The Petting Zoo–Story the Last

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We’ll soon return to our regularly scheduled blogging. First, though, we get to see the first couple of paragraphs of the closing story in “Love is Not a Dirty Word.”

I’ve been writing all week about how and why I’ve written certain stories. I wish I could point to some magical moment as inspiration for “The Petting Zoo.” I could wax philosophically about some long ago memory of reaching through the fence and touching the soft, downy fur of a baby chicken or mention the tight curls of a sheep’s wool.

Yeah.

Or I could admit that I watch way too much television and I’ve seen one too many commercials in my life. I’m pretty sure it’s Verizon (or maybe T-Mobile) but a few years ago around Christmas a mother walks into the mall with her son on one side and her daughter on the other. She looks at the son and tells him “you’re my rock” I know you’ll behave. She turns to the little girl and says, “we can’t have a repeat of the petting zoo” can we? The little girl looks up at her with as much seriousness as a 6 year old can muster and says, “I’ll try mommy, but I can’t make any promises.”

Fortunately for the mother, she sees the (insert cell phone company here) store and she’s saved from the unpredictability of shopping with her daughter.

Who cares what kind of cell phone dad is getting, I thought. I wanted to know what the hell happened at the petting zoo?

If you saw that commercial and asked the same question, here’s what I think happened.

The Petting Zoo

Christie leaned back, trying to melt into the couch cushions, wishing she could wake up when her kids where 18 and in college. She smelled strawberry and felt the sticky residue of a half finished Jolly Rancher on her neck as she cradled the phone against her ear and tried to concentrate. The ceiling fan was filthy, there were spiderwebs in three corners, and she had at least one couch cushion poking her in the thigh, but she wasn’t all that sure what her husband had just said. Her ability to have an adult conversation was in direct proportion to how well her children behaved on
any given day.

“What? Sorry. I just spaced out for a minute. How can there be spiderwebs but no spiders?” Christie leaned to the side. If she couldn’t feel the spring, maybe she could pretend it wasn’t broken. “Anyway. You weren’t there. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She listened to Simon talk, wondering why her glass of wine was so far away. And how it got empty.

“I think we’ve been banned from the petting zoo. For life. Our grandkids won’t be able to go either.” Christie forced herself to stand. She needed a drink more than she needed rest. Or, more likely, she needed the drink in order to rest. The Jolly Rancher smell followed her to the kitchen and she wondered if there were any good snacks left.

“I’m fine. Just trying to get off the couch. Alexas told me at breakfast she wanted to grow up to be a kangaroo so she and David used the couch as their own personal trampoline this morning. I was outside watering plants for less than five minutes. When I came in, they had grocery bags tied around their waists with a small stuffed animal in each bag. They were yelling ‘Boing, boing’ as they hopped from cushion to cushion. Our couch looks like that hideous, plaid sofa you had in college. I don’t know what’s sagging worse—me or it.”

(If you want to find out why Alexas got banned from the petting zoo, click on the link above.)

Changing the Oil–A poem

 One of the more interesting sites I’ve come across lately is Mike Rowe’s Profoundly Disconnected. Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, wants to challenge the “absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.”  Rowe’s S.W.E.A.T. Pledge is worth reading and I’m hoping to return to this idea in a later blog. It surprises folks when they hear that I, a tenured college professor, don’t think everyone needs to (or should) go to college. 

But it’s really cold outside, 4:30 on a Friday, and I’m not sure I’m intellectually capable of much more than promising to write at a later date.

I was, though, reminded of a poem I wrote a while back as I was looking at Rowe’s site. 

Like plenty of folks, there was a time in my life when I did many of the hard, menial tasks around the house. Not only did I save money, but working with my hands, in some ways, was a nice change of pace from writing, teaching, and grading papers. When my kids were little, I tried to get them involved. We have pictures of them painting, working with a hammer, and even crawled under the car helping me change the oil.

Of course, all those photo ops ended when they became teenagers, but that’s another story too. These days, I’m not sure they know the difference between motor oil and canola oil. Since it’s late, and almost the weekend, I’ll just blame our ascent into the middle class and smart phones. No self-flagellation heading into the weekend.

Either way, I’ll post the poem below. My advice: go visit Rowe’s site and skip the poem, but if you read I hope you enjoy.

