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Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

Staples.com: *HOT* School Supply Deals (Crayola Colored Pencils 97¢, Crayola Markers $1.01 + More)

calawmama:

GREAT School Supply Deal!

Originally posted on Hip2Save:

Wow! Here are even more *HOT* school supply deals that you can snag without leaving your home – love that! :) In addition to the 17¢ 1-Subject notebooks that you can score at Staples.com, check out these items you may want to add to your shopping cart…

NOTE: All prices below are valid with an order of $25 or more so mix and match items to get to that total. Most items are limited to 6-12 per customer.

* Crayola Colored Pencils 12 ct $0.97
* Crayola Classic Markers (Broad Line) 10 ct $1.01
* Staples® #2 Yellow Pencils 12 pack $0.89
* BIC Cristal Ballpoint Pens 10 Pack $1
* Staples® Dual Dome Pencil Sharpener $0.59
* Staples® College Ruled Filler Paper 120 sheets $0.71
* Crayola Crayons 24/Box $0.50
* Staples® Pink Wedge Erasers 3/Pack $0.69
* Staples® 1 Subject Notebook Wide Ruled $0.17
* Staples®…

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Book Review: “Let’s Avoid Uncle Dale”by Dos Bad Dads

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Dos Bad Dads’ most recent work of satirical children’s literature. As proclaimed in their forward, this book is for children who are essentially incapabable of understanding what you are saying yet, or in any event cannot parrot your words back to you. Let’s face it, it’s basically for snarky sarcastic parents, like me.

I thought it was hilarious. It centers on the paradigmatic experience of parents everywhere that comes along when dealing with people who are totally full of it. You know, the ones who claim to have gone to the same college as mommy and daddy on their facebook profile, when you know full well they didn’t go to college at all. Or the ones who claim to be sitting on a tidy sum, yet subsist entirely on a diet of Ramen noodles, ringing any bells?

It’s funny because in real life, social norms usually dictate that the polite thing to do, the “proper” thing, is to not call out these total liars, especially not to children. That damn Bambi Golden Rule and everything.

The book centers on the themes where people are mostly likely to lie/those areas of life with which our society grants the highest respect: educational achievements, investment prowess, marital status, military service, etc. The things which earn respect, but are increasingly difficult to accomplish are also those which are increasingly easy to lie about or fib, especially on the internet and through the use of social media.

It’s also funny because, let’s face it, as parents we take everything so Goddamn seriously, we have to, or we get judged by the parenting police. Not that such a thing exists, but you know what I mean. Our everything related to parenting is under constant scrutiny by everyone we encounter, and yet we aren’t supposed to say anything mean you know because manners. Well whatever.

However, it does come back to the underlying theme, which is that their uncle loves them, even if he is never to be trusted with any child related responsibilities, ever.

Children’s satire books are good for parents. Hopefully DBD can continue to fill that void.

I think it’s the funniest thing you can buy for $2 for yourself, and I would personally HIGHLY recommend it for a good PABSy (PABS= Passive Aggressive Bull Shit– best acronym I ever did read on the interwebz) gift to someone you know who may engage in the same lines of work as Uncle Dale. Especially since Father’s Day is coming up.

Happy reading!

Tumblr: dosbaddads.tumblr.com

Twitter: @dosbaddads

Filed under: Book Review, Children's Books, Parenting, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Overprotected Kid

I saw this article the other day, and I read through most of it. (Sorry to report that as a mom of 4, including one newborn, I don’t often have the opportunity to make it all the way to the end of a long form article these days.)

I often pay close attention to articles like this one, because I am by no means a free range parent. However, the farther I get away from law school, the less I see creeks running through parks as attractive nuisances, and the more I encourage my kids to climb trees as they please.

That being said, as I found myself nodding my head in agreement to much of it, one passage in particular struck me, and it was how this alleged overprotecting is affecting children, they are becoming:

less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.

