Posts Tagged ‘Tweens’


Monday, April 7, 2014
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I recently wrote a short piece about ordering The Total Transformation Program after watching a 30-minute infomercial on TV. When the package arrived, I felt a pang of guilt, because my daughters are well behaved and they give us a world of happiness that I’m almost embarrassed to admit. They’ve done nothing wrong to prompt this research project, but I like to anticipate what may happen next.  I plan disasters you see, and I’m convinced teenagers turn into the spawn of Satan by the time they turn 15.

So, I’m preparing to dance with the devil herself.

As I cracked open the instructions (more demanding than a one room school teacher), I discovered that parents who order this disciplinary guide have serious troubles at home. If you have a rude, crude, obnoxious, violent, defiant child sleeping under your roof, then The Total Transformation Program better be on your bedside table next to the King James.  But what if your child (the age bracket begins at age five) has a couple of quirks — such as playing the victim too often, or playing the politician to say all the things you expect him or her to believe, just to get out of trouble?

I know.  I got scared, too.  I felt like I’d hired a lawyer to find potential lawsuits in my life. I didn’t have any problems when I sat down at the kitchen counter, but after I got up, I felt like we needed a family intervention.

But wait! There’s more!

So one of my daughters plays the victim and the other plays politics.  What about me?

Dr. Lehman, the Total Transformation Program therapist, reveals that I’m the biggest problem of all. ME!  In fact, it’s amazing that my daughters have gotten this far in life.

I’m a Perfectionist, a Screamer, and at times, a Martyr.  I tend to blame myself more than anyone or anything else (see Perfectionist), but this time, I’m taking Dad down with me.  He’s a Bottomless Pocket, Ticket-Punching, Savior.

Sticks and stones  may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…much.

THE BOOK, which is how I will refer to it from now on, suggests that our parenting roles are, at times, ineffective.  But if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it?

I may not fix it, but I can be aware of what works now … because it might not work later. I need to tweak how I manage the girls as they grow older.

This just might be the most important lesson for parents: Be aware.  Don’t be different, but be mindful of what we do (on occasion) that trigger behaviors in our children that we don’t like.  No, it’s not all our fault, but children learn from what they witness at home.  They take the best (and worst) of us wherever they go. We should at least be cognizant of our own weak spots so we can prevent tension and turmoil later on.

So, I’ve been humbled.  I opened the book (and the seven DVDs) thinking that I would read about other people’s problems.  Instead, I recognized all of us. There are no perfect children, and no matter how hard we work, there are no perfect parents.  The challenge is to find a way to solve problems without creating great divides in the relationships we cherish.

I bought the program after high school senior Rachel Canning sued her parents for tuition and living expenses despite moving out of the family home.  My daughters will not turn out like that kid, I said to myself. And they probably won’t.  But now I see that we could turn out like Rachel Canning’s parents if we don’t change our ways.





What’s in the medicine cabinet: Generic miracle workers

Friday, February 7, 2014
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Turned on to a knock off.

Turned on to a knock off.

In keeping with my new year’s writing resolution to develop more blog posts that could actually help other mothers, I’ve decided to write a few shorter pieces related to food, beauty, fashion, and whatever else catches my attention.  For example:

What’s in my medicine cabinet?

What’s in my kitchen pantry?

What’s in my closet?

What’s in my makeup bag?

These little posts aren’t to show off what I’m buying, using, eating or wearing.  The goal is to share little discoveries that might help or bring happiness to your daily life, too.

Focusing on WHAT’S IN THE MEDINE CABINET, I’ll ask you to flip back a couple of weeks to a post I wrote about hormonal acne.  My tweenage daughter and I are suffering from different types of breakouts, but we’ve been spared some of the agony and embarrassment by products made by Rodan and Fields, the creators of Proactiv and Unblemish.

The problem is that both kits can become extremely expensive if you should need the products longer than a couple of weeks or months. But, I was able to save about $30 for the three-step Proactiv set by picking up a generic kit at Walmart for $11.