Changing the Oil

My son’s hand stretches toward the
Oil filter. It’s not easy being five
And working on a car.

“What’s that?” his finger lost in
Dirt and grime.
He reaches up with his other hand.
“What’s a transition . . . mission?”
He corrects himself.

“What would happen”
His head turns, eyes serious,
“if the car falls.”

He asks so many questions his
Hands can’t stay focused
On the work to be done.

It’s not easy being patient,
Under a car, dirty, hot, busy.
I want to be finished. Oil
Changed, filter recycled
Grease out from under my nails.

Loosening the plug, I
Tell him we’ll get squished
“But I’ll use the bike pump
To fill you back up.”

He laughs and reaches his
Hands toward the plug,
Telling me it’s his turn.
And the oil slides down his arm
Like syrup. “Nasty”
He says laughing.

Crawling out from
Under the car is easier
When the job is complete.
“Why did we empty it,
If we have to fill it back up?”

Standing on the bumper,
Holding the funnel
He looks at me
And I keep answering
Questions. A
Labor of love. A
Job I hope never ends.

Heading Down the Highway–Finally

My youngest son got his drivers license yesterday. While I’m not a particularly religious man, I just want to say

Thank you, Jesus or Buddha or Allah or Zeus or any other deity that helped make this happen.

Our joy, as you can imagine, was matched only by his. Those car keys, if I may wax both philosophical and delve into the cliched, represent freedom and adulthood. On a daily basis, he controls some measure of his own destiny in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. He knows, in the back of his mind, that he now has the ability to move around town (or anywhere else in theory) without supervision.

The world is his oyster. He is, in so many ways, one step closer to leaving the nest.

And that’s not a bad thing. It is our job, after all, to slowly prepare our children to fly the coup, go out on their own, and hit the highway. Life, I think, is about movement and growing up not standing still and laying low.

Certainly, driving a car isn’t the only pathway to gaining independence, but we should note that the automobile holds a special place in American culture. We are, in many ways, a nation built on movement. The very infrastructure of our growth begins with rail tracks spanning the continent, followed shortly thereafter with interstate highway systems. Roads offered us a way to create new identities and opportunities to seek out new lives, new worlds, and new selves.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that my 16 year old son grab the car keys and head to California next week, but I am recognizing that he is one more step closer to having that opportunity. If, as many of us might argue, where we live helps define who we are, he will have the opportunity to put that theory to the test.

And I’m glad.

But I’m also struck by the growing trend that many people my son’s age are not getting drivers licenses at 16. While we might definitely argue the world is a safer place with fewer teen drivers, I think we are also seeing an interesting cultural shift that begins to redefine the value and importance of physical travel and identity.

I recognize there are a myriad of reasons 16 year olds don’t get licenses. As city populations grow and we increase access to public transportation, owning a car becomes less important. We can, in many ways, move throughout most major cities without a car. Cars, like so many other things, are also becoming increasingly expensive. Gas, insurance, taxes, inspection stickers, maintenance–these all push the cost of ownership outside the financial means for some families.

It’s also true though, that those things all existed 20 years ago. We all knew friends who had a license but no car to drive or, for some, no real reason to drive.

But they could if they needed to.

We also know that cell phones and social media have created abilities to stay connected and to interact in ways unique to this generation of kids. They can text, tweet, post, and instagram, creating electronically tethered friendships–4G service means never having to face the night alone. Google maps offers a chance to see cities, towns, and even their own houses via satellite, all from the comforts of their couch.

There is no doubt virtual travel has an impact on the impetus to slide behind the wheel and roll down the road, but there are plenty of studies also showing us that this generation values human contact. We know, for instance, incoming first year students don’t like online classes. They want to be with live, real, honest to god people.

As with so many milestones, as my son prepared for his big day, my wife and I bored him with stories. In Texas, or I should say, in our high schools, drivers education was part of the curriculum. We both took the class, starting when we were 15, culminating in our learners permit. The clear message, then, was that part of our educational journey in public schools was learning to drive. Like writing an essay, doing algebra, and learning to read, driving was part and parcel of being an educated citizen.

Upon high school graduation, the system said, we should have the skills and mobility to move on and move out.