I thought to myself, all of those qualities are those in which my kids are off the charts. They are literally running around expressing themselves, and being creative and quirky all the time. Here’s the further irony, all of those qualities are things that may pose an issue in the increasingly overcrowded classrooms, where compliance is the goal. Which brings me to this piece, about the alleged over diagnosing of some 1 in 7 to 1 in 5 young boys with ADHD, and the resultant medicating. 

{As I do on facebook, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I KNOW ADHD is real, I know there are legitimate diagnoses, and I am sure that some kids really do need it in their parents’ and medical providers’ opinions. My point has nothing to do with the legitimacy of these situations.}

The point is that the typical more physical and allegedly hyper “boy” behavior (while I have two boys, my oldest is not even 3, so I do not feel comfortable making any judgments on boy behavior, I speak merely from what I have heard/read) is increasingly being isolated as problematic, and resulting in alleged unnecessary drugging, thus removing the tendencies to express themselves in the “hyper” way.

So it appears there is a forced dilemma over whether to encourage physicality and this type of play, or whether to encourage more sedate behavior. You can’t have it both ways, so it seems.

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Questions from Kids: Why does baking soda react with vinegar?

calawmama:

chemistry experiments today…

Originally posted on Kentucky Chemistry:

There’s something awesome about answering questions for kids.  Redditor HippySkippy noted that her 7-year-old son had recently developed a love for the wondrous world of chemistry.  However, like many books written for children, the books she’d been able to find often said to mix baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (dilute acetic acid) to build an “at-home volcano.”  Many of us know that an acid (like vinegar) and a base (like baking soda) react.  But how many folks know why?  So, Little Joey (that’s your name now), allow me to explain.

What is an acid?  What is a base?

To determine if something is an acid or a base, the quickest method is to dissolve a little in water and then to test the pH with indicator.

indicator is a mixture of substances which change color when exposed to acids or bases; tradition makes it such that acids are red and…

water-dissociation

Normally…

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Late to The Frozen Game

So by now the market is fully saturated with everything Frozen. I’m sure I don’t have anything new to say on the topic, except that it is new to our family.

My girls have a friend who, like many other girls across the country, has been obsessed with the film since the first time she saw it. Due to a pronounced fear of the dark, and inability to remain still or quiet, we did not see it in theaters. And although there was a rumored digital copy on the internet, unfortunately as lawyers, we can’t very well claim ignorance of copyright infringement laws. So, we were waiting for the film to come out. Although the girls did recently see the “Let it Go” scene on YouTube, which they have been signing ad naseum ever since. In fact, on a trip to the Disney store a month or so ago, my oldest read a sign that said the release date was March 18, and essentially branded the date into memory. She would let anyone who wanted to hear know when it was coming out, and essentially counted down the days until the big release.

So, like the dutiful Disney watchers that we are, March 18 we headed to our favorite Target and picked up a copy. Once we brought it home, the four kids and myself squished to fit onto our couch, and watch in the closest thing to silence that my kids can muster.

I must say, eventhough I knew from the book we recently picked up that Hans was a “bad guy,” I really did not see that one coming. I recalled reading an article about how there was no “mustache twirling” to inform the viewers that he really had a hidden agenda. I imagine that would have been borderline devastating to my overly trusting and sensitive littles. But, they were anticipating he would be bad– in fact my 4 year old delights at the ending scene where Anna punches him in the face. I was personally so upset, that I actually understood the basis for this article, although I happen to fully disagree. I mean, at the end of the movie, Anna presumably is interested in Kristoff, and who knows what will happen to Elsa.

I also read an article/watched video of the ending scene of Let it Go, where the writer claims there was some upset among mothers of some sexy look or villianous situation with Elsa looking at the camera in a bad girl way. I didn’t get it in the clip, nor in the film. So whatever.