I’ll be the first to admit that I question generic brands, because I’m convinced that name brands contain an ingredient that the off-brand does not.  But, for $11, I decided to take a risk and give the fake Proactiv a shot.  So far, the Equate cleanser, toner, spot treatment and mask work like a charm.

I haven’t been able to find a generic version of Unblemish, but in time, I’m sure someone in the cosmetics and skincare market will crack the code to stubborn middle-aged acne.  But at least I know it won’t cost a fortune to banish my daughters’ blemishes over the next few years.

Note: Katy Brown was not paid to use or to endorse any of these products or services.  As her husband will tell you, she buys everything.






Oh, snap!

Monday, January 27, 2014
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And this just might be a good thing.

The day our daughter learned how to download apps was the day we became years behind in parenting. Just last week, I learned how to install a keyboard on my iPhone that contains emoticons.  Yes, just last week.  Now I end every message with some type of image that simplifies the main idea of my communication.  If we’re out of kitty kibble, then I’ll send my husband a text asking him to stop at the store before coming home.

Ringo needs food, I write. And then I add two images:  a paw print and a plate of spaghetti.

The app that’s trending now is called Snapchat, and if you haven’t heard of it (please tell me you haven’t), clear your calendar for the next five minutes and read on.

I’m serious when I type that I hope I’m not alone in this new Snapchat discovery.  I like to think of myself as a newcomer when it comes to teenage interests, but when it comes to technology, teenagers call me an oldtimer. I guess the emoticon thing showed my age.

According to website research, Snapchat is a photo messaging app developed by two students once enrolled at Stanford University.  After downloading Snapchat, customers can use their cellphones to take photos, shoot videos, add drawings and content to send to a list of recipients.  If the user sends a video or a picture, then the content is called a “Snap”.  Everything else is just a chat.

Teens (and tweens that are underage) are in love with the app because Snaps aren’t supposed to last forever.  The user sets a time limit for the Snap to be available to the list of recipients once it’s opened, from one to 10 seconds. Once this timeframe ends, the Snaps are hidden from the recipient’s iPhone or Andriod, and it’s deleted from Snapchat’s server — at some point, which isn’t quite clear.

Studies show that Snapchat is most popular among teens, but the over-40 crowd is getting in on the action as a means of monitoring their children’s activity.  However, the two Stanford University students who became wealthy entrepreneuers at a tune of $860 million (with an option to sell to Facebook for $3 billion — but they declined), also created an app for the even younger market. Snapkidz, an app for boys and girls under the age of 13, is a sibling app that allows children to take snaps and draw on them, but their creations can’t be sent to anyone else, nor can the artwork be saved.

Why should parents be concerned? As a starting point, Snaps come and go so quickly that parents might not be able to keep up with the content being sent or received by their children. To that end, Snapchat has developed a nine page guide for parents, which explains virtually every aspect of the app to help ease concerns. However, this parent didn’t feel much better about the app after reading a section that explained that it’s “not okay to create, send, receive, or save a sexually explicit image of a minor.”

But wait — I thought images disappeared in as little as two seconds! Snapchat went on to state in the guide that “…although messages are designed to disappear in 10 seconds or less, there is NO guarantee that the recipeient won’t take a picture (screenshot) of the message.”

While the app is free, the fun may be costly — if not dangerous.  Parents need to preach until they’re blue in the face that THINK BEFORE YOU SEND is the number one rule for any type of social networking. This also pertains to THINK BEFORE YOU RECEIVE, given the frequency of inappropriate Snaps and sexting traffic. If parents intend to oversee the messages their teen receives through Snapchat, “then mom or dad should instruct their teen not to open Snapchat messages until they can be viewed together.”

Right. As if that’s going to happen.

But Snapchat also advises parents to look at the app through teenage eyes.  It’s designed to be a source of entertainment (the type of entertainment is hotly debated, no pun intended). The creators stress that “…life is to be shared in the moment, for the moment.  If you aren’t enjoying it, then you’re doing it wrong.”

