The little voice that says "you could have done better; you could have worked harder" is the curse of the veteran parent. There's quite an industry out there to make you feel guilty that you didn't adopt all of the latest trends, that there are perfect children out there and none of them has your last name.
This week has supplied plenty of opportunities to wallow in parental guilt. There was the 60 Minutes piece on redshirting kindergarteners to give them a leg up on their competition. On Daily Circuit on Monday, we endured Pamela Druckerman, who wrote a book on why French kids seem to behave better and throw fewer tantrums, and how French mothers are able to maintain their pre-children life after having children.
That page was the "most shared" page on the MPR website yesterday, which means a lot of parents got a bucketload of "you should've been more like the French" in their inbox.
Today's news provides the antidote in the "at least I'm not them" category.
It's the sad story of a 9-year-old boy in Washington state who found a gun at home, brought it to school, and accidentally shot an 8 year old girl.
He was sentenced yesterday to 12 months of probation, and ordered to undergo 48 hours of counseling and write a letter of apology to Amina Kocer-Bowman, who remains in serious condition at a Seattle hospital. More serious charges were dropped. The lad was also expelled from school for a year.
It was a picture in the Seattle Times this morning that caught my attention. The boy was being escorted out of the courtroom by his uncle, who is his guardian. No parents were in the courtroom. Why not?
The parents relinquished custody of their three kids several years ago. They were adopted by their grandmother, but she died of pancreatic cancer in 2010, so their uncle took on the role of parent.
Then there's this part of the story, from CBS News today:
The case has put the boy's family under the scrutiny of authorities, who on Monday issued arrest warrants for his mother, Jamie Lee Passmore, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer. Police allege that the couple left several guns unsecured in their home, allowing the boy to gain access to the .45 caliber gun that he brought to school.
Passmore, who is a felon, is not allowed to own firearms, although investigators found guns in her home on the day of the school shooting. Bremerton police Lt. Peter Fisher said the warrant for Passmore lists two second-degree counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. Bauer is wanted for a second-degree count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
The couple is reportedly on vacation in Las Vegas for a NASCAR event, said the boy's attorney, Eric John Makus. Fisher said police were "confident" that the couple will return later this month.
Some kids are doomed by the biology of their birth.
The secret of proper parenting? Just do the best you can and try to ignore the people who tell you you're not doing it right.
Please forward this to the French.(13 Comments)
Posted at 2:07 PM on March 7, 2012
by Eric Ringham
Filed under: Health
Before I got on the treadmill this morning I read Aaron Gleeman's blog, and it made me tack on an extra half a mile.
One year ago today, Gleeman started a weight-loss program. In that year, the baseball blogger has lost 153 pounds. His weight today is down to 202. He did it with - get this - diet and exercise. He writes:
"My goal early on was simple: Eat fewer than 1,250 calories per day and force myself onto an elliptical machine for at least 10 minutes. I completely cut out all the foods I loved, going cold turkey on takeout and delivery and snacks, and also focused on eating at least two meals each day instead of letting myself get so hungry that dinner became a smorgasbord. I ate oatmeal and bananas and chicken soup and Lean Cuisine microwave dinners. And the weight came flying off, as I shed 40 pounds in the first six weeks."
Eventually he got his time on the elliptical up to 30 minutes a day. He occasionally let his caloric intake creep up to 1,500, and he managed somehow to keep drinking beer.
Gleeman also describes an important psychological element to his weight-loss campaign -- the need to remain faithful, not to say fanatical, about his new lifestyle:
"In the past my undoing always stemmed from slipping up once, which seems like a harmless thing at first but eventually leads to falling completely off the wagon. My brain has proven incapable of occasionally going off the diet, so even after losing 40 pounds if I allow myself Chinese food or a few slices of pizza I know within a week I'll be back where I started."
In that observation, Gleeman sounds like my MPR colleague Euan Kerr, who lost enough weight in recent years to make acquaintances ask if he were suffering from some terminal disease. He says he expects to be struggling to keep his weight down for the rest of his life.
"I'm a bit like an alcoholic," he told me. "It's definitely one day at a time."
I have no idea whether it's healthy to lose weight the way Gleeman did. And while it may be too much to say that Gleeman's blog has changed my life, I'll bet it changes somebody's life. In the meantime, it has at least changed my morning. For one thing, I ran that extra distance. For another, I got some literature at Starbucks and looked up the calories I've already consumed today, just to see. One slice of banana bread: 490. One nonfat tall latte: 100.
In other words, by 10 a.m., I'd ingested roughly half of Gleeman's total daily sustenance. I could eat one more slice of banana bread and drink one more latte, and I'd be done. Uh-oh.
One day at a time? More like an hour at a time.
-- Eric Ringham
A presidential candidate stood in Alabama yesterday and promised that "America has a destiny in space."
It played well -- there are a lot of unemployed space industry workers in Alabama -- but the reality is human spaceflight isn't just for Americans anymore and there are other countries more passionate about science and space than the U.S. Maybe they know something we don't. Or maybe we know something they don't. We'll find out soon enough.
That said, it's undeniable that the U.S. space program as it was is what inspired that passion.
Raul Oaida of Romania is but one example. He created a LEGO tribute to the recently-retired space shuttle program to prove that "this machine can still fly, albeit in toy form."
He's just posted a video from his launch (from central Germany) of Lego Space Shuttle model 3367, which climbed over 21 miles.
He wrote on his blog this week that he flew his ship in Germany because getting permission from air traffic controllers in Romania was impossible.
Not everyone shares the passion from which great scientific leaps are born.
(h/t: Steve Nelson)(5 Comments)
No matter what you might think of the cult of Apple and the questions surrounding the working conditions of the plants in China where the products are made, you have to tip your hat to the marketing genius of the company, while perhaps wondering why they have an advertising budget at all.
Today, the company announced its latest version of the iPad, which does, err, .... something the old version didn't do.
And that's all it takes to get iPad
advertising stories on the front page of the most read websites in the world.
The Washington Post...
Huffington Post (this actually is the front page!)...
Google... appropriately placed after Mitt Romney and God -- in that order....
The Jerusalem Post, right after the update on the Iran Threat v. 2.0 upgrade.
And, of course, The Onion...4 Comments)