Somewhere along the way, that mindset shifted (perhaps in more ways than one) and definitions of independence and growing up became the province of individual families, something private and personal. “We just didn’t feel like he was ready to move out,” some parents tell us when they explain why their sons are still living at home.

I’m not judging. Part of me fully recognizes the value of treating maturity individually.

But it also feels like we have lost something along the way. I don’t want my son to jump in the truck tomorrow and head for Montana, work on a ranch, and call home once a week.

There is a part of me, though, that is glad he could if he needed to. Plus, I’m awful tired of driving him to school every day.

 

Cutting the Cord And Hoping for the Best

My oldest son was born in a flood of taco sauce, chocolate, and ice cold coke. After nine months of eating healthy, exercising, popping daily vitamins, sleeping as well as someone carrying a 7 pound parasite can, and, in general, following the guide to a perfect pregnancy, my wife came home from work one day with a 12 pack of tacos, a bag of m&m’s, and enough soda for everyone in the neighborhood. It was the family meal deal before we really had the family.

I think my son knew it was time to make an appearance. Out of dietary self-defense. Any more meals like that and he might not fit down the tube.

And the night he was born I cried–tears of joy, relief, and abject fear that my wife and I had to take responsibility for this human being. He could be a chef, scientist, actor, writer, pro athlete; he might develop a taste for human flesh, torture small animals, or even become a politician. In those first few minutes of life, the possibilities are endless. After all, I was in graduate school studying southern literature, my wife went into labor during an episode of  Baywatch, and he was struggling down the birth canal during Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Address. (In retrospect, those last two seem strangely, and appropriately, connected.) We were, as you can imagine, a tad bit worried about those immediate cultural influences. What if he came out looking like David Hasselhoff with a southern accent and a taste for government pork?

I’ll admit, like so many other parents, I also cried last weekend when we dropped that same child off at his college dorm a couple days ago.

Joy, relief, and abject fear are those parental emotions that, we are learning, remain constant.

Joy–he finally used the potty on his own! Relief–no more diaper costs and stench. Fear–what if he has an accident at school?

Just keep adding milestones as the years go by: Joy–he graduated from high school. Relief–he got accepted to college (with scholarships). Fear–what if he has an accident. (Okay. So maybe the fear part is the same every time?)

Admittedly, everyone in our house knew it was time for my son to move out, including him. Don’t get me wrong–we love our son, we appreciate our son, and we value our son. He’s a pretty good kid and we have been lucky that we have had very few issues and problems. He’s relatively well behaved and we’ve never had to choose between paying the cable bill or sending in bail money.

But there’s a reason 18 year-olds are considered adult enough to rent their own apartments, join the military, or be tried as adults. There is a time to pack his bags, box up his valuables, and hope we spent those 18 years wisely. At some point, we have to let him put our parenting to the test out in the real world and hope the lessons stick.

Yet, as we drove away watching him stand in front of his dorm, it’s easy to travel back in time and see him as a little kindergartner standing in the room, lost, scared, happy, petrified, excited, nervous–pick an emotion and I’m sure it was swirling around. For all of us.

But at least he came home 7 hours later.

What, we wonder as we drive away, if he holes up in his room and forgets to go to class? What if he gets lost and can’t find a place to eat? What if he hates his roommate? Gets sick? Depressed?

What, we fear, if he doesn’t make any friends?

How, we wonder, will he ever survive without us?

Because, of course, without us he’ll forget how to set an alarm, become a social leper, and let himself starve in a fit of despair.

Or not.

He’s got 18 years of experience under his belt and I’m pretty sure we covered alarm setting and eating. History tells us he’ll be fine, meet new people, and continue growing up. We managed, after all, to survive after our parents abandoned us to the wilderness of the “real world” and turned our rooms into guest rooms/sewing rooms/anything but a come back and live with us rooms.

In fact, for the most part, everyone tends to grow up. Eventually. Hopefully, his path is easy, but I suspect he’ll grow up either because of us or in spite of us.

We probably need to worry more about whether he will ever visit, not if he will visit too often. Either way, there’s a time to cut the cord and hope for the best.

And the irony of parenting, it seems to me, is that we work hard to become increasingly less relevant to our children’s daily lives. Or, at the least, differently relevant. He doesn’t have to come home in 7 hours. Or 7 days. And, in fact, isn’t the goal that he knows he can but he doesn’t feel like he has to?