However, while I was warned of the snow monster, which luckily wasn’t a big deal on our small screen, and the parents dying (my kids still haven’t figured out that the ship scene signifies that), nobody warned me how God Damn SAD the beginning, and actually a large majority of the film was. As an only child, I always dreamed of having a sister, and the portrayal of how their relationship evolved made my heart hurt for my two girls as they watched. They understood what was going on, and I imagine the felt how sad it would be if that ever happened to either of them.

Sob story aside, I was interested to learn who portrayed the voices of the characters. Ever since we bought Tangled, and I figured out that Rapunzel’s voice was Mandy Moore, I’ve felt rather proud of myself for having figured that out. As it turns out, I was further correct that she is now voicing the lead character in the new series “Sheriff Callie.” And, while we are at listing my oh so important inferences, I was very surprised when I realized that the butler on Sophia the First is none other than Tim Gunn from project runway.

In Frozen, however, I was unable to place any of the voices. After looking at Wikipedia, the only actress I recognized, was Kristen Bell, who apparently can and does sing in the film, as Anna. What was more surprising, however, was that the actress who voices Elsa, Idina Menzel, was also one of the leads in Rent and Wicked–which I am unable to link for you as my 3 week old is calling. Check out the Wiki entry on Frozen to learn some cool info about the film, including how they studied Snow and culture to build the scenery, etc. The “A Mighty Girl” page on facebook also stated that it was the first film directed by a woman to break a billion dollars in revenue. Pretty cool!

Filed under: Parenting, , ,

Return to Charlotte Mason

As a bibliophile, it’s only natural that I attempt to instill a love of books in my children. In order to accomplish this, in addition to having a good selection of books at their every day avail, we also make trips to the library as often as possible. Additionally, because our library trips are typically true to form of this blogger, and categorical of a mother of four, due to our library’s amazing terms of 50 items per library card, I attempt to check out as many materials as possible so that we will be set for a long period of time. I am also infatuated with the idea of strewing (see also), and so I check out some interesting books in the hopes that the kids will be interested.

So anyway, on our first chaotic trip to the library (our last happened to be little boy’s due date), our first time as a mom with four kids, the kids were surprisingly not gathering almost any books. Which was frustrating because we have to pay for parking to go to this awesome library, so I mean we need books on principle! lol. Anyway, we ended up getting much less than usual, but since the kids were near the media area, I decided to check out the CD selection, and I found Heigh Ho Mozart.

After we took everything home, it turns out the kids loved the HHM, and we ended up talking about the composer study from AO. I had fully intended to keep with it, but it was one of the things that went to the way side. Now, however, we fully intend to pick up again, and I am hoping that we will be able to get the kids to focus more, particularly on the art study. 

I feel like homeschool is all about symbiosis and cycling through things that hold interest. Have you rediscovered something that you wanted to introduce your kids to?

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4 Year Olds and Pinterest

I’m not sure how it happened, but some time in the past few months, I realized that my 4.5 year old had a real visual interest in baked goods and desserts in general. Naturally, I somehow came to the realization that she might enjoy looking at pictures on pinterest. Only, she didn’t just want to look, she wanted to pin, too. So I made her her own board. Any now she has her own followers, like out of my 20 something boards they only follow hers. And she wants to “pin” everything. 

Today, I opened my laptop, and this site was open.

http://www.bakeaholicmama.com/

What’s further somewhat funny to me, is that because my 6 year old has some conception of how the computer works, I’ve instructed her how to search for educational activities on pinterest (remember we homeschool), so she pins things that she’d like to do on her board. Only, because she knows how to type her own name, she has like 3 separate boards with various pins strewn amongst them.

I didn’t even learn to type until like fourth grade. Kids these days!

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Time in Slow Motion

Baby #4 joined our family at the end of last month, and ever since, it seems as though everything moves in slow motion, except for his growth, which is too quickly!

It seriously takes forever to get anything done or go anywhere. The upside is that it requires all of us to be a little more patient, but the down side is I don’t anticipate ever being on time anywhere ever again.

