February 23, 2010

"Doing an About-Face on 'Overmedicated' Children"

WE'VE GOT ISSUES: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication

Duh. Finally a book that supports what I have been saying for many years! Research debunking the myth of overzealous parents, irresponsible child psychiatrists and "not good enough" children. Bravo, Judith Warner!

Read Abigail Zuger, M.D.'s review

February 18, 2010

Shani wins!

In the run up to Shani Davis' exciting speed skating wins, it was fun to put on my old PR hat and try to get some attention for the Evanston Speed Skating Club and our little-known sport. After the Olympic "bump," speedskating, along with curling and Nordic-combined, will fade back into obscurity, at least for another four years.

Luckily, our club has several telegenic and articulate young skaters: Jeff is not one of them. So I suggested a number of others who were delighted to give interviews to the networks and numerous other media who contacted the club.

From a parental point of view, I was especially thrilled with CHICAGO PARENT's video story which features Mia Krone, one of ESSC's new up-and-coming skaters. But Jeff has the last, poignant, word. Like "Rosebud" in Citizen Kane.

February 13, 2010

Going for the Gold . . . Jeff skates

Alec and Matt Dinnerstein with Shani Davis, a week before the Winter Olympics 2010.

WGN features Evanston skaters

February 8, 2010

Inky, beware! II

Jeff to Inky: I am going to make "catatouille."

February 1, 2010

The Two-Fer

My father was a practiced hand at a technique I call the two-fer, whereby he could simultaneously embarrass a guest, and with the same remark, mortify his children. "Do children behave like this where you come from?" he would ask. "Have you ever heard of this?" (Refusing food, making plans with friends, declining to be the musical entertainment, and so forth). The polite guest would shrug helplessly, as if to say, "On my home planet, children are delighted to sit quietly and observe elders conversing," or God forbid, "I have heard of children watching TV, now that you mention it." Once, apropos of nothing, my dad exclaimed to a visitor, "Do you know the word 'booger'?" Our guest, a German speaker, allowed that he did not. Case closed.

Now I am the constant victim of the "reverse two-fer," as artfully practiced by Jeff. It works like this: Jeff can deftly embarrass me and render another adult speechless at the same time. For this mother, practiced in the parental technique of redirection, I can say that redirection works only with children small enough to maneuver away from ground zero of social devastation.

This summer, I misunderstood a party invitation, so Jeff and I showed up a week early. It could have been a social learning experience: apologize briefly and sincerely, then beat a hasty retreat. Only Jeff wouldn't have it. "I am so sorry, it's my mistake," I said, when the hosts came to the door in their lounge-around-the-house-on-the-weekend clothes. "Can I come in?" Jeff offered, brightly. "Jeff, there is no party today," I said firmly, trying to back Jeff and the cake I was holding down the front steps. But Jeff already had a foot over the transom. "Let me see your toys!" My hands occupied, I could only hiss, "Back away from the front door, now!" "See you next week!" I cheerily called, to cover Jeff's "Do you have toy cars?" while desperately urging Jeff into the car.

A few weeks ago, I heard our hostess urgently call my name. Jeff, clearly disappointed with the toys on offer, had let himself into the attached garage in search of better things. "Jeff, come out here now! This is not a play area. I am so sorry." En route in the car I had expressly told Jeff not to go exploring in the bedrooms. I had foolishly neglected to mention the garage.