I just hope my desk fits under his old window and we have enough boxes for the stuff he left at home.

If Only We Had Known This Sooner

The other day, someone told my wife we should write a parenting book.

Yeah. Sure. Instead of “Parenting for Dummies,” we could call it “Parenting by Dummies: Everything We’ve Learned in Hindsight But Refuse to Try by Having Another Child.”

I guess having two children who don’t eat people for fun (yet), haven’t been arrested (so far), and can write their names in cursive qualifies us as model parents?

Either way, the statement did get me to thinking about any wisdom someone like me might pass along to perspective parents other than the only child easy to raise is one that’s not your own. Trust me–we all know how other people should raise their kids.

I might also tell new parents that you should always love your kids, but it’s okay if you don’t like them all the time. Especially at 3 am when they are crying, vomiting, or just getting home hours past curfew. (Or at any given moment between the ages of 13-16.)

One of our problems, I suspect, might be that we’ve never actually read a parenting book. I’m pretty sure we had a copy of What to Expect When You Are Expecting. To be fair, I have nothing negative to say about the book, but I’ll also admit that I also have no recollection of the book.

While I will admit that the prospect of raising a human and being responsible for his long-term mental health was pretty daunting, I always told my wife we should just follow our instincts and trust that millions of years of evolution qualified us to be parents. Of course, for all I know she’s been secretly reading parenting books for the last 18 years learning how to counteract my “instincts.”

Either way, I have been toying with an Introduction to this mythical book we have no real business writing.

Dear Parents:

Your life has changed. You are now responsible for a human being. The good news is that feeding and changing diapers is the easiest and least messy parts of the job.   The bad news is that the feeding and changing are the least messy parts of the job. While you will get plenty of advice from other parents, friends, radio talk show hosts, and random strangers who write blogs regarding your child’s academic success, we encourage you to read to your children every night (starting tonight), teach them to do fractions as soon as possible, and avoid thinking that proficiency on a smartphone is a sign of intelligence.

As you think about your child at 18, these are the five most important things you need to remember and teach your children in order to create a healthy, happy child. Please also remember that this book makes no promises and offers absolutely no guarantees that anything we say will work and we reserve the right to choose 5 more things by the end of chapter 1.

1. Remember Occam’s Razor.  Try to solve all problems, conundrums, and difficulties by focusing on the simplest possible explanation first. The simple answer might not be right, but the most complicated one probably isn’t correct either. Your child will get a fever. That doesn’t mean he has meningitis or polio or some other incurable disease. It’s probably a cold. Start there. At some point, your precious child will also miss out on a valentines day card or a birthday party announcement. This is not a sign of a grand conspiracy or social leprosy.

2. Make sure you can look at yourself in the mirror everyday. You have to be the kind of person you want your kids to look up to. If you are cheating on your taxes, stealing fruit from the store, talking bad about people all the time, and parking in the handicap spot without a reason, that’s what your kids are going to do. I can promise you that they do not understand the fine nuances of your ethical system.

3. Life is a marathon not a sprint. Your child might not be potty trained at the same time as little Sally across the street, but let me assure you that she will learn how to use the toilet. The same goes for spelling, reading, writing, speaking, hitting a baseball, and making friends. Life is not a checklist of events to cross off at specific times.

4. Keep your pants up and your lips to yourself. Admittedly, this one is more for the kids than anyone else, but you parents might keep it in mind also. If you are all stressed about this new child, better think long and hard if you want another. (Don’t think about it being long and hard, though. That might be what got you into the mess to begin with.)  In an era that seems amazingly oversexualized, it’s important to remind ourselves and our children that sometimes a hug is all we need and all we should expect. (By the way, shout out to Miss Fanny P for her Sex After Childbirth posts. That’s funny stuff.)

5. The most important thing you can remember and pass along to your child: She’s a free agent in this world. So is he. So are you. Life is full of choices from the simple (breastfeeding or formula?) to the complex (cream or sugar?). Maybe I have those backwards? Either way, each individual makes choices. Those choices have consequences. Some of those consequences are positive and some are negative. Don’t want to clean your room? Fine, but the consequence is . . . Want to eat your brussel sprouts, the consequence is . . .  (Bad example. No one wants to eat brussel sprouts.) We get to choose how we act, how we behave, and how we handle life around us.