However, in this mother’s opinion, if you delete the app from your child’s phone, you’re doing it right.





Trick or treat, smell my feet

Monday, October 14, 2013
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Halloween 2008

With my bee and lamb, when times were easier.

Some time ago, students didn’t leave their sheltering elementary schools for the exploration of junior high until seventh grade. Kids were usually 12 years of age by September, learning combinations to lockers and lugging rented instruments to last period band class.  I remember those liberating days at Horace Mann in Kanawha City — a school that looked like a college campus and felt like a new world.

But while I was off being a grown up, I missed the decision to move sixth graders to a scary place called middle school.  And now that I’m a parent of a daughter on the verge of changing schools, this graduation has wiped out everything I thought I knew about advanced childhood. Since she’s going to this scary place called middle school at age 11, I’m going to be forced to loosen my protective grip.  This frightens me.

I’ve spent the last few months of parenting telling Ava “NO” to cell phones, social networking, cosmetics and high heel shoes.  “No, you can’t have that/do that/wear that/say that,” I lecture.  “It’s too soon.”

Yet, what is age appropriate behavior for a tween? For instance…

  • Do middle school girls, age 11, still play with American Girl dolls?
  • Do they still visit the cartoon parks at Walt Disney World?
  • Do they continue to shop at Justice or Crazy 8 (if sizes go up to age 12)?
  • Do they still have to sit in the backseat of a car, or can they call shotgun?
  • Do they ride scooters or bikes? If so, where do they do this? At the park or in the street?

Because of these uncertainties, I’ve changed the wording of my standard question.  Instead of Don’t you think it’s a little early for that? — I find myself asking Don’t you think you’re getting a little old for that?

Meaning, do middle school kids go trick or treating on Halloween? If not, this will be Ava’s last parade around the block.

Aha.  All Hallows’ Eve.  This weekend, I got up before the sun to read the latest issue of Southern Living in peace and quiet. I found myself locked in Allison Glock’s family column.  This month, she writes about preserving modesty in the modern era of Halloween. The horror isn’t in the section of the store dedicated to Walking Dead garb.  The real scare comes in the form of “Twerkin’ Teddy”, “Bad Habit Nun” and “Skeleton Catsuit”.  Yes, these costumes are made in youth sizes.

I cherished Ava’s first Halloween.  She was a baby sunflower from the Anne Geddes collection.  The next year, she was Thumper the rabbit, then a bumblebee, and the following year, she was “JoJo” the circus clown.  When she turned four, she made a darling Tinkerbell, and when she went to kindergarten, she was a fancy cheetah. After that, she became a cupcake, then a Crayola crayon, and then a 1950′s girl. Last fall, she transformed into a WVU cheerleader.

Ava and I were on the same team for a decade.  This season, however, we’re rivals.

It all started when Ava asked if she could dress as a One Direction fan.  Do we even need to buy a costume for that? She presented a wrinkled catalog.

“This, “ Ava announced, pointing to the girl in the picture.  “I want to wear what she has on.”

I leaned down to get a closer look.  BRITISH INVASION?!

Bloody hell no!

The Union Jack dress hit the juvenile model well above the knee.  It was a sleeveless sheath made from the thinnest material the manufacturers could get away with. Shower curtains are constructed of heavier fabric.

“I need the shoes, too,” she stated.  GOGO BOOTS?!

In my wicked little mind, I heard the theme song from Austin Powers.  YEAH, BABY, YEAH!

“No, Ava, no…” I whined.  “Find something else.  Here!” I pointed to another picture.  “How about this cute outfit?”

Ava screamed.  “A WATERMELON FAIRY?”

It’s different! It’s unique!

“All right…then we’ll all dress up,” I suggested.  “Maryn can be Scooby Doo, I’ll dress up as Velma, Daddy can be Fred, and you can be Daphne.”

On second thought, Fred wore an ascot. Mike would choke me with it.

“British, huh?” I pondered.  “The Beatles! We’ll go as the Fab Four! Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!” I squealed.  “But I get to be Paul.”

Ava was getting tired.

