with alcohol poisoning. And often, these people wake up unable
to remember anything that happened the night before."

These are our kids. Their futures — and possibly their lives — are at stake here. Talk with them about the heavy drinking that's going on. Share Jennings' essay with them. We need to keep our heads out of the sand. This isn't a "kids will be kids" situation. This is life and death.

I (Don’t) Like “Flat Buns”

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I don’t know whether to praise Carl’s Jr. for coming out with a teacher-free version of its "Flat Buns" commercial or to jump on the bandwagon and give them grief for producing the original ad in the first place.

As for grief, they’re getting plenty of it from teachers, who were rightfully appalled at the ad, which showed a gyrating teacher dancing, stripper-style, to the rap song in front of her class, complete with pelvic thrusts. (Besides, it’s such a rip off of Van Halen’s "Hot for Teacher" video, they should be ashamed of their lack of originality. But that’s another rant.)