All of us made a choice as well. We choose to accept the responsibility for this human being. Some of us did so on purpose and some of us had it thrust upon us (pun intended), but here we are.

Or rather here you are. Let us know if any of this advice works. Unfortunately for our kids, we didn’t think of all the good stuff until they were moving out but that’s okay. That just means we can help them raise their kids when the time comes.

I Should Have Listened to My Mother

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about buying my sons a shirt that says “I should have listened to my mother” on the front and “I never thought that would happen” on the back. The shirt would have casts, splints, and medical bills all over it. I might buy my wife her own that says “Don’t blame me. I told him it was a bad idea.”

When my wife and I started dating, we had the requisite conversation about having kids. I didn’t want any. She wanted 100 (or 6 but once you get past zero it might as well be 100). They are not, contrary to popular literary novels, cheaper by the dozen.

I argued, quite logically of course, that kids were expensive both financially and emotionally. They expect to eat on a regular basis, they want clothes, cable tv, and they will drive us to drink. Someday, I said with fear in my voice, they will want to go to college. Think, too, I argued, of all the memories they will have to repress growing up with us as parents!

And think of all the pain and agony we will endure. They cry. We spend two years wiping body parts that should remain private. They scream. They get hurt. They want stuff.

She just smiled.

Naturally, we had two boys. It’s not zero, but at least it’s better than 6.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and being responsible for them has made me a better person. They have brought joy to our lives and I’m glad we had them.

But, I was right. They are expensive. They eat. A lot. All the time.

Worse yet, I’ve wiped backsides, brushed away tears, and fought the agony while watching them in pain.

And boy do they have pain. Repeatedly. There was that party “everyone” went to. There was that girl who never knew he existed. That class “all” his friends were in while he was with “no one” he knew. And a thousand other social cuts we only know happened because they came home in a rotten mood.

There were also broken bones, sprained ankles, and one finger tip cut off in a freak accident.

While I could write about the high cost of health care, the rising costs of medical insurance, and the ridiculous (and totally incomprehensible) pricing models used by hospitals and doctors, let’s all admit that the biggest cost of having kids is the emotional one. (Of course, a $2,500 medical bill just adds to the emotional baggage of any injury.)

Life is a calculated risk of probability versus possibility. We have to work hard to raise kids who make good choices but who aren’t scared to take chances. Parenting, it seems to me, is a delicate balance between protecting children and letting them roam free. As they get older, we should give them more rope, more freedom, and let them learn how to live life in a way that fits their personality.

Until they get hurt and you are forced to call into question your overall philosophy. And then you realize why some parents are overprotective and swirl around setting play dates and manufacturing friends.

It’s not about making sure little Johnny is happy. I’m pretty sure they are trying to avoid the pain and agony of injury or unpopularity.

Fortunately, we aren’t faced with a great tragedy and in my rational mind I know we are lucky parents. Our kids are well-behaved, making good grades, and we’ve never had to bail them out of jail (although they are young). Broken bones and hearts heal.

But we were reminded (yet again) this weekend that 15 year olds don’t always make good decisions. My son, a week away from a regional baseball playoff game, decided to tubing. The  kind where someone drives a boat really fast. He is the lead off hitter and starting right fielder. Or, rather, he was the lead off hitter. Now he’s a spectator with a $13,000 bone screw in his finger because he has a bone broken off at the interphalangeal joint. (The good thing about kids who get hurt a lot is you learn all the important body part names. Need any advice about fingers? Shoulders? Knees? I’m your guy. Doctors sigh when they see us coming.)

There’s a reason 15 year olds don’t vote.

Admittedly, watching him in pain was no fun, but they make little pills that help (for him–he wouldn’t share). What they don’t have is a pill to help when he has to call his coach and admit he was stupid at the wrong time.

Or a pill to help tonight when he’s not in the line up for such an important game.

And we have to watch him, knowing he’s hurting, and realize there’s nothing we can do.

Except make some shirts that say “He should have listened to his mother.”