“Please, Mom,” she sighed.  “It’ll be fine.”

I slammed the catalog closed.  “Ok, but if you look even the slightest bit cheap, the costume will be returned.”

Ava shook hands on the terms of our agreement and waited by the mailbox at 4:00 p.m. for the next nine business days.  Unfortunately, the ensemble arrived.  She pulled the dress over her head and immediately reached for her knees.  It was…short. Mini-skirt short. Twiggy stood before me.

“No.  It’s too old for you.”

She protested.  “Please, Mom! Look! I’ll wear a tee-shirt under it.”

That was a slight improvement.

“And tights,” I added.  “With biking shorts on top of the tights.”

She flashed a smiled and pulled on the white boots with the stacked heel.


“Can I keep them, Mom?” she begged.  I looked at Ava and then down at Maryn.  My youngest daughter was wearing a witch’s hat and dusting the floor with a broom missing 90% of its bristles.

“What do you think?” I asked Maryn.  She peered into her crystal ball.

“She’s gonna get blisters and then Daddy’s gonna hafta carry her home,” she warned.  What a wise ol’ witch.

“All right.  You can keep them,” I told Ava.  “But you will not wear those boots outside of Halloween.”

“Didn’t you wear these boots when you were a majorette?” Ava asked, marching in place.

I answered too quickly.  “Sure, I did.  But I was in….”

“Junior high?”


Make-Up Test

Monday, July 8, 2013
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Katy Brown isn’t cool. Maybe Katie Holmes is.

The second Ava turned 10, she asked if she could wear makeup.  No.  Could she have a cell phone?  No.  Could she open a Facebook account? No.  Could she sit in the front seat of the car?  No.

No. No. No.

It seems as though the knowledge of being a “double-digit age”, which she will be for the rest of her adult life, has sparked an interest in all things grown up.  It’s hard enough to keep appropriate shoes on her feet now that she’s into a lady’s size 8.  That’s right. She can wear my shoes, and she wears them well.  A little too well, I might add.

“Can I wear dressy shoes now?”   No.   “But I have to shop in women’s shoe stores,” she argued.  Where they sell flats, I countered.

But as I try to slow life down (since I can’t shrink her feet), I remember how I used to spend my playtime as a child.  I wore my mother’s high heels around the house, sashaying like Daisy Duke; I tried on her lipstick just to blot it on Kleenex; I hosed myself down with perfume like it was a can of air freshener.  It wasn’t.

I wanted to be like her.  I wanted to act like her.  I wanted to dress like her.   And she let me.  And we both looked ridiculous.

Perhaps it was their advanced age, but my parents treated me like an adult from day one.  They didn’t play with me — they talked to me.  They didn’t buy toys — they bought clothes.  They didn’t plan family trips — they arranged historic tours.  They didn’t order tickets to the circus – they watched evening dramas.  I knew more about Falcon Crest than the Justice League.

When I turned 14, my mother took me to the cosmetics counter at Stone & Thomas and had the sales consultant tackle my eighth grade face.  I left with a bag of expensive products, from full coverage foundation and powder to a saturated lipstick.

“You need some color,” my mother announced, filling in her lips with British Redcoat.  “You’re fair, so you can look washed out if you aren’t careful.”

I went to school the following Monday wearing the Estee Lauder palette. Within five minutes of homeroom, I was wiping smudged mascara off my pale cheeks.  “IT’S KATHRYN CLOWN!” one boy shouted.  (I heard he’s in prison now…).

I went to the bathroom and cleaned my face with stiff, brown paper towels and were fanned into an accordion pattern from being jammed in the machine.  I wouldn’t need blush for a week as my face was raw from scrubbing. But other girls were wearing makeup, too — blue eye shadow being the toy of choice.  After that, I stuck to powder to cover up the blemishes from oil-based foundation and some frosted pink gloss.  Then, I moved onto hair products that would keep my 80′s helmet head secured in case of a Cat-4 hurricane.