In the vein of posting smaller topics that are piquing my interest, this morning I came across this article by the New York Times. Essentially, it expands on this fact:

Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.

Although I had the pleasure of taking a Multicultural Literature class as an undergraduate (offered through CSUMB–which I highly recommend, great prof and great selections), these days, perhaps obviously, more than a substantial proportion of my time is spent in reading (or being read to by my 6 year old) children’s books.

We do make an effort to check out a wide variety of books, in fact our amazing library system allows each cardholder to check out a total of 50 materials per visit. Due to the insanity that is a trip to the library, I try to stock up, so to speak.

That being said, unless we deliberately check out materials on particular holidays, celebrations, cultural events, or historical events, the cultural monotony is blatantly obvious. We have the blessing of being a part of the PJ Library, so that our children each receive a free Jewish themed book, or occasional CD/DVD every month, otherwise even Jewish characters are noticeably absent. Although, I suppose one could argue that absent a Jewish themed storyline, Jewish characters don’t necessarily have an obvious outward appearance to suggest that they are not merely Caucasian. I will say, Abuelo y Los Tres Osos is one of my kids favorites, but I’d venture to guess that it’s a rare non-Hispanic family that owns or checks out from the library Spanish language children’s books–Huevos Verdes con Jamon non withstanding.

My guess as to why there are so few characters of color, and I am assuming that this study means not only African Americans, but also Latinos, Asians, Middle Easterners, etc., is that the authors and publishers are most likely predominantly white. I have zero evidence to back up this guess, but it is my gut feeling. It would make sense, from a self identification perspective, that authors and illustrators draw the characters that they most closely identify with. I would also venture to guess that those types of authors may be accused of lacking the cultural sensitivities necessary to convey stories representing a particular group with which they are unfamiliar with. I believe this is one of the criticisms regarding cross racial adoption. Speaking honestly, the issues that families and individuals face ARE different, and I don’t claim to dispute that.

So what is the solution to this pandemic lack of diverse characters? I suppose it is like any other shortage, we need a more diverse audience producing the books themselves. That sounds naive, even as I type it. I know the publishing industry is a corporate stronghold, and probably incredibly difficult to get a publishing deal– I would further guess that unless you are Mo Willems or Eric Litwin, children’s books aren’t incredibly lucrative.

However, it does matter. This particular article reminds me incredibly of the argument in NurtureShock, of attempting to “insulate” our children from racism by completely neglecting to recognize differences in appearance, in the hopes of making them more culturally sensitive. The problem is that this method typically backfires because kids DO see the difference, and based on their developmental stage may automatically assume that that those who don’t look like them MUST be different, because they have not been told that appearance is not an indicator of really anything other than outward anatomy.

WDYT?

Filed under: Children's Books, Parenting, , , , , , ,

The Blogger’s Dilemma

I read a blog post recently that was so categorically inflammatory, that I simply could not believe what I was reading. Then, ironically, one of my tweets in response to the initial piece was picked up in an article published by a Yahoo blog.

Whenever I tweet something, I never assume that anyone beyond my followers, or maybe some others will read it. Therefore, I don’t necessarily anticipate a wider audience, or expand my prose beyond whatever the 160 or so character limit  will allow.

Following my brief statement on the article, I did a brief perusal of some of the comments on the piece. I saw several comments along the lines of the article being intentionally bad, so that it could garner clicks for ad revenue, a so called bait piece. Now :that: made sense to me. This perspective, along with the information that the blogger refused to reveal any personal information, such as “her” age or other details was sufficient enough for me to assume that this article suffers from what I like to refer to as the bloggers dilemma. As a paid blogger, you have to produce a certain amount of content by your deadline. Additionally, employers keep track of SEO (search engine optimization) data, some moreso than others.