Kids Do Weird Shit: One More Reason Parenting is So Hard

About 8 or 9 years ago, the writer Reginald McKnight was on our campus doing a reading and a Q&A session for our students. McKnight’s collection The Kind of Light that Shines on Texas is a really nice collection of stories exploring the emerging post-civil rights community. His minority characters exist in a world where they are “representatives” of their race, whether they know it or not. Such is the plight of any minority in recently desegregated classrooms or office buildings. Or, perhaps, the plight of any minority even in our post-racial, post-discriminatory America. McKnight’s collection draws a bead on how we so easily reduce the one black person (or gay friend, or hispanic friend, or [insert minority here]) we know into the whole. (Creating, of course, the irony that we are not really “post” anything.)

In the title story of the collection, one of the kids walks into class every day, spits in the crease of his elbow, rubs the saliva around, and then lays his head on the desk. It smells like mayonnaise, the narrator tells us. If I had the collection with me, I would let McKnight’s much better language build the scene, but, suffice it to say, it’s odd. During the Q&A session after his reading, one of our students asked McKnight what the significance was of that scene. Clearly, the student saw the moment as allegorical or metaphorical, perhaps a commentary on the irrelevance of the public school system on integration or an attempt to rub the “blackness” off.

McKnight looked at the student. “I don’t know. ” He paused, looked at the table and then back up. “Kids do weird shit.”

He wasn’t being flippant. He added, after the laughter in the room died down, that it wasn’t the job of the writer to deliver meaning, but the role of the critic and reader to infer, develop, and think critically about the language and the story. Literature, McKnight added, is a puzzle where meaning emerges as we encounter the text.

As a professor, I loved McKnight’s answer. I’m no fan of biographical criticism and, I tell my students, we must move beyond assuming the author is master of her own work. The narrator and the author are two very different people. As D.H. Lawrence told us oh so many years ago, we must trust the tale not the teller. Authors are liars by trade. Like teenagers trying to craft an excuse after coming in past curfew, what authors write and what they say they meant are often two very different things.

I’ve thought of McKnight as good bit as a parent over the years also. Like all kids, my boys are prone to doing things that make absolutely no sense. One of my sons didn’t start talking (or walking for that matter) until it was absolutely necessary. The other came sprinting out of the womb letting us know what he wanted and when. We wondered if they both had an attention deficit disorder because one never seemed to pay attention and the other might get so focused on one thing the world could end and he wouldn’t notice.

Like most parents, we’ve watched our kids be lazy, hate school, throw fits, struggle with ethics, act half-crazy, be sweet, rude, stupid, dangerous, and everything else in between.

Fortunately, we had great friends around us whose kids did the same things and we could look back at our own childhoods for reference. When I came home one day to watch my sons jumping off the roof onto the trampoline, my wife reminded me that she and her sister used to ride a rope swing, together, off the barn roof. When my older son forgot to get rid of the red solo cup package and throw the beer cans into the neighbor’s trash instead of ours, I was reminded that I once put the whiskey bottle under the house in clear view from the back yard.

If you are a parent, pause for a moment and count the number of times you said “What were you thinking!?”

When my wife and I wondered about the intellectual ability of our kids, usually late at night after watching various particularly inane displays of what will eventually become great stories we tell our grand kids, the answer seems obvious:

Kids do weird shit.

I can’t help but think we need this reminder more often as we discuss children and teens.

There is no doubt that parenting is hard work. We have to sacrifice our own self-interests as we help our kids learn to make good choices. We also want what is best for our kids and we want them to have good, clean, pain free lives. We brought them into this world and we sure as heck don’t want to watch them suffer while they are in it.

But just because your son can’t speak complete sentences at 20 months doesn’t mean he needs a speech therapist. When little Johnny throws a fit and refuses to pick up his clothes, he’s not being a hooligan. If Suzy isn’t  reading before kindergarten, she still has a shot at going to college. If your 2 year old bites his brother (or his friends), it doesn’t mean he has the taste for human flesh. (If he lights the family pet on fire and starts running with scissors, disregard anything I’ve said.)

Certainly, I’m not advocating that we stop concerning ourselves with the idiocy that is our children, but we also need to remember that life is a marathon not a sprint. Over the course of 18 years, our kids will do weird shit but not everything they do is worthy of our obsession or our therapist. Good parents disappoint their children. Good children, at some point, disappoint their parents.

In the meantime, let’s let them be kids and, most importantly, let’s let them be weird.

 

Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Dish

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)