Now that I’m 40, I can wear British Redcoat with confidence, as long as my Starbucks-stained teeth don’t ruin the look. But a tweenage girl?  No ma’am.  When the time is right, the girls and I will plan a mother-daughter weekend at the Easton Mall in Columbus to learn the tricks of the trade.  I like makeup artist Bobbi Brown’s philosophy of teenage beauty, which is to accentuate rather than recreate.  She teaches young women the proper way to take care of their skin, how to cover up problem areas and play up their best features.  Colors are subtle and natural looking, and they’re virtually error-proof for the untrained hand.  For now, Ava’s cosmetic bag will contain Chapstick and suncreen. To pass the time, she can read about makeup in Brown’s book, “Beauty Rules”, which covers a lot of the topics left out of the popular manual, “The Care and Keeping of You”.

And that reminds me:  The American Girl store at Easton opened on June 22nd. Ava can take her doll to the spa and salon for a “day of magic”.  I’ll be happy to pay for that makeover.

The nearest Bobbi Brown counter is located at Nordstrom in Columbus, Ohio.  For the eager tween, there are minimalist products such as Yogi Bare lip balm and artistry workshops. 

This is an opinion piece. No discounts, freebies or samples were accepted (or offered!).


A Real Page Turner

Monday, June 24, 2013
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There are certain childhood memories that refuse to fade.  I distinctly remember coming home from a friend’s house one afternoon to face my mother, sitting in her living room chair, smoking what had to have been a pack of cigarettes. I said hello. She said nothing. I asked what was wrong. She pounded her Viceroy into the ashtray and looked at me with an icy stare that I can still feel.

“Never leave an opened diary.”

Diary of a not-so wimpy kid.

I turned as quickly as my heavy feet would allow and walked into my bedroom, where I searched for the diary that was left in plain sight.

There it was, on the floor, by my stereo.  I usually stuffed it between record albums, but for some reason, I’d failed to return the book to its proper hiding place.

At least, I assume I left it out.  To this day, I’m still not sure if I left an opened diary for my mother to pick up — and read — or if she looked for something to read while I was at my friend’s house.

I was about 14 at the time, so the entries could be described as “coming of age” thoughts and confessions.  Sitting here typing a version of those observations, I can still recall the ringing in my ears and nausea swimming in the pit of my stomach.

I flipped through the pages. Dear God. Did I have to write all that? Why did I write any of that? What was I thinking? Better yet, what was I doing?  I know the rules.  If you don’t want it read, don’t write it. If you don’t want it told, don’t say it.

The experience grounded my writing interests for years.  I didn’t write one word outside of class assignments, and I changed my college interest from journalism to advertising.  When a Manhattan publisher returned my packet of poems with red check marks on each page indicating that the editor wanted them all, I hid the envelope under my mattress.  I was too afraid to show my parents what I had written, fearing a similar reaction.

Most of the poems were about being dumped by a boy.  Young heartbreak. Teenage angst.  Immature attitudes. Insecurity and uncertainty. Naivety. Poor judgment. Material that was good enough to be in print. A writer who was talented enough to be endorsed…in junior high.

I didn’t revisit my love of writing until my mother passed away.  By this time I was 27, and I inched back into the creative world by penning letters to her every day for a year. More than 400 letters sealed in envelopes, identified only by the date on which they were written, filled a hat box.  I still have them, but they’re tucked away in the basement, where I worry they’ll be found by my daughters.  They were grief-stricken summaries…updates on what was happening (or not), what was going on with my dad, with Mike, with work.  Girl talk.  Topics that weren’t and still aren’t to be shared with anyone else.

Is the content that scandalous?  Hardly.  But like anything written, words have permanence.  My bad mood expressed on a dreary Tuesday in 2001 could hurt someone today.  My frustration with this project or that client could end a business relationship. My irritation with a size 6 frame that fought to be a size 4 might unveil a perfectionist past (that has loosened up like an elastic waistband).

Yet, they reveal too much information.  And the troublesome part about writing is that the author can’t use the phrase, “Oh, that was in the past.”  We can’t accuse someone of reading too much into things. You see, when something is written, it remains in the present.  Having written something a long time ago means nothing to the reader if the revelation is a little too honest.