To be honest, I have never heard of the parent (in the corporate sense of the term) company which hosted the initial piece. However, assuming they are some sort of lifestyle blog, I assume that they are much more interested in articles that take advantage of SEO and other traffic driving measures to increase ad revenues as opposed to articles which focus primarily, or mostly, on the underlying substance.

Political sites are a great example of this SEO vs. substance debate. They want to capture enough of an audience, but don’t always focus primarily on the facts, those things which can be readily verified by an objective third party.

Blawging differs somewhat,  in that it is primarily based upon legal developments, both statutory and following individual case decisions, which are constantly developing. However, I have done non law related blogging, and I therefore understand the nature of the dilemma: I don’t have anything particularly interesting to write about, yet I have to write something sufficiently interesting for people to actually read. 

Blog posts relating to parenting decisions, then, allow for the perfect storm to drive traffic through the roof. It’s simple, all you have to do is choose anything related to children or parenting, arbitrarily decide what you subjectively think is the correct answer or philosophy, in any case and for everyone, and then dispense with saying why everyone else is wrong. Sound familiar? An article about cosleeping in which an infant was depicted as lying next to a rectangular butcher’s knife comes to mind. Or the TIME magazine cover featuring a mom breastfeeding her 4 year old child. (For the sake of transparency, I did not read the TIME article, as I do not generally subject myself to sensationalist journalism, if you can even call it journalism to begin with).

I know the blogger’s dilemma well, because since having additional free time with which to produce content for this blog, I have not been extraordinarily motivated to write on anything in particular. Generally speaking, those news items in which I am interested, I share via Twitter, and more often Facebook, with my literal 2 sentence opinion on the matter. This works well because I am friends with people who understand my background, political stance, legal training, and general philosophies on things. Therefore, the discussions that flow from these topics are interesting because they allow for an open forum whereby I am familiar with the general political perspectives and backgrounds of my friends. Also, perhaps due to my legal training, I do not feel personally insulted when someone disagrees with me. It’s a little reported on fact that not all people think about things in the same way. Go figure!

This time, however, as my reach went beyond those who know me personally, or at least from social media contact, I received a string of tweets which so eloquently demonstrated what I personally believe to be at the root of the problem with all pieces related to parenting that follow the “this is the best: here’s why everyone else is wrong” approach.

Namely, I honestly do not care how other people choose to parent their children. I do have some caveats, and I will get to those. However, generally speaking, so long as your children are fed, safe, and not neglected or abused, your parenting does not affect me in the slightest. I know for a fact that no one is parenting at me.

Of course, in the case that your child hurt’s my child or says unkind things to my child, I will even go so far as to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that your child is engaging in typical developmental beahvior, but not without helping my child to advocate for his or her position, and I will not ever allow my children to be bullied nor become door mats. The only other time I will ever question another parent’s decision is in the case of abuse or neglect.

However, those incidents are few and far between, and as such, I tend to stray away from articles that engage in this sort of bombastic display of superiority, even in those cases when I may agree with a particular parenting school of thought.

Formula feed or breast feed; stay home or work at home or outside the home; tough love or coddle; helicopter parent or free range– our country has yet to internalize that if it is your child, you and only you (and your relevant spouse/partner/co-parent) are the ONLY ones who should have input on your decisionmaking. For the record, those negative tweets which I received seemed to accuse me of the corporate attorney lifestyle which I outwardly rejected, and continue to reject. I am a full time homeschooling caregiver. The professional blawg work that I did/do, is completed during the time of day when my children are sleeping. That being said, I do not feel any need to justify my choices to anyone, just as I wouldn’t if I were truly in the corporate legal world, as so many of my friends are, because it is simply none of anyone else’s business.

Anyone can say what they want, but nobody outside your nuclear family knows your dynamic as well, or what other factors go into the decisions you make. Those who wish to impart the wisdom of their parenting philosophies are more than welcome to use them on their own children and adjudicate whether it is best to impose themselves on others who are simply trying to do the best that they can. If you really want to help someone, in the truly altruistic sense of the word, then actually offer your help to them rather than attempting to put them down by assuming you know anything about their child or their parent:child relationship.