My daughters are starting to jot notes to each other, and every time I find a folded square or triangle under the couch or bed, my heart skips a beat in anticipation of what I’ll discover.  Part of me wants to toss the droppings into the trash, unread, to protect myself.  Do I really want to know that one of them thinks I’m so mean!?  Do I want to know that older sister has ranted away in ink about younger sister, who gets on her nerves and bugs her day and night?  Do I want to be reminded that AVA LOVES HARRY! on every flat surface?  Do I need to see that Maryn feels a little left out when she advertises for someone to play with her (mark ‘x’ for YES or NO)?

In the age of cyber-parenting, moms and dads who are connected to their children through Facebook and Twitter (even Pinterest), find themselves engaged in “Did you have to post that?!” debates on a daily basis.  But counselors, admissions directors and human resource specialists argue that people who refrain from social media altogether give their families, friends and colleagues much more to worry about.  What are they hiding?  What are we not supposed to know? But there’s a fine line when it comes to reading the fine print:  Should we disrespect our children’s privacy in order to teach them to respect themselves?

After my parents died, I started two blogs that became the foundation for material I contribute to the Daily Mail.  I wrote a book last year about life at home, and I have a children’s story slated for publication later this summer.  I know for a fact that my mother would have hated my Monday column.  But it wouldn’t have existed because I would’ve been afraid to write it.  This opened diary — which gives the world a clear view of my marriage, my home, my career and my mind — has served an important purpose, though.  Not only have the essays cataloged my daughters’ lives in a way that serves as a time capsule for our family, but they’ve uncovered a lot of lessons that I’ve had to figure out on my own.  Hopefully, they’ve generated a “that’s me!” reaction from readers who find themselves in my stories on occasion.  They can relate to this or to that.  They’re not alone.

E.B. White admired “anybody who had the guts to write anything at all.”  So the next time I find a balled up piece of notebook paper, the diarist in me will demand that it be placed in the trash.  But the mother in me now understands why it’s so critical to remain in the know.

Dressed to Unimpress

Monday, July 16, 2012
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A school uniform would make life so much easier, and possibly less expensive.

In one month, my daughters will return to the classroom.  It feels strange to shop for back-to-school clothes in the hottest weeks of summer, a time when they should be pulling on swimsuits and slipping their feet into flip-flops. On August 17th, they’ll have to put away their short-shorts and tank tops and dig deeper into their drawers to find more suitable clothing.  If such things exist.

I had a feeling that Bermuda shorts would be hard to find in the last weeks of summer, or the sizes would be picked over.  Ava, who just turned 9, has grown like a weed this summer, and few items from spring still fit her.  She’s at an age that my Great Depression-era aunt refers to as “awkward”.  “She’s all arms and legs,” she said.  Lanky, was another phrase used.  “Freakishly long legs,” someone else said.  Lord, I hope she never reads this blog.

I dragged my long-legged child to the mall to look for a few pieces that would get us through the first weeks of school.  It could be hot well into October, so I knew I needed to buy her a week’s worth of shorts and Capris so she could make different outfits.  But the child isn’t interested in clothes. She would rather go to the dentist than have to try on clothes.  And speaking of trying on clothes, I was suddenly challenged as to where to take her.  She’s a bit too old for Gymboree and Crazy 8.  Gap is OK, but the local selection is rather limited.  Ava’s not a little girl anymore – she’s barely a tween – but she’s not ready for the stores that smoke you out with strong perfume and ear-splitting alternative music.  Ok…fine…she’s in that awkward stage.

All of the tee-shirts had some type of odd graphic or phrase on the front: Carrots riding bikes. The words, “I AM THE FUTURE”  splashed across the chest.  Fun? I guess.  But, they were tissue paper thin and destined to become a nightgown for Barbie after one washing.  The shorts looked like someone had beaten them against a rock before sending them to the store.  Everything had holes in them; the hemlines were rolled up and left unfinished.  The jeans had…brace yourself…bleached “whiskers” on the front. And I was in a higher end department store.

Where are all the regular clothes?

Despite Ava’s lack of concern for fashion, she registers on the conservative side.  She channels Katharine Hepburn in that she doesn’t like dresses or skirts. On the last day of the semester, she asked if she could change her white tee-shirt.  “Why?” I asked. “It’s going to be near 90 today.  A lighter shirt will be cooler.”  Ava dropped her chin.  “I’m afraid someone will see through my shirt.”

Oh.  Now I get it. At least I have one less problem to worry about. She’s modest, too.

With some effort, I did manage to find some shirts for her that were unassuming.  We went into Aeropostale, and even though she was still too little to wear the shorts and pants, she could wear their polo shirts in an extra small.  The colors were bright and cheerful, and the late summer prices were surprising:  Only $5.99.

From there, we tried The Children’s Place, which upon first glance seemed like a store where we would outfit my younger daughter, Maryn, who is 6.  However, as I dug through the stacks of denim and twill shorts that met the “arms-to-the-sides-fingertips-to-the-hemline” test, I was able to get my hands on size 10 shorts with elastic strips in the waist to keep them on her hips.  Luckily, they too, were well priced at $12.

Finally, we made our way to the shoe store, where Ava decided that a pair of white Keds would be fine.  We searched the towers of boxes in the children’s aisle, but our luck ran out. Why? Because my kid now wears a ladies size 6.  No more tennies for ten bucks.  We’re in the big leagues now.  That’ll be $36.99. Debit or credit?

With pretty shirts and longer shorts and wider shoes, Ava and I strolled out of the mall carrying bags that were cutting into our wrists.  She stopped as we entered the parking garage and readjusted them.  With her left hand now free, she clasped mine and began walking again.  Thankfully, we’re still a perfect fit.

‘Glee’ and me

Thursday, June 2, 2011
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Oh Glee, how I’ve come to dread you like a purple flavored ice drink to the face.

(To those of you thinking, Hey, there’s a dude in The Mommyhood — and he’s writing about Glee! Yeah, well, I watch Glee in between Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch. I’m sort of like the Puckerman of The Mommyhood, you know. Just don’t quiz me about Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch because I made up how I watch them just to sound the slightest bit tough.)

Last year, Glee, you seemed so different. You had classic Journey hits freshly sung by attractive teenage-looking people. You had that hilariously wisecracking Sue Sylvester with her army of tracksuits. You produced new twists on the language, like cheerios for cheerleaders.

This year, it was sophomore slump time. You felt like an afterschool special with songs. Instead of character development, there was character running in circles. In fact, some whole characters were introduced and swiftly forgotten.

But the most annoying thing about you, Glee, is that you are like catnip to my almost-Tween.

She loves your catchy songs, great-looking cast and high school setting. And she begs to watch you.

And there you are, with three or four episodes on the DVR because I just haven’t been able to summon up the interest like I used to.

“Can we watch Glee? Can we watch Glee? Can we watch Glee?”

Oh! No, no! No, no, no, no

But to do so is to brace for a minefield of hands-over-eyes moments:

– Finn losing his cool, if you know what I mean, in a hot tub.

– Anything — anything — involving Santana.

– Kurt being caught (innocently enough?) in bed with a boy by his heart-attack-prone father.

There is, on average, one cringeworthy moment per episode. Why not just go all-out and do a Ke$ha-themed episode?

I know, Glee. I know you have a lot of important messages to impart (back to that after school special aspect of you again) — that it’s OK to be different, that cutting loose with a song (or having your own voice) can make difficult situations better. And I know it’s up to me to say ‘no’ to my own kid if I still don’t think you’re good for her.

But, like Finn breaking up with Rachel, or Finn breaking up with Quinn, or Brittany breaking up with Artie, or Brittany breaking up with Santana, or Artie breaking up with Tina, and so on and so forth, you make it so hard.

How about you, Mommies? What’s your policy on kids and Glee?