In sum, rather than artificially inflating the level of content on this blog, I refrain from writing anything. However, I do realize that a blog cannot be built upon nothing, and so, I leave you with those things with which I have been the most interested lately, and encourage my readers to engage in the path that brings them the most happiness and meaning in their lives. I assure you that regardless of the individual course, it will not be built upon stepping stones of putting down or otherwise chastising others.

Photo

Slow parenting in the age of instantaneous-ness, what a concept.

See also, How Legos Are Made.

Photo: Fans have asked what I think about the Justin Bieber controversy. This about sums it up.

This one just made me laugh, from George Takei’s facebook page. I often lament that so much of what is reported these days does not constitute actual news.

Cheers!

Filed under: Parenting, , , , , ,

Doctors “Googling” Patients

One of my facebook friends, who is in the process of becoming a doctor (TBH I don’t really understand what happens after the medical school part ends, I mean I sort of do, but then I forget–anyway!), posted this article about doctors googling their patients. My response was, I would never have guessed!

Of course it makes sense. Additional, readily available, information can be helpful in proscribing care, as the article points out, and I would imagine. It reminds me of a sort of digital version of the highly skeptical practices in the show House, whereby the doctor goes to the patient’s home (or scene of the injury?) and investigates the potential cause of the problem. I think it could also serve as a sort of litmus test for honesty. 

I have googled my doctors, but not necessarily for personal information, moreso to garner what other patients have to say about them. With a plethora of specialties, and having had to change medical practices, choosing a doctor can literally be akin to throwing a dart onto a board, and hoping for the best. Also, and probably not surprisingly, as medical professionals, I would venture to guess that most doctors have their personal lives on an internet lock down– as they well should. It seems much more likely, statistically speaking, to have a patient use private information to wreak havoc against a doctor when things do not go their way (or there is a simple misunderstanding) than the other way around. My gut feeling is that most attorneys, particularly those in larger firms whom are more susceptible to firm politics, do so as well. I revel the luxury of not having to worry about my words being used against me in an inter-office hearsay battle, or being accused of making someone else look a certain way. I also try to avoid putting myself into positions where anything I say is patently offensive of unfounded– but that, of course, has only come after a digital trail of simple mistakes, that were a factor of my naivete or simply not knowing better. It only takes one (albeit unfounded IMO)threat of a defamation lawsuit from a major corporation to learn that you should use the words “alleged” “purported” “as claimed” and “accused of” liberally. 

The only fear I would personally have in a doctor:patient Google relationship, would be any affiliation that I may have with malpractice blawg posts, as a part of my professional work. I would hate to miss out on a wonderful doctor solely because I have been assigned to write about things such as operations gone awry, or birth injuries. It is out of motivation to avoid these potential miscommunications that I am always upfront about these sorts of assignments, and sometimes I bring them up in the course of conversation, since the cases that actually make it to court, and are thus published, and capable of being written about, are usually so egregious, that they aren’t imputed with the same disdain that at least some people have given my past work on topics such as Liebeck v. McDonald’s although I still do not see how anyone could side with McDonald’s on that one. 

Additionally, in regards to potential personal privacy claims, the results indexed in a Google search are by their very nature public. If you feel uncomforable having your doctor privvy to them, you should take steps to have the results unlisted, such as by making your various social media profiles private, or removing material you would prefer kept private. I assume I needn’t mention the potential for actual catastrophe in regards to searches in the course of detrimental searches, such as in regards to divorce litigation, and the like.

Lastly, I’d venture to guess that most practicing medical professionals are not graced with an inordinate amount of time to pour over their upcoming appointment calendars, googling as they go. I think the article is exaggerating the prevalence of the practice, though I could be wrong. I would guess a search after an appointment would be much more common. 

Anyway, thought that was somewhat of a trip. 

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